In many roguelikes stairs are the main method of moving from one level to another. There are usually represented by < for stairs going up and > for stairs going down, though this is curiously inverted in Alphaman. In some roguelikes, such as Nethack, descending stairs while burdened can result in a nasty (and possibly fatal) fall. Crawl forbids going up a level while overburdened.
The level transition function of stairs may be performed by any other dungeon feature. Examples include portals, gates, holes and trapdoors (often one-way), teleporters and dimension doors. DoomRL allows saving only on stairs to next level.
Sometimes it may block line of sight or projectiles. Elevators in Xenocide do.
Few roguelikes allow for stair demolition. This dungeon feature is often exploited. It is known as stair dancing. Games differ whether monsters may follow the player to another level or not.
- Ironman challenge revolves around taking stairs either on sight or only in one direction.