Hints for beginner HACKERS
HACK is a Dungeons and Dragons like game where the object is to
descend into a dungeon to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor and return to the
surface with it. The Amulet is harder to retrieve in PC HACK 3.x because
it's in the possession of the Wizard of Yendor (more on this later).
You can be one of several character classes when you start the game.
Each character starts with different attributes (strength, hit points) and
a different inventory of items (armor, weapons, etc). You should try the
different classes to see which is best for you. The class most likely to
survive the first few dungeon levels is probably the cave-person. However,
each class has its strong and weak points so you should try them all.
The status line
At the bottom of the screen is displayed information about your state
of being. You see the dungeon level you are on, how many hit points you
have now (and will have when fully recovered), what your armor class is
(the lower the better), your strength, experience level and the state of
your stomach. If you have the "time" option ON, you will also see the
number of moves you have taken.
The little dog
You start HACK accompanied by a little dog (nameable with the 'C'
command) who can be very useful to you -- try not to kill him! Your dog
will follow you -- if you carry tripe rations, he will follow you even
better. Sometimes he gets in your way. Either move around him, or wait
(with the '.' command) until he moves. If you want him to follow you to
the next dungeon level, he must be on a square next to you when you descend
or ascend the stairs. Sometimes he gets hungry and confused and hits you.
You can feed him by throwing food at him with the 't' command.
Your dog may get mad at you if you move to a different dungeon level
without taking him with you. Although he may not hit you, he won't help
you either. You'll have to appease him somehow.
Your dog is useful for his ability to fight and to pick up and carry
objects. Of course, your dog might be a female, so change all "he" and
"him" to "she" and "her".
The dungeon is a set of levels connected through stairways and
trapdoors. Each level is an interconnected system of rooms and corridors.
The rooms have doors that lead to the corridors. You must walk straight
through a door -- no diagonals allowed. Some doors (and some corridors)
are hidden and you must search for them (with the 's' command). Usually
you must search several times, so use a repeat count (eg '5s'). Some rooms
are special and have no doors or connecting corridors. There is a way to
get in, though, but you will have to experiment.
The Wizard resides below the normal dungeon levels and can't be
reached by only taking the stairs.
Some rooms have special contents -- some are shops (but be aware that
the shopkeeper expects payment (the 'p' command) for the items you get
there) and some are zoos, full of interesting monsters. Some rooms are lit
and you can see the entire room, and some rooms are dark so you can see
only the floor near you.
To fight monsters, move to occupy the same square they are in. You
can also throw things at them, or zap them with wands. It is best to leave
some monsters alone.
The objects you find may be enchanted (that's good) or cursed (that's
bad) or normal. Cursed items are generally less effective than normal and
also, once you have them on your body they are impossible to remove unless
you remove their curse.
You use different objects in different ways:
) WEAPONS are wielded ('w') or thrown ('t')
Some weapons are more effective when used together. For example,
you get more effect by wielding a bow before throwing arrows.
'w-' means to wield nothing; ie. be barehanded
[ ARMOR is worn ('W') and taken off ('T')
You can wear more than 1 piece of armor, but there are some
restrictions on the combinations. For example, you can only wear 1
SUIT of armor, but you can always wear an elven cloak.
! POTIONS are quaffed ('q')
= RINGS are put on ('P') and removed ('R')
You only can only wear 2 rings at a time, one on each hand. Also,
wearing rings makes you to use up more food, so use them sparingly.
/ WANDS are zapped ('z')
Some wands need a direction to be zapped in, but others do not.
? SCROLLS are read ('r')
( TOOLS are applied ('A')
For example, to use a whistle, you apply it.
Initially you will not know what the potions, rings, wands or scrolls
do until you use them. They will have names like "XIXIXI". Some of these
objects are identified as soon as you use them (for example, a scroll of
light causes a dark room to be lit).
