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Archive-name: games/roguelike/angband-faq
Last-modified: 2003-10-24
Version: 0.3.1
Posting-frequency: fortnightly
Maintainer: James Andrewartha (
URL: <>
URL: <>

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Angband Frequently Asked Questions - Part 1 (Non-spoilers)

Originally compiled and maintained by Jason Holtzapple.
Previously maintained by Ben Harrison (
Currently maintained by James Andrewartha (
For Angband 3.0.3 - May be inaccurate with other versions and variants.
Modified in most recent update: 1g, suggested by pelpel.

Angband FAQ Part Two (Spoilers) is available separately, however it is not
up to date.

Based on the source code, and information provided by: Jules Bean, Scott
Bigham, Matt Craighead, Joseph W. DeVincentis, Ben Harrison, Jason
Holtzapple, Randy Hutson, Stephen S. Lee, Rick Lim, Steve Linberg, Ross
Millikan, Adam Schenker, Andrew Schoonmaker, Cliff Stamp, Billy Tanksley,
Charles F. Teague II, Pat Tracy, Otto Martin, Tom Harris, Mynstral, David
Thornley, Eytan Zweig, pelpel, Chris Kern, Leon Marrick and others.

Table of Contents
Angband FAQ - Part One:

  1. General Information
       a. What is Angband?
       b. Who is Morgoth?
       c. On what computers can I play?
       d. What is the latest version?
       e. How do I get the latest version of this FAQ?
       f. Who's the current maintainer?
       g. Version History
  2. Obtaining Angband and related material
       a. How to get Angband
       b. FTP sites
       c. WWW sites
       d. The Angband Newbie Guide (TANG)
  3. Technical Information
       a. Expanding ZIP archives
       b. How do I use an old savefile or savefile from another platform?
       c. What is a "patch"?
       d. How do I compile Angband myself?
  4. Creating Characters
       a. What is maximize mode?
       b. What is preserve mode?
       c. Player stat creation
       d. Birth options
  5. Gameplay Questions
       a. How do I set game options and what do they mean?
       b. What effect does turning off haggling have on the price of items?
       c. How does shopkeeper rotation work?
       d. What is auto-scum?
       e. How do the cheating options work?
       f. What are the messages I get upon entering a new level?
       g. What causes a "special" feeling?
       h. How do I exchange weapons in Angband?
       i. What do the minuses in the name of a piece of armor mean?
       j. The game tells me that I must "Study" but I can't learn any new
          spells. What is going on?
       k. How does the fractional speed system work?
       l. How do I autopickup my ammunition?
       m. Introduction to macros
       n. How do I save macros?
  6. Questionable gameplay techniques
       a. Savefile abuse
       b. Stair-scumming
       c. Monster farming
       d. Summoning/Polymorphing
  7. About
       a. General notes
       b. Glossary of terms
       c. Questions on r.g.r.a
       d. Victory (or YAWP) posts
       e. Stupid Death (or YASD) posts
       f. Why do so many players seem to dislike or even hate Nethack?
       g. What's the weird code in some people's .sigs?
       h. Angband IRC
  8. Suggestions for future versions that have been considered
       a. I've got this really great idea for Angband ...
       b. Let the player store money in his/her home.
       c. Increase the player's carrying capacity.
       d. Let players give or sell their items to other players.
       e. I want a real-time multi-player Angband!
       f. Increase the size of the player's home
       g. Allow the player to wear a ring on each finger
       h. Allow the player to load saved games after death
       i. Dungeon levels should be persistent
  9. Programming Questions
       a. Where can I obtain the source code?
       b. To what extent can I modify the source and release modified
       c. Is there any easy way for a non-programmer to hack the game?
       d. What are the *_info.txt files?
       e. I know how to program C, where can I get an introduction to
          Angband programming?
       f. C is ugly, can't I program in Lisp instead?
       g. Why doesn't wizard mode work in the version that I have?
       h. What is the borg? Why doesn't it appear in the version that I
       i. How do I use the borg?
       j. How do I generate auto-spoilers?
       k. What is CVS?
 10. Variants
       a. Angband Variant FAQ
       b. What is OAngband-style Combat?
       c. What is the JLE patch?
 11. Miscellaneous
       a. The game says that I'm missing a spellbook when I try to learn
          some new spells. What's the reason for this?
       b. What happened to player ghosts?
       c. What license is Angband distributed under?

Angband FAQ - Part One

1. General Information

1a. What is Angband?
Angband is a single-player, text-based, dungeon simulation derived from the
game Moria, an enhancement of the old unix game Rogue. It is often described
as a "roguelike" game because the look and feel of the game is still quite
similar to Rogue.

Angband features many enhancements over Moria: unique foes, artifacts,
monster pits and vaults to name a few. Many of these new creatures and
objects are drawn from the writings of J.R.R Tolkien, although some of the
monsters come straight from classical mythology, Dungeons & Dragons,
Rolemaster, or the minds of the orginal Angband coders.

The ultimate goal of the game is to develop a character strong enough to
defeat Morgoth, who lurks around dungeon level 100. Upon doing so, you will
receive the exalted status of "winner" and your character may retire.

Angband is a reference to Morgoth's "prison of iron."

1b. Who is Morgoth?
Morgoth was 'the Dark Enemy of Middle-Earth' during its First Age. He was
banished by the Valar (offspring of Eru, "god" of J.R.R. Tolkien's world) at
the end of the First Age and thus never appears in The Lord of the Rings,
set during the Third Age. Sauron, who does figure into those tales, was the
most powerful of his servants. Read Tolkien's 'The Silmarillion' for more on
the legends of Middle-Earth.

