Bypass navigation menu
RGB Classic Games
Keeping the classics alive
Currently hosting 566 great games!

DND Webshrine

DND has a confusing history. A game called "dnd" was written in the TUTOR programming language for the PLATO system by Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood in 1974 and 1975, based on Gygax and Arneson's Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying games. Another dungeon crawl, called "DND", was written in BASIC for the DECsystem-10 mainframe computer's TOPS-10 operating system in 1976. The games were similar, but Lawrence's game didn't contain any of Whisenhunt and Wood's source code. DND had three dungeons – Lamorte, Shvenk's Lair, and Telengard – and Lawrence eventually ported DND to home computer systems, whose limited RAM required dropping two of the dungeons and reducing the character to a single class. The game was sold commercially under the name of the surviving dungeon, Telengard. The source code for the mainframe version of DND was ported to other computer systems without Lawrence's knowledge or permission. Bill Knight discovered one of these unauthorized ports while working at Digital and created a DOS port, adding two new dungeons – The Cavern and The Warren. Knight wouldn't learn who the original author of the game was until many years later.

Of the five dungeons, Lamorte and Telengard list as "Ready for exploration", Shvenk's Lair lists as "Nearing completion", and The Cavern and Warren list as "Under construction". Designed by Daniel Lawrence, each floor of Lamorte and Telengard is different and shows evidence of thoughtful level design. Also designed by Lawrence, each floor of Shvenk's Lair is different, but Bill Knight may have listed it as "nearing completion" due to the lack of thoughtful level design in on the 12th through 20th floors. The 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th floors are mostly inaccessible GNI and PIT rooms, and a huge block of the 18th floor is connected rows of MIR, GNI, and THR rooms. Almost every space on the 19th and 20th floor is an inaccessible GNI room.

Designed by Bill Knight, the first four floors of The Cavern show evidence of thoughtful level design, whereas most of the fifth floor are inaccessible GNI rooms. The 6th, 8th through 10th, 14th, and 16th floors have a single accessible passage, while the 7th, 11th through 13th, 15th, and 17th floors contain only a single accessible room. The 18th floor has two passages – one with stairs going up and the other with stairs going down. The 19th floor is complete, while the 20th floor has only one passage, and doesn't even have any stairs! The elevators stop working once the ORB is collected in any dungeon, so the only way to leave the 20th floor with the ORB is via magic.

Also designed by Bill Knight, the Warren is even less complete. A large portion of the first five floors are inaccessible GNI rooms, and most are GNI on the 6th floor. The 7th through 19th floors are all identical, with every single space being a fully enclosed GNI room – there aren't even stairs. The 20th floor is partially developed, but there is no direct way to get to it.

The dungeon files are unchanged between versions 1.0 and 1.2:1; the author never made any progress on completing the incomplete dungeons. All of the changes between versions were bug fixes and gameplay improvements.

Revision history

1.0 ? This is the first release of DND.
1.10 5 April 1984 This release of DND corrects a problem with the PASCAL compiler that improperly set the stack and heap on machines with 512K or more of usable memory.
In addition, the procedure that is used to time delays was changed to be independent of the interrupt rate. This change allows the game to properly run on machines with different clock rates, like the Tandy 2000.
1.11 16 October 1984 This release of DND supplies the correct CLERIC.DOC file.
1.12 22 March 1986 This release of DND uses a different CLEAR-SCREEN routine to correct a "flashing" problem experienced on some video boards. The notice file also contains information about printing MAPS.
1.2 18 November 1986 This release of DND moves the game to a new compiler. It also changes the way some of the initial screens are presented and the character information in PLAYERS.DAT is stored in a different format. The data from previous versions will be read and interperted correctly, but will be written back in the new format. So once the character file has been referenced it will not be usable with previous versions.
It also corrects a problem encountered when trying to EVADE a monster while in a room with four walls.
1.2:1 22 February 1987 This release corrects a problem which crashes DND if you successfully pry jewels from the throne. It also corrects a problem with the treasure trove and allows only one payoff per trove.


Spells are classified two ways: combat/non-combat and immediate/duration. Combat spells can only be used in battle and have an effect on the monster. Non-combat spells take effect on the player. An immediate spell does something once, like teleporting to another room or hitting a monster with lightning, whereas a duration spell has a lasting effect, like making the player stronger or putting a monster to sleep for several moves. Most non-combat spells are of the duration variety. The game lists all combat spells as being immediate, which simply isn't true; many combat spells change a monster's status for several moves.

The spells in the first table can be cast a Magician, or by a Fighter by finding a magic wand. Clerical spells can only be cast by Clerics. Both tables' contents are from the in-game documentation, except for the Notes column. Duration combat spells are listed in bold due to their persistence differing from the official documentation.