Other objects have no noticeable effect. If it's not immediately
obvious what a scroll or potion does the first time you use it, you may be
asked to give it a name. HACK does this so that if you have an idea about
what the object does you can name it something appropriate so the next time
you find it you will know something about it. Whenever HACK asks for a
name it is possible to use ^H or back-arrow to erase the previous
character, ^U to erase the entire line, and to quit without supplying
Using some objects gives a message like "You have a strange feeling
for a moment, but it passes". This means the object would have done
something but couldn't do it now (for example, some scrolls affect your
weapon, but if you're not wielding a weapon you'll get this message).
The call command 'c' can be used to name individual objects, or all
objects of a certain type. When you do a 'c', HACK asks if you want to
name an individual object. Answer 'y' if you do and 'n' if you want to
name all objects of the same type. Then HACK will prompt you for the
inventory letter of the object you want to name. For example, if you put
on a silver ring that has inventory letter 's' and notice your strength
increases by two then you do:
'c' 'n' 's' 'strength'
(call all objects with the same type as item 's' "strength").
then 'c' 'y' 's' '+2'
(call individual inventory item 's' "+2")
When you do an inventory you will see
s) a ring called strength named +2
The next time you pick up a silver ring it will be called strength so you
will know what it does. However, you will not know if it will increase or
decrease your strength! You will have to put it on to find out or you will
have to identify it.
If you enchant an object, it will be better than it was before.
Enchanting armor changes your armor class by 1 (eg. you could go from class
7 to class 6 -- the less positive the number, the better the armor class,
as in Dungeons and Dragons). For weapons, the more positive the number,
the better. Thus a +2 mace is better than a +1 mace. Some armor is better
than others -- normal plate mail is better than normal ring mail. Some
weapons are better than others, but factors such as experience and luck
determine whether you can effectively use the better weapons.
The scroll of identify will help you to identify many objects, but
generally you just have to use them and see what happens. Occasionally a
scroll of identify will have the ability to identify several objects. So
it is to your advantage to have several unidentified objects before you use
an identify scroll. When you read a scroll of identify HACK will ask you
which classes of objects you want identified. If, for example, you answer
'=/' then for each ring in your pack you will be asked if you want to
identify it. After going through all rings, you will be asked about the
wands. If you do not identify any of these objects you will get back to
the question about which classes of objects you want identified.
The effect of rings may not be obvious, and cursed rings can't be
removed unless you remove their curse. Thus scrolls of identify are
probably best used to identify rings.
When the game ends, either by your death, when you quit, or if you
escape from the caves, HACK will give you (a fragment of) the list of top
scorers. The scoring is based on many aspects of your behavior but a rough
estimate is obtained by taking the amount of gold you've found in the cave
plus four times your (real) experience. Precious gems may be worth a lot
of gold when brought to the exit. There is a 10% penalty for dying.
What is "--More--"?
Whenever there is a lot of information for you to see, HACK waits for
you to read it all by giving you a "--More--". If the "--More--" is
displayed on the normal response line (the top line that most messages are
shown on), then HACK is waiting for you to enter ' ' (the space character)
or (the ENTER key).
If HACK has printed out a list of information (eg. you did an 'i'
command), then HACK will accept ' ' or as well as the inventory
letter of anything in the list. Where is this useful? An example is when
you want to quaff a potion but you can't remember the letter of the potion
you want. You do 'q' then '?' and HACK gives you the list of all your
potions followed by a "--More--" message. If you type ' ' or you
get back to the prompt about which potion you want to quaff. If you type
the inventory letter of the potion, you immediately quaff that potion.
If the screen is completely cleared to give you information (eg.
you're looking at the help documentation with the '?' command), then there
will be more than one screen full of information. In this case, ' ' or
mean "show the next screen" and 'q' or ESC mean "stop".
Of course, there is much about HACK to discover yourself. The RUMORS
file provides helpful clues for playing. Also, saved games have no special
protection so you can save a game and make a copy of the savefile. Then if
you die trying something risky you can use the copy to restart your game
from the same place.