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Manual Reference Pages  -  DUNGEONCRAWL (6)


crawl - play the roguelike game of crawl


The Game
Environment Variables


crawl [-scores [N]] [-name <string>] [-race <letter>] [-class <letter>] [-pizza <string>] [-plain] [-dir <path>] [-rc <file>]


Crawl is a fun game in the grand tradition of games like Rogue, Hack, and Moria. Your objective is to travel deep into a subterranean cave complex and retrieve the Orb of Zot, which is guarded by many horrible and hideous creatures.

This file contains detailed instructions for playing Crawl. If you are completely new to this kind of game, it may be worth your while to read at least part (although it will probably confuse you somewhat), otherwise you should probably just dive into the game and use the ’?’ command to give a list of keys to use.


-scores [N]
  show highscore list [first N entries]
-name <string>
  set character name
-race <letter>
  preselect race
-class <letter>
  preselect class
-pizza <string>
  crawl pizza
-plain don’t use IBM extended characters (needed when playing in a xterm)
-dir <path>
  crawl directory
-rc <file>
  init file name


You have a number of different character races to choose from. This affects several characteristics including: Your choice of classes; Your initial attributes (strength etc); Occasional extra points added to some abilities; The amount of hit points and magic you get as you increase in level; Your initial equipment; Your rate of level advancement; Your rate of skill advancement.
Humans are the most versatile race. Humans advance quickly in levels and have equal abilities in all skills. Humans can also be of any class.
Elves have good intelligence and dexterity, but suffer a bit in strength. They have slightly less hp and slightly more magic than humans, and advance in experience a bit more slowly as well. They are especially good at fighting with short and long swords, although not so good at other weapons, and are adept at bows and darts. Their quickness makes them good at dodging, and they possess natural elven stealth as well. Their nature also gives them proficiency with magic, especially enchantments, but they are poor at using necromancy.
There are also a number of related types of elves:
High elves are a powerful elven race who advance in levels very slowly - requiring half again as much experience as do humans. They are similar to common elves in most respects, but their strengths and weaknesses tend to be greater.
Grey elves also advance slowly, but more quickly than high elves. They are generally poor at fighting - although they are still good at short and long swords and bows - but are excellent at all forms of magic except for necromancy.
Deep elves are poor at fighting but excellent at bows, crossbows, darts, and especially magic. They are the only elven subtype who are skilled at using necromancy and earth magic, and are particularly good at enchantment magic. They advance in levels at the same rate as grey elves. Deep elves are not physically robust, but have great reserves of magical energy.
Sludge elves are a bit like common elves, but are not quite as good at most things while being better at necromancy and some elemental magics. They advance in level slightly faster, though.
Elven armour is unusually light, and does not affect the dodging or stealth of its wearer to the extent that other armours do. Elven cloaks and boots are particularly useful to those who wish to be stealthy, and elven bows are particularly effective in conjunction with elven arrows. Elves are especially dangerous when using elven weapons.
All elves are good at using air elemental magic, and are okay at fire and ice magic. They are also poor at earth magic with the exceptions of deep and sludge elves, who can use earth magic well.
Hill dwarves are extremely robust but are poor at using magic. They are excellent at hand combat, especially favouring axes, and are good at using armour and shields, but are poor at missile combat or at using polearms (which are usually too big for them to wield comfortably). The only forms of magic which they can use with any aptitude are earth, fire and conjurations, but they are worse than humans at the conjurations skill. They advance in levels at a similar rate to common elves.
Mountain dwarves are almost as robust as hill dwarves and have similar aptitudes, but are slightly better at the things that hill dwarves don’t do very well, and slightly worse at the things that hill dwarves are good at. They advance in levels at a rate between that of elves and humans.
Dwarven weapons and armours are very durable, and do not rust or corrode easily. Dwarves are especially effective when using dwarven weaponry.
Halflings are very small and, with deep elves and kobolds, are the least robust of any character race. Although fair to poor at most fighting skills, they can use short blades well and are good at all forms of missile combat. They are also very stealthy and good at dodging and stabbing, but are poor at most types of magic (except enchantments and translocations). They advance in levels as rapidly as humans. Halflings cannot wield large weapons.
Hill orcs are orcs from the upper world who, jealous of the riches which their cousins, the cave orcs, possess below the ground, descend in search of plunder and adventure. They are as robust as the hill dwarves, but have very low reserves of magical energy. Their forte is fighting, and they are skilled at using most hand weapons (with the exception of short blades, at which they are only fair, and missile weapons, at which they are not particularly good). They are poor at using most types of magic with the exception of conjurations and necromancy. They advance as quickly as humans.
