Command Descriptions

===  Command Descriptions ===

The following command descriptions are listed as the command name plus
the "underlying command" key. This is followed by the command name and
"roguelike" keyset key, if different from the underlying command key.
Then comes a brief description of the command, including information
about alternative methods of specifying the command in each keyset,
when needed. Several commands (tunnel, disarm, bash, open) are repeated
99 times if the "always_repeat" option is set and no repeat count is
given. Some commands use the "repeat count" to automatically repeat the
command several times, while others use the "repeat count" as an
"argument", for example, commands which need a "quantity" will use the
"repeat count" instead of asking for a quantity, allowing the use of
"0d" for "drop all". Commands which ask for a quantity will convert any
"letters" into the maximal legal value.

---  Inventory Commands ---

Inventory list (i)
     Displays a list of objects being carried but not equipped. You can
     carry up to 23 different items, not counting those in your
     equipment. Often, many identical objects can be "stacked" into a
     "pile" which will count as a single item. This is always true of
     things like potions, scrolls, and food, but you may have to set
     options to allow wands, staves, and other such objects to stack.
     Each object has a weight, and if you carry more objects than your
     strength permits, you will begin to slow down.
Equipment list (e)
     Use this command to display a list of the objects currently being
     used by your character. Your character has 12 slots for equipment,
     each corresponding to a different location on the body, and each
     of which may contain only a single object at a time, and each of
     which may only contain objects of the proper "type", and which
     include WIELD (weapon), BOW (missile launcher), LEFT (ring), RIGHT
     (ring), NECK (amulet), LITE (light source), BODY (armor), OUTER
     (cloak), ARM (shield), HEAD (helmet), HANDS (gloves), FEET
     (boots). You must be using an object to receive any of its special

Drop an item (d)
     This drops an item from your inventory or equipment onto the
     dungeon floor. If the floor spot you are standing on already has
     an object in it, Zangband will attempt to drop the item onto an
     adjacent space. Be warned that if the floor is full and you
     attempt to drop something, it may disappear and be destroyed.
     Doors and traps are considered objects for the purpose of
     determining if the space is occupied. If the selected pile
     contains multiple items, you may specify a quantity.

Destroy an item (k) or Destroy an item (^D)
     This destroys an item in your inventory or on the dungeon floor.
     If the selected pile contains multiple objects, you may specify
     a quantity. You must always (currently) verify this command.

Wear/Wield equipment (w)
     To wear or wield an object in your inventory, use this command.
     Since only one object can be in each slot at a time, if you wear
     or wield an item into a slot which is already occupied, the old
     item will be first be taken off, and may in fact be dropped if
     there is no room for it in your inventory.

Take off equipment (t) or Take off equipment (T)
     Use this command to take off a piece of equipment and return it
     to your inventory. Occasionally, you will run into a cursed item
     which cannot be removed. These items normally penalize you in some
     way and cannot be taken off until the curse is removed. If there
     is no room in your inventory for the item, your pack will overflow
     and you will drop the item after taking it off.

---  Movement Commands ---

Walk (with pickup) (;)
     Moves one step in the given direction. The square you are moving
     into must not be blocked by walls or doors. You will pick up any
     items in the destination grid if the "always_pickup" option is
     set, or if the "query_pickup" option is set and you respond
     correctly. This command can take a count and requires a direction.
     You may also use the "original" direction keys (both keysets) or
     the "roguelike" direction keys (roguelike keyset) to walk in a

Walk (flip pickup) (-)
     This is just like normal move, except that the "Pick things up"
     option is inverted. In other words, if you normally pick up
     anything you encounter (the default), you will not pick things up
     when using this command. If you normally do not pick things up,
     you will when using this command. This command can take a count
     and requires a direction.

