Angband is a roleplaying game, in which you, the player, control a character in the world of Angband. 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.
At the character creation screen you will be prompted to select the race and class of your character. You also have the option to change the 'birth options' at this time. These need to be set at the character creation menu and cannot be altered later in the game. They are discussed with the rest of the options in the "options" help file.
Each character has two primary attributes: race and class. These are chosen at the beginning and which will stay fixed for the entire life of that character. The race and class have many effects which are discussed in detail below.
Each character has a few secondary attributes: height, weight, and background history. These are randomly determined according to the race of the character, and are only used to provide flavour to the character to assist in role playing. There is an opportunity to edit background history during character birth.
Each character also has five primary "stats": strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, and constitution; they 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. These stats can be modified further by equipment, race and class bonuses up to a maximum of '18/220'.
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 abilities such as infravision.
Each character has a number of "experience points", which increases as the character defeats monsters and attempts new spells and uses new items. Characters also have a level, which is based on experience. The amount of experience required to gain a new level is dependent on the character race and class. Races and classes with more intrinsic benefits require more experience to gain levels. As the experience rises, so does the level, and as the level rises, certain other abilities and characteristics rise as well. All characters start at 0 experience and at the first level.
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 in the dungeon. Each character starts out with some gold, the amount of which is based on the character's social class (higher is better) and 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 "armour class", abbreviated to AC, representing how well the character can avoid damage. The armour class is affected by dexterity and equipment, so the concept includes both avoiding blows and being able to take blows without being hurt. Armour class on equipment is always denoted in square brackets, usually as a figure of '[X,+Y]' where X is the intrinsic AC of the armour in question, and Y is the magical bonus to armour class provided by that item.
Each character has "hit points", or hp, 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 limits 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.
Lastly, each character has a base speed. Speed determines the amount of "energy" your character acquires in the game, and therefore how often you can take actions which use up energy (like moving or attacking). All beginning characters move at normal speed and the only way to increase speed is by magical means and equipment bonuses. Characters who are carrying too much weight will move more slowly. Extra speed is one of the most important boons in the game and therefore one of the rarest and most sought after.
There are eleven different races that you can choose to play in Angband. Each race has its own adjustments to a character's stats and abilities. Most races also have intrinsic abilities. The bonuses to statistics and the experience penalty will be displayed next to the races as you move to select one.
Once a race has been chosen, you will need to pick a class. The class is the character's occupation and determines stat bonuses, abilities, hit dice, and what spells (if any) the character can learn.
After race and class are selected, you will be able to decide what stat levels your character will have, by allocating a finite number of "points" between the six statistics. These points can be allocated by selection or with a random roller (as described below in the "Stat Rollers" section). Each race/class combination also has a recommended default setting for these statistics. Statistics can be permanently raised by various potions in the dungeon up to 18/100. They can also be temporarily drained by some monster attacks.
Characters possess some different skills which can help them to survive. The starting skill levels of a character are based upon race and class. Skill levels may be adjusted by high or low stats, and may increase with the level of the character.
Stats, hit dice, infravision and experience point modifications due to race and class 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%.
For character classes, there are two figures: the first figure is the base level of the skill, 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.
There are currently two different ways to determine the starting stats of your character - you can choose which one to use from the birth screen.
The point-based method allows you to "buy" improvements to your basic stats by "spending" points on them. You have a fixed number of points to spend, and making small changes to a stat costs proportionally less than making large changes. Any unspent points are converted into your starting money that you can use to buy equipment at the start of the game.
On selecting this option, you will find that the points have already been assigned to default recommended values. These represent an algorithm's opinion for the ideal point spending. However, you are free to reallocate them as you wish.
This is the recommended birth method.
Once you have accepted a character you will asked to provide a name for the character. In general, the actual choice of a name is not important, but do keep in mind that it may have some effect on the game itself. For example, on some machines, the character name determines the filename that will be used to save the character to disk. The character name is used on the high score list.
You can play a dynasty of characters. If you use a Roman numeral at the end of your character name (like "Fred I" or "Pimplesnarg XVI"), the game will automatically increment the numeral each time you die (or win!).