Existing Monster Feedback (Bulk)

Global changes

I think the way monster strength increases with depth is much too linear. I mean, monsters are pretty much guarranteed to get big improvements in all areas. Later monsters will be very resistant to damage types, have very high Magic Resistance, lots of Hit Points, high AC, deal lots of damage. There isn't much variety.

For example, notice glass cannons are very rare. Hydras are one example, but in early-ish game when they occur they're fairly tough. So it's hard to classify them as glass cannons. Boggarts are very rare. Giant Spores aren't very common, and Ballistomycete reproduction rate has been (over)nerfed. Ball Lightning is extremely rare. Elves are just one zone. Why do I mention this ? There are unpleasant side effects.

One side effect is that physical ranged attacks are of little value. In some ways it's fair because it's only 1 skill compared to magic 3,4 or more. But an ordinary warrior should have benefits from learning archery. There aren't such benefits. In early game you can't shoot jellies because they're too tough, in mid you can wand them. Ranged attacks always directly compete with your biggest source of damage, be it melee or conjurations. There's no point for a melee character to learn a low level Conjurations for backup in mid-late game, you won't scratch anything. A Conjurations/Archer hybrid could use arrows when out of mana, but this is unheard of. In short, if your secondary damage source is far below your primary source, it's waste of xp points. Another problem which I blame on lack of glass cannons - speed brand could barely be distinguished from generic vorpal. If players could meet packs of glass cannon melee monsters, the difference would be very noticeable.

It doesn't have to be this way. If physical ranged weapons can't be allowed to be comparable in power with Conjurations or Melee… maybe it's time to introduce glass cannon monsters ?

Another aspect of uniform power curve is that Poison, and Hexes are bad later. I propose to introduce/modify a bunch of monsters to be quite nasty, but easily defeated with Hexes or Poison. Knights and Warlords needn't have much higher resistance than Warriors. — b0rsuk 2011-01-29 23:42

Physical ranged attacks are pretty good throughout the game if you focus on using them instead of melee, but picking up a few levels of Bows on a melee fighter in the late game is a waste of time. Agree about the rest. — minmay 2011-01-30 00:17
You make it sound like you have to become a dedicated archer to get any value out of bows, or other ranged weapons. This is what I propose to fix by introducing more glass cannon monsters.
Yes, that is what I meant. — minmay 2011-01-30 02:07
Monster AI is so bad that melee-themed characters have no need to minor in ranged attacks - most everything can trivially be manipulated into melee. As things are, glass cannons would make things die that much more easily for everyone, particularly already-ranged characters, while adding nothing but artificial playstyle options - it's spoon-feeding players opportunities to get use from pointless low-skill attacks, and the game'd be weaker as a whole for it.

Also ranged weapons are strong so whatever. — og17 2011-01-30 04:27
You are missing the point a couple of times. Would you want to manipulate a jelly into melee ? How about a giant spore ? How about a creature with power of a hydra and HP of a war dog ? I suggest introducing more monsters which are unpleasant - but survivable - in melee, yet easy for even weak ranged characters. Besides, in trunk centaurs and other ranged creatures are pretty good at using their range, they can't be lured around a corner, they will choose a more distant spot and shoot you from afar.
Variety in Crawl is so bad that it needs artificial measures like this for a start. You are contradicting yourself, too. If it looks stupid, but works - it isn't stupid. So if “pointless” attacks work against dangerous monsters, they are by definition not pointless. I see a lot of assertions in your opinion, but nothing backing them up. Next.
I feel Crawl is becoming annoyingly stale and resistant to innovation. It's becoming a Nethack 2.0 . More and more often I find myself looking for other games for this reason. — b0rsuk 2011-01-30 14:52
Adding more monsters which are “unplesant but survivable in melee and yet easy for weak ranged characters” will just be another slap in the face to melee characters. There has been a lot of power creep towards conjurers and away from fighters. What you really want is monsters with unusual features that change combat with them. For example, very fast monsters and jumping spiders reward tank characters since their melee attacks need to be survived. Normal speed monsters with powerful melee attacks like hydras reward characters that are faster than normal speed or have powerful ranged attacks. — minmay 2011-01-30 16:37
“but there's also currently a huge focus on “unpleasant melee effects”” – Agree with this, and it's a huge advantage for evasion over armour. I love the basic idea of diversifying monsters! Right now, if you go with ice conjurations, you need to have some backup plan to handle undead, and fire elementalists need some way of handling imps. There should be more such decisions, no basic strategy alone should be without important weaknesses. — vintermann 2011-03-16 12:30

Sorry, assumed “glass cannon” meant glass cannon and missed how jellies, elves, and spores have the common property of being unwanted at melee range. Even so, I'd like to note that ranged monsters are as abusable as they've always been with a corridor around, that my response still applies to actual examples like your hydra dog, and that monsters can be interesting without demanding that the player trivially kills them from a distance. — og17 2011-01-31 01:39