Run (.) or Run (,)
     This command will move in the given direction, following any bends
     in the corridor, until you either have to make a "choice" between
     two directions or you are disturbed. You can configure what will
     disturb you by setting the disturbance options. Run requires a
     direction. You may also use shift plus the "roguelike" direction
     keys (roguelike keyset), or shift plus the "original" direction
     keys on the keypad (both keysets, some machines) to run in a

Go up staircase (<)
     Climbs up an up staircase you are standing on. There is always at
     least one staircase going up on every level except for the town
     level (this doesn't mean it's easy to find). Going up a staircase
     will take you to a new dungeon level unless you are at 50 feet
     (dungeon level 1), in which case you will return to the town
     level. Note that whenever you leave a level (not the town), you
     will never find it again. This means that for all intents and
     purposes, any objects on that level are destroyed. This includes
     artifacts unless the "Create characters in preserve mode" option
     was set when your character was created, in which case the
     artifacts may show up again later.

Go down staircase (>)
     Descends a down staircase you are standing on. There are always
     at least two staircases going down on each level, except for the
     town which has only one, and "quest" levels, which have none until
     the quest monster is killed. Going down a staircase will take you
     to a new dungeon level. See "Go Up Staircase" for more info.

--- Resting Commands ---

Stay still (with pickup) (,) or Stay still (with pickup) (.)
     Stays in the same square for one move. If you normally pick up
     objects you encounter, you will pick up whatever you are standing
     on. This command can take a count. You may also use the "5" key
     (both keysets).

Stay still (flip pickup) (g)
     Stays in the same square for one move. If you normally pick up
     objects you encounter, you will not pick up whatever you are
     standing on. If you normally do not pick up objects, you will
     pick up what you are standing on. This command is normally only
     used when the "always_pickup" option is false. This command can
     take a count.

Rest (R)
     Resting is better for you than repeatedly staying still, and can
     be told to automatically stop after a certain amount of time, or
     when various conditions are met. In any case, you always wake up
     when anything disturbing happens, or when you press any key. To
     rest, enter the Rest command, followed by the number of turns you
     want to rest, or "*" to rest until your hitpoints and mana are
     restored, or "&" to rest until you are fully "healed". This
     command can take a count, which is used for the number of turns to

--- Searching Commands ---

Search (s)
     This command can be used to locate hidden traps and secret doors
     in the spaces adjacent to the player. More than a single turn of
     searching will be required in most cases. You should always search
     a chest before trying to open it, since they are generally 
     trapped. This command can take a count, which is useful if you
     are fairly sure of finding something eventually, since the command
     stops as soon as anything is found. This command can take a count.

Toggle search mode (S) or Toggle search mode (#)
     This command will take you into and out of search mode. When first
     pressed, the message "Searching" will appear at the bottom of the
     screen. You are now taking two turns for each command, one for the
     command and one turn to search. This means that you are taking
     twice the time to move around the dungeon, and therefore twice the
     food. Search mode will automatically turn off if you are
     disturbed. You may also turn off search mode by entering the
     Search Mode command again.

---  Alter Commands ---

Tunnel (T) or Tunnel (^T)
     Tunneling or mining is a very useful art. There are many kinds of
     rock, with varying hardness, including permanent rock (permanent),
     granite (very hard), quartz veins (hard), magma veins (soft), and
     rubble (very soft). Quartz and Magma veins may be displayed in a
     special way, and may sometimes contain treasure, in which case
     they will be displayed in a different way. Rubble sometimes covers
     an object. It is hard to tunnel unless you are wielding a heavy
     weapon or a shovel or a pick. Tunneling ability increases with
     strength and weapon weight. This command can take a count,
     requires a direction, and is affected by the "always_repeat"

Open a door or chest (o)
     To open an object such as a door or chest, you must use this
     command. If the object is locked, you will attempt to pick the
     lock based on your disarming ability. If you open a trapped chest
     without disarming the traps first, the trap will be set off. Some
     doors will be jammed shut and may have to be forced open. You may
     need several tries to open a door or chest. Open can take a count,
     requires a direction, and is affected by the "always_repeat"

Close a door (c)
     Non-intelligent and some other creatures cannot open doors, so
     shutting doors can be quite valuable. Broken doors cannot be
     closed. Bashing a door open may break it. Close can take a count,
     requires a direction, and is affected by the "always_repeat"

Jam a door (j) or Spike a door (S)
     Many monsters can simply open closed doors, and can eventually
     get through a locked door. You may therefore occasionally want
     to jam a door shut with iron spikes. Each spike used on the door
     will make it harder to bash down the door, up to a certain limit.
     Smaller monsters are less able to bash down doors. In order to
     use this command, you must be carrying iron spikes. Jam or Spike
     requires a direction.

