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Thirst is Caves of Qud's implementation of a “hunger clock”, a resource management mechanic that forces the player to move forward or die. (Contrast with hunger, which can cause debuffs but not kill.)

The player character (but no other characters) slowly becomes more and more thirsty over time. Thirst can be quenched by consuming water, which is done automatically by default when the player character reaches a specific stage of thirst (by default, Thirsty; see below). (This can be disabled in the options, and may be advantageous to do if the player character has glotrot.) Water can't be consumed by a frozen character.

Levels of Thirst

Thirst level Thirst level (Amphibious (D)) Thirst
Tumescent Soaked >30,000
Quenched Wet ≤30,000
Thirsty Moist ≤20,000
Parched Dry ≤10,000
Dehydrated! Dessicated! 0

Consuming water adds 10,000 to the thirst meter. There is also a hidden max water level one creature can hold, which is 50,000. The game will advise the player if drinking something will put this over the limit. Drinking too much will force the creature to vomit and have their thirst level set to 20,000-30,000 less than the max water level. A putrescence pool will also spawn.

Effects of Thirst

If the player character is at 0 water, every action causes the character to save against a penetration roll against toughness, 1d(toughness modifier) and a save target of 2. If all three penetration attempts fail, the character will take ♥ 2 damage.

In addition, all natural healing will be disabled.[1]

Passive Thirst

How fast thirst decreases is calculated by the creature's Quickness divided by 5. If the creature has Amphibious, this amount is divided by 3 instead. Assuming that the creature has normal quickness, the water amount will decrease by 20 every action.

  • Fasting Way will be multiplied by by 0.66.
  • Mind over Body, will multiply the amount by 0.16.
  • Thirst will not decrease if asleep.
  • If the creature has Fatty Hump, thirst will decrease by a flat 1 instead.

Thirst in Combat

Several creatures have ways of removing or increasing a creatures thirst level. If the creature is Amphibious (D), the amount increased or decreased is divided by 10. Amphibious creatures are unable to go past their max water level (50,000) through this method.

  • soupy sludges with \watery pseudopods are able to force the creature into quenching 60,000 units of thirst. This guarantees that the creature will vomit.[3]
    • Sludges bearing \salty pseudopods will dessicate target instead, setting their thirst level to 0.


  1. XRL.World.Parts.Stomach, method ProcessNaturalHealing
  2. XRL.World.Parts.ThirstOnHit.cs
  3. XRL.World.Parts.QuenchOnHit.cs

Additional mechanics details referenced on this page are based on data from XRL.World.Parts.Stomach.cs