You feel yourself turning into a small fish! You flop three times then die.
December 3, 2011 10:45 PM   Subscribe

Here is a ancient Apple II computer role-playing game system with over 250 scenarios.

It is EAMON, a little-known collection of RPG adventures for the Apple II.  They are all in the public domain! This is its manual. You had better believe it is required reading. And this is the download page.

The Digital Antiquarian (previously) wrote three articles on EAMON. Part 1. Sample play. Part 2.
posted by JHarris (18 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
If you would like to play online, here's the main disk emulated in Java, and here is the beginner's adventure.
posted by JHarris at 10:57 PM on December 3, 2011

(You have to make characters with the main disk before you can play any adventure.)
posted by JHarris at 10:58 PM on December 3, 2011

We're so skilled at devising amusement and diversion for ourselves, and our current marketplace rewards such efforts so prodigiously. It's fascinating to see that process at this early stage in computer-based ludic endeavors.
posted by clockzero at 11:24 PM on December 3, 2011

I spent part of a summer at my grandmother's making games in EAMON. Thank you for this.
posted by zippy at 11:33 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Oh, the beginner's adventure is on the main disk. Sorry about the confusion there, I was making the post from iOS which doesn't have Java.)
posted by JHarris at 2:09 AM on December 4, 2011

Apparently every time you hit there's a 2% chance your skill level rises. I love that system.
posted by ersatz at 3:53 AM on December 4, 2011

It's a variant of the Runequest/Call of Cthulhu skill system, where most everything you can do resolves down into one skill or another. When you succeed at a skill, you usually get a "check" in it, and at the end of an adventure your checked skills are each rolled once with you trying to *fail*. The result is, it's hard to get checks when you're bad at a skill but easy to succeed at them, and vice versa. You can't stack checks either; they only reset at the end of an adventure.

In EAMON, once you're good at a skill, you'll continue to get better at it at an accelerating rate. You generally get less skill with each success (2 points vs. 1D6/1D10), but you also get the points *every* time you succeed instead of only one time and at the end of an adventure, making it easy to grind experience bonuses.
posted by JHarris at 4:10 AM on December 4, 2011

Having read through the links, but never played...I like it. I like the fact that it throws out the "Guess The Verb!" system too common in bog-standard adventure games. I like the randomness. I think I will give it a go.
posted by Jimbob at 4:11 AM on December 4, 2011

(And I'm pretty sure it's that you gain 2% every time you succeed at an attack, not that you gain skill on 2% of your attacks. I base this on the fact that I went to 0% to 6% in sword in the Beginner Cave with three successful sword hits that game. What can I say, the Hermit decided to join up due to my high Charisma, and basically cleared out most of the whole dungeon for me.)

Look at the manual, it turns out there's an interesting (and somewhat worrying) feature. When you swing your weapon, or the enemy swings his, there's a 5% chance of a critical hit, and on each there's a 1% chance of an automatic kill. That's great when it happens to him, but kind of sucks when it happens to you. And when making an attack, the attacker has a 4% chance of fumbling his weapon, and a 1% chance then of killing himself.

TSR once addressed this in the pages of Dragon magazine in a section on homebrewed critical hit rolls. The problem is, there are thousands of monsters. Cumulatively, each monster only gets attacked a few times, while advanced players may get attacked hundreds of thousands of times, and every one has the potential to be fatal. I like that this simulates the tremendous uncertainty of battle (even a demigod will get whacked by a kobold once in a while), but ultimately being on the receiving end of a critical hit is a lot more worrisome to the player than the entire Orcish race.
posted by JHarris at 4:20 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was mistaken about the chances of success with a weapon, I had gotten it confused with the way of improving with magic. According to the manual, your chance of gaining skill with a weapon is equal to your chance of missing, which does a better job of simulating a natural increase of skill.
posted by JHarris at 5:16 AM on December 4, 2011

It's a variant of the Runequest/Call of Cthulhu skill system

Which makes me wonder if anyone has used the SAN mechanics for other deteriorating stats (perhaps temporarily for constitution, hp or mp) in a crpg. Hmmm.
posted by ersatz at 9:19 AM on December 4, 2011

There are games in which having less hit points also degrades physical performance, but those are still fairly uncommon. To my knowledge, no one did it as well as CoC's sanity before Call of Cthulhu; the mechanic is so distinctive that the D20 adaptation of the game changed all the mechanics over to D20 analogues except for sanity, which is still D%.
posted by JHarris at 9:28 AM on December 4, 2011

Ancient?!? I resemble that remark!
posted by pashdown at 9:30 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

You know what I mean. Relatively ancient.

If you decide to play some of these, the review list is required reading in deciding which ones are worth playing.
posted by JHarris at 9:51 AM on December 4, 2011

Entire months of my tender adolescence disappeared down the Eamon hole, to my delight.

Even better, once I figured out that I could interrupt the BASIC program for the Hall and manually update my characteristics, then resume, I had the experience of being a superior being in most of those scenarios, which was about as opposite to my actual life as I could possibly imagine. Sometimes you need a bit of that.
posted by sonascope at 10:09 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I still have a whole bunch of these, safely stored away on 5" disks, along with a couple of Apple ]['s. Enjoyed them a lot!
posted by drhydro at 10:22 AM on December 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I had a disk with The Pirates Cave as a kid.

You can also play Sierra On-line adventures on iOS devices via the web.
posted by formless at 11:27 AM on December 4, 2011

pirates cove is what you find in the beginners cave, if you know where to look ...

Ah, some 5-10 years ago, I started digging around the apple ][ and //c //e emus to play Eamon, and a few other games.

I think I still have the Asimov disk-image archive tar ball on my computer somewhere.
posted by k5.user at 7:11 AM on December 5, 2011

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