Part Two - Creating a Character
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Okay, so now you've got your shiny new copy of Angband installed and ready to rock... so let's start up your first character:
- Double-click on !Angband to run the game. Two new windows will open, one is a standard Filer window the other is inviting you to tell the game where to keep your saved game.
- Drag the file icon from the savefile location window into the same directory as !Angband (it doesn't have to be here, but it's convenient).
- Click on Play in the savefile location window.
When it's finished setting up you'll be asked to press any key, then told Savefile does not exist -more-. These -more- prompts will crop up a lot whilst playing and (surprisingly) mean that the game has something more to tell you. Press Return or Space to continue.
Things to note here are:
- You can store your saved game pretty much anywhere (just make sure you can find it again...). That Filer window that opened is just a suggested place to keep saved games (it's actually a directory inside !Angband).
- The saved game file won't actually exist until the first time Angband tries to save your game (eg. when you quit, or die, etc).
- When running the game again you can just double-click on a saved game, or drag the saved game to the savefile location window.
- Saved game files hold more than just your character's status - they also hold various options you've set. This means that it's worth running the game with a 'dead' savefile rather than just starting afresh when you die.
[ For an alternative walk-through from character creation to getting into the dungeon, read the online help, section 1 (General information) ]
Using the online help
Pretty much anywhere in the game you can press ? to access the online help system.
Initially you'll be presented with a menu of help files to choose from. The first one of these, General Information describes gow to use the online help and also gives instructions for a demonstration game (the alternative walkthrough I mentioned above).
Rolling up a character
The next thing to do is to actually roll up (ie. generate - the term comes from the concept of rolling dice to determine the various statistics) a character. In order to do that you need to decide what sort of character you want.
Angband is set in an equal opportunities universe and doesn't discriminate against any sex, race or class (the idea of a class is a bit like a profession, eg. a Warrior is a fighter by trade, a Mage makes his/her way with magic rather than steel, etc).
What Angband does do, however, is try to balance out the various qualities of different classes and races. So, magic users get a bonus to INT (ie. intelligence) to balance their 'weedy' nature (represented by a penalty to STR - strength).
Since this is our first time, we'll try one of the less complex and hardier combinations: a Half-Troll Warrior.
Choosing your sex
The screen should now be asking you to choose a sex, so do so. You'll then be presented with a list of races and asked to pick one.
Choosing your race
Each race has its own characteristics (eg. Elves are old and wise, Half-Trolls are strong and brutish, etc) and this is reflected in bonuses and penalties that are applied to your character. We want a Half-Troll, so press h to choose that race.
Choosing your class
You'll now be asked to choose a character class. Notice that some of the options have (*) next to them. This is because the natural bonuses and penalties applied (both on a race and class basis) make those combinations very difficult. Anyway, we want a Warrior so choose a now.
Now we get to one of the more difficult parts of the character creation process. Not difficult to do - it's just a single yes/no question, but difficult to describe.
Maximise mode controls how the bonuses and penalties are applied to your character. Putting it very simply, with Maximise mode on your character has more scope to improve his/her intrinsic statistics, but with it off your character will start stronger/wiser/etc. but not be able to reach the same heights as if maximise mode was on.
The upshot of this is that the game is easier to start with with Maximise mode off, but easier to complete with it on. Since we're just starting out we'll choose to play with maximise mode off since it's going to be hard enough getting started anyway. Besides, it takes a lot of practice and (learned) skill to get far enough that maximise mode is a benefit (by which time you'll be ready to play without the initial head start that turning it off gives).
The next prompt is for Preserve mode. This basically controls whether artifacts (special, unique, powerful and rare weapons) will be allowed to turn up again if you 'miss' them.
Normally such artifacts are created once, and only ever once, in a single game, so if your character doesn't find one that's been created you'll never find it with that character.
Preserve mode allows artifacts to be recreated if this happens, but (as ever) there's a price to pay. Normally, whenever you enter a new section (level) of the dungeon you'll get a feeling about it. If an artifact is on the level this feeling will be You feel that there is something special about this level... (there are other things that can cause this 'special' feeling though, so it doesn't necessarily mean that an artifact is present). With preserve mode on these 'special' feelings are never reported. Most people consider this a small price to pay.
For now, answer y to play in preserve mode.
You'll now be asked if you want to use the 'autoroller'. This allows you to specify the minimum statistics you are prepared to accept and then repeatedly generates (rolls up) characters until it finds a satisfactory one.
It's no good trying for too good a set of statistics - the game is balanced so that each character created is roughly as good all round as any other. On the other hand, in that we're rolling up a Warrior we want him/her to be strong, agile and healthy. We'll therefore use the autoroller to specify a minimum STRength, DEXterity and CONstitution that suits us and not bother with INTelligence, WISdom or CHaRisma.
Answer y to use the autoroller, and then enter the following minimums when prompted:
STRength .. .. 18/20
INTelligence . 3
WISdom . .. .. 3
DEXterity . .. 13
CONsitution .. 18
CHaRisma .. .. 3
That should (very) quickly come up with a suitable character. If you like at this point, you can press r to re-roll the character until you get one you like the look of.
When you have a character you like, press escape to accept it. You'll then be prompted for a name so give your character a name. Don't worry what the name is - it's only really used for the high-score table and you can change it later anyway. I've called my Half-Troll Miffle.
You can now press escape again to start playing!
[For more information on rolling up a character, use the online help system and read section 2 (Creating a Character). ]
Saving (and reloading) games
Angband doesn't handle saving and reloading in quite the same way as most other games. Specifically, saved games are not meant to be used to 'go back' to an earlier position if something goes wrong, or you die. As in real life, your Angband character only has one life.
The normal method of saving your game is to quit Angband, either from the iconbar menu, or by pressing ctrl-X (usually written as ^X, which is the style I'll use from now on).
It is possible to save your game without quiting (by pressing ^S or using the Save As box from the menu) but this is only for convenience (eg. I save every now and again just in case there's a power failure, or the machine crashes, etc).
So, let's save and reload the game now:
- Press ^X, this means save game and guit
- You'll see a Saving Game... done. message and then be prompted to Press Return (or Escape). If you press return you'll be shown the high score table, if you press escape this will be skipped.
- Double-click on the saved game file to restart the game.
Still with me? Then we're ready to start playing the game in part 3