* BreatherLevel:
** The Lair, depending on your build. While it contains some powerful threats of its own, a character that hasn't been too fond of DungeonBypass typically has no problem clearing the branch as soon as they find it. The Lair's sub-branches are far from being easy, though.
** The dungeon levels between The Lair and The Vaults typically don't progress in difficulty as fast as the character gains power, making them fairly easy to clear. Further emphasized as many players clear The Lair and Orcish Mines before going that deep.
** The Ecumenical Temple, an early area which contains nothing but a bunch of altars, so your character can choose a god. No enemies will ever spawn here (though some enemies can follow you in) which is why many players use the temple for resting and for keeping their stash. (Similarly some players keep a stash in The Lair, since none of the creatures that spawn there can use items.)
** Worst of all was The Hive, a BreatherLevel deemed so bad that it was removed entirely from later versions of the game. It consisted entirely of killer bees and killer bee larvae, which are deadly early in the game but can be dealt with trivially if you put it off for later (at least until you found some way of reliably resisting poison), and contained an unbalancingly-high quantity of not just free permafood that all characters could eat but also the best food item in the game (which doubles as a potion of restore abilities).
* CharacterAlignment: Many gods the player can choose to worship follow a strict alignment, which dictates how the player pleases (or displeases) them. They will often be tagged as such in the game.
** LawfulGood: Zin, the god of law, who abhors evil and chaos. Mutations and other chaotic acts displease him. The Shining One, as well, who wants followers to fight honorably, i.e. not using poison or sneak attacks. Both gods detest the use of evil artifacts such as demon weapons, and evil magic such as Necromancy. Together with Elyvilon, they form the "Good god" alliance.
** NeutralGood: Elyvilon, the god of pacifism. The only god in the game to endorse pacifism, she smiles on followers who pacify monsters rather than murder them. She also detests evil equipment and magic, as well.
** TrueNeutral: Okawaru, god of battle. He doesn't care what you do so long as you continue to battle monsters in his name, but he frowns on killing allied creatures, even accidentally. Also Trog, god of slaughter, who doesn't give a damn what you do, so long as you regularly kill stuff and don't use spells; and Sif Muna, who wants you to seek magical knowledge, but doesn't care what you use it for.
** ChaoticNeutral: Xom, who doesn't give a damn about you other than as a source of entertainment. Jivya, as well, who just wants to devour everything, but appreciates your contribution to that goal. These two gods are explicitly tagged as chaotic in the game. Zin hates them, but they don't seem to care much about him. There's also Nemelex Xobeh, the trickster god who encourages followers to gamble.
** LawfulEvil: Yredelemnul, the dark analogue to the Shining One. He has the most stringent guidelines of the Evil gods, but grants you powerful undead followers if you stick to them.
** NeutralEvil: Beogh, the racist and violent god of the orcs, who is tagged as evil by the game. Kikubaaqudgha, the demon-god of Necromancy, is also tagged as evil.
** ChaoticEvil: Makhleb, the only designated chaotic and evil god in the game, Makhleb revels in indiscriminate destruction, accepting all kills, be they evil or good monsters. He will grant you destructive powers if you further his goal, but the powerful demons he lets you summon may turn on you. Lugonu is this as well, being the god of the chaotic Abyss, tagged as evil in-game, and granting powers dedicated to corrupting the order of the dungeon.
* DemonicSpiders: Many, but mostly situational.
** Orc priests. They are the extremely painful introduction to smiting. Smiting is instant, undodgeable, unblockable, and usually shaves off 10-15 health with every cast. They can show up as early as the second level of the dungeon, where having 50 HP is a huge luxury. Also, they tend to come with packs of simple orcs and orc wizards, which are themselves not to be underestimated.
** Centaurs. Combine their powerful bows with their high speed and you have an enemy that deals high damage from a distance and is almost impossible to escape from. You can hide behind a corner to lure them into melee, but get caught in the open (without the Repel Missiles spell) and you're toast.
** Unseen horrors. They're fast enough to move in, hit you, and back away all in a single turn, and when they hit they can hit hard. Oh yeah, ''and they're invisible''. Their invisibility is particularly nasty for lightly armored characters who tend to focus on evasion, as the evasion stat is ignored by invisible foes. And their random movement makes them the only invisible enemy in the game where you can't usually guess what tile they're standing on even right after they hit you.
** Spiny frogs are the bane of many casters, with poison resistance to nullify Mephitic Cloud, surprisingly potent melee attacks, and fast movement speed.
** Any sort of higher demon, but there are a few specifics:
*** Executioners are tier 1 demons (marked in the ASCII version of the game by the number "1") with super speed, which they like to boost even further with the haste spell. Once that's done they'll zip into melee combat and proceed to hit you like a freight train, often multiple times in a single turn.
