Roguelike Appreciation Thread (Nethack, Angband, ADOM, and more!)

I’ve seen Roguelike games mentioned by a few Dopers here, so I felt I would start a thread about them.

For the uninitiated, Roguelike games are inspired by the UNIX game, Rogue. There is generally a significant component of randomness involved (dungeons, quests, treasure, monsters), often the ability to play with ASCII character graphics, a very high level of difficulty, and unforgiving death (whenever you save, the game automatically quits. Whenever you restore, your savegame is deleted). Some of the most popular are Nethack (, ADOM (, Crawl ( and Angband (along with its numerous variations, at ( You can see the influence in more mainstream computer and console games too. Diablo and Diablo 2 had very strong Roguelike (and Gauntlet) influences, and in the Lufia series, there is a place called the Ancient Cave which is based on Roguelike design principles. There are many others, but those were the most famous I could remember. Everquest recently released an expansion pack with the random dungeons (and from what I hear, high difficulty level) of a Roguelike.

Right now, I personally am playing ADOM. My favorite characters right now are Gray Elven Wizards, Gray Elven Archers, Hurthling Monks, Dwarven Weaponsmiths, and Dwarven Farmers (This is in approximate order of difficulty). I’m playing a patched version of 1.1.1 that eliminates some of the… um… misfeatures of the original release (like rats that are stronger than some of the minor deities), and am slowly making progress. Unfortunately, whenever I play Gray Elven Wizards, I have a high probability of killing myself, by having a magic missile or a lightning bolt bounce through me numerous times. Such issues have killed off my most promising characters, and one would think I’d have learned by now. But I haven’t. The farthest I’m generally getting right now is past the Animated Forest, where I generally die on the trip back (often when I foolishly try to take on the Dwarven Halls). It’s a very addicting game.

Last year, I was all about Nethack. I ascended with a Valkeryie first, and then, deciding that it was mostly because I got lucky, did it with a Samurai (whom I was much more satisified with). Were I to go back to the game, I’d probably try either a Priest or a Knight (both of whom I’ve gotten quite far with, and got killed only because I made a horribly, horribly stupid mistake). I heard Wizards are a very easy class, but I’ve never personally been able to keep them alive long enough to really see some action. Later, I might give them another shot if I get bored with other things.

I never really got into Angband, but I’m having a ton of fun watching a computer program play the game for me. I’m also very depressed, because it generally plays the game BETTER than I do.

Any other fans of Roguelike games here? Share your experiences!

I can’t say much about the other games as I’m mostly a ADOM addict. I love this game! I find it as entertaining as any commercially released games with their pretty graphics. Polygons and pixels, ha! Who needs 'em? There are actually many recent games that I won’t consider as good as ADOM. That says alot about this little ASCII game.

This game is hard too. I can’t think of anything that’s as difficult as this. The only way I could beat it was to cheat (save scum). One of these days I’ll win without having to resorting to that.

I think the farthest I ever got without cheating was the fire tower. The funny thing was, it wasn’t the Ancient Chaos Wyrm that killed me but a fire giant when I was leaving. I ran out of healing items and he got in a lucky shot. :frowning:

Right now I’m playing a HE mindcrafter. He’s hard to keep alive but supposedly worth it when he gets to level 50. I’m having a hard time believing that though.

I tried playing the other rougelike games after ADOM. I don’t know, I guess I was spoiled by ADOM’s shiny interface. I just couldn’t seem to get into NetHack or Angband. I did like the freedom allowed to you in NetHack. You can drink a potion without paying for it, unlike ADOM, but you’ll better be prepared for the consequences!

I could go on about ADOM but I’ll probably just bore you. :slight_smile: I AM curious to see which other dopers are fans of roguelike games.

Castle of the Winds is one of my favorite games of all time, and it’s recently been made available without cost.

I’ve just discovered Troubles of Middle Earth. Cool. There are multiple dungeons, with wilderness areas between. You start in Bree and clear out the Barrow Downs before trekking X-country. So far I’m only a raw beginner with this one. I have a quest to get Farmer Maggot’s mushrooms back without killing his dogs…

I usually cheat, as I’m too lazy to always care for fine detail and caution. Like many a playstation game, I re-start from a save point and may try the same thing several times getting killed until I figure it out. I wish there was a way of setting this as a legit mode of gameplay without having to hide the save files and move them back, but i don’t wish it enough to join development teams and hack the source.

I started playing ADOM back in 1996…the game has changed a LOT since then. If I had started a version or two earlier, there would have been no overworld map.

The only time I beat the game without cheating was with a High Elven Paladin.

The harshness of no saves reminds me of Ironman mode in The Temple of Elemental Evil for Windows.

