Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup – Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What exactly is the goal of this game?
A: To survive and to win, obviously. For this you need to find the fabled Orb of Zot deep down in the dungeon and bring it back to the surface. To enter the realm of Zot, you’ll first need to collect three runes to be found in various branches of the dungeon.
However, if you’re new to the game, you really shouldn’t worry about this. Just try to delve as deeply as possible and have fun exploring the many side branches in Crawl with various characters of different species, skill sets, and religions.

Q2. I can’t find my save files, morgue and character dumps. Where are they?
If you’re playing locally (i.e. not on one of the servers), the chardump command will tell you where the morgue file is written, and this information is also displayed below the highscore at the end of a game.
The saves/ directory can be found in the same directory as the morgue/ one.
If you’d like to change either location, modify the morgue_dir and/or save_dir options in the init file.

Q3. How can I drop/pick up only part of a stack?
A: When choosing items to drop or pick up from a menu, you can select part of a stack by first entering a number (the desired amount), followed by the item slot. Stacks that are selected only in part are marked with # rather than +.
If you want to pick up part of a single-item stack, you can use the ; command, which will prompt you for the quantity, but otherwise behaves the same as ,.

Q4. What are the biggest differences to other popular roguelike games?
A: First, you might want to read the philosophy section in the manual (?N) to read about general important principles in Stone Soup’s game design.
As for specific differences, the most important are probably the following:

  • Species is much more important than the character background (or “class”).
  • Bones files only contain ghosts, never their equipment or cause of death.
  • You cannot sell items to shops or elsewhere.
  • Resistances can be gained via mutations or items, never through eating.
  • Praying is mostly used to offer items or corpses to gods who’ll accept them. To make use of divine powers use the ability command.
  • There are inevitable deaths, but new players can win without spoilers, if they learn from their mistakes. Very good players can win several consecutive games.

Also, our aim is to give Crawl a really smooth interface, so you should really read through the command list (??) some time. The following commands are particularly convenient:

  • o, for automatic exploration of an unknown level
  • G, for automatic travel to another level (G? for help)
  • X, to access the level map for travelling and other tasks (X?)
  • Ctrl-F, to find and travel to items you’ve seen before (Ctrl-F?)
  • Tab, to move towards or attack the nearest monster

Q5. How can I avoid dying all the time? Can you give me some playing tips?
A: If you’ve got trouble even reaching the Temple, you might want to try a game or two in hints mode for some general playing hints.
Also, there are easy playing combinations and more challenging ones (marked in dark grey on the selection screen). If you are new to Crawl, sticking to the easier ones is advisable. In general, treat each new monster you meet with utmost caution and keep an eye on your hit points and magic.
For specific hints dealing with a particular character, you can press # in-game to create a “character dump” in your morgue directory that you can then post e.g. in the Stone Soup forum (https://crawl.develz.org/tavern/), so other players can comment on your equipment, skills or spell selection. Please trim your dump by removing stuff unnecessary for this task (such as the extensive Vanquished list).
If you’re playing online on one of the public servers, you can join the ##crawl channel of the freenode IRC, where you will find helpful souls who will even watch you and give hints.

Q6. I can’t find any downstairs. Am I missing something?
A: They may be in a part of the level that is not reachable from the upstairs you came from. Try going up to the previous level and coming back down from there via a different set of stairs. Note that most levels feature three downstairs as well as three upstairs, not counting any escape hatches.
Alternatively, if you are in one of the branches, you might also have reached its lowest level and have to turn around to explore another one. Check the dungeon overview (Ctrl-O) to see how deep you’ve delved into a given branch, or the database (?/b) for the number of levels for unseen branches.

Q7. I teleported and ended up in a closed room without any exits. Am I stuck?
A: Unlike previous versions of Crawl that had secret doors, this cannot happen anymore. If it somehow does, it could be a bug that needs fixing, so please report it on our Mantis bug tracker: https://crawl.develz.org/mantis/
If you’re playing locally, be sure to upload your save file!
If you’re playing online console, you can create a copy of your save file for the developers to access by selecting the version you are playing and then pressing A for Advanced options. Don’t forget to include the server and your username in your bug report!
In the meantime, you can try to escape with digging, disintegration or teleportation.

Q8. My characters keep starving. What am I doing wrong?
A: It’s possible that you simply spend too much time on cleared levels where not enough monsters are generated to dine on. You might also be too choosy about what you eat; unless you are herbivorous, you will have to occasionally eat monster chunks. If you worship a god who enjoys sacrifices, pay attention to your own hunger status instead of offering all corpses you come across.
Also, casting (difficult) spells will make you hungry, but high Intelligence and Spellcasting will lessen this effect. If you press II, you can read about the hunger effects of your spells. Invocations likewise often have a Food cost.

Q9. I’m stuck in a labyrinth and can’t find the exit. How do I get out?
A: To escape a labyrinth, it can be useful to know a few things:

  • Each labyrinth consists of several layers of different wall types, ranging from rock in the outer border to metal in the centre part, at the very centre of which the exit is located. (Though the exit itself may be part of a vault that has non-metal walls.)
  • Teleportation will never take you into or even near the metal region.
  • From time to time, the walls will rearrange themselves. Though they will never close off the path to the exit, the path itself might change. In particular, this means that the “left hand” rule is not entirely reliable.

Also, exit and loot are guarded by a brutish minotaur, who is very much alive. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked by necromantic remnants of its ancestors.

Q10. Is there a cheating mode to Crawl where I can play without dying?
A: Not a cheating mode, exactly, but if your build supports it you can play in wizard mode (access with &) where you are prompted whenever you’re about to die and have access to a number of nifty commands to create equipment, travel to distant branches, or fiddle with your stats or skills. Note that wizard mode games will never appear on the highscore list.
Many players reckon long-time use of wizard mode to be detrimental to your playing skills. On the other hand, wizard mode has its uses: we are really grateful whenever we get bug reports using wizard mode for reproducing and exploring bugs.

Q11. I’ve got two cool weapons. How can I tell which one is better?
A: “Better” depends on a number of factors, such as your weapon skills, whether it’s one- or two-handed, the randart properties, the weapon brand, and the monsters you’re about to face. In general, switching from a weapon type at which you are already highly skilled to another one that you have no skill in is a waste of time. The brands may greatly differ in damage output, but you can get a good idea by bashing a few comparatively harmless monsters with each and comparing the results.
Of the enchantments, the second value (damage) is usually much more important than the first (accuracy), unless you hardly ever manage to hit with a weapon. The delay in swinging a weapon can be reduced by the corresponding weapon skill.

Q12. Which gods would you recommend to a beginning player?
A: The most straightforward gods to play are probably Trog or Okawaru (for melee and ranged combat), Vehumet or Sif Muna (for spellcasting), and Yredelemnul (for undead allies). Also, while unreliable, Xom can be a lot of fun.
Whenever you encounter an altar, be sure to read the corresponding god’s description (by praying on the altar) and take your time in deciding whether to pick this deity or not. As a follower, you can reread your god’s description, now more detailed via the ! toggle, on the ^ screen.
You’re guaranteed to find altars to almost every god on the first nine levels of the main dungeon.

Q13. I keep getting murdered by my own ghosts. Can I deactivate them?
A: There isn’t any such option, and we’re not planning to add one, either.
For a more constructive answer, once a ghost has been loaded onto a level, it won’t be loaded again – unless you happen to die on that level, thus creating a bones file featuring more than one ghost. Keep in mind that you don’t absolutely have to fight every monster you meet, and with ghosts it’s even easier: they cannot leave the level they were created on.
Alternatively, you could play a couple characters of strong species/background combinations for the sole purpose of busting those ghosts, e.g. Berserkers or spellcasters with Conjure Flame.

Q14. I went down these stairs and got killed instantly! Is this a bug?
A: Probably not. While your death might be due to an ill-placed vault (this would be a bug), it is generally just really bad luck. We believe that a game is more fun if the risk of death is real. This means that such instant deaths cannot be fully avoided, as Crawl relies on randomness for posing challenges. It is important to realize that for highly skilled players, the margin of such deaths is really slim…

Q15. I’ve somehow ended up in a place called "Abyss". How do I get out of here?
A: If you are in the Abyss for the first time, chances of getting out are slim. Still, here are a few general hints:

  • You need to find a gateway leading out of the Abyss. These are rare!
  • Don’t stick around to fight; move as much as possible!
  • If you have it, use defensive equipment (weapons of protection, etc.).
  • Use teleportation to hopefully end up in a completely new part of the Abyss.
  • Teleportation might take much longer to kick in than in the Dungeon.
  • Consider switching your allegiance to Lugonu to get out of there.
  • Descending deeper in the Abyss will increase the chance of finding an exit out, but also increase the danger you face.

Q16. Oklob plants suck! Are you planning to remove them at last?
A: No, we don’t, because we feel that Oklob plants provide an interesting challenge. Resist the urge to kill them at once. If you absolutely need to bypass them, use your resources wisely.
A hint: They cannot see invisible.

Q17. What do the terms "randart" and "unrandart" signify?
A: Apart from the standard items you’ll find lying around in the dungeon, you might also stumble upon artefacts which come in two varieties:

  • randart: a random artefact, usually a weapon or type of armour with random properties such as conferring resistances or abilities
  • unrandart: an artefact that looks like a randart but is really predefined. While a few (formerly known as “fixed artefacts”) have special hardcoded effects, for most there’s no further difference except that you may recognize them from previous games. In addition, most unrandarts come pre-identified.

Neither of these types can be enchanted or branded, either temporarily or permanently, nor can they be corroded by acid.

Q18. Is there a way for me to interact with other players?
A: If you play online on http://crawl.akrasiac.org, https://crawl.develz.org, or https://crawl.s-z.org you can watch games in progress, other players can watch you while you play, and you can kill other players’ ghosts. You can even send and receive messages.
Check https://crawl.develz.org/wordpress/howto for an explanation about how to play online.
You can also chat in the Crawl channel (irc.freenode.net, ##crawl), or discuss in the Stone Soup forum (https://crawl.develz.org/tavern/), or in one of the other forums linked on the website.

Q19. When will development reach the "stable" version 1.0?
A: Actually, by now we consider Stone Soup to be reasonably stable for a game of such active development, so please don’t get hung up about the 0.X versioning and give it a try.
We’ve mostly kept the versioning for historic reasons and because it might cause undue confusion. We might decide to change that at some point, but maybe we won’t.

Q20. Is there a way for me to play the new version before it is released?
A: There certainly is! You can play “trunk” (what will eventually become the next version) online on any of the online servers; https://crawl.develz.org also hosts Windows and Mac binaries you can download. Note that trunk may be buggy, and that very rarely a bug may invalidate your saved games. If that doesn’t bother you, go ahead and play!
Be sure to reports bugs on our bug tracker (https://crawl.develz.org/mantis/) and to leave some feedback/suggestions on the development wiki (https://crawl.develz.org/wiki).
When doing so, please mention the version (see ?v) you’re currently playing, in case the bug’s already been fixed or the feature already implemented.

Q21. The game keeps crashing. / I think I found a bug. What do I do?
A: Please submit a bug report on Mantis (https://crawl.develz.org/mantis/), and give as much information as you can:

  • What were you doing at the time?
  • What did you expect to happen, what happened instead, etc.
  • Most importantly, what version are you playing?
    (If you’re not sure, you can check in-game with ?v.)

  • Console or tiles?

For crashes or monsters/items/levels behaving oddly, we probably need a save file. If you’re playing online console, you can create a copy of your save file for the developers to access by selecting the version you are playing and then pressing A for Advanced options. Don’t forget to include the server and your username in your bug report!
Sometimes a screenshot can be helpful. If there are error messages, please write them down. Short of a save file, a guide on how to reproduce the crash (or bug) can be useful; you can use wizard mode for this.
Thanks in advance!

