Your company here — click to reach over 10,000 unique daily visitors

phantasia - Man Page

an interterminal fantasy game




phantasia is a role playing game which allows players to roll up characters of various types to fight monsters and other players. Progression of characters is based upon gaining experience from fighting monsters (and other players).

Most of the game is menu driven and self-explanatory (more or less). The screen is cursor updated, so be sure to set up the TERM variable in your environment.

The options provide for a variety of functions to support the game. They are:


Get a listing of all character names on file.


Show scoreboard of top characters per login.


Print header only.


Get a monster listing.


Purge old characters.


Turn on wizard options, if allowed, if running as “root”.


Invokes phantasia without header information.


Examine/change a particular character on file.

The characters are saved on a common file, in order to make the game interactive between players. The characters are given a password in order to retrieve them later. Only characters above level zero are saved. Characters unused for awhile will be purged. Characters are only placed on the scoreboard when they die.


Normal Play

A number of the player's more important statistics are almost always displayed on the screen, with maximums (where applicable) in parentheses.

The character is placed randomly near the center of a Cartesian system. Most commands are selected with a single letter or digit. For example, one may move by hitting 'W', 'S', 'N', or 'E', (lower case may also be used, at no time is the game case dependent). One may also use 'H', 'J', 'K', 'L', for movement, similar to vi(1). To move to a specific (x, y) coordinate, use the move ('1') command. The distance a character can move is calculated by 1 plus 1.5 per level. Moving in a compass direction will move the player the maximum allowed distance in that direction.

A player may see who else is playing by using the players ('2') option. One may see the coordinates of those who are the same distance or closer to the origin as he/she. Kings, and council of the wise can see and can be seen by everyone. A palantir removes these restrictions.

One can talk to other players with the talk ('3') option. In general, this is a line or so of text. To remove a current message, just type ⟨return⟩ when prompted for a message.

The stats ('4') option shows additional characteristics of a player.

One may leave the game either with the quit ('5') option.

One may rest by default. Resting lets one regain maximum energy level, and also lets one find mana (more is found for larger levels and further distances from the origin).

One may call a monster by hitting '9' or 'C'.

Use 'X' to examine other players.

One may quit or execute a sub-shell by hitting interrupt. Quitting during battle results in death for obvious reasons.

Several other options become available as the player progresses in level and magic, or to other stations in the game (valar, council of the wise, king). These are described elsewhere. In general, a control-L will force the redrawing of the screen.

Other things which may happen are more or less self-explanatory.

Fighting Monsters

A player has several options while fighting monsters. They are as follows:


Inflicts damage on the monster, based upon strength. Also decreases the monster's strength some.


Inflicts a little less damage than melee, but decreases the monster's quickness instead.


Attempt to run away. Success is based upon both the player's and the monster's brains and quickness.


Several options for throwing spells (described elsewhere).


Hits the monster one plus the player's sword, and gives the player 10% of the monster's experience. Decreases the monster's experience an amount proportional to the amount granted. This also increases the monster's quickness. Paralyzed monsters wake up very fast when nicked.


This is essentially a battle of wits with the monster. Success is based upon the player's and the monster's brains. The player gets credit for slaying the monster if he/she succeeds. Otherwise, nothing happens, and the chance to luckout is lost.

Character Statistics


determines how much damage a character can inflict.


determines how many chances a character gets to make decisions while fighting.

energy level

specifies how much damage a character may endure before dying.

magic level

determines which spells a character may throw, and how effective those spells will be.


basically, the character's intelligence; used for various fighting options and spells.


used as a power source for throwing spells.


gained by fighting monsters and other characters.


indicative of how much experience a character has accumulated; progresses geometrically as experience increases.


sickness which degrades a character's performance (affects energy level and strength).


accumulated as a character does certain nasty things; used only rarely in normal play of the game.


of player; roughly equivalent to number of turns. As age increases, many personal statistics degenerate.

Character Types

Character statistics are rolled randomly from the above list, according to character type. The types are as follows:

magic user

strong in magic level and brains, weak in other areas. Must rely on wits and magic to survive.


good in strength and energy level, fairly good in other areas. This adds up to a well-equipped fighter.


very high quickness and above average magic level are elves selling points.


very high strength and energy level, but with a tendency to be rather slow and not too bright.


rather quick and smart, with high energy level, but poor in magic and strength. Born with some experience.


very mediocre in all areas. However, the experimento may be placed almost anywhere within the playing grid.

The possible ranges for starting statistics are summarized in the following table.

Mag. User10-1530-3550-10030-4560-855-9

Not only are the starting characteristics different for the different character types, the characteristics progress at different rates for the different types as the character goes up in level. Experimentoes' characteristics progress randomly as one of the other types. The progression as characters increase in level is summarized in the following table.

