Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is a roguelike in which you explore a huge randomly generated dungeon , in a quest for the mystifyingly fabulous Orb of Zot. Stone Soup is an open source fork from Dungeon Crawl originally released by Linley Henzell in 1995 and is the only actively developed Crawl left. Dungeon Crawl features classic roguelike elements like permadeath, a constant need for food, and randomly generated dungeons.
The name "Stone Soup" is a reference to the old folk story in which a stranger from out of town tricks the residents into cooking a pot of soup for him, by placing his supposedly magical stone in a pot of boiling water, attracting the attention of the townsfolk. The curious residents are now fooled one by one, into giving the stranger an ingredient for his "stone soup", which is the most remarkably tasty soup, but it just needs a little extra garnish each time a resident asks him what he is up. As a result, the entire village ends up cooperating on the "stone soup project", much like the open source community has with Dungeon Crawl.
The game is free to download and can be played in the traditional ASCII format (non-graphical console) or in SDL format (graphical tiles).
The basic gameplay in Crawl is turn-based. Taking an action such as moving, equipping/unequipping an item, attacking, etc. each moves the game forward one turn. After the player takes his turn, all the monsters on the respective dungeon floor take theirs. As turns progress your character, depending on race, becomes more hungry, since death from starvation is an unfortunate reality in Crawl, you will always be on the look out for food. Since the game allows you to butcher enemies corpses for meat, your primary food source will be dead enemies. The game features a traditional experience and leveling system. However, skill progression follows a system similar to Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series, in where skills only improve when used. How quickly they improve depends on the character's aptitude with the skill, which is in turn determined by the character's race. As a result, classes are not very important in Crawl, since they only determine your starting values in a skill, as well as which items you start out with. If a fighter finds a book of magic, he is completely capable of learning spells from it, provided he has gained the spell casting skill some other way. Since skills increase through gaining skill points, of which you get a set amount of each level, the game allows you to disable skills from progressing, meaning that you can deny your character from further developing in an unwanted direction. This is to ensure that your character develops as you wish, as fast as possible.
During play, the player will find a large arrangement of magic items. These range from potions to magical amulets. In true roguelike style, none of these items are identified from the get go. Identifying magical scrolls and potions is very simple, since you just have to use them. Afterwards you'll be able to identify any similar potion/scroll. However, playing guinea pig with yourself can be dangerous, since the game features a vast amount of malicious scrolls and potions. This however, makes it all the more important to quickly identify these items, so that they won't cause you trouble later. Weapons and armor can be enchanted. To identify these items, you can either use them for a prolonged amount of time, and eventually your character will figure out what they do, provided they aren't cursed, in which case you'll instantly know as you're unable to remove the item from your character until you use a remove curse scroll. Items can also be identified through the use of an identify scroll.
While exploring the dungeon, you'll soon amass a small treasury of gold coins, provided you don't suffer an exquisitely painful death at your own hands from unknowingly drinking poison first. Money can be spent in shops, which will typically be found on the lower levels of the dungeon. The shops inventories are randomly generated, but you can potentially purchase anything in shops.
The game features an almost uncountable amount of character options. When creating your character, you pick one of the 23 races/species, ranging from humans to nagas. You then choose one of the 30 backgrounds/classes. If the class allows you to, you also pick a starting weapon and a religion. After you have created your character you start from level 1 of the dungeon (or abyss if you worship Lugonu). The objective of the game is to get the Orb of Zot and escape alive from the dungeon. The orb is locked in a vault in the Realm of Zot, but to get there you must explore the dungeon for three Runes of Zot, as well as a locked portal to the realm. While three portals are always found on the 27th level of the dungeon, the runes are located inside several "dungeon branches". The branches are effectively themed miniature dungeons and typically feature unique tile sets. For example "The Swamp" features large bodies of shallow water, as well as many poisonous monsters. "The Shoals" on the other hand is an almost exclusively deep water based area, heavily featuring merfolk enemies. It is worth noting that water is a very hazardous environmental element in Crawl, unless the player of course has the ability to levitate above the water, or is a merfolk himself.
