Danger level (DL) is an attribute of dungeon levels used to determine, among other things, item generation and monster spawning. Generally speaking, the higher the current level's DL, the greater the risk and the greater the potential rewards.
The DL of a dungeon level is usually fixed. The only known exception is the small cave, whose DL calculation is believed to be equal to character level.
Each item in the game has a minimum DL assigned to it. Only items with an assigned DL equal to or lower than the DL of the current dungeon level can be generated, whether through random drops, pickpocketing or item polymorphing (via potions of exchange or raw chaos).
An item's minimum DL requirement only applies to random item generation. Some monsters in the game have typical drops (e.g. kobolds' short bows) which have a fixed percentage chance of being dropped when the monster is killed. In those cases, the item's minimum DL is not factored in, and the item can drop regardless of the current level's DL.
One example of this is the chaos knight entourage encounter in the wilderness, which is an area that always has a danger level of 1. When killed, the chaos knight monster has a fixed 40% chance of dropping eternium plate mail – an item which requires DL36 on its own. Even though the plate mail has a higher DL requirement than the wilderness level provides, it can still drop when the chaos knight is killed because it is a fixed percentage drop rather than a random one.
It's worth noting that the Infinite dungeon appears to be a special exception to minimum item DL requirements. Item generation DL in this dungeon is believed to be divided by three, meaning you need to be on I4 or deeper to get DL2 items.
Like items, monsters also possess danger level ratings. However, while items have a strict minimum DL at which they will appear, the chance of a particular type of monster being generated depends on a formula comparing the monster and dungeon's DLs.
Strong, high-DL level monsters may become more common on levels around their base DL, whereas weaker monsters may be less likely to spawn in areas that are above their danger level, by:
Monster generation DL has been shown to be affected by some intrinsics (ex. doom is known to increase it), and the player's level (looks like 1/2 PC level is added to dungeon DL for purposes of monster generation).
- Main article: Background corruption
Dungeon levels at or above DL10 feature background corruption, where a player will steadily become corrupted simply by spending time on the level. Each danger level past 10 has stronger and stronger corruption. There are exceptions to this - the Dwarven Graveyard is a good example of a high DL area with no background corruption.
Dungeon levels at or below DL9 are corruption free.
- Some dungeon features. Though the attribute's role may be more extensive, it is suspected at this time that door traps are correlated with a dungeon level's DL. Additionally, the amount of damage done by some regular traps (e.g. fireball traps) may also depend on a dungeon level's DL.
- The cost of the Teleportation spell (in 1.2.x) is tied to DL.
There is some controversy about the way most DLs for dungeons, items and especially monsters were checked. Except for most common things/places it probably originates in forbidden code diving. However, since DL can be easily observed through Teleportation costs dungeon DL can be easily checked afterwards through Anilatx data item DL can be reconstructed. Thus, only monster DL can be called strictly originating from code diving.
Note: Danger levels on this wiki are NOT necessarily 100% accurate. They represent the lowest danger level that an item/monster has been found at, however testing has not been done on a large enough scale to guarantee that every low DL item has been found on its correct level. Danger levels on this wiki should be treated as a rough guide, nothing more.
Should the event occur of there being incorrect information regarding danger levels on any wiki page, please do NOT simply fix the information on that page. Post on the Talk:Danger Level with your correction, and it will be fixed in all locations that it occurs on the wiki.
The most recent tests for generating non-code dived danger levels for items and monsters were carried out by Anilatx, who established a framework for testing after carrying out ~168,000 castings of the Create Item spell. The results of his tests can be found here.
Note that these tests were carried in v. 1.2.0 prerelease 9; some danger levels might have been updated since then.