13 Steps To CRAWL
by Leonard Crawley

Tor's Saga: Chapter One

CRAWL, aka Dungeon Crawl, by Linley Henzell and the CRAWL development team, is a free, easy to learn yet difficult to master fantasy role playing game. It's a roguelike: a randomized underground adventure simulation in the style of Rogue, NetHack and Dungeons & Dragons, yet offers its own twists and a unique magical fantasy world to explore.

The object of CRAWL is to find and steal a great mystical Orb guarded by demons, and far worse entities, in the dangerous magic realm of Zot, a feat few have achieved without cheating.

CRAWL features "...Large, highly random dungeon settings; huge range of races/classes to choose from; comprehensive skill system; complex magic system with about 140 spells; hundreds of monsters; multiple dungeon branches and gates to other planes; a dozen religions to choose from; random artifacts, mutations, vaults, water, lava, clouds, yaks and many more weird things!"

Never played a roguelike before? Follow along with this overview, skim the documentation included in the CRAWL zip file and you'll be all set.

Note: Always make sure the Num Lock key is OFF on your keyboard when you play CRAWL.

Races / Species Types1. First off, there are twenty six player character races to choose from including many rarely found in commercial computer games. This is one of the many great features of CRAWL.

Each species feels different to play and operates uniquely. For example, if you choose to play a Ghoul, be prepared to replenish your hit points the ghoulish way, by devouring the fresh corpses of your recent victims. Blech!

This time in, I'll pick the versatile everyman: a human adventurer. As tempting as it is to choose a high elf, naga or draconian avatar, I think I'll go the "easy" route. (Reality check: There is no easy route to winning CRAWL, but a fighter character has less to be concerned with than other characters at the outset.)

Note: You can let the game choose for you if you're feeling indecisive.

Classes / Professions2. CRAWL adds to the variety of character choices by offering twenty eight different professions to choose from for a human character.

Different races are offered specific professions and each has its own "house rules" with differing abilities and starting equipment.

Your character's three randomly generated primary characteristic numbers --Strength, Intelligence and Dexterity-- will have been modified according to your choices so far. For example, a mountain dwarf character will usually begin the game with a higher strength stat than a human one will possess.

As I mentioned, I'll choose one of the low maintenance professions: the Fighter!

Note: Use the number pad for movement.

The Beginning Place3. The adventure begins. A fighter arrives, complete with armor, shield, trusty mace and pedigree. His stats make him out to be somewhat of a brute so I've named him Tor.

Tor is represented on the top down dungeon map view by this time-honored symbol: @

Tor is classic fighter material with his fifteen hit points (HP) and sixteen strength (Str). A ripping good start. So let's head north, up that short corridor, and see what we find.

Goblin's Lair4. Tor has found a reclusive goblin (g) who has become alerted due to a squeaky door.

There are some things to examine here but first things first. The goblin will probably try to attack Tor. Tor should try to get the first lick in.

Attacking: If your character can't use a missile weapon or spell, get it in close and "bump" the adversary (goblin). This will automatically invoke an attack against the enemy with your character's readied (held) melee weapon.

Try not to allow your character to become outnumbered or surrounded. Some adversaries are best dealt with from a distance. Other foes will require a melee engagement --try to take them on one at a time. Be observant and patient. Use common sense and many strategies will occur to you.

After the combat is over objects and armor carried by the adversary may become available (loot drops!), a well-earned reward for your character's brave and dangerous actions.

Stairways & Secrets5. Meanwhile, the goblin fight was resolved in Tor's favor! But don't get cocky (sloppy) with your character. Make a rash move and your avatar can easily die --even within the upper halls of CRAWL's tangled labyrinth.

Stay alert and explore carefully. As you snoop around, try to examine everything you see with the x (area within your character's line of sight) and v (items in your character's possesion) commands.

As luck would have it, Tor has inadvertently discovered a hidden secret door near a stairway (>) leading down to a lower level --a deeper, darker place where greater challenges and better loot can be found.

Is Tor destined to survive? We shall see. Ghosts of previous adventurers may roam there...

Dragon Armor!6. Another stroke of luck. While exploring, Tor happens to stumble upon an unguarded set of dragon armor. (Note the Commonwealth spelling: armour.)

The symbol for armor looks like this: [

Tor is obviously blessed by the gods. Perhaps he should "get religion" and follow one when he has the chance (all characters will be offered this opportunity fairly early in the game).

CRAWL is a fully randomized computer role playing game. It is different every that time it is played. You never really know what will happen or what is around the next corner in CRAWL, a game where fate's pendulum can swing both ways just as well, whatever that means.

Magical boons and blessed items, and cursed items with annoying or even harmful effects, will be discovered. One is wise to be experiment carefully when a new sword or pretty ring is found.

