That's what's so great about Crawl: every time, you don't even have rage at the chance of the heavens to sustain you; you know, with a cold certainty something like that of a priest who has lost his faith in God, that your death was caused by none other than yourself, and that a better man could have avoided it.
— <nrook>, as quoted by the Dungeon Crawl knowledge bots under "fair."
Dungeon Crawl (called Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup in full, or more often Crawl for short) is an open-source roguelike game, based on the late 1990s roguelike Linley's Dungeon Crawl. Along with NetHack, Angband, ADOM, and ToME, it is considered one of the major modern roguelikes, with a large fanbase and active player community and devteam.Crawl sets itself apart from other roguelikes with a number of distinguishing features:
emphasis on game balance: Crawl goes to lengths to avoid the problem of Unstable Equilibrium, mostly by carefully limiting the resources available to the player, and their usefulness.
emphasis on simplicity: The devteam prefers to simplify rather than complicate the game mechanics, and often remove features from the game if they're turning out to be cumbersome, repetitive, or redundant.
emphasis on playstyle: The game tries to accommodate many different styles of play, which is one reason why the game has such a huge roster of races, classes, and gods - and also why this roster changes with each new version, as the devteam tries out new ideas and discards flawed ones.
emphasis on race over class: character classes in Crawl are little more than a starting package of skills and equipment. It's possible for a player to change his character's role entirely over the course of a game. Race, on the other hand, makes a huge difference in what a player can do: a troll plays very differently to a halfling, for example. This is a reversal of the class-based gameplay in most other roguelikes.
anti-grinding: The only way to gain experience in Crawl is to defeat enemies, and there is only a limited number of enemies per dungeon floor. (There's still a lot of dungeon, so you'll never be lacking in places to get experience - the question is whether you'll survive the attempt.) Skill grinding is also impossible for the same reason, as your skill points come directly from your experience - you can't improve your skills without challenging and defeating monsters.
anti-scumming: The need to eat requires the player to be on the move most of the time, preventing them from hanging around on a dungeon level. It wouldn't do much good anyway; most of the monsters will be gone by then, which means no more experience, and nothing on the level can be sold.
anti-frustration: Crawl tries to make cheap-shots as rare as possible. Being killed without warning is almost unheard of - the game will always warn you if you're about to do something potentially stupid. A basic threat-level system will warn you when you're facing a dangerous enemy, so you can generally always see the danger coming, and there are many different ways to escape a dangerous encounter. Weapons and armor are indestructible and cannot be taken from you (although they can be degraded).
anti-spoilering: The emphasis on game mechanics in Crawl means that being spoiled about the game's secrets does little to improve your chances. Most of the time, the game will just straight up tell you an enemy's strengths and weaknesses, and leave it up to you to exploit them.
skill customization: Players can choose which skills they want to emphasize above others, which means that every player is effectively multiclassing. For example, it's possible to start as a Squishy Wizard and put all your skill points into Fighting, eventually turning them into a Magic Knight. In keeping with the emphasis on simplicity, customizing your skills is entirely optional - the game will actually manage this for you by default (by keeping track of whatever it is you do the most, and giving your skill points to those skills).
religion: Crawl has an entire pantheon of gods, which add a third dimension of religion to the race/class combination, usually giving you special powers and abilities while adding restrictions to what you can do in game (followers of good gods, for example, cannot use evil weapons). Although most other roguelikes have gods, they're more integral to playstyle in Crawl than in other games.
auto-explore: A simple keypress will cause your character to explore the dungeon by himself until he encounters something interesting or dangerous, making for very smooth gameplay. It's especially good when playing in a terminal over SSH, or on a mobile device.
screen scrolling: Your character is always centered on screen. This is actually quite rare in roguelikes - possibly because most roguelikes had their beginnings in the 1980s, when shifting large numbers of characters on a terminal would have been computationally intensive. Nowadays, it's less of a problem.
In terms of flavour, the game has a similar medieval fantasy setting to most roguelikes, having been inspired by most of them: elves, dwarves, and orcs all make an appearance; weapons are the typical array of medieval blades, sticks, and bows; magical wands, potions, and scrolls can be found everywhere, and of course, there are many, many, many monsters waiting to kill you. The plot is minimal: the player's task is to go to the bottom of the dungeon, nab the Orb of Zot, and escape.You can download it here or play it online.
This game provides examples of:
Action Bomb: The "Inner Flame" spell turns monsters into walking bombs, though it won't go off until they're killed by other means. It can even be cast on your own undead minions to play the trope very straight indeed.
Also applies to spores. They're produced occasionally by active ballistomycetes (giant mushrooms) and can sometimes be found floating around the dungeon on their own. When they contact the player (or are hit by anything) they explode, dealing damage and confusing anything in their blast radius, as well as creating an instant fungal colony.
Agony Beam: Necromancy school offers two - the relatively mild Pain and the Percent Damage Attack Agony. There is also Torment, which is a multiple-target variant of Agony and is not available as a spell, though players can use it through a variety of items and as a power granted by the god Kikubaaqudgha.
Always Accurate Attack: Wizards and Conjurers begin with Magic Dart, while Ice Elementalists have Freeze. Magic Dart has excellent range but has its damage stopped by armor. Freeze ignores armor, but is limited to melee range.
Animate Inanimate Object: Under certain circumstances, weapons can come to life and fight either for or against the player.
There was a whole level, The Hall of Blades, which contained nothing but animated weapons.
Xom can do this to any weapon bestowed upon you at any time.
There are also animated statues and a special type of mimic called the feature mimic, which pretends to be a door, staircase, or some other major dungeon feature before attacking.
Animorphism: Transmuters have a few spells for self-transformation into animals, Spider Form being the most easily attainable. Vampires can also transform into bats at will if their blood level isn't too high.
Annoying Arrows: Arrow traps are like this; you can normally shrug them off. The first time you meet a centaur, however, you'll find that arrows are not merely annoying, since centaurs really know how to use them. Add to this the fact that they are fast enough to pursue you while still firing an arrow every turn, and you’ll soon respect their ability to kill you.
Anti-Frustration Features: The game will stop you from doing certain things that would otherwise outright kill you (walking into deep water, auto-moving while starving), and will ask for confirmation on potentially risky actions (moving adjacent to deep water while confused, stepping into dangerous traps while badly injured). You're still likely to die for a thousand other reasons, but at least the game is rooting for you.
The limited amount of food forces the player to continue deeper and deeper instead of remaining on the same level for extended periods of time. There are a few ways to get off the food clock - mummies and people in lichform do not eat at all and vampires can survive indefinitely without blood, although this stops their regeneration.
If the player stays on the same level for too long, the game will detect it and start spawning disproportionately tough monsters there. If the player kills them as well, the game may stop monster generation on that level completely.
Grinding is possible in two areas that allow infinite supplies of items to loot and monsters to slay: Abyss and Pandemonium. However, both are fairly dangerous and characters that can survive long enough to grind there are likely to be ready for the endgame anyway.
If you stay on a level long enough (and we do mean absurdly long an amount of time, far longer than it takes to complete the game), the game will tell you that the world ended while you were standing around.
An Arm and a Leg: One of the sacrifices the player can make to Ru the Awakened is their own hand.
Arrows on Fire: Crawl doesn't so much have flaming arrows as it does magical arrows which turn into bolts of flame when fired. It's also possible to get a bow of flame, which turns ordinary arrows into bolts of flame.
There's also freezing variants, and two legendary artifacts introduce special-case versions: the Storm Bow, which gives you electrically-charged arrows, and Hellfire, a crossbow with bolts that explode into hellfire.
The unique centaur enemy Nessos uses a particularly deadly version of this, combining an (often highly enchanted) flaming bow with toxic arrows for a combination that's highly lethal to anyone who doesn't have resistance to both poison and fire.
Asteroids Monster: Inverted and then played straight with slime creatures, living wads of goo that tend to travel in packs. When they see a tasty adventurer such as yourself, they merge to form bigger and stronger slime creatures unless you can kill them quickly enough. If you let them merge all the way into a titanic slime creature, they can start doing upwards of 100 damage in a single hit, so generally running away is the best strategy if they get that far. If you can manage to get away, they'll split up again after a while. They may also split up if you're fighting them in an open area.
The Abyss features starcursed masses, which play the trope much straighter. Unlike slime creatures, you actually want them to combine, as the more starcursed masses there are onscreen, the more damage their otherworldly screeching will do to you (even paralyzing you if there's enough of them).
Attack Animal: Summoners can summon monsters to fight for them, and a wand of enslavement (or the spell Enslavement) can temporarily get you a really good one, if you pick the right monster...
Present with discs of storms and the black draconians' Breath Weapon (which has a similar effect) — both of these create a wild blast of electrical projectiles. It's possible to cause heavy damage to your enemies, but since you can't aim where the blast goes, it's entirely possible to blow up the wall behind you instead of the charging ogre.
Subverted with the Storm spells, as they appear to be impractical due to their high level and hunger cost. Smart players can lower/bypass the costs for casting them and it's well worth the effort to acquire one.
Random artifacts quite often wind up in this territory. While they're mostly more powerful than their mundane variants, they can still be useless for the player by having ruinous negative effects in addition to the good ones or simply being of a type the player's character can't use effectively.
Distortion-branded weapons. While they can cause significant damage or even instantly banish enemies by tearing holes in reality, they can also harmlessly blink them away, giving the enemy a chance to recover and making you track them down. Worse, when you stop wielding them, they tear holes in reality around you, which has some very nasty effects, including a 25% chance of banishment. Worse still, enemies can use them against you.
Back Stab: Stabbing is a tactic available to all players, even those not using blades - you can 'stab' with a mace for example, which just means you're making an attack on a sleeping or distracted enemy. Stabbing attacks do more damage, in some cases getting up to For Massive Damage levels - we're talking one-hit kills on a sleeping hydra - but it depends on your Stealth skill and the weapon used; daggers are the best for this, followed by the rest of the short blades.
Badass Bookworm: If one begins as a spellcaster but learns lots of fighting skills, then they've become one.
This can also happen unexpectedly if monsters find a wand of polymorph. One moment, you're fighting a random goblin, then it zaps you with a wand it found and you're suddenly stuck as a porcupine for a while. Of course, this can backfire rather spectacularly if an enemy manages to turn you into a dragon instead (Hilarity often ensues).
Bare-Fisted Monk: Monk is a playable class, and as you'd expect, monks have no weapon but are skilled in unarmed combat.
Benevolent Boss: All of the gods, save for Xom, who just doesn't care about you at all. Not only do they give you lots of benefits with very few demands of their own, all of them are also extraordinarily forgiving. They'll always let you off the hook for accidental transgressions (at least the first time) and even when you press their Berserk Button the worst you can generally expect is to lose any divine powers until they're happy with you again. The Three Good Gods are even okay with you abandoning your religion entirely, only punishing you for doing so if you switch to worshipping an evil god.
The Berserker: Berserker is a playable class. Like the real Viking berserkers, berserkers in Crawl wear only animal skins to begin with.
Beware My Stinger Tail: Present on various enemies, like scorpions or manticores. Green Draconian player characters gain one naturally at level 14, and certain other characters (the rest of the draconians and Nagas) can get it through rare mutations.
Big Eater: Some species have high metabolisms and need lots of food. Ghouls also have seemingly bottomless stomachs, able to gorge themselves even (especially) on rotten meat without ever becoming full.
Most races can’t eat chunks of freshly butchered meat while not hungry, but Trolls, Kobolds, Felids, and Ghouls can. Other races can obtain this ability by wearing an Amulet of the Gourmand or mutating to become a carnivore.
Black Magic: Necromancy and demon summoning are considered to be this by the three Good Gods: Zin, The Shining One and Elyvilon.
Blade on a Stick: Crawl doesn't have as many as NetHack, but it does have a few, all classed under the Polearms school. The spear is the simplest and most common one, but there are also halberds, tridents (some of demonic origin), scythes, glaives, and bardiches. The heavier polearms tend to be big on damage and short on accuracy, but all of them can reach an extra tile to attack like whips of reaching.
Blessed with Suck: Certain 'good' mutations can cause this. Level 3 Mutation Resistance renders you permanently immune to mutation, including mutation removal. Your only hope at this point is divine intervention.
Natural attack mutations can also be an example, since they prevent you from wearing certain armor types. For example, if you find a really good pair of magical gloves, only to then develop the claws mutation which prevents you from wearing gloves.