Bash a door (B) or Force a door (f)
     This command allows you to bash down jammed doors. Your bashing
     ability increases with strength. Bashing open a door can (briefly)
     throw you off balance. Doors that are stuck, or which have been
     jammed closed with spikes can only be opened by bashing, and all
     closed doors can be bashed open if desired. Bashing a door open
     may permanently break it so that it can never be closed. Bash or
     Force can take a count, requires a direction, and is affected by
     the "always_repeat" option.

Disarm a trap or chest (D)
     You can attempt to disarm traps on the floor or on chests. If you
     fail, there is a chance that you will blunder and set it off. You
     can only disarm a trap after you have found it (usually with the
     Search command). Disarm can take a count, requires a direction,
     and is affected by the "always_repeat" option.

Alter (+)
     This special command allows the use of a single keypress to select
     any of the "obvious" commands above (attack, tunnel, bash, open,
     disarm, close), and, by using macros or keymaps, to combine this
     keypress with directions. In general, this allows the use of the
     "control" key plus the appropriate "direction" key (including the
     roguelike direction keys in roguelike mode) as a kind of generic
     "alter the terrain feature of an adjacent grid" command. Alter can
     take a count, requires a direction, and is affected by the
     "always_repeat" option.

---  Spell and Prayer Commands ---

Browse a book (b) or Peruse a book (P)
     Only mages, rogues, and rangers can read magic books, and only
     priests and paladins can read prayer books. Warriors cannot read
     any books. When this command is used, all of the spells or prayers
     contained in the selected book are displayed, along with such
     information as their level, the amount of mana required to cast
     them, and whether or not you know the spell or prayer.

Gain new spells or prayers (G)
     Use this command to actually learn new spells or prayers. When you
     are able to learn new spells or prayers, the word "Study" will
     appear on the status line at the bottom of the screen. If you have
     a book in your possession, containing spells or prayers which you
     may learn, then you may choose to study that book. If you are a
     mage, rogue, or ranger, you may actually choose which spell to
     study. If you are a priest or paladin, your gods will choose a
     prayer for you. There are nine books of each type, some normally
     found only in the dungeon.

Cast a spell / Pray a prayer (m)
     To cast a spell, you must have previously learned the spell and
     must have in your inventory a book from which the spell can be
     read. Each spell has a chance of failure which starts out fairly
     large but decreases as you gain levels. If you don't have enough
     mana to cast a spell, you will be prompted for confirmation. If
     you decide to go ahead, the chance of failure is greatly increased,
     and you may lose a point of constitution. Since you must read the
     spell from a book, you cannot be blind or confused while casting,
     and there must be some light present.

     To pray effectively, you must have previously learned the prayer
     and must have in your inventory a book from which the prayer can
     be read. Each prayer has a chance of being ignored which starts
     out fairly large but decreases as you gain levels. If you don't
     have enough mana to cast a spell, you will be prompted for
     confirmation. If you decide to go ahead, the chance of failure
     is greatly increased, and you may lose a point of constitution.
     Since you must read the prayer from a book, you cannot be blind
     or confused while praying, and there must be some light present.

---  Object Manipulation Commands ---

Eat some food (E)
     You must eat regularly to prevent starvation. As you grow hungry,
     a message will appear at the bottom of the screen saying "Hungry".
     If you go hungry long enough, you will become weak, then start
     fainting, and eventually, you may will die of starvation. You may
     use this command to eat food in your inventory. Note that you can
     sometimes find food in the dungeon, but it is not always wise to
     eat strange food.

Fuel your lantern/torch (F)
     If you are using a torch and have more torches in your pack,
     or you are using a lantern and have flasks of oil in your pack,
     then your can "refuel" them with this command. Torches and
     Lanterns are limited in their maximal fuel. In general, two flasks
     will fully fuel a lantern and two torches will fully fuel a torch.

Quaff a potion (q)
     Use this command to drink a potion. Potions affect the player in
     various ways, but the effects are not always immediately obvious. 

