When you begin the game, you start inside the castle, with no party formed. From here, you can visit the following places, each of which are described below:
- Gilgamesh's tavern
- Adventurer's inn
- Temple of Cant
- Boltac's trading post
- Edge of town
On this page, the areas above are listed according to what the player needs at game start: 1) create characters, 2) form a party, 3) equip the party, and so on.
Edge of town
The Edge of Town is your gateway to areas beyond the castle. These include the TRAINING GROUNDS and the MAZE. You may also return to the CASTLE, use the UTILITIES, or simple LEAVE GAME. All of the features of the castle are explained above, and all of the features of the maze are explained in the next section below.
The LEAVE GAME option is important. It will ensure that the progress that you've made throughout the game is saved and can be restored when you return to play again. If you quit before doing this, there is every chance that your progress will be lost.
The UTILITIES are a small collection of options that you may use. One is to CHANGE NAME if you would like to rename your character. If you choose this, you must enter the old name of a character and you will be given the opportunity to rename him. Another option is to RESTART AN OUT PARTY. If you happened to quit your game while you were in the maze, and couldn't properly leave the game from the Edge of Town, you can enter the name of a character who is "OUT" and the game will restore your progress in the spot where that party last stood. And last, but not least, you may LEAVE the Utilities page.
The TRAINING GROUNDS are most important of all. This is where you create your characters. Once you enter the Training Grounds, you are given four options, CREATE A CHARACTER, INSPECT A CHARACTER, ROSTER OF CHARACTERS, and LEAVE.
- Creating a character
- As described in the Gameplay section of the guide, this is where you go through the process of creating a character. Enter a name, and optionally a password. Then choose the character's Race and Alignment by pressing the letter next to your choice. You will then be presented with your race's base attributes and a random number of bonus points which you must entirely distribute such that at least one character class is available to you. When you done this, you can press the ESC key and choose from the list of available classes. Finally, you must decide if you wish to keep the character, or throw it away.
- Roster of characters
- With this option, you can examine all of the characters that you have made, and see various pieces of information concerning their availability. You will be shown whether a character is alive or dead, and whether a character is waiting in the castle, available to be assigned to a party, or whether he/she is out somewhere in the maze.
- Inspecting a character
- This option not only allows you to examine a specific character's details, but also perform some amount of maintenance on them. After you choose which character you would like to examine, you can INSPECT them, DELETE them, CHANGE CLASS, or ALTER PASSWORD. Inspecting the character shows you all of that characters attributes, level, money, equipment, health, etc. Choosing to delete a character will permanently erase that character, and you will first be asked if you are sure you wish to perform the deletion. Altering the password is self-explanatory; you must enter a character's original password, followed by the new password you would like to set.
- Of all the options available when inspecting a character, changing a characters class is the most interesting. Changing a class allows your character to begin in a new profession with several bonuses and penalties. For one thing, training in a new class takes time, and will cause your character to age (and only that character). Your character's attributes will also be reduced to the minimum base attributes of your race. Your experience points drop to zero and you begin anew at level 1. You will keep your equipment, but changing classes causes all of your items to become unequipped (in case of potential conflicts). You will remember how to cast of the magic you have learned thus far, and you will be given at least one spell point per spell level per spell known. In fact, if you have learned at least one spell in a given spell level, you will eventually learn all of the spells in that spell level, even if your new class does not learn spells.
Creating a character
- You begin creating a character at the Training Grounds by providing a name. In some versions, you can change the name later on if you like. This can be handy if you want to quickly see how your character turns out before you decide whether or not you want to keep him/her.
- After naming him/her, you must choose a Race. The five available races are described below.
- Next, you must choose from the three different alignments. Information about how your choice of alignment affects the classes you can choose from and the formation of your party are also provided below.
- Once you do this, your character will be presented to you with that race's base attributes, and a random number of bonus points that you may assign to your attributes. It is common to receive 10 bonus points or fewer, but on rare occasions you may get between 11 and 19 points. In the computer versions, although rarer still, you may receive more than 20.
- You may not lower any attribute below your race's base value, and you may not raise the attribute beyond 18. You may not finish until all bonus points are allotted, and you must raise your attributes such that at least one class is available to you before you finish.
- After all of your bonus points have been allocated and at least one class is available to you, you may choose to end allocation and select from among the available classes. Your character will then be complete. At that time you are asked if you are satisfied with the character and wish to save it, or cancel the effort if you are unhappy with the final result.