Blob Monster: Lots of them, especially in The Slime Pits side area. They even have their own god: Jiyva, who grants worshippers slime-related mutations and abilities.
Blood Knight: While many gods like the killing of certain enemies, a few are only happy if the player is killing everything they come across and then offering up the bodies as sacrifices. For fighters Trog will bestow berserker strength and protect his followers from its harmful effects as long as they keep a steady stream of death and corpses coming his way. Casters have Vehumet, who doesn't even care about the corpses part, probably because his preferredmethodsdon't leave any.
The demonspawn race with its random mutation trait can sometimes result in this for the player character. For example, having hooves, slimy green scales, and spines covering your body is an entirely possible combination.
Worshipping the Slime God Jiyva can also result in your gaining mutations that eventually culminate in you becoming a slime monster in all but name.
Xom will also sometimes grant mutations. Whether these mutations are beneficial or not depends entirely on how entertaining the player is being at the moment.
There are numerous ways to become mutated yourself aside from being a demonspawn or worshiping a crazy god, such as drinking a potion of mutation or eating the flesh of certain monsters (such as shapeshifters). Since some of these mutations are actually beneficial, some players make a habit of playing "mutation roulette", usually becoming deformed freaks with a handful of cool abilities.
There are also ways the player character can be mutated by monsters, such as by the neqoxec demon's Malmutate spell. These hostile mutations are almost always bad and often physically deforming.
The side area "Cigotuvi's Fleshworks" is pretty much built entirely on this trope. Not only is it a Womb Level full of horrible, twisted mockeries of life, there are several areas filled with mutagenic fog that will swiftly devolve you unless you take proper precautions. Then there are the in-progress experiments: deformed humans, febrile elves, and sickly orcs that are locked in various organic cells. They invariably beg for death... if they are still capable of speaking, that is.
Bonus Dungeon: The ziggurat, a side area only accessible by finding a portal and paying an insane amount of cash to enter. Inside you'll find room after room full of hordes of enemies and also awesome loot. If you can make it through all 27 floors of the ziggurat then congratulations, you probably don't exist!
Bonus Level Of Hell: Pretty much the entire extended endgame is this. In order to win, you only need three Runes of Zot, which you can get fairly easily from the two Lair branches and the Vaults or the Abyss. It's only completionists and people who want a challenge who go after the others.
Ziggurats, which, as stated above, contain 27 floors of increasing difficulty.
Boom Stick: Many magic wands are Boom Sticks, since they fire out bolts, beams and enchantments. The rods are also boomsticks, but slightly more complex; most carry their own set of spells which can be evoked by the wielder.
Okawaru, the god of war, offers only equipment gifts and two fairly non-flashy (but incredibly useful) powers. Despite lacking in flavor, Okawaru is often considered to be the best god for melee characters as suggested by the god's Fan Nickname: "Default."
This also applies to several spells:
Summon Butterflies (which summons butterflies) is a low-level spell that is immensely useful for blocking most enemies from getting to you, allowing you to either beat a hasty retreat or reposition yourself.
Conjure Flame. It deals no damage directly, but is immensely useful in early game because it can block weak enemies, and stronger enemies can be lured into the flames, where they will burn constantly.
Mephitic Cloud is very low on direct damage output, but it has a chance of confusing its target, making it tremendously useful until the late game, when things start getting too tough for it to work. It can even shut down otherwise dangerous early uniques.
The most basic of basic spells, Magic Dart. It doesn't scale up damage a lot with your level, but it also has a paltry 1MP cost and no spell hunger at all, plus it's 100% accurate - as long as you have a line of effect to the enemy you will hit guaranteed. Because of this, it can be used to pick off fleeing enemies or to take out the ever-annoying spores from a safe distance.
Sting is basically a slightly beefier, poisonous Magic Dart. If you can learn it early on, it makes the early parts of the game much easier.
Cannibalism Superpower: Mostly averted: in contrast to most other Roguelikes, Dungeon Crawl features very little special effects for eating enemies.
Played straight with Gastronok, a slug who, according to his description, gained superb intelligence and magical powers by eating a powerful wizard. (Although it could also be thanks to the wizard hat of intelligence he often spawns with.)
Eating mutagenic flesh from enemies like Ice/Sky Beasts and Ugly Things does possibly give you a significant power-up in the form of a good mutation. It is just as (if not more) likely to give you a badmutation instead though...
Care Bear Stare: The healing ability granted by Elyvilon, goddess of healing, can pacify monsters and make them uninterested in fighting you.
Cap: Lots and lots of them. The main reason for caps in this game is that spells increase in power as the player becomes more skilled in the appropriate school of magic, so there needs to be a limit or players would be able to cast very cheap low-level spells (eg. the level 1 Magic Dart spell) at a ludicrously high power level.
Cast from Hit Points: Certain rare abilities cost HP to activate instead of MP. Notable examples are a demonspawn's Hellfire ability and every ability granted by the destruction god Makhleb.
The spell Sublimation of Blood allows you to convert blood into MP, allowing you to keep blasting away at the expense of your HP. In older versions, chunks of meat or potions of blood could be provided to regain power harmlessly.
This was the djinnis' racial hat while they were being considered for inclusion. Instead of HP and MP, they had a single stat called Essence; this was used for both health and casting, so a magic-using djinni was essentially slowly killing themselves with every spell.
Chain Lightning: Present as a level 8 Air/Conjurations spell in the game. It targets a nearby enemy, and then chains off of them to other nearby creatures (possibly including you and/or your allies!) until it runs out of power.
A favorite spell of the unique enemy Nikola, who is named after famous inventor Nikola Tesla. In his hands, it can deal buttloads of damage in very short order. Bring something that gives you electricity resistance!
There is also a less powerful version called Static Discharge, which begins from the squares right next to you.
Chest Monster: Although there are no actual chests, there are two different kinds of mimic (item mimics and feature mimics). In older versions of Crawl, mimics stay in mimicked form while attacking you, resulting in funny lines like 'the potion of healing hits you!'
Choice of Two Weapons: Generally in Crawl, you have several weapons that you frequently use and switch between them depending on situation. Usually this will either be a ranged weapon and a melee weapon or two similar melee weapons with different brands (such as a flaming sword and a freezing sword).
Church Militant: The game is practically full of these, as many gods enjoy their followers slaying foes. Of particular note are The Shining One and Zin, who both want their followers to purge the world of evil creatures, and Okawaru, who is the god of war; his followers are Church Militants in a Military Church.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Crazy Yiuf, a unique gnoll who wields a staff of chaos and speaks only in gibberish. Interestingly, if you hit him with the confusion status his dialog becomes normal. Even more interesting, if you worship Xom, the god of chaos, you can understand Yiuf's dialog and all of his lines become shout outs to famous philosophers and scientists.
The Singing Sword is this sometimes too, especially in a pitched battle when it starts screaming gibberish as loud as possible.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Draconians. When you begin playing a draconian it's brown, because it's in its immature form; but once you reach level 7 it grows up and turns one of 9 different colours, each of which gives different abilities.
Unlike the original Crawl, Stone Soup provides various information in forms of colored text, including the types of corpses/mutations, artifact identifiers, prohibition of items (dark grey items cannot be used at all, red items are prohibited by your choice of god, purple items can be used but are quite risky), etc.
Combat Medic: The Healer class is actually pretty effective at fighting to begin with, as they begin with skill in unarmed combat.
Combat Tentacles: The playable octopode race can their tentacles to slap and squeeze enemies to death. Many monsters have these as well; one such example would be the krakens roaming the Shoals.
Combo Platter Powers: The randomly generated artifacts can have any combination of effects. Thus you can have a spear which poisons your enemies, makes you resistant to fire, and lets you teleport. Quite often, one or more of the effects is either situationally or inherently negative, forcing the player to consider if the random artifact is worth using at all.
Inverted: There are lots of things the player is allowed to do that most monsters can't, like firing ranged weapons at point blank range (the few enemies that *will* fire at point blank range, like deep elf master archers, are among the more dangerous in the game); enemies will always swap out to a melee attack even if it's inferior, which it usually is. Additionally, there are some items can't be used by monsters at all, like wands of fireball and enslavement, or have diminished effects, like the wand of disintegration which deals only 2/3 as much damage to players.
Subverted: Enemy mages will never run out of MP or suffer spell miscasts, however there are ways in which the game simulates these effects. For example, antimagic weapons can't drain the MP of enemies (due to enemies not having MP) so instead these weapons apply a stackable spell failure rate on hit, and there are simulated enemy spell miscasts thanks to Cantrip, a monster-only spell which does nothing when cast, essentially wasting a turn.
Double Subverted: Not all enemy mages have the Cantrip spell, only the earlier ones which need it to tone down their power. The effect is that most enemies are still immune to miscasting.
Water magic (with the exception of a type of evocable item) is unavailable to the player, but can be used by some enemies, including the unique monster Ilsuiw and merfolk aquamancers.
Nessos the unique centaur has the ability to use the enchantment on both his bow and his arrows at the same time (normally the enchantment on ammunition overrides that of the weapon that fires it) gaining the ability to use flaming toxic arrows.
Convection Schmonvection: Played straight. You can stand right next to lava in the game with no ill effects aside from the occasional burst of fire or poisonous smoke.
Averted with the lava orc race back when they were in consideration. When they got angry, they turned into liquid magma and their convected heat could do major damage to anything around them.
Averted: It's really more of background radiation induced by Functional Magic and it doesn't affect your alignment, but it can be annoying. Having a high enough level of contamination causes you to glow, can mutate you, and at high enough levels can even cause you to explode.
Played Straight: Demonspawn slowly get more and more demonic as they gain experience levels. It doesn't necessarily turn them evil, but it can result in Body Horror.
Cowardly Boss: Prince Ribbit will use his teleportation powers to try to escape you if he gets seriously injured. So will just about any other boss if it spawns with a wand of teleport.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: Played with almost to the point of parody. The messianic religion in this game is the faith of Beogh, the god of the orcs, and a follower of the orc religion gets to be "Orc Jesus," walk on water and be followed by orcish apostles. Of course, Beogh is also a racist Jerkass of a god, and becoming Orc Jesus involves killing anyone who's not an Orc for the glory of Beogh.
Some of the bad mutations have a good effect. For example, horns prevent you from wearing helmets, but give you a headbutt attack.
The god Ashenzari is a literal example of this trope. Ashenzari is happiest with you when you wear and use cursed equipment and gives you super powers based on the cursed items you have.
Ru the Awakened is another god example, on the same lines as Ashenzari. Ru demands that the player sacrifice parts of their own being, such as the ability to speak, the loyalty of summoned creatures, or even one of their own hands. In return, Ru grants incredible cosmic power.
Damage Discrimination: None, but enemies will try not to hit other enemies if they can avoid it. Sometimes they can't avoid it; a confused enemy can hit other enemies, and even itself. Many an ogre has killed itself with its own club.
Ashenzari, the god of divinations and curses who all-but-demands that you wear cursed gear. Ashenzari is also one of the very few gods who does not reward killing or sacrificing corpses at all, not even for specific monsters, and grants no directly offensive powers.
Dithmenos, the god of shadows, also counts. Dithmenos hates light and fire and wants to cover the world in darkness. Despite being one of the gods who rewards killing, Dithmenos is not actually tagged as "evil" by the game.
Dark Messiah: Hill Orc Priests of Beogh play this trope very straight. Beogh is an evil god who rewards killing, is stated to advocate the extermination or enslavement of non-orcs, and is generally kind of a Jerkass. Worship him yourself and you'll be subjected to gushing praise by most of the orcs you come across who consider you their savior. There's a reason the priest of Beogh is nicknamed "Orc Jesus."
Also worth mentioning is the enemy counterpart to the Hill Orc Priest, Saint Roka - a unique enemy cave orc. He has the same powers as a player priest of Beogh, including the ability to walk on water and a herd of adoring orcish followers who will lay down their lives for him. Worth noting is that, if the player character is a Hill Orc Priest of Beogh and has a high enough piety there's a chance that they can even convert Saint Roka himself into one of their followers.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: Zombies and skeletons are vulnerable to this, since they can't regenerate; you can hit them a bunch of times, escape, heal up, hit them some more until they die. This doesn't work on most other enemies because they heal over time.
Also present with deep dwarves. Even with their innate damage-reducing ability, it can still fall under Blessed with Suck for player characters.
Debug Room: Wizard mode, which gives you pretty much full control over your character and the game world.
