Creating a Character

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.

Character Characteristics

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.

The human is the base character. All other races are compared to them. Humans are average at everything and tend to go up levels faster than any other race due to their shorter life spans. No racial adjustments or intrinsics occur to human characters. Humans do not have any infravision.
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, archery and searching, but they are not as good at hand-to-hand combat. Half-elves are immune to dexterity draining, and have weak infravision.
Elves are better magicians than humans, but not as good at fighting. They tend to be smarter and faster than humans, though not as wise or strong. Elves are better at searching, disarming, perception, stealth, archery and magic, but they are not as good at hand-to-hand combat. They are resistant to attacks involving bright light, are immune to dexterity draining, and have fair infravision.
Hobbits, or Halflings, are very good at shooting, 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. They have a strong hold on their life force, and are thus resistant to life draining. Hobbits are very partial to mushrooms and can identify them when found.
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 good infravision. Gnomes are intrinsically protected against paralysis and some slowing effects. Gnomes are excellent at using wands and staves and can identify them when found.
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 excellent infravision. They can never be blinded. Dwarves are excellent at digging, and can sense nearby buried treasure. They 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.
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 constitution and lots of hit points. Because of their preference to living underground to on the surface, half-orcs resist darkness attacks. They have fair infravision.
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. Half-trolls always have their strength sustained, and they regenerate quickly like other trolls. Unfortunately, this regeneration also requires them to eat more food than other races. They have fair infravision.
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... their hardiness ensures that their constitution cannot be reduced. They have no infravision.
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. They can also see into the invisible world of ghosts and wraiths. However, they find new experience even harder to come by than Dunedain. Like normal Elves, they resist attacks involving bright light. They have good infravision and can even see cold-blooded invisible creatures.
Kobolds are a race of small dog-headed humanoids that dwell underground. They have excellent infravision, 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.


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.

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, constitution, and dexterity, and he will strike more blows with melee weapons than any other class. A Warrior will be excellent at fighting, shooting and throwing, but bad at most other skills. A warrior has bad stealth and cannot learn any spells.
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 excellent saving throws to resist effects of spells cast at him. However, he is incredibly weak, getting few hit dice and suffering strong penalties to strength and constitution. Intelligence is his primary stat and at high levels he can cast many spells without a chance of failure. There is no rule that says a mage cannot become a good fighter, but spells are his true realm and he will get fewer blows with melee weapons than other classes.
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 temple! 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 great saving throws, and make decent fighters, but they are not as good at using sharp weapons (swords and polearms) owing to the holy strictures about shedding blood, so they are better off using blunt weapons such as maces. Wisdom is the priest's primary stat and at high enough levels they can cast many prayers without a chance of failure. Priests have poor stealth.
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, and there will always be a chance of failure even with the simplest spells. A rogue's primary stats are dexterity and intelligence.
A Ranger is a warrior/mage and a very powerful class. He is a good fighter, and the best of all the classes with missile weapons, especially bows. 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 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 wisdom.


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.

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 raises the amount of weight you can carry before being slowed. It also allows you to get extra blows with heavier weapons. Strength is one of the most important stats in the beginning of the game.
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. Intelligence is the most important stat for mages. 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 mana 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 increases your saving throw, thereby improving 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. Dexterity also increases a character's chances of hitting with any weapon and of 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 him.
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. Constitution is less important in the beginning of the game, but will be the most important stat at the end.


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.

Infravision is the ability to see heat sources. Since most of the dungeon is cool or cold, infravision will not allow the player to see walls and objects. Infravision will allow a character to see any warm-blooded creatures up to a certain distance. This ability works equally well with or without a light source. However, some of Angband's creatures are cold-blooded, and will not be detected unless lit up by a light source. All non-human races have innate infravision. Humans (including Dunedain) cannot gain infravision 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 with lighter weapons. Strength and dexterity both modify the ability to hit an opponent. This kill increases with the level of the character. Inspecting a weapon will show you how quickly you can attack with it.
Shooting Ability
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.
Saving Throws
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. It is possible to get 100% saving throw, making you immune to many attacks.
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 upon race and class, but can me magically enhanced.
Disarming is the ability to remove traps safely, and also includes picking locks on traps and doors. A successful disarming or lock picking will gain the character a small amount of 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.
Magical Devices
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.
Searching Frequency (Perception)
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.
Searching Ability (Searching)
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.

Stat Bonus Tables

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%.

Race STR INT WIS DEX CON HD (base) XP/level Infra
Human 0 0 0 0 0 10 +0% None
Half-Elf 0 +1 -1 +1 -1 10 +10% 20'
Elf -1 +2 -1 +1 -1 9 +20% 30'
Hobbit -2 +2 +1 +3 +2 7 +10% 40'
Gnome -1 +2 0 +2 +1 8 +25% 40'
Dwarf +2 -3 +2 -2 +2 11 +20% 50'
Half-Orc +2 -1 0 0 +1 10 +10% 30'
Half-Troll +4 -4 -2 -4 +3 12 +20% 30'
Dunadan +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 10 +80% None
High-Elf +1 +3 -1 +3 +1 10 +100% 40'
Kobold -1 -1 0 +2 +2 8 +15% 50'
Class STR INT WIS DEX CON HD (bonus) XP/level
Warrior +3 -2 -2 +2 +2 9 +0%
Mage -3 +3 0 +0 -2 0 +30%
Priest -1 -3 +3 -1 +1 2 +20%
Rogue 0 +1 -3 +3 -1 6 +25%
Ranger 0 +2 -2 +1 -1 4 +30%
Paladin +1 -3 +1 -1 +2 6 +35%

Ability Tables

Race 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 2 8 12 -5 15
Hobbit 15 18 18 4 12 15 -10 20
Gnome 10 22 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 1 3 13 15 10
High-Elf 4 20 20 2 3 14 10 25
Kobold 10 5 0 3 15 15 -5 10
Class Disarm Device Save Stealth Search Percep Fight Bows
Warrior 25(+10) 18(+7) 18(+10) 0(+0) 14(+0) 2(+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) 3(+1) 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) 24(+10) 25(+11) 0(+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 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.

Stat rollers

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.

Standard roller
The standard roller simply rolls three six-sided dice for each stat, leaving everything to chance. You can press 'r' to re-roll the dice, or simply accept what luck has offered.

Character Name

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!).