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relarn - Explore the Caves of Larn


relarn [ -i ] [ -s ] [ -n ] [ -h ] [ -v] [ -b] [ -o filename ] [ -d num ]


ReLarn is a Roguelike game in the style of Nethack or Angband. It is a fork of Ularn, the classic Roguelike (which is itself a fork of Larn) that (mostly) preserves the original's gameplay while being better suited to modern computers and operating systems. Although there are significant differences between the games, the majority of the changes are internal.

Running relarn with no arguments will continue the current game or start a new via a set of menus. Once the game begins, online help is available via the '?' key; that should be sufficient for playing the game. This will show all of the available commands.

Players who successfully finish the game (i.e. win it) will receive fake game-related email messages in the file ~/.relarn/inbox, a mail folder in the mbox format. If an email client has been configured, it will also be launched just before relarn exits.

(Ularn would send you actual email; back in those days, that worked reliably on most Unix systems.)

ReLarn also maintains a score file which can be viewed using the -i and -s options. This will display the scores of only the winning players and of all players respectively.

On startup, relarn looks for a configuration file at ~/.relarn/relarnrc and if present, reads it. A documented sample can be found at share/relarn/doc/relarnrc.sample.

Unlike other Roguelikes for Unix, ReLarn will not prevent cheating by users with different accounts on the same computer. The scoreboard is world-writable and saved games are stored in the player's home directory with no anti-tampering mechanism in place. If cheating is a problem (e.g. if you're running a tournament), you will need to limit users' access to the computer hosting the game.

Related to this, relarn has a debugging mode that is active when the program can determine that its executable is writable by the current user. Note that this means the executable must be invoked with an explicit path rather than using the system path. Debug features are accessible via a menu that can be brought up by pressing the underscore (_) key. The concept of "wizard mode" from Ularn remains but can be toggled from the menu; see the source code to see how it can be useful.

ReLarn currently only supports TTY graphics via the ncurses library. Future releases may support other interfaces as well.


-i, -s

Displays the scoreboard (if present). -i shows only the winners' scoreboard while -s shows the whole thing.


Suppresses the introductory text.

-o filename

Specifies a supplementary config file. This is read in after the default config file and can override it.

-d difficulty level

Specifies the difficulty level when starting a new game.


Enables display debugging. Currently, this means randomizing the background color when drawing the display, but that could change next release. DON'T USE THIS!

-h, -v

Print argument help or the version number and exit.


ReLarn uses a number of files in your home directory. These are:

~/.relarn/ is the main config directory; also holds save files.
~/.relarn/relarnrc is the default configuration file.
~/.relarn/inbox is the mail folder; it will be created if not present.

The are also some relevant files in $RELARN_INSTALL_ROOT/share/relarn/doc.


relarn searches for its resource files relative to a root directory that is set at compile time. This default can be overridden by setting the environment variable RELARN_INSTALL_ROOT. This is usually done by a wrapper script.


ReLarn is Copyright (C) 1986-2019 The Authors and is Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

ReLarn was derived from Ularn by Chris Reuter. Ularn was derived from Larn by Phil Cordier and others. Larn was written by Noah Morgan with other collaborators.

See the included files Copyright.txt, LICENSE.txt and AUTHORS.txt for more details.

Pop culture artifacts referenced in ReLarn are the properties of their respective owners. Mentions in the game or documention are not intended to imply any kind of relationship with the rights holders.


There are no bugs in ReLarn, only alternative features.

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