It sounds like what you need, then, are some monsters which are notably less deadly for a tank than a ranged or conjurations character–that way, you can introduce some more things which are unpleasant in melee without upsetting the balance. Having more creatures with very high and very low speed is a good start–currently most animals are fast but those mostly top out after lair, and the balance is still such that a conjurer is in less danger from a harpy than a tank. That might just be because the formulas are currently out of whack though, but there's also currently a huge focus on “unpleasant melee effects” but the only “unpleasant ranged/smiting/area effects” are fire/cold and very occasionally acid. Start going through the monsters and see how many can have their nasty effects moved out of melee (see ghosts at the bottom of the page), or have nasty effects added to existing ranged attacks (see requests for poisonous manticore stingers, though I think that'd have to be a second monster) and compensate by knocking off some of their health or reducing the effect's frequency.
I agree that there need to be some glass cannons, and especially that there need to be some things of significance after the halfway point to a 3-rune run that are vulnerable to poison and enchantments. I always do Elf even though it's not necessary because it gives me a chance to whip out the lower level/damage spells (I'm talking “anything other than poison arrow when I know poison arrow”), the poison magic that hasn't worked on anybody for two branches and generally tear through level-appropriate monsters offensively, and it's the only place in the game where that happens. There isn't even an equivalent to that for stabbers/hexes, they just stop being able to use anything except hasted invisistabs and eventually lose that.
What you need to do is stop making monsters for the mold that's already there–that mold is quite full and the market is saturated. The game doesn't need more low-level monsters with either no-resists or undead resists or high level monsters with good HP and a full suite of resistances and a nasty melee attack. Start moving them out towards other molds; trade something they have that's not unique at their point in the game (be it health, resistances, MR, or a nasty melee attack) and replace it with something that is. You can tweak the formulas for balance when you think you're done. — brickman 2011-01-31 06:02
The gist of this is right, though poison and hexes are unrelated - that's just a matter of how basically every endgame monster is immune to both. Also, melee characters suffer from ranged effects at least as much as ranged characters do, never mind sitting-duck heavy armor ones - more ranged effects would make things more dangerous for ranged characters, sure, but melee's also worse off, while weakening melee effects makes things easier for everyone. And when you're actually fighting in the open, ranged characters are able to quickly take down ranged monsters while melee have to eat a bunch of attacks before they even start dealing damage. — og17 2011-01-31 07:56
True only as long as most if not all “nasty effects” completely ignore armor, which they currently do. If you made it so that you got a chance to resist based on AC, suddenly a tank is better off against a ranged effect than a caster or archer–but still significantly worse off against melee effects. — brickman 2011-02-01 02:14
Beasts like Komodo Dragon can't be killed before they close in unless you heavily invest into ranged skills. They're not just nasty, but also tough. — b0rsuk 2011-02-10 09:44



Ice dragons and shadow dragons shouldn't be cold-blooded. Mechanically, both dragons have rC++, and ice stresses the point with a weakness to fire - it's unfitting that the two freezing-vulnerable dragons both strongly resist cold. Ice dragons also have large flavor problems, as a cold-blooded animal isn't going to be able to function in the frigid areas where they're commonly found (to say nothing of their breath). If a cold-blooded dragon is desired, swamp would be a much better choice. So might storm, iron, or gold, which each have only rC+. Fire, steam, and mottled could also work if one assumes that dragon breath is some kind of chemical/magic process that doesn't affect the dragon itself, I guess, which would also cover cold-blooded white draconians. — og17 2010-10-10 03:52

This is definitely an issue. — dolorous 2010-10-10 22:26
Sorry? It's a single flag that exists to not make sense on several levels, though, it's not really tough to address. — og17 2010-12-03 16:21
I concur. Warm- and cold-bloodedness does not mean a creature's blood is actually warm or cold, but rather tells whether or not the creature can compensate for low external temperatures. I say any or all of fire, steam, and mottled dragons should be cold blooded, as their special abilities would tend to keep their environments warm. Further, hydrae, lindwurms, and various drakes may be candidate for cold blood, and having more cold-blooded dragons would make me feel a lot better about all draconians being cold-blooded (see below). — rriegs 2011-05-27 21:33

Swamp Dragon

For a monster mostly situated around a branch end, these dragons don't present much of a unique effect (cloud-based poison is still poison, which Spider and Snake focus on in much more interesting ways), much less a dangerous one. A brief discussion on crawl-dev (April 15th, 2010), brought up an idea inspired by Brogue's explosive marsh gas: give them a distinct cloud type which violently explodes in the presence of fire, then give a chance to spawn with a fire drake. More monster synergy, more potential for good deaths, and increased danger in the mostly annoying and mostly docile Swamp.

(This of course makes rF attractive for Swamp, but there are already vapours, bog mummies, and rare ugly things that illustrate elemental variety as a minor feature of Swamp. Perhaps make the first two less mostly-harmless, to compensate?) — Claws 2012-04-16 18:30


If humans and (most) dragons are warm-blooded, why are draconians (“human-dragon hybrids” — the manual) cold-blooded? The only thematic explanation I can think of is that draconians must use dragon-like thermoregulation, but do to their smaller size, this proves inadequate in keeping them warm, hence they are cold-blooded. Still, it seems a bit fishy. (I realize that draconian cold-bloodedness has significant game-play impact, giving players who can freeze them the upper-hand in combat.) — rriegs 2011-05-27 21:16

Lava Creatures

Lava fish, lava snakes, and salamanders are granted warm blood, presumably because they have fire-based attacks. Warm-bloodedness, however, is an adaptation to living in cold climates, while just the opposite is true for these lava creatures. There bodies are adapted to tolerate extreme heat, but take that away and their metabolisms should react the same way as ordinary fish, snakes, and lizards/amphibians. — rriegs 2011-05-27 21:16

Specific monsters

Bears ('U')

Bears have a unique trick now, which is good. But they're all really similar (and weak). They should receive a buff to their damage.

Bears should also berserk more frequently when fleeing (usually from low health), and perhaps flee earlier, or berserk without needing to flee (instead of a damage buff), if this would help; from my experience, the berserking is pretty rare, and doesn't even hurt that much (or at least enough to care especially), since they're nearly dead anyway when it happens (just one or two hits). In wizmode with a half-decent weapon (spiked flail, 0 m&f skill so I have big delay), most of the time I managed to kill the bears before they decided to flee, and most of the fleers either didn't berserk until gaining a good distance or didn't think to do so at all. — mrmistermonkey 2010-11-07 00:10
They should berserk as soon as they take damage, I think. Could adjust that for weaker versions - black bears needn't berserk at all, really, they just want some honey - but it'd be good for the tougher ones. — og17 2010-12-03 16:21
I agree that the bears berserk too late to be a proper threat. Instead of implementing it via an escape spell, they could have a chance for berserking (without losing a turn to “cast”) depending on how wounded they are. For black bears, this could be 1% chance for 1% of wounds, and a higher chance for grizzlies and polar bears. — evktalo 2011-02-25 07:45

Evil idea: an undead/demonic bear monster. Instead of going berserk at low health, it gets a (one-time) death's-door effect. Bear cubs could be implemented. Hurt them and mama bear goes Duvessa on you. — vintermann 2011-03-16 12:36

Death's Door for monsters has been implemented and Nergalle uses it - one of the more boring demons could be made to use it, yeah. Hairy devil is bearly (not sure if the tile looks like that), but DD is not very bear-like.. The cubs thing was supposed to happen for baby alligators. — evktalo 2011-11-02 15:48

Beetles ('B')

Beetles could flutter their wings to “cast” (a) Deflect Missiles and/or (b) Swiftness (alligator style). — evktalo 2010-04-12 20:31

Instead of actual swiftness, “flying” could effectively be a charge, giving them a small amount of extra steps (two?) that displace other monsters, with an alligator-like cooldown. Beetles are only problems with bad positioning, so it'd be good if they were actively able to create such situations. Deflect missiles sounds like it'd be annoying, as it generally wouldn't make the beetle any more interesting or dangerous, so it'd just drag a boring fight out even longer. — og17 2010-04-12 21:20
Well said about bad positioning. I agree that Deflect missiles on a simply slow moving monster would be boring, but combined with flying spurts it could be dangerous to both melee and ranged characters. Nominal slow movement could then become interesting, as you couldn't be certain when it makes a spurt. (I'm hoping a similar effect of uncertainty with goo-spitting slugs.) — evktalo 2010-04-13 00:08

Boulder Beetle

A boulder beetle can turn into a rolling boulder.

Some of this is implemented (series of patches on the above Mantis item). I'm looking for some further feedback on the current implementation and on other points raised in the comments there and above. Will continue tweaking and making some more trap vaults. Will also implement the dust trail (fairly easy since it's all based on IOOD code). Any further suggestions at this stage would be much appreciated. — mumra 2011-08-29 20:34

Brown ooze

2809369: eats all organic matter, is attracted to corpses, and leave only skeletons. Sometimes animates skeletons it crawls over.

Are you sure you mean Brown ooze and not Death ooze ? As for Brown Ooze, I suggest renaming it to Brown Goo and replacing damaging acid effect with slowing effect, triggered just like acid splash. — b0rsuk 2010-04-11 09:35

I like b0rsuk's suggestion. — evktalo 2010-09-12 12:28


It's currently not very fitting of being a greater demon. Here are some proposals to make it more threatening:

  • Make it use summon demon instead of call imp
  • Give it a more threatening spell to replace dig, like maybe iron shot, crystal spear, orb of destruction or shadow creatures.
  • Rename it to Cacofiend and give it torment
I'd suggest reworking the cacodemon entirely - basically, make it an evolution of iron imps and iron devils. “Iron Death,” maybe? Give it a stronger attack (and/or another attack), solid AC, decent omni-immunity, more life, and slower speed. Get rid of polymorph, and replace the current summoning spells with demonic horde, or better yet, a unique spell that summons a pack of iron imps and devils - dig would still be fitting, though, and it's a lot of fun when it actually manages to be effective. This monster would still likely be the least threatening 1, but a swarming plodding tank would be much stronger thematically than whatever the thing is now, and it'd also work as a nice contrast to executioners. I don't really think there's any need to give it a big irresistable conjuration or torment (or shadow creatures), as there's plenty of other greater demons that do that - however, if something's needed, I'd suggest replacing dig with the eye of devastation's disintegration beam. — og17 2010-07-03 09:59
Earth-theme would be cool (its current Dig spell suggests this), here are some ideas: LRD, Shatter, a spell that digs walls away from around the player, a spell that turns the walls around the player into earth elementals. — evktalo 2010-08-25 10:13
If a little piece of gimmickry is in order (Doom allusion), make it slower, and let it cast orb of destruction :) It doesn't need torment though, nor should it lose its mutation powers - that would just reduce top-level demon diversity. — vintermann 2011-03-16 12:42

Current Cacodemon spell set: energy bolt (the eye of devastation thing), slow, polymorph other, confuse, summon demon (in escape slot so it never casts it) — mrmistermonkey 2011-03-16 18:21

Crystal golem

Crystal golems should reflect attacks like a shield of reflection. Since they're made entirely of magical crystal, this should be 100% successful and should even affect penetrating beams. Thus, they can only be harmed by melee attacks or non-projectile spells (such as Airstrike or LRD). — minmay 2011-01-31 18:47

So is every caster just forced to pick up an anti-golem spell or what. — og17 2011-01-31 23:25
Only if every caster insists on killing that speed 7 melee enemy that shows up in 1 out of 20 games. Just as some builds deal with curse skulls by avoiding curse skulls, some builds can deal with crystal golems by avoiding crystal golems. — minmay 2011-02-01 01:19

Deep elf death mage

The only real threat from these elves at the moment is that they spam bolt of draining at you. This makes them pretty harmless to undead. I think they should be able to cast Dispel Undead. — minmay 2011-03-08 16:11

+1. How about a monster implementation of Twisted Resurrection (working on LOS) instead of Animate Dead? Preferably with this implemented — evktalo 2011-03-09 08:42
+1 to Twisted Resurrection. Dispel Undead is kind of Torment+Hellfire – even more powerful for monsters than it is for players. Good in tormenty places, a common monster on Elf:7 would be premature. An xl27 melee mummy of mine steamrolled over the vault then got killed by a single shadow fiend in 3 turns. Since a spell this insane is needed for Pan/Hells, I'd keep it away from Elf rather than nerf (for monsters, that is). Spriggan air mages I just added don't get Tornado or CBL either.
This leaves other goodies, like, indeed, Twisted Resurrection, for death mages. — kilobyte 2011-03-09 10:12
I don't think the monster spell is insane. I've been around Shadow Fiends necromutated and (once) as a mummy. Dispel Undead may do a lot of unblockable damage, but it has a short range, and death magi are nearly unheard of outside of a single branch. Shadow fiends aren't a fair comparison; they have higher HD, twice the HP, and can be summoned right next to you.
Twisted Resurrection sounds good too; perhaps give them both. Come to think of it, these are probably the weakest high-tier elf even for living players. – minmay 2011-03-11 02:14

Deep Trolls could become Deep Ones

Deep Trolls are potentially very dangerous, but somewhat boring flavour-wise. I think they could safely be renamed to Deep Ones (Cthulhu reference) and gain a connection with water. They already have the damage potential, but it would be more interesting if they could ambush. Spawn them submerged in pools of water. Waking them up would cause the entire pack to jump out of water and ambush. No swimming along the surface, they walk on the bottom (visible as dark blue ~). Once they reach shallow water or land, they become fully visible. Not hampered by shallow water. Unlike typical water creatures, they use water only as ambush hideout, never run away or enter deep water on purpose.

This could mark a significant change in design of “water” creatures. Rather than being annoyed by having to approach water, player could be scared.

b0rsuk 2009-12-12 09:50

This is an excellent idea, you could even keep “deep troll” for the name as the tile makes sense as an aquatic troll. — porkchop 2010-10-20 15:11

Eye of Draining

Similar to the idea for giant eyeball below: eyes of draining by themselves are no threat. They should look for other monsters and hang around with them.

Flaming Corpse

Generate steam when in shallow water (vandal).

Sounds good, but not sure - do other fiery monsters do this? Should they? — evktalo 2010-10-01 22:28
This would be annoying as a Yred gift in wet areas. If they need anything, think it'd be better if flaming nonflying enemies avoided entering water entirely. — og17 2010-12-03 16:21

Flying insects ('y')


They're almost exactly like queen bees or slow wolf/trapdoor spiders. Nothing really unique about them, they're just another poisonous midgame enemy.

Rename to hornets (from b0rsuk) — evktalo 2011-01-18 08:58

Moth of wrath

  • make it generate a berserk-inducing cloud on death 1930217

Gargoyles ('9')

Give gargoyles the ability to turn into statues as an escape ability.

  • While in statue form they will be as invulnerable to normal attacks as granite statues.
  • Statue transformation will take a few turns to take effect during which the gargoyle is immobile (asleep?).
  • They can and should use this ability to ambush the player.
  • Metal/molten gargoyles could turn into metal walls/lava pits instead of granite statues.

Giant centipede

Rename to megalopede. They have four trample attacks, are fast, and hit reasonably hard (and take reasonable damage). Are largeish - not big enough to trample large races. Their purpose is to trample players into webs in Spider's Nest.

Giant Eyeball

From 384 (tgw): Singular giant eyeballs are annoying to deal with and don't really do much. If giant eyeballs don't see a threatening enemy, they should try to avoid combat.

twinge suggested to raise their movement speed to normal, while keeping their action speed at 3. jpeg suggested they should gaze once, then flee.

Giant Leech

They should attach themselves to you, so if you move away, they follow and get a free attack. (from tgw). Also, attached leeches automatically hit the next turn (so EV helps against them only as long as you keep dodging the attacks). — evktalo 2010-10-10 22:58

This would make AC more useful compared to EV without changing game balance significantly, as such it's a good idea. Thematically, though, I would think that once a leech had attached, the damage it does would not be affected by armour… perhaps the leech's attack should be very weak, and attachement only happen upon doing at least one point of damage, rather than upon hit. This would be kind of a cool niche, a monster that is pretty harmless except the rare times it hits you, then it becomes serious. If more is needed, it could get “anticoagulant” posion that functions as reverse damage shaving :) — vintermann 2011-03-16 12:48
The problem with leeches is that you can just ignore the disturbances in the water and completely avoid them. For them to be a actually be a threat you have to intentionally stand right next to them. With the proposed change I'd be inclined to just avoid them completely rather than even trying to kill them. So maybe the water disturbances should be harder to spot (depend on traps & doors?) — mumra 2011-07-20 04:02

Insubstantial Wisp

They've got decent AC, high EV, resistances to everything, blink, and come in packs resulting in them being more annoying than anything else. I recommend dropping the AC to zero and removing resistances all together to make it, you know, more insubstantial. This way they can still swarm and bounce around a lot but not force the player to take forever killing them. – usht_54 2010-10-30 20:14

They may be a nuisance to most, but they have a definitive niche: They are genuinely dangerous to casters without a pure conjuration/unresistable damage spell. That's the kind of diversity we're looking for: easy for some, challenging for others. — vintermann 2011-03-16 12:55
Then make them more dangerous to the target audience and less of a nuisance. Some ideas: punchier attack, less ridiculous AC/EV, no blinking. — mrmistermonkey 2011-03-16 18:27
I've had casters in Swamp with no non-resistable spells, no summons, and crappy melee attacks. They still haven't been threatened by insubstantial wisps. This is a speed 10 monster with 12 damage that blinks all the time. They're only worth slightly more XP than a phantom because they're only slightly more theatening than a phantom, and have you ever made it far enough to even enter Swamp without being able to survive 10 phantoms at once?
I like the idea to eliminate the blinking, since that way they would surround characters, and since they appear in large packs they might actually have a chance at pinning the player down. — minmay 2011-03-16 21:10
I've died to wisps. I think I also died to the first phantom I evet met. Odds are that you as an experienced player play branches in pretty much optimal order, minmay, and if you do that, you will be powerful enough to survive wisps, no questions. But not every monster needs to be a game-deciding challenge. Wisps are already a monster peculiar enough that I have to take it into account, I think that's good enough. — vintermann 2011-03-17 10:17
I, as an experienced player, don't play branches in an optimal order, and yet they've never threatened me. Not every individual monster needs to be a game-deciding challenge, but the ones that aren't shouldn't be ridiculous annoyances. Would it really hurt if they were less annoying? Is this your gripe? — mrmistermonkey 2011-03-17 18:36

Killer Bees

Allow killer bees to stack into a 'swarm of killer bees' monster, sharing a tile with other killer bees. Attacks and hit points scale linearly with the component bees, and are lost when the player deals damage equal to the hit points of one of the members. This would prevent players from being able to funnel bees down a corridor, since all of the bees would get their attacks in anyway. This would probably make bees somewhat more dangerous, of course, so they might need to be pushed a bit deeper. — koboldlord 2011-11-01 03:25

I think the early bees are in a great place balance-wise, so I'd be reluctant to make this change for them. OTOH, bumblebees could use a thing. And I had the same idea for rat packs myself, so I'd support it for them too. It should be noted that this goes into slime creature territory, but would be different mechanically in many ways (many attacks vs. one, don't share hit points, AC is better against than EV, area effects should probably harm them all at the same time etc). You could say that slime creatures combining is a proof of the concept, and this is a variation of it. — evktalo 2011-11-01 23:05

Killer Klown

They're so unremarkable, and they're Zot monsters. They feel like an offspring of an ugly thing. They could use a lot of Xom-like effects.

One idea: make them cast Teleport Other quite often. We know how scary Teleport Other can be in Zot, especially on Zot:5. To make it more interesting, make it so each time you teleport, Killer Klown teleports with you ! So meeting a Killer Klown would be like poor man's “Wheee !”. — b0rsuk 2011-06-20 20:45

Kobold demonologist

Take away Summon Demon (leaving them with Call Imp, cantrip) and move these earlier. At the moment, they're just wussy deep elf summoners. — minmay 2011-02-07 19:39


  • volley of spikes should be considered several attacks, so some could hit and some could miss 1767817
  • spikes should be poisoned 1767817
Spikes could have a varying effect. Sickness and poison would go well together. Slowing and rotting are other feasible types I'd say. — evktalo 2010-04-09 16:55 And stat drain. — evktalo 2010-08-06 15:53
If the spikes are given any more effect than just damage, manticores could be given a (usable) melee attack - this way, they can be 'disarmed' by closing to melee range. Presently, they'll continue to pelt spikes in melee. The player's position should probably have some impact on their behaviour.
The current lack of this is the only thing that makes the monster “notable,” don't see why adding properties to its attack would be accompanied by making it act like every other ranged enemy. — og17 2010-10-31 16:16
Is that “notability” justification for keeping the manticore's present behavior? The player is presented with only two options - flee or fight against the ranged attack (with optional status debuffs). If the manticore swapped to melee, the player would have the (slightly more meaningful) options of fleeing, fighting at range, or closing for melee - for example, some casters might find it advantageous to close to prevent being poisoned. Perhaps the best solution would be to make the manticore cycle between shooting and clawing for a certain number of turns? E.G., manticore spots a target, and for three turns is a ranged attacker (regardless of distance to target), then “runs out of spikes” (temporarily), and swaps to melee, before swapping back to ranged after a certain number of turns? This would cause it to have cycles of dangerousness (especially compounded with status ailments / multiple to-hit rolls per volley), and give the player meaningful choices. — milgwyn 2010-11-01 20:47
Any character is going to fare better at either range or melee and is going to react appropriately - this isn't a tactical decision, but an automatic response. A ranged monster that can't be manipulated by LOS and player positioning can't be forced to act in a favorable manner, which is at least more interesting than letting the player dictate the terms of every fight.