Mag. User2.0752062.75

The character type also determines how much gold a player may carry, how long until rings can overcome the player, and how much poison the player can withstand.


During the course of the game, the player may exercise his/her magic powers. These cases are described below.


magic level necessary: 20 (plus level 7)
mana used: 35 plus 3 per rest period
Used during normal play. Prevents monsters from finding the character, as well as hiding the player from other players. His/her coordinates show up as '?' in the players option. Players cannot collect mana, find trading posts, or discover the grail while cloaked. Calling a monster uncloaks, as well as choosing this option while cloaked.


magic level necessary: 40 (plus level 12)
mana used: 30 per 75 moved
Used during normal play. Allows the player to move with much more freedom than with the move option, at the price of expending mana. The maximum distance possible to move is based upon level and magic level.

power blast

magic level necessary: none
mana used: 5 times level
Used during inter-terminal battle. Damage is based upon magic level and strength. Hits much harder than a normal hit.

all or nothing

magic level necessary: none
mana used: 1
Used while combating monsters. Has a 25% chance of working. If it works it hits the monster just enough to kill it. If it fails, it doesn't hit the monster, and doubles the monster's quickness and strength. Paralyzed monsters wake up much quicker as a result of this spell.

magic bolt

magic level necessary: 5
mana used: variable
Used while combating monsters. Hits the monster based upon the amount of mana expended and magic level. Guaranteed to hit at least 10 per mana.

force field

magic level necessary: 15
mana used: 30
Used during monster combat. Throws up a shield to protect from damage. The shield is added to actual energy level, and is a fixed number, based upon maximum energy. Normally, damage occurs first to the shield, and then to the players actual energy level.


magic level necessary: 25
mana used: 50
Used during monster combat. Transforms the monster randomly into one of the 100 monsters from the monster file.

increase might

magic level necessary: 35
mana used: 75
Used during combat with monsters. Increases strength up to a maximum.


magic level necessary: 45
mana used: 90
Used while fighting monsters. Makes it harder for the monster to hit, by temporarily increasing the player's quickness. This spell may be thrown several times, but a maximum level will be reached.


magic level necessary: 60
mana used: 125
Used during monster combat. Transports the monster away from the player. Success is based upon player's magic and brains, and the monster's experience. If it fails the player is transported instead. 60% of the time, the monster will drop any treasure it was carrying.


magic level necessary: 75
mana used: 150
Used during monster combat. “Freezes” the monster by putting its quickness slightly negative. The monster will slowly wake up. Success is based upon player's magic and the monster's experience. If it fails, nothing happens.


magic level necessary: none
mana used: 1000
Used during monster combat only by valar or council of the wise. Allows the player to pick which monster to fight.


Monsters get bigger as one moves farther from the origin (0,0). Rings of distance 125 from the origin determine the size. A monster's experience, energy level, and brains are multiplied by the size. Strength is increased 50% per size over one, and quickness remains the same, regardless of size.

Also, nastier monsters are found as one progress farther out from the origin. Monsters also may flock. The percent chance of that happening is designated as flock% in the monster listing. Monsters outside the first ring may carry treasure, as determined by their treasure type. Flocking monsters, and bigger monsters increase the chances of treasure.

Certain monsters have special abilities; they are as follows:


can only be subdued if the player is in possession of a virgin.


has random characteristics, including treasure type.


will pick another name from the list of monsters in order to confuse.

Dark Lord

very nasty person. Does not like to be hit (especially nicked), and many spells do not work well (or at all) against him. One can always evade from the Dark Lord.


also a very nasty person. She will permanently sap strength from someone.


wanders around with Wormtongue, who can steal a palantir. Also, Saruman may turn a player's gems into gold pieces, or scramble her/his stats.


can transport a player.


inflicts damage by taking away experience, not energy.


may take some mana.


may try to steal a ring or neutralize part of one's brains.


may take half a player's gold and gems and escape.


may get nasty and steal one gold piece and run away.


may bite, inflicting the equivalent of one poison.

Assorted Faeries

These are killed if attacking someone carrying holy water. These are Cluricaun, Fir Darrig, Fachan, Ghille Dhu, Bogle, Killmoulis, and Bwca.


may bite, inflicting 1/2 of a poison.


will call one of its (much bigger) buddies if picked upon.


will become bored with battle, fart, and run off.


will try to steal a ring from a player, if given the chance.


may inflict damage through a force field. This subtracts from energy level instead of any shield the player may have thrown up. This is a very easy way to die.


loves metal and will steal all the metal treasures from a player if able.


can bite and poison. This inflicts five poisons, and also takes one from the player's quickness.


may tire of battle, and leave after calling one of his friends (Jubjub Bird or Bandersnatch).


actually Modnar, but reserved for council of the wise, valar, and ex-valar. Fights with Morgoth end when either he or the player dies. His characteristics are calculated based upon the player's. The player is given the chance to ally with him. No magic, except force field works when battling Morgoth.


may regenerate its energy and strength while in battle.


may make a player blind.


The various treasure types are as follows:

Type zero


Type one

power booster - adds mana.
druid - adds experience.
holy orb - subtracts 0.25 sin.

Type two

amulet - protects from cursed treasure.
holy water - kills assorted faeries.
hermit - reduces sin by 25% and adds some mana.

Type three

shield - adds to maximum energy level.
virgin - used to subdue a unicorn, or to give much experience (and some sin).
athelas - subtracts one poison.

Type four (scrolls)

shield - throws a bigger than normal force field.
invisible - temporarily puts the finder's quickness to one million.
ten fold strength - multiplies finder's strength by ten.
pick monster - allows finder to pick next monster to battle.
general knowledge - adds to finder's brains and magic level.

All the scrolls except general knowledge automatically call a monster. These preserve any spells that were already in effect, but are only in effect while in battle.

Type five

dagger - adds to strength.
armour - same as a shield, but bigger.
tablet - adds brains.

Type six

priest - rests to maximum; adds mana, brains; and halves sin.
Robin Hood - increases shield and adds permanently to strength.
axe - like dagger, but bigger.

Type seven

charm - protects from cursed treasure (used before amulet); used in conjunction with blessing to battle Dark Lord.
Merlyn - adds brains, magic, and mana.
war hammer - like an axe, but bigger.

Type eight

healing potion - sets poison to -2, or subtracts two from poison, whichever is better.
transporter - allows finder to move anywhere.
sword - like a war hammer, but bigger.

Type nine

golden crown - allows the player to become king, by going to (0,0).
blessing - cuts sin to 1/3, adds mana, rests to maximum, kills Dark Lord with a charm, and gives bearer first hit on all monsters.
quicksilver - adds to quickness.

Type ten

elven boots - adds permanently to quickness.

Type eleven

palantir - allows one to see all the other players; used by council of the wise to seek the grail.

Type twelve/thirteen

ring - allows one to hit much harder in battle, etc.

Any treasure type 10-13 monsters may instead carry a type nine treasure.

A monster may also be carrying gold or gems. These are used at trading posts to buy things. A gem is worth 1000 gold pieces. Too much gold will slow a player down. One may carry 1000 plus 200 per level of gold. A gem weighs one half a gold piece. Monsters of treasure type 7 or higher may carry gems.

The chance of a cursed treasure is based upon treasure type. The more valuable treasures have a greater chance of being cursed. A cursed treasure knocks energy level very low, and adds 0.25 poison.


Rings are only carried by nazguls and Dark Lords. They come in four different flavors. All rings rest the player to maximum and cause him/her to hit much harder in battle with monsters (assuming one has chosen to use the ring for battle.)

Two types of rings are cursed and come either from nazguls or Dark Lord. After a few times of using these types, the player falls under the control of the ring, and strange, random things will occur. Eventually, the player dies, and gives his/her name to a monster on the file. Dying before the ring is used up also renames the monster.

The two remaining types of rings are much more benign. The one from a nazgul is good for a limited number of battle rounds, and will save the player from death if it was being used when he/she died. The one from Dark Lord is the same, except that it never is used up. rings disappear after saving someone from death. In general, cursed rings occur much more often than normal ones. It is usually not a good idea to pick one up. The only way to get rid of a ring is to have a monster steal it.


A player may become king by finding a crown and going to (0,0). Players must have a level in the range of 10 to 1000 to be able to find a crown. When a player with one or more crowns reaches level 1000, the crowns are converted to gold.

Once a player is king, he/she may do certain things while in the Lord's Chamber (0,0). These are exercised with the decree ('0') option.


This is done to another player. It randomly moves the affected player about. A charm protects from transports.


This is done to another player. It is analogous to cursed treasure, but worse. It inflicts two poison, knocks energy level very low, and degrades the maximum energy. It also removes a cloak. A blessing protects from king's curses.

energy void

The king may put a number of these scattered about his/her kingdom as he/she pleases. If a player hits one, he/she loses mana, energy, and gold. The energy void disappears after being hit.


