omega is a complex rogue-style game of dungeon exploration. Unlike
other such games, there are a number of ways to "win", depending on
various actions taken during play. The ways you can get your name on
the hiscore board include becoming the highest ranked head of a guild,
sect, college, etc., as well as gaining the most points figured from
possessions and experience. The game (via the oracle) may impose some
structure on your exploration, but you need not follow all of the
oracle's advice. There *is* a "total winner" status, by the way.
omega offers a richness of playing detail that goes beyond a simple
game like rogue. However, the majority of gameplay is very similar to
rogue, hack, ultrarogue, larn, and other such games. The player is
represented by the highlighted "@" symbol, objects and terrain
features are represented by non-alphabetic symbols, monsters are
represented by the various upper and lower case letters, and other
humans are represented by a non-highlighted "@". It is recommended
that the novice read the manual of rogue or some other such game
and perhaps play a few games before playing omega.
omega currently consists of a countryside in which are sited a city,
various villages, several dungeons, and some "special" sites, such as
the temple HQ's of the various priesthoods. The game starts in the
city of Rampart, where all the guilds have headquarters. As a dungeon
is explored, all generated levels are saved to disk. Generated levels
will be reloaded from disk the next time the level is entered. If a
level file has been deleted, the corresponding dungeon level will be
regenerated when re-entered. However, if a dungeon is "completed", this
fact will be remembered, basically meaning that the unique monster at
the bottom will not be regenerated if you've killed him already.
You will first want to explore the city of Rampart. Although the
architecture and important sites remain the same from game to game,
details such as the precise position of certain shops, etc. will
change. Rampart is relatively safe if you don't wander into places
that are obviously dangerous or do things like breaking and entering.
If you are reckless, it is quite possible to get killed before ever
finding the dungeons. Inside the city, the 'M' command allows you to
return immediately to any establishment you have already visited that
game, and is preset to "know" the permanent locations of Rampart.
Many Rampart establishments are only open in the daytime, but some are
only active at night. Due to the stringent anti-crime measures taken
by the Duke, it is usually safe to sleep in the streets. You will find
it far more rewarding, however, to rent or purchase your own lodgings,
if you can afford them.
The point of omega, though, is dungeon exploration. There are a number
of dungeons hidden about the countryside. These dungeons are at
different levels of difficulty and have various idiosyncratic
differences. The easiest are the Caves of the Goblin King, which is
due south of Rampart, in the nearby mountains. The caves must be
searched for with 's' command unless you are lucky enough to move
directly onto them.
You will have the opportunity to create a new character each time you
start up omega. A random selection of statistics will be generated.
To discourage sitting around trying to get an "optimal" character, you
can only "reroll" 9 times before having to reload the game. Since your
statistics tend to go up as you play, it isn't fatal to have low stats
when you start out. On the other hand, high stats don't hurt, either...
Each statistic is very important, but depending what sort of character
you wish to play, different statistics will stand out. Combat is
helped by Strength and Dexterity, Magic-use is aided by Intelligence
and Power. Agility helps you avoid getting hit and avoid traps, while
Constitution determines how many hits you can take before dying.
A new option for omega is to "play yourself". By answering a sequence
of personal questions, omega arrives at what your personal statistics
should be. It is in seriously bad taste to lie... Only the character
you create in this mode can be saved to the omega.rc file. The questions
are set up so that a "renaissance man" type of person will probably
have stats generally around 14-15. The rest of us will stay around 9-12
on average. If you are really impressively good at something you can
start out with a stat of up to 18, but this is pretty unlikely for
most of us.
As you continue to play, you will hopefully accumulate experience and
treasure. You can gain skills and abilities through various means,
the most important being training in one of the Rampart establishments
devoted to self-improvement. Thus, you can choose to work out at the
gym, study at the Collegium Magii, meditate at a Temple, and
so on. Certain skills and abilities may only be gained through
adventuring, and others are mutually exclusive. For example, you can
only be a priest of one particular deity. One of the appeals of
omega is the variety of different types of characters you can play,
each with its own set of goals and benefits.
Another aspect of your character is alignment. Characters are aligned
towards the primal forces of Chaos and Law, or they can be neutral.
Various actions affect this factor; killing peaceful monsters, or
committing burglary, for example, are chaotic acts. Alignment
determines which guilds will let you in, the behavior of some
artifacts and monsters, as well as much else.
