The Tomb

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Version 0.19: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This page is about the dungeon branch. For the card, see Tomb card.

The Tomb of the Ancients is a place of damnation, of horrors animated by the vilest necromancy. Honest creatures of the surface turn pale at the mere mention of its name. The list of those who have returned from this place of pure death is exceedingly short.

The Tomb is three levels deep and contains the golden rune. Its entry is either on Crypt:2 or Crypt:3.

A way to the Tomb of Ancients, a place of damnation, of horrors animated by the vilest necromancy.

Tomb entry.png The Tomb of the Ancients (usually referred to only as the Tomb) is a branch located under the Crypt, inhabited by dessicated mummies of all kinds. Although mostly bare of valuables, it holds the golden rune of Zot and two massive treasure heaps for those who manage to survive all the way to the end.

Useful Info

Stairs to the Tomb are found on floor 2 or 3 of the Crypt. It's only 3 levels deep, but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security: it's one of the most dangerous branches in the game, even for powerful characters. You'll meet a wide variety of mummies, which if not carefully dealt with can decimate you with their crippling death curses. There is also a greater density of traps here than you'll find anywhere else.

While it's not as deathly quiet as the Crypt, the Tomb has very little in the way of ambient noise. As a result, every sound (be it from casting a spell, hitting something with a weapon, or attracting the attention of a flying skull) will carry farther than you're used to. Be extra careful if you wish to avoid attracting attention.

Unlike other areas of the game, the layout of the Tomb is mostly fixed, with only a few variations possible. Monster composition and placement is also extremely predictable, with a few very rare exceptions. You'll encounter the following, in order of difficulty:

  • Flying skulls: Although not dangerous themselves, these will alert nearby sleeping mummies of your presence.
  • Random inhabitants of the Crypt may show up on Tomb:1, but they aren't very threatening.
  • Mummies: Although only a nuisance, their death curses will curse equipment in your inventory, making gear swapping difficult.
  • Guardian mummies: They hit harder and faster than normal mummies, and their death curses can be quite nasty.
  • Revenant: Blinking foes which flood you with spectral things and heal any undead units that get caught in their crossfire.
  • Mummy priests: Slightly slower than guardian mummies, but tougher. They can cast Torment, Smite, Summon Undead, and Summon Demon, and their death curses are more likely to be unpleasant than those of the guardians.
  • Sphinxes: Likely the only living things one will find in Tomb, these can paralyze, confuse, smite, or simply beat you to death if you are not careful. They have moderate durability, but no resistances to speak of and no death curses.
  • Liches / Ancient liches: Capable of massive direct damage output and some of the nastiest summons of the game, liches and ancient liches always merit caution.
  • Greater mummies: The biggest threat in Tomb, they have the same spells as a mummy priest, but over three times the health, 50% more HD, faster movement, and the highest chance of delivering devastating death curses. These will kill you if you are not prepared. Try not to take on more than one at a time!
  • Random uniques: Although not guaranteed to show up, there are many dangerous uniques one can encounter in the Tomb at any time. If encountered alone, handle them as you normally would. If encountered along with several high level mummies, be extremely careful; even weak uniques become significantly deadlier when you've been repeatedly smited.


M Mummy (monster).png Mummy (monster) M Guardian mummy.png Guardian mummy M Mummy priest.png Mummy priest M Greater mummy.png Greater mummy
z Flying skull.png Flying skull
z Small zombie.png Zombie z Skeleton small humanoid.png Skeleton z Simulacrum small humanoid.png Simulacrum
B Death scarab.png Death scarab 8 Ushabti.png Ushabti b Bennu.png Bennu

Rare Monsters

s Trapdoor spider.png Trapdoor spider z Skeletal warrior.png Skeletal warrior
L Revenant.png Revenant L Lich.png Lich L Ancient lich.png Ancient lich

Placed by Vault Syntax on Tomb:1 (Never Generated Randomly)

H Sphinx.png Sphinx


1. Upon entering Tomb:1, you'll find yourself in an open hallway that boxes in the Tomb proper. This will contain a handful of mummies, guardian mummies, and assorted skeletons, but nothing particularly dangerous until you've gone halfway around the level. There you'll find a massive statue-lined hallway leading inwards, guarded by a large pack of sphinxes. Use stasis or very high magic resistance to keep from getting paralyzed, and try to lure them away a few at a time until you've cleared them out. Do not underestimate the strength of their smites - although individually weak, several turns of multiple smites will kill any character. If at all possible, avoid using a teleport to escape them if things start going badly; outrunning them with Haste is a much safer option here. Read scrolls of fog as needed to break line of sight and get yourself back to the Crypt ASAP.

2. Past the hallway you'll find one of two possible interiors.

2A. The first is a massive courtyard filled with several mummies, guardian mummies, mummy priests, and a greater mummy or two. Be careful upon entering, as the entrance will be heavily trapped. You may wish to lure these mummies to the outer hallway a few at a time to clear it. You'll find two side passages and a small room beyond here; all will be heavily trapped, but one of them will contain a staircase to Tomb:2.

2B. Alternatively, you may find the statue-lined hallway extending inwards, filled with various mummies, liches and revenants. Each side will have further vertically aligned hallways, and there will be large chambers sealed off with doors at the ends. One of these two chambers will contain a staircase to Tomb:2. This is a significantly easier layout.

3. As soon as you enter Tomb:2, you'll find yourself in a large open chamber with several mummies of all sorts in sight. This room's inhabitants are nearly identical in composition to those in the Tomb:1 courtyard. If necessary, stairdance to pull them up in manageable numbers until the room is clear.

