Tales Of Middle Earth Tales Of Middle Earth
Made by: Darkgod
Website: http://www.t-o-m-e.net
More info: -

Very fun gameplay
Large world
Many monsters and items
Slightly buggy
Bad random numbers generator

Troubles (or Tales) of Middle Earth (ToME) is a Roguelike set in the universe of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". You create a fantasy character and set out to destroy The One Ring and Sauron, although you CAN wear The Ring if you wish.

This is an Angband variant, so those of you who have played Angband or one of the hundred variants out there should feel right at home. The main difference to Angband is the fact that ToME has a player-controlled skill system. This alone makes it better than other Angband variants in my opinion.

You are sent to the Tower of Dol Guldur to destroy an evil Necromancer, but this is just to give you a starting goal... There are many quests and, as stated above, your actual goal is to destroy Sauron (There is more than just this though). There really isn't much in terms of a story but there is no need for one.

Character Generation
Character Generation is quite neat as you have one more option than in most RPGs: The race modifier. For example you can create a Human Sorcerer but you can also create a Human Vampire Sorcerer or Troll Zombie Haftedmaster. There are some really fun and original classes available, for example Possessors can leave their body and enter that of any other creature, giving you that creature's body and innate abilities{!}. I have never seen anything like this in an RPG before. Another neat class is the Symbiant. They hypnotize non-moving creatures, like molds and jellies, then wear them as armor. When you attack a monster the "pet" will also use its form of attack. Special abilities of the "pets" can also be used once your skill level is high enough. That is just a sample of the originality of the classes... If you download (which you should), give them all a try. It's worth it.

The races and class combinations are not really balanced but they are not meant to be.

Your Character
Main stats are: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma. Every character level you get 6 skill points that you can spread among your available skills using the "G" command. The skill advancement is handled with a point-based sub-skill system. For instance, you have the skill Swordmastery and every skill point pumped into it raises the skill by say 0.600 (depends on race and class). Now Swordmastery is a sub-skill of Weaponmastery and every time you raise Swordmastery you also raise Weaponmastery a little bit. I like this because it just doesn't seem like a master of a specific weapon type would get whipped just because he's using another kind of weapon...

If you use the "C" command then hit "n" a couple of times you'll see your character flags. These are things like "see invisible", "fire immunity" and "slow digestion". You basicaly try to get all of the good flags marked by wearing certain armors or wielding certain weapons. This is probably even more important than your character level because a level 50 Sorcerer is still going to get fried by an Ancient Red Dragon if he isn't immune or at least resistant to fire.

You may also select a god you wish to worship. This gives bonuses and/or weaknesses and also allows you to do god quests. I personnaly hardly ever choose a god because I don't like the way they are implemented into the game. It just makes things more complicated. There is also a level 50 cap on character advancement.

The overall gameplay is nothing but going into a dungeon, finding neato items, recalling to a town, selling the neato items that you have no use for and going back into the dungeon to get more neato items. Now and then you kill some mean monster or save some lake to solve a quest... That's it. Wonderful!

It may sound plain and boring, but it isn't at all. The creatures in the dungeons and the hope of finding a vault, a great item, or, if you're lucky, The One Ring, will all keep you focused on the game and wanting to come back for more. Again... and again... and again.

Combat is pretty much just like in any other Roguelike. You walk into an enemy and attack, dice are rolled, numbers are compared and you either hit or miss. Using the "C" command you enter the character sheet and can set your "Tactics" and "Exploring" values. Tactics is how aggressive you fight. The higher it is the more damage you will do and more often you will hit... At the same time you will also be hit more often and harder, though. Exploring affects your speed and searching values.

(TIP: You really should enter the "C"haracter sheet right away and set Tactics to aggresive or higher and Exploring to running. Your character really sucks at fighting in the beginning and you will probably be killed by a dumb snake or something if you don't.)

The higher your skill in a specific magic skill is, the better the spells you can cast. Spells themselves also get better the higher the skill gets. A fire spell might do normal fire damage and at spell level 30 it could do hellfire damage for instance. Spells are cast from books and NOT from memory so you will always have to have a spellbook with you as a mage or the like (There are little ways around this, like amulets of spell, but books will remain important throughout the game). The spells aren't as neat as in Linley's Dungeon Crawl, but they are still fun.

