published by author in 1993, running on Linux
type: role-play
perspective: other
player options: single player, LAN
languages: eng
Install with apt

Official description

phantasia is a role playing game which allows players to roll up charac‐
ters of various types to fight monsters and other players. Progression
of characters is based upon gaining experience from fighting monsters
(and other players).

Most of the game is menu driven and self-explanatory (more or less). The
screen is cursor updated, so be sure to set up the TERM variable in your

The characters are saved on a common file, in order to make the game
interactive between players. The characters are given a password in
order to retrieve them later. Only characters above level zero are
saved. Characters unused for awhile will be purged. Characters are only
placed on the scoreboard when they die.
Normal Play
A number of the player's more important statistics are almost always dis‐
played on the screen, with maximums (where applicable) in parentheses.

The character is placed randomly near the center of a Cartesian system.
Most commands are selected with a single letter or digit. For example,
one may move by hitting 'W', 'S', 'N', or 'E', (lower case may also be
used, at no time is the game case dependent). One may also use 'H', 'J',
'K', 'L', for movement, similar to vi(1). To move to a specific (x, y)
coordinate, use the move ('1') command. The distance a character can
move is calculated by 1 plus 1.5 per level. Moving in a compass direc‐
tion will move the player the maximum allowed distance in that direction.

A player may see who else is playing by using the players ('2') option.
One may see the coordinates of those who are the same distance or closer
to the origin as he/she. Kings, and council of the wise can see and can
be seen by everyone. A palantir removes these restrictions.

One can talk to other players with the talk ('3') option. In general,
this is a line or so of text. To remove a current message, just type
⟨return⟩ when prompted for a message.

The stats ('4') option shows additional characteristics of a player.

One may leave the game either with the quit ('5') option.

One may rest by default. Resting lets one regain maximum energy level,
and also lets one find mana (more is found for larger levels and further
distances from the origin).

One may call a monster by hitting '9' or 'C'.

Use 'X' to examine other players.

One may quit or execute a sub-shell by hitting interrupt. Quitting dur‐
ing battle results in death for obvious reasons.

Several other options become available as the player progresses in level
and magic, or to other stations in the game (valar, council of the wise,
king). These are described elsewhere. In general, a control-L will
force the redrawing of the screen.

Other things which may happen are more or less self-explanatory.

Fighting Monsters
A player has several options while fighting monsters. They are as fol‐

melee Inflicts damage on the monster, based upon strength.
Also decreases the monster's strength some.

skirmish Inflicts a little less damage than melee, but decreases
the monster's quickness instead.

evade Attempt to run away. Success is based upon both the
player's and the monster's brains and quickness.

spell Several options for throwing spells (described else‐

nick Hits the monster one plus the player's sword, and gives
the player 10% of the monster's experience. Decreases
the monster's experience an amount proportional to the
amount granted. This also increases the monster's quick‐
ness. Paralyzed monsters wake up very fast when nicked.

luckout This is essentially a battle of wits with the monster.
Success is based upon the player's and the monster's
brains. The player gets credit for slaying the monster
if he/she succeeds. Otherwise, nothing happens, and the
chance to luckout is lost.

Character Statistics
strength determines how much damage a character can inflict.

quickness determines how many chances a character gets to make
decisions while fighting.

energy level
specifies how much damage a character may endure before

magic level
determines which spells a character may throw, and how
effective those spells will be.

brains basically, the character's intelligence; used for vari‐
ous fighting options and spells.

mana used as a power source for throwing spells.

gained by fighting monsters and other characters.

level indicative of how much experience a character has accu‐
mulated; progresses geometrically as experience

poison sickness which degrades a character's performance
(affects energy level and strength).

sin accumulated as a character does certain nasty things;
used only rarely in normal play of the game.

age of player; roughly equivalent to number of turns. As
age increases, many personal statistics degenerate.