Q22. I’ve got millions of ideas! Can I join the team?
A: Sorry, but no. At least not on ideas alone.
All of the devteam members submitted a number of code intensive patches and/or took over responsibility over an important side project before joining. A good way to become indispensable is to help us with patches or vaults, etc.
Please add your ideas in the appropriate section of the Mantis wiki: https://crawl.develz.org/wiki
If they catch the interest of at least one coder, chances are they’ll make it into the game.
Note that your idea has a better chance of being accepted if you present the ramifications on gameplay. Since we put a lot of emphasis on the interface, a good proposal on how to make the game play smoother may go in without much ado.

Q23. Hey! Why did you close my feature request?
A: If you submitted a report on our Mantis tracker, you will get an email any time someone replies to (or fiddles with) the thread in question. Once a thread has been resolved or closed, you can still access it by searching for requests with the “Resolved” and “Closed” status, respectively.
We always try to give a reason for closing a request that has not been implemented, but it usually boils down to three reasons:

  • It doesn’t fit into the Crawl world as we see it.
  • It violates Crawl’s philosophy to avoid grinding and spoiler-heavy stuff.
  • We just don’t think it’s interesting enough to ever be implemented.

Also, the Mantis tracker is primarily intended for bug reports and patches. Feature requests should generally be added to the wiki instead: https://crawl.develz.org/wiki
Please don’t let this stop you from bringing up more suggestions. Already the next one might generate heavy interest and excitement, and end up in the game. However, do try to be specific in your suggestions. If you cannot even explain the basics of your idea, why should we bother to flesh it out, let alone code it?

Q24. I’ve written a patch for a cool new feature! Where should I send it?
A: Please submit it as a new issue on our Mantis tracker: https://crawl.develz.org/mantis/
Keep in mind that without previous discussions, we may not be able to use the patch, or it might need heavy modification. In general, it is safer to first file your suggestions under Feature Requests and wait for people to become enthusiastic and give feedback before you submit a patch. If you want, you can also write a patch that implements an existing FR or fixes a bug.
If you’d like to write a patch but don’t know how to go about it, patch_guide.txt in the docs/develop/ directory is the file for you.
We really appreciate your help!

Q25. I cannot code, but I’d like to help improve the game. What can I do?
A: There are several areas where you can get creative and outside help is much appreciated. These are:

  • maps/vaults (see dat/ directory, docs/develop/levels/introduction.txt)
  • monster speech (see dat/database/, docs/develop/monster_speech.txt)
  • monster/item/spell descriptions (see dat/descript/)
  • tiles (see source/rltiles/, docs/develop/tiles_creation.txt)

Also, if you’d like to write a patch but don’t know how to go about it, read patch_guide.txt in the docs/develop/ directory.
If you’ve got some cool addition, you can post it as a Mantis item. You can also help us by giving feedback on the most recent version or trunk (available via git, Windows and Mac binaries downloadable from https://crawl.develz.org/trunk/).
Thanks a lot for your support!

Q26. What did you change in the most recent version?
A: The admittedly highly subjective highlights of the most recent major release are listed along with the version information under ?v. For more details, check out changelog.txt in the docs/ directory.

Q27. The Tiles version is awfully slow! How can I improve that?
A: Crawl renders its graphics using OpenGL and SDL. Because it uses OpenGL, it depends on a little bit of hardware acceleration to not run slowly. If your system is not set up to enable this, then Crawl will run quite poorly.
On Windows, the default driver that ships with Windows is extremely slow. Make sure to update your graphics card driver to the latest one available. On Linux, you should be sure to enable DRI.
In addition to these suggestions, you can also try to see whether tweaking some options will improve performance. See docs/tiles_help.txt for details. If things are still too laggy after all of that, you could try the non-graphical console version, or wait for a future version that does not depend on OpenGL.

Q28. Can I play Tiles online?
A: A web-based tile interface is available at http://webtiles.akrasiac.org or https://crawl.s-z.org/, though it is missing some features of the local Tiles version.

Q29. Is there a list of mouse commands anywhere?
Yes, check tiles_help.txt. You can also browse it in-game via the ?t command.

Q30. Is there a way to modify the size of the tiles screen, the font, etc.?
A: Yes. Play around with the options in settings/init.txt until you are satisfied. See docs/options_guide.txt and docs/tiles_help.txt for some explanations.
It is currently not possible to modify any options from within the game itself.

Back to top