1c. On what computers can I play?
The most recent version of Angband can be played on Unix (including Linux
and X Windows), Acorn, Amiga, Macintosh, Power Macintosh, Mac OS X, Windows,
286, 386 and OS/2-386 systems. Pre-compiled binaries for most of these
systems are available. With the introduction of version 2.7, it has become
much simpler to port the code to any machine with a decent C compiler. See
the source code and question (3d) for more details.

In particular, there is a version of Angband for PocketPC (formerly Windows
CE) available at <>, but there isn't a
version of Angband for PalmOS, although you can get ports of iRogue and
uMoria for PalmOS at <>.

1d. What is the latest version of Angband?
Angband 3.0.3 is the most recent stable version.

1e. How do I get the latest version of this FAQ?
Both parts of the FAQ are posted to fortnightly,
although Part Two is currently in hiatus, pending updating. Part One is an
official Usenet FAQ and is also posted to,
rec.answers and news.answers.

Part One (as an official Usenet FAQ) is archived at
<> and
at <>

Part One of the FAQ is available on the FTP site in both HTML and text

   * Angband FAQ Part One as HTML
   * Angband FAQ Part One as text

1f. Who's the current maintainer?
Robert Ruehlmann ( is the current maintainer of Angband.

1g. Version history
This would be incomplete without a short Moria history as well:

The first version of Moria was was written by Robert Alan Koeneke and Jimmey
Wayne Todd Jr in 1983 for VAX machines. It was ported to Unix in 1987 under
the name 'Umoria' and further maintained by James E. Wilson.

In 1990, Alex Cutler and Andy Astrand, students at the University of
Warwick, England, decided to write a Tolkien-based game based on Umoria
5.2.1 and Angband was born. Their intentions were to keep, or even
strengthen, Moria's firm grounding in Tolkien lore. Their original changes
included greatly expanded monsters and items (including uniques and
artifacts), level feelings, pseudo-ID, activation, monster pits and vaults.
The resulting heavily-customized Moria was not intended for outside release,
but merely as a local version of Moria, to run only on Warwick's Unix
system. Sometime in its development, before it was released and ported, the
existing Unix code got the unlikely version number 'Angband 2.4.Frog-knows'.

Over time, various people released various changes to Angband, including
Sean Marsh, Geoff Hill, Charles Teague, and Charles Swiger. Ben Harrison,
the immediate previous maintainer, performed a large and comprehensive
cleanup of the code over several years, starting when he released version

For a more detailed history, including current contributers, see the Angband
help file "version.txt" for some more information.

The oldest version of Angband still available is 2.4.Frog-knows, the source is
available at

2. Obtaining Angband And Related Material

2a. How to get Angband
You can get Angband in several different ways. The most common is to
download it from a FTP or WWW site, as listed in questions (2b) and (2c).
You can download either a precompiled version (available for most platforms,
except Unix/Linux), which you only need to decompress to run, or the source
code, which you have compile yourself - see question (3d) on how to do this.

Another way to get Angband is via CVS - see question (9j) for how to use
CVS. If you have a Debian GNU/Linux system, the "angband" package is
available in the non-free section. Angband is also sometimes sold on CD-ROMs
containing many free games - while this method of distribution is not
strictly permitted by the license, it is not a big deal. See question (11c)
for more detail on this.

2b. FTP sites
There are several useful Angband FTP sites. These FTP sites are often not
accessible with the FTP function of a web browser. If you experience
trouble, make sure your browser is using passive FTP or try a non-web
browser FTP client. To learn how to use FTP, read the Roguelike Games FAQ
<>, posted every
week to

   * Official Angband Development FTP site
   * Official Angband Mirror FTP site
   * European Angband Mirror FTP site
   * Australian Angband Mirror FTP site

2c. WWW sites
There are lots of Angband WWW sites. Quite a few are geared towards
particular variants or platforms.

   * Official Angband Home Page <>
   * Angband code page - put it in your .sig
   * Angband Links page at Thangorodrim - lists many, many Angband sites

2d. The Angband Newbie Guide

An excellent source of gameplay information is available from The Angband
Newbie Guide (TANG), by Chris Weisiger. TANG is available in the in-game
help system, or from <>

3. Technical Information

3a. Expanding ZIP archives
When using "PKUNZIP" to expand a distribution archive, be sure to use the
'-d' option to create the 'lib' subdirectories, or they will have to be
created by hand. This is not necessary with "WinZip". On Linux or Unix
systems, use the '-aL' command line options to "unzip" so that text files
are converted to UNIX (LF) end-of-line format.

3b. How do I use an old savefile or savefile from another platform?
The latest version of Angband only imports savefiles from version 2.9.0 or
newer. If you want to import from version older than 2.9.0, including
MacAngband 1.0 - 2.0.3 and PC Angband 1.4, you will first have to import it
into Angband 2.9.3, and then into Angband 3.0.3. However, some older
savefiles will lose some information during the import (for example,
pre-2.7.8 savefiles may lose all or part of the monster memory and/or object

Savefiles are platform-independent. Be sure to use 'binary' FTP if that is
your method of transfer. On a Macintosh, use the Import... menu item to
import savefiles lacking the proper type ('SAVE') and creator ('A271').

3c. What is a "patch"?
A patch is a modification to Angband that alters the game in some way. Some
patches add more features to the game, while others change the gameplay.
Many patches are available from the patch page on Thangorodrim

The method of installing patches varies from patch to patch. For example, a
LUA patch only requires placing some files in 'lib/script'; many others
require the game to be recomplied. For the patches that require
recompilation, there are sometimes pre-compiled patched versions available.
If you want to apply multiple patches, you'll almost certainly have to
compile your own copy of Angband.