Character Types
Character statistics are rolled randomly from the above list, according
to character type. The types are as follows:

magic user strong in magic level and brains, weak in other areas.
Must rely on wits and magic to survive.

fighter good in strength and energy level, fairly good in
other areas. This adds up to a well-equipped fighter.

elf very high quickness and above average magic level are
elves selling points.

dwarf very high strength and energy level, but with a ten‐
dency to be rather slow and not too bright.

halfling rather quick and smart, with high energy level, but
poor in magic and strength. Born with some

experimento very mediocre in all areas. However, the experimento
may be placed almost anywhere within the playing grid.

The possible ranges for starting statistics are summarized in the follow‐
ing table.
Type Strength Quick Mana Energy Brains Magic
Mag. User 10-15 30-35 50-100 30-45 60-85 5-9
Fighter 40-55 30-35 30-50 45-70 25-45 3-6
Elf 35-45 32-38 45-90 30-50 40-65 4-7
Dwarf 50-70 25-30 25-45 60-100 20-40 2-5
Halfling 20-25 34 25-45 55-90 40-75 1-4
Experimento 25 27 100 35 25 2

Not only are the starting characteristics different for the different
character types, the characteristics progress at different rates for the
different types as the character goes up in level. Experimentoes' char‐
acteristics progress randomly as one of the other types. The progression
as characters increase in level is summarized in the following table.

Type Strength Mana Energy Brains Magic
Mag. User 2.0 75 20 6 2.75
Fighter 3.0 40 30 3.0 1.5
Elf 2.5 65 25 4.0 2.0
Dwarf 5 30 35 2.5 1
Halfling 2.0 30 30 4.5 1

The character type also determines how much gold a player may carry, how
long until rings can overcome the player, and how much poison the player
can withstand.

During the course of the game, the player may exercise his/her magic pow‐
ers. These cases are described below.

cloak magic level necessary: 20 (plus level 7)
mana used: 35 plus 3 per rest period
Used during normal play. Prevents monsters from
finding the character, as well as hiding the player
from other players. His/her coordinates show up as
'?' in the players option. Players cannot collect
mana, find trading posts, or discover the grail
while cloaked. Calling a monster uncloaks, as well
as choosing this option while cloaked.

teleport magic level necessary: 40 (plus level 12)
mana used: 30 per 75 moved
Used during normal play. Allows the player to move
with much more freedom than with the move option,
at the price of expending mana. The maximum dis‐
tance possible to move is based upon level and
magic level.

power blast magic level necessary: none
mana used: 5 times level
Used during inter-terminal battle. Damage is based
upon magic level and strength. Hits much harder
than a normal hit.

all or nothing magic level necessary: none
mana used: 1
Used while combating monsters. Has a 25% chance of
working. If it works it hits the monster just
enough to kill it. If it fails, it doesn't hit the
monster, and doubles the monster's quickness and
strength. Paralyzed monsters wake up much quicker
as a result of this spell.

magic bolt magic level necessary: 5
mana used: variable
Used while combating monsters. Hits the monster
based upon the amount of mana expended and magic
level. Guaranteed to hit at least 10 per mana.

force field magic level necessary: 15
mana used: 30
Used during monster combat. Throws up a shield to
protect from damage. The shield is added to actual
energy level, and is a fixed number, based upon
maximum energy. Normally, damage occurs first to
the shield, and then to the players actual energy

transform magic level necessary: 25
mana used: 50
Used during monster combat. Transforms the monster
randomly into one of the 100 monsters from the mon‐
ster file.

increase might magic level necessary: 35
mana used: 75
Used during combat with monsters. Increases
strength up to a maximum.

invisibility magic level necessary: 45
mana used: 90
Used while fighting monsters. Makes it harder for
the monster to hit, by temporarily increasing the
player's quickness. This spell may be thrown sev‐
eral times, but a maximum level will be reached.

transport magic level necessary: 60
mana used: 125
Used during monster combat. Transports the monster
away from the player. Success is based upon
player's magic and brains, and the monster's
experience. If it fails the player is transported
instead. 60% of the time, the monster will drop
any treasure it was carrying.

paralyze magic level necessary: 75
mana used: 150
Used during monster combat. "Freezes" the monster
by putting its quickness slightly negative. The
monster will slowly wake up. Success is based upon
player's magic and the monster's experience. If it
fails, nothing happens.

specify magic level necessary: none
mana used: 1000
Used during monster combat only by valar or council
of the wise. Allows the player to pick which mon‐
ster to fight.