Because of the games extremely punishing difficulty, and because death is permanent, it is a rare event to complete the game. To prevent people from simply reloading their game when they die, Crawl doesn't allow for any save system besides its own automated save system. This is a common roguelike feature, and it is implemented to make the death penalty meaningful. However, "save scumming", the act of actively moving your characters save file out of the game directory to create a backup at a certain point in the game, allows you to "save" your game. This is generally frowned upon in the community, and is considered cheating. To add insult to injury, whenever your character dies, be it because he encountered one of the games many boss characters or made an action of poor judgement, his hostile ghost can now be encountered in the dungeon. Depending on how powerful the character was at the point of his death, this can become a major headache for future characters. It is again possible to remove the dead character's "bone file" from the game directory, and this is likewise considered cheating.
The second step of character creation is choosing your race. Depending on your race the gameplay can be radically altered, as some races act very unique in Crawl. For instance, the mummy doesn't have to eat, but as a consequence is incapable of drinking potions, removing an enormous "panic button" in form of healing potions from your character's repertoire. Apart from specific racial twists, each race also comes with its own restrictions on which classes the player can be, as well as specific skill aptitudes. As an example, a troll has an incredibly hard time learning pretty much anything besides clobbering enemies and eating their corpses, where as a mummy in uniquely adept in necromancy. The game features an enormous amount of races, detailed quickly below:
- Humans - Humans are unique in their broad access to skills and classes. They are not specially adept or inept at any skills, and can master practically any class in the game. As a result, humans are commonly the race against which all other races are judged, since they form the backbone of averageness in the game. Humans do have one special skill however, they gain levels very fast compared to the other races, and are as a result able to make up for the lack of specialization in a specific area, by simply improving their skills faster.
- High Elves - The high elves are a very long lived and noble race in Crawl. They are one of the more adept races in the game, sporting an impressive aptitude with bladed weapons and bows, as well as most types of magic, making them excellent spell casters and warriors alike. As well as an impressive skill set, the high elves develop excellent intelligence and dexterity while leveling up, but are a little less sturdy than humans as a result. As a trade off for their impressive skill set, the high elves level very slowly, in fact at half the rate of humans.
- Deep Elves - An evil and vicious race of underground living elves. The Deep Elves specialize in all kinds of magic and are especially skilled in the usage of earth and poison magic. Deep Elves are one of the best races for a magic focused character, as they quickly develop a much larger mana pool than most other races. As a consequence of their magic focused society however, the Deep Elves are very poor melee combatants, but they are well versed in the usage of ranged weapons.
- Sludge Elves - A degenerate race of elves. While most elven races shun the arts of necromancy and poison magic, and unarmed combat, the Sludge Elves excel in these areas. Being masters of unarmed combat as well as transmutation magic, the Sludge Elves are quickly able to make up for their lack of special modifiers for unarmed attacks by transforming their hands to swords or similar deadly objects. The Sludge Elves are also masters of stealth, and while they do not favour heavy armor, they are excellent at dodging incoming attacks. They level a bit faster than High Elves.
Mountain Dwarves - The Mountain Dwarves are more akin to the stereotypical fantasy dwarf than their Deep Dwarf cousins. Hailing from their mountain homes, they are incredibly sturdy, as well as masters of armored combat. They are adept in using almost all kinds of weapons, but are especially skilled in using axes of all varieties. As well as their high skill with weapons and armor, the dwarves are also very strong and have more health than most other races in the game. They are incredibly inept at magic. Since they level only a bit slower than humans, and due to the simplicity of their gameplay, Mountain Dwarves are generally considered one of the easiest races to play in the game. Removed in patch 0.10
- Deep Dwarves - Unlike the Mountain Dwarves, the Deep Dwarves never left their underground civilizations to contact the rest of the world. Due to their lack of exposure to natural sunlight, they quickly developed pale skin, and have lost their natural ability to heal wounds. As a result, a Deep Dwarf character is unable to restore lost health on his own, and most use healing potions or receive healing magic. As a result, the Deep Dwarves has developed an incredible affinity for avoiding attacks, as well as a mastery of ranged combat and magic, specifically necromancy and earth magic. Necromancy is a natural choice, since it allows the dwarves to raise a horde of minions to do combat for them, and earth magic features many spells that protect the caster. They also have a high affinity for stealth and traps, while being poor at most melee weapons, apart from axes. They level as fast as Mountain Dwarves do.
