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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, first released in 1983, is one of the earliest clones of Rogue. In 1987 it was rewritten in the C language and released as Umoria. Although this was originally a port, it can very much be considered a continuation of the Moria game.



Written by Robert Alan Koeneke, Moria was based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, where the player has to go down into the mines of Moria and defeat the Balrog to win the game.

This game was the first roguelike to have a "Town" level, where you may buy your weapons, armor, spellbooks, potions, and various other item to help you on your quest. The game world is "The Dungeons (or Mines) of Moria", and although the name comes from the world of Tolkien, there is little that the game shares with the books. In the deepest level, you must find and defeat the Balrog. This is a hard quest for which you must prepare with the proper equipment and character enhancement items. It is not unusual for a game win to take over 50 hours.

It was 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 hard to achieve. Although the game is not as popular as it once was, it is still considered a major Roguelike.

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.

Umoria: 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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