There's a full Let's Play Theldrow video of the complete game on Cythera Guide's Youtube channel for those interested!
Welcome to Theldrow
Theldrow is a world of adventure and magic. Unlike many public domain games of this genre, you don't just wander around, kill things, and then go down to the next level - for me at least, this gets boring fast. Then there's games like Wizardry. Nice, but this is a Mac - we want graphics - not just simple lines! (Might & Magic was better, but too modal in many places, and there was no real perspective in the pictures - doors seemed to get smaller as they got closer!)
So, after playing around with different ideas, I came up with this one. Play with this one, see what you think. I will be adding new scenarios and features to the game - all allowing you to keep your character that you've built up - and building up a character can take a while! I may even polish up the development system and release that. So, send me ideas and suggestion.
Not Today Bots!
(His old contacts are in the game, but you can find his current info at gandreas.com)
Theldrow was a free Mac game developed and released by Glenn Andreas in 1988. While he maintained updates for a few years, by 1992, Glenn Andreas' interests shifted to building his scenario editor Delver, which became the engine for his Ambrosia Software RPG Cythera. Theldrow, a first-person RPG with elements of Might & Magic, was his earliest game, but it bears similarities to his later works. For instance, Theldrow, like Cythera, provides the player a lot of choice: to open a door, you can use magic, brute force, or thieving skills such as lock picking.
The plot of Theldrow is completely unique. The game starts about 10 years after the disappearance of your father, a scholar and historian who set out looking for something at Cravenshaw Castle near Boden but never returned. You grew up in a monastery with your mother, and following her recent death, you've decided it's time to find out what happened to your father all those years ago.
This is a very difficult game. Building up a character takes time, and it can be hard to collect enough money and resources to keep a character alive. Once you've run low on money, you can get into a cycle of dying so frequently that the character becomes worthless. On top of that, it's very easy to fall into a pit or trap that gets the character stuck, and without enough divine favor or money, there may be no way to proceed. Compounded by the lack of saving (you can only save by quitting) and some bugs which cause the game to occasionally crash, you have a recipe for a nearly impossible game.
I recommend quitting and backing up your character every once in a while in Finder. That can save you some time and frustration if something unexpected happens.
When you first take the fork to Boden, there is a spider's den a couple screens to the right. If you can manage to get a Fireball shot, that can be an easy way to build experience and acquire a Scimitar, a much better weapon than the dagger.
Using the Clerical abilities to heal yourself is very important when playing this game, meaning you should always stop by the temple when in Boden to pray and tithe to increase divine favor.
Sleeping at Boden's inn is also important to do regularly. Not only will this replenish your health, fatigue, and divine favor, but it also prevents losing fatigue more quickly as you travel. The game tracks when you last rested, and it will eventually start to be detrimental if you don't heed the warnings to return and sleep.
Most of the creatures are in zones. Spiders, boars, rats, and bears are generally in the woods. Undead creatures can be found in the old cemetary and the crypts. Giant ants appear in the woods and Boden but are mostly in the Ant's Nest. Ogres and ratmen are in Boden's Caverns; Ratmen, creepers, goblins, and troglodytes are in the Catacombs; and Mites are in the Cravenshaw Caverns.
Spells can be used more effectively in different situations. For instance, Turn Undead or Exorcise are best for large groups of undead since they affect all attackers. Likewise, Fireball and Scare affect everyone, Cone of Cold has an attack radius of two, but Lightning and Magic Missile are useful for individual targets.
At the castle, the rusty iron door cannot be opened by Pick Lock, Bash Door, or Knock. You will just end up wasting your power or stamina. You must go to the wizard's bedroom and search to find the key. Equip it and click on it in front of the door.
Searching doesn't always work the first time, but once you've found a secret passage, you don't need to search to use it again.
You can buy a compass at the Bazarre (sic). This will tell you the current direction at any time, useful if you're getting lost a lot.
Download a complete map of the game, based on the Hypercard stack shared by Carl over at the Macintosh Garden. It has been converted to a modern image format, using colors to denote connections between pathways. Paired with the compass, it makes finding your way around much easier.
The main goal of Theldrow is to acquire the four quadparts which together comprise the key to opening a portal to the Dark, located beneath the castle. Your father apparently did this years ago, but the quadparts have again been scattered. If you wish to follow him, you must find them.
When all parts are gathered, you can enter the portal room and place the skull north of the portal, the candle to the east, the book to the west, and equip the bell to click it when standing on the south. Go through the portal and navigate the teleporters to reach another door leading to Thelos. Bring a compass and use the map if you get stuck since the room of teleporters can be quite disorienting.
That's the entire game. It's really not very long; the main difficulty is in keeping your character alive long enough to build up and reach the end.
Due to the nearly-impossible aspects of finishing Theldrow (I've had it corrupt promising characters more than once!), I decided to cheat. In case others want to play the game but are struggling as well, I thought I'd share my findings.
The primary means of cheating Theldrow is through Pandora's Box, which allows you to read and write memory being used by different applications. For Theldrow, this means you can edit any of your character stats, assuming you know where to look in memory. After spending some time fiddling around in combat, buying/selling, using spells, and so on, I have located almost all important values in the game's data.
The table below lists the memory offsets and descriptions for many variables that will make playing the game easier, from health to clerical favor and more. You will need a registered version of Pandora's Box to create macros for these values, which can be obtained from the link to Macintosh Garden above. The provided addresses are the generic memory offsets which you can enter when the game is not running. Once the game is running, you can switch the macro to apply to Theldrow, and the memory location should update to be the original offset relative Theldrow's current location in memory.
