Playing kMoria

screenshots are from v. 0.13 - preferences screen has changed in 0.14

the premise

Hopefully you're familiar with rogue-like games already. They are text-based games which have a familiar premise --- wander around in a dungeon, collect treasure, beat up bad-tempered critters, try to finish a quest.

Your goal in this game is to defeat the Balrog, who lives deep in the mines of Moria.

Starting Out

When you start the application you will first have to generate a character. (Follow that link to see out how it's done.)

Then you will start out in the town. If you are not familiar with Moria or want a refresher, first read the very brief intro to what you see on the main screen. When you've looked over that, come back here and I'll tell you how to move around and do things.

How to move Options Menu Commands Menu More Menu Inventory Preferences Hardware buttons

Moving Around

(If you have played iRogue or iLarn, you can skip this section, since movement in kMoria is similar.)

First, imagine that the screen is a compass. At the top of the screen is north. Imagine that this compass is divided like a pie into eight slices: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW. The slices meet in the center of the screen. Tap within a slice, and that is the direction you will move in. (If you have the "relative move" preference enabled, the center of the pie is at your "@"; otherwise the pie is centered on the screen regardless of where the "@" is located. The rest of these instructions will assume the latter.)

[pie-sliced screen]

Ok. You got the pie? I am going to complicate it now. If you tap too close to the center of the screen, nothing will happen. Moving outward... If you tap moderately close to the center of the screen, you will move one square at a time. If you tap far from the center of the screen (near the edge of the screen), you will move several squares -- you keep moving until you are adjacent to something "interesting".

[concentric-sliced screen]

So there's a pie of what-direction-you-move, and there are some concentric circles of what-happens-when-you-tap. You can adjust the size of these circles via the Preferences menu item, depending on what you think is deserving of more screen real-estate.

Oh, yeah: to attack a monster "hand-to-hand", with whatever weapon you're currently wielding, you just try to move onto its square. If it is immediately to your west, tap on the west side of the screen, etc., and you should see a message such as "You hit the Large White Snake. MORE" (if it does say MORE, tap once anywhere to see the next set of messages).

If you don't want to attack hand-to-hand; you can stand at a greater distance and cast spells, throw/shoot missile weapons, and aim magic wands.

Keyboard users: type hjklyubn to move around, HJKLYUBN to run. (You can also use cursor keys, if you don't mind moving like a rook instead of a queen.)

How to move Options Menu Commands Menu More Menu Inventory Preferences Hardware buttons

'Show' menu

The Show menu has commands that show you information. None of these commands will take up a turn in the game.

Some menu items have a character in parentheses. These commands can performed by writing that Graffiti character (in addition to using the menu).

[Show menu]
go to the Show menu

Map /M
In the middle part of the screen, you can only see a part of the level that you're currently exploring. The "Map" menu item will display an Overview Map of the entire level.
This map has two modes - the character mode shows anything that seems important (such as you, staircases, treasure and other objects, etc.) but it doesn't really show how to get there from here. The outline mode shows the rooms and tunnels that you have explored, so you can see how to get there (but it does not show the items that are there). Tap on the Mode square to change mode and tap on the Exit square to exit the map. Tap on the @ square to make your own position blink (if currently visible).
Because dungeon levels are so large, the map has two halves: left and right. It will always start up showing the half that you are in, but if you are viewing (say) the left half, you can tap on the right side of the screen and the map will change to the right half. There is some overlap in the middle.
Keyboard users: You can also type M to get to the Overview Map. In the map: m to switch between ascii and graphical mode; space to view the other half of the map; @ to make your character's location blink; x to exit.
Message Log /L
The message log shows the last n messages that appeared on the screen, in case you missed one.
Keyboard users: pageup/pagedown to scroll, space to scroll down; hit return to exit
Your Stats /Y
This shows more-detailed information about your character. It is the same as the final "Your Character" screen in character generation. You can change your name here, and see how much experience is required for the next experience level. Tap the lower half of the screen to toggle the information displayed there.
Keyboard users: space to toggle the information; hit return to exit
(/) What's that?
Tap on any symbol to identify it. If it is a monster, you will see a summary of everything your character (and his/her predecessors) remembers about this kind of monster.
You can also write a symbol, such as "p", to see a summary of all monsters you've encountered that were represented by "p"; tap Next to view the next monster of that type.
Keyboard users: n for next monster; scrolling as usual; hit return to exit
(?) Look
Look in a given direction. This will print anything interesting that you see there, and highlight the symbol on the screen that is being described. If a monster is being described, you can tap the "R" button to see the information you remember about the monster. Tap on the screen to go on to the next interesting item, or tap the "X" button to exit the look mode.
Keyboard users: r to recall; space for the next item; x to exit
(-) Next Sector
This will slide your view of the dungeon in the direction that you indicate (so that you can look at the next screen to the east, for example).
...Don't exist yet.
About kMoria
This is the "About" screen that you find in all normal applications. It reports the version you are running, in case you need to know, as well as the license and history of the game.
Keyboard users: hit return to exit
High Scores
This allows you to view past high scores (without dying). There might be many pages of scores if you have played a lot.. tap the More button to go to the next page. (The down hardware button will also go to the next page, and the up hardware button will go back to the beginning.) Tap the "Done" button when you are tired of looking at them.
Keyboard users: scrolling as usual, or use < and >; hit return to exit
This will kill your current character (after the obligatory "are you SURE?") and allow you to start over, after viewing your tombstone and the high scores list.
How to move Options Menu Commands Menu More Menu Inventory Preferences Hardware buttons

