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Stable game
Developer Nathan D. Jerpe
Theme Fantasy
Influences interactive fiction, Angband
Released 2005 Jul 2 (0.8.4)
Updated 2010 Sep 2 (1.1.0)
Licensing zero cost, no source code
P. Language Java
Platforms Java
Interface Unicode
Game Length 100+ hours
Official site of Legerdemain

Legerdemain takes place "within the hallucinogenic realm of Phenomedom". Your character must escape from prison, relearn its past, and decide what to do next. The words "leger de main" literally translates to "lightness of hand" or sleight of hand, and by extension, a pickpocket or magician.

Notable features

  • Any computer equipped with Java 1.4 (including Java Web Start) may launch the game.
  • When creating a character, after you answer some questions about yourself, the game selects your character class.
  • The game draws itself with Unicode, so the monsters often wear accent marks.
  • If you manage to reach a town with an inn, then you may record your stay and avoid permanent death. (When you die, the innkeeper wakes you from your nightmare). You may need this feature, because when you do not know where to go next, you might wander in the wrong direction and die.


The primary emphasis in Legerdemain is on story and depth of play. The game is played using a top-down two-dimensional perspective and is intended for one player only. The storyline draws inspiration from mythology and literature to produce an environment populated by beings and characters peculiar to Phenomedom. For those who like quick and dirty characterizations, Legerdemain borrows heavily from the genres of Roguelike games as well as interactive fiction. Unicode symbols are used in preference of fancy graphics, though support for tile-based graphics will be considered. This simplification allows for a greater focus on depth, with not only hundreds of different monsters and items but vast dungeons that descend into the very bowels of the earth.


Gameplay is distilled in the sense that nothing happens until a key is pressed by the user. This allows for cautious play emphasizing strategy and planning rather than reflexes and timing. However, due to the intuitive combat system, the player may often find himself joined in frenetic battles against enemy hordes rather than engaged in careful tactics. Though combat is central to Legerdemain, the player must also learn to interact effectively with citizens, solve puzzles, and explore new and hidden areas. Considerable attention is lavished on character development as well, with twelve different skills, numerous special abilities and resistances, and a novel spellcasting system known as Manipulation. Motivation for further play is provided for via character advancement, exploration of new areas, and the unraveling of new plots.