This blog is all about the game of Larn, designed originally by Noah Morgan in 1986. I'd like to note that there is probably a whole lot of stuff I simply don't know. This is all based on my own experience, so don't take it as gospel.
I first played the game of Larn off of a 5.25 floppy disc on computer that had a 5 inch green monitor and was packing an 8088 4mhz processor. One fun thing about that version of the game, was that if you were lost and didn't know what level you were on, as soon as you saved your game, it would tick off the levels as it saved. I think the reason I preferred Larn to its contemporaries Rogue, Dunzhin, etc, was that it was "turn based" in the sense that the monsters wouldn't move until you moved. That way you could carefully plan moves and just make it to that staircase before the white dragon on level five got you. Situations became logic games. Larn was also a whole lot more sleek, simple, and elegant.
I also liked how there were things in the game that weren't mentioned in the instructions anywhere. I remember the first time I discovered that you could (on lower difficulties) blow up statues with a fireball, lightning bolt, cone of cold, or vaporize rock spell and there would be a book inside. I figured that out one game where I shot a fireball at a monster and it kept going until it hit the statue; the message said that my fireball damaged the statue. Then I tried standing right next to the statue and voila, the fireball blew it away and I had another book. The same thing happened with walls. I figured out I could knock down walls with a fireball, lightning bolt, or cone of cold. At higher difficulties it became a lot harder to knock down walls with these spells, and after difficulty two you can't blow up a statue at all.
I'd like to also point out, that there are a couple versions of Larn that I've encountered. The original Larn can still be found in the standard UNIX package that some ISP's still use. I happen to have an ISP with a UNIX shell and I still play this version of Larn. There was a version that was ported to DOS (the version I played originally) that had a couple easter eggs in it. One, you could withdraw a negative amount of money, and it would add that amount of money to your bank account. (I could have this backwards, it might've been possible to deposit a negative amount and have it give you more money in your inventory). Also, there was a keycode you could type in, which was based on the "Combining Gas Law" pv=nrt that went into a mode where the Home level had one of every object in the game. (every scroll, potion, weapon, armor, etc). You could gear up and buff (and even duplicate certain items from the store) and play the game starting with all the best stuff. These two things do not exist in the UNIX version of the game that I play. The other version I've seen is Ularn, which adds player classes, levels, magic items, a drug dealer's store, and more. You can google this and play it for yourself. It was fun up to a point, but ultimately, it was a little too complicated for its own good.
I'll be adding new posts soon, talking about strategies and other fun things I found by playing the game. I find myself playing Larn a lot, and it's retained its fun long after I got sick of playing Civ IV or Neverwinter Nights. I read that Noah Morgan passed away. I would've liked to have met him and told him what a great thing he made.