Your character will gain various statuses, abilities, immunities,
etc., both harmful and beneficial. Most of the time these are kept
hidden from you, but there are various ways of discovering the truth
-- self-knowledge is very useful in omega. Remember, the oracle
knows all, sees all...
Experience is accrued for skillful actions in the game. As in rogue,
one of the main methods of acquiring experience is defeating monsters.
There are many other ways of gaining experience, though, including
learning spells, deactivating traps, using artifacts correctly, etc.
Experience goes towards two kinds of character development. First,
in the bizarre tradition of role-playing games like * & *, hit
points and combat capabilities go up as experience is gained.
Secondly, experience gained is shared out to each of the guilds,
priesthoods, etc. that the character belongs to. The more guilds
the character is a member of, the slower promotion will be
(except in the City Nobility, and among the Gladiators, where
promotion is not based on experience, but on quests and combats,
respectively). Regardless of the number of guilds the character
is a member of, overall character level, the first type of
experience will not be adversely affected.
omega inventories are now much different from other rogue-like games.
Unlike rogue, et al., you cannot directly employ every object you
carry. Every object may either go into your "pack" or into some
specific inventory slot such as "belt" or "ready hand" or "left
shoulder" etc. Some slots are dedicated to certain types of items (eg,
only armor can go in the armor slot), but other slots are general
purpose, like your belt or your shoulder.
It takes game time to transfer an object from your pack, (which can
hold a fixed number of items) to specific slots from which the item may
useable. The pack is implemented as a mock-stack, so the deeper you
into your pack looking for some item, the more game time you are
wasting. Therefore, carrying a whole lot of (semi)useless items may be
a strategically bad move. Of course, as always, you can't carry more
weight (either in your pack or in your inventory slots) than is
dictated by your current STRENGTH and AGILITY.
There are two type of inventory control: Display mode and Quick mode.
Which mode you use by default can be toggled by the TOPLINE option
settable with the 'O' command and in your omega.rc file.
In Display mode, all the inventory slots are displayed in the menu
window. In Quick mode, only the message lines above the main window
are used, and therefore the slots are not all displayed, only
one of them at a time. Additionally, the commands are slightly
different. One nuance to the display -- note the character following
the index of the slot in the following two lines.
-- a> weapon hand: mace
-- e) belt: short sword
The '>' in the first line indicates the mace is "in use", while
the ') in the second lines means the short sword is not currently
being used. If it is possible for an item to be "in use" in the
current slot, it will be indicated by a '>'. Therefore, if you
don't want to put some new unidentified weapon into use, don't
try to carry it in the weapon hand; the same holds for shields
in the shield slot, etc.
The amount of time each action takes is indicated below. Dropping two
items takes twice as long as dropping one item.
^l,^r: Redisplay inventory (if screen is munged). Takes no time.
d: Drop the item currently in the 'up-in-the-air' slot, or in the
'selected' slot if there is nothing 'up-in-the-air'. Takes one
p: Put the 'up-in-the-air' item into your pack, or the 'selected'
item, if the 'up-in-the-air' item is vacant. Takes 5 seconds.
s: Show the contents of your pack. Takes 5 seconds.
t: Take an item from your pack and put into the 'selected' slot, or
if that is full, tries to put into the 'up-in-the-air' slot.
Takes 5 seconds + 1 second/item examined in pack. I.e., rummaging
at three items before taking one takes 8 seconds.
e: Exchange the 'up-in-the-air' slot with the 'selected' slot. This
will merge two quantities of an item together if possible.
Either slot may be vacant, in which case it is a simple 'put'
or 'take' to a slot.
Takes 2 seconds.
x: Same as 'e' but quit inventory mode immediately if the
up-in-the-air slot is vacant after the action (ie, if it wasn't
an exchange, but was just a put). Helpful when picking up new items.
Takes 2 seconds.
>: Cause the next slot lower down to be the 'selected' one. Takes no
<: Cause the next slot higher up to be the 'selected' one. Takes no
?: Print this help. Takes no time.
Cursor keys: move to next slot (up or down), move to top slot (left),
move to bottom slot (right). Takes no time.
ESCAPE: return to game, dropping any object in the 'up-in-the-air' slot.
Takes no time.
