MAngband is a roleplaying game, in which you, the player, control a character in the world of MAngband. Perhaps the most important thing you control is the birth of your character, in which you choose or allow to be chosen various attributes that will affect the future life of your character.
Character creation, or birth, is controlled through a variety of choices as to constraints on the type of character you wish to play, followed by a series of random calculations to generate ("roll up") a random character matching the appropriate constraints.
Each character has three primary attributes, sex, race, and class, that are chosen before the character is generated, and which will stay fixed for the entire life of that character. These attributes have many effects, which will be mentioned as they come up.
Each character has a few secondary attributes, height, weight, social class, and background history, which are randomly determined, but which are affected by the sex and race of the character. In general, these attributes are only used to provide "flavor" to the character, to assist in the role playing, but they do have a few minor effects on the game. For example, background history affects social class, which affects the starting money. (Not a lot, in the case of some races: for instance, Half-Trolls are always going to be the scum of society, even if their father was the Clan Chief.)
Each character also has six primary "stats", strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, and charisma, which modify the abilities of the character in a variety of ways. Every stat has a numerical value, ranging from a minimum of 3, up to a normal maximum of 18, and even higher, into the "percentile" range, represented as "18/01" through "18/100": this is the maximum that can be achieved intrinsically, for any given stat. If the character is started with the option of "maximize effect of race/class bonuses" (from the Birth Options menu, and this is set as "on" by default), the maximum figure of 18/100 is further adjusted by the adjustments for race and class - for instance, a Half-Troll Warrior will max out at 18/190 strength, but only 18/40 intelligence, whereas a Hobbit Mage will be able to reach 18/150 intelligence but only 18/30 strength. Equipment may add bonuses or penalties to this, and raise the player's stats beyond the normal intrinsic limits: the stats may go as high as they like, with the right choice of equipment, but the effects of having higher stats largely stop at 18/200.
Each character also has several primary "skills", disarming, magic devices, saving throws, stealth, searching ability, searching frequency, fighting skill, and shooting skill, which are derived from the character's race, class, level, stats, and current equipment. These skills have rather obvious effects, but will be described more completely below.
Each character may have one or more "racially intrinsic skills", based on the race of the character. These may include special resistances, or even abilities such as infravision.
Each character has experience, which increases as the character becomes more experienced, and a level, which is based on experience, and also on race and class. As the experience rises, so does the level, and as the level rises, certain other abilities and characteristics rise as well. Deep down inside, the real objective of the game is to increase your experience, and certain other characteristics, and also to collect useful items, to give you a decent chance against Morgoth. Certain monsters can "drain" your experience, and thus your level, which will cause you to lose all of the effects of the higher level. Luckily, you can restore drained experience through magical means, or by simply regaining the experience all over again.
Each character has some gold, which can be used to buy items from the shops in the town, and which can be obtained not only from selling items to the shops, but also by taking it from dead monsters and by finding it hidden in the dungeon. Each character starts out with some gold, the amount of which is based on the characters social class (higher is better), charisma (higher is better), and other stats (less powerful characters start with more gold). Each character also starts out with a few useful items, which may be kept, or sold to a shop-keeper for more gold. However, especially valuable items will never sell for the full price, as each shopkeeper has a maximum that he is prepared to pay for any item. The more generous shopkeepers may buy your items for up to 30,000 gold pieces: but some are really stingy, and will pay no more than 5,000.
Each character has an armor class, representing how well the character can avoid damage. The armor class is affected by dexterity and the equipment. Armor class on equipment is always denoted in [square brackets], usually as a figure of [X,+Y] where X is the intrinsic AC of the armor in question, and Y is the magical bonus to armor class provided by that item.
Each character has hit points, representing how much damage the character can sustain before he dies. How many hit points a character has is determined by race, class, level and constitution, as follows: each race has a basic "hit dice" number - for instance, a Dwarf's basic hit die is 11, while a hobbit's is 7. This is modified by class: for instance, a warrior gets a +9 bonus to the hit die, while a mage gets no bonus and a priest +2, so a dwarven warrior's total hit die will be (11+9)=20 - meaning that he gets between 1 and 20 hit points per level. If he were a priest, his hit dice would be (11+2)=13, and get between 1 and 13 hit points per level. The hobbit mage would get only 1-7 hps per level. (All characters get the maximum at first level: thereafter it is a random roll of 1dX where X is the hit die number, when the character goes up in level.) This is further modified by constitution - a character with high constitution will get a flat bonus of a certain number of hit points per level (recalculated right back to level 1: if you gain an extra hit point per level, and you are 42nd level, you will suddenly be 42 hit points better off.)