'Pick' menu

The Pick menu has all the commands that present a list of things for you to pick & choose.

[Pick menu]
go to the Pick menu

(i) Inventory
This will take you to the inventory dialog.
(e) Equipment
This will take you to the equipment dialog.
(m) Magic spell
If you are of an appropriate character class, this allows you to cast a magic spell. Some spells have directional effects.
Keyboard users: (1) In the "Read Which Book?" form, you can select books by letter, e.g. a to read your first book. (2) In the "Recite Which?" form, you can select spells by letter, e.g. a to cast Magic Missile.
Button users: (1) If you use any hardware buttons, you can select books by app button, e.g. Datebook to select your first book, Memopad to select your fourth book. (2) You can assign spell buttons via Set-->SpellBtns on the main menu.
(p) Pray
If you are of an appropriate character class, this allows you to say a prayer. Some prayers have directional effects. All notes for (m) apply to (p).
(G) Gain spells
If you are able to learn spells or prayers, this command will let you do so. Wizards get to select a new spell, whereas priests' prayers are chosen for them at random.
Keyboard users: in the "Learn Which Spell?" form, you can select spells by the letter listed, e.g., type a to learn Magic Missile.
(t) Throw
Throw an object in your inventory.
(a) Aim wand
Fire a wand.
(z) Zap staff
Fire a staff.
Keyboard users: throw, aim, zap are like the inventory screen.
({) Inscribe
Write an inscription on an item.
Keyboard users: select by letter, hit return, type inscription, hit return.
How to move Options Menu Commands Menu More Menu Inventory Preferences Hardware buttons

'Here' menu

The theme of the Here menu commands is things that you do right where you are, not in a particular direction (as opposed to the Near menu of directional commands).

[Here menu]
go to the Here menu

Certain commands can be repeated n times. (rest, search, open, force, spike, dig, disarm.) To do this, write a number (1 to 99). Then write the letter of the command. You will perform the command that many times unless the situation changes (e.g. if a monster attacks you, you stop).

In addition, if you want to do a command "again", there is a special unlisted command "g" that will repeat whatever you just did: for example, "cast a magic missile to the northwest" or "throw/fire an arrow to the south" or "force the door to the east".

(x) Exchange
Before trying this, you should acquire two weapons (call them A and B, perhaps they are a dagger and a shovel), and you should wield one of them; if you view your equipment you see that A is your primary weapon. Then try Exchange. Now A is your spare weapon and you have no primary weapon. Wield B. B is now your primary weapon, and Exchange will switch between B and A. You can see that, once you have your equipment set up properly, this command can save you some hassle.
(R) Rest
Do nothing for a while, to regain hit points and mana faster than you would while exerting yourself. This command can take a numeric argument to rest for N turns or until interrupted. If you did not give it an argument, you will have a choice of resting either a fixed number of turns or until you are fully rested.
Keyboard users: in "Rest how many turns?" type 0, 1, 2, or 3 to select 0, 10, 20, Max.
Button users: in "Rest how many turns?" the 4 application buttons are bound to the four choices, e.g. Datebook for 0.
(s) Search
Search for hidden doors and traps, for a turn. This command can take a numeric argument to search for N turns, or until interrupted or something is found in one of the 8 surrounding squares.
(#) Search mode
When search mode is on, you automatically spend an extra turn in searching every time you perform an action. (So when you run down a corridor in search mode, you move one square, then search for one turn, etc.) This mode will be terminated automatically in appropriate situations, such as when you notice a monster.
(<) Ascend
Climb an up staircase < to the level 50 feet above.
(>) Descend
Climb a down staircase > to the level 50 feet below.

'Near' commands menu

These commands all require you to choose a particular square near (adjacent to) you. When you issue the command, you will be given pie-lines to indicate that you should tap in a slice to choose a direction.

[Near menu]
go to the Near menu

(c) Close
Close an open door ' (unless it is broken).
(o) Open
Open a closed door + (your attempt can fail if it is jammed or locked). This command can take a numeric argument to attempt opening up to N times, or until interrupted.
(f) Force
Force open a closed door + (your attempt may fail). This command can take a numeric argument to attempt opening up to N times, or until interrupted. You may be thrown off balance which will interrupt your effort, but you can use the g command to "do it again".
(S) Spike
Jam a closed door + with iron spikes (if you are carrying some). This command can take a numeric argument to jam with N spikes, which are better than 1 (but less than N times as good; there is a point of diminishing returns).
(d) Dig
Dig in rubble :, or wall #, or weak mineral seam %, or valuable metal vein $. This will be highly ineffective unless you are wielding an appropriate implement (e.g. pick or shovel) as primary weapon. (If you have such an implement and just forgot to wield it, kMoria will usually remind you.) This command can take a numeric argument (and you will want to give it one, like 10 or 20) to dig for N turns or until interrupted or the square is clear.
( ) Move onto
Type a space " " if you want to move onto an adjacent tile without picking up a item that is lying there.
(^) Disarm
Disarm a trap. This command can take a numeric argument to attempt disarming up to N times, or until interrupted. It is possible to set off a trap accidentally while attempting to disarm it..

'Set' commands menu

These commands don't take a turn. They let you set various options.

[Set menu]
go to the Set menu

Preferences /R
The Preferences dialog allows you to customize various options: the relevant standard options from Moria plus a few extras.
Buttons /B
The Buttons dialog allows you to customize the hardware buttons.
You can set certain repeatable commands (search, dig, open, disarm, force) to auto-repeat if you like, via this dialog. Just check the boxes of the desired commands. Suppose you check "disarm"; then whenever you try to disarm a trap, unless you have already given it a count, it will automatically use a count of 99. To abort, tap the screen or hit a bound button (keyboard users should be able to hit any key to interrupt).
Spell Btns
Suppose you have bound a button to "magic" - you hit that button to cast a spell or to pray. That takes you to the screen listing all of your books (there can be up to 4 of them). The books are now conveniently linked to the four main hardware buttons - once you are on that screen, hit Datebook for the first book, ..., or MemoPad for the fourth book. Then you are on the spell/prayer screen...
Well, you can choose to bind the spells and prayers to hardware buttons also, via the Spell Btns dialog.
Font /F
This will toggle between the two available font sizes: normal, and flyspeck. The flyspeck font will allow you to see more of the dungeon level at a time and (if your eyes and lighting are good enough) this is probably the better one to use.

Other Menus

There are menu options in a couple of other screens in this game.

In your inventory screen, there is an option "Un/Compact". This will switch between giving each item a single line (and probably truncating its description), or giving each item enough lines to show its full description (well, to a maximum of two lines, but that should really be enough). There is also an option to show weights. If you have a character who is not very strong, and you reach the limit of what you can carry, this might be useful to help decide what to discard.

In the store screen, there is a similar Un/Compact option that will switch between giving each item one line or two lines (regardless of description length). There is also an Un/Haggle option. This option turns off Haggling. If you don't mind suffering a mark-up in return for not having to bargain with the shopkeeper, try this option. (If you like to get the best possible price for an item, or find the comments amusing, you can ignore this option.)

How to move Options Menu Commands Menu More Menu Inventory Preferences Hardware buttons


compact inventory inventory
write i to see your inventory

Adventurers tend to collect things. Where do they go? Your pack. How do you do something with them once they are there?

To do something to an item in your inventory, select "Inventory" from the Commands menu (or write "i", lower-case I.) A window will pop up with a list of your inventory. Select any item, either by tapping, or by writing its index letter (b in the example shown below). This should cause some buttons to appear, labeled with relevant actions. Tap the button of your choice to perform that action.

we select b and then tap wear

Note that performing these actions takes time, and you can't see what's going on out there because you have your head in your pack or something.

You can switch from the Inventory to the Equipment screen by tapping on the "[E]" in the lower right corner; this doesn't take any time.

keep tapping wear/wield until everything is equipped! finally, tap [E]...

When you are finished, tap Done.

Keyboard users: type an index letter, e.g. b to select the second item. Hit return (or type 1 for the first button) to wear/wield it. You can type 2 for the "drop" button, 3 for the "throw" button, 9 for the "Done" button, and 0 for the [E] Equipment button.
The Equipment screen is similar. Index letter to select, 1 to take off, 2 to drop, 9 for done, 0 for inventory.


It is said: "Do not go into the dungeon naked or the monsters will laugh at you."

To do something to an item in your Equipment, select "Equipment" from the Commands menu, or write "e". (Or, if you are in Inventory, tap the [E] button.) A window will pop up with a list of your equipped inventory. Select any item. This should cause some buttons to appear, labeled with relevant actions. Tap the button of your choice to perform that action.

select an item to see that it can be taken off or dropped.. tap Done

Note that these actions take time. Remember the "exchange" command to save a turn when swapping weapons.

here we try writing x to exchange weapons.. then write e to see equipment
we had a primary and no spare... now we have a spare and no primary, we could wield a new primary weapon

You can switch from the Equipment to the Inventory screen by tapping on the "[In]" in the lower right corner.

When you are finished, tap Done.

How to move Options Menu Commands Menu More Menu Inventory Preferences Hardware buttons


As I mentioned above, there is a Preferences item on the Options menu which will allow you to set various things, including the size of those "what am I doing when I tap somewhere" circles.


The preferences screen also allows you to:

Not offered: "centered" scrolling to keep the rogue in the center of the screen. If you have played Unix Moria, you know that even there the dungeon levels are divided into panels (to fit in your xterm) and you move about within the panels. Playing on your handheld is just the same (except that the panels are smaller) so call this "an authentic experience" and call me "lazy"

How to move Options Menu Commands Menu More Menu Inventory Preferences Hardware buttons

Hardware Buttons


You have the option of rebinding the four application buttons, the up/down scroll buttons, and the silkscreened calculator and find buttons. You can rebind some, all, or none. Once you have made some choices, check the "use these settings" box to turn it on. (If you ever want to turn the rebinding off temporarily, all you have to do is uncheck the box. kMoria will remember your settings but won't use them.)

You have a fixed set of choices for each button. (The dashed choice you see at the top is "don't rebind this button", i.e. let the button do whatever it ordinarily would.)

To bind a button: First, select that button (on the left). Then, select something from the list (on the right). Let's select "Addr" and then select "west".
[buttons] [buttons] [buttons]

As you can see, "west" appears next to the button that we bound it to. Thrilled with this accomplishment, we go on to bind the other directions, and show off a couple of the other bindable commands... (see second picture in that row). In the third picture in that row, we see how to unbind a button:
If you want to unbind a button, select it, and then select "---". We had bound Memo to font, now we unbind it, and so now if we hit Memo during the game we would just go to the MemoPad application.

Spell Btns

Ok, suppose that you have some hardware buttons bound to some commands, but you really want to be able to fire off a spell as a three-button sequence (like you can in regular desktop Moria). Hit Menu in the dungeon, then hit Set, then select Spell Btns and you will be in this exciting new screen.

[spell btns] [spell btns] [spell btns]

When you are casting spells: The books are already bound to the four application buttons. How about the spells/prayers in each book? You get to choose how to bind each particular spell (or whether to bind it at all).

First, select the button that you wish to bind. Here we select Memo. Then, select the spell that you want to bind to that button. Here we select Magic Missile. Then you will see "a" (the index letter of the spell we selected) appear next to Memo, just as you see in the second picture. (To unbind the button, select the button, and then tap on -None-.) Suppose we have bound "Todo" to "magic" in the Hardware buttons screen: then to cast a magic missile with button presses, we would hit "Todo" (then the screen of books comes up) then hit "Datebook" (to select the first book) then hit "Memo" (which is the step that we just defined here).

(If I lost you on "hit 'Datebook'" I will reiterate: the four app buttons are bound to spellbooks, in the books screen. Datebook will select the first book, Address will select the second, Todo will select the third, Memo will select the fourth. If you have four.)

What about spells from the other books? In the lower right corner there is a list of the 8 books. (You can get to this screen no matter what character class you are playing, and you can bind any spells in any books, so if you know what the spells do and which ones you find most useful, go ahead and bind them once and for all.) We started out on the first Mage book. To get to the next Mage book, tap on the list in the lower right corner, and select the next item in the popup list. This changes the spell list - and we see the third picture. We can bind these spells as desired, and then go on to the next book...


Need help with gameplaying strategy?
It shrivels away in the light!

You could consult the experts on the Moria newsgroup.


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