Destroyable Items: Prior to version 0.15. Scrolls were vulnerable to fire damage, potions could be shattered by cold, and food could be ruined by giant spores or eaten by harpies. Other equipment couldn't be destroyed, but acidic attacks could render them basically useless.
Nowadays, only acid can still harm your equipment, and the degradation is only temporary.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Kill the Royal Jelly without being a worshiper of Jiyva? Congratulations, you've committed deicide. Jiyva is removed from the game and all of his altars disappear.
Difficulty Levels: Winning with a Spriggan Enchanter worshiping Nemelex is pretty easy, but playing some races (Mummies, Ogres, Demigods) is, by design, much more difficult than others (Vampires, Trolls, Humans). There also is a "Wanderer" class, which starts you with a pitifully low level in a few skills chosen completely at random. Play a mummy wanderer who worships Xom and... well, at least your quick death might be funny.
Divine Intervention: All the good gods will occasionally protect you from damage that would have killed you. It's not a reliable way to escape death, though - at most it buys you one more turn.
The orc god Beogh will do the same thing for players who follow him, but unlike the good gods, the protection is revoked if you're under penance.
Elyvilon, The god of pacifism and healing, has a more reliable version that will always block fatal damage for a short time but will greatly reduce your piety each time it activates.
Disintegrator Ray: The wand of disintegration, which used to make monsters vaporize, and now makes them explode. Until version 0.15, it was especially good against brittle monsters like statues.
Doppelgänger Spin: Rakshasas (and the unique rakshasa Mara) can do this; once they start blinking all over the place, it becomes almost impossible to tell which one was the original.
Down the Drain: The Sewers, an early side area filled with green water and lots of poisonous enemies.
Draconic Humanoid: One of the playable species is Draconians, who start out in an immature brown form, but after reaching a certain level change into a random color and gain a corresponding Breath Weapon. They have wings, but they aren't big enough for them to fly (unless they gain a special mutation).
Dual Boss: Dowan and Duvessa, the elf twins! Dowan is a Squishy Wizard and Duvessa is a nimble warrior. If you find one twin, the other is sure to be on the same dungeon level somewhere. They also have Twin Telepathy, so if you kill one of them, the other one gets stronger. (Duvessa goes berserk while Dowan gains several extremely powerful spells and gets auto-hasted as soon as he sees you.)
Dual Wielding: The player can only wield one weapon at a time. However, some monsters, notably two-headed ogres and ettins, are capable of this.
The source code for Linley's Dungeon Crawl shows a mutation that was never implemented: "Your chest, abdomen and neck are covered in intricate, arcane blue/green writing". Supposedly, it would be given by an unknown evil god when a character converted to its religion.
The unique specter Terpsichore was briefly considered for inclusion in 0.8 of Stone Soup; her one gimmick was a spell that caused every weapon within line of sight to animate and attack the player. Ultimately it was decided that she wouldn't work, as her power was too unbalanced. (If there weren't any weapons nearby for her to animate she was defenseless and would be nothing more than easy EXP, but if there were more than one or two weapon nearby she would slaughter the player in seconds.) As a result she was first dummied out and later removed entirely.
This has since occurred with other creatures, like polymoths or chaos butterflies.
Waaaay back when the game was still Linley's Dungeon Crawl, before the introduction of gods, there was a Holy spell school which included such spell effects as healing, smiting, curing status effects, and restoring drained stats. When gods were introduced the spells were dummied out and their effects given to other things. Smiting, healing, and status curing became abilities given by the good gods and stat restoration was relegated to a potion effect only. The only Holy spell which remains is Cure Poison, though it's now a part of the Poison spell school.
Dungeon Bypass: Often necessary. Sometimes the only way to escape a monster is to run for the stairs to the next level. You can generally go back, though.
Formicids can dig a hole in the floor, which they can use to escape from dangerous enemies. Of course, you might dig your way down into the middle of a group of even more dangerous enemies...
Dying Curse: Enemy mummies do this. Basic mummies will curse a random item in your inventory. More advanced mummies will torment you, hit you with pain spells, rot your flesh, drain your stats, or summon shadows or demons. This is a big part of what makes the Tomb of the Ancients so maddeningly difficult.
The infamous Sigmund can show up as early as the second floor. When most players are still using robes and daggers Sigmund can bring invisibility, confusion, flame spells, and a massive stat-boosted scythe to the party. Get used to him being the last thing you see. Or don't see, as the case may be.
Grinder, a minor demon with a reliable paralysing spell and a bunch of elemental and status resistances (most notably to Mephitic Cloud, a popular early-game spell) who can show up as early as the third floor.
Abominations, unsurprisingly, which are so weird that the game can't even attempt to describe some of them. One of them, the aptly named "unseen horror" is naturally invisible to most beings; it's only if you have supernatural sight that you find out it's an abomination at all.
There is also a spell, Malign Gateway, that opens a portal to a dimension supposedly populated by these. Luckily, whatever abomination lurks on the other side can only reach its massive tentacle through the portal.
Lugonu, God of the Abyss, as well. Not only does Lugonu grant followers powers to corrupt the fabric of space itself, as of 0.12 both Lugonu and the Abyss lose the generic demonic motif in favor of a chaotic/cosmic horror motif.
Elemental Baggage: Elementalists have this with their summoning and transmutation spells: you cannot summon an elemental without a quantity of the element to form it from, which as the game notes, is not a problem for air or earth, but can be somewhat difficult for water and fire. The same goes for some transmutation spells - the spell Sandblast transmutes a stone into a blast of rock shards, although it also works (but less effectively) with the ambient grit in the dungeon. The exception to Elemental Baggage is conjuration spells, since these explicitly conjure things out of nothing, so they can make fireballs without needing any element to start from.
Elemental Powers: Crawl has three of the classical elements: Air, Earth, and Fire.
In one of the game's few plot points, Water magic has been largely forgotten, replaced by Ice. Water elementals do still exist, and if one travels to the Shoals they'll find a few practitioners of water magic: the merfolk aquamancers and the unique merfolk water witch Ilsuiw.
Followers of Qazlal Stormbringer gain various powers such as summoning elementals, blasting anything in sight with a random element, and the joys of being surrounded by an ever-raging tempest. Just don't expect to sneak up on anything.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Played straight. Ice and Fire are opposites, Earth and Air are opposites. Fire hurts ice monsters and vice versa. Equipment enhancing Air magic hinders Earth magic, and vice versa.
Spells and abilities that are supposed to summon friendly allies can potentially do the opposite.
Evil Is Easy: Played straight with the gods. Good gods hold their followers to much higher standards compared to evil gods. All of the good gods have long laundry lists of things that they dislike. Compare this to the evil gods who generally have only one or two specific Berserk Buttons at most. Three of the five evil gods don't even have that: Lugonu and Mahkleb couldn't really care less what you do as long as you kill and sacrifice corpses in their name, and Kikubaaqudgha doesn't even demand corpses.
They say that the Orb of Zot exists deep, deep down but no one ever got to it.
Extreme Omnivore: Jellies. They eat any item they touch, except stones. This also means that they eat anything you throw or fire at them. AND it heals them. You'd better hope those arrows you're wasting are doing more damage than the jelly is gaining from eating them.
The Fair Folk: While the elves in the game are clearly Tolkienian, there is a spriggan race (based on the mythological Cornish fairy of the same name) that keeps all its fair-folk features. Most notably the lack of wings.
Fallen Angel: Profane Servitors, ex-Angels/Daevas corrupted by Yredelemnul, are much stronger than regular Angels and come with an aura that shields everything that tries to kill you. They're also immune to holy damage. Worshiping Yredelemnul only protects you from the aura.
Beogh, god of the orcs, does not accept worship from non-orcs, seeing them as inferior.
The "good" gods (The Shining One, Zin, and Elyvilon) do not accept undead or demonspawn due to seeing them as Always Chaotic Evil, and Fedhas Madash, god of plants, fungi, and decay, does not accept the undead because their existence goes against the natural order. Similarly, each of these deities will instantly excommunicate a player that uses the Necromutation spell to become undead.
Yredelemnul, the god of undeath, does not accept worship from gargoyles on the grounds that they're not entirely alive and therefore can never die or become undead. Other races face excommunication from Yredelemnul if they use the Statue Form spell.
Dithmenos, the god of shadows and darkness; it was stated that if the lava orc race was ever introduced officially into the game, Dithmenos would refuse service from them on the grounds that the light they give off when Wreathed in Flames is offensive.
Demigods, due to their divine heritage, are prevented from worshiping any of the gods.
Faustian Rebellion: It is entirely possible to abandon your god if you no longer find them useful, and/or to choose a new god. This will usually make the god you abandoned angry at you; however, it is also entirely possible to survive their wrath until it runs out. Doing this with one of the Gods of Undeath is an explicit part of one strategy guide for a Mummy Wizard.
Featureless Protagonist: You get to choose your name, race, class, maybe a starting weapon, and that's about it. Crawl never asks the player to supply a gender or any other personalising details. Indeed, for the more average humanoid races, the in-game description of them is "You are rather mundane." The non-ASCII version of Crawl does have the ability to create a Virtual Paper Doll, however, accessed by pressing the "-" key.
Fighter, Mage, Thief: Crawl divides all the character classes in five different groups - but there is great variation within each (except maybe Adventurer):
Fighter - Includes anything with focus on plain combat, from heavily armored warriors to Bare Fisted Monks and stealthy assassins.
Zealot - Includes every class that starts out with a religion: healers, berserkers, death knights, chaos knights, and abyssal knights.
Warrior-mage - Includes combat-oriented magic classes, such as weapon-enchanting skalds, voluntary shapeshifter transmuters, and arcane marksmen.
Mage - Includes the generic spellcaster class wizard as well as several more specialized mages.
Adventurer - Includes only two classes, the device user class artificer and the randomized wanderer.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: Present in Fire, Ice, and Air magic spells, respectively. There's also Earth magic, but that tends to be pure physical or Non-Elemental damage. Weapons can also have flaming, freezing, or electrocution brands (among others).
Fish out of Water: Most obviously applies to merfolk (semi-literally; they can get by just as well on land as in water), but the game makes a small plot point of some of the player species being unsuited for a dungeon (since they enter it from ground level). For example, the only playable orc species is the hill orc, while all the ones in the dungeon are cave orcs.
A more literal example: With Fedhas Madash's sunlight ability, you can dry up the pools of water you find in the dungeon, possibly resulting in literal fish out of water.
Flaming Sword: Flaming is a brand some weapons can have, including swords. These weapons are quite helpful against hydras, since they prevent them from re-growing their heads.
Flaming scimitars in particular are the signature weapon of efreets, Azrael (a unique efreet), and Erica (a unique human spellcaster).
Forged by the Gods: Some of the gods give you gifts, which are normally highly enchanted or artifact weapons. Occasionally subverted, as the gifts aren't always special in any way.
Xom, God of Chaos, particularly enjoys giving you useless items. And the few times they aren't useless, there are other tricks, like giving you items that would be useful under different circumstances (rings when you can't remove your gloves, boots when your feet have been mutated into talons, etc). Sometimes Xom will even give you an item, then immediately animate it and have it try to kill you. Xom is kind of a jerk.
Spriggans can move much faster than any other characters, but they only get about half the already low amount of HP other characters can get. However, they can also gain Evocations skill insanely quickly (ability to use magic items,) and a Spriggan with some legendary decks of summoning gifted by Nemelex Xobeh is one of the most powerful character builds in the late game.
Felids have even fewer hit points than spriggans and wear no armour at all, but also run slightly faster than most enemies.
Kobolds and Halflings don't run faster than standard characters, but they do have slightly reduced hit points and very good dodging aptitudes, and are encouraged to use the weapon school with the smallest attack delay.
Friend to All Living Things: The healer class has the ability to pacify monsters, turning them neutral (which, for some reason, doesn't ACTUALLY turn them friendly, just neutral: they'll still attack if you're in their way. They'll also attack hostile monsters, which you can sometimes exploit.)
Ironically, since Elyvilon dislikes seeing allies die and many summon spells (and all necromancy) are "evil", healers are among the least likely characters to actually have allies.
Frogs and Toads: They make appearances as regular enemies and aren't that easy, either; the spiny frog can be very dangerous for players who aren't expecting it. Blink frogs come in packs and, as the name suggests, can blink (short-range teleport). There's even a blink frog unique, Prince Ribbit (who’s technically a human in frog form, and even leaves a human corpse when you squish him, but he still counts.)
