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Version 0.21: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Passwall.png Passwall
Level 2
School1 Earth
School2 Transmutation
Source(s) Book of Burglary
Book of Geomancy
Casting noise 0
Spell noise 0
Power Cap 200
Targetting Direction (not self)
Range 1-7
Flags Escape, Utility
Tunes the caster's body such that it can instantly pass through solid rock. It takes some time for the caster to attune to the rock, during which they will be helpless.

“He says the best way out is always through.”
-Robert Frost, _A Servant to Servants_. 1915.

Passwall is a level 2 Transmutation/Earth spell that allows the caster to pass through a short range of solid rock wall.


Rock wall can be passed in a straight orthogonal or diagonal line. The transfer is instantaneous, but requires an uninterruptible setup phase of wall depth + 1 turns[1]. The maximum range is a function of spell power and ranges from 1 to 7 squares (as shown on the spell info screen).

After direction with at least one passable wall has been selected, the MP will be spent regardless of the result. Potential failures are:[2]

  • "You sense an overwhelming volume of rock.", meaning the rock wall extends to the edge of the level.
  • "Something is blocking your path through the rock.", meaning there is an unpassable wall or stationary monster on the way.
  • "This rock feels extremely deep.", there are too many walls to pass with the current spell power (or at all).
  • You may also sense water, lava or other danger on the other end, which may cancel the move.


  • Passwall can be used to escape dangerous situations, as there's nothing better between you and a dangerous enemy than a wall. Don't get yourself killed during the setup phase, though.
  • Passwall can be an aid to Stabbing, since it moves you into a predetermined position instantly. Passwall is silent to cast, so popping up beside a sleeping enemy will allow you to stab it.
  • If you don't have access to a means of digging, Passwall can be used in a pinch. While you won't be able to create vast tunnel networks with it, it's perfect for getting to items located behind transparent rock walls or for taking shortcuts in long, winding tunnels.
  • Passwall is a useful alternative to digging on the orb run, since you spend the same amount of time as you would to evoke a wand of digging and walk through to pass through, but leave any monsters behind.


Prior to 0.18, Passwall was a level 3 spell and the maximum possible depth to pass was randomized on each cast.

Prior to 0.15, the range was dependent on the Earth Magic skill.

Prior to 0.8, it was possible to kill yourself with this spell if your destination tile contained lava or deep water.

Prior to 0.5, Passwall could be interrupted by attacks, making it much less useful for escape.

Prior to 0.4, Passwall took one fewer turns to cast and could not be interrupted, making it much better for escapes.

In 0.3, a Passwall bug made the spell very risky; instant death would occur if the spell was used around certain arrangements of rock and stone walls, most often found on Tartarus:7. Because of this, going any deeper than 4 tiles was hazardous.

In even earlier versions, death would occur anytime you failed to travel all the way through a wall. This was considered a feature.