In the recent mailbag article on the Scroll Lock key, at http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mscrolllock.html, Una states:
I beg to differ!
For one, Rogue was originally a Unix-based game. It was only ported to MS-DOS after it caught on in the Unix world. (Much in the same way that Crowther & Wood’s Adventure started out on the PDP-7 or PDP-11 and later found its way onto home computers.)
For another, the Scroll Lock key in my old old old copy of PC Rogue 1.1 (which required the brand-new-at-the-time MS-DOS 2.0 operating system to run) does not “scroll” your movement through the ASCII dungeon. It toggles Fast Play mode on and off. When the mode is off, pressing one of the arrow keys causes your character to move one “square” (i.e. one ASCII character position) in the direction you pressed. When the mode is on, pressing one of the arrow keys causes your character to keep moving in that direction until something interesting happens (you see a monster move, you run into a wall or a door, something shoots at you, etc.). Moving with Fast Play mode engaged was subtly different from holding down the SHIFT key and pressing an arrow key, which caused your character to move in that direction until he ran into a wall or got attacked.
Incidentally, there was a little “bug” (perhaps intentional) in that old version of PC Rogue that allowed me to cheat royally. Food rations were considered weapons with a +4096 to-hit bonus and a +4096 damage bonus. If you were wielding a food ration when you took a swing at a monster, you would never miss, and you’d always do more than enough damage to instantly vaporize said monster.
I loved that little trick so much I decided to take advantage of it and test the limits of the game. Normally, you’re supposed to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor on dungeon level 26, then return to the surface and win the game. I retrieved the amulet on level 26 and kept going down. I discovered that monsters gained an extra “hit die” (1-8 hit points plus a +1 to hit you) and an extra point of Armor Class (-1 for you to hit them) for every level I descended. Eventually around level 1000 or so, monsters got so many hit points from all these extra hit dice that the +4096 damage of a food ration wasn’t enough, and I had to hit them twice with a food ration to kill them. At around level 2000, I started having to hit them three times, and they started (sporadically) being worth negative experience points when you killed them. (The experience point value calculation used a 16-bit signed integer, which “wrapped” around at 32,767 – add 1 to 32767 and you get negative 32768.) By level 3000, monsters were worth positive experience points again, but now they required four hits with food rations to kill. Finally, a little while after level 4000, the monsters’ armor classes got so high that even the vaunted +4096 to-hit bonus of the food ration was not enough to overcome them, and every time I swung at a monster I missed – so it was impossible to kill anything from then on.