3d. How do I compile Angband myself?
To compile Angband, you need two things - a C compiler, and the Angband
source. You can get the source from the FTP sites listed in question (9a).
Most unix systems (including Linux) come with a C compiler (either cc or
gcc). For Windows, you'll need to have either a commercial C compiler, eg
Microsoft Visual C++ or Borland C, or download a free C compiler, eg DJGPP
(will only make DOS versions of Angband) or Cygwin. For Macintosh, the
commercial C compilers available are Metrowerks Codewarrior (at least
version 5 to compile recent Angband version), while the Macintosh
Programmer's Workshop is free from Apple (although this is untested with
recent versions).

Once you have both of these, go into the "./src" directory, and edit the
appropriate "makefile.???" (??? = mac for Mac, ami for Amiga etc.) for your
system, and config.h to set the compile-time options you want. Or, if you
have a unix system, you could try the autoconf system - type "./configure"
to use this. Then you can start the compilation, either by typing "make" or
selecting the appropriate menu option in your compiler.

The above are only general instructions - for more detail about compiling
Angband for your particular system, see the Thangorodrim compiling page

4. Creating Characters

4a. What is maximize mode?
All characters receive stat modifiers based on their race and class
(Half-Trolls get an INT penalty, Priests get a WIS bonus, and so forth). The
maximize mode flag determines how these modifiers are applied to the
character's actual stats. Since this obviously affects character creation,
the value of this flag must be chosen before you create your character
(birth options).

As an example of how this works, imagine rolling up a High-Elf Mage.
High-Elf Mages receive a combined racial and class bonus of +6 to INT; for
purposes of illustration, let's say the stat roller rolls a 17 INT (the
highest possible value before modification).

In non-maximize mode, the +6 bonus is applied much as if the character
quaffed six Potions of Intelligence. The positive side of this is that your
character can get a starting INT of around 18/70, since each "potion" can
give them more than 10 percentiles once they are past 18. The negative side
of this is that this 18/70 is now your character's base INT, and without
stat-boosting items, he/she can only push their base INT up to 18/100.

In maximize mode, the +6 bonus is applied as though the character had
swallowed a Ring of Intelligence (+6). The negative side of this is that
your character can't get a starting INT above 18/50 (17 plus the +6 "ring"
bonus). The positive side of this is that although the effective INT is
18/50, the base INT is only 17; once you've pushed your character's base INT
up to 18/100, the effective INT without stat-boosting items will be 18/160!

On the flip side, our High-Elf Mage also gets a combined -4 penalty to STR.
In non-maximize mode, this is treated like quaffing four Potions of
Weakness, but your character's STR can still be increased all the way up to
18/100. In maximize mode, you've effectively got a Spleen of Weakness (-4),
which means that your character's maximum possible effective STR, without
stat-boosting items, is 18/60 (18/100 base plus the -4 penalty).

In summary, then in non-maximize mode, your character will get bettter
starting stats, and all stats will max out at 18/100. This typically makes
the early game easier, while in maximize mode, your character's starting
stats aren't as good, but the primary stat(s) will max out above 18/100,
while the "off" stats will max out below 18/100. This typically makes the
end game easier.

[Contributed by Scott Bigham]

4b. What is preserve mode?
"Preserve mode" is named because having the mode on preserves artifacts.

Characters created with preserve mode off will sometimes get a "special"
feeling upon entering a level. This means that the level contains a pit,
vault, or artifact. Any artifact which is lying on the floor when the player
leaves the level will be lost forever.

Characters created with preserve mode on do not get the "special" feeling,
but as long as an artifact is not identified, it will show up again. (If you
ID an artifact and leave it on the floor it will disappear forever once you
leave the level.)

See questions (5f) and (5g) for more information on level feelings.

[Contributed by Chris Kern]

4c. Player stat generation
Once you have chosen the race/sex/class of your character, their stats will
be generated. There are several methods to do this, which one is used will
depend upon what birth options are set (see question (4d)):

     You will be presented with a list of the six character statistics (STR,
     INT, WIS, DEX, CON, CHR) and their maximum possible values for your
     race/class. Enter the minimum desired value for each stat, or leave it
     blank to accept any value. Once you have done this for all the stats,
     characters are rolled up until one that meets the minimums you gave is
     obtained. You can then accept or reject this character - if you reject
     it, more characters are rolled up until another one that meets your
     minimums is created.
     Each of your internal statistics starts at 10, which you can increase
     by spending some of your 48 points. The number of points required to
     increase a stat increases relative to how many points you've already
     put into that stat. Any points not used are added to your starting gold
     at 100 GP per point. Non-mamixise mode does not give better starting
     stats than maximise mode with point-based generation.
     If you don't select point-based or autoroller, characters are rolled up
     one at a time and presented for you to accept or reject.

4d. Birth options
Birth options are game options (see question (5a)) that only affect starting
characters. Any changes you make to the birth options will take effect the
next time you create a character. During character creation, you will be
asked if you want to modify the options; this is the only time you can
change birth options and have an effect on the current character. In some
variants you have to press the "=" key to set the birth options during
character creation. Some birth options (and the questions that have more
detail on them) are maximise (4a), preserve (4b) and ironman (7b) modes,
whether the autoroller or point based systems are used (4c), and whether to
cheat death (5e).

5. Gameplay Questions

5a. How do I set game options and what do they mean?
They are set using the "=" command. To see what the various options mean,
access the List of Options help menu with the "?" command. Doing this while
in the options menu will jump you to the help section for the option that is
currently selected.

5b. What effect does turning off haggling have on the price of items?
Turning off haggling causes all prices to be determined as the "best" price
that could have been acheived via haggling, modified by a special ten
percent "transaction tax". This tax is not applied if haggling would not
have been necessary in the first place (if the item is very cheap or very
expensive, or you have a good haggling history for the item, or you have a
good haggling history with the shopkeeper). So, normally, it is possible to
get a better deal by taking the time to actually haggle with a shopkeeper.

5c. How does shopkeeper rotation work?
The shopkeepers will change, but this can take a long time. Be patient. When
they do change, all items in the shop are marked down by various percentages
(from 10-90%) and all haggling and insult counters are reset.

Different shop owners will give different prices for items for various
reasons, and no shop owner will ever pay more for an item then the amount
mentioned in the header of the shop's inventory list, which varies from

5d. What is auto-scum?
With autoscum enabled, the Angband dungeon generator will stop only on
levels that it considers "good enough". The deeper in the dungeon your
character, the "better" the level must be. See question (5f) for an
explanation of what contributes to this calculation.

If your character is not in preserve mode, the game will always stop on any
"special" level.

5e. How do the cheating options work?
Enabling any of the cheating options will mark the current savefile as a
"cheater", and your character will be unable to make the high score list.
Each option activates some special behavior which may make the game easier
in some way.

The various "peek into xxx creation" cheating options will cause the game to
announce the creation of "interesting" occurances of the relevant topic. The
"peek into something else" option will cause the game to accounce all
changes involving shops.

The "know complete monster info" cheating option will grant your character
complete information about every monster.

The "allow player to avoid death" cheating option will allow your character
to "cheat death" whenever he would normally die. This causes your character
to be fully healed, and instantly teleported to the town level.

5f. What are the messages I get upon entering a new level?
These are known as "level feelings" and give the general rating of the
level. You will only get them when you enter a level if you've been on the
previous level long enough. Otherwise you will get a "Looks like any other
level" message. "Long enough" is 1000 game turns, adjusted by your speed.
For a normal speed character, this would be 100 player turns. Many players
say that only "good," "very good," "excellent," "superb," and "special"
levels are worth exploring, but this of course a matter of opinion.

Valuable objects, artifacts, pits, nests, vaults, out-of-depth creatures and
out-of-depth non-cursed objects all contribute to the "rating" of a level,
and thus to the resulting "feeling".

5g. What causes a "special" feeling?
A "special" feeling (about a level) only occurs if, when the level was first
created, it contained an artifact, a monster pit, a monster nest, or a
vault. As your character gets deeper in the dungeon, there is less of a
chance that monster pits, monster nests, and vaults will cause "special"
feelings. See the spoiler "dungeon.spo" for more detail. If you are playing
in preserve mode, you will never receive a "special" feeling.

5h. How do I exchange weapons in Angband?
There is a fairly simple way to exchange weapons using a default macro.
Using the "{" command, inscribe your "primary" weapon with "@w1@w0", and
your "secondary" weapon with "@w2@w0". The "X" command will then switch
between the two, and you will be also be able to use the command "w1" and
"w2" to explicitly wield the primary and secondary weapons, respectively.

5i. What do the minuses in the name of a piece of armor mean?
This is a to-hit penalty for wearing heavy or inflexible armor. Such armor,
if not identified, will not show the penalty but it will still be in effect.

5j. The game tells me that I must "Study" but I can't learn any new spells.
What is going on?
Your character is missing one of the more powerful books containing spells
that s/he can learn. See question (11a) for more detail.

5k. How does the fractional speed system work?
Basically, time passes in the world in small units called "game turns", and
during every "game turn", each entity (the monsters and the player) receives
some "energy" points, based on its "speed" rating. When an entity acquires
at least 100 energy points, they must perform some action (such as move or
attack or rest) which consumes some of their energy points. The higher the
"speed" rating, the faster "energy" points are acquired, so more actions can
be performed in a given number of "game turns".

A "normal" entity has a speed of 110, and receives 10 energy points per game
turn. A "slow" entity has a speed below 110, and receives between 1 and 9
energy points per game turn. A "fast" entity has a speed above 110, and
receives between 11 and 49 energy points per game turn. Note that the number
of energy points received per game turn is approximately equal to the speed
minus 110, but the actual equation is more asymptotic. The current speed of
your character, if not "normal", is displayed as "Slow (-N)" or "Fast (+N)",
indicating the distance of the speed from "normal".

The most obvious effect of speed is in combat, but it also affects the rate
of food consumption (extremely fast characters must be careful not to
starve), and the number of "player turns" that a character must spend on a
level to get a level feeling on the next.

5l. How do I autopickup my ammunition?
Inscribe (the "{" command) it with "=g", then whenever you walk over an item
that's the same as one inscribed with "=g" in your inventory, you will
automatically pick it up. For more useful inscriptions (including how to
stop fighting with your shovel), read the Really Quick Guide to Magic
Inscriptions <>

5m. Introduction to macros
See the Angband help file "playing.txt" for a good introduction to macros,
and to the "user pref files" in which they can be saved. Since macros are
stored in user pref files, and not in your character's savefile, if you quit
without saving your new macros to a user pref file, they will be lost.

