The Swamp

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A swampy wasteland, complete with ooze, muck, flies and large slavering carnivorous monsters.

The Swamp is four levels deep and contains the decaying rune. A dungeon features only two of the Snake Pit, Swamp, Shoals and Spider Nest branches. If the Swamp is present, the entrance is located between Lair:2 and Lair:5.

A stair to a swampy wasteland, complete with ooze, muck, flies and large slavering carnivorous monsters.

Swamp entry.png The Swamp is a side branch that contains the decaying rune of Zot. Four levels deep, it is home to all manner of small water creatures and swamp insects, as well as hydras, dragons, and worms. Its entrance may be found in the Lair between Lair:3-6. The Swamp is one of two water-themed branches that may be generated in each game (the other is the Shoals).


Each floor is large and open with trees and plants providing the only cover. You'll find small islands of land amid large masses of shallow and deep water; if you spot any water disturbances, they are hiding monsters such as alligators and swamp worms.

You can set trees on fire to create passages. The resulting forest fire will create immense amounts of steam and may go out of control, however!


Due to Mephitic Cloud-breathing swamp drakes, electrical eels, and the general watery nature of the Swamp, it's a bad idea to attempt this branch without poison resistance/Clarity and electricity resistance/Repel Missiles. In your confusion, you can easily drown in deep water. You could also rely on a large supply of potions of curing or Elyvilon's Purification ability to overcome the confusion, but these are costly. Consider having some means of flying; without it, the shallow water can fatally slow you down if you need to retreat.

Players lacking poison resistance can acquire it in the Swamp itself. If you can find, kill, and butcher a swamp dragon, you may get a swamp dragon hide which can be enchanted into a swamp dragon armour. Unfortunately, they are rare until Swamp:3 and getting there without resistance is somewhat risky.

Edged weapon users will also need some alternative means of killing hydras. See the hydra article for an in-depth list of methods, or just find a flaming weapon (the Hall of Blades in Elven Halls:2 might have one, which has multiple threats of a different variety).

Swamp:4 Variations

The decaying rune of Zot is in a monster-filled vault on Swamp:5. While it's always a good idea to clear the rest of the floor first, the exact nature and difficulty of this vault varies each game.


The classic "swamp" vault is an ovoid vault heavily defended by hydras, swamp dragons and swamp drakes. While otherwise unremarkable, the sheer number of foes you'll face upon reaching the vault can easily prove overwhelming. Keep the path back to the stairs clear, just in case.


Introduced in 0.1, "swamp_alternative" adds one or two fire drakes to the mix, and bisects the vault with a lava pool. Because hydras have no ranged attacks and cannot fly, you can use the lava to divide the defenders and kill them from afar. This is probably the easiest Swamp ending.


Introduced in 0.6, "swamp_fiery" is full of dragons, mottled dragons, fire drakes, hydras, steam dragons, and lindwurms. Flame clouds occur here naturally. Fire resistance obviously helps.


Introduced in 0.6, "swamp_icy" is full of simulacra, azure jellies, and 2-3 ice dragons. The simulacra make this the most dangerous Swamp ending, as they get a large HD-based cold damage bonus to their attacks. Hydra simulacra are particularly deadly; treat them with extreme caution and kill them from afar. If you are a spellcaster then Fire Magic or Dispel Undead works wonders. The rune room will generate freezing clouds constantly, so cold resistance is a must; Ice Form is great here.


Introduced in 0.5, "swamp_pestilence" is full of zombies, spectral swamp dragons and hydras, phantoms, and a bone dragon. Clouds of miasma occur here naturally. The dragon is quite dangerous, and the miasma clouds will rot and slow you. Finally, the vault may contain an oklob plant placed to greet players as they stagger out of the miasma. Dispel Undead can cut through everything but the oklob, but try to get in and out as quickly as possible.


Introduced in 0.6, "swamp_old_school" resembles the old (0.5 and older) Swamp layouts and contains the usual mix of swamp dragons, drakes, and hydras. What sets this vault apart is the Lernaean hydra hiding in one of its niches.


Introduced in 0.10, "swamp_vile" is an abandoned, flooded temple, occupied by demons and beasts. It may contain unusual monsters like green deaths, death oozes, or even a tentacled monstrosity.


Introduced in 0.12, "grunt_swamp_rune_castle" is a square-shaped vault with four inner rooms. One of them contains the Lernaean hydra.



S Water moccasin.png Water moccasin t Alligator.png Alligator l Komodo dragon.png Komodo dragon l Giant newt.png Giant newt F Bullfrog.png Giant frog F Cane toad.png Spiny frog F Blink frog.png Blink frog k Swamp drake.png Swamp drake D Swamp dragon.png Swamp dragon D Hydra.png Hydra ; Electric eel.png Electric eel y Hornet.png Hornet w Swamp worm.png Swamp worm w Giant leech.png Giant leech t Ghost crab.png Ghost crab


f Thorn hunter.png Thorn hunter f Shambling mangrove.png Shambling mangrove


W Phantom.png Phantom W Hungry ghost.png Hungry ghost n Bog body.png Bog body y Vampire mosquito.png Vampire mosquito W Wraith.png Wraith W Shadow.png Shadow


i Spriggan druid.png Spriggan druid i Spriggan rider.png Spriggan rider i Spriggan (monster).png Spriggan (monster) J Slime creature.png Slime creature v Insubstantial wisp.png Insubstantial wisp u Ugly thing.png Ugly thing u Very ugly thing.png Very ugly thing X Tentacled monstrosity.png Tentacled monstrosity


D The Lernaean hydra.png The Lernaean hydra


Prior to 0.19, the Swamp was inhabited by wasps

Prior to 0.17, the Swamp also had Raven as monster.

In 0.11, the Swamp was given an improved layout, with smaller and more compact levels, and more trees. It is also less misty than before.