Exploring The Dungeon

=== The Dungeon ===

Although Zangband contains an extensive town level featuring multiple
towns and a large wilderness area, the bulk of your adventuring will
take place in the dungeon. Symbols appearing on your screen will
represent the dungeon's walls, floor, objects, features, and creatures
lurking about. In order to direct your character through his adventure,
you will enter single character commands (see command.txt [1]).

=== Symbols On Your Map ===

Symbols on your map can be broken down into three categories: Features
of the dungeon such as walls, floor, doors, and traps; Objects which
can be picked up such as treasure, weapons, magical devices, etc; and
creatures which may or may not move about the dungeon, but are mostly
harmful to your character's well being.

Some symbols are used to represent more than one type of entity, and
some symbols are used to represent entities in more than one category.
The "@" symbol (by default) is used to represent the character.

It will not be necessary to remember all of the symbols and their
meanings. The "slash" command ("/") will identify any character
appearing on your map

Note that you can use a "user pref file" to change any of these symbols
to something you are more comfortable with.
--- Features that do not block line of sight ---
  .   A floor space                   % (Green)        A Tree
  .   A trap (hidden)                 ~ (Light Blue)   Shallow Water
  ^   A trap (known)                  ~ (Dark Blue)    Deep Water
  ;   A glyph of warding              ~ (Orange)       Shallow Lava
  '   An open door                    ~ (Red)          Deep Lava
  '   A broken door
  <   A staircase up
  >   A staircase down

--- Features that block line of sight ---

  #   A secret door                   #   A wall
  +   A closed door                   %   A mineral vein
  +   A locked door                   *   Treasure in wall / Pattern
  +   A jammed door                   :   A pile of rubble

=== Within The Dungeon ===

Once your character is adequately supplied with food, light, armor, and
weapons, he is ready to enter the dungeon. Move on top of the '>'
symbol and use the "Down" command (">").

Your character will enter a maze of interconnecting staircases and
finally arrive somewhere on the first level of the dungeon. Each level
of the dungeon is fifty feet high (thus dungeon level "Lev 1" is often
called "50 ft"), and is divided into (large) rectangular regions
(several times larger than the screen) by titanium walls. Once you
leave a level by a staircase, you will never again find your way back
to that region of that level, but there are an infinite number of other
regions at that same "depth" that you can explore later. So be careful
that you have found all the treasure before you leave a level, or you
may never find it again! The monsters, of course, can use the stairs,
and you may eventually encounter them again.

In the dungeon, there are many things to find, but your character must
survive many horrible and challenging encounters to find the treasure
lying about and take it safely back to the town to sell.

There are two sources for light once inside the dungeon. Permanent
light which has been magically placed within rooms, and a light source
carried by the player. If neither is present, the character will be
unable to see. This will affect searching, picking locks, disarming
traps, reading scrolls, casting spells, browsing books, etc. So be very
careful not to run out of light!

A character must wield a torch or lamp in order to supply his own
light. A torch or lamp burns fuel as it is used, and once it is out of
fuel, it stops supplying light. You will be warned as the light
approaches this point. You may use the "Fuel" command ("F") to refuel
your lantern (with flasks of oil) or your torch (with other torches),
so it is a good idea to carry extra torches or flasks of oil, as
appropriate. There are rumors of objects of exceptional power which
glow with their own never-ending light.

=== Objects In The Dungeon ===

The dungeons are full of objects just waiting to be picked up and used.
How did they get there? Well, the main source for useful items are all
the foolish adventurers that proceeded into the dungeon before you.
They get killed, and the helpful creatures scatter the various treasure
throughout the dungeon. Most cursed items are placed there by the
joyful evil sorcerers, who enjoy a good joke when it gets you killed.