Manticores having a few regenerating spikes could work well if the spikes actually supported melee (eg slowing/poison) and if the monster was threatening to begin with, though I don't know if it'd be worth the complexity or be an improvement. — og17 2010-11-01 21:23
One option would be to give the Manticore a nasty melee attack (aren't those things supposed to have three sets of teeth?), possibly nerf its spikes a little. It would be a strong, but cowardly beast who prefers attacking from a distance; one a fighter should avoid closing in on, but fight at a range. (They could get a single good elemental resistance as well, so they weren't super-easy for all casters) — vintermann 2011-03-16 13:03


Mummy NPCs should move at speed 10 and deal less damage. It's weird that these are slower than player mummies and deal a ton of damage. Their attacks should curse your stuff.

Also, the potion-decaying curse shouldn't exist. It's an interface burden, can be tediously avoided by dropping potions, and is abusable by transmuters to get huge reserves of miasma. — tgw 2010-12-12 01:01

  • The cursing curse can also be tediously avoided by dropping armour, weapons, and jewellery. — minmay 2010-12-12 23:53
    • Except doing that takes far more time and makes it more difficult to beat up a mummy. — tgw 2010-12-13 00:01
Dropping potions takes three keystrokes, and current curses do have positive effects in mixed groups, as characters often either face tougher enemies without potions (and spend resources on cursed equipment) or spend combat turns to remove the mummies indirectly. Cursing on melee would be trivially avoidable, and the game isn't really begging for more average-speed monsters with average-damage attacks - if anything's done here, I think it'd be better to come up with new curse effects, though it's hard to think of things that'd remain relevant in late game. You could just use lesser versions of big-mummy necro effects, I guess, eg minor rotting, slight stat drain, etc, though that's rougher on early characters than current behavior and ignorable by people prepared for the full miscasts. — og17 2010-12-13 01:31
On a different note, if dropping potions to avoid rot falls in the category of intended behavior rather than scumming, which I assume it does, there should be some spoiler-free way for new players to discover they should be doing that. I'd suggest doing two things: Adding a comment to the description that wise adventurers should stow their potions safely away for fear of watching them rot before their eyes, and that when you get an item death curse we don't try to hide what happens with a generic message. It should actually say “your item/several potions glow black” and then have the inventory screen show the item as cursed and identify the potions as decay. To an experienced/well-spoiled player this makes absolutely no difference, it only makes things more understandable for the unspoiled, and it doesn't sacifice any flavor either. — brickman 2010-12-13 08:39

Oozes and giant amoebas

Make melee weapons sometimes stick into them. How often depends on the weapon type. – evktalo


Tiny creatures such as rats should be able to stack with other creatures of similar type, turning into a 'rat swarm' monster with attacks and hit points that linearly increase based on the component monsters. Currently green rat packs in Lair and Sewer have no interesting qualities, having lost their strategic meaning for training fighting during the removal of the xp pool. They aren't strong enough to be useful in Lair, but single green rats are not particularly interesting solo threats even in the shallowest levels of the Dungeon. Logically, it makes sense that a tile that can hold a dragon should be able to accommodate many rats, and the code to accomplish this task could be reasonably recycled from slime creature and hydra code. The swarm gets more attacks as rats merge into it, and loses those attacks as the player deals damage. This proposal would make it impossible to funnel rats into a corridor, since they would swarm up and all get their attacks anyway, and it would reduce the defensive benefit of allowing an enemy vampire to pack the screen with spammals to block the attacks of other enemies. It would have no negative impacts in the very early game, since rats there would rarely find other rats to swarm with. — koboldlord 2011-11-01 03:21

I support this for rats, especially in Lair. Sewer balance would need to be looked at. It's also good that you bring up spammals, since it might make it a lot more powerful (last thing we want). — evktalo 2011-11-01 23:10
I was thinking of spammals are more of a defensive spell. Like butterflies, the spell is often used to choke lines of fire with cheap meat shields, and if these meat shields combined into still-fragile swarms when they got overcrowded it would possibly be even harder to keep lines of fire blocked off. Offensively, you'd be picking fights where your non-swarmed spammals could surround the target anyway, so I would think it wouldn't be all that helpful. – koboldlord 2011-11-01 03:21
Perhaps.. I'm pretty sure it would increase the spell's power a lot early on in corridors. — evktalo 2011-11-02 16:38

Green rats

This is an idea which is probably at odds with the swarm/pack idea above: green rats have a “wavering” attack: when they hit the player (or another monster), they swap places with it. This would make your own positioning unpredictable when facing a green rat pack, and would allow them to swarm you, and expose you to other monsters. — evktalo 2011-11-01 23:10

Slugs and Snails

Rename giant slugs to velvet worms (eronarn) and elephant slugs to elephant velvet worms. Make them spit goo. Enables them to catch up with prey, makes them a bigger threat for ranged users. (evktalo)

Give agate snails mirror shell: 50% reflection when normal, 100% when in shell.

Thunder snail, with electrical melee attack (evktalo) and ranged eletrical retaliation (og17). Worse retaliation when inside shell.

The purpose of reflection/ranged retaliation is to force casters/archers to come melee the snails. The snails should unpredictably come out of the shell to bite at their enemies.