Funny Animal: Averted with Felids, a playable race of sentient cats, who lack both humanoid body structure and hands, making them unique among playable characters as being unable to use wands, weapons, thrown items, or even items like robes and hats which otherwise fit everyone.
The Gambler: Followers of Nemelex Xobeh gain several powerful card-related abilities.
Gameplay Automation: As a part of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup's design philosophy, the game features several examples of automating tedious actions:
Fast travel to dungeon branches, shops, altars or player-set waypoints
Automated travel exclusions and level annotations to remind the player of possibly dangerous or important things
Automated equipment shuffling - in contrast to NetHack where changing one's armor requires several commands to remove the old armor pieces first, Crawl automatically removes any armor that needs to be taken off for the change and re-equips cloaks and such afterwards.
Garden of Evil: Oklob plants form these. They are large plants that spit acid at the player with stunning accuracy. Staying in one's range for too long is going to hurt both the player character and their precious equipment.
Worshipers of Fehdas Madash can plant said Oklob plants, turning the game into a turn based strategy game.
Gender Neutral Writing: The gods in the game are supposed to be beyond gender, and thus it's wrong to refer to them as male or female. Therefore, on the god description screens, there are no mentions of gender, even though fanon tends to refer to Lugonu, Elyvilon, and Sif Muna as female, and the rest as male. Also applies to monsters, although there it’s more due to convenience than any in-game reason.
The randomly-found Genie card in some of the magical decks of cards is a somewhat straighter example. Half the time, drawing said card will grant you a special item from a choice of several categories. The rest of the time, it'll reduce your stats.
Genius Bruiser: The ogre-mage is an ogre which, unlike most ogres which only know how to hit people with heavy weapons, is intelligent enough to use magic. Player ogres are something between standard ogres and ogre-mages - they are moderate at both hitting and casting. A second example of this would be fighting characters who have learned magical skill.
Green Thumb: Worshippers of Fedhas, god of plants, can move past plants, cause corpses to decompose into mushrooms, and cause plants to grow.
Glass Cannon: Many player characters are these, but the specifics vary:
Tengu are a bird-people race that has excellent aptitudes for combat skills but very low hit points.
Spellcasters are typically these - many spells are extremely powerful but spellcasters themselves tend to have lower hit points than melee characters and (due to spell failure chance) rarely wear much armor.
Ogres, both NPCs and player characters. They hit hard and have some natural protection, but can't wear most armor and aren't very good dodgers due to their size, rendering them very vulnerable against stronger enemies.
Gods Need Prayer Badly: The gods in Crawl only exist as long as people believe in them. Most gods don't have a problem - they have plenty of followers. However, Jiyva is special in that most of its followers are slimes, which are unintelligent and thus their belief isn't worth much. Its only major intelligent follower is the royal jelly, which is an enemy in the game and which can be killed. If the royal jelly is killed and the player is not a follower of Jiyva, then nobody is left to believe in Jiyva and the god stops existing.
God of Evil: Some of the gods are described by the game as evil. Whether the gods themselves agree is unknown.
There is a gameplay factor to this. The good gods are very lenient about punishment; even if you upset them (through deprecated acts or abandonment), they still only place you into "penance", which just means you need to perform appreciated acts to get back in their good graces. They will only seek retribution if you start following an evil god later.
The god Yredelemnul in particular seems to enjoy being casted as an inverse to the Gods of Good. Like the three good gods, Yredelemnul has a long list of deprecated acts; in fact, Yredelemnul is the only non-good god who has a condition for instant excommunication. Yredelemnul also creates Fallen Angels and will even grant you some of them as servants.
God of Good: There's three of them, and each of them represents a different aspect of goodness. The Shining One represents the righteous struggle against evil, Zin represents discipline and the rule of law, and Elyvilon represents healing and compassion.
Good Hurts Evil: Reciting Zin's scriptures in front of evil creatures (like demons or the undead) often results in this. Also applies to weapons of Holy Wrath, which are blessed by The Shining One to cause more damage to said evil creatures.
Gradual Regeneration: Mostly played straight - as in most Roguelikes, characters in Dungeon Crawl regenerate their hit points and magic points over time. Different races also regenerate at different rates: trolls, for example, heal very fast while ghouls heal very slowly. Deep dwarves won't heal on their own at all. Vampires change rate based on their thirst and also won't regenerate at all at the "bloodless" thirst level.
The Sickness status condition also knocks out your natural regeneration for a while. It's generally a good idea to wait for it to wear off before you start exploring again.
Hammerspace: Crawl has the typical Roguelike variety: the player can carry anything they find up until they fill all 52 item slots. Because each stack of items takes only one item slot, 20 javelins take just as much room as a single dart.
Prior to version 0.15, items also had weight, giving flimsier characters an extra limit on their carrying capacity.
Healing Factor: Trolls, Vine Stalkers, and satiated Vampires heal extremely fast, as does anyone with troll leather armor, ring of regeneration or the regeneration spell. Each of these has the drawback of speeding up one's metabolism significantly.
Healing Potion: Crawl uses two kinds of healing potion; potions of curing heal only a small amount of HP, but will cure you of any negative status effects. The other type, potions of heal wounds, offer a much larger chunk of pure hit-point healing.
The latter is also available in the form of a wand of heal wounds. More favored than potions because they cannot be destroyed, but exceedingly rare and difficult to recharge.
Hellfire: Available to some demons and demonspawn. Even nastier than regular fire, as it's not subject to fire resistance (or just about any other kind of resistance, for that matter).
Holy Halo: The Shining One's followers eventually receive one. It serves several purposes: monsters inside the halo are easier to hit, invisible creatures turn visible and your stealth is crippled (which isn't that bad, given that The Shining One dislikes stealth attacks anyway). Holy NPCs such as angels have similar halos.
Inverted with Profane Servitors. Their dark aura hides other monsters from you, though you can cancel it out with your own halo.
Holy Hand Grenade: The Holy Word spell can be granted by scroll, or by some of the powers of Zin and The Shining One, two of the good gods. It causes huge damage to all unholy monsters, and slows and scares them.
Pre 0.6 Cleansing Flame was essentially this, allowing devout TSO worshipers to hurl balls of positive energy over a long distance. Averted that Cleansing Flame does little damage to beast type monsters, including the original HHG's intended target.
Human Sacrifice: Several temple designs of evil gods feature these. And of course, the gods who like corpse sacrifices aren't averse to human corpses either.
Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Abyss is a plane of chaos, with no recognizable structure, and full of demons and Eldritch Abominations . It's a VERY dangerous place to be. It's not established whether it is Crawl's 'hyperspace' dimension, but it is associated with translocation as miscasted teleportation spells and distortion weapons can send you there. It's also the place where the evil god Lugonu the Unformed lives; altars to Lugonu are scattered about and are the easiest way to escape if you don't mind the wrath of your former deity (if applicable). Followers of Lugonu can get the ability to jump in and out of the abyss at will. Banished monsters also end up here.
Hypno Ray: The wand of enslavement, or the spell Enslavement, tries to turn any susceptible monster into your willing slave, who you can then give a small set of commands. One useful command is 'Wait here', since if the monster happens to be a dangerous one, you probably don't want to be around when the enchantment wears off...
I Am A Humanitarian: If you manage to find and kill a human enemy (for example, many of the uniques) there's nothing stopping you from chopping them up and chowing down except the minor threat of disease. Non-human races can often find their own species to cannibalize wandering around the dungeon as well. Incidentally, cannibalism is a really good way to piss off all three of the good gods as well as the Orc God, Beogh.
Felids have the dubious honor of being the only race with the ability to self-cannibalize. Their extra lives revive them elsewhere on the level when they die, and if you go back to where you were killed, you can find your own corpse. And then eat it.
Infinity+1 Sword: The Axe of Woe, which is only available in the Dungeon Sprint map "Arena of Blood" (aka Meatsprint), is a literal infinity-powered weapon. It gives you +∞ to accuracy and +∞ to damage, which combined with the cleaving ability of axes means that one swing kills every adjacent enemy instantly. Somehow the map still manages to be a challenge in spite of this - it is stillCrawlafter all.
Largely averted in the main game, thanks to randomly generated artifact weapons. Even among the non-random artifacts, weapons tend to be very well balanced with the "best" weapons being largely a matter of your own play style, the current situation, and the type of character you're playing.
What's more, there are scrolls of enchant weapon which allow you to permanently increase the abilities of your currently wielded (non-artifact) weapon. The only downside is that the player can't get some of the more exotic abilities that artifacts can get, like the ability to turn invisible, raise enemies slain by the weapon as zombies, etc. As a result any player-enchanted weapon is more likely to end up as an Infinity–1 Sword.
Informed Attribute: A few of the unique enemies have little bits in their descriptions which are interesting but don't come up in dialogue or combat. The fact that it's only informed is often justified as there's not much opportunity to witness these traits while in combat.
Edmund is a human unique stated to have a canny head for money. This is supposedly reflected in the fact that he always spawns with a highly enchanted flail, but there are no other signs of it. (He doesn't drop much money, for example.)
Edmund's brother Sigmund is stated to have "delusions of greatness" which never come up in his dialogue.
Grinder the shadow imp is described as having the Informed Flaw of being inefficient. There's little inefficient about him, however - his battle strategy of "paralyze enemy, then spam pain spells until they die" is very efficient and effective indeed.
Jessica is described as being an apprentice sorceress, which (by the real-world definition of the term "apprentice") means she should be studying under a master sorcerer. Instead she is found wandering the dungeon alone, with the existence of a teacher never even so much as hinted at in her dialogue.
Maud's description states: "Countless have been the admirers who, thinking about Maud, forgot everything else." This is a reference to NetHack, as well as Alfred, Lord Tennyson, but this characteristic has no gameplay effect at all.
Urug the orc mercenary has a supposed hatred of harpies as a harpy took out one of his eyes, and according to his description he attacks the player after mistaking the player for a harpy. This is not reflected in his dialogue at all.
An odd example: Ilsuiw the mermaid water witch is described as using her beauty to lure enemies to a watery grave. Normal mermaids do have this as an ability, they can entrance the player making it impossible to move away and having a chance of making the player walk toward them, possibly into deep water. Ilsuiw, however, does not have this ability, making this a case of Informed Ability.
Invisible Monsters: Unseen horrors are naturally invisible. And horrible. Several spellcasters can turn invisible temporarily, but you could walk right into an unseen horror while it is asleep without seeing it.
Fortunately, there are ways to see invisible creatures — certain races can see invisible on their own (Felids, Nagas, Spriggans, and Vampires), and others can use a ring, enchanted hat, or random artifact (though such equipment is often quite rare). Alternatively, you can use a divine halo, force them to move into something that would be displaced (like fog or water), or just set them on fire.
It Amused Me: The modus operandi of Xom, God of Chaos. Xom sees worshipers as toys; indeed, Toy is one of the official titles that can be given to a Xom worshiper, along with Plaything and Teddy Bear. One moment Xom might give you super strength, and the next moment Xom will summon a bunch of monsters to kill you.
Xom is usually randomly doing good and bad things. Once Xom gets bored, forget about the good part. Unfortunately, Xom's interests range from "watching player use random and potentially dangerous item in difficult combat" to "watching player's flesh rot off". Xom is almost always amused with followers dying.
Really, Xom could be seen as a subversion. Xom is a Mad God who does whatever, but it's not because Xom hates you. Even if Xom becomes bored beyond belief, Xom will still happily accept you back as a favorite toy if you start to be entertaining again.
Averted by most other gods. No matter how much a god may dislike you doing something (drinking blood for the good gods, destroying plant life for Fedhas Madash, etc), they'll usually give you a pass if it was an accident. This is rarer in Roguelikes than you'd think.
Fedhas, the god of plants, will always be pleased by your contribution to the ecosystem...when you die.
Most of the gods have little things like this. For example, dying while worshipping the god of death Yredelemnul results in you becoming a zombie.
Contrary to what the term "evil" might imply, the dark gods generally avert this - so long as you make regular sacrifices to them and don't go apostate, they'll shower you with gifts.
Joke Character: A literal example: for the week following 2013's April Fool's Day, the developers introduced a new class into the playable beta version of the next release. Jesters spawn in with a jester cap, quarterstaff of chaos, and a stack of cream pies that can either be eaten or be thrown at foes to blind them.
Katanas Are Just Better: Crawl seems to agree. Prior to 0.9 katanas were the second best one-handed long blades in the game, just under demon swords. As of 0.9, however, the only katana left in the game is an artifact weapon called the Autumn Katana. Granted, the Autumn Katana is still a damn good sword...
Kill It with Fire: Recommended if you're going to try to fight a hydra with a bladed weapon. A Flaming Sword will stop the hydra from growing more heads. Also a good way to kill ice- or plant-based monsters.
Certain player characters may gain the ability to breathe fire via mutations, spells or racial abilities (Red Draconians, for example). Demonspawns may obtain a racial mutation that allows them to hurl hellfire.
Almost every spell in the Fire Magic school is designed as an offensive conjuration spell, except for two spells that are used defensively, and even those can still be used to deal heavy amounts of damage. So, basically, if you're using Fire Magic, you don't have many options besides using it to kill stuff.
Kill It with Ice: On the flip side of using fire. Ice tends to be useful against fiery opponents; cold damage has the added advantage of slowing down cold-blooded foes, which includes most reptilian creatures.
Kung-Fu Wizard: Transmuters get levels in unarmed combat, making them surprisingly good brawlers. This is to encourage them to use shape-shifting spells; in most non-human forms, unarmed combat is the only type of combat possible.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: The scroll of amnesia is a precision tool that allows you to forget one arbitrary memorized spell. The same effect is offered by the wizard god Sif Muna.
Leaking Can of Evil: Although not evil, Ashenzari is in a VERY leaky can. Ashenzari was purposely and permanently bound and nailed to the sky by an unknown force in ancient times, yet despite this the god is still capable of receiving followers and granting powers. In fact, this seems to be almost more of a blessing, since it has made Ashenzari practically omniscient; being nailed to the sky means the god can see everything that happens on the entire planet.
Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: The Shining One demands this of any followers. In practice, this means that the character worhipping The Shining One is punished for using poison or stealth. These restrictions are lifted against evil and non-intelligent creatures, though even then dark magic and necromancy are not permitted.
Level Drain: Draining, an attack type used by various kinds of undead as well as certain types of Black Magic, used to work this way. As of version 0.13, instead of draining your experience, draining temporarily reduces your skills, making you weaker. You can get your skill points back by gaining more experience.
Rakshasas used to lack life meters thanks to their skill with illusions, allowing them to mask their physical condition and making it harder to tell which one is real when they started spawning copies of themselves.
Light Is Not Good: Holy beings such as angels are just as bloodthirsty as demons. Even if you're not actually evil they'll still attack you on sight with intent to kill and, given how powerful they tend to be, they'll probably succeed at that goal. You can't sneak past them either, thanks to their glowing halo which will illuminate you and make you easy to spot. And if you do manage to kill one of them your reward is a blast of holy fire courtesy of their god, The Shining One. That's right. You get smote with holy fire... for defending yourself.
The only characters safe from attacks by angels, daevas, and other holy monsters are followers of the three good gods, and even then it only works if your piety is high enough and the being in question isn't having a bad day. What's more, even on the off chance an angel does decide you deserve to live they'll still only become neutral, not friendly, meaning they'll still attack you if you're in their way.
As of 0.15, even followers of the good gods are no longer safe from attacks by holy monsters. On the plus side, killing holy monsters no longer gets you smote by The Shining One either.
Vehumet is titled the Radiant. The light in this case is from destructive magic. He doesn't care what you destroy so long as you do it.
A Load of Bull: Minotaurs are present in the game, both as monsters and as a playable species. They're good at melee and ranged combat but suck at using magic. In older versions, they were also better at mapping out the Labyrinth side levels than any other race.
The Lost Woods: The Enchanted Forest side-area, which was considered for addition in 0.14, was going to be this - a long and twisting "dark woods" full of spriggans and other fey.
Luck-Based Mission: Contrary to what the page quote says, and while Crawl is admittedly not as bad about it as some roguelikes, it is entirely likely that many of your deaths will be simple bad luck. For example, running into a centaur away from nearby cover without either Repel Missiles or a scroll of teleportation can easily result in death for a low-level character. Your best bet is to charge headlong at the centaur (since they're much less dangerous in melee range); if you don't get there in time, you're just dead. Period.
Another example is running into multiple orc priests, one of the first enemies capable of smiting you (which does unavoidable, irresistible damage). If you can't get away in time, roll up a new character.
Alternately, a more light-hearted version of a luck-based mission: play a character who worships Xom, God of Chaos. It's not an issue of if Xom will get bored and kill you, but when.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Unlike a lot of roguelikes, Crawl takes this trope a little more seriously. While in most, a shield is merely considered a boost to one's armour no different from, say, chainmail or a helmet, in Crawl shields are a defensive tool. They provide no armour boost, but give the player a chance of completely blocking a hit, which increases as they increase their Shields skill. Certain magical shields can even reflect attacks back at your foes!
MacGuffin: The Orb of Zot! It's apparently so valuable that it's held deep underground in a realm which you can't even get into without magic runes, guarded by hundreds of monsters, including actual demon lords... but nobody knows what it actually does, or what its powers are.
Macro Game: The player may encounter ghosts of previous characters in the Dungeon. Ghosts have similar strengths and weaknesses as they had while alive, which includes any really nice equipment they were using when they died. This can make for some really nasty surprises for future characters, though player ghosts cannot use stairs and can therefore be skipped.
Mad God: Xom again. The god of chaos doesn't have piety levels because loyalty has no meaning to Xom, only entertainment value, and even the most entertaining follower will sometimes have bad things done to them just because Xom thinks it's funny. It does work in reverse too, though. Boring followers will still occasionally get nice things just because, and of course Xom is always willing to forgive anything you do if you start being entertaining again.
Mage Killer: Berserkers and other servants of Trog. Trog despises and hates magic, and will not only reward slaying magic users, but will also gift followers with Anti-Magic perks and weapons.
Trog also provides a nifty ability to turn spellbooks on the ground into fiery landmines. Trog "roars with delight" whenever you use this ability.
Weapons of antimagic are useful tools for mage killers, as each hit gives an enemy caster an increasing chance to flub their spells. The artifact weapon Spellbinder is even better for this, as it also grants you resistance to hostile enchantments and causes your foes to experience spell miscasts.
Magic Knight: Skalds start with skills in the melee weapon of their choice and self-buff spells. Reavers get (well, got; they were de-implemented after 0.8) blasting spells instead. Transmuters frequently shapeshift and beat monsters down with their newfound natural weapons.
Worshipping Makhleb allows throwing around destructive blasts of power and summoning demons without having to worry about spell failure from heavy armor, though the demons may decide to eat your face instead of your enemy's.
Qazlal Stormbringer is similar to Makhleb; instead of demons, worshipers can summon elementals, and instead of beams and healing after kills, they can shoot smite-targeted bursts and are surrounded by a storm dealing passive damage.
Magic Pants: Clothing merges into a shapeshifted player's new form.
Magic Misfire: Of every shape and color. They range from harmless (an ice mage getting a bit frosty, an enchanter making the dirt glow) to Yet Another Stupid Death (a necromancer rotting from the inside out, a translocator getting stuck in the Abyss). Even minor failures can become dangerous as magical contamination builds up in the caster, ending in a violent terminus for those too desperate or stupid to stop casting.
Magic Wand: Crawl does have a number of magic wands, but these in fact more closely fit the Boom Stick trope. Instead it's actually the magical staves that are Magic Wands; for example, the staff of channeling allows the player to regenerate their magic points, the staff of wizardry makes it easier to cast spells, and there are staves for most of the schools of magic that boost the power of spells in those schools.
Magikarp Power: Nagas have a very weak start; they're slower than almost everything else, any armor they equip gets the base AC values halved due to their oddly-shaped body, and they don't have any special abilities aside from the ability to spit poison, which takes several turns to recharge and can miss. Give them a few levels, however, and they develop stealth bonuses on par with spriggans, hefty innate AC boosts, auxilary constriction attacks, a boosted HP pool, above-average magic resistance, access to naga bardings, bonuses to shield usage, and innate poison resistance and see invisible.
Mana Drain: The eye of draining can drain your mana from a distance, which heals it.
This is the basis of antimagic weaponry — getting hit with an antimagic weapon saps your MP, and using one yourself reduces your maximum MP to about a third of its normal value.
Mana Shield: Guardian spirits (present in amulets and some pieces of magical armor) protect you from harm but consume your magic points in doing so. The Vine Stalker race have an intrinsic Mana Shield which ties in well with their magic-draining bite.
Man on Fire: Crawl has a Sticky Flame spell which covers an enemy in sticky, burning liquid. The mottled dragon (and mottled draconian, which you can be if you're lucky with draconian maturation) can also breathe sticky flames.
Flaming Corpses are literal men on fire; more precisely, they're the reanimated remains of people who burned to death. They exist only to set other things ablaze — namely you. And they run faster than you unless you're playing a fast race like a centaur or a spriggan.
Massive Race Selection: The latest version has 26 playable species, most with odd natural abilities/disadvantages (the large races, for example, cannot wear most of the armour in the game).
Master Poisoner: Venom Mages, a playable class that focuses on Poison magic.
Also Olgreb, a legendary mage who is referenced by some spells and artifacts named after him. Said spells and artifacts are potent enough to be able to overcome poison resistance in monsters.
The rotting status will gradually reduce your character's maximum HP while in effect. You can repair small amounts of rot by using healing potions or wands while at full HP. Ghoul characters can also restore rotted HP by eating meat (preferably rotten), which helps offset the innate decay they suffer from. Then there's the spell called Borgnjor's Revivification, which fully heals you at the cost of permanently reducing your maximum HP.
Crawl also has Maximum MP Damage, though only two character races have to worry about it; deep dwarves and mummies both have emergency abilities that require you to sacrifice one point of MP. Deep dwarves can use their ability to recharge magical devices (like a wand of healing), whereas mummies can instantly restore their stats and some rotted HP.
The Maze: One of Dungeon Crawl's occasionally generated optional challenge levels, the Labyrinth features tight corridors that cannot be permanently mapped and that also occasionally shift. There are no enemies save for rare occurrances of hungry ghosts and the minotaur who guards the exit. The real challenge is finding the way out before starving to death, but successful players are rewarded with a bunch of reasonably good items.
A tip for traveling through a Labyrinth: the closer you get to the center, the stronger the walls will become. Ergo, when you start seeing stone and metal walls, you're getting closer.
As a Shout-Out to the Greek myth, Minotaur characters used to be able to map out more of a Labyrinth than any other race.
Mercy Rewarded: Elyvilon likes it when you pacify monsters instead of slaughtering them, although the player isn't punished for fighting. (Unless you kill something while praying for divine protection, which could be justified as it makes you kind of a hypocrite.)
Cheibrados is the god of this. He reduces your movement speed to the point where moving in combat is extremely dangerous (as everything attacking you will get in several free hits), but he greatly enhances your stats and grants extremely powerful active abilities.
Nagas move slower than most enemies, in a game where movement speed is very important, but get bonus hit points, bonus AC as they level, an innate constriction attack and free poison resistance. So they'll probably survive all those fights they should've been running from much better than the same class of human would have.
Among enemies this is the norm for anything slower than you.
Mirror Boss: What makes the unique rakshasa Mara so dangerous. He has the ability to create an exact copy of anything within his line of sight, and most of the time, that'll be you. Fortunately, he can only create one such copy of a given creature at a time; you can make your copy somewhat more managable by wielding something completely unsuitable as a weapon and/or wearing inferior equipment, but it won't do anything to your copy's spellcasting ability. Once your copy is out, you can switch back to your normal gear and commence battling as usual.
Really, though, the best way to deal with Mara is to kill him as quickly as possible, if you decide not to avoid him entirely. You can always run away from your copy once he's dead.
Mook Chivalry: Averted. Smarter monsters will make room for their mates so they can more easily gang up on you. If you enforce this by luring them into a narrow corridor, they will try to round a corner to get at you.
Mother Nature: Fedhas Madash, god of plants and nature. Is a rare example of a plant-based nature god who is NOT overtly feminine, though this is due in large part to the intentional gender-neutral status of Crawl deities.
Multi-Melee Master: Crawl's skill system allows you to train and gain experience with any weapon, so it's possible to master several weapons at once. Further, crosstraining lets players use weapons of a similar type (i.e. Short blades compared to Long blades) as if they had a fraction of the experience from the main weapon type, giving characters even more flexibility.
In addition to being one of the classic tricks of necromancy, the spell Animate Skeleton is also a neat hands-free way of butchering meat, though this was much more useful back when cursed blunt weapons prevented you from butchering corpses. In fact, Ashenzari's altars typically had a spellbook with Animate Skeleton near them precisely to allow bound servants to butcher corpses.
Transforming oneself into a giant ice beast is very effective against monsters not resistant to cold. However, transmuters can also use the spell to cross ponds of water with ease. Said ice beast also happens to be resistant to poison, making it useful for eating poisonous corpses, and it can even butcher corpses bare-handed (which, again, is less significant now that you don't need a free hand to butcher).
Nerfing: This tends to happen between versions. The most obvious nerf is for Summoners, who can summon monsters to kill for them; the rule is that any monster killed by a player's summon is worth only half the experience it would be otherwise.
In particular, the devs like to nerf anything that's considered obviously better than any other choice and ends up being used regardless of your play style. The halving of extra damage done by vorpal weapons and removal of the "Detect Creatures" spell fall into this category, as did the removal of the "Tomb of Doroklohe" spell in the first Stone Soup versions.
Nemean Skinning: You can do this to various creatures in Dungeon Crawl. Things like yaks and elephants will just give you plain ol' animal skins, but chopping up trolls and dragons gets you better-quality hides. Of course, you still have to enchant said hides in order to make worthwhile armor out of them (after all, you don't have the time or the equipment to craft armor the old-fashioned way).
Nintendo Hard: This game is going to kill you, and when you make a new character, the ghost of your dead character is going to try to kill him.
Vampire Stalkers, which are vampire wizard assassins. From the start of their career.
Transmuters, which are mad-scientist-flavored shapeshifting kung fu wizards.
Nitro Boost: The Haste effect, which can be applied by either a potion or a spell.
Nominal Importance: The unique enemies have names, and when you see one you know you're in for a more difficult battle than normal. As of 0.15, they even have their own titles, such as "Eustachio the Magnificent" or "Snorg the Insatiable".
The randomly generated artifacts are a slight aversion of this, since they have real-looking names, but are not guaranteed to be important, or even worth having at all. It's not uncommon to find artifacts with abysmal stats or negative attributes, and many are cursed.
As a hill orc of Beogh, your orcish followers will gain names if they survive and kill for long enough. They can still die like any other orc, but it is fuel for Video Game Caring Potential.
Non-Elemental: Crawl's normal weapons are less immediately powerful, but more versatile than elemental (branded) ones, since there are several weapon enchantment spells that won't work on already-branded weapons. Similarly, there are several elemental staves which, unlike the regular quarterstaff, have the additional problem of being impossible to enhance (they can only ever have the damage and accuracy stats of a normal staff).
Magic attacks have the same thing, with elemental spells that tend to do more damage but require two spells schools and can be resisted by many monsters (especially later in the game). Earth magic is treated as pure physical damage though, and there are also many spells which are purely Conjurations which are similarly unresistable.
Ashenzari is the God of Divination, but also of being cursed, and is happiest with you when you're covered with ClingyArtifacts of Doom.
Cheibriados is supposed to be the God of Time, but really just wants followers to take it easy and enjoy every single second. Trying to speed up insults Cheibriados, since you obviously don't appreciate things if you are moving as fast as you can.
Jiyva, the God of Slime doesn't really do a lot as a god. Jiyva just sort of squishes about and eats stuff, and only has one sentient follower (two if the player character converts at an altar).
Nemelex Xobeh is the god of Collectible Card Games. The god has some aspects of a Lady Luck style fortune deity, but these are all overshadowed by the playing card elements.
One Size Fits All: Averted. Some races are so tiny they can't wear armour at all, or wield large weapons. Some races are so huge they need enormous armour.
But played straight in the case of the many varieties of dragon armour, which magically fit on every race. This is justified, however, as dragon armour is created through the use of magic.
And robes, though one can amuse himself with mental images of a spriggan whose robe trails three feet behind him or an ogre whose robe doesn't even reach his knees.
One-Handed Zweihänder: Inverted with the smaller races - they may need two hands to hold a weapon which the larger species can hold with just one.
Played straight with Formicids, who can wield two-handed weapons as if they were one-handed, thanks to having four arms and being Strong Ants. They're still not quite strong enough for ogre-sized giant clubs, though.
One Stat to Rule Them All: Intelligence for any characters that desire any magical capabilities. The other two basic stats have little to no point unless you're a transmuter or your character is totally magic-free.
You still want to have enough points in them so they can't easily be dropped to zero or below (generally 8 is enough to survive most stat-draining situations).
1-Up: Felids get an extra life every few levels - very unusual for a roguelike, but then Felids are an unusual race.
Orphaned Game: Linley Henzell, the game's original creator, started out with regular updates but quickly got tired of the game and let it go. In Linley's own words:
Our Angels Are Different: Angels are present as monsters that are typically quite tough to deal with - especially if one is undead and relies on black magic to kill stuff. Angels and their tougher cousins Daevas are very aggressive, unless the player is a very zealous follower of a good god, in which case they'll be indifferent.
And playable! Demonspawn are a Jack of All Stats race not much unlike humans, with special mutations and the inability to worship the three good gods.
In addition to playable demonspawn, there are dozens and dozens of NPC demons ranging from minor imps to huge demon lords with unpronounceable names.
Our Dragons Are Different: But not directly playable, save for the Dragon Form spell. Draconians (human/dragon hybrids) are playable, however, and get breath weapons (of a random type) when they hit level 7 and have "matured."
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Not quite, but still playable. Deep Dwarves are tough and capable necromancers and priests, but they lack natural regeneration. The Mountain Dwarves that were present in earlier versions resembled the traditional Tolkeinian dwarves more.
Our Gargoyles Rock: And are playable! They're decent with melee combat and earth magic and have a host of natural abilities including natural weapons and armor, immunity to poison, as well as a slow metabolism and no need to breathe. They're also immune to petrification, but get larger bonuses with the Statue Form spell. On the flip side, they gain much less hit points per level then other races and are horribly vulnerable to the Lee's Rapid Deconstruction spell, which is possessed by some late-game monsters.
Our Liches Are Different: And playable - not as a race, but as a form. The player can learn the Necromutation spell which will result in a temporary transformation into a lich form. As a result, the player gains improved stats, a fairly potent draining touch and the various resistances and vulnerabilities associated with being undead. In addition, they lose the ability (and the need) to eat. There are downsides, though: you can't drink potions anymore, and if you worship one of the good gods and cast the spell you're instantly excommunicated.
Liches are also present as dangerous spellcasting foes in the lower portions of the dungeon. Even farther down, you'll start running into ancient liches, which are even worse.
Our Trolls Are Different: And playable! Their regeneration is amazingly fast, and they can eat pretty much anything... which is good, considering that their regeneration gives them a hyperactive metabolism that requires them to consume massive amounts of food.
Our Vampires Are Different: And playable! They can survive indefinitely without blood. How much they have in their system determines how "undead" they are and they need at least some blood to regenerate at all.
Oxymoronic Being: Spriggans can choose to be hunters by class, effectively being herbivorous hunters.
The Paladin: Paladin used to be a playable class, but is no longer a class after changes in version 0.8. A martial follower of the Shining One is still very paladin-like, however.
Palette Swap: Stone Soup introduces an odd variation of this: Weaker versions of an enemy are always dark ASCII colors. Stronger, but otherwise similar, enemies are the lighter shade of the same color. Also appears from time to time in the graphical "tiles" version, most notably with the different kinds of snakes.
The tiles version has gradually been attempting to move away from this; there are still examples of Palette Swap enemies (some of the canines, for example), but many previous examples (including the aforementioned snakes) don't fit anymore.
Partial Transformation: The Blade Hands and Beastly Appendage spells; the former turns the caster's hands into scythe-like blades, while the latter gives them a random temporary mutation — horns on their heads or talons on their feet.
Percent Damage Attack: The Agony spell, which knocks off the target's health unless they resist negative energy. There's also Symbol of Torment, which halves the health of everything in sight (including the caster); Torment can be fully resisted by monsters, but most players can only resist part of it (and will lose incrementally smaller fractions of health depending on how much resistance they have).
Plant People: The Vine Stalker race, which are masses of parasitic vines that have infested humanoid bodies. They are frail and cannot use healing potions, but some of the damage they take gets rerouted to their MP and they have a Healing Factor that eventually gets even stronger than Trolls'. They also have a magic-draining bite which can restore their magical reserves.
Poisoned Weapons: Quite a few. Most of the melee weapons can be venom-branded, which gives them a chance to poison enemies that they hit. The spell Poison Weapon temporarily applies this brand to your current weapon. Most of the various types of ammunition may also be poisoned as well.
Poison Is Evil: The Shining One, god of goodness and paladins, includes using poison against enemies in his long list of "thou shalt nots". That said, the Shining One doesn't consider it to be nearly as bad as, say, necromancy and will allow the use of poison against unintelligent creatures like animals and bugs, as well as against evil creatures. (Though, to be fair, the list of evil creatures is mostly undead and demons, almost all of which are immune to poison anyway.)
Poison Mushroom: This being a Roguelike, newly discovered potions are "unidenfitied" and could be anything, including poison. Or blood. Or one that starts rotting your flesh off.
At least the blood potions are always red.
Post-Victory Collapse: Once a berserker rage wears off, you are slowed and exhausted for a while and may even pass out for a couple turns. If you timed your berserk poorly, this period of vulnerability may take place mid-battle instead of after you've killed everything.
Power Floats: Tengu, a race of bird people, don't have wings, but they get the ability to magically fly at level 5, and get permanent flight at level 15.
Power Nullifier: Some weapons have the antimagic brand, which is able to prevent monsters from casting spells. The scroll of vulnerability cancels all enchantments nearby and reduces the magic resistance of everyone nearby.
The Silence spell prevents sounds from occurring within an area for a limited time, so while it doesn't actually nullify magical power, it nullifies the ability to use some magical powers, since spell words can't be spoken and scrolls can't be read. It's no good for stealth, because the unnatural silence immediately warns enemies that you're there.
Moths of suppression, which have since been Dummied Out, emitted an aura that negated any sort of magical enchantment on your items. That amazing magic Flaming Sword that let you fly and gave you resistance to electricity was just a sharp piece of metal while within said aura.
Power-Upgrading Deformation: A lot of the mutations you can get in the game are quite useful. A lot of them are also quite squicky. These two groups are not mutually exclusive.
Random Number God: Xom is a god of Chaos that grants you rewards and punishments that are largely random. Xom is also possibly the only deity in anything that literally calls itself the Random Number God. (Some of the time, at least. Xom can be referred to by several different titles, one of which is periodically chosen randomly.)
Randomly Generated Levels: Like most Roguelikes, Crawl features these. Levels are created using several different templates and are often spiced up with hand-crafted rooms with special features or monster vaults, making them even more varied than in most Roguelikes.
Rare Candy: Potions of Experience, which make you go up a level and give you a big chunk of skill points for you to distribute as you see fit.
Potions of Gain <Stat> used to be in the game, but they were replaced by Potions of Beneficial Mutation in 0.13.
There used to be an Experience card in the various magical decks, but it was removed in 0.15.
Real Time Weapon Change: It takes time to switch weapons, but fortunately, it's a pretty fast switch. Changing your equipment, though, takes a lot longer — you can still switch rings or amulets pretty quickly, but taking off or putting on armor takes 5 turns.
Religion Is Magic: There's not much difference between magic and religion (and there are gods of magic)... some religious powers even use up magic points. However, religious powers tend to be more accessible than magic, thanks to not having armor-based spell failure chance. Also, divine abilities use the Invocations skill, rather than Spellcasting.
Religious powers tend to be more costly and less versatile than magic as well. The most powerful blasting powers are only accessible to spellcasters and followers of Nemelex - god of cards - who doesn't directly grant the powers, just magical decks of cards, which can contain cards of blasting.
Religion of Evil: Since some of the gods are evil, their followers are required to be as well; some gods require you to kill as often as possible.
Required Secondary Power: If you are invisible, but can't see invisible, you're penalized for not seeing what you're doing (for example, it's harder to hit things). This makes invisibility rather less useful than many players would like.
Resurrection Sickness: Every time a felid loses a life, they respawn elsewhere on the same floor, but their level goes down by one. While this doesn't affect your skills, it does leave you with less HP and MP than you had before, and as felids are already ridiculously frail...
