Linley's Dungeon Crawl

- or -

How to Waste Phenomenal Amounts of Time

Linley's Dungeon Crawl is a free and portable roguelike molded in the tradition of the early greats of the genre: Rogue, Hack, and Moria. The player guides a single character deep into a subterranean complex to retrieve the Orb of Zot, fending off many horrible and hideous creatures along the way. Once retrieved, the player must return both character and Orb safely to the surface world. Easier said than done, but fun all the same.

- official site,

mild spoilers

Crawl is an excellent game that dates back to 1995, making it slightly younger than ADOM. It was originally written by Linley Henzell (hence the title) but has since been taken over by a collaborative DevTeam, similar to Nethack.

The Goal, of course, to win. As stated above, you must recover the Orb of Zot and escape from the dungeon (akin to escaping with the Amulet of Yendor). The Orb is located on the fifth and final floor of the Halls of Zot, which are accessed through a gate on the 27th* floor of the main dungeon. However, there is one small caveat: To get through the gate that leads to Zot, you have to have at least 3 runes of zot, which can be found at the ends of nearly every dungeon branch. None, however, are found in the main dungeon. To win, you must explore at least some of the several dungeon branches.

Now, there is no shortage of runes, and it is certainly possible to find more than 3. The game can be won without ever setting foot in some of the most difficult areas in the game. On the other hand, an experienced player who's accomplished a normal 3-rune win can attempt the more prestigious full set victory, where you collect every single rune available (some are not guaranteed in every game).

The most common set of winning runes are the serpentine, decaying, and silvery runes, which are found at the bottom of the Snake Pits, the Swamp, and the Vaults, respectively.

The Player

Crawl features 26 races, ranging from humans to (several types of) elves to demigods, and 28 classes, which are restricted based on your race. Trolls, for example, can only be berzerkers or fighters; no spellcasting allowed (at first).

Your class has a fairly significant impact on your skills, especially at the start, but nothing is stopping you from eventually branching out into other areas. Ice Mages can gain fire magic skill, with some difficulty, and even combat wombats will eventually gain spellcasting levels from reading scrolls ("You seem to be getting the hang of this magic stuff." or something to that effect). All spell spheres will interfere with improving other spheres, especially in opposed spheres of magic (e.g. the ice/fire example above).

Practical skills also exist - fighting, various weapon skills, stealth, etc.

Gods & Religion

The religion system is one of the most unique parts of Crawl. Rather than a single generi-god template to which you apply different names and nominal alignemnts, Crawl's pantheon consists of several unique deities with their own specific personalities. They must be appeased in different ways; Mahkleb the Destroyer wants you to kill in his name as often as possible, and will grant you powers of death and destruction, whereas Elyvilon the Healer is highly offended by killing in his name, and is pleased by the sacrifice of weapons.

Praying ('p') lasts several turns, and any monster you kill or corpse you dissect is considered an offering to your god of choice, which they may or may not accept. Praying on an altar will either give you a choice of converting to that religion, or sacrifice any items on the altar to your god.

Demigods miss out on all of this - to compensate for their godly stats, they are only allowed to worship themselves.


  • - official site
  • - Association for the Advancement of Dungeon Crawling - spoiler site with lots of good info, including details on each god
  • - R1's crawl page - miscellaneous spoilers
  • - The Almost Perfect Roguelike - various links, and a some spoilers (mostly info from other sites, made more readable)
  • - Crawl doesn't have its own newsgroup, but it practically monopolizes r.g.r.misc.
  • - a patch you should really install
* Linley's favorite number seems to be 27. It shows up in various places; maximum experience/skill level , maximum stats, etc.

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