Important Note! Most of these stats will not update on-screen until you move your character or interact with the affected value. For instance, when changing diety affiliation, you would need to cast a clerical spell to see the change take effect.
|Value/Variable Name||Data Type||Memory Offset||Notes|
|Stat - Strength||Short||5258||Improvement/The Void result: Stronger +1; damage you can do in battle|
|Stat - Intelligence||Short||5256||Improvement/The Void result: Smarter +1; ties into chance-to-cast but can't be too high; I usually put at 20 or 30 and have reasonable chance-to-cast|
|Stat - Wisdom||Short||5254||Improvement/The Void result: Wiser +1; ties into clerical levels but not as much as divine favor|
|Stat - Dexterity||Short||5252||Improvement/The Void result: Nimbler +1; probably chance to dodge, although unsure of actual calculation; also determines chance of successful stealing|
|Stat - Constitution||Short||5250||Improvement/The Void result: More Robust +1; associated with fatigue|
|Stat - Charisma||Short||5248||Improvement/The Void result: More Confident +1; useful for haggling|
|Battlewise||Short||5228||Improvement/The Void result: More Battlewise +1; seems to be a measure of combat experience|
|Devotion||Short||5226||Improvement/The Void result: More Devote (sic) +1; likely ties into clerical levels|
|Magical||Short||5224||Improvement/The Void result: More Magical +1; ties to chance-to-cast? not entirely sure|
|Somehow Better||Short||5222||Improvement/The Void result: Somehow Better +1; a measure of luck? allows you to comprehend more of parchment without using Comprehension spell|
|Diety Affiliation||Short||5246||Table of Dieties (See note at bottom of this page)|
|Max Health||Short||5240||Improvement/The Void result: Healthier +2|
|Current Health||Short||5238||Best to set both this and max health high since a temporary damage calculation is used in combat that is based on max health; thus, you can still die with current health frozen if not high enough since it only updates again after a round of combat when the temporary damage calculation is applied back to the stat.|
|Max Fatigue||Short||5236||Improvement/The Void result: More Energetic +2|
|Current Fatigue||Short||5234||Similar to health, a temporary value is used each turn of combat and only updates at the end of a round|
|Max Power||Short||5232||Improvement/The Void result: More Powerful +2|
|Current Power||Short||5230||Set higher to be able to successfully cast spells; not sure of how it ties into chance-to-cast, but it seems to be among a number of factors|
|Money||Short||5150||Ties into load somehow; perhaps they share part of the bits? I've had success locking at 32,000 since it gives plenty of money and keeps the load at minimum.|
|Gems||Short||5146||Gems can be bought and sold in Boden or found in some chests; not sure the use beyond money|
|Game Time Counter||Long||9936||Counts total gameplay time; increments continuously but seemingly no impact on gameplay|
|Sleep Counter||Short||5078||Increments by 10 every step, resets to 0 when staying at inn or using Sanctuary; begins to affect fatigue and yield prompts to sleep as it gets higher. I freeze it at 0 typically.|
|Cleric - Level 1||Short||5166||Novitiate. Each casting of an L1 spell decrements by 1, and devotion through tithing and prayer can slowly build. Starts at 3, e.g. can cast L1 spells 3 times before running out of favor, but resets with sleeping.|
|Cleric - Level 2||Short||5164||Initiate. Same as before but starts at 1.|
|Cleric - Level 3||Short||5162||Acolyte. Same as before but starts at 0.|
|Cleric - Level 4||Short||5160||Heirophant. Same as before but starts at 0.|
|Cleric - Level 5||Short||5158||Priest. Same as before but starts at 0.|
|Divine Favor||Short||5076||A karma-like value. Tithing and prayer increases while bad actions can decrease. Every failed cleric casting attempt decreases by 1. Combines with clerical level in some way to decide if spell casts or not. At very high values, anything will cast, regardless of favor for specific levels.|
|Material - Lotus Petal||Short||5144||Material component for Sleep|
|Material - Griffin Feather||Short||5142||Material component for Levitation|
|Material - Crystal Prism||Short||5140||Material component for Charm|
|Material - Undead Bone||Short||5138||Material component for Scare|
|Material - Spider Gland||Short||5136||Material component for Web|
|Material - Blue Sapphire||Short||5134||Material component for Comprehension|
|Material - White Agate||Short||5132||Material component for Sanctuary|
|Material - Black Diamond||Short||5130||Material component for Divine Intervention and Improvement|
|Spell Usage Counter?||Short||5184||Some sort of tracker that increments with spell usage; possibly a measure of magic experience that affects "Magical" stat but may also tie into chance-to-cast; strangely, lower has seemed better in my limited testing|
|Load or Inventory?||Short||5276||Relates to current items and load somehow but not entirely sure; I've been freezing it at 1000|
Thanks to mrdav over at the Macintosh Garden, the "Theldrow Mythologies" file is now available. You can download the original document from Macintosh Garden; alternatively, you can download a PDF version here.
The table of dieties that was linked above draws its content directly from the game's resource fork. The ordering matches the listing in the resource fork, as does the relationship to other dieties. The tag seems to indicate Male or Female with the first digit, but I'm still unsure what the G, L, D, or numbers represent.
Key for affiliations to other dieties: