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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Elfhelm's Bane Instructions and Setup

Assuming you have the computer skills to unzip and install the Apple II e Emulator, and you have Elfhelm's game files from my previous post, let's go ahead and open up Disk 1. [Leave a comment here for technical support if you don't know how to do this.] You should get the Green Valley Publishing Screen. Hit SPACEBAR to get to the main menu. Remember for the Apple Emulator, F11 SAVES you game (so you don't need to make a save game disk, and F12 loads it back up. F12 can be done at any point once you open the disk.)

Quick note: I like to have Disk 1 and Disk 2 put in their respective virtual drives, so all you have to do is switch/swap drives when asked to "insert Disk 2".

If you want to learn about the Realm of Angbar in the game, use your arrow keys to go to INSTRUCTIONS. Then display on screen. Here is a summary of this screen:

The Realm of Angbar takes place in the alien world of Orthos, a special place in the universe where magic exists. You are a young person who is in the capital of Angbar, Elfhelm. You had sold your old boat at the wharf for a few pieces of gold, and you have clothes.

Before you start the game you have to create a new character. What details next are your character's attributes:

STR- Strength, used to hold weapons, carry a large load, break down doors, etc. [Warriors need this]
INT- Intelligence, used to think, deduce, reason
CON- Constitution, you health, used to generate Damage Points and be resurrected.
DEX- Dexterity, used to dodge blows and run
MAG- Magic ability [Magic Users and Priests, and probably for Warriors who use magic scrolls]

Three classes to choose from: Warriors, Priests, and Magic Users

Warriors: High Damage Points, wield any weapon, high damage, can't memorize spells
Priests: We learn that Magic Points is a value used to cast spells. Each spell is worth a point, and you regenerate a point each turn. Priests have less magic points than Magic Users, and Warriors have none. We learn Magic Bonuses give more damage and increase the success-rate of a spell. Priests have less MB than Magic Users, and Fighters have none. Priests can wield any weapon like Warriors, however. Priests start the game with one spell, Vigor, which heals.
Magic Users: Lowest Damage Points, lowest damage, highest Magic Points, Magic Bonuses, and they start with 3 spells: Vigor, Haste, and a random one. Wizards cannot wield edged weapons, such as daggers, battle-axes, or swords.

Next, we are briefed on the basic RPG concepts that we are all now familiar with, such as Levels and Experience. Kill a monster and get experience. As you increase levels, your character's stats increase and you become more powerful. The only difference with Elfhelm is that you can also get experience by depositing gold pieces in the bank, and you need to pay a training fee to advance to the next level. Priests and Magic Users gain a spell for level advancement. Also, depending on how many times you use your weapon, you get damage bonuses (so using a club many times against foes, may give you a +1 HP damage for Blunt Weapons next level). The three classes of weapons are thrusting, edge, and blunt.

Here's the list of alpha-keyboard commands:

To Attack:
(H)it- Standard attack
(P)arry- Defensive hit, lower damage, but increases the chance of blocking the next attack
(B)ash- Based on your STR and DEX, it knocks your foe down for a turn
(S)mash- HULK SMASH! High damage attack, but you are left open

(B)uy Equipment:
This can ONLY be done at the Elfhelm Weapons and Supply Shop in town. You are allowed to (B)uy equipment as long as you are carrying under 20 items, you have enough gold in the bank, and you have enough strength to carry the weight.

(C)ast Spell:
Priests and Magic Users can eventually learn all of these spells:
Vigor- Heal Damage Points
Haste- Double your speed (1 turn = 2 actions)
Plague- If hit, your foe dies in 10 turns
Fireball- Nice damage to one opponent
Blast- Great damage to one opponent
Fear- Causes a foe to run
Invisibility- Fade from this plane of existence for a few turns (very hard to get hit)
Neutralize Poison- Prevent your death by flushes poison from your body
Doomkill- Turns foe to ash (no chance to pick up their treasure)
Identify- Cheat mode- find out details about items (how much charge it left, what spell it casts, or in the monsters' case- its level and damage points)
Lightning- Most damage against a single foe
Mesmerize- Foe gets confused, can't fight back, and may flee
Terror- Clears all monsters from an area
Health- Cure disease before you die

Spell rules- Each spell uses 4 Magic Points. The success rate is based on your Level and your Magic Bonus. However with offensive spells (fireball, doomkill, etc.) your foe has a chance to dodge it.