Angband will automatically load several "user pref files" when a character
is loaded, for example, if I am playing a high-elf mage named "Fearless" on
some kind of Macintosh computer, in graphics mode, then the user pref files
"pref.prf", "graf.prf", "user.prf", and "Fearless.prf" will be autoloaded,
which will themselves load "pref-mac.prf", "graf-mac.prf", "graf-xxx.prf",
and "user-mac.prf". In this example, new macros sould be saved either in
"user-mac.prf" or "Fearless.prf".

A very in-depth treatment of macros is given in the Angband Macro FAQ

5n. How do I save macros?
Use the "%" command. Option 2, "Dump macros," will allow you to save all the
current macros into a user pref file. There is currently no way to only save
newly added macros. If you are on a multiuser system, all pref files will be
saved to ~/.angband/Angband, otherwise they will be in the 'lib/user'

6. Questionable Gameplay Techniques

6a. Savefile abuse
Angband follows the same behavior when a character dies as many of the other
rogue-like games. When a character dies, that's it, game over. Information
on monsters that the character has seen (monster memory) is retained, but
the player must start again. This is in contrast to most fantasy
role-playing computer games that let you restore your game from a savefile
if you die. Angband also differs from most commercial games in that there is
no puzzle solving as such.

This behavior has given rise to backup savefile abuse, which entails making
a copy of the savefile to another part of your disk, and in the unfortunate
event of death, moving it back to its original location and restoring the

Almost everyone uses backup savefiles at the start, but as soon as your
players stop dying with great frequency, you should probably stop using
them. Your play experience will become more rewarding as a result. You
certainly do not have to stop using backups, many players never do. As long
as you enjoy the game, who cares? However, when posting winner posts to the
newsgroup, you should note if you used backup savefiles.

Note that it is possible to compile Angband with a variety of options which
attempt to prevent savefile abuse and other security problems, but this
normally only applies if you are using some version of UNIX.

6b. Stair-scumming
Stair scumming is a technique primarily used to generate levels with
artifacts (special weapons and items). It involves loitering around a
stairway for a certain number of turns on a "non-special" level, then using
the stairway to force the game to generate a new level. If the new level is
not "special," the process is repeated.

The technique may also be used to force the storekeepers in town to refresh
their inventory of identify and word of recall scrolls, restore stat and
life-level restore potions, and light sources, since they restock every
10000 game turns (1000 player turns for a character at normal speed). This
is also known as "town scumming".

The first type of scumming is a more serious abuse than the second.

There has been much discussion on the newsgroup on how to restrict this type
of abuse. It will likely remain unresolved because of the personal decision
involved, i.e. you don't *have* to stair scum. Also, many of the proposed
fixes (for this and other forms of scumming) have negative gameplay effects
for people who don't stair scum.

6c. Monster farming
Involves cloning monsters with good treasure drops in the hopes of getting
good items and gaining experience. Effective with ancient dragons, wyrms,
druj, and many others. Can be dangerous, considering the power of the
monsters. Also used in regards to "worm farming," which is an easy (albeit
boring) way to quickly gain experience at low levels.

This leads to the "golf ball" trick, in which a golf ball is placed upon a
key to hold it down. This then repeats a macro that performs the worm
farming for you. For more details about this method, see the Angband Macro
FAQ <>

Finally, when you don't have enough money to afford that Ring of Speed in
the black market, you can engage in "townperson scumming", killing the
people generated in town for the (small) amount of gold they drop. Since
some townspeople are dangerous for low level characters and/or don't drop
much money, this sort of scumming (like most others) is an exercise for the
high-level and patient.

6d. Summoning/Polymorphing
Summoning and polymorphing monsters at low experience levels can be
dangerous if the new monster is more than your character can handle.
Summoning deep in the dungeon is perilous for any character.

7. About

7a. General notes
The newsgroup serves a dual-purpose role, supporting both game development
and gameplay discussions. If you write new program code for the game, don't
post it (unless it is really short); upload it to an ftp site and give a
pointer. Also, since Angband and its variants are still in active
development, this newsgroup has high traffic.

7b. Glossary of terms
Common Abbreviations:

   * C?W   - Cure (Light/Serious/Critical) Wounds
   * DSM   - Dragon Scale Mail
   * FA    - Free Action
   * GCV   - Greater Checkerboard Vault
   * GoI   - Globe of Invulnerability
   * HA    - Holy Avenger
   * OoD   - Orb of Draining
   * OOD   - Out Of Depth
   * PDSM  - Power Dragon Scale Mail
   * Phial - Phial of Galadriel
   * RGRA  -
   * RLL   - Potion of Restore Life Levels
   * RNG   - Random Number Generator/Random Number God
   * RoS   - Ring of Speed
   * WoR   - Word of Recall
   * YAAD  - Yet Another Annoying Death
   * YABWP - Yet Another Borg Winner Post / Yet Another Borg Winning Player
   * YACD  - Yet Another Character Dump
   * YAFM  - Yet Another Funny Message
   * YASD  - Yet Another Stupid Death / Yet Another Silly Death
   * YASM  - Yet Another Stupid Move / Yet Another Strange Message / Yet
     Another Silly Message
   * YAWP  - Yet Another Winning Player / Yet Another Winning Post


   * Borg - An automatic Angband player. Must be enabled at compile time.
     Precompiled versions of the game do not often come with the Borg.
   * Graveyard - a monster nest filled with undead creatures.
   * Ironman - a style of play in which you cannot go up stairs or recall to
     town once in the dungeon, and/or other restrictions. Can be enforced by
     setting birth options.
   * Nest - Similar to a pit, but containing an inner room and a random
     assortment of monsters of a given type. Monsters vary by depth, so a
     Nest deep in the dungeon can be very nasty.
   * Pit - A 19x5 room filled with a certain type of creature.
   * Vault - A special room that comes in two flavors, lesser and greater.
     They will often contain out-of-depth monsters and good items.
   * Vanilla - Angband itself is often called "Vanilla" when speaking of the
     many variants, which usually just have names with one or more letters
     tacked on it front of the word "Angband" (or sometimes, just "band").
   * *band - Angband and all its variants. Generally used when discussing
     features common to all (or most) variants.
   * Wizard Mode - Used mainly by Angband coders to debug the game. Allows
     object creation, telepathy, etc. It is enabled by default, but can be
     turned off at compile time.
   * Zoo - A monster nest filled with animals.

