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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. Along with NetHack, Dungeon Crawl, ADOM, and ToME, it is considered one of the five major modern roguelikes. It has been in continuous development since 1990.
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The objective of the game is to defeat Morgoth, the original Big Bad of Middle-earth. To get to him, you must first descend through 100 levels of increasingly hostile dungeons, and hopefully acquire enough experience and equipment to defeat him. The challenge comes from learning how best to deal with the vast menagerie of enemies in the dungeon, and knowing when and when not to take risks.

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 - dungeon levels in Angband are generated when you arrive and discarded when you leave; the game has no memory of the layouts of previous levels you have visited. In other words, you cannot revisit a dungeon level once you leave it; it's wiped from existence and anything left there is gone forever. This is the defining feature of Angband that sets it apart from almost every other kind of roguelike.
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  • infinite dungeon - a side-effect of the non-persistent levels is that the dungeon is effectively infinite - there's nothing to stop you from visiting the same depth as many times as you like and taking as much as you can carry away from it. The game will always generate a brand-new dungeon level every time you go, with new loot to collect and new enemies to fight. This means that the resources available to the player are effectively limitless and you can, in principle, play forever.
  • feelings - player characters in Angband have mysterious intuitive senses called "feelings", which can foresee potential danger on the current dungeon floor, or the presence of powerful items. (Prior to version 4, the player would also get feelings about the quality of the items they find; however, this has since been replaced by a rune-based identity system).
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  • rune-based identity system - object properties (eg. "resist lightning", "slay animal") are denoted by runes, which are initially unknown to the player; however, once they learn the meaning of a rune, they recognize it when they see it on other objects.
  • curse system - there are many different curse runes, which initially can't be distinguished from good runes until the player learns their effect (usually the hard way).
  • large dungeons - dungeon levels in Angband and other *bands are huge, sprawling affairs, many screens wide and tall. Most other roguelikes tend to have dungeons that are closer to a single screen in size.
  • 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 - your character is constantly observing and learning things about the monsters they fight, such as their special powers and any vulnerabilities they've been seen to display. Every new piece of information learned is stored in the monster memory, and can be recalled at any time - even by descendants who have never personally encountered the monster.
  • emphasis on character advancement - Angband is ultimately about levelling up and improving the character's strengths and survivability, by any means necessary. Level Grinding and Scumming are less discouraged than in other games, and the design of *bands often makes this easy to do.

The latest version of Angband can be downloaded at http://rephial.org/.


Tropes in this game:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • Enemies always make noise when struck by a spell or missile, even if you can't actually see them and you'll always hear "a scream of agony" when you kill a non-visible enemy, even if it's something like a mushroom patch so you know you've killed them.
    • Gold is a weightless abstract number, so you can run around with 250,000+ gold, some of which you may have explicitly mined out of the walls, without penalty.
  • A.I. Roulette: Monsters use spells and abilities at random intervals and picking one of the spells randomly. Intelligent monsters will filter out ineffective choices from the list of spells (e.g. won't self-heal when at full health) and there is also an option that allows filtering when they see the player resist a damage type. If no spell or ability triggers, their behaviour defaults to "move towards player/attack if next to"note  unless immobile or lacking an attack. This, for example, leads to enemy spellcasters wasting turns moving towards you rather than spellcasting every turn and randomly healing themselves rather than using it every time they get wounded enough.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Direct attack spells always hit their targets. Mana based ones go one step further and always do the shown diced damage as mana based attacks can't be resisted. Likewise breath attacks (yours and monsters) always hit (though they can be resisted). "Cause wound" spells (monsters only) always hit you but can be resisted.
  • Animorphism: Some player classes can learn transformation spells which allow them to adopt animal forms, such as bats or foxes. This gives you benefits such as increased speed or heightened senses, but you can't use items.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Multi-hued dragons have all of the breath attacks and resistances of multiple different dragon species. They are the bane of mages who rely on elemental attack spells.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • You can configure the game to start explicitly warning you when your Hit Points drop below a certain percentage to lessen the chance of dying due to not keeping an eye on it. There are also options to allow you to automatically know all runes allowing you to auto-identify any consumable magic, permanent item or both.
    • If you are carrying a digging implement, the game automatically assumes you are using it when tunnelling instead of you having to manually swap your weapon and implement around each time. This stops you forgetting to swap back and trying to melee an Ancient Red Dragon to death with your shovel, which will only make him mad and you dead.
    • Similarly, if you are in a lit area and are wielding a light source with limited life such as a torch or lantern, your light source will not keep burning saving you the trouble of manually unequipping it each time and having to re-equip it when leaving the lit area.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Monsters actively avoid tiles that you can see, opting to instead wait in the dark until they can pounce on you.
