Frequently Asked Questions

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Version 0.23: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This page lists a series of questions that players frequently ask. Crawl also has its own official frequently asked questions, which can be found in-game through the command ?Q or on the official website here, which are also worth reading as a new player.

To ask for advice or talk to someone about your game, you can:

  • Head to ##crawl on Freenode, where there will be people around to help you out;
  • Join one of Crawl's many Discord servers, in particular the roguelikes Discord's channel dedicated to Dungeon Crawl;
  • Post information about your game on the Tavern forum, or on the DCSS reddit

In all four of these places it will be helpful to others if you post screenshots and/or a character dump, so that other players can offer specific advice about your game and answer specific questions. If you're playing offline, you'll find your character dump in the morgue directory of your Crawl folder. If you're playing online, you can press # while in-game, which will print a link to your character dump in the chat window.

Which species and background should I play as a new player?

The most commonly suggested species and backgrounds are any combination of minotaur, hill orc, and gargoyle with fighter, gladiator, or berserker. These combos provide a somewhat more gentle introduction to the game, focusing mostly on weapon-based combat and largely ignoring spells. If instead you want to play with missile weapons, that is, weapons that can be fired from range, a centaur or minotaur hunter with bows or crossbows may be appropriate. If you'd rather play as a spellcaster, a gargoyle earth elementalist or draconian fire, ice, or earth elementalist, or conjurer, would be a good starting point. While deep elf has the best magic aptitudes, its low HP and poor defensive aptitudes and stats mean it is generally harder to play.

Which weapon should I pick out of the starting weapon choices?

Which weapon you should pick will largely depend on your aptitudes. You can see your species' aptitudes through the % on the weapon selection menu; a better-than-average aptitude is indicated by positive numbers, whereas a worse-than-average aptitude is indicated by negative numbers. It is generally recommended that you pick the weapon type corresponding to your best weapon aptitude. Some species have no variation in weapon aptitudes, in which case taking a mace or axe is likely to provide the smoothest gameplay, but any weapon type should be viable. Short blades and unarmed combat are a bit different: if your character plans to use mostly melee combat to kill things, short blades may not be the best choice as their damage is low throughout the game, and while unarmed combat becomes very strong later in the game, it prevents you using weapons, and tends to have low damage early on. (An exception to this is trolls, who start with claws 3 and have excellent unarmed capabilities from the very beginning.)

How do you get a character dump?

If you're playing offline, you'll find your character dump in the morgue directory of your Crawl folder. If you're playing online, you can press # while in-game, which will print a link to your character dump in the chat window. Access to a character dump will allow other players to properly understand everything about your game, and give some information about your current situation. In both of these cases it is advisable to copy and paste the file contents to a pastebin, so that the information doesn't change as you continue your game and become obsolete afterwards.

When you finish your game, a morgue file is produced, containing all the details about that particular game. This is also found in the morgue directory of your Crawl folder offline, and online, you can access it through the IRC knowledge bots (which are available on ##crawl and on Discord), or through your character page on, which is accessed through clicking your name in the WebTiles chat window.

What do the different text colors on items mean?

Bright green items are the items you currently have equipped, unless they are cursed. Dark green items are known to be uncursed, and light grey items are of a known type, but may be cursed in the case of equipment. Items in blue are unidentified. Items in red are cursed, meaning you cannot unequip them without reading a scroll of remove curse, or they're actively bad. Items in dark red are hated by your god and dark grey items are useless in your current state. Yellow scrolls and potions are items intended to be used in emergency situations, whereas items in magenta are considered dangerous: there is potentially a beneficial effect to using them, but also a detrimental effect. Cyan items are particularly good, specifically scrolls of acquirement and potions of experience only. Finally, items listed in white are special artefacts, which cannot be enchanted and may have special, randomised properties, or in some special cases (unrandarts), fixed, predetermined properties.

For more information see the item article.

Which branch should I visit next?

The order in which you do branches is somewhat dependent on your equipment and situation, however there is a rough order that is intended to be taken by the developers. Specifically:

  • The first 10-11 floors of the Dungeon
  • Lair
  • The remainder of the Dungeon and the Orcish Mines, which are often done in either order
  • Your two lair rune branches out of Swamp, Shoals, Snake Pit, and Spider's Nest, which can be done in either order (Note that only one of Swamp and Shoals and only one of Snake and Spider will generate in your game)
  • The first 4 floors of the Vaults. It is strongly recommended to avoid entering Vaults:5 at this stage
  • The Depths
  • A third rune branch, which is usually one of Vaults:5, Slime Pits, and the Abyss
  • The Realm of Zot

Note: the Elven Halls are often completed between the end of the first lair branch and the end of the game. There is no specific point in the game to do this additional branch, and some players don't visit it at all.

The above list applies to a standard, 3-rune game. If you want to go for more runes, potentially up to the maximum of 15 runes, you will have to do:

  • Firstly, it is recommended to complete the other two third rune branches out of Vaults:5, Slime Pits, and the Abyss
  • Then, you can get your final ten runes in generally any order you wish, from:
    • Pandemonium, which contains five runes
    • Hell, and its four branches Gehenna, Tartarus, Cocytus and Dis, in approximate order of difficulty, which each contain a rune
    • Tomb, which has a predetermined layout and contains the golden rune.

For more information about branches and their contents, see the Branch article, and the Walkthrough.

Which stat should I choose to increase?

Every three experience levels, you get a choice to increase one of the stats---Strength, Intelligence, or Dexterity---by one point (or two points as a demigod). Which stat you wish to raise depends entirely on your situation.

  • If you're killing most enemies with melee weapons and using heavy armour, you'll probably want to raise Strength, to increase your damage and to reduce the penalty from your armour.
  • If you're using spells, you'll probably want to raise Intelligence, to improve your spell power, reduce spell failure chances, and reduce spell hunger.
  • If you're using Stealth frequently to avoid monsters or to stab them or you want more evasion, you may want to raise Dexterity, which also improves your stab damage and makes you more likely to stab monsters.

If one or more of your stats is low---below about 7---you may want to raise that stat to reduce the chances of mutations or stat drain effects reducing that stat to zero, an effect known as stat zero, which has severely debilitating effects.