*** Brimstone Fiends, Ice Fiends, and Shadow Fiends are all tier 1 demons most reviled for knowing (and loving to abuse) the spell Torment, which [[PercentDamageAttack cuts your current HP in half]] with every use and is unresistable for most characters. While all monsters who know Torment are bad, Fiends up the ante by adding other nasty attack spells plus summoning hordes of minions. Shadow Fiends are perhaps the worst since they have the spell Dispel Undead, which deals massive damage to undead characters, who incidentally are the only ones able to reliably resist Torment.
*** The tier 3 demon Neqoxec also qualifies. Though somewhat weak, neqoxecs know (and love to spam) the spell Polymorph Other which, when used against the player always gives negative mutations. It's possible to resist this effect with certain equipment, but the neqoxec's status as a mid-level summon means players may end up facing them before they're ready.
** Many EnemySummoner foes are considered demonic spiders as well, including deep elf summoners and orc sorcerers, both of which rarely do battle without first calling in a dozen or so various demons. Vampires fit in this category as well (until version 0.12 when this ability will be removed) thanks to their tendency to flood the room with rats and bats the second they spot you.
** Before they got nerfed, [[PsychoElectricEel electric eels]] were this. They would appear in large schools in every body of water, fire painful bolts of lightning at you from across the room, and then dive underwater as soon as you got close. Fortunately they got a nerf at some point (the Crawl Wiki doesn't have the version number); they still fire bolts of lightning, but those bolts are much less damaging, the eels themselves are much less common, and they now only dive underwater if at critical health.
** Jellies. They've got decent HP and hit fairly hard for early game threats, but what really puts them into DemonicSpider territory is their acid. They will corrode your armor every time they hit you, weakening your defenses ''permanently'', and they'll corrode away the enchantment levels on your weapons every time you hit them. If you switch to bare fists they'll corrode away your fists, damaging you almost as much as you're damaging them. Switch to ranged weapons and they absorb your ammunition, often gaining more health back from feeding than you can deal. You can't even run behind a door to escape because they'll just [[ExtremeOmnivore devour that too]]! The only safe way to deal with them is spells, since they can't eat magic. Worse, unlike many others on this list, jellies don't get any less annoying in the late game thanks to their tendency to devour and destroy items laying on the ground. Fortunately they can't devour artefacts anymore, but there are still lots of other magic items that you might want which they can take from you.
* FanNickname:
** "Orc Jesus" for Priests of Beogh. (Alternately called “Orcus Christ” by some of the more irreverent players.)
** Some of the names in the game are notoriously difficult to spell properly, effectively forcing nicknames into existence. (Seriously, it takes a while to learn how to spell "[[TheUnpronounceable Kikubaaqudgha]]", let alone figure out how to say it. As a result, most call him "Kiku".)
** Okawaru's role as a generic melee god is referenced by an occasionally used nickname: "Default".
** Lugonu was named "[[TomTheDarkLord Lucy]]" during its earliest development stages, and is still sometimes nicknamed that.
** Somewhat cryptically for new players, fans often use abbreviated forms of the races and classes. [=MiBe=] is a minotaur berserker, [=MfIE=] is a merfolk ice elementalist, and so on.
*** Fans will also use abbreviations for other aspects of the game, such as some of the wordier spells. e.g. [=LRD=] is Lee's Rapid Deconstruction, etc). [=IOOD=] stands for Iskenderun's Orb of Destruction, which is particularly problematic as the spell's name was eventually shortened to just Orb of Destruction.
* GameBreaker: The Storm spells, especially [[PlayingWithFire Fire Storm]]. Both spells deal damage comparable with [[AwesomeButImpractical Crystal Spear]] to ''multiple enemies'', both are partially irresistible, and both leave damaging clouds behind. Fire Storm [[UpToEleven takes it further]] by having Smite-targeting (if you can see something, you can hit it, regardless of what's in the way) and summons fire vortices to distract survivors. If you worship Vehumet and wield a staff of energy/cast Necromutation, then you can cast it ''for free''.
** Nemelex Xobeh also qualifies if you know what you are doing. The legendary versions of his decks, along with high piety, a decent evocation skill, and liberal use of his gifted abilities essentially turn any PC (even purely melee focused characters) into an epic level mage. Capable of summoning dozens of creatures, in combat, with a zero chance of being hostile for a paltry 2 mana or blasting several of the strongest spells in the game better than an equal level wizard could. Plus powers possessed no where else in the game, such as the ability to create food out of nothing. On top of all this old Nemelex has a grand total of one real rule (using combat oriented cards when there's no one hostile around), meaning the only real way to get excommunicated is to stand around for tens of thousands of turns with out sacrificing anything to him or using cards in combat. Something a player is never going to do.