Orcish bows/crossbows are particularly effective in combination with orcish arrows/bolts. Orcs are especially good at using orcish weapons.
Orcs are poor at using air elemental magic, but okay at other kinds (and good at earth magic).
Kobolds are small, ugly creatures with few redeeming features. They have poor abilities and have similar aptitudes to halflings, without the excellent agility. However, they are slightly better than halflings at using some types of magic, particularly summonings and necromancy. They often live as scavengers, surviving on carrion, but are carnivorous and can only eat meat. They advance in levels as quickly as humans.
Mummies are undead creatures who travel into the depths in search of revenge, redemption, or just because they want to. Being undead, they are immune to poisons and negative energy, have little warmth left to be affected by cold, and are not susceptible to reductions in their physical or mental abilities. However, their dessicated bodies are highly flammable. They also do not need to eat or drink, and in any case are unable to.
Mummies progress very slowly in level (as slow as High Elves) and in all skills except fighting, spellcasting and necromancy. As they increase in level they become increasingly in touch with the powers of death, but cannot use some types of necromancy which only affect living creatures (if they are unable to use a spell, they will usually be unable to memorise it). The side effects of necromantic magic tend to be relatively harmless to mummies.
Naga are a race of hybrids; humanoid from the waist up, with a large snake tail instead of legs. They are reasonably good at most things and advance in experience levels at a decent rate. They are naturally immune to poisons, can see invisible creatures, and have tough skin, but their tails are relatively slow and cannot move them around as quickly as can other creatures’ legs (this only affects their movement rate; all other actions are at normal speed). Their body shape also prevents them from gaining full protection from most armour. Every now and then, a naga can spit poison; the range, accuracy and damage of this poison increases with the naga’s experience level.
Gnomes are an underground-dwelling race of creatures, related to the dwarves but even more closely in touch with the earth. They are quite small, and share many of their characteristics with halflings (except for the great agility), although they advance slightly more slowly in experience levels. They are okay at most skills, but excellent at earth elemental magic and very poor at air magic. Occasionally they can use their empathy with the earth to sense their surroundings; this ability increases in power as they gain experience levels.
Ogres are huge, chunky creatures related to orcs. They have great physical strength, but are bad at almost everything except fighting. Because of their large size they can only wear loose robes, cloaks and animal skins. They learn quite slowly. Although ogres can eat almost anything, their size means that they need to.
Trolls are like ogres, but even nastier. They can rip creatures apart with their claws, and regenerate very quickly from even the most terrible wounds. They learn very slowly indeed - even more slowly than high elves - and need a great amount of food to survive.
Ogre-mages are a separate race of ogres who are unique among the beefier races in their ability to use magic, especially enchantments. Although slighter than their common ogre relatives they nevertheless have great strength and can survive a lot of punishment. They advance in level as slowly as high elves.
Draconians are a race of human-dragon hybrids; humanoid in form and approximately human-sized, with wings, tails and scaly skins. Draconians start out in an immature form with brown scales, but as they grow in power they take on a variety of colours. Some types of draconians have breath weapons. Because of their decidedly non-human shapes, draconians cannot wear most armours. Draconians advance very slowly in level, but are reasonably good at most skills (except missile weapons and armour).
Centaurs are another race of hybrid creatures: horses with a human torso. Centaurs can move very quickly on their four legs, and are excellent with bows and other missile weapons; they are also reasonable at the Fighting skill while being slow learners at specific weapon skills. They advance quite slowly in experience level and are rather sub-average at using magic. Due to their large bulk, they need a little extra food to survive.
Demigods are mortals (humans, orcs or elves, for example) with some divine ancestry, however distant; they can be created by a number of processes including magical experiments and the time-honoured practice of interplanar miscegenation. Demigods look more or less like members of their mortal part’s race, but have excellent abilities (strength, int, dex) and are extremely robust; they also have great supplies of magical energy. On the downside they advance very slowly in experience, gain skills slightly less quickly than humans, and cannot worship the various Gods and Powers available to the other races.
Spriggans are small magical creatures distantly related to elves. They are poor fighters with anything other than a dagger or a shortsword, have little physical resilience, and are terrible at destructive magic - conjurations, summonings, necromancy and elemental spells. On the other hand, they are excellent at other forms of magic and are very good at moving silently and quickly. So great is their speed that a spriggan can keep pace with a centaur.
Minotaurs are yet another hybrid - a human body with a bovine head. Minotaurs are extremely good at all forms of physical combat, but are awful at using any type of magic. They can wear all armour except for headgear.