    • This also means that they don't always fall for the common roguelike trick of 'lure them into a tight corridor then pick them off one at a time' - they'll instead wait for you to come out into the open where they can surround you.
    • Enemies can learn your resistances (or, if you set the option, know them in advance) and may 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.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • You can exploit the monsters vision/activation distance to draw them out a few at a time rather than having to deal with a whole group at the same time. Telepathy is especially good for this - you can move towards a vault of monsters until the ones nearest the door start to come out, step back, kill them, rest up and repeat, gradually moving closer to draw out the next layer of monsters.
    • Monsters will turn and flee even if they have no chance of getting away from your ranged spell or weapon attacks. They also tend to return after they've healed only a little, leading to a cycle of fleeing, healing up a little, returning, getting hit, fleeing etc. until they finally die.
    • As A.I. Roulette is in full effect, monsters will make extremely dumb moves like mages with nasty ranged spells trying to rush you and punch you to death and monsters with healing spells running away instead of healing up when they get wounded.
    • Monsters will happily line up to be slaughtered in one on one fights rather than trying to outflank the player. They'll also happily step around a corner into line of sight and get blasted/shot/hacked down one by one before they can act/attack.
    • Monsters, even human(oid) ones, are incapable of using any of the items they are carrying or are lying around nearby.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Several of the named weapons are this. Mostly because they are too slow. Even a suped-up orc slaying sword like Orcrist does less damage to an orc compared to a vanilla +10 Main Gauche that gets three attacks a round.
    • At early levels, Wands of Wonder can throw out far more lethal spells than you would normally have access to but since the effects are entirely random and can include hasting and healing the monster, they are more trouble than they are worth unless you are desperate.
  • Bandit Mook: You can encounter thieves of many different races in the dungeon, which have the ability to steal money from your pouch and/or objects from your backpack and teleport away before you can do anything about it. This is particularly annoying in Angband, since the non-persistent dungeons mean that you'll never see that money again unless you track the enemy down and recover it before you leave the level. It's even worse if you encounter Sméagol too early; he can take your money and is near-impossible for a low-level character to kill. Your best hope is to accept the loss and run.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted - by the time bears start showing up as enemies, you'll probably be so strong that they're little more than a nuisance.
  • BFS: Weapon weights are far higher than real life equivalents. This is due to the way the game handles melee attacks per round - the number of attacks is based on the characters class, strength and dexterity but the deciding factor is the weight of the weapon. This means that, especially early on, the best weapons for even strong and fast warriors to use are counter-intuitively lightweight daggers and whips as they get more attacks and more potential damage per round than with a big heavy sword. In order to keep this formula intact, weapons with higher damage per blow have to be inordinately heavy to avoid breaking the game. Fixing this issue would require a complete rebalancing and recalculation of the combat system so it's been basically unchanged for many iterations of the vanilla game, though some variants have tried to do so.
  • Big Bad: Usually Morgoth, but some variants change this up including The One Ring as an enemy you have to destroy rather than an item.
  • Blinded by the Light: Some enemies have elemental light attacks which can do this to you.
  • Blob Monster: Many, from classic Gelatinous Cubes, through various Jellies and Oozes, some more dangerous than others.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Rods/Wands of Light in general, which light up a long line of tiles. If you rely on 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 vulnerable to light 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.
    • Phase Door scrolls will teleport you away a short distance: perfect for gulping down a potion or two before they close in again.
    • Teleport Scrolls will move you a good distance away and are essential for a sudden escape.
    • Staves of Teleportation have the advantage over scrolls that they can be used while confused and/or blinded, great for a last ditch escape.
    • The "Magic Missile" / "Phase Door" spell combo for mages. Magic Missile always hits (unless you fail to cast it) and always does damage. Phase Door teleports you several spaces away from your current position. A good strategy when dealing with a powerful melee enemy who doesn't have any spells or ranged attacks is to cast missiles / fire them from a wand as they try to reach you, then Phase Door away by spell or scroll when they get close and rinse and repeat until they are dead.
    • It's highly recommended to carry some kind of missile weapon as there are lots of enemies (such as jellies and molds) that you don't want to fight in melee as they have nasty debuffs, can wreck your equipment or both. Even casters should do so as some enemies can drain mana, resist a lot of attack spells or regenerate hit points faster than casters can regenerate mana points. You can also still fire missiles when frightened (albeit at a penalty) when melee attacks are impossible.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • Many enemies have these - most notably dragons, but some lesser enemies like giant salamanders have them too. Angband can get quite abstract about what constitutes a breath weapon - there are monsters that can breathe darkness, or light, and there's even an enemy that breathes time.
    • The player can also gain a breath weapon themselves if they manage to acquire some dragon armor or a certain rare potion.