* GeniusBonus: There is a reference to ''Literature/TheMetamorphosis'' in the description for the giant cockroach monster.
* GoddamnedBats:
** True of Crawl's bats. They barely even hurt you, but can hit multiple times in a turn, and have so much evasion they're hard to kill. Most annoying is that they're so fast they can move toward you, hit you, and move out of reach in one turn, meaning that you can't melee them unless you make some odd moves. Potentially deadly in the early game if you're unlucky, mildly irritating afterwards.
*** Later on you'll also run into Unseen Horrors, which are just like bats except they actually have decent attack and HP. Oh yeah, ''and they're invisible.'' (See DemonicSpiders, above.)
** Ugly things and slime creatures later on in the Dungeon. Both always appear in packs, absorb a good chunk of damage before dying and flee when wounded. Ugly things also are slightly faster than most [=PCs=] and have randomly branded attacks (including all three brands that are capable of damage equipment and one that stops you from healing for a while) and resistances which randomly shift while in a group. Slime creatures, meanwhile have an incredibly annoying habit of fleeing and coming back within seconds, having completely regenerated in the process, and will merge into much more powerful brutes if you try to fight them one at a time in a corridor.
** Crimson Imps (or just "Imps" in earlier versions) have three really nasty abilities: high evasion which makes them difficult to hit, the tendency to blink (short range teleport) a lot, and ''lightning-fast regeneration''. Add to that they resist damage just like other demons while appearing at a point in the game before the player is likely to have strong enough weapons to overcome said resistance. Fortunately they deal very little damage, meaning they're generally a minor annoyance to distract you from more dangerous enemies. Unfortunately, they can pick up and use weapons on the ground just like you can. If they pick up something dangerous enough (like a good enchanted sword or a wand, or the bow left behind by a centaur) they can become DemonicSpiders with ease.
** Another common killer of early characters is the not-so-humble adder. They're much faster than you, poisonous, have more health than most monsters during the first few levels and can appear on the ''second level'' of the dungeon. By that point you're unlikely to have a potion of curing identified, or any items that can help you escape, and usually have so little health that you'll be forced to start trying out random potions to survive if bitten more than once.
* MemeticBadass: From the "Foolproof Plan for Winning Crawl" flowchart:
-->"Did you find something to kill? -> Is it Sigmund? -> You poor bastard."
* NightmareFuel: If you have a good imagination, there could be plenty. Using Animate skeleton on a fresh corpse is one such case ("Before your eyes, flesh is ripped from the corpse!"). Another one is when you make an enemy bleed with your sharp claws and they proceed to run around the dungeon [[HighPressureBlood painting it red]].
** Half in-universe example, ghosts can say some pretty darn creepy things ("They lied to you. The dungeon just goes down forever and ever....") that really hammer home how ''spiteful'' these phantoms are.
* ScrappyWeapon: Scythes. In spite of how lethal Sigmund is with his, they have dreadful damage for a two-handed weapon, terribly slow attack speed, and are completely outclassed by nearly every other weapon in the Polearm class.
* ThatOneBoss: Crawl has enough for all stages of gameplay. Lucky characters may even live to encounter them all!
** Sigmund is a human wizard notorious for killing off a lot of early level characters; he wields a scythe, which at this point in the game is a powerful weapon, can become invisible, casts confuse on the player and throws fire. Most players will want to avoid or escape him if they meet him, unless they have an edge, like a wand or potion.
** Grinder is another early game ThatOneBoss. He's a shadow imp who can paralyze the player and cast a nasty pain attack. Grinder typically appears just a bit later than Sigmund, and a popular joke among fans is that the two have a rivalry going on to see who can claim the lives of more newbies.
** Coming after Grinder is Gastronok, a giant slug who became a mage after [[CannibalismSuperpower eating a wizard]]. Unlike most mage characters, Gastronok is surprisingly tough having more HP than even equal-level melee threats like orc knights. He also has the [[BlowYouAway Airstike]] spell which deals a ton of damage and hits with 100% accuracy, plus it's smite-targeted, meaning it can hit you even if he doesn't have a clear line of fire to you. Add to that his ability to [[EnemySummoner summon swarms of rats]] on you. His one disadvantage is an inherently slow movement speed thanks to being a giant slug, but he can even overcome that by casting slow spells on the player and haste on himself.
** Nessos the centaur. Even normal centaurs are fairly bad because of their speed and ranged attack, but Nessos is even worse thanks to his unique ability. Ordinarily if an arrow has an enchantment it overrides that of the bow that fires it. Nessos ignores this rule, gaining the ability to fire ''flaming toxic arrows''. Couple that with his liberal use of the spell Blink (which makes luring him into melee all but impossible) and he's easily one of the most dangerous mid-game uniques.