Monsters get bigger as one moves farther from the origin (0,0). Rings of
distance 125 from the origin determine the size. A monster's experience,
energy level, and brains are multiplied by the size. Strength is
increased 50% per size over one, and quickness remains the same, regard‐
less of size.

Also, nastier monsters are found as one progress farther out from the
origin. Monsters also may flock. The percent chance of that happening
is designated as flock% in the monster listing. Monsters outside the
first ring may carry treasure, as determined by their treasure type.
Flocking monsters, and bigger monsters increase the chances of treasure.

Certain monsters have special abilities; they are as follows:

Unicorn can only be subdued if the player is in possession of a

Modnar has random characteristics, including treasure type.

Mimic will pick another name from the list of monsters in
order to confuse.

Dark Lord very nasty person. Does not like to be hit (especially
nicked), and many spells do not work well (or at all)
against him. One can always evade from the Dark Lord.

Leanan-Sidhe also a very nasty person. She will permanently sap
strength from someone.

Saruman wanders around with Wormtongue, who can steal a
palantir. Also, Saruman may turn a player's gems into
gold pieces, or scramble her/his stats.

Thaumaturgist can transport a player.

Balrog inflicts damage by taking away experience, not energy.

Vortex may take some mana.

Nazgul may try to steal a ring or neutralize part of one's

Tiamat may take half a player's gold and gems and escape.

Kobold may get nasty and steal one gold piece and run away.

Shelob may bite, inflicting the equivalent of one poison.

Assorted Faeries These are killed if attacking someone carrying holy
water. These are Cluricaun, Fir Darrig, Fachan, Ghille
Dhu, Bogle, Killmoulis, and Bwca.

Lamprey may bite, inflicting 1/2 of a poison.

Shrieker will call one of its (much bigger) buddies if picked

Bonnacon will become bored with battle, fart, and run off.

Smeagol will try to steal a ring from a player, if given the

Succubus may inflict damage through a force field. This sub‐
tracts from energy level instead of any shield the
player may have thrown up. This is a very easy way to

Cerberus loves metal and will steal all the metal treasures from
a player if able.

Ungoliant can bite and poison. This inflicts five poisons, and
also takes one from the player's quickness.

Jabberwock may tire of battle, and leave after calling one of his
friends (Jubjub Bird or Bandersnatch).

Morgoth actually Modnar, but reserved for council of the wise,
valar, and ex-valar. Fights with Morgoth end when
either he or the player dies. His characteristics are
calculated based upon the player's. The player is
given the chance to ally with him. No magic, except
force field works when battling Morgoth.

Troll may regenerate its energy and strength while in battle.

Wraith may make a player blind.

The various treasure types are as follows:

Type zero none

Type one power booster - adds mana.
druid - adds experience.
holy orb - subtracts 0.25 sin.

Type two amulet - protects from cursed treasure.
holy water - kills assorted faeries.
hermit - reduces sin by 25% and adds some mana.

Type three shield - adds to maximum energy level.
virgin - used to subdue a unicorn, or to give much
experience (and some sin).
athelas - subtracts one poison.

Type four (scrolls) shield - throws a bigger than normal force field.
invisible - temporarily puts the finder's quickness
to one million.
ten fold strength - multiplies finder's strength by
pick monster - allows finder to pick next monster
to battle.
general knowledge - adds to finder's brains and
magic level.

All the scrolls except general knowledge automati‐
cally call a monster. These preserve any spells
that were already in effect, but are only in effect
while in battle.

Type five dagger - adds to strength.
armour - same as a shield, but bigger.
tablet - adds brains.

Type six priest - rests to maximum; adds mana, brains; and
halves sin.
Robin Hood - increases shield and adds permanently
to strength.
axe - like dagger, but bigger.