  • Buffy Speak: One of the lower level monsters are simply called "icky things".
  • Captain Obvious: Some of the monster description texts such as a "Green Ooze" - "it's green and it's oozing".
  • 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.
  • Character Class System: The vanilla game has eight classes but variants can go berserk with this with loads of different classes and multiple backgrounds.
  • Character Level: Each time they level up, each class gains hit points (and mana points if not a warrior) and gets better at various skills. Some special abilities such as the warriors fear immunity and rangers extra shooting speed are also dependent on reaching certain levels.
  • Chest Monster: Creeping Coins and various other mimics.
  • Cloak of Defense: There is a cloak with an unnaturally high enchantment and immunity to elemental-based attacks. It is also made of an exceptionally thick and durable material, which protects the wearer from blasts of crystal shards.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Many enemy species are differentiated only by their color, which generally gives an indication of what their elemental nature might be - however, it isn't as "convenient" as you might expect, as Angband is slightly inconsistent with its color indicators. For example, the blue jelly has a freezing attack (as you might expect) but the red jelly has a strength-reducing attack, not a fire attack. The red dragon has a fire attack, but the blue dragon breathes lightning - it's actually the white dragon that breathes frost. Meanwhile, white sometimes means poison, and black usually means acid, but some green monsters are acidic too. Fortunately, if you ever forget, you can look any monster up in the monster memory to see what you know about it.
    • On an interface level, the ASCII glyphs for humanoids tend to be consistently color-coded. Dark blue enemies are usually thieves and will steal your money if they get close, so these are good targets to take out at range. Green means holy, and brown means a fighter or soldier. Unique enemies tend to be colored differently to their kin, making it easy to single them out in a large group.
  • Continuity Cameo: Almost every unique enemy in the game is a character from Tolkien's works - including many minor characters that most people won't even have heard of unless they're very familiar with the books.
  • Cursed Item: Some items are inscribed with magic runes, and each rune has a specific effect which may or may not be harmful - but you can't tell that until you've identified the rune. Sometimes it can be worth keeping a cursed item and enduring the curse, if it's something good or useful. Alternatively you can keep it until you've found something that can lift the curse.
  • Cycle of Hurting: If you've fallen victim to an enemy with a debilitating status effect (confusion, poison, etc) and you can't kill it, this is probably how you'll die - being slowly picked to death and unable to recover.
    • Paralysis was worse in an earlier versions, as it could produce infinite paralysis cycles without doing damage. Version 2.8.2 did a partial adjustment, requiring those attacks to inflict at least 1 point of damage.
  • Damage Discrimination: Averted - enemies have no protection from the ranged attacks of other enemies, nor any compunction to prevent such damage. For example, a dragon will happily try to murder you with its fire breath even if there are enemies in the way that would be incinerated by the blast. You can sometimes take advantage of this.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • Creatures with the ability to produce copies of themselves will generally kill you in this manner - they're usually 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.
    • Also the cornerstone of the player's melee damage, since bigger damage numbers typically result in less damage-per-turn compared to getting multiple blows with a weaker weapon. Right from the start of the game, 3 blows/round with a 1d4 dagger will vastly outdamage any heavier weapon that only strikes once.
  • Destroyable Items: Angband doesn't guarantee the safety of your items at allnote , and there are many enemies who have the means to damage your equipment and destroy your resources. Players can expect to replace and upgrade their resources fairly often as they progress into the dungeon. You can also destroy items yourself by accident, especially with area of effect attacks. This can force players into less safe ways of dealing with enemies if they don't want to do this.
  • Disability Immunity: Warriors have this in some ways. Unlike every other class, they cannot use magic and have no mana. This means they can't cast spells by themselves and have to rely on magic devices if they want to use any magic. However, they are immune to mana-draining as a result, and also aren't bothered much by blindness; a blind warrior can still swing a weapon in front of them (which, since they're a warrior, will hit with a lot of damage), whereas a blinded mage cannot read their spell book and is therefore completely cut off from their primary source of defense.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: As a weapon or armour pieces plusses increase, the chances of Enchant scrolls and spells working on them decreases. Essentially this means they top out around +15 on any plus - you can't keep enchanting your sword until it gets +100 to hit and +100 to damage. This is to stop high level priests with the right spell book from destroying the game as they can cast these spells over and over again.
  • Disadvantageous Disintegration: Scrolls, potions, and rings can be destroyed by certain elemental attacks, which is a problem when you're fighting groups of enemies - you may have to hold back your more powerful area-of-effect attacks to avoid destroying the loot that you're fighting for.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Finding a Potion of Experience early in the game - as they are not scaled instead giving a huge flat gain, finding one early can advance you twenty levels making the early game much more trivial. Somewhat downplayed as you will be less powerful than an "organic" character of that level as you won’t have found level appropriate equipment and items and won’t have found the stat gain potions to match limiting your power until you do.
