A game of adventure set
    in the first age of Middle-earth,
        when the world still rang with elven song
            and gleamed with dwarven mail.

Walk the dark halls of Angband.
    Slay creatures black and fell.
        Wrest a shining Silmaril from Morgoth’s iron crown.

        Source code
        Changes for version 1.3
        View Manual (pdf)
        Old versions

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About Sil

Sil is a computer role-playing game with a strong emphasis on discovery and tactical combat. It has a simple but rich combat system which allows for a great variety of choice: should you wear heavy armour that makes you easier to hit but reduces the damage you take? should you wield heavier weapons to overcome your opponents’ armour, or wield lighter weapons for more accuracy and a greater chance of critical hits? It depends on the situation and the type of character you become. You will also have the chance to retreat back into shadowy corridors to take the enemy one by one, or to stealthily creep up to your opponent and take him unawares.

It is also one of very few games that stays true to the writings of Tolkien. Carefully researched, it dispenses with many generic fantasy tropes and reveals a different world. There are no wizards or priests, no platemail or magical scrolls. Instead, it is the Norse Saga inspired world that Tolkien imagined, with warriors clad in shining mail, singing songs of rage or sorrow as they slay. The magic of the world is subtle yet powerful: there are songs of fear and of binding, rather than spells of fireball and teleportation.

Sil comes from a tradition of role-playing games known as roguelikes. They stem from a game called Rogue that was written before computers had graphics and instead used symbols on the screen to represent a dungeon filled with monsters and treasure, that was randomly generated each time you played. Rogue also had ‘permanent death’: you have only one life and must choose wisely lest you have to start again. Finally, it had a system of unidentified items whose powers you must discover for yourself. Sil inherits all of these features, though it is much more advanced in many ways.

Who will like Sil?

You will like Sil if you want to play a detailed and well balanced role-playing game with a rich and intuitive system of tactical combat. You will also like it if you are interested in the works of Tolkien, or even just want a less generic role-playing game. The greatest obstacle to enjoying Sil will be its lack of graphics, but if you can overcome an initial reaction and begin to explore the world, your imagination should fill in the details more effectively than a small clump of pixels would.




Praise for Sil

Anyone looking for a sick roguelike should play Sil -- really stripped-down Angband fork that is totally different than anything I've played in forever. ... there is a huge depth in gameplay related to skilltrees and a whole bunch of other stuff. It's simply gorgeous.

It's the best variant I've ever played, and is becoming one of my favorite roguelikes.

Do not be fooled that this is an Angband variant - the developers have gone to great lengths to make this game intuitive, balanced and non-repetitive, having cut out huge chunks of the original game, reworked user interaction, and consolidated redundant/pointless gameplay elements. The design philosophy is much like Crawl's, where everything has a purpose and nothing is wasted.

It's a lot of fun ... I don't know how, but the makers have managed to make the fights feel more epic and legendary.

Brian Jeffears
Essentially, we've got a new project that could've been a proper new Angband fork---before it went waaay past Angband and such and became another thing with some blood ties.

Dude, I just got outflanked by orcish soldiers. Three spread out around me and blocked off my escape route. This game has polish.

Oh my goodness, this is nice.

YES!! This roguelike looks very impressive ... I never thought I'd see a roguelike that I liked better than Ancient Domains of Mystery, but this may do the trick!

It's a very polished and rewarding little roguelike, definitely an improvement on Angband.

This is fantastic! I only played one quick game last night, but this "variant" has more innovation than anything else I have seen combined in the Angband world during the 5 years or so I was away.

Of all variants, I think Sil is the most fun of all time. The game may look easy at first glance, but it has a very steep learning curve that hits hard and fast. Its difficulty is at another level.

Also thanks for a great game - since Sil came out, it's been taking the vast majority of my *band time. The theme and UI are beautifully done, and the difficulty curve is just about perfect - I lose a lot of heros to stupid mistakes that would be minor in any other variant, but with patience and care and just a bit of luck, things work out, and when they do, there's a genuine feeling of accomplishment that's rare in games these days.

Congratulations and thanks for creating such a unique and fascinating variant! love it!!

Just dropped by to comment on the top quality and direction of Sil. I can tell you are a good designer by looking at the manual, and looking at some of the design decisions.

Firstly, great game... Really the best I've played in a long time, of this genre - very well done, the feel/setting, the tactics - all great

I've never played Angband, and have only very limited experience of other rogue-likes, and have found Sil a really fun introduction to the genre.

Sil is the best game of any type I've played in years, and I'm thrilled to see it keeps getting better!!

Overall though, I'd like to say that Sil is a "masterpiece". It is so well thought out and ... has proved to be very well balanced. I love how you've stripped back so much from Angband and yet brought a real depth to character advancement over a much shorter game.

Everything is really well thought out and balanced. Well done!

The game is marvellously bug-free, cleanly designed, and interesting. It's a huge achievement.

I'll use the occasion to thank you for this excellent game! It's astonishing how well most things work together, and how gameplay and settings seem to be just right; It's obvious that a lot of thinking, work and enthusiasm have already been put into this gem (no pun) of a game!

I'm really impressed by this game. I think the winner-board thus far is really a testament to the depth and quality of the gameplay. Winning characters occupy the whole spectrum from "kill everything" (including Morgoth, as of today--congratulations, by the way...) to "kill nothing", representing Noldor/Vanyar, Sindar, Naugrim, and Edain, and a very broad range of styles. Awesome work. I'm not usually a gamer anymore, but I like Angband. As a Tolkien maniac (particularly with regard to the Silmarillion), I really, really, really love and appreciate this game.

For me, Sil is a Masterpiece. I am having the kind of fun with Sil that I had when I was 14. There are very very few games that have done that for me.

Yep, great game. Definitely one of the best Angband variants because it just cuts out all the bloat and crap that *bands (including V) are notorious for and makes it into a more interesting, tougher, tactical game.

It's a great game. I'm generally not much of a fan of *bands, but Sil feels more tight and controlled. The magic system has wonderful flavour; song and grace.

The balance, coherence to Tolkien's background and rule's transparency are pure jewels.

Overall, instead of just throwing in more and more mechanics and options like DCSS, they focus on making the core mechanics deep and interesting.

It's an Angband variant, except it's so heavily modified from Angband that it's barely recognizable.
What's really got me hooked on it is how elegant the design is in absolutely every aspect.  The interface, controls, and all of the game mechanics are really easy to understand and fairly simple, but still offer a statisfying amount of complexity that forces you into interesting choices.  The balance inherent in these mechanics is damn near flawless. 

I love the attention to detail in Sil, from the simple things like longbows having a -1 to evade, to the interface that is more smooth and intuitive than any other variant to date, the transparency in combat rolls and the skill system, the ability to create skill combos (not just the classic Dodge + Flanking, but many less obvious combos as well). There is just so much awesomeness here that it can't fit into a single post without creating a text wall. Oh, and the AI. Great stuff!