|First version||c1975, by Reginald Rutherford for PLATO||c1975, by Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood for PLATO||c1976, by Daniel Lawrence, possibly for the PDP-10||c1978, by Daniel Lawrence for Commodore PET 8KB|
|Played version||pedit5 lesson at Cyber1.org||v5.4 at Cyber1.org copyrighted 1977||VAX/VMS port of unknown date and authorship||32KB Commodore PET version copyrighted 1981|
|Known differences from original||Unknown; the original was quickly deleted, but revived as “orthanc1”||Various enhancements by Dirk and Flint Pellett||Unknown||Unknown|
|Dungeon size||Single floor||20 floors, each with 9x9 squares||Four dungeons, 20 floors per dungeon, each with 20x20 squares||One dungeon, 50 floors, each floor is procedurally generated, and possibly endless|
|Goal||Reach character level 6||Kill the dragon and take the ORB||Find the ORB||None|
|Gold||Gold is rare, and is converted to XP on exiting the dungeon||Gold is everywhere, and buys you HP and spell points on exiting the dungeon||Gold is commonly found in caches or dropped by monsters, and is converted to XP on exiting the dungeon||Gold is commonly found in caches or dropped by monsters, and is converted to XP on exiting the dungeon|
|Dungeon exit||Gap in the south side of dungeon perimeter||Several gaps in the dungeon perimeter on level 1||Gap in the west side of dungeon perimeter on level 1||Numerous staircases leading up from level 1|
|Multi-level transportation||N/A||Excelsior Transporter on level 1 can take you down to any level at cost of some health||Excelsior Transporter found on any level can take you up or down to any level at cost of gold||Misty Grey Cubes found on any level can take you up or down to any other level|
|Combat resolution||Outcome is resolved instantly||Outcome is resolved instantly||Round-by-round||Round-by-round|
|Real-time?||No||No||No||Semi-realtime. Doing nothing for a few seconds when prompted for input is interpreted as “do nothing”|
|Stats||Str, Int, Con, Dex||STR, IQ, WIS, DEX||STR, INT, WIS, CON, DEX, CHA||STR, INT, WIS, CON, DEX, CHA|
|Classes||None||None||Fighter, Cleric, Magic user||None|
|Spell system||Spells are split into mage and cleric types, and further split into two tiers per type, which are unlocked as the character levels up. Each of the four tiers draws from a separate spell point pool, which get larger as the character gains XP. All spells are either for combat, buffs, or healing, and some listed spells don’t work.||Spells are split into mage and cleric types. All characters have access to almost all spells from the start. Mage spell points and cleric spell points are separate. Most spells are simple combat spells, and cost one spell point from their respective pool.||Clerics and magic users have access to completely different sets of spells, which are split into four tiers and unlocked as the character levels up. Each of the four tiers draws from a separate spell point pool, which get larger as the character levels up. Spells have a good variety of effects. Fighters have no spells.||No distinction between mage and cleric spells. Six spell tiers, which are unlocked as the character levels up, consist of a mixture of the mage and cleric spells from DND. There is just one pool of spell points, which gets larger as the character levels up, and spells from higher tiers cost more points.|
|Monsters||30 distinct monster types which differ mainly by stats and spell resistances. Levels are fixed per monster type (e.g. dragons are always level 6)||7 distinct monster types which differ mainly by spell resistances. Monsters can reach levels as high as 7200, possibly even higher.||20 distinct monster types which differ by stats, spell resistances, level ranges, and battle tactics. Monster levels seem to max out at 32.||Same as DND|
|Scaling||None||Monster levels are mainly determined by how much gold you are carrying, but are fixed to level 1 on the top dungeon floor. Lower dungeon levels have greater amounts of gold. Some gear only appears on lower levels.||Lower dungeon levels have tougher monsters, higher monster levels, and greater rewards. There is an XP penalty for gold farming while overleveled.||Same as DND|
|Random encounters||Every four turns there is a chance of encountering a monster. Every time you enter an unexplored room there is a chance of finding loot or a monster. Explored rooms are remembered for the character’s entire life.||Every turn there is a chance of encountering a monster. Every unexplored space has a chance of finding loot or a monster. Explored spaces are reset whenever you travel up or down a level.||Every turn there is a chance of encountering a monster, who sometimes drop treasure. Loose treasure is only found in unexplored spaces. Explored spaces are reset whenever you travel up or down a level.||Every turn has a chance for any random encounter, including finding loose treasure, even if you just stand still and wait.|
|Stationary dungeon features||None||The Excelsior Transporter on level 1, pits, teleporters, and the dragon||15 distinct types||11 distinct types|
|Graphics||Iconographic||Iconographic||ASCII-like||PETSCII charset looks like a blend of ASCII and simple graphics for walls and doors|
|Permadeath||Yes||Yes||Yes||Not in the PET version|
Monday, December 31, 2018
Having played four games in the DND-like subgenre with a fairly clear path of evolution, I thought it would be worthwhile to do a compare and contrast.
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