Rogue (game)

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Rogue is the predecessor to NetHack and all other roguelike games; it is the reference in the name. Although much simpler than the other roguelikes, it is regarded as a classic, and is just as difficult to beat.

The basic plot is almost exactly like NetHack, right down to the name "Amulet of Yendor", and the interface is similarly ASCII-based, but several of the innovations of NetHack are not present in Rogue. For instance, while NetHack has six attributes, Rogue has only one: strength. (Dexterity is present, but not as an attribute.)

Rogue has fewer monsters (only twenty-six), but several are similar to those of NetHack. For example, the Rogue aquator is basically a rust monster, and an ice monster paralyzes as a floating eye does, and causes just as many YASDs - if not more, since an aggravated ice monster will actively attack you. (In very early versions of Rogue, the aquator was actually called a "rust monster", and the ice monster was a "floating eye", but the names and characters were changed around in Rogue 5.3, supposedly because of problems with Dungeons and Dragons copyrights.) Additionally, monsters do not drop corpses or leave behind food rations, making hunger an even more pressing problem than in NetHack.

Compared to other roguelike games that trace their lineage from Rogue, NetHack is much more similar to Rogue. The similarities include:

  • Screen size. Both NetHack and Rogue have similar screen sizes that do not scroll.
  • Identifying system. Both NetHack and Rogue have similar systems that use scarce Identify Scrolls, and in many cases encourage the identification of items through use.
  • Similar types of items. Both NetHack and Rogue have scrolls, wands, potions, rings, armor, weapons, ranged weapons and matching ammo. Almost all of the scrolls and potions found in rogue are also found in NetHack in some form or another.
  • Similar monsters.
  • Both NetHack and Rogue use hyphens and pipes for walls, while many roguelikes use hash marks.

As a tribute to Rogue, NetHack contains a Rogue level that is an adaptation of the original Rogue.


Rogue was first released in 1980 (five years before the release of Hack) by developers Michel Toy, Glenn Wichman and Ken Arnold.


Monsters in Rogue are represented by capital letters. Each race of monsters is assigned a single letter from the beginning of their name, and therefore there are 26 different monsters.

  • Level is the level of the monster.
  • AC is the monster's armor class. A monster with lower AC is harder to hit.
  • Treasure is the percent chance that a monster will be carrying treasure.

There are five special properties that a monster can have.

  • M for "mean". Mean monsters may attack without provocation.
  • F for "flying". Flying monsters are more difficult to hit.
  • R for "regeneration". These monsters can regenerate health.
  • G for "greedy". Greedy monsters attempt to pick up gold when you enter a room.
  • I for "invisible".
Name Treasure Flags Exp HP AC Damage Range Notes
Aquator 0 M 20 5d8 2 0d0/0d0 Rusts armor
Bat 0 F 1 1d8 3 1d2 Flies randomly
Centaur 15 17 4d8 4 1d2/1d5/1d5
Dragon 100 M 5000 10d8 -1 1d8/1d8/3d10 Ranged 6d6 flame attack
Emu 0 M 2 1d8 7 1d2
Venus Flytrap 0 M 80 8d8 3 special Traps player
Griffin 20 MFR 2000 13d8 2 4d3/3d5
Hobgoblin 0 M 3 1d8 5 1d8
Ice monster 0 5 1d8 9 0d0 Freezes player
Jabberwock 70 3000 15d8 6 2d12/2d4
Kestrel 0 MF 1 1d8 7 1d4
Leprechaun 0 10 3d8 8 1d1 Steals gold
Medusa 40 M 200 8d8 2 3d4/3d4/2d5 Confuses Hero
Nymph 100 37 3d8 9 0d0 Steals magic item
Orc 15 G 5 1d8 6 1d8 Greedy - runs toward gold
Phantom 0 I 120 8d8 3 4d4 Invisible
Quagga 0 M 15 3d8 3 1d5/1d5
Rattlesnake 0 M 9 2d8 3 1d6 Reduces Strength
Snake 0 M 2 1d8 5 1d3
Troll 50 RM 120 6d8 4 1d8/1d8/2d6
Ur-vile 0 M 190 7d8 -2 1d9/1d9/2d9
Vampire 20 RM 350 8d8 1 1d10 Drains Max HP
Wraith 0 55 5d8 4 1d6 Drains exp
Xeroc 30 100 7d8 7 4d4 Imitates an object
Yeti 30 50 4d8 6 1d6/1d6
Zombie 0 M 6 2d8 8 1d8


Weapon Damage Notes
Mace 2d4
Long sword 3d4
Short bow 1d1
Arrow 2d3 Takes bonuses from equipped short bow.
Dagger 1d6 1d4 thrown
Two handed sword 4d4
Dart 1d3 thrown
Shuriken 2d4 thrown
Spear 2d3 1d6 thrown


Armor AC
Leather 8
Ring mail 7
Studded leather 7
Scale mail 6
Chain mail 5
Splint mail 4
Banded mail 4
Plate mail 3

A lower AC gives a better chance to avoid damage.


Scroll  %chance Description
Monster confusion 7 Your hands begin to glow red. Next melee attack confuses a monster.
Magic mapping 4 Reveals the entire map; objects are still hidden
Hold monster 2 Freezes adjecent monsters.
Sleep 3 Sleepts reader for 4-8 turns.
Enchant armor 7 Your armor glows silver for a moment. Improved protection by 1.
Identify potion 10 Identifies a potion.
Identify scroll 10 Identifies a scroll.
Identify weapon 6 Identifies a weapon.
Identify armor 7 Identifies a suit of armor.
Identify ring, wand or staff 10 Identifies a ring, wand or staff.
Scare monster 3 When read, you hear maniacal laughter in the distance. To properly use the scroll, drop it; monsters will not walk on it.
Food detection 2 Your nose tingles. Detects food on the current level.
Teleportation 5 Teleports to a random location on the map.
Enchant weapon 8 Your (weapon) glows blue for a moment. Increases hit or damage bonus by 1.
Create Monster 4 Summons a monster on an adjacent tile. If it fails, you hear a faint cry of anguish in the distance.
Remove curse 7 You feel as if somebody is watching over you. Removes curses from equipped items.
Aggravate monsters 3 You hear a high pitched humming noise.. Alerts all monsters on the map.
Protect armor 2 Your armor is covered by a shimmering gold shield. Prevents rust damage from aquators.

Some scrolls require certain conditions to be met. If they aren't, you see the message "you feel a strange sense of loss".


Potion  %chance Description
Confusion 7 Confuses the player for 19-21 turns
Hallucination 8 Causes hallucinations for 850 turns - can't recognize monsters or items
Poison 8 Reduces strength by 1-3 points.
Gain strength 13 Increases strength by 1.
See invisible 3 This potion tastes like slime mold juice. Reveals Phantoms.
Healing 13 Heals 1df per character level. Increase max HP by 1 if you are at full health.
Monster detection 6 Reveals monsters on the map.
Magic detection 6 Reveals magic items on the map.
Raise level 2 Increases experience level by 1.
Extra healing 5 Heals 1d8 per character level. Increase max HP by 1, or by 2 if you are at full health.
Haste self 5 Hastens player for 4-8 turns.
Restore strength 13 Hey, this tastes great. It make you feel warm all over. Restores strength to maximum.
Blindness 5 Blinds player for 807-892 turns
Levitation 6 Levitates for 29-32 turns


Ring  %chance Description
protection 9 Adds to defense and magical saving throws
Add strength 9 Adds to strength
Sustain strength 5 Prevents poison from reducing strength
Searching 10 Helps detect secret doors and traps.
See invisible 10 Reveals Phantoms.
Adornment 1 Worth 10 gold.
Aggravate monster 10 Cursed. Causes monsters to attack more agressively.
Dexterity 8 Improves weapon accurracy.
Increase damage 8 Increases weapon damage.
Regeneration 4 Heals 1 hp per turn
Slow digestion 9 Reduces food consumption by about 50%. Two rings can cancel out food consumption.
Teleportation 5 Cursed. Randomly teleports the player around the map.
Stealth 7 Allows player to move without rousing sleeping monsters.
Maintain armor 5 Prevents rust damage

The rings that provide bonuses may either give +1 or +2, but can also be cursed and give -1 instead.


Rods can either be wands or staffs. While there are differences between them, they are minor.

Rod  %chance Description
Light 12 Has 10-19 charges. Illuminates the room.
Invisibility 6 Makes a monster invisible.
Lightning 3 Inflicts 6d6 damage for up to 6 tiles. Bounces off walls.
Fire 3 Inflicts 6d6 damage for up to 6 tiles. Bounces off walls. Dragons are immune.
Cold 3 Inflicts 6d6 damage for up to 6 tiles. Bounces off walls. Yetis are immune.
Polymorph 15 Changes a monster type.
Magic missile 10 Inflicts 1d4 damage on a single target.
Haste monster 10 Hastens a monster.
Slow monster 11 Slows a monster.
Drain life 9 Drains half of the hero's hp, then removes the same amount of health evenly from visible monsters.
Nothing 1 Doesn't do anything.
Teleport away 6 Teleports a monster randomly on the map.
Teleport to 6 Causes the monster to teleport next to the player.
Cancellation 5 Supresses monster's special abilities.

Staves normally appear with 3-7 charges.

Connection to NetHack

The game became very popular in college campuses (at the time, the only places where computers were available). The game was sold, but it did not sell well for various reasons. Rogue was not originally released as open source software, which led to "clones" of the original Rogue.

One clone was Hack, written by Jay Fenlason, which became popular after being distributed over Usenet with substantial modifications by Andries Brouwer. Brouwer's version had only minor differences to Rogue (such as the presence of pets), but was both open source and free.

The last version of Hack to be released, not counting ports and variants, was Brouwer's Hack 1.0.3. NetHack was begun as a continuation of the development of Hack.

External links