This section provides the bare minimum needed to get started with the game, namely the control scheme. It is suggested that you read only this section, and work things out as you go along. However, for people who absolutely must know more details, the tabs at the top of the page provide. Even with those, though, there will be some things you have to discover for yourself (or look up in the source code).
You are represented by the blue, red, green, or purple @ character (depending on your class). There are two ways to navigate. You can use the arrow keys for cardinal directions and the home-pad for diagonals, where delete means pause; or you can use the numeric keypad. (If you have a Mac without an extended keyboard, fn+arrows will simulate the home-pad, and fn+delete is pause.)
There are other commands, most of which are letter keys. They are:
Some of these commands bring up a menu screen for your inventory or spellbook. At these screens, type the letter of the item or spell you want, or press escape to cancel. Some menu screens stay open after making a selection, making escape the only way to close them. Other commands require you to specify a direction to complete the action; again, you can cancel by pressing escape. Some actions require both, or use multiple menus. Spells are learned by using scrolls that cast them, or by drinking potions; you don't need a spellbook to learn a spell, only to cast it later.
If the stats and/or transcript get in the way (for example because you have a smaller screen), you can toggle their visibility as listed above. Playing entirely without them is not recommended, however, since they convey important information. The transcript can also be resized by dragging the top edge.
Among the options in the O menu is the ability to auto-sort all inventory panels. Inventories will be sorted according to category, but they will not be sorted by name within categories. This isn't perfect, since some items fit into multiple categories, but it should at least make it somewhat predictable where to find something in your inventory. If you prefer manual inventory management, the M option exists. Note that using M automatically disables auto-sorting.
While wandering through the dungeon, you will encounter up to different status effects. This explains how each of them work.
As you advance in levels, you can learn certain abilities depending on your class. Other abilities may be obtained in in different ways. There are a total of different passive abilities available, and active abilities. This explains how each of them work.
Passive abilities are always active. Any passive abilities you have are listed beneath your resistance bonuses in italics.
Active abilities need to be specifically performed by pressing A and selecting an ability from the list. You can see what active abilities you know simply by pressing A (you can cancel using Esc if you decide not to use any of them).
The game includes a repertoire of varied spells. This page describes each one of them.
It's possible to upgrade spells. For most spells, this simply doubles all attributes, including power, range, radius of effect, attenuation of effect, and so forth. A few instead halve the energy cost when upgraded.
In order to cast a spell, you first need to learn it. This can be done by using an item (such as a scroll or potion) that contains the spell. Once you have done that, you gain permanent knowledge of the spell and, if you have a spellbook equipped, the spell is recorded in that spellbook. You can cast any spell you know when you have the enlightened status effect; otherwise, you can cast any spell recorded in your equipped spellbook.
There are different monsters in the game, several of which have unique abilities. This section won't describe them in detail, though. Instead, it will provide a sample of what you need to know to find out.
You can look at monsters for additional information. At minimum, you will be shown the monster's level (lvl), health (hp), energy (en), power (pow), defence (def), and courage (aud). Courage is omitted for monsters that cannot move, since it's irrelevant. If the monster is using any equipment, the bonuses from the equipment will be shown in the same way as they are in your stats area, but the equipment won't be listed.
After this it will list the monster's elemental resistances, if any, followed by any special abilities the monster possesses. For spell attack monsters it will say which spell they use; it does not however give a list of spells known by more general spellcasters.
Then it will list any status effects active on the monster, and finally the miss and crit chances if they differ from the basic 10%. It shows both your chance to miss or score a critical on the monster, and the enemy's chance to miss or score a critical on you.
A monster's courage is a percentage representing how likely they are to flee. For example, if their courage is 25% (a common value), they will flee when reduced to less than one-quarter of their max health. Of course, if you can one-hit them before they reach that, they won't have a chance to flee.
There are distinct items in the game, and that's not counting all the ways they can be altered by gameplay — rust, acid, enchantment, uncursing, etc. Most of them however can be slotted into one of several categories. A few items fit into more than one category.
