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Videogame: Angband
Angband is a roguelike game loosely based on J. R. R. Tolkien's books set in Middle-earth, but with stuff from other games, mostly Dungeons & Dragons and Rolemaster, as well as original content.

It was intended to be an enhanced port of Umoria, an earlier roguelike. The game takes place in an extremely deep dungeon beneath a town. The goal of the game is to descend into the dungeon and amass enough experience and loot to defeat Morgoth, the Big Bad of Middle-Earth.

Although not the first in its roguelike line (that distinction goes to Moria, of which Angband is a descendant), Angband is the grandfather of an entire family of roguelikes collectively known as *bands, thanks to its relatively easy-to-fork source code.

Angband and other *bands have a few features that make them distinct from other roguelike families:

  • non-persistent dungeon levels - Dungeons are randomly generated, and a new one is generated each time you visit that floor. The result of this is that you cannot revisit a dungeon once you leave it; anything left there is gone forever, and a new dungeon (with new monsters and items) will be generated in its place. In game, this is explained as there being a 'maze of staircases' between each level, in which you always get lost.
  • infinite dungeon - a side-effect of the non-persistent levels is that the dungeon is effectively infinite. While it has a finite depth (100 levels), you can visit a particular depth as many times as you like, and the dungeon will always be brand new. This also means that the resources available to the player are limitless.
  • large dungeons - dungeons in Angband and other *bands are many screens wide and tall.
  • legacy characters - your character is considered a descendant of other characters (played by you) that came before him or her. Any new information your character learns about the monsters of the dungeon will be passed to his or her descendants, so that they may be better prepared.
  • monster memory - with each monster encounter, you may learn more about the monsters you're fighting. For example, you may discover that worm masses have a weakness to bright light. Every new piece of information you learn is stored in the monster memory, and can be recalled at any time - even by descendants who have never personally encountered the monster.
  • feelings - Angband uses a multiple-level identification system for some items, expressed as 'feelings' that your character has. For example, your character may acquire an item in the dungeon, and after carrying it around for some time, may 'feel' that the item is special in some way. They still won't know exactly why it is special - this may require them to actually use it, or to use magical means of identification.
  • emphasis on character advancement - *bands are ultimately about gaining experience and improving the character's survivability, by any means necessary. Level Grinding and Scumming are not as discouraged as in other games, and the design of *bands often makes this easy to do (for example, exploiting a self-replicating enemy for experience, or going up and down stairs repeatedly to generate new levels until you find one with some good items).

The latest version of Angband can be downloaded at

Tropes in this game:

  • Artificial Brilliance: Monsters actively avoid tiles that you can see, opting to instead wait in the dark until they can pounce on you. They also learn your resistances (or, if you set the option, know them in advance) and will not attempt to use ineffective attacks repeatedly. In the variant/successor Sil orc packs try to flank you or block your escape routes, while archers will spread out and keep their distance - which is annoying and deadly.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Rods/Wands of Light in general, which light up a long line of tiles. If you rely in any kind of ranged attack, you'll need to spot monsters from as far away as possible, and these babies really shine in long corridors. You'd also be surprised by how many enemies are damaged by it in the early game.
    • Teleport away. You don't have to kill absolutely everything. It's far safer to punt a dangerous monster to the other side of the map and loot the treasure behind it than to try and fight.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Genocide/Banishment spell, which will subtract 1d3 HP for every monster killed from the spell. Also, casting a spell without enough mana could damage your CON (health stat) temporarily or permanently.
  • Chest Monster: Creeping Coins and various other mimics
  • Companion Cube: Slime molds, a food item which many players name and keep as pets
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • Creatures with the ability to produce copies of themselves will generally kill you in this manner - they're relatively harmless by themselves, but once they start multiplying they can block passages and totally surround you, picking you off a little at a time.
    • If met at the start of the game, a Floating Eye can keep you paralyzed to the point that you starve to death.
  • Dump Stat: If using the point-buy system to create your character, Charisma had practically no use aside from price adjustments - and was generally the easiest stat to improve (due to potions of charisma appearing earleir than other stats.) As of 3.5.0, the stat was removed, with gold drops likewise being toned down.
  • Drop the Hammer: Priests are restricted to using bashing weapons. Also, Morgoth's hammer Grond, which shatters walls all around when swung.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Quylthulgs. Cthangband is a variant entirely based on the Cosmic Horror Story genre.
  • Enemy Summoner: Better learn to make an anti-summoning corridor.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Cursed items.
  • Explosive Breeder: Many low-level creatures have the 'reproducing' ability, meaning they can spawn copies of themselves. This is something fairly unique to *bands - Angband can get away with it because of its non-persistent dungeons (in any other roguelike, they would clog up the level permanently, which could unbalance the game). Reproducing creatures include worm masses, lice, and rats, each of which which have many annoying colour variants. These can be ground upon to gain levels, but unless you're using a borg (a bot which plays the game) this is too dull to do for more than a few levels.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: A few variants avert this, notably Steamband.
  • Final Death: It's a roguelike. You can savescum, but don't try to pass it off as a genuine win.
  • Game Mod: Few freeware games have such a large number of variants as Angband. is the most known repository.
  • Gateless Ghetto: Built on top of Morgoth's fortress is a town consisting of six stores, a black market, a house belonging to the player, and a few ne'er-do-well townfolk, surrounded by an impenetrable wall. A few variants avert this by adding an overworld.
  • Guide Dang It: Don't go below 1000 feet (20th floor) without See Invisible. Don't go below 2000 feet (40th floor) without Resist Poison.
  • Massive Race Selection: Angband itself only has eight races, but variants tend to go crazy with this. Z Angband has one of the most extensive selections. The Z Angband variant Entroband has thirty-seven races and twenty-seven classes. Averted by a newer variant Sil, in which you can only choose Noldor (High Elves), Sindar (Grey Elves), Naugrim (Dwarf) or Edain (Human).
  • Min-Maxing: This is pretty much the aim of the game.
  • Money Spider: Generally averted. Only monsters that are likely to carry money (ie. humanoids) will drop it.
  • Mook Maker: enemy summoners.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: The game uses this method for ego items and random artifacts. One starts with a basic item, like a Hard Studded Leather [7,+0]. With a numeric bonus, that might be a Hard Studded Leather [7,+3]. If it gets an ego, it might be an Elven Hard Studded Leather (increases stealth, detects orcs), a Hard Studded Leather of Resist Fire (reduces fire damage), or with two egos, an Elven Hard Studded Leather of Resist Fire! If it becomes a random artifact (or randart), it receives a unique name, like the Elven Hard Studded Leather of Felorith, and some random powers. Because this is Angband, most ego items and randarts look like average junk until the player identifies or psuedo-identifies the items.
    • Moria, the ancestor of Angband, has ego items but no artifacts.
  • Random Number God: Everything in the dungeon is randomly created and placed.
  • Schmuck Bait: Greater Vaults. If you see a completely walled off room filled with treasure, run away.
    • Also, in ToME, don't equip that yellow ~ lying on the ground right away. It could be the Phial of Galadriel, or something really evil...
  • Stat Sticks: Defender weapons.
  • The Symbiote: Available as a class in Angband Variants for the Android/IOS.
  • Unidentified Items: Angband and its variants have items start out unidentified: potions, scrolls, wands, staves, jewelry, armor, and weapons.
  • Vendor Trash:
  • Unidentified potions of apple juice, slime mold juice and water, which are given the same color qualifier across games (although no longer available in the latest versions). You can also sell other unidentified items as a cheap identification method. Known trashy items cannot be sold. Unknown items, however...
    You sold 3 Scrolls of Create Trap for 31 gp. The shopkeeper bangs his head against the counter.
    • A fairly minor but entertaining example is selling broken swords/daggers and rusted chain mail to shops. The storekeeper will offer you one gold coin for it and then - surprise, surprise - it turns out said item has negative to hit/to dam/armor modifiers, thus making them worthless.
  • Since version 3.5.0, selling has been turned off by default, which means this is no longer a problem.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The town level is full of beggars, harmless drunks, street urchins and mercenaries. The urchins of whom will try and steal from you. Guess what happens next. Even worse, the mercenaries can easily kill a starting character.
  • Voodoo Shark: the game's explanation for the non-persistent levels is that there is a 'maze of staircases' between each level, in which your character always gets lost and therefore is unable to find his way back to that same level again. Considering that the dungeons take up significant floor space, and that your character also has access to mining tools (and, if really smart, could just leave a trail or something), it seems highly unlikely that an entire dungeon could simply be 'lost' like this. Not to mention the sheer area that this neverending collection of dungeons must take up (we know they're all on the same level, because the game tells you exactly how many feet underground you are!).
  • Warp Whistle: Scrolls of Recall. Also available as a cleric spell.
  • Weapon of X Slaying: One of many properties ego and artifact weapons can have is bonus damage against particular types of enemies. This is controlled by a set of independent boolean flags, allowing (in the extreme) the artifact sword Crisdurian, which has all the Slay X flags set (and has the damage dice to make it count).
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alternative title(s): Angband
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