While you creating a new hero it’s important to understand character properties. There they are:
- three primary attributes: sex, race, and class. These are chosen at the beginning and which will stay fixed for the entire life of that character;
- a few secondary attributes: height, weight, and background history. These are randomly determined according to the sex and race of the character. Also, you could edit background history on the character screen;
- six primary “stats”: strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution and charisma; they modify the abilities of the character in a variety of ways. Every stat has a numerical value, ranging from a minimum of 3, up to a normal maximum of 18, and even higher, into the “percentile” range, represented as ’18/01′ through ’18/100′: this is the maximum that can be achieved intrinsically, for any given stat. These stats can be modified further by equipment, race and class bonuses up to a maximum of ’18/220′;
- several primary “skills”: disarming, magic devices, saving throws, stealth, searching ability, fighting skill, and shooting skill, which are derived from the character’s race, class, level, stats, and current equipment. These skills have rather obvious effects, but will be described more completely below;
- one or more “racially intrinsic skills”, based on the race of the character. These may include special resistances, or abilities such as infravision;
- a number of “experience points”, which increases as the character defeats monsters and attempts new spells and uses new items. Characters also have a level, which is based on experience. The amount of experience required to gain a new level is dependent on the character race and class. Certain races and classes may require more experience to gain levels. As the experience rises, so does the level, and as the level rises, certain other abilities and characteristics rise as well. All characters start at 0 experience;
- some gold, which can be used to buy items from the shops in the town, and which can be obtained not only by taking it from dead monsters and by finding it in the dungeon, but also from selling items to other players. Each character starts out with some gold, the amount of which is based on the character’s social class (higher is better), stats (less powerful characters start with more gold) and some more factors. Each character also starts out with a few useful items.
- an “armour class”, abbreviated to AC, representing how well the character can avoid damage. The armour class is affected by dexterity and equipment, so the concept includes both avoiding blows and being able to take blows without being hurt. Armour class on equipment is always denoted in square brackets, usually as a figure of ‘[X,+Y]’ where X is the intrinsic AC of the armour in question, and Y is the magical bonus to armour class provided by that item;
- “hit points”, or HP, representing how much damage the character can sustain before he dies. How many hit points a character has is determined by race, class, level and constitution, as follows: each race has a basic “hit dice” number – for instance, a Dwarf’s basic hit die is 11, while a hobbit’s is 7. This is modified by class: for instance, a warrior gets a +10 bonus to the hit die, while a mage gets a +1 bonus and a priest +2, so a dwarven warrior’s total hit die will be (11+10)=21 – meaning that he gets between 1 and 21 hit points per level. If he were a priest, his hit dice would be (11+2)=13, and get between 1 and 13 hit points per level. The hobbit mage would get only 1-8 HPs per level (all characters get the maximum at first level: thereafter it is a random roll of 1dX where X is the hit die number, when the character goes up in level). This is further modified by constitution – a character with high constitution will get a flat bonus of a certain number of hit points per level (recalculated right back to level 1: if you gain an extra hit point per level, and you are 42nd level, you will suddenly be 42 hit points better off);
- spell points, or mana, which limits how many spells (or prayers) a character can cast (or pray). The maximum number of spell points is derived from your class, level, and intelligence (for spells) or wisdom (for prayers), and you can never have more spell points than the maximum. Spell points may be regained by resting, or by magical means. Warriors, monks, archers and unbelievers never have any spell points. If a character gains enough wisdom or intelligence to get more spell points, the result is calculated right back to first level, just as with constitution and hit points;
- Lastly, each character has a base speed. Speed determines the amount of “energy” your character acquires in the game, and therefore how often you can take actions which use up energy (like moving or attacking). An important thing to understand which of your actions (commands) takes energy. In general, the only commands which take energy are the ones which require your character to perform some action in the world of the game, such as moving around, attacking monsters, and interacting with objects. A lot of commands take no “energy” to perform, while other commands only take energy when they cause the world to change in some way. For example, attempting to read a scroll while blind does not use any energy. If there were any monsters near your character while you were experimenting with certain commands, you may have seen them “move” or even “attack” your character. So, as it was said in the beginning – speed determines amount of energy you can spend each turn. All beginning characters move at normal speed and the only way to increase speed is by magical means and equipment bonuses. Characters who are carrying too much weight will move more slowly. Extra speed is one of the most important boons in the game and therefore one of the rarest and most sought after.
After gender, race and class are selected, you will be able to decide what stat levels your character will have, by allocating a finite number of “points” between the six statistics. These points can be allocated by selection or with a random roller (as described below in the “Stat Rollers” section). Each race/class combination also has a recommended default setting for these statistics. Statistics can be permanently raised by various potions in the dungeon up to 18/100. They can also be temporarily drained by some monster attacks.
- Strength is important in fighting with weapons and in melee combat. A high strength can improve your chances of hitting as well as the amount of damage done with each hit. Characters with low strength may receive penalties. Strength raises the amount of weight you can carry before being slowed. It also allows you to get extra blows with heavier weapons. Strength is one of the most important stats in the beginning of the game.