Retirony: According to his flavor text, the unique mercenary Harold is planning to retire with his family after pulling one last hit. Unfortunately for him, his target is you, meaning he's probably going to get mowed down with everything else in your path. You monster.
Reviving Enemy: The unique lich Boris. After you kill him, he respawns somewhere else in the dungeon.
Also present with Natasha, a unique felid. Unlike Boris, she only respawns on the same floor you found her on, and she only has three lives. Interestingly, Natasha is implied to be Boris's long-lost familiar, which makes for one of Crawl's sneakier references.
Phoenix corpses, if left alone, will spontaneously self-revive in a burst of fire. In order to get rid of it for good, you have to destroy the corpse, either through chopping it up or necromancy.
Felid characters can be this to your enemies; they gain extra lives as they level up, which allow you to come back from death and quite possibly kill whatever got you.
Rewarding Inactivity: Before the version 0.10, the three good gods used to grant piety slowly over time, in contrast to other gods who required activity for increasing and preserving piety.
Rickroll: If you charm or summon a talking monster, they will sometimes cite "Never Gonna Give You Up".
Road Runner PC: Spriggans, felids, and centaurs are faster than ordinary enemies, but at a price. All three races are limited in their armor (centaurs need centaur barding, spriggans are limited to robes, animal skins, and magic armor, and felids can't wear anything at all). Centaurs need to eat a lot of food due to their large size, and have poor melee skills. Spriggans, while small enough that they rarely need food, are painfully fragile, and worse, herbivores who can't eat slain enemies. Felids are even more fragile than spriggans and have the added difficulty of being unable to use any sort of equipment.
A special vault that used to be in the game had several varieties of mutated rats created by a nearby Mad Scientist. There also used to be grey rats, but they were merged with quokkas.
Rolling Attack: Boulder beetles can curl into a ball and roll at you at high speeds. They lose all control of their movement, though, so you can just walk a couple steps to one side and avoid them. Or, you can just block it with your shield. Or even reflect it if you have a shield of reflection!
Scaled Up: The Dragon Form spell, which the player can obtain and use at high levels of transmutation and fire magic.
Only requires transmutation magic if you are playing as a Draconian.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: The AI director vascillates between being a Monty Haul and (much more frequently) Killer Game Master, with the consistency of a manic ten year old on pixi stix. Sometimes you get a dragon hide on the first floor, sometimes you get a dragon on the first floor. (This is thankfully extremely rare, but an out-of-depth dragon is still possible. More likely and almost as bad, you might run into a slightly out-of-depth giant ant on floor 2, which can run you down with its high speed and poison you with its bite.) Some days its all rings and randarts, sometimes the AI just decides to spawn fifty jellies. Players learn to laugh about it, or cry.
Self-Imposed Challenge: You only need 3 runes to unlock the endgame, but many players go for the bonus levels, collecting upwards of 10 or more. When this wasn't enough the developers started adding clearly uncompetitive joke builds. Enjoy your FelidWanderer of Xom.
In keeping with the challenge of collecting excess runes, prior to version 0.9 it was possible to obtain an infinite number of "Demonic Runes" from the demon world of Pandemonium. The record was over 250 runes. This was eventually changed so demonic runes would stop generating after you got one; the maximum number of runes one can get in a single game is now 15.
Some players may also go for Speedruns (lowest number of turns, fastest real time), or ascend with the lowest level humanly possible.
Another popular challenge is the "only move forward" game. You are not allowed to move back over any space you've already covered (unless you hit a dead end), and you must take the first down stair you see even if you don't think you're ready.
The yearly tournaments award players points for successfully completing these. You get lots of points if you do The Tombafter you grab the Orb of Zot.
There's also the "Makhbat" challenge, which revolves around playing a vampire of Makhleb who remains in bat form (where virtually your only means of attack is using the combat invocations Makhleb gives you).
Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Vampires can change into bats, giving them increased dexterity. If, however, they have their dexterity drained while in bat form, it's possible to end up such that turning back into a vampire would leave them with zero or less, which would kill them. Therefore they're stuck in bat form until they can regain it.
You can also get Polymorphed into a form, which will Mode Lock you into that form until it wears off, even if you know the spell that lets you assume that form at will.
Shoot the Bullet: One way to stop enemy Orbs of Destruction from reaching you is to fire your own Orb of Destruction at it; the two orbs will collide and explode.
Shout-Out: There are tons of shout outs scattered throughout the game. In addition to everything taken from mythology and other dungeon-crawling games, the developers threw in plenty of references to pop culture. Various item and enemy descriptions will also have passages from famous works ranging from Shakespeare to The Lord of the Rings. A few noteworthy examples:
The (removed in version 0.10) spell Maxwell's Silver Hammer, which used to make blunt weapons more deadly, is a direct reference to The Beatles' song of the same name about a man who murders people with a hammer.
The Young Poisoner's Handbook, the starting spellbook for venom mages, is also the name of a 1995 film about a real life poisoner.
As stated above, the unique enemy Nikola is named after the famous inventor Nikola Tesla.
Nemelex Xobeh, the trickster god, is a fairly obvious reference to Yu-Gi-Oh!. His followers are given magical decks of cards that allow them to summon monsters, cast powerful spells, and lay traps. They are encouraged to fight with these cards as much as possible and as they advance in the faith they get powers that let them peek at their cards, top-deck the cards they want, etc. (Remember in the original Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! it was a plot point that Yugi/Atem was in fact actually cheating.) Even his in-game description gets in on the fun, stopping just short of actually including the phrase "heart of the cards." (For reference, the phrase it uses is "trust in the cards.")
Sibling Rivalry: Edmund is jealous of his older brother Sigmund, and for a reason: Sigmund is a notorious killer of junior adventurers while Edmund is more like an average brute with an expensive flail and a good ability with sums.
Sidequest: Crawl has lots of dungeon branches and you're not required to enter all of them. Most have a rune at the bottom, but you only need three to enter the Realm of Zot and get the Orb of Zot. A common Self-Imposed Challenge is to get all the runes and escape.
Simple Staff: Played straight with the quarterstaff, which is just a big stick. Averted with the lajatang, which is a quarterstaff with added blades (unlike some of the more exotic weapons in Crawl, lajatangs exist in real life).
Skippable Boss: All of them. The recommended strategy on almost every unique is "Run away unless you KNOW they can't ruin your day, and come back when you're ten levels higher." The uniques considered most deadly are the ones who are hard to run away from, either by being fast, having ranged attacks or casting debilitating status effects. Or all three.
Squad Controls: Any allies you have can be given simple commands with the Talk button, like 'follow me', 'wait here', 'attack target', etc.
You can also control what kinds of items your intelligent allies will pick up, like whether you want them to pick up anything they find or just the stuff that you drop (mindless allies like the undead still won't pick up anything).
Squishy Wizard: Played mostly straight: wizards tend to be squishy, and so do most of the races which make good wizards. Enemy exceptions include ogres and nagas (whose best casters are at least as strong as their tanks), a few demons, and the unique enemy Louise, a heavily armored human mage with a tendency to banish you to the Abyss.
Status Buff: Zin's Vitalisation skill buffs all three of your stats. You also get various other buffs like Haste, potions of might, potions of agility, Berserk, etc.
Stat Death: No longer present. In earlier versions, if any of your stats ever dropped to zero, you'd have a short period of time to fix it before you keeled over (and in even earlier versions, it was an instakill). Nowadays, you'll get a stat-zero condition, which, while still extremely unpleasant, is less immediately lethal.
Stat Grinding: Almost none - the game deliberately tries to avoid this. You simply select which skills you want to train, then kill stuff and the experience is applied towards those skills.
Strong Ants: The Formicids, a race of ant people that are currently in trunk. Their four arms combined with insect-style strength allow them to wield two-handed weapons and a shield simultaneously.
Suicidal Overconfidence: Almost any creature in Crawl will attack the player, regardless of the odds. Why yes, Mr. Level 1 Goblin, it is a good idea for you to recklessly charge the level 27 Demigod Fighter with artifact armor and a +9 flaming demon sword. That's sure to end well for you.
Super Drowning Skills: Unless you're a Merfolk, Octopode, or Gray Draconian (the first two can swim while the third doesn't need to breathe). Crawl's interface stops the player walking into deep water (and warns the player about trying to move near deep water while confused). Flying players can drown if their flight wears off over open water.
If you fall into deep water somehow, it's possible to scramble free if you aren't carrying too much stuff. It's also possible to scramble free of lava, but you'll probably die anyways unless you're highly resistant to fire.
Many of the unique enemies like to play this trope straight as well. Notably...
Ijyb actually has this as his gimmick. Ijyb is a named goblin who spawns early on in the game with only moderately better stats than any other goblin, except that he is the sole exception to the "weak enemies can't spawn with high-tier wands" rule - he can spawn with any wand in the game, up to and including a Wand of Disintegration. Hilarity Ensues. Also, death.
Crazy Yiuf, a named gnoll. So dangerous that he's not even allowed to wander the dungeon - he lives in a special pre-designed area behind a noticable wall of trees. Why is he so dangerous? He always spawns with a quarterstaff of chaos, an unpredictable weapon that could heal you, turn you invisible, or (far more likely) electrocute you for enough damage to one-shot most low-level characters.
Sonja, the kobold assassin, probably wouldn't be nearly as deadly if not for her blowgun and curare needles. And the fact that the dagger she spawns with has a brand randomly selected from venom, draining, or, worst of all, distortion.
Edmund, a remarkably average human fighter with no magical abilities at all, but he always spawns with a highly enchanted flail or dire flail.
A few uniques even have a small chance of spawning with one of the non-random artefacts - Nikola with the arc blade, and Arachne with the staff of Olgreb.
To a lesser extent, Agnes the spriggan is made significantly more dangerous by her lajatang, which usually has the vampiric enchantment. This is a lesser example of the trope, however, as she still has her sprigganly speed and decent stats.
Another downplayed example: Ignacio the demon executioner. Sure he has the same super speed and dark magic all executioner demons have, but his heavily enchanted executioner's axe takes his power to a whole new level.
Alternately, the practice of "mutation roulette" which some players like to play. It involves gathering up a bunch of potions of mutation (and possibly some cure mutation in case you get something really bad) and then chugging them all to see what happens.
Taken for Granite: There's a Petrify spell which turns enemies to stone for a short time, and also a spell to turn the player into an animate statue (which makes them resistant to lots of kinds of damage). Statues are also pretty formidable enemies in the game, despite being unable to move. One unique enemy called Roxanne is the sapphire statue of a mage whose experiments with earth magic Went Horribly Wrong. She can't move, but that doesn't stop her from casting spells...
The Unpronounceable: Crawl is notorious for featuring gods and monsters with names that are hard to spell correctly and often equally hard to pronounce: Kikubaaqudgha, Yredelemnul, Neqoxec, Ynoxinul, Ilsuiw. The name of one kind of demon, the sixfirhy, was actually produced by a cat walking on a keyboard (though the original string of characters had to be cleaned up a bit).
Random Pandemonium Lords have names that are procedurally generated according to an algorithm, often resulting in this.
Thinking Up Portals: The Passage of Golubria spell, which creates two temporary portals linked to each other. While blinking is quicker and more efficient, Passages of Golubria can still be used by characters under stasis.
Too Awesome to Use: Curare needles are incredibly rare and devastating against anything that doesn't resist poison, dealing hefty poison damage, slowing them, and asphyxiating them - which has the nice bonus of shutting down many hostile casters.
Took a Level in Badass: Draconians are fairly lousy to begin with; they're quite strong, but their bodies are the wrong shape for wearing armour and their dexterity is terrible. Then they advance to experience level 7, mature into their adult form, and suddenly they have a breath weapon that's only limited by their hunger and the few turns it takes to recharge it.
Also sometimes happens to enemies and items between updates. One notable example is the giant mosquito, which appears in the Swamp area. Prior to 0.8, giant mosquitoes were an annoyance at worst, and even then only in groups. Then the 0.8 update came out and they got an undead upgrade to the vampire mosquito, along with a nifty Life Drain effect applied to all their attacks.
The 0.13 update turned the laughably weak joke armor Lear's Chainmail into Lear's Hauberk, a chain mail that has a ridiculously high enchantment, but also covers your head, hands, and feet; this means you get a pretty impressive defense boost, but you miss out on the benefits of any magical headgear, gloves, or boots that you find.