  • Doorstopper: Spell books are heavy meaning, counter-intuitively, that pure casters should, after maxing their primary casting stat, put as many points into strength as possible to avoid speed penalties from lugging all their spell books around.
  • 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 earlier than other stats.) As of 3.5.0, the stat was removed, with gold drops likewise being toned down. The various classes still have them as listed - note that Strength is never a dump stat as it affects carrying capacity which in turn affects Speed - see One Stat to Rule Them All below.
    • Fighters: Intelligence and Wisdom - as they'll never cast cast spells they don't have to worry about mana points and the saving throw bonus for Wisdom is anaemic unless the stat is very high.
    • Mages and Necromancers: Wisdom and Dexterity. These classes use Intelligence for mana points, Wisdom has the same irrelevance as previously noted for Fighters and Dexterity is only useful for fighting, shooting and a minor armour class bonus, none of which are important for full casters.
    • Druids and Priests: Intelligence and Dexterity. As full casters relying on Wisdom, Intelligence is irrelevant and Dexterity is not important for full casters.
    • Paladins and Rangers: Intelligence only. They need all other stats to fight and/or shoot and cast their spells.
    • Rogues and Blackguards: Wisdom only. Again they need all other stats to fight and/or shoot and cast their spells.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Practically a way of life in Angband. As long as you know where the stairs are and can reach them, there's nothing compelling you to remain on the current dungeon level. You can choose the depth you feel comfortable fighting at, and you can also use stairs as an immediate escape from danger if you can reach them.
    • The Scroll of Deep Descent does this more explicitly; it teleports you five dungeon levels below the lowest depth you've reached so far. This is an early game hazard for new characters, as you're likely to accidentally read one in the process of identifying scrolls you haven't seen, with the result that your inexperienced character ends up way out of his or her depth.
    • The Teleport Level spell or scroll instantly moves you up or down (randomly selected) a dungeon level.
  • The Dragon: Sauron is this in most variants. You have to kill him on level 99 before you can reach level 100 where Morgoth hangs out - the stairs down simply won't appear until he's dead.
  • Drop the Hammer: Priests are mostly restricted to using bashing weaponsnote . 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.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Various elementals can be met throughout the game, mostly sticking to the classical elements, but occasionally venturing into more abstract territory (eg. smoke elemental, ooze elemental).
  • Elemental Powers: some enemies have them, or have resistances to certain elements. Players have to rely on magic devices, rare branded equipment and high-level spells if they want to do much elemental magic.
  • Enemy Summoner: Some enemies (most often mages) have the ability to summon other enemies to fight you.
  • Energy Absorption: Silver mice have a light-draining bite, which exhausts your light source. Some enemies can also drain and feed on your mana.
  • Escape Rope: Scrolls of Word of Recall, one of the most essential items in the game. These teleport you from the dungeon to the home town, and can also teleport you back into the dungeon again. They're also commonly used to escape threats, although the several-turn delay between invocation and the teleport means that it's not a foolproof way of getting out of trouble. Also available as a cleric spell and a magical rod.
  • Experience Points: Earned for killing monsters, pickling locks, disarming traps and for casters, the first time they successfully cast a particular spell. The current iteration of the game doesn't discriminate between classes, they all require the same (race based) amount of experience to level up.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Every single monster in the dungeon (and a few in the town) are hostile and will kill you if they can.
  • Explosive Breeder: Some creatures have the "breeds explosively" attribute, 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 other roguelikes, they would clog up the level permanently, which could unbalance the game). Characters with only single target attacks, especially melee only ones should kill them as soon as possible to avoid potentially either having to flee the level or worse getting trapped and suffering a Death of a Thousand Cuts.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Light is very important in Angband - the dungeon is largely pitch black, and you need light to be able to see where you're going, what's around you, and to read scrolls and spellbooks. For this reason, it's vital to carry a light source with you at all times. There are a few mundane sources of light available (torches and lanterns), but also several magical ones. The most common are enchanted torches, which might be magically brightened, or even everlasting. There are also a few magical artifacts which produce light, all from Tolkien's works: the Phial of Galadriel, the Star of Elendil, and the Arkenstone of Thráin. The current iteration doubles down on this by making one square radius light torches the only purchasable light sources - this can mean characters without infravision can stumble right into very dangerous stationary enemies such as jellies and molds before they see them.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: A few variants avert this, notably Steamband.