Each character has spell points, or mana, which represents how many spells (or prayers) a character can cast (or pray). The maximum number of spell points is derived from your class, level, and intelligence (for spells) or wisdom (for prayers), and you can never have more spell points than the maximum. Spell points may be regained by resting, or by magical means. Warriors never have any spell points. If a character gains enough wisdom or intelligence to get more spell points, the result is calculated right back to first level, just as with constitution and hit points.
There are eleven different races that you can choose from in MAngband. Some races are restricted as to what profession they may be, and each race has its own adjustments to a character's stats and abilities. Most races also have intrinsic abilities.
The human is the base character. All other races are compared to them. Humans can choose any class and are average at everything. Humans tend to go up levels faster than any other race because of their shorter life spans. No racial adjustments or intrinsics occur to characters choosing human.
Half-elves tend to be smarter and faster than a human, but not as wise or strong. Half-elves are slightly better at magic, disarming, saving throws, stealth, bows and searching, but they are not as good at hand weapons. Half-elves may choose any class and have their dexterity sustained.
Elves are better magicians then humans, but not as good at fighting. They tend to be smarter and faster than either humans or half-elves, but their wisdom and strength are low. Elves are better at searching, disarming, perception, stealth, bows and magic, but they are not as good at hand weapons. Elves are creatures more of magic than religion, and may thus not be priests or paladins: and they are resistant to attacks involving bright light, and have their dexterity sustained.
Hobbits, or Halflings, are very good at bows, throwing, and have good saving throws. They also are very good at searching, disarming, perception, and stealth; so they make excellent rogues, but prefer to be called burglars. They will be much weaker than humans, and not good at melee fighting. Halflings have fair infravision, so they can detect warm creatures at a distance. Hobbits may be warriors, rogues or rangers. They have a strong hold on their life force, and are thus intrinsically resistant to life draining.
Gnomes are smaller than dwarves but larger than halflings. They, like the halflings, live in the earth in burrow-like homes. Gnomes make excellent mages, and have very good saving throws. They are good at searching, disarming, perception, and stealth. They have lower strength than humans so they are not very good at fighting with hand weapons. Gnomes have fair infra-vision, so they can detect warm-blooded creatures at a distance. A gnome may choose between being a warrior, mage, priest, or rogue. Gnomes are intrinsically protected against paralysis and some slowing effects.
Dwarves are the headstrong miners and fighters of legend. Since dungeons are the natural home of a dwarf, they are excellent choices for a warrior or priest - or indeed, that combination of the two, the paladin. Dwarves tend to be stronger and tougher but slower and less intelligent than humans. Because they are so headstrong and are somewhat wise, they resist spells which are cast on them. Dwarves also have very good infra-vision because they live underground. They do have one big drawback, though. Dwarves are loudmouthed and proud, singing in loud voices, arguing with themselves for no good reason, screaming out challenges at imagined foes. In other words, dwarves have a miserable stealth. They can never be blinded.
Half-Orcs make excellent warriors and decent priests, but are terrible at magic. They are as bad as dwarves at stealth, and horrible at searching, disarming, and perception. Half-Orcs are, let's face it, ugly. They tend to pay more for goods in town. Half-Orcs do make good warriors and rogues, for the simple reason that Half-Orcs tend to have great constitutions and lots of hit points. Because of their preference to living underground to on the surface, half-orcs resist darkness attacks.
Half-Trolls are incredibly strong, and have more hit points than any other character race. They are also very stupid and slow. They will make great warriors and iffy priests. They are bad at searching, disarming, perception, and stealth. They are so ugly that a Half-Orc grimaces in their presence. They also happen to be fun to run... Half-trolls always have their strength sustained, and they regenerate like other trolls. Unfortunately, this regeneration also requires them to eat more food than other races.
