Oubliette is one of the earliest party-based role-playing games. It is an open-ended hack-and-slash through a multilevel dungeon with a party of 1-6 characters, chosen from possible classes including Fighters, Priests and Thieves. They will gain experience, jewelry and armor as the adventure progresses, but they will also age and may eventually die. Spells are triggered through typing their activation codes. The party can be changed before every trip to the dungeon by dropping off / picking up characters from the local tavern.
Oubliette is a great fantasy RPG that dates back to 1983. The game is entirely text, but it does a great job in showing what's going on around you. First, you have to create a few characters. You can create many, many characters (in fact it's almost necessary) to survive in the dungeons of LIGNE. You have a choice of 8 character types, and they are: the Dwarf, Elf, Gnoll, Hobbit, Human, Kobold, Ogre and Orc. Once your type is chosen your stats are rolled, and depending on your stats you could have special "occupations" like a thief or mage. If you do that, then you can choose from a variety of different schools and groups to teach you the ways of whatever you've chosen. Be careful though, as there might be a good chance your character fails or even dies during apprenticeship!
The dungeon portion (which is similar to Rogue-style games) is well thought out. It uses ASCII graphics to display the walls and the word Party to display where your party is, which is well done, and the dungeons are nice and confusing. There are also a good variety of weapons to use against your enemies. However, the game is very difficult and can find many people dead on the first try (The game has told me that I've got into the game 6 times and lost 16 characters) but the great variety of the game will have RPG fans coming back for more! I wasn't even really interested in the genre, and now I'm hooked!
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