Read a scroll (r)
     Use this command to read a scroll. Scroll spells usually have an
     area effect, except for a few cases where they act on other
     objects. Reading a scroll causes the parchment to disintegrate as
     the scroll takes effect. Most scrolls which prompt for more
     information can be aborted (by pressing escape), which will stop
     reading the scroll before it disintegrates.
Inscribe an object ({) 
     This command inscribes a string on an object. The inscription is
     displayed inside curly braces after the object description. The
     inscription is limited to the particular object (or pile) and is
     not automatically transferred to all similar objects. Note that
     certain inscriptions have a meaning to the game, (see
     objects.txt#Inscriptions [1]).

Uninscribe an object (})
     This command removes the inscription on an object. This command
     will have no effect on "fake" inscriptions added by the game

---  Magical Object Commands ---

Activate an artifact (A)
     You have heard rumors of special weapons and armor deep in the
     Pits, items that can let you breath fire like a dragon or light
     rooms with just a thought. Should you ever be lucky enough to
     find such an item, this command will let you activate its special
     ability. Special abilities can only be used if you are wearing or
     wielding the item.

Aim a wand (a) or Zap a wand (z)
     Wands must be aimed in a direction to be used. Wands are magical
     devices, and therefore there is a chance you will not be able to
     figure out how to use them if you aren't good with magical
     devices. They will fire a shot that affects the first object or
     creature encountered or fire a beam that affects anything in a
     given direction, depending on the wand. An obstruction such as a
     door or wall will generally stop the effects from traveling any
     farther. This command requires a direction and can use a target.

Use a staff (u) or Zap a staff (Z)
     This command will use a staff. A staff is normally very similar
     to a scroll, in that they normally either have an area effect or
     affect a specific object. Staves are magical devices, and there
     is a chance you will not be able to figure out how to use them.
Zap a rod (z) or Activate a rod (a)
     Rods are extremely powerful magical items, which cannot be burnt
     or shattered, and which can have either staff-like or wand-like
     effects, but unlike staves and wands, they don't have charges.
     Instead, they draw on the ambient magical energy to recharge
     themselves, and therefore can only be activated once every few
     turns. The recharging time varies depending on the type of rod.
     This command may require a direction (depending on the type of
     rod, and whether you are aware of its type) and can use a target.

---  Throwing and Missile Weapons ---

Fire an item (f) or Fire an item (t)
     You may throw any object carried by your character. Depending on
     the weight, it may travel across the room or drop down beside you.
     Only one object from a pile will be thrown at a time. Note that
     throwing an object will often cause it to break, so be careful!
     If you throw something at a creature, your chances of hitting it
     are determined by your pluses to hit, your ability at throwing,
     and the object's pluses to hit. Once the creature is it, the
     object may or may not do any damage to it. You've heard rumors
     that some objects found in the dungeon can do huge amounts of
     damage when thrown, but you're not sure which objects those
     are.... Note that flasks of oil will do a fairly large chunk
     of damage to a monster on impact, supposedly representing fire
     damage, but it works against fire elementals too... If you are
     wielding a missile launcher compatible with the object you are
     throwing, then you automatically use the launcher to fire the
     missile with much higher range, accuracy, and damage, then you
     would get by just throwing the missile. Fire or Throw requires
     a direction. Targeting mode (see the next command) can be invoked
     with "*" at the "Direction?" prompt.

Throw an item (v)
     You may throw any object carried by your character. The lighter
     the object, the farther you can throw it. Only one object from a
     stack may be thrown at a time. Throwing an object may break it.
     If you throw something at a monster, your chances of hitting it
     are determined by your pluses to hit, your ability at throwing,
     and the object's pluses to hit. If the object hits the monster,
     it may or may not do damage. Some objects, such as weapons, or
     flasks of oil, can do a substantial amount of damage. This
     command requires a direction, and can take a target.