Demonspawn are horrible half-mortal, half-infernal creatures - the flip side of the Demigods. Demonspawn can be created in any number of ways - magical experiments, breeding, unholy pacts, etc. Although many demonspawn may be indistinguishable from those of pure mortal stock, they often grow horns, scales or other unusual features. Powerful members of this class of beings also develop a range of unholy abilities, which are listed as mutations (and can sometimes be activated with the ’a’ command).
Demonspawn advance very slowly in experience and learn most skills at about the same rate as do Demigods. However, they are a little better at fighting and much better at conjurations, summonings, necromancy and invocations.
Ghouls are horrible undead creatures, slowly rotting away. Although ghouls can sleep in their graves for years on end, when they rise to walk among the living they must eat flesh to survive. Raw flesh is preferred, especially rotting or tainted meat, and ghouls gain strength from consuming it.
As undead, Ghouls are naturally immune to poison, cold and negative energy. They aren’t very good at doing most things, although they make decent fighters and can use ice and earth magic without too many difficulties.
Kenku are an ancient and feared race of bird-people with a legendary propensity for violence. They are experts at all forms of fighting, including the magical arts of combat (conjurations, summonings and, to a lesser extent, necromancy). However, their light avian bodies cannot sustain a great deal of injury.
Basically humanoid with bird-like heads and clawed feet, the kenku can wear all types of armour except helmets and boots. Despite their lack of wings, powerful kenku can fly and very powerful members of this race can stay in the air permanently. They are good at air and fire elemental magic, but poor at ice and earth magic. Kenku do not appreciate any form of servitude, and so are poor at using invocations.
Some species have special abilities which can be accessed by the ’a’ abilities menu. Some also have physical characteristics which allow them to make extra attacks using the Unarmed Combat skill.
In your quest, you play as one of a number of different types of characters. Although each has its own strengths and weaknesses, some are definitely easier than others, at least to begin with. The best classes for a beginner are probably Gladiators, fighters and Berserkers; if you really want to play a magician, try a Conjurer. Each class starts out with a different set of skills and items, but from there you can shape them as you will.
Fighters start with a decent weapon, a suit of armour and a shield. They have a good general grounding in the arts of fighting.
Priests serve either Zin, the ancient and revered God of Law, or the rather less pleasant Death-God Yredelemnul. Although priests enter the dungeon with a mace (as well as a priestly robe and a few healing potions), this is purely the result of an archaic tradition the reason for which has been lost in the mists of time; Priests are not in any way restricted in their choice of weapon skills.
The Thief is one of the trickiest classes to play. Thieves start out with a large variety of useful skills, and need to use all of them to survive. Thieves start with a short sword, some throwing darts, and light armour.
The magician is the best at using magic. Magicians start with a dagger, a robe, and a book of spells which should see them through the first several levels. There are various kinds of magicians:
The Wizard is a magician who does not specialise in any area of magic. Wizards start with a variety of magical skills and the magic dart spell in memory.
The Conjurer specialises in the violent and destructive magic of conjuration spells. Like the Wizard, the Conjurer starts with the magic dart spell.
The Enchanter specialises in the more subtle area of enchantment magic. Although not as directly powerful as conjurations, high-level enchantments offer a wide range of very handy effects. As there are no useful enchantment spells of the first level, the Enchanter begins with a random attack spell and has a magic wand to help survive until he or she can start learning to use the craft properly, and is equipped with lightly enchanted weapons and armour.
The Summoner specialises in calling creatures from this and other worlds to give assistance. Although they can at first summon only very wimpy creatures, the more advanced summoning spells allow summoners to call on such powers as elementals and demons.
The Necromancer is a magician who specialises in the less pleasant side of magic. Necromantic spells are a varied bunch, but many involve some degree of risk or harm to the caster.
Elementalists are magicians who specialise in one of the four types of elemental magic.
Venom mages specialise in poison magic, which is extremely useful in the shallower levels of the dungeon where few creatures are immune to it. Poison magic is especially effective when used against insects.
Transmuters specialise in transmigrations, and can cause strange changes in themselves and others.
Warpers specialise in translocations, and are experts in travelling long distances and positioning themselves precisely.
The Paladin is a servant of the Shining One, and has many of the abilities of the Fighter and the Priest. He or she enters the dungeon with a sword, a shield, a robe, and a healing potion.
The Gladiator is well trained in the art of fighting but is not so good at other things. In fact, Gladiators are pretty terrible at anything except bashing monsters with heavy things. They start with a nasty weapon, a small shield, and armour.
The Berserker is a hardy warrior who fights well with many weapons. Berserkers worship Trog the Wrathful, from whom they get the power to go berserk (as well as a number of other powers should they prove worthy) but who forbids the use of spell magic. They enter the dungeon with an axe, some spears, and a set of leather armour.
The Ranger is a fighter who specialises in missile weapons. A Ranger starts with a bow and some arrows, as well as a hunting knife and a set of leathers.
