Loosely based on The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson, The Land is a role-playing game where the player will create a character and explore towns, villages and dungeons of The Land. The actual plot of The Land is revealed to the player by playing through the game and no prologue is given.
Creating a character is an important part of this game just like many other role-playing games. After picking the age and gender of the character, the player will then determine their class. The classes of The Land are:
Bloodguard of the Haruchai race, who do not sleep and are fearless and will run into combat without armor or weapons;
the Giants who naturally deliver really strong hits;
Lilianrill, who are devotional to woods and cast wood spells;
Loreslaat, who are the most powerful but hardest to advance;
Rhadhamaerl, who are devoted to stones and cast incredible stone based spells;
the Ramen, who are tenders of the Ranyhyn the great horses; and
Warwards, who are the basic fighter class.
All characters are given a service which is their oath to follow throughout the course of the game. If a character behaves against their service they will not advance as well and will be slow to level up.
The action of traveling is the same for the combat system. The top-down view of the game allows the player to see explored and unexplored areas. Battles and dungeons are generated randomly. As the player explores the land, the player may suddenly find oneself on a battle field. The enemy will take as many steps as the player does so if the player chooses to run and fight another day it is possible to do so. The player uses a main melee attack and may also bring down a list of spells. Loot left behind after a battle is picked up in the same manner by walking over it. Items left behind and available for purchase or trade are; food, magic items, armor, and weapons.
The Land is an interesting and unique shareware RPG based on the fantasy trilogy "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" by Stephen R. Donaldson. In typical Roguelike games manner, you create a character, travel the lands and dungeons in search of treasure and magic. There is a main goal that you will discover while you play.
What sets The Land apart from other RPGs despite outdated CGA graphics (in 1989!) is judicious use of Donaldson's intriguing fantasy gameworld. In addition to novel classes such as "Bloodguard," all characters have some vow or oath to follow, which is done by devoting a certain amount of time to their cause. If the characters don't follow ("service") their own, their abilities will be reduced over time. The amount of service changes from class to class and level to level. You start the game with 6 months of service per year, with additional 1 month added every five levels. This provides a nice break from the mundane "kill monsters, get gold, upgrade equipment" routine, although much of Donaldson's imaginative monsters are present to make the game quite unique already anyway. Well worth a look, especially if you are interested in Roguelikes with a difference.
Note: although identical to the registered version except for the "nag" screen, the shareware version for download here doesn't come with detailed manual which is available only to those who registered the game.
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