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Angband (game)

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Angband is a dungeon-crawling roguelike computer game derived from Umoria (C for Unix port of a game called Moria). The first version was created by Alex Cutler and Andy Astrand at the University of Warwick in 1990. It was later enhanced by many others. Robert Alan Koeneke was the author of the game.[1]

It is based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, in which Angband was the fortress of Morgoth. The adventurer is presented with 100 levels of the title dungeon, in which he or she seeks to amass enough power and equipment to ultimately defeat Morgoth. A new level is randomly generated each time the player changes levels, which gives Angband great replay value: no two games will be the same.

A veritable family tree of around sixty (around a dozen of which are active) variants of Angband exist, each often greatly differing in purpose and depth of changes. The best known variants are EyAngband, Hengband, OAngband, ToME, and ZAngband.

The Usenet group is a place to discuss all the aspects of the game. An IRC channel, #angband, exists on the WorldIRC network (

Angband is open source but not strictly free software because it is licensed under "non commercial use" terms, as was its ancestor Moria. However, there is an effort ongoing to re-license Angband under the GNU GPL. One advantage of this would be allowing it to be bundled with "commercial" Linux distributions.

After Cutler and Astrand, the later principal developers of Angband included Charles Swiger, Ben Harrison and Robert Rühlmann. Harrison was the maintainer responsible for the "Great Code Cleanup", modularizing, extending, and greatly improving the readability of the Angband source code, which lead to the large number of variants of Angband currently available, as well as the rather large number of ports to different platforms. Like other maintainers, he eventually moved on to other interests, passing the title to Robert Rühlmann in 2000.

Gameplay of Vanilla Angband, as the original is now often called, is most often compared to NetHack, though in reality the games are almost polar opposites. Angband adopts a more serious tone than NetHack, takes far longer to win for even the best players, and the focus of the game is more on combat tactics, inventory management and risk minimalisation than NetHackish puzzle solving and special casing. This has been the source of mild conflicts between the two communities.

[edit] Angband terms

  • Artifact: A special item with preset statistics that cannot be destroyed, and of which only one instance exists. Once identified, they are never generated again.
  • *Band: Generic name for any Angband variant.
  • Borg: An automated Angband player.
  • Ego item: A standard item with special abilities, which vary according to its ego type. eg. Soft Leather Boots of Speed.
  • RNG: Random Number Generator/God. Due to the importance of random effects in Angband, the game RNG is often referred to anthropomorphically.
  • Unique: A monster of which only one instance exists. Once killed they are never generated again. Systematically finding and killing them can be important to victory in the game, since the hardest few uniques can magically summon other uniques and thereby overpower the player.
  • Vanilla: The unmodified version of Angband.
  • Vault: A special room which is not random, but is produced from a plan.
  • Wizard: A debug/cheat mode.

[edit] External links

  • Thangorodrim is the primary Angband site. It features development information, a variant list.
  • (or oook) contains the Angband ladder, detailed spoilers, and other resources.
  • The Angband Comic has been defunct since 2002. It was drawn in the style of the game's text interface.
  • Penance is a new Angband webcomic, but drawn in a more traditional style.
  • The old official Angband home page was maintained by Ben Harrison until 2000.


  1. "The Dungeons of Moria", Tolkien computer games (accessed 16 August 2010)