  • Fiery Salamander: Salamanders deal fire damage, and giant salamanders can breathe flame.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Players are immune to their own area-of-effect spells, so you can happily bombard groups of enemies with explosive fire blasts without ever having to worry about damaging yourself or your equipment. This also allows for an outside-the-box method of dealing with invisible enemies; if you target yourself with an area effect spell, any invisible enemies near you will be caught in the resulting blast. Averted with enemies themselves who can be hurt by other enemies breath attacks etc. - it's perfectly possible for cold hounds to freeze a hydra to death for example.
  • Game Mod: Few freeware games have such a large number of variants as Angband. oook.cz is the most known repository. You can also (if you know what you're doing) modify the text files that control a lot of the variables of the game, though this can cause random crashes if you modify things too much.
  • 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.
  • Gemstone Assault: one of the game's elements is 'shard', which means pieces of crystal/rock. Some enemies (eg. earth hounds) can breathe it at you to inflict lacerations, or are composed of it.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • When creating a spellcaster, once you've maxed out your casting stat put as many points into strength as you can, otherwise you'll get massive speed debuffs when you are carrying all the very heavy spellbooks you need to cast spells with.
    • Don't go below 1000 feet (20th floor) without See Invisible. Don't go below 2000 feet (40th floor) without Resist Poison.
    • Rangers only gain extra shooting speed with actual bows, not crossbows, slings or thrown weapons so forget about making a Halfling slinger unless you want to gimp your character.
    • You don't need to swap your shovel into your weapon slot every time you want to dig through a wall, the game automatically handles this for you.
    • Don't let Morgoth get two moves in a row on you.
    • The weapon shop does not sell blunt weapons, so don't play a priest with the "start with default equipment" option off unless you want to spend your first few levels trying to punch monsters to death.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: You can encounter all of Farmer Maggot's dogs (Grip, Fang, and Wolf) in the dungeon - in fact, they're probably the first unique enemies you'll encounter. You can also encounter Farmer Maggot himself in town. If you killed Grip, Fang, or Wolf, he'll be mourning his missing dogs.
  • Hit Points: Based on your race and class and modified by your constitution score. Note that the level up gains are fixed at character creation, so it's pointless trying to Save Scum for better results or letting yourself get level drained and relevelling. In very early versions, the constitution bonus was not applied retroactively leading to the "grape jelly trick" - maxing out constitution, letting a grape jelly level drain you down to level one (as they only drain experience points and don't actually damage you), then drinking a Potion of Restore Life Levels to return to your original level with maximum possible hit points. Later versions retroactively apply the bonus so this tactic is no longer necessary.
  • Holiday Mode: At Christmas, Father Christmas himself can show up in town with an entourage of red-hatted elves.
  • Honest Rolls Character: You can opt for this during character generation but due to the vagaries of the Random Number God, most players elect to use the Point Build System instead.
  • Humans Are Average: The only advantage humans have is they require less experience points to advance than all the other races.
  • Improvised Weapon: In a pinch you can throw anything in your inventory at monsters, with the proviso that anything not designed to be thrown will most likely break on impact. This is one of the few positive uses of otherwise worthless items such as Potions of Poison.
  • Impossible Item Drop: With the exception of a few monsters that only drop money (hydras in particular) or never drop anything, what a monster drops is completely uncorrellated to its species. A crow can drop an artifact zweihander, or a beastly unique can drop mundane garbage. The fact this drop table is influenced by dungeon level in addition to monster level is yet another reason why it's rarely worth taking dangerous fights in Angband. Harmless chumps might have lower odds of dropping neat stuff than an ancient dragon, but mow down enough of them at a deep level and eventually one will cough up something good.
  • Innate Night Vision: Most player races, apart from the two human ones, have some degree of infravision out to a certain range. This helps spot enemies beyond your light radius, at least until you can find a good light source. It's not foolproof however, some enemies don't give off heat and can only be spotted when they enter your light radius.
  • Intangibility: Incorporeal undead such as Ghosts and Wraiths can move through walls and also attack / cast from inside the walls as well. They are the bane of casters as you can't target them with spells or missiles while they are in the wall and either have to lure them out or attack them in melee.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: You can only carry a certain number of different items and while most items will stack, they have to be exactly the same (you can't stack partially used and full torches together for example). Carrying too much weight will also, depending on your strength, slow you down and make you vulnerable. It's generally recommended to return and sell stuff (if the option is available), stash spare equipment and consumables in your house or outright discard less useful items if your speed drops into negative numbers as this means monsters can get multiple turns against you which can be very dangerous. It is possible to increase the number of inventory slots by editing a text file, but this doesn't help with the weight issue and can cause problems with the inventory handling interface and display. Setting it too high will cause the game to crash if you pick up too many different things.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: A vital skill. The only thing you have to do in the game is defeat Sauron and Morgoth (or their variant equivilents), everything else is just getting powerful enough to do that. If a situation is going to cost you more than you gain, the most profitable move is to just get out of there — there's infinite more dungeon to find a better exchange in.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Averted. While Warriors rely on magic devices (with their limited charges and failure rates) for things magic-using classes can do intrinsically, their durability and damage output are second-to-none. The lack of utility is is quite neatly evened out by the ability to shrug off damage that would kill a Squishy Wizard and kill the source that much quicker.
