ARRP 2010: NLarn

One of ancient and very influential roguelikes of past is Larn. Many veteran players have very fond memories of that game. NLarn is a rewrite with modern roguelike features added in. It has color, smooth interface, friendlier controls and … auto-travel?

NLarn: TownNLarn is winnable and has most features of original Larn in. First thing to notice is color and bustling town with inhabitants who tell rumors when nearby or bumped into. Fortunately they will not pick items up so you can still store items on the ground without worry. Annoying thing is citizens will continue to flood your message area while you are taking a course in the College of Larn.

NLarn: GenocideGameplay itself has not changed that much. Vision range is reasonable now. Items may stack on single floor tile and have blessed/uncursed/cursed status. Chests are true containers. Traversing level boundary will correctly place the player character on corresponding set of stairs. Charisma attribute which was only used in determining strength of charm monster spell is gone. Finally monsters behave in intelligent way. They use weapons against you and may follow you through stairs to another level or fall through trap doors to wait for you on next floor.

Magic is altered too. Genocide is a scroll instead of a spell, few other spells were cut. Among them is sphere of permanence, famed spell extending duration of timed enchantments to eternity. Axing it is good balancing move but I still miss it for its awesomeness factor. On lower difficulties lightning and fireball do not destroy statues like they used to.

NLarn: InventoryOther large set of differences affect NLarn interface. Keys are changed to work in different way. Many are rendered obsolete by inventory view where all actions can be chosen in object-verb fashion. You no longer enter buildings with ‘e’. ‘>’ is the key here, culling a unnecessary command. Item interaction screens are very nice and easy to use. The only place where original Larn still has partial superiority in interface division is bank view. Gemstones were put into a nice table which allowed to comfortably sell a stone and withdraw/deposit money in one visit. Moreover values of all stones were visible at the same time.

NLarn: EndgameIt is version 0.6.1, still far from 1.0. Many features wait to be implemented. In upcoming versions I expect hounds to vaporize magic missiles, addition of carried artifacts like Scarab of Negate Spirit among others. There are no curses, taxes nor slippery volcano exit. Summon demon spell is not yet there. Overall NLarn is much more attractive than its predecessor even in current state. Improved interface, color and auto-travel are guaranteed to win over Larn’s completeness for everyone but die-hard players.

6 thoughts on “ARRP 2010: NLarn

  1. Thank you for the review!

    I’d like to comment on some of the points you made.

    First, some of the issues you mentioned will be addressed in the upcoming release, which I hope to have finished by the end of this month. Townsfolk will definitely be less annoying. The missing curses are implemented and opening containers found in the caverns may bring these nasty side effects. The spell summon demon will be included and create a demonic companion, which will join the player for some turns and attack nearby monsters.

    The scarab of negate spirit is already there, although in a new shape. I’ve turned all special items, such as the scarab you mentioned and the device of no theft into amulets. This way the player has to decide which of the special effects is more useful.

    At some time I want to allow an experienced spell caster to bind enchantments to items, allowing to create “boots of speed” or similar items. This will be the replacement for the spell of permanence.

    For lightnings and fireballs not destroying statues – I was not aware that this worked in Larn, so I never implemented it. I’ll add this in a later version. The same goes for the special ability of hell hounds.


  2. Oh, I have worn amulet of theft prevention as can be witnessed on second and fourth screenshot. With inventory not limited by slots it is fine change. Yes, hell hounds were immune to mle. Lightning and fireball wrecked statues up to difficulty level 2 (don’t remember if inclusive). May I ask what are you going to do about belts of striking? They increased weapon class depending on enchantment.

    Also, I ran into a crash bug when quaffing from fountains. Some time into drinking the fountain would provide two effects (usually negative) and when emptied it turns into dry fountain. By now some thing in memory has happened that guarantees violent crash upon killing any monster. I probably could provide you with stack trace if you wish. The bug is fairly reproducible. Thankfully level saving mechanism rescued me every time.

    I look forward to next version. So far NLarn is very enjoyable.


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