See also the Angband acronym page

7c. Questions on r.g.r.a
Don't let the amount of technical information discussed deter you from
asking a question, but do browse this FAQ (and the table of contents of Part
Two as well) and read some recent postings before posting yourself.
Questions on strategy, bug reports, suggestions, and amusing stories related
to the game are all welcome.

If you give hints, you should be fairly sure that you have accurate
information (or you may qualify your statements with a comment on your
uncertainty). Although there isn't any plot to speak of, information about
monsters or items is considered spoilers by some, so it's polite to marked
them with "SPOILER" in the subject line.

7d. Victory (or YAWP) posts
Victory posts are where you get to boast of your crowning achievement, the
defeat of Morgoth. A victory post commonly gives the equipment list and
statistic screen for the lucky King or Queen (through the 'C' command), plus
a short summary of the game including highlights such as especially lucky
treasure finds or near-death experiences.

With a victory post you should state some facts like which version of
Angband you are playing and whether you used backup files, cheating options,
wizard mode. If you are a die-hard player and win with a self-imposed
restriction (like "no artifacts") mention this as well so others will shower
you with even more glory.

7e. Stupid Death (or YASD) posts
This is where you post your depressing stories about your poor, late alter
ego. Other people may be able to empathize with you and console you; others
may be able to offer tips so that you won't fall into the same trap again.
Also, you teach others about your experience and help them avoid the same
mistake you made. Posts that are in the form of a short, amusing tale often
provoke a positive response from other readers of the group and do wonders
at relieving stress.

7f. Why do so many players seem to dislike or even hate Nethack?
Nethack's atmosphere is less serious than Angband and sometimes just plain
silly. Many people enjoy and play both games, there is just a different
philosophy behind Nethack. Also, Nethack thrives on hundreds of
individually-scripted responses to different situations in the game (using
an uncursed wand of wishing while confused might give a totally different
result than using it while posioned on a full moon), while Angband tries to
avoid these.

7g. What's the weird code in some people's .sigs?
Some people place a copy of their Angband code in their .signature. The
Angband code is similar to the Geek code and lists various things about your
current character, playing style and thoughts on various aspects of Angband
(and variants). You can encode your Angband code and decode others using the
guide at the Angband Code page
<>. An example of an
Angband code follows:

A(2.9.1) DS "Niehao" HEM L:41 DL:2200' A+ R- Sp w:Ringil(+20,+23)
A L H- D- ?c f- PV+ s- TT? d- P++ M+
C? S- I+ So- B-- ac !GHB SQ? !RQ V?

7h. Angband IRC
Want to talk to people in real time about Angband? Then join #angband on the
WorldIRC network <>. There's generally people active
all through the day, from all around the world. The channel infobot,
Gandalf, has many features, including searchable artifact spoilers for all
major variants. There's also a stats page
<> and a gallery of some
of the regulars <>.

8. Suggestions For Future Versions That Have Been Considered

8a. I've got this really great idea for Angband ...
While you are free to raise any Angband-related topic on rgra, there are a
number of topics that have been discussed many times before. Therefore,
before posting on any of the topics in this section, you should check the
rgra archives at <> and check to see if you really
have something new to consider.

Also, Angband and its variants have many things that are a matter of
personal opinion, and so there is no often no "right" way that a particular
feature should be. In any case, the opinions that matter are the variant
maintainers'. So, if there's something that the variant maintainer refuses
to change, consider starting your own variant and doing it your way, rather
than argue over it with them.

Another reason why suggestions are not used is that they would change
aspects of Angband that are essential to its nature. Angband has a long
history, and so has developed a certain character over the years. Some
changes, while they might make a good game, or even a better game than
Angband, would likely make a game that is not Angband. To some extent,
variants exist to address this, but even so they tend to adhere to the core
Angband principles.

8b. Let the player store money in his/her home.
This would make the monetary theft attack useless.

Omega features a bank. Nethack allows players to keep money in bags so it
can't be stolen, but this allows the whole bag to be stolen!

8c. Increase the player's carrying capacity.
This idea involves giving the player more item slots or the creation of
items like "bags of holding."

If the character was allowed to carry a nearly unlimited supply of items,
then there would be no strategy involving careful selection of equipment and
inventory, which is an integral part of the game.

8d. Let players give or sell their items to other players.
That would make the game trivial for low level players with friends and make
rare items much easier to acquire. The "pawn shop" in town falls into this

In Nethack, players can do this indirectly, because its "bone" files contain
the inventory of the dead player. The roguelike FAQ contains a list of
multi-player roguelike games, where this might be an option.

8e. I want a real-time multi-player Angband!
There are two variants that offer this - MAngband
<>, which is based on Vanilla, and ToMENet
<>, which is based on Vanilla and ToME. For more
details read the Angband Variants FAQ, detailed in question (10a).