Targeting Mode (*)
     This will allow you to aim your spells and such at a specific
     monster or grid, so that you can point directly towards that
     monster or grid (even if this is not a "compass" direction) when
     you are asked for a direction. You can set a target using this
     command, or you can set a new target at the "Direction?" prompt
     when appropriate. At the targeting prompt, you have many options.
     First of all, targeting mode starts targeting nearby monsters
     which can be reached by "projectable" spells and thrown objects.
     In this mode, you can press "t" (or "5" or ".") to select the
     current monster, space to advance to the next monster, "-" to back
     up to the previous monster, direction keys to advance to a monster
     more or less in that direction, "r" to "recall" the current
     monster, "q" to exit targeting mode, and "p" (or "o") to stop
     targeting monsters and enter the mode for targeting a location on
     the floor or in a wall. Note that if there are no nearby monsters,
     you will automatically enter this mode. Note that hitting "o" is
     just like "p", except that the location cursor starts on the last
     examined monster instead of on the player. In this mode, you use
     the "direction" keys to move around, and the "q" key to quit, and
     the "t" (or "5" or ".") key to target the cursor location. Note
     that targeting a location is slightly "dangerous", as the target
     is maintained even if you are far away. To cancel an old target,
     simply hit "*" and then ESCAPE (or "q"). Note that when you cast
     a spell or throw an object at the target location, the path chosen
     is the "optimal" path towards that location, which may or may not
     be the path you want. Sometimes, by clever choice of a location on
     the floor for your target, you may be able to convince a thrown
     object or cast spell to squeeze through a hole or corridor that is
     blocking direct access to a different grid. Launching a ball spell
     or breath weapon at a location in the middle of a group of
     monsters can often improve the effects of that attack, since ball
     attacks are not stopped by interposed monsters if the ball is
     launched at a target. This command takes no time.

---  Looking Commands ---

Full screen map (M)
     This command will show a map of the entire dungeon, reduced by a
     factor of nine, on the screen. Only the major dungeon features
     will be visible because of the scale, so even some important
     objects may not show up on the map. This is particularly useful
     in locating where the stairs are relative to your current
     position, or for identifying unexplored areas of the dungeon.
     This command takes no time.

Locate player on map (L) or Where is the player (W)
     This command lets you scroll your map around, looking at all
     sectors of the current dungeon level, until you press escape, at
     which point the map will be re-centered on the player if
     necessary. To scroll the map around, simply press any of the
     "direction" keys. The top line will display the sector location,
     and the offset from your current sector. This command takes no

Look around (l) or Examine things (x)
     This command is used to look around at nearby monsters (to
     determine their type and health) and objects (to determine their
     type). It is also used to find out what objects (if any) are under
     monsters, and if a monster is currently inside a wall. This
     command takes no time.

     When you are looking at something, you may hit space for more
     details, or to advance to the next interesting monster or object,
     or minus ("-") to go back to the previous monster or object, or a
     direction key to advance to the nearest interesting monster or
     object (if any) in that general direction, or "r" to recall
     information about the current monster race, or "q" or escape to
     stop looking around. You always start out looking at the "nearest"
     interesting monster or object.

Observe an item (I)
     This command lets you observe a previously *identified* item.
     This will tell you things about the special powers of the object.
     Currently, it only makes sense for artifacts and ego-items.

--- Message Commands ---

Repeat level feeling (^F)
     Repeats the feeling about the dungeon level that you got when you
     first entered the level.

View previous messages (^P)
     This command shows you all the recent messages. You can scroll
     through them, or exit with ESCAPE. This command takes no time.

Take notes (:)
     This command allows you to take notes, which will then appear in
     your message list (prefixed with "Note:"). This command takes
     no time.

--- Game Status Commands ---

Character Description (C)
    Brings up a full description of your character, including your
    skill levels, your current and potential stats, and various other
    information. From this screen, you can change your name or use
    the file character description command to save your character
    status to a file. That command saves additional information,
    including your background, your inventory, and the contents of
    your house.

Check Artifacts, Uniques and Objects (~ or |)
    The command opens a menu from which you can select information
    about seen Artifacts, Unique monsters, and identified objects.

Display known artifacts
    This selection lists all of the artifacts that you've encountered.
    Any artifact that appears in this list, which you cannot seem to
    find, has been lost forever. The "preserve" mode will prevent
    you from accidentally losing any artifacts, but will also prevent
    you from ever getting a "special" level feeling. This command can
    only be used on the town level, not inside the dungeon.     

