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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
catoblepas YCatoblepas.png
HP 50-103
HD 14
XP 938
Speed 10
AC 10
EV 2
Will 100
Attack1 36 (gore: plain)

Resistances rPetrify
Vulnerabilities None
Habitat Land
Intelligence Animal
Uses Uses nothing
Holiness Natural
Size Large
Type yak, catoblepas
Flags Warm-blooded
A sluggish black buffalo, its hide encrusted with dull scales. It carries its hog-like head just above the ground, protected by a stiff mane of bristles, joined to its body by a neck as long and loose as an emptied intestine. Man and beast alike would be wise to steer clear of this creature, as its fearsome breath is known to turn flesh into stone.

“So passed he over into the island, taking with him the two brothers of Anaxius; where he found the forsaken knight attired in his own livery, as black as sorrow itself could see itself in the blackest glass: his ornaments of the same hue, but formd into the figures of ravens which seemed to gape for carrion: only his reins were snakes, which finely wrapping themselves one within the other, their heads came together to the cheeks and bosses of the bit, where they might seem to bite at the horse, and the horse, as he champed the bit, to bite at them, and that the white foam was engendered by the poisonous fury of the combat. His impresa was a Catoblepta, which so long lies dead as the moon (whereto it hath so natural a sympathy) wants her light. The word signified, that the moon wanted not the light, but the poor beast wanted the moon’s light.”
-Sir Philip Sidney

Useful Info

Catoblepae are enormous yak-genus monsters, bigger and bulkier than even death yaks. Their breath creates calcifying dust; if you stand in the dust for more than a moment, you'll have a good chance to start petrifying. Once you start petrifying, you'll be incapacitated in short order. They can be found inside the Lair and as part of Polyphemus's flock.


Spell set I
Slot1 Petrifying Cloud (2d6) Natural flag

Tips & Tricks

  • In order for their breath to petrify, you must end your turn inside a cloud of petrifying dust. If you are inside a cloud of dust, moving to a tile without dust will always avoid petrification.
    • Gargoyles, certain forms (Statue, Shadow, Storm, or Wisp Form), and players under Zin's Vitalisation are immune to petrification. Qazlal makes you immune to all clouds, so Qaz worshippers can't be petrified, either.
    • Clouds cannot replace most other clouds. Reading a scroll of fog creates clouds of smoke, which prevents the dust from being created. If you have poison resistance, casting Mephitic Cloud on yourself, or using a scroll of poison, can do the same thing.
    • If you start petrifying, using a potion of cancellation, Elyvilon's Purification, or Ru's Draw Out Power will cure it. (Just make sure to step off a cloud first, since it'll just petrify you again.)
  • Unless you're immune to petrification, try to fight catoblepae in open areas. This gives you room to maneuver around their breath. If you encounter one in a tunnel, strongly consider luring it out into the open.
  • You can use their breath to your advantage:
    • Their breath can affect monsters, too. With careful footwork, you can get monsters to be petrified. Catoblepae are not shy about shooting their friends with dust.
    • The dust is opaque; it blocks line of sight like a scroll of fog. If you encounter a catoblepas along with a dangerous ranged monster, you might be able to use this to your advantage.
  • Catoblepae have good HD and willpower, but are not resistant to poison. Curare darts will reduce the attacks you'll take repositioning.
  • Remember that their breath attack does small amounts of impact damage when it hits you. The damage is usually negligible, but if you're low on health, few deaths are as frustrating as being downed by catoblepas breath during a hasty retreat.
  • If you are climbing a stairway and are hit by the calcifying dust, be aware there's a chance you will arrive on the next floor fully petrified.

Quality of Life improvements

In your rcfile, you may want add the following:

force_more_message += breathes a plume of calcifying

This gives a prompt every time the catoblepas uses Petrifying Cloud, which stops autofight in the process.