is currently unusable
because it relies on setgid(2)
multiple users read and write access to the same files.
phantasia is a role-playing game that
allows players to roll up characters 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
The options provide for a variety of functions to support the
game. They are:
- Get a listing of all character names on file.
- Show scoreboard of top characters per login.
- Print header only.
- Get a monster listing.
- Purge old characters.
- Turn on wizard options, if allowed, if running as
phantasia without header information.
- Examine/change a particular character on file.
The characters are saved on a common file, in order to make the
game interactive between players. Each character is given a password which
allows later retrieval. Only characters above level zero
are saved. Characters unused for a while will be purged. Characters are only
placed on the scoreboard when they die.
A number of the player's more important statistics are almost always displayed
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’, and ‘L’ for movement, as
with vi(1). The
(‘1’) command is for moving to a specific (x, y) coordinate.
The distance a character can move is calculated by 1 plus 1.5 per
level. Moving in a compass direction 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
the player. 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 the current message, just type
⟨return⟩ when prompted for a message.
stats (‘4’) option shows
additional characteristics of a player.
One may leave the game with the
One may rest by default. Resting lets one regain maximum
energy level, and also lets one find
mana. More mana is found at larger levels and further
distances from the origin.
One may call a monster by hitting ‘9’ or
‘X’ can be used to examine other players.
One may quit or execute a sub-shell by hitting interrupt. Quitting
during 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
A player has several options while fighting monsters. They are as follows:
- Inflicts damage on the monster, based upon strength.
Also decreases the monster's strength some.
- Inflicts a little less damage than
decreases the monster's quickness instead.
- Attempt to run away. Success is based upon both the player's and the
monster's brains and quickness.
- Several options for throwing spells (described elsewhere).
- 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 quickness. Paralyzed
monsters wake up very fast when nicked.
- 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 are rolled randomly from the above list, according to
character type. The types are as follows:
- determines how much damage a character can inflict.
- determines how many chances a character gets to make decisions while
- energy level
- specifies how much damage a character may endure before dying.
- magic level
- determines which spells a character may throw, and how effective those
spells will be.
- basically, the character's intelligence; used for various fighting options
- used as a power source for throwing spells.
- gained by fighting monsters and other characters.
- indicative of how much experience a character has accumulated; progresses
geometrically as experience increases.
- sickness which degrades a character's performance (affects
energy level and strength).
- accumulated as a character does certain nasty things; used only rarely in
normal play of the game.
- of player; roughly equivalent to number of turns. As age
increases, many personal statistics degenerate.
- magic user
- strong in magic level and brains, weak
in other areas. Must rely on wits and magic to survive.
- good in strength and energy level,
fairly good in other areas. This adds up to a well-equipped fighter.
- very high quickness and above average
- very high strength and energy level,
but with a tendency to be rather slow and not too bright.
- rather quick and smart, with high energy level, but poor
in magic and strength. Born with some
- 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
Not only are the starting characteristics different for the
different character types, but the characteristics progress at different
rates for the different types as the character goes up in
level. Experimentoes' characteristics
progress randomly as one of the other types. The progression as characters
increase in level is summarized in the following
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 powers.
These cases are described below.
Monsters get bigger 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, regardless of size.
- 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 does
choosing this option while cloaked.
- 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 distance possible to move is based upon
level and magic level.
- 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
- 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 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.
- 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 level.
- magic level necessary: 25
mana used: 50
Used during monster combat. Transforms the monster randomly into one of the
100 monsters from the monster file.
- magic level necessary: 35
mana used: 75
Used during combat with monsters. Increases strength up to a maximum.
- 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 several times, but a maximum level will be
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
monster to fight.
Nastier monsters are found as one progresses 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
Certain monsters have special abilities, as follows:
The various treasure types are as follows:
- can only be subdued if the player is in possession of a
- has random characteristics, including treasure type.
- 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.
- also a very nasty person. She will permanently sap
strength from someone.
- 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.
- can transport a player.
- inflicts damage by taking away experience, not
- may take some mana.
- may try to steal a ring or neutralize part of one's
- may take half a player's gold and gems
- may get nasty and steal one gold piece and run away.
- 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
- may bite, inflicting 1/2 of a poison.
- will call one of its (much bigger) buddies if picked upon.
- will become bored with battle, fart, and run off.
- will try to steal a ring from a player, if given the
- may inflict damage through a
force field. This
subtracts from energy level instead of any shield the
player may have thrown up. This is a very easy way to die.
- loves metal and will steal all the metal treasures from a player if
- can bite and poison. This inflicts five poisons, and
also takes one from the player's quickness.
- may tire of battle, and leave after calling one of his friends
(Jubjub Bird or Bandersnatch).
- 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
- may regenerate its energy and strength
while in battle.
- may make a player blind.
- Type zero
- 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
invisible - temporarily puts the finder's
quickness to one million.
ten fold strength - multiplies finder's strength by ten.
pick monster - allows finder to pick next monster to
general knowledge - adds to finder's
brains and magic level.
All the scrolls except general knowledge
automatically 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 battle Dark Lord.
Merlyn - adds brains,
magic, and mana.
war hammer - like an axe, but
- 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
- 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
quicksilver - adds to quickness.
- Type ten
- elven boots - adds permanently to
- Type eleven
- palantir - allows one to see all the other players; used
by council of the wise to seek the
- Type twelve/thirteen
- ring - allows one to hit much harder in battle,
Any treasure type 10-13 monsters may instead carry a type nine
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
treasure knocks energy level very low and adds 0.25
Rings are only carried by nazguls and
Dark Lords. They come in four different flavors. All
rings rest the player to maximum and cause him/her to hit
much harder in battle with monsters (assuming the ring is
being used for battle.)
Two types of rings are cursed and come either
from nazguls or Dark Lords. After a few
times of using these types, the player falls under the control 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
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.
- This is done to another player. It randomly moves the affected player
about. A charm protects from transports.
- 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 curses.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
The king may also
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
teleport anywhere for free by using the origin as a
intervene (‘8’) option. All
intervene options cost 1000 mana. One
intervene option is to
another player. This is just a quick way for that player to be rested to
maximum and lose a little 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
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
infinitesimally small sin, or else it's all over upon
finding the grail. In order to help members of the council on their quest,
teleport with greater ease.
Upon finding the grail, the player advances to position of
valar. He/she may then exercise more and niftier options
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
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.
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
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.
-S option. Otherwise, the wizard
plays no different from other players. The wizard abilities
are outlined below.
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.
- When examining a player, (game invoked with
‘X’ is used from within game), the wizard
may also change the player.
- The wizard may do all the
intervention options. One extra option,
vaporize, is added to kill any offensive
- 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 types.
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.
- 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.
- This place is where the valar resides. It is associated
with no particular coordinate on the playing grid.
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 possess, based upon
level. Quicksilver is always limited 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 type.
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 drastically
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
- Inflicts damage upon other person.
- Escape from battle. Has a 75% chance of working.
- Battle spell.
- One-time chance to try to win against the foe. Has a 10% chance of
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-terminal battle.