** Mennas the ReligiousBruiser is a late-game ThatOneBoss, particularly against spellcasters. The worst part about him is his ability to silence his surroundings, making spellcasting impossible and preventing the most common means of teleporting away (by reading Teleportation scrolls). He's also [[LightningBruiser very fast and very strong in melee]].
** Maurice. A thief that'll haste himself, turn invisible, then sneak up to you and [[VideoGameStealing yoink your stuff]]. Losing your stuff is bad enough (though you will get it back if you can kill him) but depending on what he manages to get from you he can become extremely powerful. If he grabs a potion of healing he can be back to full health in a second. If he grabs a powerful enough wand then bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.
** Mara is another late-game threat, appearing around the same time as Mennas. Not only does he have a dangerous spell list and the tendency to spawn with a decent weapon, he can conjure up illusions of himself, which are just as nasty, blink and teleport around, [[MirrorBoss and create an illusion of the player]], which is just as dangerous as the player is. Are you powerful enough to casually sling Fire Storms around? Your illusory self will be too!
** The Royal Jelly, boss of the Slime Pits and guardian of the Slimy Rune Of Zot. It's got an impressive amount of HP and hits like a mack truck, plus it has the same ability to corrode your equipment as a regular jelly (though if you're in the Slime Pits you should already have a way of protecting against that). Worst of all, it has a unique defense mechanism whereby it spawns additional high-tier slime monsters like Death Oozes and Azure Jellies every time it gets hit, allowing it to easily swarm any enemy player. To be fair, it should be expected for this monster to be so powerful considering [[spoiler:its existence is literally the only thing keeping the Slime God Jiyva alive]].
* ThatOneLevel: While all of Crawl could qualify for some people, there are specific examples:
** Hell, which also qualifies as BonusLevelOfHell, as befits its name. To even enter you need to kill the archdemon Geryon, who almost qualifies as a ThatOneBoss thanks to his EnemySummoner nature. Once he's down you have your pick of four equally lethal regions: the iron city of Dis, the fiery Gehenna, the undead-filled Tartarus, and the icy Cocytus. Each region is filled with hordes of demons, including large numbers of tier 1 and tier 2 demons, and is guarded by a powerful unique archdemon down at the very bottom. While that's bad enough, what really qualifies Hell for ThatOneLevel status is ''the Mystical Force'', a vaguely explained... well, mystical force that regularly (every twenty turns or so) does some random bad thing to you. If you're lucky it'll only decide to confuse you (probably while you're standing right next to lava and/or in combat). If you're unlucky it'll decide to blast you with massive unresistable damage, stat drain you to death, or summon a tier 1 demon right next to you while you're trying to rest.
*** Followers of the god of order, Zin, will be granted (not infallible) protection against Hell's mystical force which makes them among the most suited to taking on this level, but even they have to be very careful of the demons and other monsters here.
** The Tomb isn't quite as bad as Hell, but it's still considered to be by far one of the most hazardous of the game's many side areas. It's an undead-themed branch with an Egyptian flavor to it, meaning lots of traps and lots of mummies, most of which will spend their time either smiting you, spamming [[PercentDamageAttack Torment]], or [[EnemySummoner summoning demons]]. Even characters specifically equipped for fighting undead still have to beware, as killing a mummy provokes a death curse, which might drop your stats, make your flesh rot off, hit you with a Pain spell for massive damage, or even summon powerful tier 2 demons to eat your soul.
** The endgame, after collecting the Orb of Zot and you're ascending back toward the surface. You'd expect an easy return since you've already cleared all the floors, right? Wrong! First, while holding the Orb of Zot your stealth is decreased drastically which can be very damaging for certain characters. Add to that, teleportation takes a lot longer to take effect, and the duration of [[TheCorruption magical contamination]] is greatly extended. What's more, the game will spawn all new enemies to attack you, drawn from the Hell and Pandemonium lists. This includes Pandemonium Lords, which are the strongest non-unique enemies in the game and ordinarily only appear at a rate of one or less per floor in the demon plane of Pandemonium, but during the ascent you can fight multiples per floor, or even 2 or more at once.
*** In keeping with the apparently masochistic nature of Crawl players, one somewhat popular SelfImposedChallenge involves waiting until the ascent to clear the Tomb, thereby having to deal with all of the Tomb's normal hazards, as well as the massively powerful demons summoned by the Orb. (The challenge would involve clearing the four regions of Hell, but once the Orb is picked up all of the branches of Hell are sealed.)