- Hill Orcs - Hill Orcs are the topside cousins of the Cave Orcs that heavily populate the upper levels of the dungeon. They are powerful melee combatants, as well as efficient priests. Hill Orc priests are unique in that they are allowed to worship the orc god, Beogh. Attaining a high rank as a priest of Beogh quickly turns the orc player into their religions Messiah, sent to the dungeon to bring a new age of conquest and bloodshed for the orcs. Becoming the Messiah has the enormous benefit of being able to turn enemy orcs into followers, quickly amassing a huge army of loyal subjects to the player. Hill Orcs are generally stronger and more sturdy than humans, but they lack aptitude in ranged combat, as well as the more subtle arts. Orcs also have the ability to eat rotten meat, and receive special bonuses for wearing orcish armor, just as dwarves and elves do for their racial equipment. They progress as quickly as humans.
- Merfolk - An aquatic race of fish humanoids. They are especially skilled in using polearms and ice magic. They have the special ability to transform their legs into a giant fish tail when they enter deep water, allowing them to swim with little to no difficulty. They are somewhat limited in using ranged weaponry, and outside of ice magic they have little skill in the arcane arts. They are considered an easy race to play, because of their high affinity with polearms, and because of their swimming abilities. They level a little slower than humans, but faster than the dwarves.
- Halflings - Halflings are roughly half the size of humans, and live in small villages in the countryside, preferring an easy going lifestyle over the stressful lifestyle of city life. Due to their small size, halflings require much less food than other races do, and they are very good at ranged combat, as well as using knives. They also excel at the subtle skills, like stealth, backstabbing etc. As a result, halfings generally make the best "sneaky" characters. They are not very good at magic, but they level as quickly as humans.
- Kobolds - A race of small ugly and vicious creatures, the kobolds populate a large portion of the upper levels of the dungeon. They have few redeeming qualities, apart from their stomachs. A kobold is able to eat rotten meat, and are very fast to recover from any sickness they may catch from it. However, as they are carnivores, they live on a strictly meat based diet. Just as the halflings, kobolds are considered small, as a result, many weapons are too big for them to use. Despite the average kobold enemy being completely useless, Kobold adventures are very powerful. Excelling in most of the same skills as halflings, as well as being better at melee combat than humans. They are even adept spell casters. Despite all this, kobolds level as fast humans do.
- Spriggans - The spriggans are a race of fairy like creatures. Being closely related to elves, they originate from woodland areas. spriggans are a very odd race. They're unable to wear almost any armor, nor wield most weapons. As a result, they are probably the poorest race to deal damage in close quarters. However, being small and nimble, they are also the race that is the most difficult to hit, being able run circles around their enemies without getting hit. They are also highly proficient in illusions and teleportation magic. spriggans also have incredible foot speed, being able to outrun practically any enemy or player race in the game. However, they are herbivores, and live strictly off of plant matter, but they have a slow metabolism, meaning they almost never have to eat. They're also able to see invisible creatures naturally, an extremely useful skill on the deeper dungeon levels. Atop of all this, they are also extremely resistant to magic. However, despite all this, they still level as fast as dwarves do.
- Nagas - Being humanoids with human upper bodies and snake-like lower bodies, the naga naturally slither at a slow pace. However, as slithering doesn't exactly makes any footsteps, the naga are masters of stealth. Since they taste the air with their snake tongues, their can easily locate invisible creatures. Being half-snakes, they are immune to poison, and have the ability to spew a bolt of poison from the mouth as well, an ability that progresses as the naga gains in character levels. Because of their snaky lower body, they are unable to wear boots, though special lower body armor does exist for them. However, due to their tough scales, an ability that improves with them as well, nagas are well armored, even from the start of the game. They progress in levels almost as fast as humans, and are generally proficient in everything but ranged weapons and a few kinds of magic.