Make snail attack speed normal while retaining the slow movement. (eronarn)

Slimy trail

I've thought that slugs and snails should leave a short-lived slime trail behind them, which would basically have shallow water's drawbacks without any benefits for aquatic creatures. This is largely flavor, though it'd possibly make their fleeing more interesting, and the “terrain” could be used in other places (like Slime. Also one of the J enemies could radiate an aura of it, assuming monster auras work). og17

I'm ok with slimy trail, but I'm not convinced it would make a big difference on the gameplay for slugs. — evktalo 2010-04-09 16:57

Smoke Demons

From 274 by eronarn:

Replace smoke demon's steam ball with smoke ball. This functions identically, except it instead creates a “cloud of choking/asphyxiating/whatever smoke”, dark grey. Standing in this smoke checks asphyx resist only, with damage about equivalent to steam. Other types of smoke remain as identical - this is just a particularly nasty kind.

Trapdoor spiders

2445 deals with the question of how trapdoor spiders can be discovered. Currently, you can stand next to it (and be attacked) or you can use cloud spells. The proposal is to be able to detect them with Trap & Doors skill. This sounds reasonable (also fits the spider's name nicely), as long as the skill requirements are serious enough.

There is also talk of extending this to other submergers, about which I am less enthusiastic. — dpeg 2010-09-07 18:04


From 2388 by b0rsuk: Turtles (in all forms) should not flee when hurt, but rather shell in. Details copied from my reply in the FR:

  • A shelled turtle is invulnerable to damage (melee, magical, etc.). This is a bit of a stretch, but these are huge, advanced turtles, so they carry exquisite shells.
  • A shelled turtle is invulnerable to secondary effects (enchantments, clouds etc.). This is even more of a stretch, but the idea is that you shouldn't slow/poison/etc. the shelled turtle — you should do it before it retreats. This will be insanely annoying to melee characters if the turtle shells in at 80% health. If it waits until 10%-30% (some randomness involved will be good), then it's okay: the melee fighter knows that she'll need big damage to kill.

Some brief analysis:

  • This mechanic is not just flavour, but more of an interesting tactical opportunity (compare with monsters like hydra, rock worm, slime creature). Turtles are dangerous opponents and not being able to kill them can matter on a crowded level.
  • The fact that you cannot predict when the turtle will be at full health again (it should heal fast in its shell, but a bit unreliably as to how fast) means that the player may want to spend resources. (He will be wounded, one would assume.)

Now, onto the gimmicks:

  • Players can push shelled turtles around. (It is fun and a nod to Super Mario, so what's not to like?) A turtle pushed into lava dies (good luck finding that in Shoals), if pushed into water, it will act like a swimmer (and submerge). Pushing should be slow, i.e. there's a chance (depending on Str) of missing a turn spent pushing.
  • Sometimes, a dead turtle leaves a shell. Which can be turned into a shield via ?EA. This is mostly flavour (think animal skins) but the shield should fit the size of the carrier, so it works for spriggans as well as for trolls.

Ugly Things

Ugly things could adapt to their foes. They'd know the resistances of their foes (maybe after hitting them), and try to morph into colours that their enemies don't have resists for. This'd make their cool colour-changing ability more meaningful in play. This would potentially give a niche for Summon Ugly Thing: a spell that adapts to the opposition. The spell itself could do a check for enemy resistances when cast, and produce a good colour against monsters in view. — evktalo 2011-02-06 12:57

Spatial Vortex

Erratic movement with no predilection for attacking others, speed 16, and distortion branded melee makes these highly unattractive for fighting in melee, but very easy to destroy from afar: as would be interesting for something melee-based but confused, give it a random effect (when “awake”) akin to casting irresistable blink_other_close on everything in LOS. This will drag players and monsters alike around and into the fold in reality, and will be especially fun with multiple spatial vortexes around (as several vaults and the miscast effect try to use). — Claws 2012-04-16 18:49

(Death) Yaks

Now that AT_TRAMPLE does something (such monsters can push their targets away — currently this affects all elephants and perhaps also dragons), elephants are much more interesting than before. It might make sense to give (death) yaks the same trait, but trampling is the only feature differentiating elephants and yaks, so we will opt for something else instead:

  • keep track of yak bands
  • band members should try to stay close to each other (e.g. by assigning one as the leader (no special features at all) and band members too far away try to reach the leader)
  • if any member (call it X) of a band sees an enemy, then
    1. all band members who can see X speed up and
    2. they know where the target is

This is supposed to simulate a stampede. One herd member starts running, and all the others in sight follow suit.

Such a change will make death yaks a lot more deadly, I guess.

Actual elephants also travel in packs and stampede, so it'd be fitting for all (non-sheep?) Y monsters to do this. Crawl is overflowing with meatwall melee monsters, and I don't think they need to be distinguished as much as condensed - I've suggested that elephants replace death yaks in lair, for example. — og17 2010-10-10 04:13
You can't seriously propose removing death yaks? This “dangerous cousin of the common dungeon yak” is an essential part of the original game flavour, we can't have them get trampled by these fancy elephant newcomers :) — vintermann 2011-03-16 13:14

I implemented behavior to stop 'herd' monsters from drifting apart when in BEH_WANDER in a branch (“wandering”). This is implemented as a monster flag (applied to sheep for testing), and currently ignores bands (groups of monsters with the flag will stick together if created as a band or not). This has an advantage in terms of easy degradation, if a group is split in half in some way both halves will stick together. This doesn't address the idea of making all monsters in a group pick the same target or whatever, but I have noticed that if a group is wandering and one of the monsters targets the player the ones that are still wandering will tend to follow the one going after the player (I doubt this is completely robust however). Anyway, the branch could be merged and the flag applied to some types of monsters (which ones?), and the behavior could also be expanded in other ways, e.g. make band members follow the band leader (although I do think having no leader for herds of yaks/sheep etc. is a nice way to go). — caotto 2010-12-27 02:41

War Gargoyle

Proposal: Just a cosmetic thing I thought of to make it sound a bit more fun; why not call them Wargoyles. — eugenejudo 2014-08-5 12:38

Wolf Spider

Literally exactly the same stats as trapdoor spiders, except different in that they don't do anything interesting. Should be removed.