An Assassin is a thief who is especially good at killing. Assassins are like thieves in most respects, but begin more skilled at hand combat.
The Crusader is a decent fighter who also has some aptitude in the magical arts. Crusaders start out with a book of martial spells.
The Death Knight is a fighter who aligns him or herself with the powers of death. There are two types of Death Knights: those who worship and draw their abilities from the Demon-God Yredelemnul, and those who study the fearsome arts of necromancy.
The Chaos knight is a fighter who chooses to serve one of the fearsome and unpredictable Gods of Chaos. He or she has two choices: Xom or Makhleb. Xom is a very unpredictable (and possibly psychotic) creature who rewards or punishes according to whim. Makhleb the Destroyer is a more purposeful God, who appreciates destruction and offers a variety of very violent powers to the faithful.
The Healer is a priest of Elyvilon. Healers begin with minor healing powers, but can gain far greater abilities in the long run.
The Reaver is a warrior who has some aptitude with the magic of destruction.
The stalker is an assassin who has some aptitude in the use of poison magic.
The Monk is a type of fighter specialising in unarmed combat. Monks start with very little equipment, but can survive without the weighty weapons and spellbooks needed by other classes.
When you kill monsters, you gain experience points (xp) (you also receive one half experience for monsters killed by friendly creatures). When you get enough xp, you gain an experience level, making your character more powerful. As they gain levels, characters gain more hit points, magic points, and spell levels.
Your character has a number of skills which affect his or her ability to perform certain tasks. You can see your character’s skills by pressing the ’m’ key; the higher the skill level of a skill, the better you are at it. Every time your character gains experience points, those points become available to increase skills. You convert experience points into skill levels by practising the skill in question (eg fight with a certain type of weapon, cast a certain type of spell, or walk around wearing light armour to practise stealth). The amount of unassigned experience points is shown on the skills screen, and the number in blue next to each skill counts down from 9 to 0 as you get closer to increasing that skill.
You can elect not to practise a particular skill by selecting it in the skill screen (making it turn dark grey). This means that you will be less likely to increase that skill when you practise it (and will also not spend as many experience points on it).
The race you have chosen for your character has a significant effect on your rate of advancement in each skill. Some races are very good at some skills and poor at others. If your character’s race is good at a skill, they will require less experience and take less time to advance in it; being bad at a skill has the opposite result.
There are a few different types of skills:
Fighting skills
Fighting is the basic skill used in hand-to-hand combat, and applies no matter which weapon your character is wielding (if any). It is also the skill which determines the number of hit points your character gets as they increase in level (note that this is calculated so that you don’t get a long run advantage by starting out with a high fighting skill).
In addition, there are a number of weapon skills which affect your ability to fight with specific weapons. If you are already good at a weapon, say a long sword, and you practise for a while with similar weapon such as a short sword, your practise will be speeded up (and will require less experience) until both skills are equal.
Similar types of weapons include: - All sword skills
- Maces & flails and Axes
- Polearms and Axes
- Staves and Polearms
Being good at a specific weapon improves the speed with which you can use it by about 10% every two skill levels. Although lighter weapons are easier to use initially, as they strike quickly and accurately, heavier weapons increase in damage potential very quickly as you improve your skill with them.
Unarmed Combat is a special fighting skill. It allows your character to make a powerful attack when unarmed and also to make special secondary attacks (and increases the power of those attacks for characters who get them anyway). You can practise Unarmed Combat by attacking empty-handed, and it is also exercised when you make a secondary attack (a kick, punch etc). Unarmed combat is particularly difficult to use in combination with heavy armour, and characters wearing a shield or wielding a two-handed weapon other than a staff lose the powerful punch attack.
Throwing skills
Throwing is the basic skill used when throwing things, and there are a number of individual weapon skills for missile weapons as well.
Magic skills
Spellcasting is the basic skill for magic use, and affects your reserves of magical energy in the same way that Fighting affects your hit points. Every time you increase your spellcasting skill you gain some magic points and spell levels. Spellcasting is a very difficult skill to learn, and requires a large amount of practice and experience.
Only those characters with at least one magic skill at level one or above can learn magical spells. If your character has no magic skills, he or she can learn the basic principles of the hermetic arts by reading and reciting the spells inscribed on magical scrolls (this stops being useful once you reach level one in Spellcasting).
There are also individual skills for each different type of magic; the higher the skill, the more powerful the spell. Multidisciplinary spells use an average of the two or three skills.
