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.
- Ironman challenge revolves around taking stairs either on sight or only in one direction.