  • Logical Weakness: Snakes (and other ophidians) are especially vulnerable to cold, as are jellies and most fire using creatures such as fire hounds. Undead being (mostly) desiccated corpses of various types are vulnerable to fire. Earth based creatures are vulnerable to acid. You can use a Rod of Probing on enemies to see what they are resistant and vulnerable to so you don't waste time using attacks that will only have a minimal effect.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Unless you hack the game, the higher level spell books for the caster classes have to be found randomly in the dungeon.
  • Magically Inept Fighter: The Warrior class can't learn or use magic at all.
  • Magic Knight: Both The Paladin and the Ranger classes are decent in melee and have some Holy (Paladin) and Nature (Ranger) spell ability. They are not as good at fighting as Warriors and lack the full casting abilities of Druids, Priests and Mages.
  • Magic Mushroom: There are many different species of mushroom in the game, all with different effects. Some of them are mixed blessings; for example, Mushrooms of Terror make your character terrified and unable to fight, but also give them a staggering burst of speed for running away. You can also encounter enemy Magic Mushroom patches that cast spells and release spores designed to blind, confuse and disorient you, as well as teleporting away making them incredibly annoying opponents.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Gold dragons (and gold dragon flies) can "breathe sound", which stuns anyone hit by the blast. You can do this yourself if you find a set of gold dragon armour.
  • Massive Race Selection: Angband itself only has eight races, but variants tend to go crazy with this. ZAngband has one of the most extensive selections. The ZAngband 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).
  • Mega Dungeon: The game measures its dungeon depth by feet underground, not numbered levels, with players traversing randomly generated levels of the fortress Angband to destroy Morgoth. Angband extends infinitely down, but Morgoth is generally found about a mile straight down.
  • Metal Slime: Most unique enemies could be considered these - they show up irregularly, are fiendishly difficult to kill, but are usually worth the reward if you can defeat them.
  • Min-Maxing: This is pretty much the aim of the game. You can get all your stats to 18/100 eventually, but the scale goes up to 18/*** (for scores over 18/200) with equipment, class and racial bonuses. Unless you get amazingly lucky you'll never be able to wear enough equipment to have all stats at 18/***, so it's about choosing which stats need to be maxed.
  • Money for Nothing:
    • Gold is useful throughout most of the game for buying equipment and consumables. Having said that, in the default game the shops will never carry the best equipment and consumables (aside from the Black Market, which charges three times the normal cost of everything), you'll need to find these in the dungeon so eventually money becomes essentially useless unless something useful shows up randomly in the Black Market.
    • If you have the "sell to shops" option off, the only way to get money is to find it lying on the ground, mine it out of the dungeon walls or kill enemies that drop it, but the amounts are larger than normal for all three to compensate. With the option on, money drops are reduced in amount but you can sell unwanted items for money (limited only by the maximum the shop will pay and if they have storage space for it). This can be very lucrative - unwanted ego weapons and armour sell for thousands of gold and some, as well as artifacts can sell for over ten thousand gold each. Unwanted rare dungeon spellbooks can fetch up to twenty thousand and unwanted stat gain potions net you over five thousand a pop.
    • High level priests with the right spellbook and selling to shops on can effectively make unlimited amounts by buying non-magical weapons and armour, enchanting them, then selling them back to the shop but by the time you can do this, chances are you'll have more than enough money and you can get it faster and more easily by dungeon delving than by tediously buying, enchanting and reselling things.
  • Money Spider: Generally averted. Mostly only monsters that are likely to carry money (i.e. humanoids) will drop it, however there are some anomalies. Some of the "slime" type enemies do so, as do Nagas (essentially human headed snakes) and intelligent reptilian enemies such as Dragons and Hydras somehow drop loads of items and/or money when they die. Bizarrely non-corporeal undead such as Wraiths also carry stuff!
  • Monsters Everywhere: Every level has some monsters and levels can sometimes contain special rooms or 'vaults' literally full of monsters, often higher level than would normally be found on the level you're on.
  • Mook Maker: Enemy summoners. Some summoners can even summon summoners!
  • Mushroom Samba: Mushrooms of Emergency give you an enormous health boost and temporarily confer elemental resistances, which can be good for getting out of a tight spot. The downside? They make you wildly hallucinate, causing you to see monsters that aren't there and making it impossible for you to recognize objects at a distance.