Elemental magic is a special case here. When you practise an elemental magic skill (fire, ice, air or earth magic) you will improve much less quickly than normal if you already have one or more elemental magic skills higher than the one you are practising. This is especially true if those skills are ’opposed’ to the one you’re practising: fire and ice are mutually opposed, as are earth and air. Say you have level 2 fire magic, level 4 ice magic, and level 1 air magic. Practising ice magic won’t be a problem. Practising air magic will be a bit slow, as you have other elemental skills at higher levels. Practising fire magic will be very slow, as you have a higher level in ice magic. Right?
This includes a variety of skills:
Armour: Having a high armour skill means that you are used to wearing heavy armour, so you gain more AC from it and lose less evasion while wearing it.
Dodging: When you are wearing light armour, a high dodging skill increases your evasion score.
Stealth: Helps you avoid being noticed. Try not to wear heavy armour (or be encumbered) if you want to be stealthy.
Stabbing: Lets you make a very powerful first strike against a sleeping/resting monster who hasn’t noticed you yet. This is most effective with a dagger, slightly less effective with a short sword, and less useful (although by no means of negligible effect) with any other weapon.
Shields: affects the amount of protection you gain by using a shield.
Traps & doors: affects your ability to notice hidden traps and doors and to disarm traps when you find them. With this skill at a high level you will often find hidden things without actively looking for them.
Invocations: an easy-to-learn skill which affects your ability to call on your God for aid. Those skilled at invoking have reduced fail rates and produce more powerful effects. The Invocations skill affects your supply of magic in a similar way to the Spellcasting skill and to a greater extent, but the two are not cumulative - whichever gives the greater increase is used. Some Gods (such as Trog) do not require followers to learn this skill.
If your character does not have a particular skill, they can gain it by practising as above.
Your character is further defined by his or her abilities, which initially vary according to class and species.
Strength affects the amount of damage you do in combat, as well as how much stuff you can carry.
Intelligence affects how well you can cast spells as well as your ability to use some magical items.
Dexterity affects your accuracy in combat, your general effectiveness with missile weapons, and your ability to dodge attacks aimed at you. Although your dexterity does not affect your evasion score (Ev) directly, any calculation involving your Ev score also takes account of your dexterity.
AC: This stands for Armour Class. When you something injures you, your AC reduces the amount of damage you suffer. The number next to your AC is a measure of how good your shield (if any) is at blocking attacks.
EV: This is your evasion score. It helps you to avoid being hit by unpleasant things.
Gold: This is how much money you’re carrying. Money adds to your final score, and can be used to purchase items in shops.
Magic Resistance affects your ability to resist the effects of enchantments and similar magic directed at you. Although your magic resistance increases with your level to an extent determined by your character’s race, the creatures you will meet deeper in the dungeon are better at casting spells and are more likely to be able to affect you. MR is an internal variable, so you can’t see what yours is.
Sometimes characters will be able to use special abilities, for example the Naga’s ability to spit poison or the magical power to turn invisible granted by a ring. These are accessed through the ’a’ command.
There are a number of Gods, Demons and other assorted Powers who will accept your character’s worship, and sometimes give out favours in exchange. You can use the ’^’ command to check the requirements of whoever it is that you worship, and if you find religion to be an inconvenience you can always renounce your faith (use the ’a’ command - but some Gods resent being scorned!).
The ’p’ command lets you pray to your God. Anything you do while praying, you do in your God’s name - this is how you dedicate your kills or corpse- sacrifices (’D’ command) to your God, for example. Praying also gives you a sense of what your God thinks of you, and can be used to sacrifice things at altars.
To use any powers which your God deems you fit for, access the abilities menu with the ’a’ command; God-given abilities are listed as invocations.
Some classes start out religious; others have to pray at an altar to dedicate themselves to a life of servitude. There are altars scattered all over the dungeon, and your character has heard rumours of a special temple somewhere near the surface.
Although it would doubtless be a nice thing if you could remain genetically pure, there are too many toxic wastes and mutagenic radiations in the Dungeon for that to be possible. If your character is so affected by these that he or she undergoes physiological change, you can use the ’A’ command to see how much of a freak they’ve become and the ’a’ command to activate any mutations which can be controlled.
You can also become mutated by overusing certain powerful enchantments, particularly Haste (not the kind you get from being berserk) and Invisibility, as your system absorbs too much magical energy - but you would have to spend almost all of your time hasted or invisible to be affected. However, some powerful items radiate dangerous levels of magical energy. More often than not, the mutations caused by magical radiations express harmfully.
Any demonic powers your character may have are listed in red; these are permanent and can never be removed. If one of your powers has been augmented by a mutation, it is displayed in a lighter red colour.