You can inspect items to learn more about their capabilities. Any bonuses the item confers when equipped will be listed in much the same way as a monster's attributes are. Possible attributes are power, defence, elemental resistances, bonus (the type of enchantment on a weapon), and nutrition (how many hunger points it restores when eaten). In addition certain properties will be listed, such as vegetarian, fragile (shatters when thrown), rust-proof, or acid-proof. Finally, for items where these attributes are insufficient to describe what the item is, there is a brief description.
When equipped, an item's power, defence, and resistance bonuses (and penalties) are automatically applied to you. Thus, if an item has any such bonuses, it is probably equippable. Power is also used by thrown weapons to calculate their damage, which does not require the weapon to be equipped first. Thus, thrown weapons are not usually equippable. The exceptions are also usable as melee weapons.
There are several terrain features you can interact with.
There are three classes to choose from, which affects your initial stats, your starting items, and your level-up bonuses. Apart from that, there are no real differences between the classes, so it's entirely possible to play against the expected paradigm; for example, a mage who relies mostly on melee, or a monk who relies heavily on magic, although the latter would need to find a spellbook to be able to cast spells without a scroll.
In addition to the normal level-up boosts, every fifth level gained gives you a chance to choose an additional boost to health, energy, power, defence, or elemental resistances, or gain a special ability.
There's also a secret fourth class. Can you find it?
Combat is pretty simple. You hit things, and they hit back. The damage incurred is based on power and level. The number of dice rolled is half the level (rounded down) plus one; the number of sides is the total power, accounting for any equipped items.. For example, a level 3 monster with power 8 does 2d8 damage. This roll is adjusted according to the attacker's energy, which is done with the formula d×(0.6+0.8×e/E), where d is the unscaled damage, e is the current energy, and E is the max energy; however, damage is scaled by this formula only if it will increase the damage. (As a special exception, if your energy is 0, the damage is simply multiplied by 0.9 and rounded up.) Last of all, the victim's defence rating is subtracted.
There is a 10% chance of missing altogether, and a 10% chance of a critical hit which deals double damage. If you score a critical on a hit that would have done no damage, it is reclassified as a lucky hit. A lucky hit does 1 to 3 damage, without any further adjustments.
Misses, critical hits, and lucky hits consume energy based on the difference in level between attacker and victim. The amount of energy consumed is equal to the difference in levels, plus one. For a lucky hit, three times as much energy is consumed; if the victim is lower-level than the attacker, half as much energy is consumed. These two adjustments stack.
If the attacker is wielding an enchanted weapon, there is a second damage roll to determine damage from the enchantment. A number between one and half the weapon's power (rounded up) is rolled, then adjusted for the victim's elemental resistances. If the enchantment is blessed and the victim is undead, the victim's level is added to this roll. (If the victim is not undead, there is no bonus damage.)
If the victim has an elemental shield up, it will do 2d4 damage to the attacker, adjusted for their elemental resistances. If it is a fire shield and they are frozen, they will be instantly thawed. If it is an ice shield and they are on fire, they will be instantly doused.
Attacking during a turn prevents health and energy from regenerating (unless you miss), but when not attacking, they will slowly increase over time. This is true even if you are being attacked, though health regeneration is not enough to offset damage being taken in most cases. Energy regenerates faster than health does. The frozen and on fire status effects also prevent regeneration.
Ranged combat consists of throwing things at your enemies. You can throw anything you want, though some things are fragile and will smash when they hit. For items with a negative rating, it's calculated as if they have a power of 2. Cursed items are exempt from this; they will use the negative rating and do negative damage, though if they have no power rating at all they'll still use 2. Items with no specified range can be thrown 4 tiles. Some items (especially cursed ones) have a range of less than 4 tiles. The chance of missing with a thrown item is (M + 40%) / (1 + 0.5L) where M is your melee miss chance (usually 10%, but 5% for a monk, and potentially less if you have bane items equipped that pertain to the target) and L is your player level. If you have the marksman special ability, this chance is then halved. Critical hit chances for ranged attacks have the same chance as for melee attacks; if you score a critical hit where the damage would have been 0, you deal 1 damage instead.