4. You'll find several doors off to the side of this open chamber, leading to a series of small rooms that envelops half of the map. These will contain mummies, guardians, and priests, as well as many traps. Eventually you'll find a staircase back up to Tomb:1. Go up it to continue exploring normally. Alternatively, at this point it is fairly safe to attempt to skip ahead through random teleportation; doing so lets you avoid one of the more dangerous areas of the Tomb. Keep teleporting (with teleport traps if available or a ring of teleportation) until you find yourself in a new area (see #6).

5. Heading back up, you'll find yourself in the only unexplored portion of Tomb:1 left, the large horseshoe surrounding the inner courtyard. You will encounter a few guardian mummies and mummy priests here, as well as an unpredictable scattering of traps, but the majority of its inhabitants are greater mummies encountered in the long open hallways. Handled carefully, you should only encounter one or two greater mummies at a time; make too much noise and you may wind up with a lot more on your hands. Consider luring them back to the nearest corner before engaging them, and remember that a teleport to safety is almost guaranteed to send you back to the now-clear first area of Tomb:1. At the end of the horseshoe, you'll find another staircase to Tomb:2.

6. Remember the small chambers you found on Tomb:2 earlier? Now you get to clear a mirror image of those on the other side. Expect more of the same, and eventually you'll find three staircases leading to Tomb:3.

7. All three staircases leading to Tomb:3 place you in the same area, the start of a short, wide hallway leading to the treasure vaults and rune chamber. You will almost immediately encounter an absurd number of guardian mummies, followed by plenty of reinforcements in the form of flying skulls, mummy priests, and greater mummies (over a dozen of each is not unusual). Eventually the flow of mummies will stop, freeing you to explore and loot the place, but expect to find several mummy stragglers as you go. Teleport control is restored once you have the rune.


If not done correctly, Tomb is one of the deadliest places in the game. A character facing Tomb must tackle these three problems:

  • Greater mummies and mummy priests can torment you, instantly cutting your HP by up to half. They can then smite you to finish the job.
  • Greater mummies and mummy priests can summon a ton of undead and demons, which in addition to mobbing you also means they will frequently abjure your own summons.
  • All mummies cast death curses when killed. The normal mummies only curse your items, but the others can slow you, rot you, torment you, drain you, drain your stats, and even occasionally kill you outright if you are low enough on HP. Since there are so many mummies in the Tomb, these effects can quickly reach debilitating levels.

Some strategies, with their specific strengths and weaknesses, are outlined below. One should mix and match them to fit your character: it is unlikely that one can do Tomb simply by being a Zin or a Kiku worshiper, or simply by having Dispel Undead, but a lichform necromancer of Kiku, or Zinnite with a holy weapon and silence, stands a very good chance of making it. The best general advice is to know your limits. If one encounter with a greater mummy nearly killed you, then the next one may very well finish you off. If you find your HP rotting beyond what you can repair, or that you are burning through all your potions of restore abilities because of stat drain, don't continue - get out. It is by no means necessary to do Tomb to finish the game.


  • Ring of sustain abilities - Protects you from stat loss death curses.
  • Amulet of regeneration - Cuts down on recovery time between waves of mummies.
  • Gear with negative energy resistance - Reduces damage from torment and draining death curses.
  • Gear with stat boosts - Makes any stat damage you take less of an issue, improves your general performance.
  • Gear with magic resistance - Characters with low magic resistance will have a much worse time dealing with the sphinxes than characters with insurmountable magic resistance. You don't need it for the entire branch, but it's very useful for that one stretch (and handy when dealing with ancient liches out of the blue).
  • Apart from the occasional summoned demon or surprising unique, there are no sources of fire, cold, poison, acid, or electricity damage in this branch, and the only likely source of mutation is if you accidentally step into a Zot trap.


  • Necromutation - Provides undead immunity to draining, torment, and rot (but prevents you from quaffing potions of restore abilities to recover stat damage!) for living characters.
  • Statue Form - Provides significant draining, torment, and rot resistance without preventing you from worshiping a good god or blocking access to food and potions. Slows your actions, however.
  • Silence - Disables the spells of all mummies within its aura.
  • Aura of Abjuration - Quickly disposes of dangerous summoned monsters.
  • Dragon's Call - Produces allies strong enough to handle even greater mummies, costs you no time, and can affect enemies at the edge of your line of sight.
  • Dispel Undead - Deals heavy damage to almost everything in the Tomb. Only affects one target at a time though.
  • Bolt of Inaccuracy - Deals extreme damage to anything it strikes, and mummies are generally clumsy enough to make easy targets.
  • Shatter - Deals heavy, unavoidable damage to nearly the entire screen. Noisy, but also tears down walls.
  • Fire Storm - Heavy, smite-targeted damage to a large area of effect.
  • Tornado - Heavy damage to everything within range of it (though ineffective in hallways).
  • Flight - Allows you to ignore mechanical traps.
  • Regeneration - Recovers between fights faster.


  • Kikubaaqudgha - Provides significant torment resistance, negates most death curses, provides access to useful Necromancy spells. Mind your piety, as nothing in Tomb other than the sphinxes grants it.
  • The Shining One - Provides rN+++, a weapon of holy wrath, powerful holy burst attacks, HP and MP recovery on each kill, summonable angelic warriors, and general support and Abjuration protection for your summoned allies.
  • Zin - Provides immunity to stat loss and rot, temporary invulnerability (though at a high piety cost).


In 0.19, the Anubis guards were no more, but the ushabti inherited their place.

In 0.17, the Unborn were no more, but Ancient champions were filling the gap.

In 0.16, even more non-mummy opponents were added: Anubis guards, bennu, death scarabs, and ushabti.

In 0.15, the Tomb received a new layout of the courtyard in Tomb:1, as well as more non-mummy monsters.