Your attributes drive which character classes are available. You can only elect to be a particular class if your attributes meet certain minimum requirements, and you belong to any mandated alignments. There are six particular attributes:
- Strength: Your strength enhances the amount of damage that your weapon does to an enemy.
- I.Q.: The higher your I.Q., the better you will be at casting mage spells, as well as avoiding the effects of mage spells that are cast on you.
- Piety: The more Pious you are, the more likely the gods will grant the prayers of clerics, and the more likely the gods will spare you from the effects of prayers against you.
- Vitality: Vitality affects how much damage you can sustain before dying. The better your vitality, the more likely it will be that you can be brought back from the dead.
- Agility: Higher agility makes you faster and harder to hit, giving you a better chance to dodge attacks or avoid traps.
- Luck: Your luck can influence any of the five other attributes in various ways over the course of your adventure. While it's not something that can be relied upon, those with higher luck generally do better throughout the game.
There are five available races in the game. Though your race affects little once the game begins, it will have a huge influence on the classes which are likely to be available to you at the start of the game. Each race has a different set of initial attributes. Humans are the most balanced of all the races, but they suffer from the lowest initial attribute total. Hobbits have the highest initial attribute total, but that's because their luck starts out so much higher than any other race's. They are as follows:
|Race/attribute||Strength||I.Q.||Piety||Vitality||Agility||Luck||Total||Best class choice|
|Human||8||8||5||8||8||9||46||Fighter, Mage, Thief|
|Elves||7||10||10||6||9||6||48||Mage, Priest/Cleric, Bishop/Wizard, Samurai|
|Dwarfs||10||7||10||10||5||6||48||Fighter, Priest/Cleric, Samurai|
|Gnomes||7||7||10||8||10||7||49||Priest/Cleric, Thief, Samurai|
|Hobbits||5||7||7||6||10||15||50||Thief, Lord, Ninja|
There are only three choices for alignment: Good, Neutral, or Evil. Certain classes require a particular alignment. Other classes may forbid one. Alignment also comes into play when forming a party. A Good character will not voluntarily occupy a party with an Evil character and vice versa (although there is a way to get around this). A Neutral character will get along with everyone. By in large, you are safe to choose Good and Neutral for every character unless you plan on creating a Ninja. Ninjas are the only class that require an Evil alignment, and as such, are not able to voluntarily party with Lords.
Your alignment can change during the game depending on your behavior. Attacking too many friendly encounters will make your character trend toward evil, while allowing friendly encounters to go on their way will trend your character toward good. If your character's alignment shifts to one not allowed by his or her class, that character will stop receiving experience points towards his/her next level until the alignment has been corrected.
There are eight different classes divided into two distinct categories: basic classes and elite classes.
- Basic classes
- Fighter: these are your typical warriors. They excel in combat and nothing else. Strength is their primary attribute. They are capable of equipping all manner of armor and weapons, and are typically capable of withstanding far greater amounts of damage then their fellow adventurers.
- Mage: as spell casters, they are in many ways the opposite of a fighter. Their hand-to-hand combat skills are terrible, as they can only wield light weapons, and any armor beyond a robe interferes with their magic. I.Q. is their primary attribute. They use this intelligence to learn the ability to tap into mystical and arcane energies behind powerful offensive magic.
- Priest (a.k.a. Cleric on the NES): Priests are holy warriors for the gods they worship and represent. Piety is their primary attribute. By keeping in good standing with their deities, they may call upon their assistance with prayer for miracles such as shining light upon darkness, or curing wounds received in combat. They may also dispel unholy creatures that have risen from the dead. They may wear any armor, but they may carve the flesh of another, so they are restricted to blunt weapons. Priests must have conviction, and may not be Neutral.
- Thief: Thieves have moderate HP and fighting skills, but their speed enables them to excel in a variety of other talents. Agility is their primary attribute. They are capable of detecting traps hidden in chests, and they may disarm those traps to obtain the riches inside. No other class may do this. They can use an assortment of weapons as long as they are not too heavy, but they can wear no armor heavier than leather, in order not to restrict their range of motion. Those who suffer from a guilty conscience do not make good thieves, so they may not be Good.
- Elite classes
- Bishop (a.k.a. Wizard on the NES): Wizards are a cross between Priests and Mages. They are capable of learning spells from either class, however, as a penalty, they learn spells at a much slower rate. They do, however, gain a slight weapon and armor advantage over Mages. Since Bishops need to have their prayers heard by the gods, they may not be Neutral.