You can make your character walk around with the numeric keypad (turn numlock off) or the "Rogue" keys (hjklbnyu). If this is too slow, you can make your character walk repeatedly by typing shift and a direction. They will walk in that direction until any of a number of things happen: a hostile monster is visible on the screen, a message is sent to the message window for any reason, you type a key, or you are about to step on anything other than normal floor or an undiscovered trap and it is not your first move of the long walk. Note that this is functionally equivalent to just pressing the direction key several times.
If you press shift and ’5’ on the numeric keypad (or just the number ’5’ on the keyboard) you rest for 100 turns or until your hit points or magic return to full, whichever is sooner. You can rest for just one turn by pressing ’.’, delete, ’s’, or ’5’ on the keypad. Whenever you are resting, you are assumed to be observing your surroundings, so you have a chance of detecting any traps or secret doors adjacent to you.
The section of the viewing window which is coloured (with the ’@’ representing you at the centre) is what you can see around you. The dark grey around it is the parts of the level which you have visited, but cannot currently see. The various dungeon features, and typing ’?’ when the cursor is over a monster brings up a short description of that monster (these are all rather sketchy; I’ll write better descriptions when I have time). You can get a map of the whole level (which shows where you’ve already been) by typing the ’X’ key. This map specially colour-codes stairs and known traps, even if something is on top of them.
You can make your way between levels by using staircases, which appear as ’>’ (down) and ’<’ (up), by pressing the ’>’ or ’<’ keys. If you ascend an up staircase on level one, you will leave the dungeon forever; if you are carrying the magical Orb of Zot, you win the game by doing this.
Occasionally you will find an archway; these lead to special places like shops, magical labyrinths, and Hell. Depending on which type of archway it is, you can enter it by typing ’<’ or ’>’.
Doors can be opened with the ’o’ command and closed with the ’c’ command. Pressing control plus a direction also opens doors. If there is no closed door in the indicated space, you will attempt to attack any monster which may be standing there (this is the only way to attack a friendly creature hand-to- hand). If there is no creature there, you will attempt to disarm any trap in the target square. If there is apparently nothing there you will still attack it, just in case there’s something invisible lurking around.
A variety of dangerous and irritating traps are hidden around the dungeon. Traps look like normal floor until discovered (usually by activating them). A discovered trap can be disarmed with the control-direction commands, although not all traps can be affected in this way.
When you are in a shop, you are given a list of the shopkeeper’s stock from which to choose, and a list of instructions. You can leave the shop and even the level and come back later if you want. Unfortunately the shopkeepers all have an enterprise bargaining agreement with the dungeon teamsters union which prevents them using non-union labour to obtain stock, so you can’t sell anything in a shop (but what shopkeeper would trust a scummy adventurer like you, anyway?).
You goal is to locate the Orb of Zot, which is held somewhere deep beneath the world’s surface. The Orb is an ancient and incredibly powerful artefact, and the legends promise great things for anyone brave enough to extract it from the fearsome Dungeon. Some believe it will grant immortality or even godhood to the one who carries it into the sunlight; many undead creatures seek it in the hope that it will restore them to life. Good luck!
A full list of the commands available to you can be accessed by typing ’?’ (question mark). If you don’t like them, they can be changed by the use of:
You can change the keys used to perform specific functions by editing the macro.txt file (or creating a new one). The K: line indicates a key, and the A: line assigns another key to that key’s function.
You can also redefine keys in-game with the ‘ key, and save them with the ~ key.
(Thanks to Juho Snellman for this patch)
In the dungeons of Crawl there are many different kinds of normal and magical artefacts to be found and used. Some of them are useful, some are nasty, and some give you great power, but at a price. Some items are unique; these have interesting properties which can make your life rather bizarre for a while. They all fall into several classes of items, each of which is used in a different way. Here is a general list of what you might find in the course of your adventures:
These are rather important. You will find a variety of weapons in the dungeon, ranging from small and quick daggers to huge, cumbersome battleaxes and pole- arms. Each type of weapon does a differing amount of damage, has a different chance of hitting its target, and takes a different amount of time to swing. You should choose your weapons carefully; trying to hit a bat with a greatsword is about as clever as bashing a dragon with a club. For this reason it is wise to have a good mixture of weapon skills. Skills affect damage, accuracy and speed.
Weapons can be enchanted; when they are identified, they have values which tell you how much more effective they are than an unenchanted version. The first number is the enchantment to-hit, which affects the weapon’s accuracy, and the second is its damage enchantment; weapons which are not enchanted are simply ’+0’. Some weapons also have special magical effects which make them very effective in certain situations. Some types of hand weapon (especially daggers, spears and hand axes) are quite effective when thrown. You can wield weapons with the ’w’ command, which is a very quick action. If for some reason you want to go bare-handed, type ’w’ followed by a hyphen (’-’). Note that weapons are not the only class of item which you can wield.