Lots of'm! Not only are there lots and lots of garanteed items like all the different types of potions, scrolls, wands and scripted artefacts, but there is also a very nice "Ego-item" system in place. Example: a Long Sword can be randomly generated to be a "Blessed Long Sword of Tulkas". This would give the normal sword attributes like a bonus to strength, evil ESP (you can "see" evil creatures that are not in your field of vision), protection from evil and a lot more. It gives you the feeling of there being an unlimited amount of items to be found (which is pretty dang close). Items must be identified to know what they are. Some powerful ego-items or Artefacts must be *identified* (stronger version of normal identify).

Something i haven't seen before and really like, are the rods. Instead of just finding a rod like in Zangband that has one shot and then slowly recharges itself, you combine the "rod" with the "rod tip". The rod tip is the spell. All spells use a certain number of MPs. The rod is the MP "battery". So if you have a rod tip of a spell that uses 20 MP and a rod that can hold 100 MP you can cast the spell 5 times before the MP runs out. The rods still recharge, just like in Zangband, though. Rods can also be ego-items. I've found "Moonstone Rods of the Istaari" for example... They do something like making the spell cost less, giving the rod more MP and making it recharge faster. Cool!

Using magic items isn't just a matter of aiming and pulling the trigger. You have a skill that affects the strength, duration, ect. of the spell the item contains.

You can use the "I" command to get a detailed description of any item.

Pretty much everything wants to kill you, but there are a couple of beings that are neutral or co-aligned. You can receive quests from a few "people", like Farmer Maggot, or in buildings, but that's it. I think it's a great balance between ADoM and LDC. You only talk to people to get quests and to sell stuff.

There are over 800 creatures in vanilla ToME. In THEME (a ToME variant I play and strongly recommend) there are over a thousand. You'll also run across uniques. These are stronger creatures you'll probably know from the books, like "Brodda the Easterling", or from other literature, like "Hobbes" from Calvin and Hobbes (if you have joke monsters set to on). Once killed, these creatures remain dead and don't respawn until the next game. A goal of this game is to find them all and slaughter them, of course. You can see known uniques and their dead/alive status by pressing "~" then pressing the corresponding number from the menu that pops up.

The Game World
Large. There are lots of places to go and dungeons to explore. There is a main overhead map to make traveling easier, but some places are hidden and you'll have to explore unmarked map tiles to find them, or you can buy a map of the location you wish to visit. There are many kinds of shops and you can really look around Middle-Earth to find the item you would like to have or to compare prices(which is really not worth it). It is also possible to find random dungeon towns.

Staying Alive
As in all good Roguelikes, death is permanent. The game has a quite steep learning curve but after a couple hundred (joking) deaths, you'll get the hang of it. You have to eat to stay alive, but you will most likely satisfy your hunger with scrolls or spells fairly early on.

When dead, you will get a score and a chance to save your character dump to show it off here on Reloaded or on the official Forums. You can also post this dump at http://angband.oook.cz/ and try to become number 1 on the ladder.

You may choose to play with ASCII or tile-based graphics. The graphic tiles are nicely done, in my opinion, and I can recognize just about everything without using the "l"ook command. I recommend playing in "big tile mode", otherwise everything looks a tad too small.

ToME has a decent atmosphere with either graphic or ASCII tiles, although it could be better.

There are quite a few mods for ToME, the most known at the time of writing being: "Annals of Ea", "T-Plus" and "THEME". As I said above, I play the THEME module and highly recommend it. It's worth trying out a couple of the mods, though, so you find your favorite ToME.

ToME is my personal favorite when it comes to Roguelikes. ADoM is more atmospheric and LDC is more accesible but ToME is a perfect balance between these two games. I can start up a character quickly and get right into bashing, but at the same time I feel like I'm a (psychotic) member of Middle-Earth.

ToME does have it's bad points, these being: a pretty bad random number generator, quite a few bugs(they don't destroy the game but they could get on your nerves), unbalanced character generation, a fairly steep learning curve and a boring god system.

That being said, I still think you should download this great Roguelike, learn how to play it and post your adventure stories in the related forum topic. I'll always be available for assistance to new players.

Do not forget to set your options ("=" while ingame or you can set them during character generation) to your preferred playing style. There are alot of options and they can really change gameplay. The default options aren't any good, in my opinion, so I thought I'd mention this. Also don't forget the "?" command, as it will take you to an online help system which can be quite (duh) helpful.

Review by: DakaSha

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