- Samurai: a samurai is a cross between a Fighter and a Mage. They possess all the skills of a Fighter, but they eventually learn to tap into the arcane arts that permit them to cast Mage spells, albeit at a slower rate. The strict Bushido code does not command that they always do good, but it does instruct them to do no intentional harm, so they may not be Evil.
- Lord: in many ways, a cross between a Fighter and Priest. However, their first allegiance is to the ways of warrior combat. As such, they are not granted the ability to dispel the undead. They will, however, have their prayers answered at higher levels, but they learn these prayers much more slowly than a Priest. In order to receive the full blessing of the gods, a Lord must be Good.
- Ninja: essentially, an upgraded Fighter. With the highest restrictions of any class, it is nearly impossible to access this powerful warrior. While they can fight well with any armor and weapon, they actually perform substantially better unarmed, capable of inflicting a higher percentage of critical strikes that may instantly kill a foe. The Ninja code demands allegiance to no one other than the clan they were trained with, so Ninjas must be Evil.
Basic classes have one relatively low attribute requirement, while elite classes tend to have a wider variety of attribute requirements in order to be eligible for the class. Below is a table which shows the requirements.
About the elite classes:
- It is easiest to become a Bishop/Wizard when creating a new character, especially for an Elf.
- There is a 10% chance to obtain a high enough bonus (+18/+25) to create a Samurai out of a new character, especially if he/she is an elf, or dwarf, or gnome.
- There is just a probability lower than 1% (almost impossible) to obtain a high enough bonus to become a Lord (+33/+37) or a Ninja (+52/+56) when creating a new character.
Form a party
All of the options available here pertain to examining your characters, and constructing your party. The following options are available to you here:
- ADD: Allows you to select characters from your available roster to include in your party, which may not contain more than six members. As soon as you choose one member who is Good or Evil, characters belonging to the opposing alignment will no longer be available for selection, as they will not cooperate together.
- #INSPECT: On a computer, you must press the number of the character you would like to inspect. Choosing this option lets you examine your character in detail, viewing all of his or her attributes and equipment.
- REMOVE: By choosing this option, you can select one member of your party to leave, freeing up a spot on your team for someone else.
- DIVY GOLD: If you have traded gold among some of your party members, this option will pool all of the gold in your party, and then evenly distribute that amount among all of the characters.
- LEAVE: Exit the tavern and return to the Castle.
When constructing a party, it is generally recommended that you include at least two fighter-type classes (Fighter, Samurai, Lord), one thief for disarming traps on treasure chests, and two to three spell casters with at least one Mage and one Priest.
For example, using six different classes and all different races:
- Dwarf Samurai (10% chance: insist for a while when creating characters)
- Dwarf Fighter
- Hobbit Thief
- Elf Bishop
- Gnome Priest
- Human Mage
Boltac's trading post
The trading post is more than just a run-of-the-mill shop. Besides buying and selling good, you can do a number of things concerning your inventory when you visit, including identifying unidentified treasure, and uncursing character who have equipped cursed items.
Boltac can only serve one character at a time, so you must select which character will approach the counter. From there, that character may BUY an item for his/her inventory, SELL an item from his/her invetory, IDENTIFY unknown items in his/her inventory, UNCURSE any cursed items that he/she may have equipped, or LEAVE the shop. Some versions also allow other party members to POOL GOLD together and give it to the active character.
- Buying equipment
- If you would like to buy an item, you will be shown a list of available items which you must advance FORWARD or BACKWARD through until you find a list that contains an item or items that you're interested in. While most items are in plentiful supply at the trading post, no item is unlimited. Some items do not appear unless they were discovered in the maze and sold to the post prior to your visit.
- Once you find an item, you must request to PURCHASE it and then press the number next to the item in question. If you have enough money, the cost of the item will be deducted from your gold. If you attempt to buy an item that is unavailable to your class, Boltac will first ensure that you actually want to buy it. It is important to note that while you may have bought new equipment, that equipment will remain ineffective until you actually equip it at a camp.
- Selling equipment
- If you would like to sell an item, you will be shown which items you have in your possession that are available for sale. Press the number next to the item you would like to sell. Boltac will pay you exactly 50% of what he sells each item for in the shop. He will not buy items which have cursed you unless they are uncursed, and he will not buy unidentified items until you pay him to identify them. If you try selling an item that you have equipped, Boltac will once again make sure you really want to do that.
- Uncursing characters
- Boltac is also skilled in removing curses. If one of your characters finds a cursed item and unwittingly equips it, the item will be stuck to him with the character unable to remove it or swap it for another. When you ask Boltac to uncurse an item, you must choose the number of the item in question, just like when you attempt to sell one. Provided you have enough money to afford the service, Boltac will break the curse on the item.
- Identifying items
- It is quite common for you to come across items in the maze which are at first unidentifiable. It is a good idea for you to attempt to identify them before using them, lest they be cursed. Boltac can identify such items for you, for a price. Of course, there is one class who possesses the same ability to identify objects as Boltac, the Bishop/Wizard. However, if you have your Bishop/Wizard attempt to identify the item, he may inadvertently curse him or herself when touching the item in order to get a better idea of what it is.
- Pooling gold
- Later versions of the game provide a handy means of pooling all of the party's gold to one character. This saves you some time, and enables you to purchase more expensive items than one character might be able to on his or her own. Early versions of this game lack this feature, and so you must enter a camp, and individually hand over each character's gold to a target character. If you do this, it is wiser to let that character shop for all the other characters, and dole the purchased items back out in camp, rather than constantly shuffling money around to each character.
If your character is low on health or magic, or on the verge of reaching the next level for his/her class, he/she should spend a night at the Inn. Once you enter the Inn, each character is dealt with individually. You choose which character will stay the night, and in what kind of room.
Choosing what kind of room to stay in is important. Rooms that are more expensive allow characters to heal faster. The longer it takes for you to recover from your wounds, the more a character will age. Age doesn't impact your character too much until he/she goes beyond 50 years of age, at which point he/she is less inclined to adventure and think more about retirement.
Staying at an Inn is not the only way to restore health, but it is the only way to restore magic. Fortunately, only one night's stay is enough to restore all of the spell casting ability of even the most powerful spell caster. (Most players take advantage of this fact, and prefer to allow only spell casters to sleep in Stables for one night. This enables Priests to cast healing spells on damaged party members and spare them the process of aging at the Inn.)
The following table illustrates your room selection choices:
|Room||HP restored per stay||Cost per stay|
Note that if one character does not have enough money to afford a particular room, but the entire party does, you can elect to POOL GOLD from the party and give it to one character. If you choose any room other than the Stables, you will remain in that room until either the character is fully healed, or you run out of money. While you stay, your health and the cost will be displayed. You can end the process early if you wish (on computers, press the Space Bar).
If you stay at the Inn after having accumulated enough experience points to attain the next level, you will be informed of the achievement. At that time, several things will take place:
- Some or all of your attributes may change. Generally, they will increase, but it's possible for them to decrease as well. Attribute changes are chosen entirely at random and have nothing to do with your character's performance. It is only through these attribute changes that some of the more difficult-to-reach elite classes become available to you.
- Your health will increase. It will increase by at least one hit point, but if your vitality is high, and you belong to a class with good hit point potential (like a Fighter or Priest), it will generally increase by more than one point.
- Spell casters may learn new spells. The likelihood of this is also somewhat random, although the chances to learn certain spells increase with each level. Two characters of the same class will not necessarily learn the same spells at the same rate.
You may only increase one level per stay. If you feel your character is due to increase by more than one level, you should continue to stay at the Inn until no more levels are gained. When a character is not due for a level increase, staying at the Inn will inform you of how many more experience points are needed to reach the next level.
Temple of Cant
If a member of your party dies, or is stricken with a status ailment such as paralysis, he/she must be taken to the Temple of Cant to be restored. Characters who you attempt to aid in this fashion must be a member of your party in order to help them.
After selecting which character you would like to heal, you will be shown how much gold you must pay as a tithe in order to receive the services. For paralysis, the base fee is 100 gold, for death 200 gold, and to restore a character from ashes 500 gold. The base fee is then multiplied by the intended recipient's level. You then select which character should attempt to pay the tithe. If that character does not have enough gold, all of the party members will pool their gold together for the fee. If you do not have enough money, you will be kicked out.
Successfully removing paralysis is almost entirely assured. However, resurrecting dead characters, or those characters who have been reduced to ashes, has a lower chance of success. If the priests fail to resurrect a dead character, he or she will be reduced to ashes. If the priests fail to revive a character who has been reduced to ash, he/she will be gone permanently.
Vitality and age have a great deal to do with the chances for success with resurrection. The higher the vitality, and the lower the age, the better the chances are that the character will be successfully restored. Those who are brought back from the dead will only have one point of health remaining and will need to heal. Those who are reassembled from ashes (for a much steeper tithe) will have their hit points fully restored.