Comestibles and satiation

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Comestible items are, as the name says, items that you can eat. They are very important, as almost all species need to eat, or they will grow hungry and eventually die of starvation. Luckily, there are many sources of nutrition in the Dungeon for the resourceful adventurer.


Hunger and food in Dungeon Crawl are rarely significant issues but, if ignored, can be fatal. Characters start with a satiated stomach, but grow steadily hungrier over time. Some races require less food than others, but characters also use more food when fighting and/or casting spells.

Types of Food

Food is provided in two main forms: temporary chunks of raw flesh that rot over time, and "permafood" that does not rot.

Chunks of flesh

Chunks are edible pieces of meat, carved from freshly slain corpses using the butcher (c) command. The number of chunks that a corpse provides is somewhat random, but larger monsters generally provide more chunks. Most species can eat chunks only when hungry, though carnivorous species can eat more often. Some species cannot eat meat at all (spriggans, which are completely herbivorous, vampires, which subsist solely on blood, and mummies, which are completely incapable of eating). Butchering a corpse or bottling its blood always take one turn (10 auts).

You will most commonly encounter "clean" meat, which has no ill effects. Some creatures will instead produce inedible or mutagenic chunks of meat. Regardless of type, chunks of meat will rot away completely about 200 turns after its source corpse was slain. Each individual chunk has its own freshness and will rot away at its own interval, regardless if they are stacked together into one inventory slot.

The Carnivore mutation or wearing an amulet of the gourmand will allow you to eat chunks even when not hungry and gain more nutrition from them. Note that ghouls, felids, and kobolds are all carnivorous, making these species easier for players who are having trouble keeping other species well-fed. Trolls, meanwhile, start with the gourmand trait as an intrinsic. Spriggans, being herbivorous, gain no benefit from the amulet, nor do Vampires, who cannot eat food at all. The ability to easily stuff yourself to Very Full or Engorged levels of satiation allows you to ignore the hunger costs of berserking, spell hunger, and god abilities to a greater degree.

Chunk type Colour (ASCII) Monster Effects
Clean White Most monsters No harmful side effects. Your satiation increases by 1,000, less if you are an Herbivore. Ghouls will be healed (1d5 − 1) + 1d(experience level) damage and restore 1 point of rotted HP.
Inedible Black Undead, poisonous monsters, demons,... You can not eat them.
Mutagenic Purple Aberrations Does not provide nutrition, but instead causes a random mutation instead of providing nutrition. Ghouls will not mutate and get the effect of a regular chunk instead.

Inventory Interaction

Depending on the player's species, the game will sometimes merge these chunks into one lump "chunk of flesh" in the inventory if the player is able to consume them as normal, regardless of its source (e.g. a ghoul who butchers a necrophage corpse, which normally yields putrefying chunks, will yield normal chunks instead). This is probably a mechanic intended to conserve inventory space. Interestingly, the chunks will still retain the properties of the original corpse, even when merged into a stack of chunks.

Religious Restrictions

All of the "good gods" (Zin, The Shining One, Elyvilon), plus Beogh, forbid followers to eat the meat of their own species (cannibalism). If this happens, you will lose 10 piety and gain 10 penance points. In addition, Zin forbids followers from eating chunks from monsters with "normal" or "high" monster intelligence. This is not cumulative with the cannibalism penalty, and applies even to evil monsters. To prevent mistakes, chunks from "restricted" corpses are displayed in red (in ASCII mode).

Worshipers of Fedhas Madash aren't formally limited in their diet, but many of their god's abilities can or must use fruit, so it is unwise to eat them.


Permafood, or permanent food, refers to the regular food found throughout the dungeon. They will never rot like chunks do, and as such can be collected and stored for future need. Permafood includes meat, vegetarian, and "neutral" options, making various items more or less useful to species with the Carnivore or Herbivore traits.

Worshipers of Fedhas Madash can use fruits to power the god's special abilities.