8f. Increase the capacity of the player's home
The limit on the size of the home is part of the game balance of Angband -
it forces the player to make choices about what they store and what they
throw out. There are occasionally suggestions about having museums in the
town to store particularly bad junkarts etc. in (and they cannot be removed
from the museum), and there have been a few patches posted to the newsgroup
that do this.

8g. Allow the player to wear a ring on each finger
Again, allowing the player to wear only two rings is a game balance
decision. As it stands, the player is forced to consider which combination
of rings is best for their situation, also rings are powerful enough that 10
of them would make the player unstoppable.

ToME allows possessors to wear more rings depending upon what body they are
possesing, but this is balanced by bodies with many ring slots tending to
not be able to wield a weapon or wear armour.

8h. Allow the player to load saved games after death
This goes against a core premise of Angband (and many other roguelike
games): that death is final. However, you can resurrect a dead character by
loading the savefile in wizard mode, but doing so will mark the savefile,
meaning that the character will not be able to make the high score list. It
is trivial to get around this restriction by save-scumming (see question
(6a)), but it is unlikely that a save-scum feature will ever be added to the

Conversely, Angband will probably not make it harder to load saved games
after death, for the simple reason that any measures it takes can be easily
circumvented outside of the game, and also inconvienences the player. In the
case of ADOM, which corrupts savefiles after a game is loaded, there exist a
number of utilites to backup savefiles to prevent the loss of a character
due to a (program or computer) crash.

8i. Dungeon levels should be persistent
Angband requires the player to kill many monsters to obtain the experience
and equipment necessary to kill Morgoth, however few monsters are generated
on previously cleared dungeon levels. Also, storing the entire dungeon
requires a great deal of memory, which would prevent Angband from running on
low-end systems (yes, people still use them). Storing just the dungeon
layout and other variations on persistent levels hav been discussed, but
nothing much has come of them.

Several variants have experimented with persistent levels, including
GSNband. Nethack and ADOM also have persistent dungeon levels.

9. Programming Questions

9a. Where can I obtain the source code?
The source code for the most recent version is available via anonymous FTP.

   * Official Angband Developement FTP site Source directory
   * Official Angband Mirror FTP site Source directory
   * European Angband Mirror FTP site Source directory
   * Australian Angband Mirror FTP site Source directory

9b. To what extent can I modify the source and release modified versions?
You are free to rewrite sections of the game code and release your own
version of Angband, provided that you retain copyright notices and proper
credits, and do not attempt to make a profit in any way. The license is
discussed in more detail in question (11c).

9c. Is there any easy way for a non-programmer to hack the game?
Figure out the format of the 'lib/edit/*.txt' files, edit them, delete the
corresponding 'lib/data/*.raw' files (deleting them is not necessary in
recent versions), and restart the game. This should not be done unless you
know exactly what you are doing (or at least have a fairly good idea). These
files should be treated in the same manner as "source code", and for those
of you who do not know what this means, realize that changing such files may
result in unusable savefiles and/or unexpected crashes. You have been

But don't let this warning scare you off. Most (if not all) of the
'lib/edit/*.txt' files have documentation describing their format at the top
of the file. Changing values within each entry is not likely to mess up your
game. However changing the order of entries, or what each item is does
require a good knowledge of Angband internals, since there are still quite a
few hardcoded limits.

In any case, you should keep a seperate set of 'lib/edit/*.txt' files (or
even a complete second copy of the game) for fiddling with rather than
messing up the savefile of your character who's just about to take on

Another way of changing the game is to write LUA scripts. LUA is a small
scripting language embedded into Angband (version 3.0.0 and greater), ToME
and ZAngband (recent development versions). Depending on the variant, you
can add new races, classes, objects and stores. This is similar to editting
the lib/edit/*.txt files described above, except that LUA is much easier to

The main advantage of LUA, however, is that you can actually write small
programs in it. For example, if you have a new spell you want to put into
the game, you can define its effect as a combination of various other
spells, add it to a spellbook and set its cost completely in LUA. You can
also have LUA programs execute when certain events occur. This allows people
who don't know C to customise the game to a greater extent than previously.

9d. What are the *_info.txt files?
The 'lib/edit/*.txt' files used to be called *_info.txt (eg a_info.txt for
artifacts, r_info.txt for monsters) instead of the current artifact.txt and
monster.txt etc. However, since this change was only recently implemented,
most variants (and people in the newsgroup) still call these the *_info.txt

9e. I know how to program C, where can I get an introduction to Angband
Have a look at <>,
especially the "Angband coding style"
<> and "The Caveman
Guide to Angband Programming"
These pages contain an introduction to the Angband codebase and programming

Once you've read these, the best way to start learning is to make your own
changes! Use the wizard mode to test (that's what it's there for) and pick
up any bugs. Lather, rinse, repeat. However, it's probably best to start
with simple changes, and not attempt to add/rewrite entire subsystems until
you have a good idea of how the code works.

9f. C is ugly, can't I program in Lisp instead?
Yes, you can. LAngband <> is a reimplementation of
Angband in Common Lisp. It is designed around a plugin strategy, with
different variants as different plugins, although currently there only
exists an (incomplete) Vanilla plugin. It also sports a new SDL-based
interface using either ASCII or graphic tiles.

9g. Why doesn't wizard mode work in the version that I have?
The debug commands are intended as a debugging tool for programmers. While
it is enabled by default, your system administrator may have disabled it for
space or other reasons on a multi-user system. You can always activate the
debug commands by compiling your own version of Angband (or by getting
somebody else to do it for you). Using the debug commands will "mark" your
character's savefile, and you will be unable to make the high score list
that character. See the source code for more information.