This is also done to another player. The king may wish to reward one or more loyal subjects by sharing his/her riches (gold). Or it is a convenient way to dispose of some unwanted deadweight.

collect taxes

Everyone pays 7% tax on all gold and gems acquired, regardless of the existence of a king. The king collects the accrued taxes with this option.

The king may also teleport anywhere for free by using the origin as a starting place.

Council of the Wise, Valar

A player automatically becomes a member of the council of the wise upon reaching level 3000. Members of the council cannot have rings. Members of the council have a few extra options which they can exercise. These are exercised with the intervene ('8') option. All intervene options cost 1000 mana. One intervene option is to heal another player. This is just a quick way for that player to be rested to maximum and lose a little poison. The main purpose in life for members of the council is to seek the Holy Grail. This is done with a palantir under the seek grail option. The distance cited by the seek is accurate within 10%, in order not to make it too easy to find the grail. A player must have infinitesimally small sin, or else it's all over upon finding the grail. In order to help members of the council on their quest, they may teleport with greater ease.

Upon finding the grail, the player advances to position of valar. He/she may then exercise more and niftier options under intervention. These include all of the council members' options plus the ability to move other players about, bless them, and throw monsters at them. A valar's blessing has the same effect as the treasure blessing, except that the affected player does not get his/her blessing flag set. All intervention options which affect other players age the player who uses them. Valars are essentially immortal, but are actually given five lives. If these are used up, the player is left to die, and becomes an ex-valar. A valar cannot move, teleport, or call monsters. (An exception to this is if the valar finds a transporter.) This is to allow him/her to dispose of excess gold. Any monsters which a valar encounters are based upon his/her size. Only one valar may exist at a time. The current valar is replaced when another player finds the grail. The valar is then bumped back to the council of the wise.


The wizard is usually the owner of the game, and the one who maintains the associated files. The wizard is granted special powers within the game, if it is invoked with the -S option. Otherwise, the wizard plays no different from other players. The wizard abilities are outlined below.

change players

When examining a player, (game invoked with -x, or use 'X' from within game), the wizard may also change the player.


The wizard may do all the intervention options. One extra option, vaporize, is added to kill any offensive players.

super character type

An extra character type is added. This character starts with the maximum possible in all statistics, selected from the other character types. A super character's statistics also progress at the maximum possible rate, selected from the other character types.

Special Places

Certain regions of the playing grid have different names. In general, this is only to give the player some idea of his/her present location. Some special places do exist.

Trading Posts

These are located at |x| == |y| == n*n*100 for n = 1, 2, ..., 1000. Trading posts farther out have more things for sale. Be careful about cheating the merchants there, as they have short tempers. Merchants are dishonest about 5% of the time.

Lord's Chamber

This is located at (0,0). Only players with crowns may enter.

Point of No Return

This is located beyond 1.2e+6 in any direction. The only way to return from here is a transporter or to have a valar relocate the player.

Dead Marshes

This is a band located fairly distant from the origin. The first fourteen monsters (water monsters) can normally only be found here.


This place is where the valar resides. It is associated with no particular coordinate on the playing grid.


Once a player reaches level 5, the game will start to time out waiting for input. This is to try to keep the game a bit faster paced.

A guru will never be disgusted with your sins if they are less than one.

A medic wants half of a player's gold to be happy. Offering more than one has, or a negative amount will anger the medic, who will make the player worse (add one poison).

The Holy Grail does little for those who are not ready to behold it. Whenever anyone finds it, it moves. It is always located within 1e+6 in any compass direction of the origin.

There is a maximum amount of mana and charms a player may posses, based upon level. Quicksilver is always limited to to a maximum of 99.

Books bought at a trading post increase brains, based upon the number bought. It is unwise, however to buy more than 1/10 of one's level in books at a time.

Players over level 10000 are automatically retired.

A blindness goes away in random time.

Players with crowns are identified with a '*' before their character type.

Inter-terminal Battle

When two player's coordinates correspond, they may engage in battle. In general, the player with the highest quickness gets the first hit. If the two players are severely mismatched, the stronger player is drastically handicapped for the battle. In order to protect from being stuck in an infinite loop, the player waiting for response may time out. Options for battle are:


Inflicts damage upon other person.

run away

Escape from battle. Has a 75% chance of working.

power blast

Battle spell.


One-time chance to try to win against the foe. Has a 10% chance of working.

Sometimes waits for the other player may be excessive, because he/she may be battling a monster. Upon slaying a player in battle the winner gets the other's experience and treasures. Rings do not work for inter-terminal battle.


Edward Estes, AT&T Information Systems, Skokie, IL


All screen formats assume at least 24 lines by at least 80 columns. No provisions are made for when any of the data items get too big for the allotted space on the screen.


April 1, 2001