One item in particular will be discussed here. The scroll of "Word of
Recall" can be found within the dungeon, or bought at the temple in
town. It acts in two manners, depending upon your current location.
If read within the dungeon, it will teleport you back to town. If read
in town, it will teleport you back down to the deepest level of the
dungeon which your character has previously been on. This makes the
scroll very useful for getting back to the deeper levels of Zangband.
Once the scroll has been read it takes a while for the spell to act, so
don't expect it to save you in a crisis. Reading a second scroll before
the first has had a chance to take effect will cancel both scrolls.

Since an accidental dive to a new depth (via a trapdoor, for example),
may result in the Word of Recall dungeon depth being 'broken', so to
speak (meaning that the next Word of Recall in town will take you back
deeper than you would like to), there is a new feature in Zangband
which allows you to read a scroll of Word of Recall on a different
level and 'reset' the recall depth to that level (instead of the
deepest level).

A more complete description of Zangband objects is found elsewhere in
the documentation (see objects.txt [2]).

=== Mining ===

Much of the treasure within the dungeon can be found only by mining it
out of the walls. Many rich strikes exist within each level, but must
be found and mined. Quartz veins are the richest, yielding the most
metals and gems, but magma veins will have some hordes hidden within.

Mining is rather difficult without a pick or shovel. Picks and shovels
have an additional magical ability expressed as '(+#)'. The higher the
number, the better the magical digging ability of the tool. A pick or
shovel also has plusses to hit and damage, and can be used as a weapon,
because, in fact, it is one.

When a vein of quartz or magma is located, the character may wield his
pick or shovel and begin digging out a section. When that section is
removed, he can locate another section of the vein and begin the
process again. Since granite rock is much harder to dig through, it is
much faster to follow the vein exactly and dig around the granite.
There is an option for highlighting magma and quartz. At a certain
point, it becomes more cumbersome to dig out treasure than to simply
kill monsters and discover items in the dungeon to sell. However, early
on mineral veins can be a wonderful source of easy treasure.

If the character has a scroll, staff, or spell of treasure location, he
can immediately locate all strikes of treasure within a vein shown on
the screen. This makes mining much easier and more profitable.

Note that a character with high strength and/or a heavy weapon does not
need a shovel/pick to dig, but even the strongest character will
benefit from a pick if trying to dig through a granite wall.

It is sometimes possible to get a character trapped within the dungeon
by using various magical spells and items. So it can be a good idea to
always carry some kind of digging tool, even when you are not planning
on tunneling for treasure.

There are rumors of certain incredibly profitable rooms buried deep in
the dungeon and completely surrounded by titanium and granite walls,
requiring a digging implement or magical means to enter. The same
rumors imply that these rooms are guarded by incredibly powerful
monsters, so beware!

=== Staircases, Secret Doors, Passages, and Rooms ===

Staircases are the manner in which you get deeper or climb out of the
dungeon. The symbols for the up and down staircases are the same as the
commands to use them. A "<" represents an up staircase and a ">"
represents a down staircase. You must move your character over the
staircase before you can use it.

Each level has at least one up staircase and at least two down
staircases. There are no exceptions to this rule. You may have trouble
finding some well hidden secret doors, or you may have to dig through
obstructions to get to them, but you can always find the stairs if you
look hard enough. Stairs, like titanium walls, and the doors into
shops, cannot be destroyed by any means.

Many secret doors are used within the dungeon to confuse and demoralize
adventurers foolish enough to enter. But with some luck, and lots of
concentration, you can find these secret doors. Secret doors will
sometimes hide rooms or corridors, or even entire sections of that
level of the dungeon. Sometimes they simply hide small empty closets or
even dead ends. Secret doors always look like granite walls, just like
traps always look like normal floors.  Like normal doors, a secret door
may also be locked or jammed.

Creatures in the dungeon will generally know and use these secret
doors, and can often be counted on to leave them open behind them when
they pass through.

Doors can be broken down by bashing them. Once a door is bashed open,
it is forever useless and cannot be closed.

For historical reasons, secret doors are never locked.