9h. What is the borg? Why doesn't it appear in the version that I have?
The borg commands allow an automatic player to control your character. It is
not currently enabled with most pre-compiled versions of Angband because of
the additional memory and disk space required, but some special pre-compiled
versions do include the borg commands. You can always activate the borg
commands by compiling your own version of Angband (or by getting somebody
else to do it for you). Using the borg commands will "mark" your character's
savefile, and you will be unable to make the high score list that character,
unless SCORE_BORGS is enabled at compile time. See the source code for more

9i. How do I use the borg?
Use the "control-z" command to access the borg commands, if they have been
included in the version you are using. When prompted, you may start the borg
using the "z" key, and stop it by pressing any key. See the source code for
more information. Be warned that the borg may contain bugs!

9j. How do I generate auto-spoilers?
You must have a version compiled with ALLOW_WIZARD and ALLOW_SPOILERS, which
is most versions these days. Enter wizard mode, then type control-a and a
double quote (").

9k. What is CVS?
CVS is a means of letting multiple developers work on the same project at
once. It can also be used to non-developers (ie most of us) to download the
most absolutely recent version of a game without waiting for an official
release. This has some advantages and disadvantages: often bugs are said to
be "fixed in CVS", which means that if you are suffering from a bug you
should upgrade to the latest CVS version. However, since CVS is the
development version, some features may be broken or not fully implemented.

The Angband CVS can be accessed at <>. You
will have to compile it yourself (see question (3d) for details). Scott
Holder is currently doing daily compiles for Windows, which are available at
<>. A good guide on how to use CVS is the CVS
HOWTO at <>.

10. Variants

10a. Angband Variant FAQ
Julian Lighton maintains an FAQ listing all the known Angband variants. It
is posted regularly to the newsgroup, and is also available from
<>. For each variant, it lists
the most recent version, development status (active or inactive),
author(s)/maintainer(s), web site and download location, as well as a brief
description of the variant.

10b. What is OAngband-style Combat?
Oangband-style combat de-emphasizes the number of blows and the plus to
damage. The base damage dice are much more important, slays and brands are
more powerful on weapons with low hit dice, and critical hits and the plus
to hit make a greater difference.

As of February '03, DrAngband (version 2.9.3+), ZAngband (2.4.0+), and
Sangband (0.9.9+) use some version of it.

Some people have expressed the opinion that OAngband combat should be
adopted by Angband. However, this is not going to be done (at least in the
near future) because too many people feel that such a fundamental change
with major implications everywhere in the game should be reserved for
variants rather than Vanilla (the same applies to a wilderness, set or
random quests, lots of new races or classes, multiple dungeons, etc.).

10c. What is the JLE patch?
The JLE patch (by Jonathan Ellis) is a set of files (*_info.txt and help)
that alters the distributions and types of monsters, objects, and artifacts.
It also adds many new items, most from D&D, or such variants as Oangband,
PsiAngband, and Zangband.

Many people feel that the JLE patch adds new interest to the dungeon at
depths of 3000' and greater. It has been integrated into Angband since
version 3.0.0, and many variants have adopted all or portions of it.

It is available (with installation instructions) from the Thangorodrim patch
page <>.

11. Miscellaneous

11a. The game says that I'm missing a spellbook when I try to learn some new
spells. What's the reason for this?
You are missing a book containing spells that you can learn. More often than
not, your character needs one of the books that can only be found in the
black market or deep in the dungeon. Only 4 of the 9 mage or priest
spellbooks are readily available in town.

11b. What happened to player ghosts?
Player ghosts were removed in Angband 2.7.9, during a code cleanup by the
then maintainer (Ben Harrision), who thought they were a hack. There have
been proposals to put them back in, but none have come to fruition yet.
Also, some variants (including DrAngband, OAngband and ToME) have
reimplented player ghosts.

11c. What license is Angband distributed under?
Angband has the following license:

     Copyright (c) 1997 Ben Harrison, James E. Wilson, Robert A.

     This software may be copied and distributed for educational,
     research, and not for profit purposes provided that this copyright
     and statement are included in all such copies. Other copyrights
     may also apply.

In addition:

     All changes made by Ben Harrison, Robert Ruehlmann, and many other
     Angband developers are also available under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC
     LICENSE. Note that this doesn't influence the current
     distribution, since parts of the source are still only available
     under the old Moria/Angband license. Until all parts of Angband
     are distributed under the GPL the only valid license remains the
     original Moria/Angband license.

This second license is due to an ongoing attempt to dual-license the source
code under either the traditional license or the GPL (code-user's
preference), but many of the earlier contributors are hard to reach for
their permission to this change. There is more information about Angband and
the GPL at <>

So what does the above mean? Basically you can give Angband to anyone, but
are not allowed to charge someone for it. In theory, you can't sell a CD
containing Angband to someone, but in practice you could sell them a blank
CDR, and then burn a copy of Angband for them on that CDR free of charge.
Downloading off the internet etc. is all legal as well.

If you are making a variant, the license does not compel you to release the
sources. However, not releasing the sources is frowned upon by the Angband
community, and it is likely that a large portion would not run it, either on
principle or because they need the sources to compile for their particular

There is more that could be said about the license, but it's boring legalese
that would just clog up this FAQ. If you want further information, look at
the above webpage, and browse the rgra archives at
<>. Debates over the Angband license have a tendancy
to get heated and most of the time don't accomplish anything. Be careful if
you are considering raising this topic (especially along the lines of "I
don't like the GPL.")


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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM