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Major Roguelike
Developer Robert Alan Koeneke, James E. Wilson, others
Theme Fantasy
Influences Rogue
Released 1983
Updated 2015, v5.6
Licensing GPL v2
P. Language C, Pascal
Platforms Linux, MS-DOS, Mac Classic, Atari ST, Amiga, *NIX
Interface ASCII, Keyboard
Game Length ~50 Hours
Official site of Moria

Moria is a roguelike that is very loosly based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The game world is set in The Dungeons of Moria where the player has to venture deep into the mines to defeat the Balrog. Although inspired by Tolkien's Mines of Moria, there is little else that the game shares with the books.

Created by Robert Alan Koeneke in 1983, Moria is one of the earliest clones of Rogue and was the first roguelike to have a "Town" level where you buy weapons, armor, spellbooks, potions, and various other items to help you on your difficult quest to defeat the Balrog.

Moria was also the first open source roguelike, which made it possible for it to be ported to many different computer platforms in a time when that was generally hard to achieve.

Although the game is not as popular as it once was, it is still considered as one of the major roguelikes.


Original development

Robert Alan Koeneke became hooked on "Rogue" while at the University of Oklahoma. Around 1981 he got a job in a new department where the game wasn't available, so in 1982 he decided to write his own Rogue game written in VMS Basic, and called it Moria Beta 1.0. In 1983 he enrolled in a Pascal operating systems class and started rewriting Moria in VMS Pascal, releasing v1.0 the following summer. In 1985 he started sending out the source code to other Universities, and it was during this time that the game started to became popular.

Koeneke was working on Moria 5.0, which was an almost complete rewrite with interesting features like streams, lakes and new weapons, however it was never released. A different version called Moria UB 5.0 appeared at the University at Buffalo; this is the last VMS version released, and is sometimes called VMS Moria 5.0.

The last official release from Koeneke was Moria 4.8, and was released November 1986.

C language port

In February 1987, James E. Wilson took the original Moria 4.8 sources and started porting it to the C language, running on the UNIX operating system. The first official release (v4.85) was posted to the mailing list on November 5, 1987.

Umoria also fixed many bugs, spelling errors, and inconsistencies in the original Moria sources. It also introduced character re-rolling (in the later versions), but otherwise had few changes from the original game. Unlike the original game, this version had no help facility.

As C is a much more portable language than the original Pascal, it became easier for Umoria to be ported to various other computer systems such as IBM-PC, Atari ST, Amiga, Macintosh, Apple IIGS, VM/SP, Archimedes.


The release of the source code allowed Moria to survive its VMS origins, particularly so after the creation of Umoria. Along with the many ports to different computer systems, it also spawned numerous variants - the most successful being Angband - and is also known to have been an inspiration for the first commercially successful Roguelikelike, Diablo.

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