- Centaurs - Humanoids with a human's upper body and a horse's lower body. They are able to run very fast, due to their horse legs, and are very adept in using bows and other ranged weapons. They are unable to wear boots and most types of armor, but gain a natural armor bonus instead. Because of their four legs and highly mobile lifestyle, centaurs need more food than most other races to stay well fed. Centaurs are poor magic users, and less than average melee fighters, they also level a little bit slower than High Elves.
- Ogres - Ogres are a giant brutish race, distantly related to orcs. They excel at two things: Hitting stuff with their giant clubs, and throwing heavy rocks at stuff outside of range of their club. They are poor at almost any other skill, and because of their large size, they are unable to use anything but the most basic of armor, such as animal skins. However, they are able to use giant weapons most other races can hardly lift, giving them a powerful damage boost. Another consequence of their size, is that they have to eat constantly. They are able to eat rotten meat however. Naturally they are tougher than most other races in the game, but their lack of any form of generality makes them the single most focused race in the game. They progress just a little bit slower than humans.
- Trolls - The ogre and troll are very much alike: Big, stupid, and powerful. However, the troll has a metabolism on overdrive. This gives them the ability to heal wounds almost as fast they are inflicted. But, they need to constantly eat to not starve to death. Being greedy creatures, the troll can overfeed on meat, and even eat rotten meat with little to no consequence. They also have giant knife-like claws for hands, letting them butcher corpses without an implement, which most other races need. Like the ogre, trolls cannot wear most kinds of armor. The troll is considered one of the most powerful and easiest races to play in the game, the only concern for a novice player is to remember to eat everything they come across, as the troll is an unstoppable killing machine, even if completely naked, and the only major threat to their existence is starvation. Trolls level as slowly as High Elves.
- Minotaurs - Another humanoid hybrid race, this time a human with a bull's head and hind legs. A ferocious creature, driven to the dungeon for its love of twisting hallways and labyrinths. Due to their bull horns, the minotaur is able to gore enemies in close combat, giving them a bonus attack. However, they cannot wear helmets as a consequence. They are proficient in all kinds of ranged and melee combat, but abysmal at magic. As a result, the minotaur isn't a very versatile race. They level slightly slower than High Elves, but are generally considered a novice friendly race.
- Kenku - A bird-like humanoid, the kenku have human shaped bodies, but because of their talon-like feet and beeks, they cannot wear boots or helmets. When reaching the later levels, the kenku gain the ability to fly, at some point even permanently. They are highly adept at most kinds of combat, both ranged and melee, and are even skilled spell casters as well. Their weakness however, is their frail avian bodies, making them more susceptible to injury. They progress fairly quickly, but slower than humans.
- Draconians - Draconians are humanoid dragon hybrids. When starting out, the draconian is still in an immature form with brown scales. When reaching a sufficient level, the draconian evolves into a mature colored form. Depending on the color, the draconian gains a variety of bonuses/penalties. Since their color is genetically predetermined, the player has no input in which color his character evolves into. All draconians have have a tail however, which gives them an extra attack in unarmed combat. In general, they are average in most areas, until they evolve, in which case they suddenly become specialized in certain areas, and some colors even get breath weapons. They level a bit slowly, but are a good overall race, with better stats than humans.
- Demigod - A human with divine heritage, the demigod has very good statistics, being robust, strong and a powerful spell caster, all in one. As a result, they are a slightly more powerful version of the human, but at the trade off that they progress in skills and levels more slowly than the human does. Also, because of their divine heritage, the demigod refuses to worship other gods, certain that his destiny is to become a god himself.
- Demonspawn - The demonspawn is basically a half-demon. Due to their infernal heritage, they are unable to follow any of the good gods in the game. They progress in levels a bit slower than the demigod, but gain skills just as fast. When they gain levels, at odd points they will succumb to random mutations as their demonic heritage manifests itself. This can be anything from horns, scales, a tail, etc. These usually all come with benefits to the demonspawn, although it is possible to gain disadvantageous mutations. Due to their versatility, the demonspawn excels as most classes.
