The Abyss is a "glue" plane that sits between realms and holds them together. Inside of this dimension, is Hostilius, a Chthonian demon that was defeated by Zamorak and the Avernic during the demonic rebellion, was banished and imprisoned here. It is within his body, in this region of the abyss that, with exception of the Astral and Ourania Runecrafting Altars, provides access to all the existing altars without the need for a talisman. Hostilius' internal body consists of two rings; a dangerous outer ring in a multiway combat zone and a safe inner ring with rifts leading to the Runecrafting altars. In appearance, it seems to be oddly organic, with eyes, boils, and strange-looking tendrils.
In addition to the abyssal monsters inhabiting it, using this method is also dangerous because players who enter will have their Prayer points drained to 0.
Players who enter runecrafting altars through the Abyss receive 250% experience when crafting runes. This can be raised to 350% by wearing a demonic skull, which can be bought from the mage of Zamorak for 550,000 coins. The skull is not without risk: when you wear it, a demon's head will appear over you, and players of any combat level will be able to attack you in the Wilderness. Should you die to another player, it will be dropped as 500,000 coins for the killer to loot. There is no requirement to have talismans, tiaras or talisman staffs while in the abyss.
To enter the Abyss located north of Edgeville, the player needs to complete the Abyss miniquest. Once players have completed the Abyss miniquest, use the 'Teleport' option on the Mage of Zamorak north of Edgeville in level 4 to 6 Wilderness to enter the Abyss.
- Once in the Wilderness, players should run until they reach the Zamorak Mage.
- Players will be able to attack you upon entering the wilderness.
- Upon entering the Abyss, you are skulled, which means you will lose all your items when you die, even though the Abyss itself is a non-Wilderness area. Do not bring any items you are not willing to lose. However, since it is not itself in the Wilderness, if you lose items you will still go the Death's office where you may reclaim your items for a fee and if you leave you will get a gravestone inside the Abyss as normal.
- Inside the Abyss, a player is not in the Wilderness any more, and cannot be attacked by other players. However, if a player attacks immediately before a player enters the Abyss, the attack can hit after the player has been teleported inside, due to lag. If you are teleblocked by a player before entering, using the 'Teleport' option on the Zamorak Mage will not work.
- Combat experience received in the Abyss is only half that received outside of the Abyss, although it is still very common to see players training magic and range.
The interior of the area is roughly circular, with an 'inner' and 'outer' ring. After the player is teleported into the outer ring, they will have to find a way through to the inner ring where the rifts leading to the runecrafting altars are located.
The outer ring contains a large number of Abyssal monsters:
- Abyssal guardian (combat level: 79)
- Abyssal walker (combat level: 77)
- Abyssal leech (combat level: 72)
These monsters can hit over 275 (with the exception of the leeches, which hit a maximum of 208), although they often miss if the player has a decent defence level (65+) and wears adequate armour such as Dragonhide, or armour from the 'strategy' section. However, the abyssal monsters should still not be underestimated as, due to their large numbers, a player may take several hits per second. Failed or not, no damage is taken from these monsters during an attempt to pass through to the inner ring. Minimising time between attempts can increase the chances of survival.
Access to the inner ring is gained by utilising different skills to bypass several obstacles:
- Chopping away tendrils using a hatchet
- Mining through rock using a pickaxe
- Distracting eyes (thieving skill needed, but no object needed)
- Squeezing through gaps (agility skill needed, but no object needed)
- Burning away boils using a tinderbox
Upon entering, the player always appears near the mining obstacle or the agility obstacle. With a high mining or agility level, this can be used to one's advantage to train more efficiently. An alternative to the agility obstacle is to proceed past the agility obstacle and pass via the thieving obstacle. Yet another alternative to the mining obstacle is to proceed past the mining obstacle and pass via the woodcutting obstacle.
These obstacles have randomly generated locations upon a player's arrival in the abyss and can be in different locations for different players at the same time. Passing them gives 25 xp in the required skill. The higher the level of the player in the corresponding skill, the higher the chances of passing the obstacle (the chances of passing are approximately skill level ÷ 99).
There are no monsters in the inner ring of the Abyss. There are rifts leading to every Runecrafting altar (except the Astral Altar and Ourania Runecrafting Altar) there, which makes the Abyss useful for crafting a lot of different types of runes very quickly. Talismans, tiaras or staves are not needed to access the altars via the rifts. The following restrictions still apply:
- The Cosmic rift cannot be accessed until the Lost City quest has been completed.
- No weapons or armour can be taken through to the rift to the Law Altar, as it is located on Entrana. This includes pickaxes, hatchets, explorer's ring, and any familiars or scrolls.
- The Death Altar requires the quest Mourning's End Part II to be completed.
- The Blood Altar requires the quest Legacy of Seergaze to be completed.
- The Soul Altar requires the altar to be discovered using a soul talisman after completing the quest 'Phite Club.
There is a dark mage standing at the centre of the inner ring (yellow spot on the minimap), maintaining the rift so the ZMI can use the Abyss to craft runes. He will repair players' Runecrafting pouches for free.