Dunedain are a race of hardy men from the West. This elder race surpasses human abilities in every field, especially constitution. However, being men of the world, very little is new to them, and levels are very hard to gain... They can play all classes except the rogue, as Dunedain are too noble to stoop to petty crime (when a Dunadan goes evil, he does it in a much bigger way.) Their constitution cannot be reduced.
High-Elves are descended from those among the Elves who heard and answered the call from the Valar at the very beginning of time, before the sun and moon were made, and lived in the Blessed Realm for many thousands of years before returning to mortal lands. Because of this, they are far superior in terms of abilities when compared to their lesser Elven kindred, and are able to be priests as well as all the other classes that normal Elves can be. They can also see into the invisible world of ghosts and wraiths. However, they find new experience even harder to come by than Dunedain: and their wisdom is still a little suspect. And like normal Elves, they resist attacks involving bright light. High Elves cannot be rogues (for the same reasons as Dunedain cannot be rogues) or paladins, but may be all other classes.
Kobolds are a race of small dog-headed humanoids that dwell underground. They can see in the dark better than almost any other race, and are intrinsically resistant to poisons of all kinds. They have a good dexterity and constitution. However, they are weaker than humans, and also not noted for great intelligence. Furthermore, they are ugly, and not trusted in town. And while their constitution makes them tough, it still cannot prevent the fact that they are not the biggest of creatures, and have few hit points. They can be warriors, rangers, rogues or priests.
Once a race has been chosen, you will need to pick a class. Some classes will not be available to certain races, for instance, a Half-Troll cannot become a Paladin.
A Warrior is a hack-and-slash character, who solves most of his problems by cutting them to pieces, but will occasionally fall back on the help of a magical device. His prime stats are Strength and Constitution, and a good Dexterity can really help at times. A Warrior will be good at Fighting and Throwing/Bows, but bad at most other skills.
A Mage must live by his wits. He cannot hope to simply hack his way through the dungeon, and so must therefore use his magic to defeat, deceive, confuse, and escape. A mage is not really complete without an assortment of magical devices to use in addition to his spells. He can master the higher level magical devices far easier than anyone else, and has the best saving throw to resist effects of spells cast at him. Intelligence and Dexterity are his primary stats. There is no rule that says a mage cannot become a good fighter, but spells are his true realm.
A Priest is a character of holy devotion. They explore the dungeon only to destroy the evil that lurks within, and if treasure just happens to fall into their packs, well, so much more to the glory of their church! Priests receive their spells from a deity, and therefore do not choose which spells they will learn. They are familiar with magical devices, preferring to call them "instruments of God", but are not as good as a mage in their use. Priests have good saving throws, and make decent fighters, but they are not as good at using sharp weapons (swords and polearms) owing to the Church's strictures about shedding blood: so they are better off using blunt weapons such as maces. Wisdom and Charisma are the priest's primary stats.
A Rogue is a character that prefers to live by his cunning, but is capable of fighting his way out of a tight spot. He is the master of traps and locks, no device being impossible for him to overcome. A rogue has a high stealth allowing him to sneak around many creatures without having to fight, or sneak up and get the first blow. A rogue's perception is higher than any other class, and many times he will notice a trap or secret door before having to search. A rogue is better than warriors or paladins with magical devices, but still cannot rely on their performance. Rogues can also learn a few spells, but not the powerful offensive spells mages can use. A rogue's primary stats are Dexterity and Intelligence.
A Ranger is a warrior/mage. He is a good fighter, and the best of all the classes with a missile weapon such as a bow. The ranger learns spells much more slowly than a mage, but is capable of learning all but the most powerful spells. Because a ranger is really a dual class character, more experience is required for him to advance. A ranger has a good stealth, good perception, good searching, a good saving throw, and is good with magical devices. His primary stats are Strength, Intelligence and Dexterity.
A Paladin is a warrior/priest. He is a very good fighter, second only to the warrior class, but not very good at missile weapons. He receives prayers at a slower pace then the priest, but can use all but the most powerful prayers. Because a paladin is really a dual class character, it requires more experience to advance him. A paladin lacks much in the way of abilities. He is poor at stealth, perception, searching, and magical devices. He has a decent saving throw due to his divine alliance. His primary stats are Strength and Charisma, although Wisdom is necessary for his spells.
Strength is important in fighting with weapons and in melee combat. A high strength can improve your chances of hitting as well as the amount of damage done with each hit. Characters with low strengths may receive penalties. Strength is also useful in tunnelling and in carrying heavy items.
Intelligence affects the spellcasting abilities of mage-like spellcasters, mages, rangers, and rogues. Intelligence will affect the number of spells you may learn each level as well as the number of spell points you receive. A high intelligence may also improve your chances of successfully casting a spell. You cannot learn spells if your intelligence is 7 or lower. A good intelligence can also help with using magic devices, picking locks, and disarming traps.
The primary function of wisdom is to determine the ability of a priest or paladin to use prayers, just like intelligence affects spellcasting. Again, high wisdom will increase the number of spell points you have and increase the number of prayers you can learn each level, while improving the chance that a prayer will be successful. A good wisdom can also help to improve your chances of resisting magical spells cast upon you by monsters.
Dexterity is a combination of agility and quickness. A high dexterity may allow a character to get multiple blows with lighter weapons, thus greatly increasing his kill power, and will increase his chances of hitting with any weapon and dodging blows from enemies. Dexterity is also useful in picking locks, disarming traps, and protecting yourself from some of the thieves that inhabit the dungeons. Indeed, if the character has a high enough dexterity, thieves will never be successful in stealing from the player.
Constitution is a character's ability to resist damage to his body, and to recover from damage received. Therefore a character with a high constitution will receive more hit points and also recover them faster while resting.
Charisma represents a character's personality and physical appearance. A character with a high charisma will receive better prices from store owners, whereas a character with a very low charisma may be robbed blind.
Characters possess some different abilities which can help them to survive. The starting abilities of a character are based upon race and class. Abilities may be adjusted by high or low stats, and may increase with the level of the character.
Infra-vision is the ability to see heat sources. Since most of the dungeon is cool or cold, infra-vision will not allow the player to see walls and objects. Infra-vision will allow a character to see any warm-blooded creatures up to a certain distance. This ability works equally well with or with out a light source. However, many of MAngband's creatures are cold-blooded, and will not be detected unless lit up by a light source. All non human races have innate infra-vision ability. Humans (including Dunedain) cannot gain infra-vision unless it is magically enhanced. Infravision does not increase with character level, and is purely dependent on race and on magical equipment.
Fighting is the ability to hit and do damage with weapons or fists. Normally a character gets a single blow from any weapon, but if his dexterity and strength are high enough, he may receive more blows per round with lighter weapons. Strength and dexterity both modify the ability to hit an opponent. This skill increases with the level of the character.
Using ranged missile weapons (and throwing objects) is included in this skill. Different stats apply to different weapons, but this ability may modify the distance an object is thrown/fired, the amount of damage done, and the ability to hit a creature. This skill increases with the level of the character.
A Saving Throw is the ability of a character to resist the effects of a spell cast on him by another person/creature. This does not include spells cast on the player by his own stupidity, such as quaffing a nasty potion. This ability increases with the level of the character, but then most high level creatures are better at casting spells, so it tends to even out. A high wisdom also increases this ability.
The ability to move silently about is very useful. Characters with good stealth can usually surprise their opponents, gaining the first blow. Also, creatures may fail to notice a stealthy character entirely, allowing a player to avoid certain fights. This skill is based entirely upon race and class, and will never improve unless magically enhanced.
Disarming is the ability to remove traps safely, and also includes picking locks on traps and doors. A successful disarming will gain the character some experience. A trap must be found before it can be disarmed. Dexterity and intelligence both modify the ability to disarm, and this ability increases with the level of the character.
Using a magical device such as a wand or staff requires experience and knowledge. Spell users such as mages and priests are therefore much better at using a magical device than say a warrior. This skill is modified by intelligence, and increases with the level of the character.
Perception is the ability to notice something without actively seeking it out. This skill is based entirely upon race and class, and will never improve unless magically enhanced.