No rerolls on character creation, no saves (quit, it autosaves, restart and it erases the previous game). Die? Reroll.

Not quite the same as what you’re describing, but an option for those with puny windows machines…

Got hooked on Moria back in '92, then discovered Angband a little later. I’m currently a big fan of Sangband and Zangband.

Still a lot more fun (and a lot harder) than most commercial games out there.

Veteran of Angband and Zangband, here.

Zangband is probably my favorite–it takes an “everything but the kitch sink” approach to Angband style gameplay. It also has a large wilderness area and used to have spiffy quests to spice of the randomness until they took them out (temporarily).

And, yes, the Bot capable version of Angband is a blast. I’ve learned a lot about playing from watching it.

Many hours in the computer lab playing mora on the campus VAX system (managed to sneak it on). Never did win, but got up to level 30 or so. Always played Dwarven Priests.

Played on a Pc (Mac actually), for some reason wasn’t the same as playing it on a 9600 or 192k baud VT-220.


I first started playing Rogue 15-ish years ago on a PC Jr. I recall one morning when I had a great character, but had to quit the dungeon because it was time for school. Must have been fourth, fifth grade. And I had no idea how to save the game at the time.

Some time later, I returned to Rogue, determined to get that damned Amulet of Yendor, and found the save-game functionality. You can imagine my frustration. Later, I gave Moria a try, but never really was sold on it, and Nethack always frustrated me.

I’m still determined to ascend in Nethack. Someday.

This past December through February I was addicted to Angband, and specifically my hobbit mage, “Hobby Jr”. (The original Hobby had a strength of 5, which made it rather, um, hard to carry more than two spellbooks). Hobby Jr. ended up somewhere around level 70 when Saruman became a little too difficult to beat.

“There he is … ok, haste, let’s … wtf, he teleported me next to … ok, that’s cool, let’s start blasting hi-… okay, he summoned balrogs, I’m cool with-… okay, he teleported away and the balrogs summoned more balrogs.”

I have no idea how I’d even get past level 50 without the rift spell - “blast 'em for 10d10 and teleport them randomly”.

And now I want to play it again.

I’ve played a lot of Nethack. My first ascension was as a wizard. Since then, I’ve ascended two monks–a no-restrictions monk and a vegetarian monk. I’m currently playing a foodless monk.

Yes, I have had too much time on my hands over the years.

I’ve been a Nethack player for about eight years now. I’ve ascended a dwarven Valkyrie, a human Tourist, and an orcish Ranger. I will consider myself a master on the day that I ascend a gnomish Healer, not before.

I experimented with Adom occasionally but never really got into it, and I also have IRogue downloaded onto my PDA for long train trips and stuff.

I have been playing Nethack off and on (mostly off) for a long time but have never ascended anyone.

If you’ve ever wondered how a Rougelike would look as a first person game, check out Dungeon Hack.

Nethack is the game for me… although I’ve only ascneded a Valkyrie (I think).

I’ve tried playing some of the more difficult character classes and it just seems like more frustration than it’s worth. I also hate the whole Elbereth thing, which strikes me as pointless and boring.

Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic game.

Oh, and check out Dungeon Crawl for its huge maps, many possible character combinations, numerous monster types, etc. I never got very far into it but I liked playing as a Deamonspawn and summon lesser demons.

I love all of the games mentioned here. I have bad problems with insomnia, see, so Roguelikes have been my late-night savior. (No need to worry about nodding off between turns!) The first one I ever played was Moria, Angband’s predecessor, back in 1990 (!). I think I have played every major Roguelike at least once, even Omega with its horrendous program bugs. Heck, I even started writing a roguelike, before I finally told myself, “Duke, you’re not a very good C++ programmer, and this is going to take you about ten years.”

Despite all this playing (actually, I probably don’t play that much, just when I can’t get any sleep), I have won a roguelike exactly once. Three years ago, I ascended a Valkryie in NetHack. And then I immediately stopped playing NetHack. I think the challenge of roguelikes is what keeps me coming back. If I win a game too often, I get bored with it. I don’t use spoilers on roguelikes, so they get pretty darn hard. Frustrating, yes, but fun too.

One win in thirteen years is “too often”? Wow, you really do love a challenge!

Started playing Nethack (off and on) in 1989. Loved it, and got involved in Slash’em. Loved that, too…

Then I found Crawl.
Good lord. The past three months have been nothing -but- that game… And I suck at it! I’ve never had a character get beyond 10th level. I’ve visited many of the websites, and I figured with my nethack-saavy I’d be okay. But I’m hopelessly addicted now, and constantly dying off… Damn killer bees and Yaks!