Nutritional values of food items

This list is ordered from most to least nutritious for normal eaters. Note that some foods require more time to consume than others. It's worth keeping some quick snacks in your inventory for emergencies, particularly if you are a spellcaster facing high spell hunger costs! You also can view a food item in your inventory to get an idea of the amount of time it takes to consume it.

Food Normal
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Time to eat
Meat ration 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 3,500 2,000 0 30
Royal jelly 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 30
Bread ration 4,400 3,400 2,400 0 4,900 5,400 5,900 30
Fruit 850 750 650 0 900 950 1,000 10
Slice of pizza 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500 10
Beef jerky 1,500 1,700 1,900 2,100 1,300 1,100 0 10
Chunk 1,000 1,100 1,200 1,300 500 0 0 30

Potions of blood provide Vampires with 1000 nutrition, and none for all other species. Vampires cannot restore hunger from any other consumables.


Your satiation level is determined by the number of nutrition units you have remaining. Most characters will use at least three food points per turn—more if fighting. Using spells can incur spell hunger, which can only be reduced by the player's Intelligence and Spellcasting ability. Some special abilities also use up nutrition.

Label Nutrition
Starving <1,000
Near starving 1,001 – 1,533
Very hungry 1,534 – 2,066
Hungry 2,067 – 2,600
Satiated (nothing displayed) 2,601 – 7,000
Full 7,001 – 9,000
Very full 9,001 – 11,000
Engorged 11,001 – 12,000 (max.)

Effects of satiation

  • If you are at level "Satiated" or more, most characters get no special bonus or penalty, although at level "Engorged", you cannot eat anything (with no other special penalties).
  • You cannot wield a vampiric weapon unless you are at least "Full".
  • At level "Hungry" or lower, non-carnivores are allowed to eat chunks.
  • At "Very Hungry", you cannot go berserk.
  • At "Starving", you suffer a −3 penalty to hit when fighting, and the damage you inflict is reduced by (1d5 − 1). You cannot cast spells or use most abilities. If you are under 500 points of satiation, there is 1/40 chance that you will lose consciousness for 1d8 + 5 turns. If you fall to 0 points, your character will die of starvation.
  • Undead characters are handled specially:
    • Mummies and players under the Necromutation spell do not have a hunger clock and are not susceptible to the effects of hunger, nor can they consume food.
    • Vampires have a unique hunger system based on the amount of blood that they have consumed, which will have different effects on the player. They cannot starve to death, but they will lose the ability to regenerate health at the "Bloodless" level of hunger, among other effects (see the Vampire page for more details). Their Bat Form ability cannot be used if they are Full or higher (be careful while drinking blood over deep water or lava!).
    • Ghouls cannot become Full no matter how much they eat; any food points accumulated above 6,999 are wasted. They cannot starve to death, but when Hungry or worse, they will rot much faster. Ghouls are still susceptible to spell hunger, but unlike other species, they can cast spells while starving.

Other sources of satiation

Zin's Vitalisation ability restores a small amount of nutrition, but never past Full (costs piety).
Drawing the "Feast" card (Deck of oddities) will set your Hunger state to 12,000 (Engorged).


Hunger per turn is proportional to time taken during that turn, except if you were walking with a movement delay greater than 10 auts; in that case, you will consume food (and regenerate) as if that delay was 10 auts. This means that fast races gain less hunger, but slow races and followers of Cheibriados do not gain extra hunger.

Each turn, the player uses a certain amount of food. This is calculated as follows:

Base hunger: 3

This is modified as follows:


If you are currently:

  • Under the effects of the Regeneration spell +4
  • Invisible +5
  • Hasted (but not berserk) +5
  • Worshiping Cheibriados with at least 30 points of piety -1

Equipment worn:

Equipment Effect
Troll leather armour +1 or +2 (equal chance; only when injured, if you are not a Troll)
Amulet of regeneration +2 (only when injured)

After all things are considered, minimum hunger is still 1.

