Shallow water

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
A pool of cloudy, waist-deep water. It makes movement and combat cumbersome for landlubbers - sometimes dangerous, but never directly fatal.

Shallow water is a common type of terrain throughout the Dungeon and many of its branches (particularly the Swamp and Shoals); moving through it is difficult for those who cannot swim.

While traveling through shallow water, most creatures have the following penalties:

  • Movement delay is increased by 6 auts.
  • Stealth score is halved.
  • Melee attacks have a chance to fail (players have a 37.5% chance to fumble their attacks, monsters have a 25% chance). Note that this penalty only applies to melee combat; ranged attacks, spells, wands, and god abilities are all unaffected.
  • Invisibility has no effect, since water is displaced around your invisible body.

The penalties of shallow water are negated entirely by flying above it. Amphibious species (see below) and large / hybrid species (Ogres, Trolls, Armataurs, Nagas) will ignore all penalties from shallow water, but they are still revealed if invisible.


Some monsters and species are either amphibious or aquatic, which both ignore the penalties of water. Monsters may also have bonuses in water, like increased speed, damage, and accuracy, though the specifics vary by creature.

For players, grey Draconians, Barachim, Merfolk, Octopodes, and players in Ice Form are amphibious, ignoring all penalties (except being revealed when invisible). In addition, certain species get bonuses from water:

  • Octopodes gain +50 stealth.
  • Merfolk gain +50 stealth, reduce their movement delay by 4, and gain +25% EV.

Octopodes and Merfolk still gain their water bonuses when flying over water.

Monster behavior

Intelligent monsters that would suffer penalties from fighting in shallow water will try to avoid doing so if they can help it.


  • Prior to 0.30, large player species had the movement penalty while walking in shallow water.
  • Prior to 0.27, merfolk and octopodes lost their water bonuses when flying.
  • Prior to 0.20, wading in shallow water had a randomized speed penalty, which varied from 30% to 100%.
  • Prior to 0.19, dexterous characters were less likely to fumble an attack while standing in shallow water.