Name dcss:brainstorm:branch: desert
Summary An Egyptian “undead” themed alternate branch for Crypt – with sandstorms, patches of fast-moving darkness, pools of water surrounded by undead animals, palm trees, etc.
Further informationNone at the minute.
Added by due
Added on 2010-01-10 02:14

Layout themes

  • The floor is all sand in an open level with features listed below.
  • As above, but with a red river(curse of water to blood) spanning the level with undead deepwater crocodiles and caimans in it.

Feature Ideas

Sandstorms(to be filled in by Due)

Sand “submerging” monsters

  • Can only submerge in sand.
  • Cannot hide. Will always be seen as a ~.
  • Get a bonus to attack against players stuck in sand pit traps or quick sand.
  • Another options would be to allow them to disappear, but have them give clear warning when they're about to surface so it'd be difficult for them to catch you from below.

Sand pit traps

  • causes player to become stuck in movement only (can still hit adjacent enemies etc), and causes damage initially from the fall.
  • struggle away with Str, or teleport out.

Quick sand

  • medium areas(8×8?) of sand colored differently that slows movement as shallow water. Mostly for flavor.
  • could be hidden until stepped in if ant-lions are implemented.

Corrupted Oasis

  • red water(water to blood curse).
  • attracts or starts with undead animals guarding it. New unique undead animals – Undead(elephant, jackal, puma, ???)
  • clouds of miasma spawn randomly over the water.
  • dead palm trees.
  • sometimes spawn with drinkable, non-blood water, giving a sparkling fountain type effect (possibly a little different).

Patches of Darkness(the curse of darkness)

  • fast-moving, large and long-lasting clouds that obscures LOS.
  • has no glyph, and simply has the effect of blocking LOS and causing “darkness”


  • not large, they just act as “pillars of flavor”.
  • not enterable, In ascii they could be represented by lightening the color of # blocks as they approach the pinnacle. In tiles, they could be drawn.

Other structures

  • Obelisks of some sort? - could be like oklob but zap you with lightning, or magic missile if too strong
  • Sand-swept, mostly destroyed remains of buildings.

Monster Ideas

Pharaoh mummy

  • a strong monster meant for the final level of this branch.
  • spells: summon scarab swarm(not giant scarabs – primary function is to block the player from getting to him), cloud of miasma, rot, cloud of darkness, mass enslave undead(if the player has allied undead)
  • sees through clouds of darkness
  • always comes with a small pack of pharaoh guards

Pharaoh guard

  • spawns with the pharaoh mummy and serves as his primary damage.
  • sees through clouds of darkness.

Giant scarab

  • can burrow and move submerged in the sand like water creatures submerge in water.
  • can always be seen when they are submerged as a ~.

Corrupted phoenix

  • moves like a harpy with fire claw attacks and has a chance to rise from death if their corpse is not destroyed(butchered).
  • leaves miasma clouds as it jumps around.

Scorpian man(needs better name)

  • has a poison stinger tail unarmed attack and 2 pincer attacks.
  • alternatively, they could be made into a npc-only race that has weapons and an unarmed poison stinger attack.

Undead camel

  • neutral, wandering for flavor.


  • work as they do in the game currently, but maybe with more flavorful quotes fitting this branch.
  • could be made unique to this branch.


  • lots of hp to survive while it pulls the player to it
  • spawns in the middle of quicksand patches submerged and does not move
  • if the player steps in the quicksand, they are dragged toward the antlion(similar to siren effect)

Undead deepwater crocodile/caiman

  • for use if the level generates with a river

Dry bones skeleton(human dead from thirst)

Sand giants


Existing monster possibilities - scorpions, air/earth/fire elementals, mid-level snakes (fairly rare since that's already the theme of the Snake Pits), boulder/boring beetles, clay/stone golem, efreet, most Crypt crossovers (not so much on the ghouls/necrophaes/hulks or simulacrums, moreso on the skeletal warriors, flying skulls, flaming corpses…), giant cockroach (rare since it's such a weak monster at this point), manticores, ants,

Branch-end Ideas

  • A large pyramid castle(needs unique feature ideas)
A nice contrast for this vs tomb would be ascending to the top of the pyramid for end of the branch. — porkchop 2010-01-11 17:21
That will make the levels smaller as you continue through them. This will probably make the pharaoh mummy a suboptimal boss. Summoner works best when they have enough place for their minions. — andorxor 2010-01-11 17:43

porkchop This really would not be a problem, could simply have the end level large enough to be a threat, The real question is ascending 'up' to end a branch - if this would be a pain to code or break with our crawling 'conventions'. An Idea for descending into a pyramid(the actual entry) would be to have the player walk to near the top of the outside of the pyramid. Steps leading up the pyramid could be represented by a symbol other than '.' for floor, perhaps '-' or whatever works and is not used, and a step tile could be added for tiles version. something like below:


Misc Thoughts

This is a great idea for a new portal area if a full dungeon branch is not made — porkchop 2010-01-10 15:47
  • I think this could be really well merged into the Tomb, or be a branch alternative to it. — jpeg 2010-01-10 17:03
  • I'd say it's definitely of the size of a whole branch, rather than a mere portal vault. Whether to replace Crypt or Tomb is another question, there may be indeed too much crossover with mummies since they're what the Tomb is made of; still, the rest would be better as an alternative to Crypt. — kilobyte 2010-01-10 20:48
  • One idea might be to have Desert replace Crypt, and then have the pyramid replace Tomb, so you either get crypt/tomb or desert/pyramid. — ogaz 2010-01-11 03:41
  • I was under the impression that Crawl took place underground. Branches like Shoals, Forest, Desert disgust me. At least have the decency to disguise them as portal vaults. That said, this desert sounds like Tomb replacement branch. — b0rsuk 2010-01-12 08:33
    • We just need a clarification about that. For example, saying “Shoals is actually about underground lakes” is enough for me. — ahyangyi 2010-02-23 16:10
  • People put a lot of work into these things (proposals, as well as branches), and I don't think comments like this are encouraging, constructively critical, or particularly nice. If anything, they may scare away first-time contributors, and that's not what we want. — due 2010-01-12 11:01
  • The stair in vaults could lead to a small room with a portal in it — andorxor 2010-01-12 10:13
  • As I started the brainstorm (though barely did anything constructive with it, so my name should really come off the top), I like the idea! The phoenixes are already intended for the holy monsters overhaul of 0.7, though having them in a desert setting is thematically good. I'm not sure about it by itself replacing Tomb, but I like the idea of the Desert/Pyramid replacement for Crypt/Tomb. Also, thick gloom has been implemented and committed to trunk, though that may change at a later date. — due 2010-01-12 11:07
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dcss/brainstorm/dungeon/branch/propose/desert.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 20:49 by XuaXua
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