- Intelligence affects the spellcasting abilities of mage-like spellcasters: mages, rangers, and rogues. Intelligence will affect the number of spells you may learn each level as well as the number of spell points you receive. Intelligence is the most important stat for mages. A high intelligence may also improve your chances of successfully casting a spell. You cannot learn spells if your intelligence is 7 or lower. A good intelligence can also help with using magic devices, picking locks, and disarming traps.
- Wisdom determines the ability of a priest or paladin to use prayers, just like intelligence affects spellcasting. Again, high wisdom will increase the number of mana points you have and increase the number of prayers you can learn each level, while improving the chance that a prayer will be successful. A good wisdom increases your saving throw, thereby improving your chances of resisting magical spells cast upon you by monsters.
- Dexterity is a combination of agility and quickness. A high dexterity may allow a character to get multiple blows with lighter weapons. Dexterity also increases a character’s chances of hitting with any weapon and of dodging blows from enemies. Dexterity is also useful in picking locks, disarming traps, and protecting yourself from some of the thieves that inhabit the dungeons. Indeed, if the character has a high enough dexterity, thieves will never be successful in stealing from him.
- Constitution is a character’s ability to resist damage to his body, and to recover from damage received. Therefore a character with a high constitution will receive more hit points and also recover them faster while resting. Constitution is less important in the beginning of the game, but will be the most important stat at the end.
- Charisma is a character’s personality and force of will. It influence a lot of different aspects in the game, eg prices in shops, chance to become frighten or cause fear, mana pool for some classes. Note that some potions and effects could harm it, eg acid damage.
Characters possess some different skills which can help them to survive. The starting skill levels of a character are based upon race and class. Skill levels may be adjusted by high or low stats, and may increase with the level of the character.
- Infravision is the ability to see heat sources. Since most of the dungeon is cool or cold, infravision will not allow the player to see walls and objects. Infravision will allow a character to see any warm-blooded creatures up to a certain distance. This ability works equally well with or without a light source. However, some of Tangaria’s creatures are cold-blooded, and will not be detected unless lit up by a light source. All non-human races have innate infravision. Humans (including Dunedain) cannot gain infravision unless it is magically enhanced. Infravision does not increase with character level, and is purely dependent on race and on magical equipment.
- Fighting is the ability to hit and do damage with weapons or fists. Normally a character gets a single blow from any weapon, but if his dexterity and strength are high enough, he may receive more blows with lighter weapons. Strength and dexterity both modify the ability to hit an opponent. This skill increases with the level of the character. Inspecting a weapon will show you how quickly you can attack with it.
- Shooting Ability. Using ranged missile weapons (and throwing objects) is included in this skill. Different stats apply to different weapons, but this ability may modify the distance an object is thrown/fired, the amount of damage done, and the ability to hit a creature. This skill increases with the level of the character.
- Saving Throws is the ability of a character to resist the effects of a spell cast on him by another person/creature. This does not include spells cast on the player by his own stupidity, such as quaffing a nasty potion. This ability increases with the level of the character, but then most high level creatures are better at casting spells, so it tends to even out. A high wisdom also increases this ability. It is possible to get 100% saving throw, making you immune to many attacks.
- Stealth. The ability to move silently about is very useful. Characters with good stealth can usually surprise their opponents, gaining the first blow. Also, creatures may fail to notice a stealthy character entirely, allowing a player to avoid certain fights. This skill is based upon race and class, but can be magically enhanced.
- Disarming is the ability to remove traps safely, and also includes picking locks on traps and doors. A successful disarming or lock picking will gain the character a small amount of experience. A trap must be found before it can be disarmed. Dexterity and intelligence both modify the ability to disarm, and this ability increases with the level of the character.
- Magical Devices. Using a magical device such as a wand or staff requires experience and knowledge. Spell users such as mages and priests are therefore much better at using a magical device than say a warrior. This skill is modified by intelligence, and increases with the level of the character.
- Searching (Perception) is the ability to notice something without actively seeking it out. You may find secret doors, floor traps, and traps on chests. Rogues are the best at searching, but mages, rangers, and priests are also good at it. This skill is based entirely upon race and class, and will never improve unless magically enhanced.
There are currently two different ways to determine the starting stats of your character – you can choose which one to use from the birth screen.
The point-based method allows you to “buy” improvements to your basic stats by “spending” points on them. You have a fixed number of points to spend, and making small changes to a stat costs proportionally less than making large changes. Any unspent points are converted into your starting money that you can use to buy equipment at the start of the game.
On selecting this option, you will find that the points have already been assigned to default recommended values. These represent an algorithm’s opinion for the ideal point spending. However, you are free to reallocate them as you wish. This is the recommended birth method.
The standard roller simply rolls three six-sided dice for each stat, leaving everything to chance. You can press ‘r’ to re-roll the dice, or simply accept what luck has offered.
Once you have accepted a character you will asked to provide a name for the character. Please take a note that we have very strict policy considering player names (more info in Rules section). The character name is used on the high score list.
You can play a dynasty of characters. If you use a Roman numeral at the end of your character name (like “Nimli I” or “Emrailon XVI”), the game will automatically increment the numeral each time you die.