Movement Commands
Each room or area has a list of permitted directions.
(N)orth, (S)outh, (E)ast, (W)est, (U)p, (D)own, (O)ut, (G)o to a special place
You can also (F)ind a hidden exit to special room or area, based on your INT.

Your Character
You can (P)rint your character to the screen to see all of your attributes, stats, money, spells, experience needed for next level, weapons and armor you are holding, your backpack capacity, and more.

Weapon Damage and Armor Class (AC) Explained
This was always complicated to me when I played Dungeons and Dragons. Elfhelm's Bane makes it easier to explain; each weapon has a number in brackets, such as Dagger [2]. That means a dagger can inflict 1-2 damage points against a foe. If you had a Magic Dagger +5 [2] that means you can inflict 1-2 damage points PLUS a bonus of 5, meaning the Magic Dagger has a range of 6-7.

Regarding armor and shields, just wearing clothes = AC 25, which is the worst, meaning you have no protection. Wearing armor such as chain mail [7] using the formula 25-7 = 18, for an Armor Class of 18. The lower the number the better deflection of blows. AC0 = a tank!

(Q)uit results in leaving the game and getting a chance to save it. Doesn't work in the middle of the fight. Don't bother using this if you are using an emulator. Just hit F11 to save.

(R)eturn equipment to your backpack without dropping it on the floor. Great to use before you (V)amoose and run away (you lose your weapon and shield if you are holding them).

(T)rain: can only be used in Town Square. If you have the right amount of money and no experience points left to earn for the next level, you can advance.

The best way to make money in the long term is not depositing money to Elfhelm's bank; you need to go to the Elfhelm Pawnshop and (H)ock your items.

To see a list of all of your items, including their weight in your backpack, use the (I)nventory command. You can also drop items using this command.

Use (J) key to examine a monster or item for a basic description.

After you (A)ttack a monster, use (K)ill to continue fighting it.

Use (L)ook to pick up an item or object from the floor or area. This command also tells you which monsters are in the area for you to (A)ttack.

(W)ield mean hold in your hands. If you buy or pick up a weapon, armor, or shield you MUST wield it before you can use it. To switch weapons, just wield the new one.

(H)ide in the shadows so monsters can't see you. Some monsters attack on site and gangbang you. If you are weak, you can hide. Great for surprising. Note: if you perform an action, wielding a weapon or casting a spell, you will become unhidden.

(Y)ell to be a cocky adventurer and attract monsters.

(Z)ap allows you to use magical items or tools. All classes can do this. Each item has a function (keys can unlock doors, staffs can heal, scrolls can cast spells, etc.). Each item has a limited charge. Each time you zap a charge is used. If you have the spell Identify, you can know exactly how many charges are left and what the function of the tool is. Otherwise, it's trial and error. Be careful- some items can blow up in your face. Zapping is the only way a Warrior can use magic.


Your bank is like a debit card. Deposit the gold in the bank as much as you can. The supply shop and pawn shop have access to your bank account, and don't deal with cash that you have on hand. If you die, you lose all of your possessions, but the local priesthood will happily resurrect you for half of your bank account [you also lose 1 point from your CON stat]. Remember, at lower levels going to the bank is extremely important because you gain experience for every gold piece you deposit.

Every turn, you regenerate a Magic Point (except while Haste and Invisibility are working) and Body Point. Once your Body Points reach 0, you're dead. You have 10 rounds to cure disease or poison (using a spell or zapping a scroll or item). Multiple poisonings at the same time lowers the number of turns you have to cure yourself.

EVERYTHING counts as a turn, EXCEPT actions like (P)rinting character to monitor and (I)inventory. Generally, after any other command, a turn occurs, which means you regenerate, a monster can attack, a poison/disease counter passes, and a new monster can appear. There are three ways to get monsters to appear: keeping (H)iding, (Y)elling, or hit [ENTER], which is sit around.

Hints from the Creator:

Make a map, don't leave the city until you advance a few levels, big trouble if you fight a monster that is 2-3 times your level; use the J command when you encounter a new monster to see what its level is. Press SPACEBAR for this full list of commands.


  1. Duuuude! You are the freaking man! I always wondered what happened to this game of my youth! I downloaded it and will totally play it again as an adult! Thanks so much! Sean lovepeabody@gmail.com

  2. I just loaded all these up and it works like a...Apple ][e with Elfhelm's Bane! Like you, this was my favourite adventure game ever! Thank you so much for posting this! I've been looking for years!


  3. So happy to help you relive your dream!!


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