Transformation Ray: The wand of polymorph can transform a monster into another monster. This is actually quite risky, since it's very possible to create a worse threat than the original. The wand is supposed to transform a monster into a monster of similar threat, so a rat will never turn into a dragon, but even so, what the game considers a 'similar threat' is often quite unpredictable. The best use for this wand is to change a monster that you are poorly equipped to fight - for example, an ice beast when you only have ice spells.
The game determines a "similar threat" based on the number of hit dice the monster has. Because of this, enemies with relatively low strength but high hit dice can become vastly more powerful. Accidentally transforming a hydra into a storm dragon is not unheard of. On the other hand, there are a few very dangerous enemies that have very low hit dice; boggarts are a good example, as they're tricky little bastards who go invisible and spam you with summons. They have about the same hit dice as a normal goblin, so polymorphing one into a relatively harmless kobold or goblin is entirely likely.
Trick Arrow: Until 0.8, this was the style of Arcane Marksmen. (They now use hexes to debilitate foes instead.)
Trickster God: Possibly Xom, who uses his powers to amuse himself... in game, however, this title is given to Nemelex Xobeh, a god who appreciates trickery and gambling and gives his followers magical decks of cards to use.
Turn Undead: The undead are vulnerable to weapons of holy wrath (blessed by The Shining One, god of not-liking-unholy-stuff), and the Dispel Undead spell is essentially Crawl's version of Turn Undead - it is, however, a necromancy spell, meaning that any characters who want to be holy are forbidden to use it.
There's also the very rare artifact, Undeadhunter, which is a great mace with a special "disrupt undead" brand. Said brand is, however, inferior to the holy wrath brand because it will not do extra damage to demonic creatures.
Twin Telepathy: Dowan and Duvessa, the elf twins, have a psychic link, and either one of them knows instantly when the other is killed or banished.
Turns Red: Kill one of the elf twins and the other will go berserk upon seeing you.
Bears go berserk when their health gets low or if you try to scare them.
Undignified Death: If the player loses too much of an attribute (strength, intelligence or dexterity) they will eventually die in an unceremonious fashion:
Too low strength will result in the character collapsing under their own weight.
Too low dexterity will cause the character to die in a Banana Peel accident.
Unexplained Recovery: The Felid race can gain "extra lives" which revive them somewhere (theoretically) safe if they die.
Unidentified Items: The game has identifier scrolls which are rather costly to buy from a shop (80 gp if it's identified), but luckily they are one of the most common scrolls in the game. If the save isn't "jinxed" to lack in the SoI department, it's a rather safe bet that if you have 4 or more of the same scroll in the early stages of the game, it's either Scroll of Identify, Scroll of Remove Curse, Scroll of Noise, or Scroll of Random Uselessness.
Universal Poison: Played straight. There is only one poison status, and a potion of curing will cure it. However, there are a few kinds of poison which add more effects on top of being poisoned. Curare-tipped blowgun needles, for example, will also slow you down and start suffocating you.
There's a spell and a weapon (Poison Arrow and the Staff of Olgreb, respectively) with poisons which can't be fully resisted by living creatures.
Unskilled, but Strong: Some races, such as trolls and demigods, have poor skill aptitudes but compensate by having good stats and other attributes to begin with.
Unstoppable Rage: The Berserk status gives significant bonuses (doubled speed, enhanced damage, temporary extra HP) with a period of fatigue and a risk of passing out afterwards. Put it this way: a Felid is a sentient housecat. A Felid Berserker of Trog (whose powers support your rage) can rip apart a herd of elephants with its claws and teeth.
Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted: you can pick up and use any equipment dropped by an enemy that you're capable of wielding or wearing, and this is a common way to acquire new stuff (especially since the enemy will likely have obligingly demonstrated the equipment's capabilities while attacking you). However it IS kind of true in reverse; there's some equipment which the player can use, but which the enemies can't... often because it's a difficult feature to code for. For example, enemies don't use the wand of enslavement on the player because there's no artificial intelligence or interface to handle being enslaved.
Useless Useful Spell: Largely averted. Hexes (disabling spells) can be tremendously useful all throughout the game, as long as you aren't trying to cast them on something immune to hostile enchantments.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Aside from the Agony Beam spells Pain and Agony, a creative player can revel in Ignite Poison's uses. Poison a monster, and then boil the poison to deal massive fire damage. Monsters with naturally poisonous corpses (like kobolds or nagas)? Boil them in their own blood and viscera. Got Mephitic Cloud? Use it to confuse a cluster of monsters, and then ignite the vapors so they stumble through the flames. Got Poisonous Cloud? Fill up a room with gas, let the poison whittle down the monsters within, and then turn it into a sea of raging flames.
Videogame Cruelty Punishment: Elyvilon, god of healing, has a neat punishment for overly sadistic players; being a god of pacifism, Elyvilon blunts your weapons.
Video Game Lives: Felids get an extra life every few levels, which is rare in modern games and even rarer in roguelikes. It even says 'Extra life!'.
Villain Forgot to Level Grind: The reason why Dungeon Bypass works (sometimes). If you can't kill Sigmund the first time you meet, come back after you've levelled up (or else found something which will make it easier to kill him).
Voluntary Shapeshifting: There's a school of magic which specializes in this, and vampires can change into bats. Merfolk transform their legs into a mermaid-style tail when in water and back into feet when on land.
Wake-Up Call Boss: The first unique you meet. At this point in the game you probably haven't identified potions of healing or scrolls of teleportation. It's teaching you probably the most important lesson of Dungeon Crawl: pick your fights (especially if it's out of depth) and have an escape plan (scrolls of teleportation should not be a first choice for escape). It also teaches the second lesson: don't be afraid to fight. You’ll probably have to face them eventually, and if you just run through levels not fighting anything you’ll eventually meet something faster and stronger than you.
Sigmund, particularly, is a major wake up call to new players, especially in terms of teaching them to fear spellcasters. New players might be used to the idea from other games of the Squishy Wizard who can be easily pummeled by tougher fighters, especially if they just met Jessica and beat her to death. Not so with Sigmund. His first move is almost always to go invisible, then hit you with confusion, flames, and magic darts until you die. Think you can tank him with your melee fighter? Even without armor Sigmund's scythe can cut most novice fighters to ribbons.
If Sigmund is the boss in charge of teaching new players to fear spellcasters, then Grinder is the one in charge of teaching new players to be wary of using their Polymorph Other wands recklessly. While polymorphing spellcasters can often be a good way of removing their dangerous spells, Grinder can only become another demon, most of which can still cast spells while also being more of a physical threat than the tiny shadow imp. Common Grinder polymorphs include Percent Damage Attack spamming Tormentors and Hellfire throwing Hellions. He's even been known to transform into the ungodly dangerous Hellephant.
Walk It Off: Most characters and monsters will gradually heal from almost all wounds. Some creatures can't regenerate - deep dwarves will never gain passive healing and vampires need blood to do so.
Wall Crawl: Some monsters (mostly small reptiles and arachnids) have the ability to cling to walls. This allows them to pass over obstacles like deep water.
Until 0.15, casting the Spider Form spell or wearing the Boots of the Spider let you do this, too.
Warm-Up Boss: Most second-floor uniques that are not Sigmund fall into this category. There's Jessica, an apprentice caster who is so frail that all but the squishiest mages can easily beat to death. Terence is somewhat beefier than Jessica, but he's still only dangerous if he spawns with a good weapon or attack wand.
Weak, but Skilled: In a way, this is a Dungeon Crawler's normal mode of operation - there is rarely a point where you're powerful enough to be 'safe' from attack. It's especially true at the very start of the game, where a couple of hits from even the lowest level monsters can finish off a weak character. Wanderers are probably the best example; they begin with a random skill set and random equipment, and are thus in a worse position than any other class upon entering the dungeon, since they are literally not equipped to fight.
Weapon of Choice: Crawl features plenty of different kinds of weaponry with which to bludgeon, bisect, behead, dismember, and otherwise murderize your foes.
An Axe to Grind: Axes are fairly strong weapons that can cleave through to hit multiple targets. Unfortunately, most of the smaller ones are pretty crappy, so many players go for the biggest axe they can find.
Knife Nut: Short Blades, though many of them are rather longer than a knife. They're still considered shorter than the Long Blades. They're very fast and are great for Back Stabbing things, but have trouble with heavily armored opponents.
Simple Staff: Comes in three flavors: plain quarterstaves, lajatangs (staves with blades on the ends), and magical staves, which generally are used to enhance your spellcasting, but can have additional effects in combat (for example, a staff of fire will burn things you hit it with, a staff of poison will poison things, etc.)
Then, in terms of ranged weaponry, you have:
The Archer: Bows have a good balance between speed and power, and are fairly easy to find off of the centaurs you'll be fighting.
Also includes crossbows, which are more powerful and more accurate but slower. There aren't any Automatic Crossbows, but a high enough skill level lets you reload one pretty darned fast.
Suffer The Slings: Slings are faster than bows or crossbows, but don't do as much damage. On the plus side, they can still be used effectively with shields.
All of the ranged weaponry may be somewhat less useful against foes in close quarters, so players will often carry a spare melee weapon in case they need it.
Whip It Good: Whips are fairly swift weapons that are good in the early game but pack fairly little punch against tougher foes. However, some whips are demonic or heavenly in origin, and are extremely devastating weapons.
Wizard Needs Food Badly: The need to eat (the "food clock") and the lack of dungeon level regeneration constantly pushes the adventurer forward and down in search of sustenance. Though it’s worse for magic users, as casting most forms of magic makes you hungrier to the point where a ring of sustenance is a prized possession.
Mummies, however, don't need to eat, although they have rather terrible skill aptitudes and can’t use potions (including healing potions).
Vampires don't need to consume food, either - though when completely bloodless they do not heal over time, so you will likely still want to drink some blood every now and then.
Spellcasting hunger can be eliminated in various ways, including the staff of energy, being a mummy, vampire or in lich form, or just having sufficient intelligence and Spellcasting skill (though this last solution scales much more slowly than spell hunger).
The ones who get it worst, however, are berserkers, since their signature ability costs a huge amount of nutrition in exchange for a huge but double-edged boost in combat, and can only be used when well-fed enough that it isn't life-threatening. If they rely too much on the ability and aren't from a "carnivorous" race they're almost guaranteed to starve.
Womb Level: Cigotuvi's Wizlab, which is the lair of a master flesh mage. It's a ginormous organic compound with a layout that resembles intestines; the walls are strangely fleshy and have eyes and mouths on them, the doors are actually sphincters, and transparent membranes replace the transparent rock walls you find everywhere else. It's also filled with the horrible results of Cigotuvi's experiments.
Zerg Rush: A fairly good strategy for a player with good summoning spells. Some spells are used almost exclusively for Zerg Rushing - this is how Summon Small Mammals acquired its Fan Nickname "spammals". Note that enemies with summoning abilities will also use this tactic against you.
Version 0.13 introduced a limit to how many creatures you can summon with an individual spell. You can still pull off a Zerg Rush, but you'll need to use more than one spell to do it.
Necromancy is a more straightforward version, allowing you (or your enemies) to summon a great quantity of undead creatures to sweep the floor.
Also happens sometimes with the normal enemies in the dungeon; there are enemies that wouldn't be particularly strong on their own but they tend to travel in packs. A few examples...
Gnolls, which are on their own not much more dangerous than the average hobgoblin, but they always spawn in packs (though they may split up later). What's more, their favorite weapons are spears, which they can use to reach over their friends' shoulders to strike you, allowing even more of them to get at you at once. Gnolls have been the death of many a newbie dungeon crawler for this reason.
Shortly after gnolls, the player will run into orcs which use the same strategy while also adding priests and wizards to their warbands, increasing their "deadly to newbies" factor greatly.
Slime Creatures, who increase their deadliness factor thanks to their ability to combine together. Their power increases exponentially when they do this, making a large, very large, or titanic slime creature far more of a threat than its constituent parts.
Killer bees qualify. Even with poison resistance they can still tear a low-level player to shreds with normal attacks, but without poison resistance even mid-level players will have trouble. This is increased further if there is a queen bee in the ranks, thanks to her ability to induce the berserk rage status in members of the swarm.
The orc's tactic can be used by players who worship Beogh (only possible if you're an orc yourself), giving you the ability to recruit and summon a battalion of orcs. The kicker is that two of the kinds of orcs you can recruit are respectively a summoner and a necromancer, squaring the whole zerg rushing potential.