Pouches come in five sizes - small, medium, large, giant, and massive. The small pouch will be obtained from the Zamorak Mage upon completion of the Abyss mini-quest; players may retrieve the small pouch from him later on if they drop or lose it. All the pouches except for massive are dropped by the creatures in the Abyss and the alternate abyss as well. Since the release of the Runecrafting Guild, players can now also obtain some pouches from the Wizard Korvak. He can replace lost medium pouches for free and will repair any others for a fee; it is thus suggested that players instead visit the Dark Mage in the centre of the abyss to repair your pouches. Korvak charges 9,000 coins & 12,000 coins for large and giant pouches respectively, and repairs medium pouches for free. He also sells large pouches for 25,000 coins & giant pouches for 50,000 coins. No matter where you choose to obtain your pouches, you may only get one of each size. The pouches are also untradeable. If you try to pick up another pouch, the message, "You do not need another <size> pouch." will appear. In addition, all pouches will automatically be destroyed upon death (they have a white outline in the 'Items kept on death' interface). This creates a risk, especially when under attack by a player in the Wilderness.
Pouches degrade with each use; the biggest pouch will degrade first. If a giant pouch is being used, 11 trips may be completed with the Giant pouch at full capacity – it will degrade on the 12th trip . More precisely, the Giant pouch will degrade after 135 essence have passed through it. Clicking on the pouch when it is already full of essence does not degrade the pouch, contrary to what many people believe.
When a pouch degrades, the result is that the pouch will carry fewer essence than before. After the first degrading, the giant pouch will hold 9 essence instead of 12. If a degraded pouch continues to be used, the pouch will degrade further, further reducing the number of essence that can be held in it. Eventually the pouch will not be able to hold any essence and will degrade completely.
When a pouch degrades, it will darken in colour; the player will receive a message in their chatbox alerting them to the fact. Pouches can be repaired by speaking to the Dark Mage in the centre of the Abyss (or with the Lunar spell NPC Contact). He will repair pouches whether they have visibly degraded or not. It is possible to contact the Dark Mage every 11th trip to repair pouches so that the pouches may always be used at full capacity. However, it may be difficult to remember to keep track of which trip is the 11th trip, so it is common for players to just go to the Dark Mage after the Giant pouch has visibly degraded, crafting 3 fewer essence on that trip.
Pouches are also repaired even when they are stored in a bank, so they don't have to be carried in the inventory when talking to the Dark Mage. Alternatively, for players who have access to the Lunar spellbook you can repair your pouches by using the Contact NPC spell.
An exception to this is the Massive pouch, which after every 42 uses will crumble into dust. It is also possible to own more than one, but only one may be filled at a time and there is no way of repairing it.
Any pouch that gets dropped may be picked up by the player who dropped it (within three minutes), however, all the essence that was contained within the dropped pouch will be gone.
Using the Abyss as a method of transportation
Because the altars are located throughout the world, it is possible to use the Abyss as a method of teleportation. Some useful (and free) teleports include:
- Air altar - Champions' Guild, Cooks' Guild, Grand Exchange, Varrock
- Blood Altar - Quick access to Mutated bloodveld for Slayer tasks.
- Death Altar - End of the Temple of Light from the quest Mourning's End Part II
- Earth altar - East Varrock
- Fire altar - Al Kharid, Duel Arena, Shantay Pass
- Law altar - Entrana
- Nature altar - Karamja, Shilo Village, Tai Bwo Wannai, Brimhaven Dungeon
- Soul Altar - Menaphos
- Water altar - Lumbridge Swamps, Zanaris
To use a teleport, simply enter the Abyss, find and enter the altar, then leave via the portal. No tiaras or talismans are necessary when entering the portals to go to the various altars via the abyss.
Training Melee, magic, and ranged combat skills in the Abyss is one of the higher exp/hour AFK training methods in Runescape granting 500k-600k combat exp/hour.
- Bring lightweight equipment and a one-click teleport.
- Completing the Wilderness Tasks is helpful. The Wilderness sword 3 or above give a chance of the Mage of Zamorak teleporting the player to the center of the Abyss.
- Additionally, the Wilderness sword 1 or above provides unlimited teleports to Edgeville, and this teleport is the default option when placing the sword on the Action bar.
- When the Abyss was released, it was possible to attack other players inside the abyss by using Ancient Magicks multi-target spells on a monster near the player, you could also select an attacking spell from the spell list and manually use it on a player. Because of the relative obscurity of the recently-released Abyss, many people explored the Abyss with expensive armour, and were a target for the bug abusers. The glitch was later fixed; however, the people who profited from it were not banned.
- After the update on 10 December 2007, Abyss runecrafting was made much safer due to the fact that there are no player killers around and revenants only occasionally wander close to the Zamorak Mage. However, the player killers were returned with the Wilderness and Free Trade update on 1 February 2011.
- It is possible to see the Abyssal Area at the far north of the Abyss. You don't even need an Orb of Oculus.
- According to the game's background, whenever a person is teleported with magic, they are in the abyss for a split second. Hence the Lost & Found office random event. Accordingly, as the Mage of Zamorak during the miniquest with the same name theorises, The Abyss is a dimension in which the dimensional barriers may be weakening. If this is indeed the case, then many more teleportation methods would be failing, not simply the initial spell that caused the Zamorakians to discover the Abyss as well as allowing all of the abyssal creatures into the same area. As most teleports are quite accurate, this has caused controversy pertaining to the storyline of this miniquest.
- It is worth noting, however, that the Mage of Zamorak claims that Zamorak has devoted some of his energy to stabilising the Abyss. It is possible that, as a result, there is now less risk of teleportation spell failure.
- On 6 June 2009 with the new update of the Hunt for Red Raktuber the thieving obstacle did an emote even if you failed to pass.