Experience is a rating of how much your character has learned in their quest, particularly their ability to survive the Dungeon's many hazards. For some species, it is also a rating of your character's maturity. Like most video game RPGs, experience is measured in experience points (or XP) and awarded for defeating monsters, with more difficult monsters being worth more XP.
In Crawl, XP rewards your character in two ways: raising your experience level, and giving you skill experience.
Gaining Experience Points
Each monster is assigned a value in experience points. Normally, you gain that many experience points when you defeat the monster.
If you have an ally aiding you, however, the XP may be split between the two of you. If you do none of the work and allow the ally to kill the monster, you get a 50% share. If your ally does nothing and you kill a monster, you receive 100%. If you worked together to defeat the monster, the XP will be split to reflect the amount of damage you each dealt. Giving allies XP is a waste for summoned creatures which disappear or undead minions that can never be healed, but can result in very powerful allies for a priest of Beogh.
When you have gained enough XP, your character rises to the next experience level and receives various benefits. Leveling up increases the following:
- Total hit points.
- Total magic points.
- Total number of spells that can be memorised.
- The maximum spell level that can be learned (no character can memorize a spell whose level is higher than their own).
- Stats. Every three levels, the character may add 1 point to their strength, intelligence, or dexterity, as they choose. Most characters gain additional stat bonuses every few levels (which stats increase and how often depends on their species).
- Magic resistance. Characters gain points of magic resistance at each level, the number depending on their race.
- Characters of certain races will gain special abilities (see Maturity below).
Every character starts at experience level 1 with no XP, reflecting a total lack of knowledge of the Dungeon. The maximum level is 27, but characters who have reached this can still use XP to improve their final score and their skills.
Different species require proportionally more or less experience to gain experience levels, as shown in the in-game documentation:
Note that a higher score translates into faster levelings; Humans, Halflings, Formicids and Kobolds level the fastest (with an experience aptitude of 1).
|Level||XP||Diff.||Increase in diff.|
These figures are multiplied by racial modifiers, above, which should be treated as percentages (i.e., human = 100%).
Certain species 'mature' as they gain experience, gaining special bonuses or abilities:
- Nagas and Draconians get tougher scales every 3 levels, increasing their AC.
- Draconians begin as juveniles, and become adults at level 7. Some colors also gain further benefits at level 14. See the species page for more details.
- Nagas gain the ability to constrict foes at level 13.
- Felids get thicker fur at levels 6 and 12, increasing their AC and giving them cold resistance (rC+) at level 12.
- Felids also gain an extra life every three levels, but can hold no more than two at once. After losing one of those two, they can get one of the "overflow" lives upon gaining a level which would not otherwise have awarded an extra life. Note that each death also costs them an experience level.
- Demonspawn acquire more of their demonic ancestry as they level up. This comes in the form of mutations, and Demonspawn can acquire special mutations unavailable to other species.
- Tengu gain the ability to fly at level 5. At 14, they may fly continuously.
- Mummies gain a bonus to Necromancy spell power at levels 13 and 26.
- Vampires may transform into bats at level 3.
- Deep Dwarves upgrade their Passive Mapping ability to rank 2 at level 9 and rank 3 at level 18. They also gain life protection (rN+) at level 14.
- Gargoyles gain incremental AC bonuses, and also gain the ability to fly permanently at level 14.
- Vine Stalkers gain Regeneration 1 at level 4, which upgrades to Regeneration 2 at level 12. They also upgrade from Fangs 2 to Fangs 3 at level 8.
- Barachim upgrade from Strong Legs 1 to Strong Legs 2 at level 13.
On top of contributing to your character level, any XP gain also contributes to your skill levels. There are two methods available to control distribution: automatic or manual. In automatic mode, every time you gain experience, it is distributed between all the skills which you have used lately, with the most commonly used ones getting proportionally bigger shares. On top of that, you can set skills to "Disabled" (they receive no XP), "Enabled" (no change), or "Focused" (the skill gets a guaranteed share of the XP on top of what it receives through practice).
Alternatively, there is manual mode. Here, XP is divided into equal shares between all skills. Again, you can set skills to be Disabled for no growth or Focused for double ordinary growth.
The maximum level for each skill is 27, but many skills suffer from diminishing returns, so it may not be worth raising a skill to the maximum.
- Prior to 0.13, draining reduced the player's experience level, and most high level monsters gave much more experience points when killed.
- In version 0.9, new skills (before they reached level 1) had to be actively used (casting a spell, hitting something, etc.) to start applying experience to it. Once the skill had reached 1.0, it could thenceforth be disabled or focused manually.
- In version 0.8 and earlier, skill experience was dumped into an "experience pool" until assigned to a skill. This was done in small increments by repeatedly performing actions relating to the skill. This led to the custom of "victory dancing" after fights to guarantee the XP went to the desired skill. Skills could be "disabled" to reduce their growth to 25% of normal.