To search is to actively look for secret doors, floor traps, and traps on chests. Rogues are the best at searching, but mages, rangers, and priests are also good at it. This skill is based entirely upon race and class, and will never improve unless magically enhanced.
Warrior Mage Priest Rogue Ranger Paladin Human Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Half-Elf Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Elf Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Hobbit Yes No No Yes Yes No Gnome Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Dwarf Yes No Yes No No Yes Half-Orc Yes No Yes Yes No No Half-Troll Yes No Yes No No No Dunadan Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes High-Elf Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Stat, hit dice, infravision and experience points per level modifications due to race are listed in the following table. To get the total hit dice and XP modifier, add the "race" and "class" numbers: for instance, a Dwarf Priest has a hit die of 11+2=13 (i.e. he will get 1d13 hit points per level, adjusted for constitution) and an XP modifier of 20+20=40%.
STR INT WIS DEX CON CHR HD (base) XP/level Infra Human 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 +0% None Half-Elf -1 +1 0 +1 -1 +1 9 +10% 20 feet Elf -1 +2 +1 +1 -2 +1 8 +20% 30 feet Hobbit -2 +2 +1 +3 +2 +1 7 +10% 40 feet Gnome -1 +2 0 +2 +1 -2 8 +25% 40 feet Dwarf +2 -3 +2 -2 +2 -3 11 +20% 50 feet Half-Orc +2 -1 0 0 +1 -4 10 +10% 30 feet Half-Troll +4 -4 -2 -4 +3 -6 12 +20% 30 feet Dunadan +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +2 10 +80% None High-Elf +1 +3 -1 +3 +1 +5 10 +100% 40 feet Kobold -1 -1 0 +2 +2 -2 8 +15% 50 feet STR INT WIS DEX CON CHR HD (bonus) XP/level Warrior +5 -2 -2 +2 +2 -1 9 +0% Mage -5 +3 0 +1 -2 +1 0 +30% Priest -1 -3 +3 -1 0 +2 2 +20% Rogue +2 +1 -2 +3 +1 -1 6 +25% Ranger +2 +2 0 +1 +1 +1 4 +30% Paladin +3 -3 +1 0 +2 +2 6 +35%
Disarm Device Save Stealth Search Percep Fight Bows Human 0 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 Half-Elf 2 3 3 1 6 11 -1 5 Elf 5 6 6 1 8 12 -5 15 Hobbit 15 18 18 4 12 15 -10 20 Gnome 10 12 12 3 6 13 -8 12 Dwarf 2 9 9 -1 7 10 15 0 Half-Orc -3 -3 -3 -1 0 7 12 -5 Half-Troll -5 -8 -8 -2 -1 5 20 -10 Dunadan 4 5 5 2 3 13 15 10 High-Elf 4 20 20 3 3 14 10 25 Kobold 10 5 0 4 15 15 -5 10 Disarm Device Save Stealth Search Percep Fight Bows Warrior 25(+10) 18(+7) 18(+10) 1(+0) 14(+0) 7(+0) 70(+45) 55(+45) Mage 30(+7) 36(+13) 30(+9) 2(+0) 16(+0) 20(+0) 34(+15) 20(+15) Priest 25(+7) 30(+10) 32(+12) 2(+0) 16(+0) 8(+0) 48(+20) 35(+20) Rogue 45(+15) 32(+10) 28(+10) 5(+0) 32(+0) 24(+0) 60(+40) 66(+30) Ranger 30(+8) 32(+10) 28(+10) 3(+0) 24(+0) 16(+0) 56(+30) 72(+45) Paladin 20(+7) 25(+10) 25(+11) 1(+0) 12(+0) 2(+0) 68(+35) 40(+30)
For character classes, there are two figures: the first figure is the base level of the ability, while the second figure (in parentheses) is the bonus that the character gains to this skill every ten levels. So, to find out the total skill value of any character's skills, add the "race" value to the "class" value, and then the bonus once for every ten levels that the character has.
(Please note, however, that these numbers are only good for comparing characters to each other in the absence of other bonuses from high stats (strength bonus to-dam, dex bonus to-hit, wisdom bonus to saving throw, intelligence bonus to magical device usage, etc.) or wearing magical items.)