Type seven charm - protects from cursed treasure (used before
amulet); used in conjunction with blessing to bat‐
tle Dark Lord.
Merlyn - adds brains, magic, and mana.
war hammer - like an axe, but bigger.

Type eight healing potion - sets poison to -2, or subtracts
two from poison, whichever is better.
transporter - allows finder to move anywhere.
sword - like a war hammer, but bigger.

Type nine golden crown - allows the player to become king, by
going to (0,0).
blessing - cuts sin to 1/3, adds mana, rests to
maximum, kills Dark Lord with a charm, and gives
bearer first hit on all monsters.
quicksilver - adds to quickness.

Type ten elven boots - adds permanently to quickness.

Type eleven palantir - allows one to see all the other players;
used by council of the wise to seek the grail.

Type twelve/thirteen ring - allows one to hit much harder in battle,

Any treasure type 10-13 monsters may instead carry a type nine treasure.

A monster may also be carrying gold or gems. These are used at trading
posts to buy things. A gem is worth 1000 gold pieces. Too much gold
will slow a player down. One may carry 1000 plus 200 per level of gold.
A gem weighs one half a gold piece. Monsters of treasure type 7 or
higher may carry gems.

The chance of a cursed treasure is based upon treasure type. The more
valuable treasures have a greater chance of being cursed. A cursed trea‐
sure knocks energy level very low, and adds 0.25 poison.

Rings are only carried by nazguls and Dark Lords. They come in four dif‐
ferent flavors. All rings rest the player to maximum and cause him/her
to hit much harder in battle with monsters (assuming one has chosen to
use the ring for battle.)

Two types of rings are cursed and come either from nazguls or Dark Lord.
After a few times of using these types, the player falls under the con‐
trol of the ring, and strange, random things will occur. Eventually, the
player dies, and gives his/her name to a monster on the file. Dying
before the ring is used up also renames the monster.

The two remaining types of rings are much more benign. The one from a
nazgul is good for a limited number of battle rounds, and will save the
player from death if it was being used when he/she died. The one from
Dark Lord is the same, except that it never is used up. rings disappear
after saving someone from death. In general, cursed rings occur much
more often than normal ones. It is usually not a good idea to pick one
up. The only way to get rid of a ring is to have a monster steal it.

A player may become king by finding a crown and going to (0,0). Players
must have a level in the range of 10 to 1000 to be able to find a crown.
When a player with one or more crowns reaches level 1000, the crowns are
converted to gold.

Once a player is king, he/she may do certain things while in the Lord's
Chamber (0,0). These are exercised with the decree ('0') option.

transport This is done to another player. It randomly moves the
affected player about. A charm protects from transports.

curse This is done to another player. It is analogous to cursed
treasure, but worse. It inflicts two poison, knocks
energy level very low, and degrades the maximum energy.
It also removes a cloak. A blessing protects from king's

energy void The king may put a number of these scattered about his/her
kingdom as he/she pleases. If a player hits one, he/she
loses mana, energy, and gold. The energy void disappears
after being hit.

bestow This is also done to another player. The king may wish to
reward one or more loyal subjects by sharing his/her
riches (gold). Or it is a convenient way to dispose of
some unwanted deadweight.

collect taxes Everyone pays 7% tax on all gold and gems acquired,
regardless of the existence of a king. The king collects
the accrued taxes with this option.

The king may also teleport anywhere for free by using the origin as a
starting place.

Council of the Wise, Valar
A player automatically becomes a member of the council of the wise upon
reaching level 3000. Members of the council cannot have rings. Members
of the council have a few extra options which they can exercise. These
are exercised with the intervene ('8') option. All intervene options
cost 1000 mana. One intervene option is to heal another player. This is
just a quick way for that player to be rested to maximum and lose a lit‐
tle poison. The main purpose in life for members of the council is to
seek the Holy Grail. This is done with a palantir under the seek grail
option. The distance cited by the seek is accurate within 10%, in order
not to make it too easy to find the grail. A player must have infinites‐
imally small sin, or else it's all over upon finding the grail. In order
to help members of the council on their quest, they may teleport with
greater ease.

