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Version 0.28: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
A portal leading to a ziggurat.

A ziggurat is a strange tower constructed of incrementally larger combat arenas, each containing greater wealth and even greater danger than the last. Beware, for a ziggurat is not a place for the faint of heart: even the bravest and most skilled adventurers have met their ends in one. While a portal to safety will be present on every level, once left, a ziggurat cannot be re-entered.

One ziggurat is guaranteed in the Depths. Tales tell of an magical item found at the bottom of each ziggurat, granting access to a new ziggurat in turn. Such an item is also said to be found at the bottom of the Tomb of the Ancients. Each time a ziggurat is conquered by exiting it from the final floor, subsequent ziggurats will become increasingly dangerous and lucrative.

“Captain: Take off every ‘zig’!!
Captain: For great justice.”
-Zero Wing

Ziggurats are the most dangerous, unpredictable, and lucrative branches in the game. Each Ziggurat has 27 oval- or cross-shaped floors, with each floor growing in size as you go down, containing increasingly more monsters of higher difficulty. The entrance to each floor closes as soon you walk through it; the only way out is at the opposite end of the floor. There, you will find large amounts of treasure, including armour, jewellery, valuable potions (many of which are potions of experience), manuals, and many other wonderful things, as well as one set of stairs going further down and two portals leading out of the Ziggurat.


Each floor of a Ziggurat contains a number of monsters of a particular theme. On early floors, you'll face two or three, but the number of opponents rises dramatically as you descend, pitting you against massive hordes by the time you reach the deepest levels. Most are sets of monsters that would be generated in a particular branch, but some are ad-hoc. The deeper you go, the more dangerous it becomes; deeper floors will have a greater ratio of powerful monsters to weak ones, may generate all monsters awake and wandering (0% chance for Zig:1-4, 100% chance for Zig 25-27).

Each floor may also contain a central clump of dungeon features. These are often purely cosmetic, but occasionally ramp up the difficulty of the floor significantly; an orange crystal statue or oklob plant cluster is no laughing matter.

One Ziggurat portal is guaranteed to generate somewhere in the Depths. A figurine of a ziggurat can be found in the bottom of the Tomb, and at the last level of every Ziggurat. If the player should clear a Ziggurat successfully (i.e. completing all 27 floors), all subsequent Ziggurats will become significantly more difficult. Clearing one ziggurat will also stop the Zot clock for the rest of the game.

Once one has left a Ziggurat, the portal turns into an empty arch and may not be reentered. Any new portal encountered or created leads to the first floor of a fresh Ziggurat. Summoned creatures cannot follow the player through a Ziggurat portal or stairway. Ziggurat portals have no timers.

Monster Themes

Unless mentioned otherwise, the chance for any given set is (approx.) 5.89% for Zig:1-7, 5.56% for Zig:8-13, and 5.54% for Zig:14-27.


Lair, Shoals, and the Hells all have 50% chance of the normal chance to spawn.

Theme Sets

Giants, dragons, archers, and conjurers have 20% of the normal chance to place, while Lair rune branches has 50% of the normal chance.


Elemental floors all have 20% of the normal chance to place, aside from Chaos.

Fighting Strategies

Main article: Mega-Zig

You should enter a Ziggurat as the last thing in the game if you are planning to finish it, as Zig:27 can potentially be the hardest place in the game. Preparation is somewhat similar to Pandemonium, but you need even more care, since the enemies are much harder.

You will need the following:

  • XL27 and very high skills.
  • Decent (~40+) AC and EV.
  • Blink and Passage of Golubria at 0% failure, to avoid getting surrounded, create some distances from powerful enemies, or just escape.
  • As many resistances as possible; at least something like rCorr, rElec, rPois, rC+, and rF++. You should strive for rN+++, especially if you're susceptible to torment.

The following are recommended, if not essential:

  • Scrolls of fog to block enemy sight, and scrolls of blinking to escape.
  • Potions of curing to cure confusion (especially if you use an orb of energy), potions of heal wounds to recover lost HP, potions of might/brilliance/haste to enhance your battle prowess, and potions of magic to recover MP in a pinch.

Keep in mind you're limited to 52 items; only bring what you know will be useful, else you might not be able to take all the loot you want with you. Artefacts with multiple resistances and intrinsics are your friend!

Conjurer Strategy

The basic strategy is to use Necromutation and cast your offensive spells. Throw javelins at silencing foes. Depending on your god choice, you can also use Sif Muna's channel (more reliable), Vehumet's MP gain on killing (somewhat more random, but passive), or Gozag's magic potion (expensive at first). Keep in mind that you can't escape to rest for MP, so make sure to have backup in the form of a potion of magic, Sublimation of Blood, etc...


Support Spells:

Offensive Spells:

  • Ignition: hits every enemy in the cramped floors of a ziggurat up to 9 times over.
  • Polar Vortex: MP efficent, largely irresistable, passive damage that sustains in silence.
  • Shatter: Another LOS-wide spell with good damage. However, many threatening enemies like pandemonium lords and the orb of fire are flying, so take little damage from that spell.

Optional Spells:


In addition to the general equipment:

  • Enhancers (e.g. rings of fire/ice, staff of conjuration/fire/cold/air, etc...) to enhance the power of Fire Storm, Ignition, or Polar Vortex. A robe of the Archmagi is amazing for this purpose, if low AC.
    • A ring of wizardry to improve the success rates of your level 9 spells, if necessary. Also, try downgrading your shield type (tower shield to a kite shield to a buckler) if your Shields skill isn't high enough. Your offense is your best defense.
  • An Orb of energy and/or the Staff of Wucad Mu if you have high Evocations (you will probably find one soon in the Ziggurat). The former unfortunately uses your shield slot, but if you can't cast spells in one anyways...

Specific Floors

Most floors can be completed by spamming high power spells. However, some need special care; more detail can be found in the mega-zig article.

Silence, whenever it be from silent spectres or pandemonium lords, should be your main threat. Especially when combined with torment. Preserve lichform for as much as possible, always casting it before moving on. This applies to tomb floors especially, though every floor with torment is risky.

Fire floors, with orbs of fire and hellions, demand a spell that is not Ignition. Ozocubu's Refrigeration or Shatter work nicely.

Spell-less Strategy

Do not attempt to fully clear a Ziggurat without spells of some sort. It is very likely to be fatal. Having said that, the first few floors are usually safe for many XL27 characters, although this can still be risky.

Tips & Tricks

Since a subsequent Ziggurat only get harder if the previous one was fully completed, and the player has two opportunities for entering a Ziggurat, a player desiring a second run with a difficulty identical to the first may simply exit from the first run early, at level 26 or before.

See Also


  • Prior to 0.28, Ziggurats required at least 2 runes of zot to enter.
  • In 0.27, the Zot clock now stops when you complete your first Ziggurat.
  • Ziggurat player ghosts were added in 0.25.
  • Prior to 0.18, Ziggurat portals generated randomly in the Pandemonium, requiring money to enter.
  • 0.16 introduced so-called Mega-Zigs. Every time a ziggurat is cleared, subsequent ziggurats become much harder.
  • Prior to 0.16, entry was denied until the player had at least three runes of Zot in her possession.
  • Prior to 0.15, a Ziggurat portal could be summoned by the Trowel card of a legendary Deck of dungeons once per game. The Trowel card was removed in 0.15.
  • Prior to 0.14, Ziggurat portals would generate randomly in the main Dungeon, and required you pay an admission fee of 2,100 to 14,000 gold to enter.
  • Prior to 0.10, it was possible to permanently leave a Ziggurat via Banishment.
Temporary Portals
Early Game OssuarySewers
Mid Game BaileyGauntletIce caveVolcano
Late Game Desolation of SaltWizard LaboratoryZiggurat (Mega-Zig)
(Mostly) Non-lethal BazaarTreasure trove