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Major Roguelike
Developer Noah Morgan, copx, Gibbon
Theme Fantasy
Influences Rogue
Released 1986
Updated 2022 March 21
Licensing Custom
P. Language C
Platforms DOS, UNIX, Amiga, VMS, Windows
Interface ASCII
Game Length Short
Official site of Larn

Larn was first released in 1986 by Noah Morgan.


Larn was the first roguelike game to feature multiple dungeons with a sort of surface world (in this case, a town) to connect them. The town, which is persistent, like the dungeon levels (advanced for the time), and features shops to exchange items, schools to improve skills, and a bank to store valuables. The dungeon has branch offices of the town's bank. Larn is also time-limited, achieving the main goal too late counts as losing the game. The player is trying to find an item which can cure his ailing daughter, and for which there is a Nethack-like extended quest. If the time limit is reached, the daughter dies.

A few features which are unique to Larn and make it worth playing:

  • Identification is always successful. The scroll/potion type will always be known to the player regardless whether the player received any clue about the usage of the particular item.
  • The Scroll of gem perfection enhances the value of carried gems.
  • If a character manages to win Larn, his successor will have to pay taxes, which depend on the amount of gold brought to the surface.
  • Gold pieces stored in the bank earn interest over time.
  • Spells are cast by typing a 3-letter mnemonic. For example, magic missile is MLE.
  • The level generation is exceptionally varied: You can find mazes, rows of rooms with doors, round chambers, and open spaces with or without pillars, but still generated at random as in any other roguelike.
  • Many other conventional Roguelike features are also given a unique spin (many conventions in the genre were less set in stone), and it can be an interesting change of pace.

Platforms and versions

Updated versions of Larn seem to have disappeared.

Some older copies of larn can be found here, but the host does not know if they compile or not.

Ularn v1.6, released in 2004, is available for Windows and Amiga. Source is available for other systems (v1.5 is known to compile for various UNIX systems).

An unapologetic historically accurate version of Larn 12.3.1 (updated to 12.3.3) can be found here for GNU/Linux systems only.


  • iLarn
  • NLarn is a rewrite with the aim to bring Larn to the 21st century. It offers a nicer user interface, colour, improved monster AI, and numerous other enhancements.
  • PC Larn
  • Ularn — or "Ultra-Larn" — is a descendant of Larn. It has been created by Phil Cordier in 1992 and adds new features like character classes, Dealer McDope, and more levels.
  • XLarn is a heavily extended version of Larn
  • LarnHD is a higher quality version of Larn with sounds; compatible with more modern devices.
  • ReLarn is a variant of Ularn. It is mostly a code cleanup and modernization of the Ularn sources.

Game related links