Display known uniques
     Brings up a list of known unique monsters, plus their current
     status. Once killed, unique monsters never show up again.

Display known objects
     This list all 'flavored' objects (such as rings, scrolls, wands,
     potions, etc.) which you have identified.

--- Saving and Exiting Commands ---

Save and Quit (Ctrl-X)
     To save your game so that you can return to it later, use this
     command. Save files will also be generated (hopefully) if the
     game crashes due to a system error. After you die, you can use
     your savefile to play again with the same options and such.

Save (Ctrl-S)
     This command saves the game but doesn't exit Zangband. Use this
     frequently if you are paranoid about having the computer crash
     while you are playing.

Quit (commit suicide) (Q)
     Kills your character and exits Zangband. You will be prompted to
     make sure you really want to do this, and then asked to verify
     that choice. Note that dead characters are dead forever.

--- User pref file commands ---

See the file pref.hlp for a description of the user preference commands
together with a detailed description of this function.

--- Help ---

Help (?)
     Brings up the Zangband on-line help system. Note that the help
     files are just text files in a particular format, and that other
     help files may be available on the Net. In particular, there are
     a variety of spoiler files which do not come with the standard
     distribution. Check the place you got Zangband from or ask on the
     newsgroup rec.games.roguelike.angband about them. 

Identify Symbol (/)
     Use this command to find out what a character stands for. For
     instance, by pressing "/.", you can find out that the "." symbol
     stands for a floor spot. When used with a symbol that represents
     creatures, the this command will tell you only what class of
     creature the symbol stands for, not give you specific information
     about a creature you can see. To get that, use the Look command.

     There are three special symbols you can use with the Identify
     Symbol command to access specific parts of your monster memory.
     Typing Ctrl-A when asked for a symbol will recall details about
     all monsters, typing Ctrl-U will recall details about all unique
     monsters, and typing Ctrl-N will recall details about all
     non-unique monsters.

     If the character stands for a creature, you are asked if you want
     to recall details. If you answer yes, information about the
     creatures you have encountered with that symbol is shown in the
     Recall window if available, or on the screen if not. You can also
     answer "k" to see the list sorted by number of kills, or "p" to
     see the list sorted by dungeon level the monster is normally found
     on. Pressing ESCAPE at any point will exit this command.
Game Version (V)
     This command will tell you what version of Zangband you are using.
     For more information, see the "version.txt" help file.

--- Extra Commands ---

Toggle Choice Window (^E) 
     Toggles the display in the choice window (if available) between
     your inventory and your equipment. This command only applies if
     you are running Zangband under a windowing environment and the
     choice window is available. This also redraws the choice window.

Redraw Screen (^R)
     This command adapts to various changes in global options, and
     redraws all of the windows. This command should be used after
     changing various global properties (options, attr/char mappings,
     color definitions, etc). When in doubt, use it.
Load screen dump (left-paren)
     This command loads a "snap-shot" of the current screen from the
     file "dump.txt", and displays it on the screen.
Save screen dump (right-paren)
     This command dumps a "snap-shot" of the current screen to the file
     "dump.txt", including encoded color information.

Command your pets (p)
     If you have pets then this command allows you to give orders
     to your pets. You can call them to you, send them out to kill
     other monsters, dismiss them, and allow/disallow opening of door
     and picking up items. Your pets will drop all picked up items when
     you disallow them to pick up anything.

Original   : Alexander Cutler and Andy Astrand
Updated    : (2.7.6) by Russ Allbery (rra@cs.stanford.edu)
Updated    : (2.7.9) by Ben Harrison (benh@phial.com)
Updated    : Zangband 2.2.0 through 2.2.6c by Robert Ruehlmann
Updated    : Zangband DevTeam
Last update: June 2, 2000

***** Begin Hyperlinks
***** [1] objects.txt#Inscriptions

Latest News
  • August 1st, 2004
    Zangband 2.7.4c has been released! See the changes list for details.
  • December 7th, 2003
    Zangband 2.7.4b has been released! See the changes list for details.

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