Player ghost

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Version 0.19: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
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player ghost p32px
HP ~
HD ~
XP ~
Speed ~
AC ~
EV ~
MR ~
Attack1 4-50, damage and brand depends on character
Max Chunks 0
Type of Meat None
Resistances rConstr, rPois+, Varies
Vulnerabilities Holy, Varies
Habitat land
Intelligence High
Uses Open doors
Holiness Undead
Size Medium
Type player ghost, player ghost
Flags Fighter
Actual spells
The apparition of an unfortunate adventurer.

Useful Info

A player ghost is generated when your character dies, unless at Dungeon level 1 or 2, or in the Ecumenical Temple.

Undead characters don't leave ghosts (but may carry previously existing ghosts on this level). If you die on a level that already has player ghosts that were not killed, they will be added to the same ghost file, making several ghosts appear on this level later on.

The maximum number of ghosts that are saved (including the one you just generated unless you were an Undead) depend on the level depth:

  • 1 for Dungeon levels 3-9, Orcish Mines level 1 or Lair level 1.
  • 2 for Dungeon levels 10-15 or any other levels in the Orcish Mines or the Lair.
  • 9 for any level in Pandemonium, the Abyss, the Crypt, the Tomb, the Realm of Zot or Dungeon levels 23-27.
  • 1, plus 5*(L+1)% chance of a second one, plus 2.5*(L+1)% chance of another one on any other level, where L is the level depth.

Each time a player on the same server (or computer if you're playing locally) enters a level for which a ghost was saved, there's a 33% chance that this ghost (and eventual other ones it is carrying with it) will be generated in that level. The ghost file is deleted in the process, which means that it won't be generated again later, unless you die on this level without having killed the ghost(s), in which case the ghost may appear again if the level has enough space for it. For levels with multiple ghosts, the oldest ones will be deleted first, meaning that even extremely overpowered ghosts will rarely have more than one or two victims.

Ghost Properties

Ghost stats:

  • When your ghost is created, its stats are defined as follow:
    • Its max HP, AC and EV are equal to yours when you died.
    • Its number of hit dice is equal to your experience level.
    • Its cold, fire and electricity resistances are equal to yours when you died.
    • It gains poison and sticky flame resistance.
    • If you were able to see invisible, so does the ghost.
    • Its base speed is equal to 10, minus 1 for Nagas, +2 for Felids, +3 for Centaurs and Spriggans, +2 if you were wearing boots of running. The final base speed can never be less than 6 or greater than 13. Ghosts are levitating, so it will be able to cross water or lava.
    • Its damage is determined by the weapon you were wielding and your skill levels:
      • If you had a weapon in hand, the base damage is equal to the weapon's base damage, increased by 4% per skill level you had for this weapon. In addition, the attacks will have the eventual weapon brand.
      • If you had no weapon in hand, the base damage is 4 plus your Unarmed Combat skill, plus your experience level if you were a Troll.
      • This base damage is then increased by 3.3% per Fighting skill, then increased by 0.25 times your Strength. Total damage is capped at 50.
    • If you knew spells, the ghost may still be able to cast up to 6 of them. See below for the mechanics.
    • Ghosts of level 7+ Draconians also have a high chance of being able to breathe Bolts of Draining (30 accuracy, 3d(2*HD) damage where HD was your experience level).

The experience level of a ghost is indicated in their description with one of the following adjectives:

Ghost description Experience level
weakling 1 to 3
average 4 to 6
experienced 7 to 10
powerful 11 to 15
mighty 16 to 21
great 22 to 25
awesomely powerful 26
legendary 27

Spell Selection

Player ghosts copy spells from the player if there exists a monster version of the spell, and the spell isn't flagged as a non-ghost spell. Then the chance of it picking a spell is given by (50-[failure percentage])^2/2500. For example, a spell with a 30% fail rate has a 900/2500 or 36% chance of being added to your ghost, and a spell with a 0% fail rate will always be added.

Additionally some spells change slightly when learned by player ghosts: Controlled Blink will change to Blink, Delayed Fireball will change to Fireball, Dragon's Call will change to Summon Dragon, and Swiftness will change to Sprint.

Tips & Tricks

Player ghosts can be extremely dangerous, often on a par with the most dangerous uniques for the dungeon depth. There are a number of strategies for dealing with them:

  • First and foremost, remember that they are trapped on the level they spawn on. If you facing a ghost that seems like it might kill you, remember that you absolutely don't have to face it now. Skip it and come back to it later.
  • You can examine the ghost to get its species, class, and a rough idea of its level when it died. This can give you a good impression of how dangerous it is, but be aware that this may not show everything (e.g. an average KoFi might be a little more dangerous if it was wielding a weapon of electrocution when it died).
  • If you have it, Dispel Undead will make short work of ghosts, bypassing their defenses entirely. This can be particularly useful against later ghosts, who will often have much higher defenses than most monsters.
  • Be careful around draconian ghosts with XL>=7: they are almost guaranteed to have a nasty bolt of draining attack.
  • If you fight the ghost while you are standing on stairs, you can escape quickly at any time because the ghost cannot follow you. Just remember that it takes a little while to use stairs, so it's best to start climbing them as soon as you notice that the ghost is dealing a lot more damage to you than you are to it.
  • If a ghost has <50% HP and you leave the level it's on, it will teleport away, and likely not be near the stairs when you return.
  • You can check the morgue of the dead character if you wish to see exactly spells/abilities/defenses a ghost has. On local games, just search through your /morgue folder to find it; on public servers, you can usually use one of the IRC bots to find the dumplog: start by searching for deaths on the level you're on, and stop when you find the player whose ghost you are encountering.

If you are playing a local game (i.e. are not on a public server) and are encountering many of your own ghosts, there are a few steps you can take to remedy the situation:

  • Play undead. They can't add to the problem, and many undead are quite capable of taking out ghosts themselves. Ghoul monks work well as ghostbusters, as do various casting vampires.
  • Worshiping Kikubaaqudgha will guarantee you access to Dispel Undead at *** piety - too late for early ghosts, but great for taking out ghosts in Lair, Orc, and later branches. Necromancers will have an easier time getting the spell online.
  • Ghost files are deleted if you die on any other level, though this may eventually be changed. Therefore, simply bypassing a ghost if possible (travel exclusions can be useful here) is often the best option, not just for your current character but also for future ones.
  • If you are desperate or simply find ghosts unfun, deleting the bones files (stored in the /saves directory or similar) is always an option. Be aware that this is often considered cheating, particularly if it is done selectively.


In 0.17, deep dwarf player ghosts now regenerate normally.