Throwing an item consumes energy equal to the item's range minus 2. If the item is cursed though, the range is ignored and it consumes 8 energy. As with melee combat though, having insufficient energy is no obstacle to success; your energy will merely be reduced to zero. If the item has a power rating, the damage roll is based on the thrower's level and the item's power, where half the level is the number of dice and the power is the number of sides per die. In other words, pretty much the same as for melee weapons, except that the thrower's power is not accounted for; only the item's power is relevant. If the item lacks a power rating, the damage is in the range 1-3, without adjustment for the thrower's level. The damage is then adjusted for the thrower's energy as in melee combat, and then the victim's defence is subtracted from the result.
If the item is enchanted, the damage roll for the enchantment then takes place. This works exactly as with melee weapons. There is a chance of missing the target which decreases as the thrower's level increases; for example, at level 0 the chance is 1 in 2, while at level 5 it's 1 in 6. If it misses and has sufficient range, it may hit another monster behind, with the same chances. Finally, if the item is fragile, it shatters, disappearing from the map and usually having some effect on the victim. Fragile items shatter even if they don't hit a monster, though usually in this case they won't have any useful effect.
Magic basically ignores power and defence ratings, for the most part. Each spell requires a specific amount of energy to cast, and cannot be cast if you lack sufficient energy. This is notably different from all other actions that consume energy, which merely deduct energy and clip to zero. Each spell has different mechanics, but there are some common themes. Upgrading a spell at an altar doubles all its numerical attributes, such as power, radius, range, or attenuation.
The four basic elemental damage spells (spark, freeze, shock, ice shards) make a damage roll with two dice whose number of sides is equal to the spell's power. This is 8 for spark, 10 for freeze and shock, and 12 for ice shards when cast by the player; monsters may have different spell powers. This is then adjusted for the victim's elemental resistances. Ice shards has a range of 6 tiles, and damages every monster in range in the specified direction. The freeze spell has flat 40% chance of inflicting the frozen status for up to 6 rounds, with the duration following a quartic curve. The spark spell sets the victim on fire whenever the damage dealt exceeds 20 (which for the player is impossible until the spell is upgraded), lasting for a number of rounds equal to 1/6 the damage.
Area of effect spells (fireball and shockwave) make just one damage roll for all victims. Again, it's two dice with the number of sides being the spell power. This is 10 for fireball and 16 for shockwave when cast by the player. The central victim receives the full damage, adjusted for elemental resistance or (in the case of shockwave) defence. The damage is then multiplied by an attenuation factor and rounded down, and all monsters 1 space from the centre receive this amount of damage, adjusted as appropriate. This continues until the maximum range is reached. So, if d is the damage roll, a is the attenuation, r is the distance from the centre (0 for the central monster, etc), and elemental resistances or defence are nonexistent, victims will receive d×ar damage. When cast by a player, fireball has attenuation 0.8 and radius 3, and shockwave has attenuation 0.4 and radius 5. In the formula, r is always less than the spell's radius. Since an upgraded fireball has attenuation 1.6, monsters further out will be damaged more than the monster at the centre.
The "tongue" spells (curse and enervate) have three parameters - power, range, and spread. Like the damage spells and area of effect spells, they roll two dice whose number of sides is equal to the power. The spread parameter is the length of the bars of the T shape. When cast by the player, they both have a power of 12, a range of 2, and a spread of 1.
Confusion has a range of 8 tiles and lasts for 1d10 turns when cast by the player; 10 is the spell's power. Plague lasts for 2d7 turns when cast by the player; here the spell's power is 7. Poison cloud lasts for 4-8 rounds when cast by the player; the spell's power is 8, and the lower bound is half the power. Acid glob is the same as confusion, but with unlimited range.
Healing-type spells (heal, purge, cure, neutralize, soothe), buff spells (haste, rage, stoneskin, invisibility, scrying), and the elemental shield spells don't scale much. If p is the spell power and L is the level of the caster, then the spell will add or remove p + (L / ⌈½p⌉) points. When cast by the player, the spell power is 26 for heal wounds, 13 for purge poison and cure disease, 10 for soothe acid burn and elemental shields, 7 for haste, and 12 for the rest. The scrying spell is a little different; it has a power of 15 when cast by the player, but the factor of ½ is omitted from the formula.
The lightning bolt spell has two parameters, the spell power and the chain limit. The spell power is the die size for the damage roll, and the chain limit is the maximum number of monsters the bolt can strike. The first hit rolls a number of dice equal to the chain limit; subsequent hits reduce the number of dice by one each time. When cast by the player, lightning bolt has a spell power of 10 and a chain limit of 3, meaning that it can hit three targets for 3d10, 2d10, and 1d10 damage, in that order.
The webbing spell has two parameters, the power and the range. The webs it creates have hit points equal to 5d6+1dp, where p is the spell power. When cast by the player, web has power 10 and range 8.
The remove curse spell has no parameters. It uses your level to determine whether you can succeed in removing the curse on an item. First, it determines the difficulty of removing the curse by totalling all standard attributes of the item — power, defence, throwing range, and elemental resist bonuses. (For throwing range, the basic 4 tile range counts as 0 towards the difficulty, while smaller ranges count negative.) Then it rolls Ld6, where L is your player level plus one. If you've upgraded the spell at an altar, this roll is then doubled. If the result exceeds the difficulty, or the result is equal to L, you succeed in removing the curse. In the event of failure, there is a chance of backlash damage. If k is the difference between the dice roll and the calculated difficulty of removing the curse, then you take ⌊2dk / 3⌋ damage in backlash.
Your food bar combines two numbers. The first number, taking up the majority of the bar, indicates your level of nourishment. The second number, shown in parentheses and indicated by a shaded area at the right end of the bar, is an indication of how hungry you are. When the bar is full (500 or greater), you will not be allowed to eat.
Unless you are frozen, your hunger rating will decrease over time; when it reaches zero, the nourishment level will decrease instead. This occurs once every 5-15 turns; the amount by which it decreases depends on other factors: your current health and energy, and your status effects. The base amount is 1. If your health is less than 50%, it's doubled. If your energy is less than 50%, it's doubled again. If you have any one of the disease, poison, rage, enervation, or acid burn statuses, it's doubled again. Fatigue increases it additively by up to 16. Thus, the max amount without any unusual items is 24. The vibrant warmth item ability halves the resulting rate, while hunger-draining weapons triple it. If this would bring your hunger rating below zero, the excess is deducted from nourishment instead.
After you rest, provided you're not woken by a monster, your hunger rating will go up slightly if it's low. However, generally the way to deal with hunger and nourishment is food. No surprise there! When you eat food, two things happen based on the nutrition value of the food. First, your nourishment increases by that amount. It's not capped at 500, so there's no need to worry about wasting food. Second, your hunger rating is set equal to the nutrition value. That is, after eating food with nutrition value 25, your hunger rating will be 25, even if it was (for example) 150 before you ate the food.
There's also a chance (95% chance for monks, 5% for other classes) that this resulting hunger rating will be modified; for vegetarian foods, that means your hunger rating goes up by half again (so food with nutrition value 10 gives you a hunger rating of 15), and for meats it means the hunger rating halves (so food with nutrition value 10 gives you a hunger rating of 5). In the latter case you also get 0 to 6 rounds of disease.
If your nourishment drops to zero, your health and energy start to drain. If this reduces your health to zero, you die. Note that if you have the avatar status, dying does not reset your nourishment, though it does increase your hunger rating. Also, if your nourishment is less than 25, your health and energy will not regenerate over time.
This is the place to come for detailed information on any individual entity in the game, such as a specific item, spell, monster, or ability. Simply type the name into the box, and the information will be displayed, if available. The random parts of this process are skipped, so monsters that typically have equipment (for example) will be shown without their typical equipment.