  • Mythology Gag: Farmer Maggot, when he's in town, keeps asking you about mushrooms - a prized produce of his farm in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: A lot of uniques have these, as do powerful monsters such as Dreadlords.
  • Nominal Importance:
    • Enemies with proper names are uniques, and are significantly stronger and tougher than generic enemies of the same race.
    • If a piece of equipment has a proper name, it's something really special, and may have additional powers.
  • No-Sell: Some enemies resist certain types of elemental damage and a few resist all elements, taking minimal damage from resisted attacks. These are the bane of mages who rely on these type of spells.
  • Oh, Crap!: When you realize you're in trouble, chances are good there's no escape and you'll die shortly thereafter.
    • Blinded means you cannot read your scrolls or cast spells. If you rely on them to escape (recall, phase door, teleport), woe is you if you get in trouble.
  • One-Hit Kill: If you don't have the right resistances, high level breath weapons can kill you instantly, even from full health. High level 'cause wounds' spells can do the same if you don't make the saving throw against them. Knowing what enemies can kill you in a single turn is crucial to avoiding this.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Speed. High levels of speed mean you can act two or three times for every time a standard speed monster can. It's pretty much a requirement to have at least +30 speed when fighting the Final Boss Morgoth so you can match him in speed so he doesn't get two consecutive turns to act against you which can be fatal.
    • Secondarily, after your primary stat it's strength, even if you are a Mage or Priest. The reason is that you have to carry a lot of gear to survive and strength affects your carrying capacity. If you are overloaded you start taking hits to your speed which can be fatal. Spellbooks are heavy so perversely after maxing your intelligence or wisdom you should dump the rest of your points into strength!
  • Panthera Awesome: Unlike bears (see above), big cats are bad news in this game. Fast, with multiple hard hitting attacks, they can ruin your day. Saber tooth tigers are especially nasty.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • If you have the option enabled, leaving a level where you haven't found the artifact yet will result in that particular artifact being lost forever - it will not appear on any subsequent level you enter. However the game will warn you about this before you leave.
    • A minor one. If you have "Know all Runes" and "Know all Flavours" enabled in birth options and are playing a mage, you will never be able to get the experience points for casting the "Identify Rune" as there will never be a valid target for the spell in the game.
  • Piñata Enemy: Farmer Maggot exists in the town solely to annoy the player and drop a reasonably good item on death. Some players will go up and down the stairs to the first level of the dungeon until he appears so they can kill him and get his drop.
  • Point Build System: The recommended way to build your character. For pure casters the recommended strategy is to put the maximum possible in your primary casting stat and all your remaining points in strength so you can carry your spell books. For pure fighters and Magic Knights, it's recommended to to put all points into strength and dexterity, skewing towards one or the other depending on which combination gives you the most default attacks per round. The casting stat for Magic Knights is less important as their spells are mostly utility and it doesn't matter so much if you take several tries with rests in between to get them to work. Of course if you're brave, you can try using an Honest Rolls Character instead.
  • Poison Mushroom: Potions of Salt Water, which make you sick and dangerously hungry.
  • Random Effect Spell: Wands of Wonder have a random effect each time they're used.
  • 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. If you select the option, artifacts are also generated with random abilities.
  • Reduced-Downtime Features: There is a weapon tagging system, which allows applying a number to an inventory item rather than worry about its letter, along with a tags that requires confirming use of certain "dangerous" or resource-critical items. A rest command allows restoring health in negligible real-time when no monsters are around. A run command that allows quickly traversing through corridors. An "interact" command that takes a contextually obvious action for a given tile. Later versions allow you to turn off item selling in exchange for better gold drops so you don't have to trek back to town and sell stuff all the time, you can simply drop obsolete equipment. And finally, a macro system to automate some things, allowing for one button rests.
  • Save Scumming: Possible, but discouraged as you have to manually backup and restore savefiles. One use is to to make sure +1/-1 stat potions decrement a dump stat and another is to make sure you get something useful from Scrolls of Acquirement/*Acquirement*. Note that it's pointless trying this to get better hit points on level ups as these numbers are fixed at character creation.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • Creeping coins disguise themselves as piles of coins, hoping that greedy players will come by to try to loot them.
    • In a similar vein, you can find scroll, ring and potion mimics that look like useful items.
    • Version 4.2.3 introduced chest mimics as well.
    • Greater Vaults. If you see a completely walled off room filled with treasure, run away.
  • Shoot the Mage First: Generally recommended as these are the guys that can blind, slow or confuse you, or blast you with elemental attack spells that can trash your equipment.