- Mummy - The mummy is a powerful undead creature. They are immortal, as they are unable to age, and does not need to eat. They are however, susceptible getting pummelled, and their dry bandages are especially flammable. as all undead creatures, they have a great deal of immunities, such as cold, and a lot of necromancy spells. The cannot drink potions. They are slow learners, being poorly proficient in almost all skill except a few, such as necromancy. They also progress poorly in their natural statistics, since their bodies are dead. As a result of this, and their poor leveling as well, mummies are considered one of the absolute hardest races to play in the game.
- Ghoul - The ghoul is an undead abomination. Constantly on the prowl for rotting flesh to consume, the ghoul is a terrible sight to behold. Like the troll, the ghoul has longer knife-like claws on its hands, giving it the ability to horrible maim living creatures and their bodies alike. Because of its nature, the ghoul is only able to eat meat, and it is even able to restore its health through meat chunks alone, making it the only race that heals through food items. As well restoring its health, the ghoul need to consume meat to prevent its own flesh from rotting off its body, making the ghoul experience a constant search for, and stockpiling of, meat. In general, the ghoul is an inept creature. It doesn't really excel at anything, maybe apart from stealth, but it is "less bad" at melee combat than magic, but it isn't impossible for the ghoul to cast magic at some point in its career. The ghoul levels only a bit slower than humans, and it quickly becomes very strong.
- Vampire - The vampire is the third undead race in Crawl. Like the other undeads, it has a lot of unique resistances and weaknesses. They do not eat, instead they feast on blood from the living, or failing that, recently deceased. Depending on the vampire's satiation levels, it gains and looses different abilities, tending to become more stealthy when thirsty, and gaining access to a variety of shapes when well fed at higher levels. When the vampire becomes experienced enough, it learns how to extract blood from fresh corpses to potion bottles, giving the vampire access to blood while on the move. If it becomes completely satiated with blood, the vampire will be considered as a living creature, receiving full effect from ordinary potions and increased health regeneration. The vampire is best suited in a career of melee focused combat, although it is excellent at sneaking as well. It isn't better than average at some schools of magic though. In close combat, the vampire's teeth gives it an extra attack. Vampires level as slowly as High Elves.
- Octopode - Octopodes are a race of intelligent cephalopod introduced in patch 0.10, due to their prehensile tentacles they are unable to wear almost all kinds of armour save for shields and hats. The Octopode does have the unique ability to wear up to 8 rings at the same time along with the standard 1 amulet. The Octopode has the innate ability to swim in deep water, they have a small beak for an extra melee attack and their tentacles give them the opportunity to constrict up to 8 enemies at a time Octopodes have average aptitudes across to board save for a good (+3) in stealth, (+2) in Poison magic and a (+1) in Evocations and Traps & Doors, they level slightly slower than Humans. Octopodes are considered one of the most difficult races to ascend with, while the ability to wear up to 8 rings sounds nice, getting to that point is another matter entirely, their inability to wear armour, average aptitudes and low HP make early game extremely punishing.
Because a character increases in skills depending on how he uses them, classes do not play as a significant role in Crawl than they do in other games. Your character is in no way restricted to develop solely in the direction he starts out in. It is possible for a fighter to eventually learn magic, how fast he does this depends on his race and how frequently he uses magic items. Your class bestows you with your starting equipment, as well as your starting skills, meaning you will start with specific skill at a certain level depending on your class. The classes of Crawl are broken up into four major groups: Fighter classes (not to be confused with the actual fighter class), Stealth classes, Religious Classes, and Magic Classes. There are a large amount of hybrids between these types as well, such as the Stalker, which is a stealth class with a splash of poison magic, or the Chaos Knight which is fighter who worships an evil god to gain divine powers. Many of the classes may appear to be very similar, but each has its own unique possibilities.
- Fighter - A classic "sword and board" class. Starts with a melee weapon of choice, heavy armor and a shield.
- Hunter - The ranged combat specialist. Begins the game with a bow, a dagger and some light armor.
