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The Dungeons of Moria
Major Roguelike
Developer Robert A. Koeneke, Jimmey Wayne Todd Jr., James E. Wilson, others
Theme Fantasy
Influences Rogue
Released 1983
Updated 13 October 2008, 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 The Dungeons of Moria

The Dungeons of Moria (usually just called Moria) is a roguelike inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, with the game world is set in the Mines of Moria, where the player has to venture deep into the mines to defeat the Balrog. Although inspired by Tolkien there is little else that the game shares with the books.

Created by Robert Alan Koeneke in 1983, Moria is one of the earliest clones of Rogue and was the first roguelike to have a "Town" level where you buy weapons, armor, spellbooks, potions, and various other items to help you on your difficult quest to defeat the Balrog.

Moria was also 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 generally hard to achieve.

Although the game is not as popular as it once was, it is still considered as one of the major roguelikes.

Original VMS Moria development

Robert A. Koeneke became hooked on "Rogue" while at the University of Oklahoma. Around 1980/81 he got a job in a new department where the game wasn't available, so in 1981 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. Koeneke's good friend, Jimmey Wayne Todd Jr., wrote many of the core features in the early days of Moria.

In 1985 they 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.

C language development

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 Usenet newsgroup 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.

C++ language development

In 2016 Michael R. Cook started the Umoria Restoration Project, with the goal to clean up the source code and provide support for Windows, macOS, and Linux from one standard codebase. The game was rewritten in C++ and the source code was reorganized and cleaned up.


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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