  • Spider-Sense: All characters have an innate ability to sense things about the dungeon level that they're on, and can sense potential danger, even if they don't know exactly what the danger is. You start off knowing roughly how dangerous the level is and as you explore you'll also pick up a feeling as to what level of treasure is on the level.
  • Stat Sticks: Defender weapons. Also artifact bows and other missile launchers for classes who generally use spells or magic items for long range fighting. Mages will often choose melee weapons that boost their speed and spellcasting stats over actual combat effectiveness as they rarely engage in melee.
  • Superior Species: High elves are the best or near best choice just about every class except priests (where Dunedain are top) due to their good stat bonuses (except wisdom), ability to see invisible (very useful at low levels and saves you finding an item with this and using up an equipment slot for it) and light resistance (which is one less resistance you have to find an item for and use an equipment slot for). They also have decent infravision and good starting skills. This is countered by them requiring more experience points to advance than any other race.
    • Dunedain are also a great choice for any class with good stat bonuses and decent starting skills. About the only weakness they have is a lack of infravision.
  • The Symbiote: Available as a class in Angband Variants for the Android/IOS.
  • Taught by Experience: One way of identifying items has always been to just use them and see what happens. For equipment in particular, anything more than basic combat bonuses requires the effect to be triggered (i.e. being hit by an acid attack to learn your shield resist acid). With the addition of rune-based identification, such properties will be known on sight for the rest of the character's life. By the endgame, an experienced adventurer will know all the myriad properties of a powerful artifact just by picking it up.
  • Tempting Fate: A hallmark of this game. To get the best treasures, you need to press your luck.
    • The Deep Descent scroll. It drops you five levels deeper than the lowest level you've reached so far. You will face a significantly more challenging level.
  • There Was a Door: Umber Hulks can tunnel through walls to get to you.
  • True Sight: Can be granted temporarily by a potion, giving you the ability to see otherwise invisible enemies.
  • Unidentified Items: Angband and its variants have items start out unidentified: potions, scrolls, wands, staves, jewelry, armor, and weapons. The latest versions allow you to start knowing either what all consumable items are, all permanent items are, or both.
  • Untouchable Until Tagged: Fights can sometimes go like this. A player might be able to hold their own pretty well until an enemy manages to get in an attack that turns the fight - usually one that inflicts a status effect the player was not prepared for.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The town level is full of beggars, harmless drunks, street urchins, and various mangy animals. They're generally no match for you whatsoever, even at your lowest level, so you can kill them with abandon (and they even sometimes drop money). Some of them are dangerous to low level characters - Mean Mercenaries are an even fight for a starting character and Battle Scarred Veterans remain dangerous for a few levels. Squint-eyed Rogues and Street Urchins can steal gold from you and should be avoided or killed at range and the Rogues have a damaging melee attack that can surprise an unwary player. Extremely incautious players can even find themselves being punched to death by an Aimless Merchant.
    • At Christmas, you can attack and kill Father Christmas, who is specifically there to bring presents for the poor street urchins.
    • In ZAngband, you can kill the Finnish president and Nobel Peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari - or rather, a parody version of him.
  • Visual Pun: Angband has "dragon flies": Giant insects with breath attacks.
  • Voodoo Shark: The game's explanation for the non-persistent levels is that there is a "maze of staircases" between each floor, in which your character always gets lost and therefore is unable to find his way back to that exact same location 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 (and we know that all dungeons of the same level occur at the same depth, because the game tells you exactly how many feet underground you are!).
    • It's doubly frustrating, as you are in a dungeon created by a rogue archangel as an impenetrable fortress. There is little better justification for it being a Mobile Maze.
  • Vulnerable Civilians: You can kill everyone in the home village (except shopkeepers - they are just flavour names when you enter the shop and not actually present on the map). Some of them even drop a few coins or low level items, handy if you need a little extra for an item before it vanishes from a shop.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Smeagol and Wormtongue. Smeagol is invisible, fast, moves erratically, steals your gold (and then teleports away) and has a ludicrous number of hit points for the level he's native to. He's not actually that dangerous but is very annoying and hard to kill. Wormtongue is also annoying as hell. He appears somewhat later, isn't invisible and has less hitpoints but can heal himself, slow you, create traps around you and has two dangerous attack spells as well as being somewhat dangerous in melee and also steals gold (and again teleports away). Most players will simply avoid them or leave the level if they know they are not equipped to deal with them.
  • Weakened by the Light: Light is one of the elements in Angband's elemental system, and some creatures are harmed by it. Many different magical items can produce bright light for this purpose.
    • Some player classes are specifically adapted to the dark, and suffer penalties in light conditions. This makes it more beneficial for them to skulk in the shadows - or, with the right magic, to create their own darkness.
  • 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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