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Spoiler Warning: This page contains spoilers which may affect your IVAN experience negatively

First install the game according to instruction found in the file INSTALL.

  • The game first opens to the main menu . Choose '1. Start game'.
  • Enter your name and read the story. The game opens in the world map which is where you can navigate from place to place. For example you start near New Attnam, the colony where you were born. You can move around by pressing the arrow keys, but it's probably best to use the numeric keypad for easier diagonal movement.
  • If there is something interesting in a square (like a town or cave entrance) you can enter the area by pressing the '>' key. Let's enter New Attnam and find out what you can do there. Go on top of New Attnam (the square with some houses) and press the '>' key.
  • This is your home town, a small colony of Attnam. Again you can walk around by pressing the direction keys. If you do that, you will notice that a puppy is following you. The heart symbol means that it is friendly. Walk to the house, slightly up from the place where you started.
  • Now you can see a closed door. Opening doors can be done easily by just walking into the square of the door. Try walking into the square with the door in it. A question pops up: "Do you wish to open the closed ebony door with a triangular lock?" - press 'Y' to accept. (You can also just move into the door again.)
  • Now you can walkaround the beautiful mansion. Now let's find out how you can do more than just walk around and open doors. Press '?'.
  • The help menu pops up. This is where you can see all of the actions that you can perform and the keys which trigger them. Now let's try one of these. The second item on the screen is "chat" and is associated with the command 'C'. Exit the menu by pressing 'Esc'.
  • Walk to a square that is adjacent to Richard Decos (the man that has a slave to the right and left of him).
  • Now let's try the chat command. Press 'C'.
  • A question pops up: "To whom do you wish to talk to? [press a direction key]" - by now you have probably noticed that the possible keys are listed in the brackets []. Press the direction key toward Decos.
  • You can see the reply of Decos in the message box. This is where most of the information regarding the game world is shown. You should always read the text appearing here.
  • Now if you have read the story screens in the beginning of the game you know that you have been given a scroll to take to Attnam. Let's see what we can find about it. Press 'I'.
  • An inventory screen pops up. This is the place were you can view all the items you currently have with you. Notice that you can also see the weight of the items here. Right now you aren't carrying very much, but as you adventure this list will be longer. There is no limit to the number of items you can carry, as long as you are strong enough to cope with the weight! Press any key to exit your inventory.
  • Now that we have mastered some of the basic friendly commands of the game lets go find something to fight against. The road to Attnam is one of great risk and takes you through an underwater tunnel. Let's find it. Leave New Attnam by walking off the edge of the screen. A questions pops up: "Do you want to leave New Attnam? [y/N]" - press 'Y' to accept leaving New Attnam.
  • You'll find yourself back on the world map. The island you start on is quite small, so it should be easy to see the cave that leads to the underground tunnel. Move onto the square with a cave in it, and press > to enter the cave.
  • You will find yourself in a small room (hopefully with your pet as well, assuming it followed you from town).
  • Somewhere in the room is a lantern. There's usually one on the floor, and there may be one or more on the walls. Press ',' to pick up a lantern, whether it's on the floor or on the wall. If there is more than one item in a square, a menu will pop up, and you can pick up items by typing the letter or using the arrow keys to select the item and enter to pick it up.
  • Open the door and head out into the dungeon. From here on, the game is randomly generated, with a few small exceptions.

Things To Do In A Dungeon

  • Kick down the door. You can 'k'ick a door that's difficult to open, or locked. (Or if you're suddenly out of arms, it's your last weapon!)
  • Kill the monsters. Run into them to attack with a weapon (or your bare hands), 'z'ap them with wands, 't'hrow weapons (or sulfuric acid, or healing potions, or kitchen sinks....) at them, entice them to follow you over activated landmines or bear traps, or lounge about while your friends do all the work.
  • Eat their corpses. Most monsters are edible, so 'e'at them! Some are poisonous, or give you teleportitis or polymorphitis, or give you levitation, or ESP, or teleport control. Remember, true victory over your enemies means even their bodies are useful.
  • Loot the room. Pick up all the shiny equipment, and use 'w' or 'W' to wield weapons in your right or left hand, respectively, or open up your 'E'quipment screen to equip anything from helments to boots.
  • Worship Gods. You'll need to find a book or altar of the god. At the beginning of the game, the first god you find will always like you enough to help you when you 'p'ray. You can 'O'ffer items at an altar to please them, or you can 'p'ray to them repeatedly and annoyingly to call divine wrath upon your skull. You can pray to a god roughly every three hours without annoying them.
  • Gain friends. Dulcis can help you with this one, or you can use a lyre of charm or a scroll of taming. Wands of cloning are great for making instant friends who share all your interests, and wands of mirroring are for those who believe that friends are just for Christmas, not for life. Of course, if you get hungry enough, you can kill your friends and live like the Donner Party. (You can't attack your friends by running into them, but you can 'k'ick them, and some wands or other effects will also make them angry.)
  • Drink. Use 'D'. Vodka will make you drunk. The bodily fluids of an ommel will give you immediate stat increases. Fountains have random effects, most of them bad---but at the beginning of the game, you can restart, and there are good effects!
  • Meddle with things that man was not meant to know. The 'a'pply command works on a wide variety of items. You can rub lamps, mine for gold with a pickaxe (or just carve that doorway the dungeon designers thoughtlessly left out), snap wands over your knee (and hope you survive the resultant effect), check a creature's vital signs with a stethoscope, unlock doors with keys, or set bear traps or landmines (not a task for the fumble-fingered).
  • Die. And you will die. Repeatedly. In a variety of ways. With great gusto. Wander over to the forums, post your victories, lament your violent deaths, and create a new character!
  • Avoid death by scant inches. Of course, IVAN supplies a few ways to not die: teleport your enemies or yourself far away, 'a'pply a horn of fear, 'p'ray to a god , or r'u'n away while leaving traps behind you.
  • Win. Of course, you might actually fight your way through the dungeons, face down some nemesis or another, and carry the day. There are four increasingly difficult ways to win. The first two methods are spelled out very clearly in the game, but the latter two are merely hinted at.
  • Go crazy. Beat monsters with their own limbs. Eat every corpse you find, until you figure out which ones are bad. Become a werewolf. Slip on banana peels. Make the villagers walk on broken glass. Slaughter the towns and pillage the remains.