Well, I'd like to keep them for Spider's Nest. — evktalo 2011-01-18 08:58
Currently noticably stronger in raw melee damage and lessened poison then everything else in the branch. Not particularly exciting, but one of the only dangers to high-ac monsters in said branch.


Everyone's favourite early monster to kite after the ooze.

Proposal: crying worm. Will loudly cry when spotting an enemy, attracting nearby monsters. Could come with a visible warning, and a build-up period of several turns. You could either try to quickly kill it before it lets out the cry, or try to run a bit more far away to not be immediately spotted by the monsters. You might want to close in on the worm to fight it - making the players want to close in on slow enemies and try to kill them quickly while risking getting hurt would be very good.

This might have a considerable impact on early game difficulty, but the build-up should soften the blow (and be interesting in itself). — evktalo 2011-11-13 01:54


This Monster has needed a poison stinger attack for approximately 14 years now. Make it an aux attack that triggers occasionally, adjust depth/xp accordingly. — porkchop 2011-09-12 15:25

Undead: Various fear effects

Many undead could use spicing up, and fear-related effects would be very thematic.

There are several suggestions:

  • Scroll of fear -style effect
    • Good against player summoners (your allies flee)
    • Inverse siren's call -style effect against player is possible (you flee uncontrollably)
      • But losing control (and turns) is annoying, unfun
    • Enemies fleeing your ally wraith is seldom what you want
  • Temporary stat drain while the monster is in LOS (og17)
    • Simulates fear by making the character perform worse
      • Not directly applicable to monsters
      • Indirect fleeing effect when the player decides to move away from the monster!
    • Stronger effect the closer the player is to the monster
    • Multiple monsters stack their effect, although diminishing it is probably necessary
  • Temporary skill level drain while the monster is in LOS
    • Similar to above, with slightly different threat
  • Monster gets stronger if the player moves away from it
    • Could also get cloned (think of shadows overwhelming the character)
Fear effects needn't be limited to wraiths - it'd be neat on Xtahua, for example. — og17 2010-04-04 04:25

Below are some suggestions for existing monsters: — evktalo 2010-08-25 09:50


  • Stat drain while in LOS
  • Scroll of fear effect against your allies

Shadow Wraith

Same as wraiths, but because these are invisible, they can be quite scary indeed. Your character probably feels their proximity.

Freezing Wraith

Should probably have the same effects for consistency. I doubt they'll become too powerful.


Could be given the skill-draining effect. Late-game Wights would still be an indirect threat.


Use the “clone if moved away from” -mechanic. Their strength-draining attack should have long-lasting consequences (and probably get applied more often).

Flayed Ghost

Could be so sickening to behold, that it actually makes the player Sick while they see the flayed ghost. When it leaves LOS, Sick ends. (Downside is, this is yet another effect that is most threatening for non-ranged characters.) — evktalo 2010-08-25 09:42

One way around that might be to have Sickness check against Necromancy or Strength. — dolphin 2011-06-29 17:47

Greater Wraith

It's been mentioned in a commit message that this could be renamed to “eidolon”.

+1. — dolorous 2010-10-28 01:33
Is this thing still necessary? I thought it was just around for dwarf vaults. — og17 2010-10-28 05:48

Hungry Ghost

There's great flavour in this monster, unfortunately these guys are real pushovers and I find that their hunger effect is in most situations not even remotely threatening.

this is a cool page and I hate to mire it with a comment, but the one thing I've come to realize while play testing a deep branch is that Berserkers are definitely more sensative to hungry ghosts, especialy when they spawn in a group! — blue_anna 2010-09-06 22:56
  • Keep the physical stats - they are fine.
  • Make the hunger effect nastier - it should either be a effect that hits the player constantly when in one's LOS or a ranged attack.
    • I like the LOS idea, it's similar to the fear-related ideas above. — evktalo 2010-08-25 09:50
  • Their primary method of killing the player would be either:
    • Starving the player to death in combat. This calls for the hunger effect to be rather strong. The hungry ghost would take a similiar role to that of a floating eye in that destroying it takes a priority over most other monsters.
    • Starving the player to death out of combat. The hunger effect needs not to be very strong, although definitely stronger than the current. Additionally, the hungry ghost would basically copy the Harpy's ability where it destroys the player's food with each hit. Additionally, it only makes sense that a hungry ghost would want to eat your food.
  • If the changes make them too tough, their EV or HP can always be reduced.
I like both the very strong hunger effect on hits, and the moderate hunger effect while in LoS. Since the game already has harpies, it's not clear another food-stealing monster is needed. But yes, they should be much nastier than they are now. — lemuel 2010-09-07 06:16
More hunger is fine by me. Ranged attack does not really fit, but amount of nutrition loss going up as the ghost comes nearer sounds good to me. I am against theft of hunger items. As I see it, this is the ghost of someone who starved. It can make no use of food items anymore, it can just spread hunger. — dpeg 2010-09-07 08:03
Logged in as: Anonymous (VIEWER)
dcss/brainstorm/monster/creatures/existing_monsters.txt · Last modified: 2014-08-05 06:42 by EugeneJudo
Recent changes RSS feed Donate Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki