Dungeon Crawl manual
- Dungeon Crawl
Crawl Quick-Start Guide
(Copyright 1999 Linley Henzell)
So, you want to start playing Crawl straight away without bothering with the
manual? Read this, the guide to starting Crawl with a minimum of preparation.
When you get some more time, you can read crawl.txt in the Docs directory
for more detailed information.
I suggest printing it out and following its instructions while playing your
first few games (you can also press '?' while playing for a list of commands).
INTRODUCTION TO CRAWL
Crawl is a large and very random game of subterranean exploration in a fantasy
world of magic and frequent violence. Your quest is to travel into the depths
of the Dungeon (which is different each time you play) and retrieve the Orb of
Crawl is an RPG of the 'rogue-like' type, one of the descendants of Rogue. Its
graphics are simple but highly informative, designed to be understood at a
glance, and control is exercised largely through one-keystroke commands.
After starting the program you will be greeted with a message asking for your
name. Don't spend too much time over this, as your first character will *not*
last very long (sorry, but it's true).
Next you are given menus of species and character classes from which to
choose. A dwarf, orc, ogre or troll Fighter is a good bet. Elves are quite
fragile, humans are pretty average at everything, and the weirder species are
mostly too tricky for beginning players. Finally, you may be given a choice of
weapons. I suggest an axe (axes are fun).
Now you are in the game. The game screen has three parts:
- the Map takes up the upper left part of the screen. In its very centre is
the @ sign which represents You. The coloured parts of the Map are the parts
you can see, while places which you have visited before but cannot currently
see are shown in grey.
- the Message box is the large part of the screen below the map. It describes
events as they happen and asks you questions from time to time.
- the Stats area (to the right of the Map) contains various indicators of
your health and abilities.
Try walking around, using either the numeric keypad (turn numlock off) or the
hjklyubn keys. To move in a given direction until you reach something
interesting or see a hostile creature, press shift and the direction.
If you want to know what a certain character on the screen represents, you can
use the 'x' (examine) command to get a short description. You use the 'o'
(open) command to open doors, and the '<' (up) and '>' (down) commands to
climb staircases. Sometimes doors are hidden, and must be searched out by
standing next to walls and resting (a number of commands do the same thing:
's', '.' (period), delete, or '5' on the numeric keypad).
The Dungeon gets more dangerous (but more interesting!) as you go down. If you
get lost you can access a map of the whole level you are on with the 'X'
command, which uses the whole screen.
After walking around for a while, you will no doubt come across some items
laying around (you may come across some monsters as well; for help in dealing
with them skip to the Monsters section). You can pick up items with the 'g'
(get) or ',' commands and drop them again with 'd' (drop), and the 'i'
(inventory) command shows you what you're carrying.
There are several different types of items:
- Weapons, represented by the ) sign. Wield them with the 'w' (wield)
command. Some weapons are cursed and cannot be un-wielded without the use of
- Armour (]). Wear it with the 'W' (Wear) command, and remove it with 'T'
(Take off). Heavier armours give more protection, but may hamper your ability
to fight and to dodge attacks aimed at you.
- Ammunition (also the ) sign). Throw it with 't' (throw). Darts are meant to
be thrown by hand; other missiles need an appropriate launcher to be wielded
(eg arrows are much more effective when shot with a bow).
- Wands (/), Scrolls (?) and Potions (!) can be very valuable, but have
limited uses (scrolls and potions can only be used once each, wands contain
only a certain number of charges). Wands are 'z'apped, scrolls are 'r'ead and
potions are 'q'uaffed.
Unfortunately, you won't at first know what a wand, scroll or potion does; it
will only be described by its physical appearance. But once you have used, for
example, a potion of healing, you will in future recognise all potions of
- Rings (=) and Amulets (") often contain powerful magic, but it can be
difficult to work out exactly what one does. They are put on with 'P' (Put on)
and removed with 'R' (remove), but can, like weapons, be cursed.
- Food (%) is vital to your survival. Eat it with the 'e' (eat) command when
hungry. Monsters' corpses, also %, can be eaten if chopped up (the 'D'
(Dissect) command), but not all of them are healthful, and many species of
player-character dislike eating raw flesh unless very hungry.
- Money ($) can be used to buy stuff in shops, and increases your score if
There are a few other types of item, but you will discover these as you play.
One vital command to remember when dealing with items is 'V' (View), which
gives you a short description of any item. Use it on everything you find. The
magical Scroll of Identify can also help for identifying magical items of
You will also run into monsters (most of which are represented by letters of
the alphabet). You can attack a monster by trying to move into the square it
When you are wounded you lose hit points (displayed near the top of the stats
list); these return gradually over time through the natural process of
healing. If you lose all of your hp you Die.
To survive, you will need to develop a few basic tactics:
- Never fight more than one monster if you can help it. Always back into a
corridor so that they must fight you one-on-one.
- If you are badly wounded, you can run away from monsters to buy some time.
Try losing them in corridors, or find a place where you can run around in
circles to heal while the monster chases you.
- Rest between encounters. The 's', '.', delete or keypad-5 commands make you
rest for one turn, while pressing '5' or shift-and-keypad-5 make you rest for
a longer time (you will stop resting when fully healed).
- Learn when to run away from things you can't handle - this is important!
Before long, you'll probably end up dead.
Death in Crawl is permanent; you cannot just reload a saved game and start
again where you left off. The 'S' (Save) command exists only to let you leave
a game part-way through and come back to it later. Quitting ('Q') is a way of
committing suicide if you can't even be bothered to help your character escape
from the Dungeon alive.
Well, that's it for the quick-start guide. This should help you through your
first few games, but Crawl is extremely (some would say excessively) complex
and cannot be adequately described in so short a document. So when you feel
ready to start playing with magic, skills, religions, the arcane intricacies
of the initfile and a whole heap of other stuff, glance through the manual.