The ’ key is a shortcut which automatically wields item a. If item a is being wielded, it causes you to wield item b instead, if possible. Try assigning the letter a to your primary weapon, and b to your bow or something else you need to wield only sometimes. Note that this is just a typing shortcut and is not functionally different to wielding these items normally.
If you would rather pick off monsters from a safe distance, you will need ammunition for your sling or bow. Darts are effective when simply thrown; other kinds of ammunition require you to wield an appropriate device to inflict worthwhile damage. Ammunition has only one "plus" value, which affects both accuracy and damage. If you have ammunition suitable for what you are wielding, the ’f’ command will choose the first lot in your inventory, or you can use the ’t’ command to throw anything. If you are using the right kind of hand weapon, you will "shoot" the ammunition, otherwise you "throw" it.
When throwing something, you are asked for a direction. You can either enter one of the directions on your keypad, or type ’*’ and move the cursor over your target if they are not in a direct line with you. When the cursor is on them, press ’.’ (period) or delete to target them (you can also target an empty space if you want). If you press ’>’ instead of ’.’, the missile will stop at that space even if it misses, and if the target space is water, it may hit anything which might be lurking beneath the surface (which would otherwise be missed completely). If you type ’.’ (or del) instead of a direction or ’*’, or if you target yourself as described above, you throw whatever it is at yourself (this can be useful when zapping some wands; see later). Also, if you type ’p’ instead of a direction or ’*’, you will target your previous target (if still possible).
This is also rather important. When worn, most armour improves your Armour Class, which decreases the amount of damage you take when something injures you. Unfortunately the heavier types of armour also hamper your movement, making it easier for monsters to hit you (ie reducing your evasion score) and making it harder for you to hit monsters. These effect can be mitigated by a high Armour skill. Wearing heavy armour also increases your chances of miscasting spells, an effect which is not reduced by your Armour skill.
A Shield normally affects neither your AC or your evasion, but it lets you block some of the attacks aimed at you and absorbs some of the damage you would otherwise receive from things like dragon breath and lightning bolts. Wearing a shield (especially a large shield) makes you less effective in hand combat.
Some magical armours have special powers. These powers are sometimes automatic, affecting you whenever you wear the armour, and sometimes must be activated with the ’a’ command.
You can wear armour with the ’W’ command, and take it off with the ’T’ command.
This is extremely important. You can find many different kinds of food in the dungeon. If you don’t eat when you get hungry, you will eventually die of starvation. Fighting, carrying heavy loads, casting spells, and using some magical items will make you hungry. When you are starving you fight less effectively as well. You can eat food with the ’e’ command.
Scrolls have many different magical spells enscribed on them, some good and some bad. One of the most useful scrolls is the scroll of identify, which will tell you the function of any item you have in your inventory; save these up for the more powerful and inscrutable magic items, like rings. You can read scrolls (and by doing so invoke their magic) with the ’r’ command.
While scrolls tend to affect your equipment or your environment, most potions affect your character in some way. The most common type is the simple healing potion, which restores some hit points, but there are many other varieties of potions to be found. Try to avoid drinking poisonous potions! Potions can be quaffed (drunk) with the ’q’ command.
Sometimes you will be lucky enough to find a stick which contains stored magical energies. Wands each have a certain amount of charges, and a wand will cease to function when its charges run out. You must identify a wand to find out how many uses it has left. Wands are aimed in the same way as missile weapons, and you can invoke the power of a wand by ’z’apping it.
Magical rings are among the most useful of the items you will find in the dungeon, but can also be some of the most hazardous. They transfer various magical abilities onto their wearer, but powerful rings like rings of regeneration or invisibility make you hunger very quickly when activated. You can put on rings with the ’P’ command, and remove them by typing ’R’. You can wear up to two rings simultaneously, one on each hand; which hand you put a ring on is immaterial to its function. Some rings function automatically, while others require activation (the ’a’ command).
Amulets are similar to rings, but have a different range of effects (which tend to be more subtle). Amulets are worn around the neck, and you can wear only one at a time.
There are a number of types of magical staves. Some enhance your general spellcasting ability, while some greatly increase the power of a certain class of spells (and possibly reduce your effectiveness with others). Some are spell staves, and hold spells which you can cast without having to memorise them first, and also without consuming food. You must wield a staff like a weapon in order to gain from its power, and magical staves are as effective as +0 quarterstaves in combat. Spell staves can be Invoked with the ’I’ command while you are wielding them.
Books contain magical spells which your character may be able to learn. You can read a book with the ’r’ command, which lets you access a description of each spell, or memorise spells from it with the ’M’ command. Some books have other special effects, and some powerful spellbooks have been known to punish the attentions of incompetent magicians.