Base hunger rates by race

The "basic" hunger rate (taking account of racial factors and in-built mutations) that one can expect when playing a given race is listed below:

Race Hunger rate
Spriggans 1
Felids 2
Trolls 9
Everyone else 3

The hunger rate of Vampires depends on their hunger status:

Status Hunger rate
Bloodless, Near bloodless, Very Thirsty 1
Thirsty 2
Not thirsty 3
Full 4
Very Full 5
Alive 6

Other sources of hunger

Normal food consumption isn't the only way to decrease satiation: fighting, abilities, and spells eat up sustenance, as well.

  • Making a regular melee attack makes you consume an additional 3 points of satiation.
  • Ending a berserk phase decreases your satiation level by 700 (be careful!).
    • Vampires who are unable to berserk (because they're at Satiated or less), but drink a potion of berserk rage, will lose 100 satiation right away.
  • Wielding a vampiric weapon takes a huge amount of satiation, perhaps 5,000 points. It is only possible to a equip when Full or higher.
  • Taking damage from a hungry ghost has a 50% chance of decreasing your satiation by 1/4; if it hits you but does no damage, it still has a 5% chance of decreasing your satiation by 1/4.
Spell Hunger
Several intrinsic abilities have a food cost. This cost is random in the following range, with a bias toward average value:
Ability Cost
Blink 51 – 100
Bolt of Draining 101 – 200
Breathe Fire 126 – 250
Breathe Frost 126 – 250
Breathe Poison Gas 126 – 250
Breathe Lightning 126 – 250
Breathe Power 126 – 250
Breathe Sticky Flame 126 – 250
Breathe Steam 126 – 250
Channeling 31 – 60
Fly (Tengu) 101 – 200
Fly (Gargoyle) 101 – 200
Fly (Draconian) 26 – 50
Hellfire 201 – 400
Invisibility 251 – 500
Levitate 101 – 200
Spit Acid 126 – 250
Spit Poison 41 – 80
Teleportation 201 – 400
Throw Flame 51 – 100
Throw Frost 51 – 100
Evoking an ability from an item has the same satiation cost as if it was your own ability.
Drawing the 'Famine' card (Deck of oddities or Punishment) sets your satiation level to 500 (Starving).

Tips & Tricks

  • Chunks are the main food source of most characters. Ghastly as it may be, taking advantage of them will allow you to stretch out your permafood and avoid starvation more easily.
  • Certain spells and effects can directly generate chunks without wasting turns butchering. Most useful is Animate Skeleton, which is very easy to cast and leaves chunks from any zombifiable monster with a skeleton, i.e. most living, corpse-leaving monsters other than insects. Other effects that can leave chunks include the beam from a wand of disintegration, the high-level Conjurations spell Orb of Destruction, and the aftereffects of Inner Flame.


Prior to 0.17, there were poisonous chunks you could eat if you were resistant to poison. There were also putrefying chunks. They have been all merged into 'inedible chunks'.

Prior to 0.16, chunks would turn into rotten chunks before rotting away completely. Potions of coagulated blood were also removed.

Prior to 0.15, some monsters would produce contaminated chunks, which provided less nutrition than clean chunks. This version condensed fruits and vegetables into the universal "fruit" item, and several other food items were removed (ambrosia, honeycomb, cheese, sausage, and sultanas). Royal jellies also had their potion of restore abilities effect removed.

Prior to 0.13, contaminated chunks occasionally caused nausea and offered less satiation.

Prior to 0.12, cursed blunt weapons or blunt weapons of distortion would prevent players from butchering corpses. Players could get around this with certain spells or mutations.

Prior to 0.9, characters did not have an emergency knife for butchering corpses and were required to carry an edged weapon for that purpose.

Prior to 0.6 turn hunger was not proportional to you.time_taken.