If possible, wait until your character manages to find a way to detect curses before attempting to activate, wield or wear newly found items with unknown properties. Of course, item identification magic is available via scroll and spell as well.

Inventory / Equipment7. Here's Tor's equipment list so far. Note that every item is neatly categorized. Tor, like all worthy adventurers, is nothing if not organized to the "T".

Tor's mace is still readied since he hasn't found anything better yet. The dragon armor has replaced the scale mail armor which he still carries.

Tor has also found some unidentified arrows and something called a choko, which just might be edible. Use e and your character will try to eat something from the inventory. Hopefully something yummy like dungeon pizza!

Dungeon Levels Vs. Experience Levels8. While cautiously exploring further, Tor has discovered a stairway to level two.

Level two is still part of the "main dungeon" but it is one level (one layer) deeper. Tor feels good and ready for it so he decides to descend.

Previously, Tor had gained one experience level (for defeating various adversaries) and was granted a new professional title (shield-bearer) and rewarded with seven additional permanent hit points, for a new total of twenty two. Your adventurer's statistics and abilities will change and improve over time by gaining experience and levels of power in this manner.

Tor's new dragon armor raised his armor class to nine, a fair amount of protection (while still not the best, it's tougher than the scale mail). The primary way in which your character becomes more resistant to physical damage is by obtaining better armor.

Note: AC, or armor class, is a number which reflects the amount of protection your character has or is wearing. The number in parentheses is your shield rating which affords additional protection. In either case the higher the number, the better the chance to defend.

Enchantments I9. In this area, Tor tried to cast a spell from a scroll and accidentally enchanted his mace. Note the "+1". The first number represents a bonus to the weapon's attack chance and the second number affects its damage amount.

This was actually another good break for Tor. He might have inadvertantly turned himself into a demonic mutant. Can happen. Well, perhaps Tor is destined for greater things, and deeper levels, after all...

Oops!10. The point where everything goes awry can be fatal in CRAWL.

Here you can see that Tor became confused (I hit the wrong keys) and threw his +1/+0 mace at the roving hobgoblin.

I say roleplay it. Tor panicked!

Two choices at least. Tor can sidestep the creature, take a few hits and retrieve his weapon, or stand there like a ninny and toss darts (quick fire: press f).

Well, Tor is a tad reckless and he likes to show off, so he chose the fancy footwork. Gentle players place your bets. Let's see what happened.

Tor = Eroll Flynn11. Amazingly, Tor is unharmed! What a dazzling display of daring do (stupidity) on the part of our hefty hero!

Was it fate, luck or the dragon armor? Luck, I'd say, but the armor didn't hurt.

Multiple Opponents12. Yet, in the midst of the battle, a blood- thirsty bat (b) flies in and joins the fray. They like to "nip and sip".

Tor and the big hobgoblin are hitting each other, but the hobgoblin is actually hurt and its attacks seem weak.

Still, the outcome is uncertain while Tor is surrounded, and as we fade to black, Tor's post-combat equipment list casts many implications...

The Last List13. Tor's inventory contains some new items: Elven boots, a runed short sword and an oily brown potion, each curious and unidentified.

When one's character is doing well, it is often a good time to...

(shift + S) Save and exit.

You can always download CRAWL here.

New! Get the CRAWL TILE VERSION with nifty color graphics, an optional mouse interface and lots of other nice tweaks from the last official updates and patches here. HIGHLY recommended by Leonard Crawley!

Newer! Last but in no way least, there's a new CRAWL on the block and it's a community effort called STONE SOUP. The world of CRAWL continues to evolve, so be sure to check it out.

Happy Crawling!

Basic CRAWL commands:

number pad - movement
? - view a complete list of game commands
< - ascend a stairway
> - descend a stairway
s - search for a secret door or trap
i - view inventory
v - view item details in inventory
g - get an object
d - drop an object
w - wield a weapon (or other object)
W - wear a piece of armor or a shield
T - take off armor
P - put on a ring or amulet
R - remove a ring or amulet
r - activate a scroll or read a spellbook
M - memorize a spell
f - fire first available missile weapon
z - "zap" (use) a wand
Z - cast a spell
q - quaff (drink) a potion
E - evoke power of a wielded item
e - eat food
5 - rest for 1 turn
Shift-5 - rest (heal) up to 100 turns
a - use a special ability
m - check skill progression
O - overview of dungeon features explored so far
S - save and exit the game

# - save character sheet to "charactername.txt"

Tip: The letters/keys you'll use most of the time are in lower case.

- L. C.
01.15.11 (Updated 05.12.17)
text and images are copyright 2001 by R. D. Carlson
CRAWL is Copyright 1997-1999 by Linley Henzell and the CRAWL Development Team