The Lair

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Version 0.19: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Most adventurers find the Lair of Beasts to be an exciting change of climate. And indeed, there is something to be said about getting gored, mauled and eaten rather than sliced, burnt or stabbed.

The Lair is six levels deep and contains the stairs to three more branches.

These stairs lead to the Lair of Beasts, for a change of climate.

Lair entry.png The Lair of Beasts (commonly known as the Lair) is a branch of the Dungeon filled with natural beasts of all kinds and offers a comparatively easy source of experience and treasure. While the lair itself does not contain a rune, it will have entrances to three themed branches, all of which contain a Rune of Zot. There is one poison-themed branch (the Snake Pit or the Spider's Nest), one water-themed branch (the Swamp or the Shoals), and the acid-themed Slime Pits.

At the very bottom of the Lair you may even find a gate to the Hells, though using it so early is likely suicide. The staircase to the Lair is often surrounded by plants, fungus, or occasionally (and unfortunately) an oklob plant.


The Lair is 6 levels deep and its entrance is located on D:8-11. Floor layouts vary significantly, including wide open chambers with almost no cover, series of interconnected small chambers with 1-tile-wide hallways between them, and open areas dotted with either small forests or ponds. In any case, there will be shallow water, deep water, and occasionally lava placed throughout.

The bottom floor of the Lair is most noticeably different. Some endings include a large forest or temple which takes up a large portion of the floor. The temple can contain hordes of demons and a portal to the Vestibule of Hell or packs of dire elephants which disguise themselves as statues until you reach the back rooms. As for the large forest, expect swarms of spriggans and their wilderness allies.

While there are very few altars found in the Lair, those wishing to worship Jiyva can occasionally find his altar immediately outside of the Slime Pits. Doing so may result in him spawning in hungry jellies to menace your stash, however.


If you haven't done so yet, read the article on hydras.

Although the Orcish Mines are often discovered first, many players choose the Lair as the first branch they explore. The Lair is a sprawling area, filled with more and better treasure than you've found thus far. There is a wide variety of possible monsters to encounter, but with a few exceptions they are easier prey than you'll find delving deeper into the dungeon, at least on the first few floors. Just keep an eye out for surprisingly deadly spiny frogs or the obscenely deadly hydras. As you descend deeper and deeper, you'll encounter other dangerous opponents, such as packs of blink frogs, elephants, and (on Lair:7-8) the dreaded death yak.

Many monsters in the Lair are poisonous; bringing poison resistance will neutralize much of the potential damage output of the branch. This is less crucial for spellcasters or ranged fighters who usually don't let monsters get near enough to bite or sting. Beyond that, electricity resistance will help you avoid an embarrassing death by electric eel shocks, and fire resistance can come in handy on the bottom floors.

As you go to lower floors of the Lair, keep an eye out for messages suggesting the presence of a timed portal on the floor: you can gain access to the Ice Cave, Volcano, and Labyrinth from here (although each game randomly determines which, if any, of those will be present).

The second floor of the Lair is a good place to keep your stash; it's a centralized location in the dungeon, your inventory should be nearly full by this point, and almost all of the monsters generated in the Lair are animals which don't pick up items.

You should probably clear at least the first 5 floors of the Lair before venturing into any of its sub-branches; these can contain surprisingly difficult early encounters, and may require much more training for some character builds. As for Lair:6, explore it carefully as there is often a pack of death yaks hiding somewhere. You may also run across rare Zot traps. If you find the aforementioned jungle temple, proceed with caution; while it contains a small treasure heap somewhere in the back, it can also contain such surprises as statues suddenly turning into dire elephants or a hidden chamber filled with a dozen mid-tier demons. If you find a gate to the Vestibule of Hell in the very back of the temple, be aware that most characters this low-level will quickly perish upon entry.

Note that a scroll of magic mapping will not display this secret room.

Lair:6 vaults

The last level of the Lair is more difficult than the previous levels. It always includes at least one of these vaults:

  • minmay_lair_end_enchanted_forest: A forest populated by spriggans and one or two young spriggan druids.
  • due_jungle_book: A temple in the middle of the jungle. This vault contains an anaconda which is very fast and hits hard. Killing the anaconda will turn some of the statues into dire elephants. Hint: This vault has a few doors and none of these monsters can open doors.
  • evil_forest: A forest with a gateway to the Vestibule of Hell. The gateway is guarded by several demons, including a sun demon. This vault also has a wizard who sometimes can cast very dangerous spells, like banishment.
  • wormcave (S): A cave full of worms, brain worms, giant leeches, lindwurms, giant fireflies. There's also a single dragon guarding a minivault full of piles of gold, but that fight is optional (don't open the runed door if you aren't ready to face it).
  • bearwithus (S): A cave with several kinds of bears. It contains a few honeycombs.
  • kennels (S) (aka Who let the dogs out?): This cave contains an acquirement-level object, guarded by lots of dogs, including raijus and hell hounds.
  • minmay_lair_end_frog_pond: A pond with many frogs, vampire mosquitoes, some electric eels and a few giant leeches.
  • evilmike_catoblepas_cave: A series of caves full of yaks, death yaks, and catoblepases signified by the presence of petrified plants and statues.
  • guppyfry_lair_end_dragon (S): A grove of trees surrounded by a small lake. Full of lizards and lesser dragons, with one dragon in the center.
  • grunt_lair_end_beastmaster: A deep troll shaman has tamed some beasts including a catoblepas, a pack of death yaks, and one the following: hydra, lindwurm or dire elephant.
  • hangedman_lair_in_review (S): A series of ruined rooms. This vault is a review of the Lair's monster set: it contains one monster of each type.
  • hangedman_lair_caniforms_friends: a bit like kennels but much larger.
  • hangedman_lair_tendril_chambers: a tendril-shaped wheel with undigable centered treasure chamber.

The vaults with an (S) after the name are small endings: you will always get two small endings or one big one.



Before 0.19, Lair had 8 levels.

Fire drakes were replaced by rime drakes in 0.18, trapdoor spiders, brain worms were removed.

Ravens, giant mites, boring beetles and goliath beetles were removed in 0.17.

Prior to 0.14 the Lair's entrance was located on D:8-13.

Prior to 0.9, a scroll of magic mapping would reveal the secret rooms of the temple on Lair:8.

The dragon-themed and deep troll shaman ending vaults on the eighth floor was added in 0.12.