Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup 0.11: “Arachnophobia” has been released! We proudly present the new Spider Nest branch. It is five levels deep, contains the gossamer rune of Zot, joins the Lair branch roulette, and is filled to the brim with spiders. And they are scary indeed: large groups of fast hard-hitting enemies in a fairly open layout that is riddled with webs. The melee spiders are backed up by slow but powerful orb spiders that try to keep their distance while weaving orbs of destruction. Almost all spiders were rebalanced to fit into a Lair branch, so they are generally much more powerful than before.

You can get 0.11 at our Downloads page, or see the How to play Online page for a list of available servers. There will be an official tournament to celebrate this release, but we’re waiting for the new CAO server before setting a date. As soon as more information is available a new announcement will be made.

One change that may cause problems for upgrading users, especially online players, is a slight change in the way the options file works: the default options file now consists only of commented out lines. If you modified your config and are reusing it for 0.11, which is done by default on the servers, you should comment out or delete all lines that you did not change from the default. This will ensure that you are not using any default values from older versions. You may also need to update your config to use the new syntax for various list options (such as message colours or travel stoppers), by ensuring you use “option += value” to append to the list instead of “option = value” (as in the future this will replace the list entirely instead of appending to it). Using the old syntax will cause an ingame message to be displayed, to remind players that the options format has changed. See the List Options section of the options guide for full details.

Some of 0.11′s major changes include:

  • Places: With the addition of the Spider Nest, the Lair will now contain one of Swamp/Shoals and one of Snake/Spider. The Swamp has an improved layout with more compact levels. The Elven Halls are shortened to three floors. As always, there are many new vaults, including new branch endings and full-level vaults. The frequency of vaults has also been slightly increased. Upon escaping from the Abyss, you now land back where you came from, but with a few turns’ banishment immunity. A new Sprint map has been added: Ziggurat Sprint by st squeezes an entire Ziggurat into one floor, and contains appropriately ridiculous amounts of loot and monsters.
  • Monsters: Fannar, an elven ice mage, and Arachne, a poisonous half-spider, join the ranks of Crawl’s unique monsters. The omniresistant Hell Sentinels replace Pit Fiends. Boulder beetles can now curl up and roll at you for heavy damage. Mimics can now constrict their foes, although early mimics are much weaker: their constriction does no damage, and they don’t resist elemental attacks. Monster constriction formulae have been changed to make it much easier to escape, but blink counts as two escape attempts now instead of always letting you get out. Equipment-using monsters can now wear rings and amulets and benefit from most of their effects.
  • Items: Ammo enchantment has been removed, which greatly simplifies inventory management for those who use ranged weaponry. Weapon skill now fills the role of ammo enchantment, instead. You can now abort changing your armour instead of slowly getting nibbled to death by a rat while putting on your shiny new crystal plate armour. Most fixed artefacts now start out identified. Weapons are identified by having a certain amount of the corresponding skill instead of by whacking plants with them. Rods of smiting are replaced with lightning rods that let you shoot cones of lightning. You can adjust the width of the cone to either do heavy damage to single targets or quickly clear out hordes of popcorn.
  • Gods: Okawaru now gives almost no piety for killing and sacrificing weak enemies, but gives much more for winning difficult fights. Nemelex worshippers can now earn the ability to use the top four cards in a deck at once, replacing the old “Mark Four” ability. Nemelex also gifts fewer decks of summoning, and various cards have been adjusted. Kikubaaqudgha gifts randomised necromancy spellbooks instead of the fixed ones. Xom now usually times his pranks to coincide with interesting situations.
  • Interface: Several new options were added, including automatically dropping old chunks when burdened, and sacrificing corpses before autoexploring. The spell targeting interface has been greatly improved, showing the affected area for AoE spells and beam paths for bouncing lightning bolts. The ‘\’ known items menu lets you adjust your autopickup options while you play. The HUD now displays current gold and game time, so you can see in brackets how long your last action took. Local versions now include a scrollable highscore list that lets you easily open the morgue files of your most successful dead or victorious characters.
  • Tiles: As always there are many beautiful new tiles for the dungeon, its inhabitants, and many items. These include special tall tiles for the unique lords of Pandemonium and the Hells, and a huge amount of new weapon tiles, including tiles for the different racial weapon variations.

There are a lot more changes, and as always the changelog lists all major ones. Many thanks to galefury for writing most of this post, and to all the contributors to Stone Soup. Have fun playing DCSS 0.11! Beware of the spiders!