In Display Mode, the 'selected' slot is the one with a highlighted
'->' before it.
d: Drop an item. Takes one second.
p: Put some item into your pack. Takes 5 seconds.
s: Show the contents of your pack. Takes 5 seconds.
t: Take an item from your pack and put into some inventory slot, or
into the 'up-in-the-air' slot if the one selected is full.
Takes 5 seconds + depth of item in pack.
e: Exchange the 'up-in-the-air' slot with some slot. This
will merge two quantities of an item together if possible.
Either slot may be vacant, in which case it is a simple 'put'
or 'take' to a slot.
Takes 2 seconds.
x: Same as 'e' but quit inventory mode immediately if the
up-in-the-air slot is vacant after the action (ie, if it wasn't
an exchange, but was just a put). Helpful when picking up new items.
Takes 2 seconds.
~: Enter Display Mode. Takes no time.
?: Print this help. Takes no time.
ESCAPE: return to game, dropping any object in the 'up-in-the-air' slot.
Takes no time.
In quick mode, there is no 'selected' slot, instead the letter
identifying the slot must be entered following the command.
The 'e' and 'x' commands in both modes are the ones you'll use most;
it combines taking and putting from inventory slot to "up-in-air"
where picked-up items will be, and where you will drop items from on
leaving the inventory mode. Usually the pack is used for items which
it is not important to be able to get at easily, while inventory
slots are for useful items.
The mechanics of movement are much like rogue. You can use either the
numeric keypad or the cursor keys to move; a keypad direction preceded
by a 5 "runs" in that direction until either an object is run into,
or an "interesting" location is hit. More locations are "interesting"
if the "RUNSTOP" option is set.
In most environments, a single move takes but a few seconds of game
time, depending on the player's "Spd" score, but some places movement
takes longer. In the countryside environment, the scale is much larger
than usual (say 5KM/move), so a single move can take hours. (Riding a
horse can reduce the amount of time taken in the country, depending on
the terrain being travelled). In the city or village environments, the
scale is such that a move takes about 30 seconds or so of gametime.
As in most rogue-like games, you attack an adjacent monster by
attempting to move onto it.
At this time, your current real statistics on to-hit, damage, defense,
and armor protection are always displayed. It is felt that the
character would know (or quickly discover) how well any weapon, armor,
etc. actually work. By comparing different weapons, armor, and shield
combinations, you can decide what martial configuration is best for
your character. Keep in mind that cost of equipment does not
necessarily indicate how good it is (though it is a good rule of
The 'F' command allows you to select precisely which actions you will
take in a combat round -- parry high, thrust low, etc. You have
several maneuver points for use in each combat round, depending on
level, status as a gladiator, etc. At the beginning of the game, your
combat options are already set for you, but as you progress, and
possibly gain more maneuvers, the preset options will not be
automatically updated.
"It's not a bug, it's an undocumented feature."
omega is not just a large program, it is a large, complicated, and not
particularly well written program. There are so many features that not
all can be well tested, particularly in combination with one another.
Therefore, it is likely that your version, whatever it is, has some
bugs. The author always strives to correct bugs and remedy
misfeatures, so if you send mail to, he will
attempt to remedy the problem. Suggestions for further features,
monsters, traps, items, dungeons, etc. are also welcome.
Info for the Atari ST version:
Laurence Brothers has stopped working on omega. This particular version
for the Atari ST has been based on Unix version 0.75, and was ported by
Hildo Biersma ( I am aware that quite a
large amount of bugs remain, but am planning to remove as many as
possible. So, if you find any bugs, want features added or any other
changes, feel free to write. My real-world address should be in the
'readme.txt' file included in the distribution archive.
Your character may be taught spells by his or her guild or priesthood,
at the collegium magii, or pick them up from a scroll of spells.
When you try to cast a spell, with the 'm' command, you can ask for
a list of known spells to be displayed by pressing the '?' key. To ask
for all spells starting with a certain prefix, type that prefix
followed by a '?'. The amount of mana a spell takes is displayed too.
Mana is the cost of casting a spell. Mana is not normally regenerated
except when the player goes up an experience level, but various magic
items augment mana, and the sorceror's guild will recharge you for a fee.
Note that the amount of mana a spell takes to cast will vary during the
various phases of the moon. Therefore, when a spell is displayed, both
the 'standard' and the current amount of mana the spell takes are shown.
If you learn the same spell multiple times, the effective power drain to
cast the spell is lowered. Some spells have a constant effect, while
vary according to your level. The spell of ritual magic has a variety of
different effects depending on the circumstances under which it is cast.
The spell of high magic is the most powerful, by the way.
Rampart is set in a strange landscape of different terrain types. The
land is surrounded in part by a mystic sea of chaos which it is
probably a good idea to avoid. Screen characters have a different
meaning in the countryside than they do elsewhere, by the way, and
there is a different command set (accessible by '?' when out of the
city). Time passes much more quickly in countryside movement; you will
have to bring a lot of food with you, though you may wish to
hunt ('H' command) to supplement your food reserves; many of the
animals that you may encounter, for example, are edible.
Since each countryside site is quite a large area, you may have
to search ('s' command) to learn of interesting sites nearby.
Countryside Map Example:
The @ as usual is the player; the +'s are an arm of the Sea of
Chaos; the O is the city of Rampart; the ^'s are mountains;
the .'s are a road; the -'s are plains and meadows;
and the * is a dungeon entrance.
The countryside can be rather dangerous for low level characters to
explore at random. However, maps of the surrounding areas can be
purchased at the villages which can be found mostly at the ends
of the roads. Each village has a "special" magical site somewhere
inside its borders. These sites may be beneficial or harmful
depending how they are approached and the circumstances of their
There are a number of "special" locations in the countryside; these
are basically one-level screens of various sorts, or they may be
multi-level dungeons. If you follow the advice of the oracle,
who may be found somewhere in Rampart, you will wind up visiting most
of these sites.
A special site or dungeon may be entered from the Countryside
environment by means of the '>' command. Depending whether or not it
is a multilevel or single level site, it may be exited simply by
moving off the edge of the screen, or by ascending or descending a
stairway from the first level of the dungeon.
Map: The large central area represents a map of the current
environment. On it, the highlighted @ always represents the player,
letters represent monsters, non-highlighted @'s represent other
humans, and other characters represent either objects or terrain
features. The map will take up as much of the screen as is possible,
so if you are running in a windowing system make the omega window as
large as it can be.
Since the same character can represent different things or entities
(even in the same environment), a good command to remember is 'x'
(examine), which will tell you precisely what you are dealing with in
any situation. This is especially helpful before you have terrain
types like deep pools and lava pits (!) memorized.... You can use the
CONFIRM option to avoid walking absent-mindedly into a trap, pool,
etc. The '/' command will give you more general help, for example
telling you that the ')' character represents a weapon. The '?'
command can give you either a command list or this file. The command
lists will differ depending whether you are in the countryside, or a
dungeon or city.
Messages: Directly above the map window is a three line area that
shows current messages from the game describing what is going on.
The ^p command can show old messages (The last 10 are kept).
Location: Directly beneath the map window is a one line description
of your current location or environment.
Statistics: Beneath the Location line are two lines that show
the current state of the player's statistics such as strength,
dexterity, constitution, agility, intelligence, power, mana,
gold pieces, carrying capacity, etc. When the value given looks
like number1 / number2, number1 represents the current value,
and number2 represents a maximum value.
Flags: In the upper right corner of the omega display, below the date
and time, and phase of the moon, you will see four flags: The top
describes your food status, the second describes your status with
respect to poison, the third your health (diseased or healthy), and
the fourth, your mode of transportation. While you are diseased you
will not regain hit points naturally. While you are poisoned you will
take damage periodically until cured or killed (or the poison's effect
can naturally fade). When your food runs out, and you start starving,
you will take more and more damage as time passes until finally you
die of starvation. It's always a good idea to stock up at the
Commandant's... If you manage to acquire a horse, your SPEED will
probably improve (unless you were very fast already). Regardless of
SPEED, having a horse will save some time in countryside movement, and
may also help out your combat strength. However, horses tend not to
enjoy going into dungeons...
Combat Abilities: In the lower right of the display, your current
combat abilities are displayed. These are:
Hit: is your current chance to hit with the weapon currently wielded,
the higher the better. This factor varies with your DEXTERITY,
experience level, and the weapon wielded.
Dmg: is the maximum amount of damage you can do with a hit. This factor
varies with your STRENGTH and the weapon wielded.
Def: is your defensive rating, how hard it is for monsters to hit you.
factor varies with your AGILITY and experience level, and with
the shield being used.
Arm: is your armor rating, how much damage is absorbed when a monster
hits you before you take damage. Armor only absorbs normal damage;
various effects and forms of magic may penetrate armor. This factor
varies with the armor worn.
Spd: is a speed factor, how quickly or how slowly you move. This factor
calculated about a base of 1.00; 2.00 means you move twice as fast;
0.50 means you move twice as slowly as normal. This factor varies
with your AGILITY and the amount of weight you are carrying.
Every monster has its own speed factor. The maximum speed is 5.0;
the minimum is 0.10.
Magic spells, special items, and monster effects can affect all these
positively and negatively.
Since omega's dungeons are quite large, all dungeon levels are saved in
compressed form; besides that, the current dungeon and the city level
be stored in the save file. When a dungeon level is entered, the level
is restored from disk if it is available; otherwise, whether the level
has never been explored before or the level file has been deleted, it
will be (re)generated. To explain this, you might simply consider that
the "actual" level is far larger than is apparent, and you are just
traversing a different part of it if you lose your map of the level...
If you know the spell of Return, (learnable at the Explorers' Club)
you will be able to warp to your deepest excursion in the dungeon
without having to retraverse the other levels in between. Some other
shortcuts exist for "warping" from one locale or level to another.
To at least simulate the continuity of character in the game, saved
files will be deleted on restoration. Of course, you *can* copy them,
with your level files, if you want to cheat. Note, however, that level
files cannot be re-used with a different save-file when you next play
the game.
Options may be set with the 'O' command. The options are:
(F) BELLICOSE: Attack friendly monsters without confirmation.
(F) JUMPMOVE: Don't display things until the end of a run.
(T) PICKUP: Automatically pick things up when you move over them.
(T) RUNSTOP: Stop a run when something like a door is passed.
(T) CONFIRM: Ask confirmation before you do some dangerous things.
(F) TOPINV: Display inventory to message line, not to full screen.
(F) PACKADD: Add new items to pack, instead of going into inventory mode
(V) VERBOSITY: TERSE, MEDIUM, or VERBOSE, the level of detail in combat.
(1) SEARCHNUM: the number of turns spent searching when you hit the 's'
The default values are parenthesized. If you define your own character
then save the omega.rc file, the options you've set will be saved too.
key : description
: #
: abort the spell of shadow form
: enter wizard mode (WIZARD only)
: list items in pack
: redraw screen (redraw each window)
: print previous message (more or less)
: redraw screen (redraw curscr)
: make a wish (wizard mode only)
: magic-map screen (wizard mode only)
: activate a wand, staff, or rod
: close door
: drop object at current location
: eat something
: fire/throw something
: pick up object at current location
: primary inventory mode (as per TOPINV option)
: cast a magic spell
: open door
: pick the pocket of an adjacent monster
: quaff a potion
: read a scroll
: search all around you, # of times = SEARCHNUM
: talk to an adjacent monster
: vault over a few intervening spaces
: examine a location
: bash something (adjacent location)
: activate an item or artifact
: call an item something
: disarm an adjacent trap
: dismount (exit?) from your horse
: set combat action sequence
: give something to an adjacent monster
: secondary inventory mode (as per TOPINV option)
: move quickly to some discovered site (city only)
: set options
: public license information
: quit
: rename character
: save game and quit
: dig a tunnel through a wall
: version information
: bash something (item carried)
: rest a turn
: sleep some number of minutes
: stay in current location, activating any local effect here :
: go down a level
: go up a level
: identify the onscreen usage of some character
cursor keys or keypad number:
walk one space or fight adjacent monster (Regular Combat
Mode), pick up things if PICKUP option set
5 followed by keypad number:
run in that direction, fight adjacent monster if
BELLIGERENT option set,don't display slowly if JUMPMOVE
option set, stop for doorways, etc. if RUNSTOP option
? or 'Help':
display help files
* Actual time taken varies according to SPEED factor.
+ Takes longer in City or Village (different scale for movement)
key : description
: time
: print previous message
: --^r
: redraw screen
: --d
: drop object (will be lost forever)
: --e
: eat something
: --i
: inventory of things in pack (selected inventory mode)
: ---
search all around you for hidden traces
: 1
hunt for food
: 3
inventory of things in pack (alternate inventory mode)
set options
public license information
: --: --: ---