Modifying Angband

Angband is not just a great game in its own right, it is really easy to modify. Much of the detail of the game is contained in text data files. These can be changed using nothing more than a text editor for an immediate change to how the game works.

These data files are in lib/gamedata.

Each file has a header which describes the lines which make up entries of the file, and for the most part this will make it clear what needs to be done to make changes to the files. Below is brief description of each of the files.

Those who want to change the game more than is allowed just by varying the data files will need the source code. Below the data file descriptions is a brief discussion of where to start on such an endeavour.

The data files


This file contains game values such as carried item capacity, visual range and dungeon level and town dimensions.


This file contains the names and common properties of the basic object classes - scroll, sword, ring, and so on. All objects have an object base. Each object base is assigned a 'tval' - a numeric index. The tvals are defined in src/list-tvals.h. While adding new object bases is possible, it is unlikely to do much without deeper changes to the game.


This file contains the names, properties and description of all the object types that appear in Angband. New object kinds can easily be added to this file, or existing ones edited. Each object defined by this file has an object base, and is also allocated another numeric index called an 'sval'. A tval-sval pair completely identifies an object - since the tval and sval are saved to savefiles, removing or adding objects is likely to render existing save files unusable.


This file contains the names, properties and description of ego items, which are magically enhanced weapons and armour. New ego items can be added or removed at will, although removing or changing one with an instance currently in the game might cause problems.


This file contains the names, properties and description of artifacts, which are unique items - only one of each will ever be generated. If you are considering major changes, new artifacts are one of the most visible signs of a change of theme. Regardless, new artifacts are easy and fun to design.


This file contains lists of words which are used to generate names for random character names, random artifacts and scrolls. Again, in the case of a change of theme, this is a good way of


Activations are used for artifacts and some regular objects, and could be used for ego items (although none currently are). Some standard artifacts from artifact.txt have activations, and random artifacts may have any activation from this file chosen for them. Activations can be made up of any effects (see effects.c and list-effects.h).


Items such as potions and wands are assigned a flavor per object kind, different in each game. There need to be at least as many flavors for each flavored object base as objects with that base.


Monster bases are the monster equivalent of object bases - classes of monster like orc, troll or vampire. This file contains the properties common across all monsters in each of these classes.


This contains the detail of all monster races, each of which will have its monster base properties plus additional ones. Some monsters are unique, and once killed will never reappear.


All the spells that can be cast by monsters (and are referred to in the 'spells:' lines in monster.txt) are defined in this file. As with activations, monster spells are built up from effects.


This file contains the various messages that are given to describe how a monster responds to attack.


Dungeon levels can contain pits - rooms full of a particular selesction of monsters. This file defines these selections. They can also be used, for example, to generate partial or complete dungein levels with themed monsters.


This file completely defines how player classes work, including all details of castable spells. There are some class-specific properties hard-coded, which are referred to via the 'flags:' lines, and appear in list-player-flags.h.


This file defines all player race characteristics. Race-specific code is handled as for classes.


Every player race has a body, which defines what equipment thay can use. Currently there is only one body, which all races use, but this is easily changeable for significant effect.


This file is for creating the player background found on the character screen. If a new race is introduced, a selection of background information for it will ned to be added.


This is simply a list of general pieces of advice that shopkeepers will give to their customers.


This file defines the quest monsters (Sauron and Morgoth) and where they appear. This currently can't easily be changed, as there are still hard-coded aspects of the quests.


This file defines the kind of terrain which can appear in Angband, and its properties. Current terrain can be changed (with possibly large effects), but removing it without code changes is likely to break the game. Adding new terrain will have no effect by itself, because there is no mechanism for it to appear.


This defines all traps, door locks and runes. Actual trap effects appear in effects.c and list-effects.h.


This is a list of templates for interesting-shaped rooms which appear in the dungeon. These can easily be changed and new ones added.


Similar to room_template.txt, this handles vaults, which are very dangerous and lucrative rooms.


This file contains fairly technical details about the different types of dungeon level which can be generated. The actual generation routines are in gen-cave.c; the information here consists of parameters for generating individual levels, and for how often given level types appear.


This details the shop owners and their relative generosity.

Larger changes

If changing data files is not enough for you, you will need to change actual game code and recompile it. The first place to look is in the compiled data files, some of which have already been mentioned:

list-blow-effects.h list-message.h list-player-flags.h list-blow-methods.h list-mon-message.h list-player-timed.h list-dun-profiles.h list-mon-race-flags.h list-project-environs.h list-effects.h list-mon-spells.h list-project-monsters.h list-elements.h list-mon-temp-flags.h list-rooms.h list-equip-slots.h list-mon-timed.h list-square-flags.h list-history-types.h list-object-flags.h list-stats.h list-identify-flags.h list-object-modifiers.h list-summon-types.h list-ignore-types.h list-options.h list-terrain-flags.h list-kind-flags.h list-origins.h list-trap-flags.h list-magic-realms.h list-parser-errors.h list-tvals.h

Beyond this, you will have to have some knowledge of the C programming language, and can start making changes to the way the game runs or appears. Many people have done this - there are over 100 variants of Angband: Should you get to this point, the best thing to do is to discuss your ideas on the Angband forums at The people there are typically keen to hear new ideas and ways to play.