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Linley's Dungeon Crawl (or just Dungeon Crawl or Crawl) is a roguelike computer game originally programmed by Linley Henzell in 1995, and first released to the general public on October 1, 1997. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, a branch of Dungeon Crawl currently in development, is one of the most popular roguelikes being played today.
Crawl starts with the player's choice of one of over twenty races: several different types of elves, two types of dwarves, humans, ogres, centaurs, merfolk, and other fantastic beings. Racial selection sets base attributes, future skill advancement, and physical characteristics such as movement, resistances, and special abilities.
Subject to racial exclusions, the player next chooses a character class from among over twenty selections. Classes include the traditional roles of fighter, wizard, and thief as well as specialty roles, among them monks, berserkers, assassins, crusaders, and elemental spellcasters. Wanderers represent an atypical option and receive a random skill set. Together, class and race determine base equipment and skill training, though characters may later attempt to acquire any in-game skill.
The Crawl skill system covers most abilities upon which adventurers might call. The skills include the ability to move freely in armor or silently, mount effective attacks with different categories of weapons (polearms, long or short blades, maces, axes, and staves), master spells from different magical colleges (the elements, necromancy, conjuration, enchantments, summoning, etc.), utilize magical artifacts, and pray to divinities. Training occurs through repetition of skill-related actions (e.g., hitting a monster with a longsword trains long blades and fighting skills), using experience from a pool refilled as the player defeats monsters.
John Harris, in his "@Play"  column states that the experience pool system "deftly avoids the many problems of a skill-based development system", mainly praising the need to move on through the course of the game to further improve a PC's skills. In the same article, John Harris states that this experience system "is probably the best skill system yet seen in any roguelike; it could make a claim at being one of the best in any CRPG."
Religion within Crawl is a central game mechanic. Its diverse pantheon of gods reward character conformance to particular codes of conduct. Trog, the berserker god, expects abstinence from casting spells and offers aid in battle, whereas Sif Muna expects frequent spellcraft in exchange for magical assistance and gifts of spellbooks. Some deities campaign against evil, matched by a god of death who revels in indiscriminate killing, while others prove unpredictable objects of worship. Xom, an example of the latter, toys with followers, meting out punishments and showering gifts on inscrutable whims.
The goal of Crawl is to recover the "Orb of Zot" hidden deep within a dungeon complex. To achieve this objective, characters must visit various dungeon branches, such as the Orcish Mines or The Lair, which often branch further in to additional areas, like the Elven Halls or The Swamp, and obtain at least three "Runes of Zot" with which to gain access to the Orb. Fifteen different runes can be obtained in any particular game, and obtaining all of them is generally considered an extra feat. While all the possible 654 race/class combinations have been won on the online servers, only 186 of them were ever played online as an all-rune win (as of 2010-08-24). Dungeon maps in Crawl persist, as in NetHack.
Typical Dungeon Crawl screen
wiki the Stabber ∙∙ High Elf ∙∙∙ #### HP: 5/16 #∙∙[ ##g∙∙ ## Magic: 2/2 #∙∙∙∙ ∙∙∙ ∙∙# AC: 2 (0) ##∙∙∙∙####∙##∙[# EV: 11 #∙∙∙∙∙∙#∙∙<∙∙∙∙# Str: 11 #∙∙∙∙∙∙#∙∙>∙∙∙#### Int: 13 #∙∙∙∙<∙∙∙@∙∙∙%∙# Dex: 16 #####∙∙∙∙##### # Gold: 131 #∙∙#∙∙∙∙ Experience: 2/16 (2) #∙##∙## Level 2 of the Dungeon #∙ ∙∙# # a) +0 elf short sword ###### Encumbered
The last official versions of Linley's Dungeon Crawl were 4.0.0 beta 26, from March 24, 2003, and a later alpha release, version 4.1.0, dating from July 2005.
The game has been ported to the Nintendo DS as DSCrawl.
Stone Soup Branch
In 2006, a project was formed to address stalled official development, yielding the variant Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. Developers of this code branch characterize official Crawl development as "something close to hibernation", with development "largely invisible to the public". The most recent stable version of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is 0.7.1, released on July 24, 2010. It is developed actively, with a Git repository available publicly . Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup polled second in a poll of over 500 roguelike players, coming just behind DoomRL, after winning the same contest the year previous.
Early extensions to Linley Henzell's code base which were folded into the Stone Soup branch include the "travel patch", which allowed automated travel between locations in the dungeon. Stone Soup has since then developed an unprecedented variety of extensions which fit into this general vein of "play aid", such as allowing searching through every item ever discovered by Regular expression.
In order to avoid featuritis, Stone Soup has also pruned gameplay elements which they considered superfluous, including several races and a magical school. The development team has also expressed a desire to maintain the current total length of the game, and so as new areas are added to the dungeon, old ones have been shortened or even removed to compensate.
Features of online play include automated high score tracking and real-time recording of online play for later viewing. Also, ghosts of other players' characters are frequently encountered on a player's journey, making up for an additional challenge. An annual tournament for all Stone Soup players is held every August on the servers.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Ascii Dreams: Full Results for Ascii Dreams Roguelike of the Year, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-02-19.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 GameSetWatch - COLUMN: @Play: Crawlapalooza, Part 1: Skills & Advancement. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
- ↑ God - CrawlWiki. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- ↑ Linley's Dungeon Crawl - News. Retrieved on 2009-01-23.
- ↑ Template:Cite newsgroup
- ↑ Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. SourceForge. Retrieved on 2009-12-20.
- ↑ Sourceforge crawl-ref. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 The Dawn of Stone Soup << Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
- ↑ GameSetWatch - COLUMN: @Play: Crawlapalooza, Part 4: Travel Functions & Play Aids. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
- ↑ Play-testing: Hit Me With Your Dowsing Rod << Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
- ↑ Patch Notes For DCSS 0.6.0. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
- ↑ Tiles Server Support Sneak Peek!. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
- ↑ CAO/CDO Scoring Overview. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
- ↑ Index of /rawdata. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
- Official website
- Official website of Stone Soup branch
- Public Stone Soup server (requires a Telnet or SSH client)
- Public development Stone Soup telnet/ssh server
- Crawl wiki
- Crawl on RogueBasin