- Gladiator - Focuses on light armor and mobility. Starts with a melee weapon of choice, light armor, a helmet, and throwing nets.
- Assassin - The classic "sneaky bastard" class. Starts out with an enchanted dagger, a blowgun, very light armor and some poisoned needles for his blowgun.
Thief - Less combat oriented than the assassin. He starts the game with a shortsword, some throwing darts, very light armor, and a lot of money. Removed in patch 0.7
- Monk - An unarmed fighter, has some stealth capabilities. Begins with just a robe. Upon committing to their first god receive an instant 2 star (**---) Piety.
- Priest - Worships either the god of law, Zin,
or the god of death, Yredelemnul. Starts with just a quarter staff and a robe. Death Knights replaced Dark Priests
- Healer - A worshipper of the healing god Elyvilon. Is forbidden from attacking non-hostile enemies. Starts with a robe and some healing potions. Is an excellent unarmed combatant.
- Chaos Knight - Chaos Knights are followers of the God Xom. They begin the game with a magic weapon of their choice and some light armor.
- Abyssal Knight - Followers of the god of corruption Lugonu. They start with an enchanted weapon and leather armour.
- Death Knight - Worshipers of Yredelemnul, the god of death. Begins with an enchanted weapon and leather armour.
- Berserker - A Fighter who follows the rage god Trog. Starts out in very light armor and with an axe.
- Wizard - The most general spell caster in the game. Begins with his choice of spellbook, a robe, and a wizard hat.
- Conjurer - A specialist in offensive conjuration magic. Can choose to start with either a fire or ice focused spellbook and a robe.
- Enchanter - Specializes in enchantment spells, which allow him to charm enemies and become invisible. Begins the game with a robe and short sword, along with a Book of Charms.
- Necromancer - Resurrects fallen enemies to do his bidding, usually ending up with a small army. He starts with a robe and Book of Necromancy.
- Summoner - Like the necromancer in many regards, but his summons are usually more powerful, but not permanent. He begins the game with just his Book of Callings and robe.
- Transmuter - A specialist in using magic to change himself, the environment and his enemies. Starts with some potions he can magically evaporate to attack his enemies, a robe and his Book of Changes.
- Venom Mage - An expert in poison magic. Starts out with a Young Poisoner's Handbook and a robe.
- Fire Elementalist - A very offensive style of magic. He Starts out with his robes and a Book of Flames.
- Ice Elementalist - Ice magic is balanced between offense and defense. Begins the game with a Book of Frost and a robe.
- Earth Elementalist - Earth magic feature a lot of utility spells. He starts with a Book of Geomancy and his robes.
- Air Elementalist - Air magic is a mix of fire and earth in its spell selection. Begins with his robes and a Book of Air.
- Artificer - Heavily utilizes magic items, such as wands and rods. Starts the game with light armor and a wand/rod of their choice. They are able to recognize a Scroll of Recharging, for restoring used charges in their magic items.
Paladin - A mix of the fighter and priest. They are bound to a knightly code of honor. Starts out with a falchion, medium armor, and a shield. Removed in 0.7 Reaver - The Reaver is a hybrid of the fighter and conjurer, donning lighter armor to allow himself to cast his spells. He begins the game with a melee weapon of choice, light armor and has the same option of spellbook as the conjurer. Removed in 0.8
- Stalker - Assassins who begin with skill in transmutation magic, they excel in using stealth and their ability to evaporate potions to kill their enemies.
- Warper - The Warper is a Fighter who knows some translocation magic, allowing him to teleport at will in combat. He begins the game with a melee weapon of choice, light armor and a Book of Spatial Translocations.
Crusader Skald - The Skald mixes the Fighter with the Enchanter, giving him the ability to boost his combat abilities with his magic. Starts with the same equipment as the Warper, although he has a Book of War Chants instead.
- Arcane Marksman - The perfect blend of the Hunter and Enchanter. They start out with a bow and robe.
- Wanderer - The wanderer is the final class in the game. He starts out with a random selection of items and skills, making him one of the hardest classes to play in the game. It is possible for a wanderer to be skilful with swords, only to start the game with an axe.