Amethyst is an OOC dungeon crawl, inspired in equal parts by Talgrea and Z-machine abuse, but not particularly resembling either. It is intended largely as a technical experiment, stretching (but certainly not reaching) the boundaries of what the platform can support.
Amethyst relies heavily on random generation for its locations (which are actually implemented as a single “location”). This makes possible a large number of (fairly repetitive) locations for a moderate amount of effort.
The [Up] and [Down] links will move the player between dungeon levels. In keeping with genre convention for hack-and-slash dungeon crawlers, dungeon levels are numbered according to their depth below the surface, so “Up” decreases the dlvl number (returning surfaceward) and “Down” increases it (delving deeper).
When entering a Dungeon or Fountain level, the player will immediately enter a fight and be unable to leave until the fight has ended.
The [?] link at the end of the status line allows the player to view the inventory, and to toggle the autoquaff option.
There are five types of dungeon levels (dlvl):
- Dungeon, where monsters are found.
- Fountain, which is similar to Dungeon but offers some healing if the player survives the fight.
- Town, where the player can rest (restore hp and mp), and spend experience points.
- Shop, where the player can buy potions and weapons.
- Boss, which is the final boss fight.
The first 16 levels are hard-coded: towns on levels 1, 6, and 15, a shop on level 4, and dungeons on the other twelve initial levels. In addition, there are always towns on levels 50, 100, and 150, and dungeons on 51, 101, and 149. Finally, the boss is found on level 151.
All other levels are assigned their dungeon type at random, with the probability of a town increasing with the distance since the last town.
Each level also has specific types of monsters that tend to be found there – see below.
The monster description is composed of up to five parts:
- the number – monsters are found in groups of one to four
- optionally, a feature (chittering/horned/winged/fierce/large) – feature monsters tend to deal more damage and drop more gold.
- optionally, a texture (mottled/spotted/striped)
- a color (gray/silver/rust-brown/red/orange-red/green/blue)
- a species – see below.
Monster species are divided into three tiers of increasing difficulty:
- lizard, serpent, insect, imp
- dragon, wyrm, drake, wyvern, manticore, naga, chimera (found from level 51 on)
- basilisk, cockatrice, gorgon, djinn, siren (found from level 101 on)
Maximum group size increases every ten levels, and resets to one when new tiers unlock at every fifty. In addition, monsters have more hit points and deal more damage at deeper levels. Finally, “feature” monsters are more likely just before group/tier thresholds, and less likely just after.
Each dungeon level hosts a specific color and species of monsters; the other traits (number, feature, and texture) are fully variable. For dungeon levels deep enough to support higher-tier monsters, one species of each tier is available.
Levels 2 and 3 have, respectively, gray lizards and blue serpents. For the rest of the levels, the color and species is random.
There are three major options in combat:
- [Attack] deals damage according to the player's Strength.
- [Magic] deals damage according to the player's Wisdom. It is more effective against larger groups.
- [Item] allows the player to use potions. Drinking potions does not use up the player's turn.
During combat, the player is unable to exit the level – the only way out is victory or defeat.
Victory will unlock the [Up] and [Down] links, allowing the player to proceed. However, the [Down] link may be unavailable if the player has not yet discovered the stairs on that level. In this case, the [Keep exploring] link may be helpful, starting another fight and yielding another opportunity to find the stairs.
Victory also grants material rewards: experience points, and either potions, gold, or the stairs down. (Once the stairs have been discovered once on a given level, they remain available indefinitely, and any future battles will yield potions or gold.)
Defeat results in the loss of half the player's gp and xp, and one point from each of Strength and Wisdom (as long as this would not drop them too far below their original levels). Additionally, the player is transported back to the Town level they most recently visited.
If the autoquaff (Automatically drink potions) option is turned on, then potions are automatically used – after the monster's turn – in sufficient quantity to completely or almost completely refill the player's hp and mp.
Potions are bought in shops for 40 gold each. They can be used manually in combat with the [Item] option, or automatically at the end of the combat turn if autoquaff is on.
Autoquaff will not use a potion unless the potion can have its full effect (5 points of restoration per potion). For example, if the player's maximum hit points are 20, then autoquaff will only use a health potion if the player's current hp is at 15 or less. Multiple potions work similarly: autoquaff will use the minimum number of potions necessary to bring hp and mp to within 0-4 points of their respective maximum values.
There are two types of weapons in the game: swords and wands. A sword grants a hidden bonus to Strength, and a wand grants a hidden bonus to Wisdom. The hidden bonus is much more than the numerical bonus listed on the weapon; for example, a +1 weapon is (roughly) equivalent to a +5 stat bonus.
Weapons also increase the variability of the player's damage output. Higher-level weapons cause wider spreads.
The player initially does not have any weapons. Weapons are bought in shops; more powerful weapons cost more gold.
Experience points (xp) can be spent on a Town level to increase stats. 20 xp will increase one stat by one point.
- Vitality is maximum hp.
- Mana is maximum mp.
- Strength determines (nonmagical) Attack damage. At low values, 10 points of Strength correspond roughly to one point of damage, but this ratio improves for higher values.
- Wisdom determines Magic damage. 10 points of Wisdom correspond on average to one point of damage per enemy monster.
Amethyst tries not to give the player a fight they can win without risk or cost. More precisely, the player will (almost) never be given a fight they can certainly win on the first turn without magic. As the player's Strength increases, groups of monsters will tend toward greater numbers, and if the game cannot provide a sufficient challenge within the bounds of difficulty set for a given level, then that level will be “cleared”, meaning that no more monsters and no more fights will occur there.
(In principle, it is possible to “unclear” a level by repeatedly losing fights to reduce Strength, but this is usually not a good idea.)
The Dungeon on level 149 is exempt from being cleared, to prevent players from being “stuck” before the final boss fight with no source of gold and xp.