If you manage to kill a monster delicately enough to avoid scattering bits of it around the room, it may leave a corpse behind for you to play with. Despite the fact that corpses are represented by the same ’%’ sign as food, you can’t eat them without first cutting them into pieces with the ’D’ command, and being extremely hungry helps as well. Even then, you should choose your homemade food with great care.
These are items which don’t fall into any other category. You can use many of them by wielding and ’I’nvoking them. You can also use some other special items (such as some weapons) by invoking them in this way.
You pick items up with the ’,’ (comma) command and drop them with the ’d’rop command. When you are given a prompt like "drop which item?" or "pick up <x>?", if you type a number before either the letter of the item, or ’y’ or
Typing ’i’ gives you an inventory of what you are carrying. When you are given a prompt like "Throw [or wield, wear, etc] which item?", you can type the letter of the item, or you can type ’?’ or ’*’ to get an inventory list. ’?’ lists all appropriate items, while ’*’ lists all items, appropriate or not. When the inventory screen is showing "-more-", to show you that there is another page of items, you can type the letter of the item you want instead of space or enter.
You can use the adjust command (the ’=’ key) to change the letters to which your possessions are assigned. This command can be used to change spell letters as well.
Some items can be stickycursed, in which case they weld themselves to your body when you use them. Such items usually carry some kind of disadvantage: a weapon or armour may be damaged or negatively enchanted, while rings can have all manner of unpleasant effects on you. If you are lucky, you might find magic which can rid you of cursed items.
Items like scrolls, potions and some other types each have a characteristic, like a label or a colour, which will let you tell them apart on the basis of their function. However, these characteristics change between each game, so while in one game every potion of healing may be yellow, in another game they might all be purple and bubbly. Once you have discovered the function of such an item, you will remember it for the rest of the current game. You can access your item discoveries with the ’' key.
A very useful command is the ’V’ key, which gives you a description of what an item does. This is particularly useful when comparing different types of weapons, but don’t expect too much information from examining unidentified items.
Magical spells are a very important part of surviving in the dungeon. Every character class can make use of magical spells, although those who enter the dungeon without magical skills must practise by reading scrolls before they can attempt spellcasting.
Spells are stored in books, which you will occasionally find in the dungeon. Each spell has a Level, which denotes the amount of skill required to use it as well as indicating how powerful it may be. You can only memorise a certain number of levels of spells; type ’M’ to find out how many. When you gain experience levels, you can memorise more, and you will need to save up for several levels to memorise the more powerful spells. When you cast a spell, you temporarily expend some of your magical energy as well as becoming hungrier (although more powerful spellcasters hunger less quickly from using magic).
High level spells are difficult to cast, and you may miscast them every once in a while (resulting in a waste of magic and possibly dangerous side- effects). Your chance of failing to cast a spell properly depends on your your skills, your intelligence, the level of the spell and whether you are wearing heavy armour. Failing to cast a spell exercises your spell skills, but not by as much as casting it successfully.
Many of the more powerful spells carry disadvantages or risks; you should read the spell description (obtained by reading the spellbook in which you found the spell) before casting anything.
Some spells are directional, and require you to enter a direction in the same way as you would when shooting a missile or zapping a wand. Some spells require the proper materials to be present before they will work; for example, to animate a skeleton with the necromantic spell, you must stand on a space where a skeleton is on the top of the stack of items.
Be careful of magic-using enemies! Some of them can use magic just as well as you, if not better, and often use it intelligently.
In the caverns of Crawl, you will find a great variety of creatures, many of whom would very much like to eat you. To stop them doing this, you will need to fight. To attack a monster, stand next to it and move in its direction; this makes you attack it with your wielded weapon. Of course, some monsters are just too nasty to beat, and you will find that discretion is often the better part of valour.

Some monsters can be friendly; friendly monsters will follow you around and fight on your behalf (you gain 1/2 the normal experience points for any kills they make). You can command your allies using the ’!’ key, which lets you either shout to attract them or tell them who to attack.


CRAWL_NAME Default name for your character.
CRAWL_PIZZA Your favourite pizza topping.
CRAWL_DIR The directory where your macros and character dumps are stored.
CRAWL_RC A pointer to the file containing your default settings.


/usr/lib/games/crawl/bone* The bones files.
/usr/lib/games/crawl/score The high score list.
$CRAWL_DIR/macro.txt The macro resource file.
$CRAWL_DIR/morgue.txt A character dump of your last death.
$CRAWL_RC, $CRAWL_DIR/init.txt, $HOME/.crawlrc Default settings.



Avoid the labyrinth... you may not be able to get out.


Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999 Linley Henzell
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