Upon finding the grail, the player advances to position of valar. He/she
may then exercise more and niftier options under intervention. These
include all of the council members' options plus the ability to move
other players about, bless them, and throw monsters at them. A valar's
blessing has the same effect as the treasure blessing, except that the
affected player does not get his/her blessing flag set. All intervention
options which affect other players age the player who uses them. Valars
are essentially immortal, but are actually given five lives. If these
are used up, the player is left to die, and becomes an ex-valar. A valar
cannot move, teleport, or call monsters. (An exception to this is if the
valar finds a transporter.) This is to allow him/her to dispose of
excess gold. Any monsters which a valar encounters are based upon
his/her size. Only one valar may exist at a time. The current valar is
replaced when another player finds the grail. The valar is then bumped
back to the council of the wise.

The wizard is usually the owner of the game, and the one who maintains
the associated files. The wizard is granted special powers within the
game, if it is invoked with the -S option. Otherwise, the wizard plays
no different from other players. The wizard abilities are outlined

change players When examining a player, (game invoked with -x, or
use 'X' from within game), the wizard may also
change the player.

intervention The wizard may do all the intervention options.
One extra option, vaporize, is added to kill any
offensive players.

super character type An extra character type is added. This character
starts with the maximum possible in all statistics,
selected from the other character types. A super
character's statistics also progress at the maximum
possible rate, selected from the other character

Special Places
Certain regions of the playing grid have different names. In general,
this is only to give the player some idea of his/her present location.
Some special places do exist.

Trading Posts These are located at |x| == |y| == n*n*100 for n = 1, 2,
..., 1000. Trading posts farther out have more things for
sale. Be careful about cheating the merchants there, as
they have short tempers. Merchants are dishonest about 5%
of the time.

Lord's Chamber
This is located at (0,0). Only players with crowns may

Point of No Return
This is located beyond 1.2e+6 in any direction. The only
way to return from here is a transporter or to have a
valar relocate the player.

Dead Marshes This is a band located fairly distant from the origin.
The first fourteen monsters (water monsters) can normally
only be found here.

Valhala This place is where the valar resides. It is associated
with no particular coordinate on the playing grid.

Once a player reaches level 5, the game will start to time out waiting
for input. This is to try to keep the game a bit faster paced.

A guru will never be disgusted with your sins if they are less than one.

A medic wants half of a player's gold to be happy. Offering more than
one has, or a negative amount will anger the medic, who will make the
player worse (add one poison).

The Holy Grail does little for those who are not ready to behold it.
Whenever anyone finds it, it moves. It is always located within 1e+6 in
any compass direction of the origin.

There is a maximum amount of mana and charms a player may posses, based
upon level. Quicksilver is always limited to to a maximum of 99.

Books bought at a trading post increase brains, based upon the number
bought. It is unwise, however to buy more than 1/10 of one's level in
books at a time.

Players over level 10000 are automatically retired.

A blindness goes away in random time.

Players with crowns are identified with a '*' before their character

Inter-terminal Battle
When two player's coordinates correspond, they may engage in battle. In
general, the player with the highest quickness gets the first hit. If
the two players are severely mismatched, the stronger player is drasti‐
cally handicapped for the battle. In order to protect from being stuck
in an infinite loop, the player waiting for response may time out.
Options for battle are:

fight Inflicts damage upon other person.

run away Escape from battle. Has a 75% chance of working.

power blast Battle spell.

luckout One-time chance to try to win against the foe. Has a 10%
chance of working.

Sometimes waits for the other player may be excessive, because he/she may
be battling a monster. Upon slaying a player in battle the winner gets
the other's experience and treasures. Rings do not work for inter-termi‐
nal battle.

# 2012-05-13 13:01:46 - official description - man page

Technical specs

additional hardware: x86-64 CPU,
display: text

Editor note

Linux port of BSD Games, 1997
# 2016-01-15 21:28:06

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