Magic spells
# Name Type Persistence Description Notes
Level 1
1 Magic Missile Combat Immediate Fires a magical dart from the caster's finger. This does not miss, and does (level)+ 1-10 points of damage.
2 Charm Monster Combat Duration? Basically, this hypnotises the caster's opponent, which therefore neither attacks nor dodges. This spell is easily broken, however.
3 Shield Non-combat Duration Creates an invisible wall around the caster, causing any monster attacking to do so at a disadvantage.
4 Sleep Combat Duration? Puts the caster's opponent into a deep sleep. While sleeping, it neither attacks nor dodges (obviously).
5 Protection from Evil Non-combat Duration Causes the caster's opponent to attack at a disadvantage.
6 Light Non-combat Duration Creates a point-source light, equivalent to one torch, over the caster's head. Effects are cumulative.
Level 2
1 Phantasmal Forces Combat Immediate Causes the caster's opponent to believe it is confronting a creature much mightier than itself. This often causes flight.
2 Web Combat Duration? Entangles the caster's opponent in a magical net, making it helpless to attack or defend itself. Stronger version of Sleep
3 Lightning Bolt Combat Immediate Delivers (level) + 2-16 points of electrical damage to the caster's opponent. Stronger version of Magic Missile
4 Strength Non-combat Duration Temporarily augments the caster's Strength attribute, improving his/her combat skill commensurately.
5 Levitate Non-combat Duration Causes the caster to float (level) feet off the floor, making him/her harder to hit.
6 Invisibility Non-combat Duration Strangely enough, causes the caster to fade from sight. This puts monsters at a decided disadvantage.
Level 3
1 Fireball Combat Immediate Causes a fiery explosion in the vicinity of the caster's opponent. Does (level) + 4-24 points of fire damage. Stronger version of Lightning Bolt
2 Confusion Combat Duration Causes the caster's opponent to lose clarity of mind, with attendant co-ordination. It cannot attack. Spell lasts for (level) + 1-6 rounds.
3 Pass Wall Non-combat Immediate Shifts the molecular structure of the desired wall such that it becomes as air, allowing passage through it.
4 Hold Monster Combat Duration? Mesmerizes the caster's opponent so that it cannot attack or dodge. Stronger version of Web
5 Fear Non-combat Duration Causes the caster's opponent to become fearful of him/her, and attack at a disadvantage.
6 Continual Light Non-combat Duration Same as a Light spell (qv), save that this is twice as bright and lasts for the duration of the adventure.
Level 4
1 Teleport Non-combat Immediate Transports, instantly, the caster from where he is to somewhere else. The caster has no control of the destination.
2 Power Word KILL Combat Immediate Your basic Death Spell. Causes the caster's opponent to drop dead on the spot.
3 Prismatic Wall Combat Immediate Encases the caster in a multicolored sphere with remarkable powers of monster-damaging. Does 5-40 points of damage to the caster's antagonist.
4 Time Stop Non-combat Duration Freezes Time in the caster's vicinity, while permitting him/her to move freely. Monsters cannot fight back.
5 Pillar of Fire Combat Immediate Causes the caster's target to be immolated in a pillar of flames, causing (level)+ 3-18 points of fire damage. Stronger version of Fireball
6 Summon Demon Combat Immediate Calls one of Hell's denizens to the caster's aid. The demon will attempt to drag the caster's antagonist back to Hell with it.

Clerical spells
# Name Type Persistence Description Notes
Level 1
1 Protection from Evil Non-combat Duration Causes monsters to be at a disadvantage on attacks.
2 Light Non-combat Duration Creates a point-source of light, equivalent to one torch, to appear over the caster's head. Multiple applications of this spell increase visibility.
3 Cure Light Wounds Non-combat Immediate Heals 2-7 points of damage incurred by the caster. In no event will this increase hit points past their base value.
4 Turn Undead Combat Immediate Causes Vampires and Ghouls to run away in sheer terror.
Level 2
1 Detect Traps Non-combat Duration Increases, for the duration of the spell, the caster's ability to find traps in loot, such as an exploding Chest.
2 Silence Non-combat Duration Puts attacking monsters at a disadvantage, and lowers the probablity of encountering Wandering Monsters.
3 Pray(er) Non-combat Duration Gives the caster the advantage when attacking; i.e., makes it easier for him/her to hit his/her opponent.
4 Hold Monster Combat Duration? Causes the caster's opponent to be HELD (temporarily placed in stasis). A HELD monster cannot fight back, nor can it dodge.
Level 3
1 Cure Serious Wounds Non-combat Immediate Heals 4-14 points of damage to the caster. Stronger version of Cure Light Wounds
2 Dispell Undead Combat Immediate Causes Vampires or Ghouls to be utterly annihilated. Stronger version of Turn Undead
3 Continual (Bright) Light Non-combat Duration Causes a bright point-source of light to appear above the caster's head. This light will remain for the duration of the adventure. See also LIGHT (1st Level).
4 Plague Combat Immediate Causes the caster's opponent to contract a combination of several deadly diseases, which will kill it in one round. CAUTION: THE CASTER MAY CONTRACT THE PLAGUE AS WELL!!!
Level 4
1 Holy Word Combat Immediate Banishes the caster's opponent to eternal damnation.
2 Finger of Death Combat Immediate Imbues the caster's finger (which is immediately applied to the opponent) which such unspeakable God-granted power that living things cannot contain it. Therefore, they die instantly.
3 Blade Barrier Combat Immediate Causes a circular wall of flashing, moving swords to appear around the caster. This wall increases in diameter with great rapidity, catching and destroying any attacking monster.
4 Heal Non-combat Immediate Totally cures ALL damage the caster has incurred. Stronger version of Cure Serious Wounds


There are 15 types of monster, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The monsters are listed approximately weakest to strongest, but monsters have a level attribute, so one could have an easy fight against a Level 1 Dragon or a hard fight against a Level 12 Kobold, etc.

KOBOLD A dog faced, two legged creature approximately three feet tall. They are reasonably well armed, but never-the-less, are not too difficult to kill.
GOBLIN A short (four foot tall) creature with large forearms and hands. Their average intelligence and lack of special attacks or defenses makes them only slightly more resistant a foe than the Kobold.
ORC This boar faced, upright creature is fierce. They are of average size (about six feet tall) but with long upper limbs. They live for about forty years.
DWARF The dwarf is a human looking creature. Although only 4 or so feet tall, they weigh no less than 150 pounds due to their stocky build. They live 350 years on the average.
HARPIE Harpies have the bodies of vultures but the upper torsos and heads of women. The touch or sound of a harpie is extremely difficult to resist. They are over average size.
TROLL Trolls are large (nine foot tall) creatures that know no fear. Their ability to regenerate makes them especially dangerous foes.
BUGBEAR The bugbear is approximately seven feet tall and is armed with an assorted collection of mismatched weapons and armor. They are dangerous foes however, because of their clumsy manner disguises their lightening quickness.
DOPPLEGANGER These two-legged creatures have the ability to take on whatever shape they choose. In combat they typically will assume the appearance of their opponent. They are subject to neither SLEEP nor CHARM spells.
GHOUL Ghouls are "undead", once human creatures which feed on human and other corpses. They are uneffected by either SLEEP or CHARM spells. The magic circle of protection from evil keeps these monsters completely at bay.
MINOTAUR Minotaurs are large creatures having the head of a steer. They are cunning and have excellent senses.
OGRE Ogres are over nine feet tall with low intelligence. Their great strength makes them an able opponent.
GIANT The giant is a very large human-like creature of slow gait and questionable intelligence. Its great size and strength and its single-mindedness make it a very dangerous creature in combat.
VAMPIRE The vampire is the most dreaded of the undead. Their great strength is derived from the blood of their victims. SLEEP, CHARM, and HOLD spells have no affect on them.
BALROG The balrog is a reptillian humanoid of exteremely large size. They are fierce in combat and are difficult to kill.
DRAGON The dragon is a winged snake-like creature of gigantic size. Its scales offer protection to all but magic weapons, and it is not often attacked by anything in its right senses.

Room types

Permanent objects

The following are room types found on the map that are always present.
 \  Stairs going down Takes you to the same location, one level lower in the dungeon.
 /  Stairs going up Takes you to the same location, one level higher in the dungeon.
\ / Stairs going up and down Takes you to the same location, one level higher or lower in the dungeon.
ALT Holy Altar You can worship, contribute gold, ignore, and sometimes desecrate the altar, the effects of which are random.
DGN Dragon's lair A room containing a dragon of a much higher level than other monsters at this level of the dungeon.
ELV Elevator Automatically takes you up one level in the dungeon.
EXC EXCELSIOR transporter Takes you to another level of the dungeon, for a price.
FNT Fountain A fountain with randomly colored water from which you can choose to drink, the effects of which are random.
GNI Djinn Automatically teleports you to a random location in the dungeon.
MIR Mirror A mirror into which you can choose to look, which can have random consequences.
ORB The Orb of Zot Grants the finder immortality.
PIT Pit You may get to choose to climb down to the level below or walk around it, or you may fall into it, depending on your dexterity. Some pits are bottomless.
THR Throne Before you is a magnificient throne covered with jewels and mysterious runes. You can choose to pry out some jewels, sit on it, read the runs, or ignore it, the effects of which are random.
TPT Teleporter Automatically teleports you to a random location and level in the dungeon.
TRV Treasure trove A small door with four colored lights. You can ignore it or try to guess the combination from 16 possibilities. Guessing the correct combination wins a substantial amount of treasure, while guessing incorrectly can injure you severely.

Temporary objects

Other things you can see in the dungeon
 X  You Where you are located.
 #  Monster One of the 15 types of monster.
 $  Treasure Some kind of treasure: magic equipment, a pile of silver, a pile of gold, a pile of platinum, a pile of gems, a chest, a jewel, a book, a magic torch, a magic wand, an interesting but worthless trinket
 *  Something Having a magic torch or casting a light spell may allow you to see that something is in a nearby room but not be able to determine what it is.


Mono green Mono amber Mono white


In Shvenk's Lair, the lower part of the 11th floor contains a room shaped like a cross, and walls that spell out "TO HELL". The 12th floor has rooms that spell out "SHIT". The rooms within the letters aren't especially worth visiting, as all but two are GNI rooms, though one does contain stairs going up and down.