=== Level Feelings ===

Once you have been on a particular dungeon level for a while, you will
receive a 'feeling' prompt representing what your intuition tells you
about the quality of objects and the difficulty of the monsters found
on that level. You may check this prompt again at any time after
receiving it by pressing 'Ctrl-F'.

The actual 'feeling' prompt is generated based on a number of factors.
Things which increase the feeling level include the presence of vaults
and certain other special rooms, out of depth objects and monsters and
objects of a certain quality (for example, ego items, artifacts and
other objects that are considered 'great' (see objects.txt)). A feeling
is only indicative of the level at the time you entered it and has no
impact on subsequent monsters generated or items dropped.

In Zangband, the nastier the feeling prompt, the better the level. From
worst to best, the prompts are as follows:

     'What a boring place...'
     'This level looks reasonably safe.'
     'You don't like the look of this place.'
     'You feel your luck is turning...'
     'You feel nervous.'
     'You have a bad feeling...'
     'You have a very bad feeling...'
     'This level looks very dangerous.'
     'You nearly faint as horrible visions of death fill your mind!'

Zangband also uses two other feeling prompts to denote special things.
If you have not yet been on a level long enough to qualify for a prompt
and press 'Ctrl-F', you will be given the prompt:

     'Looks like any other level.'

If you are playing in non-preserve mode, you may also occasionally
receive the following prompt:

     'You feel there is something special about this level.'

A special feeling means one of two things, there is either a special
room or vault on the level or there is an artifact on the level. As you
get deeper on the dungeon, special feelings become increasingly less
common for special room and vaults and are only commonly given when an
artifact has been generated. Note it is possible that there could be
both a vault and an artifact or more than one artifact on a special
level so you should never leave a special level without fully exploring
it unless your character's continued survival is in question.

=== Random Quests ===

During character generation, you will be asked to input the number
of random quests you wish to participate in. You may choose any
number from 0 to 49. Random quests are always of the type 'Kill a
random number of an out-of depth monster'. There is a limit to the
number of levels a random quest monster may be out-of-depth but
these quests can still be very dangerous. 

Random quests always appear on even levels and are equally spaced
throughout the dungeon (for example, a choice of 49 random quests
results in one such quest on every even level until level 98 (level
100 is the Serpent quest)). On entering a random quest level you
will be told what the quest monster is and how many you have to
kill (for example, 'This level is guarded by 10 young green

On random quest levels, no down staircases are generated until the
last monster is killed which means that you cannot continue further
into the dungeon until you have completed your quests. When you
kill the last quest monster, the down staircase will be created and
the monster will drop an item of 'excellent' quality or above. This
is true even of monsters that do not normally drop items. Using the
services of the Trump Tower (see the Town section) can teleport you
past a particularly nasty quest but you must come back and finish
it later if you want your character to be a winner.

Random quests can be either 'easy' or 'hard' and you must choose
which type you want during character generation. This choice is
irrevocable for the duration of the character's dungeon diving
career. 'Easy' means that the game tracks how many quest monsters
you have killed on each attempt at the quest and adds these to the
total count. This allows you to kill one or more quest monsters,
leave the level and return later to finish up. 'Hard' means that
each time you enter the quest level the number of quest monsters
remaining is reset. In other words, you have to kill all the quest
monsters in one go.

'Hard' quests can allow you to 'farm' the quest monsters by killing
all but one, leaving the level and repeating. This allows you to
collect and sell the dropped items and gain repeated experience for
killing the monsters. This technique is frowned upon by many players
and should be noted in any 'winner' post to the newsgroup.

Note that to avoid some ugly abuses available to players, the Genocide,
Mass-Genocide and *Destruction* spells are prevented from working
on random quests monsters. Random quest monsters may also not be cloned
or tamed.

Original   : (??)
Updated    : (??)
Updated    : Zangband DevTeam
Last update: May 29, 2000

***** Begin Hyperlinks
***** [1] command.txt
***** [2] objects.txt

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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