🐳 29 years ago: The Elder Scrolls: Arena was released!

What Fools These Mortals

aka: WFTM


The player of this Python game must surely agree with the utterance of faerie fool Puck in Act 3, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: Lord, what fools these mortals be! The player enjoys such confidence since, as in works such as Actraiser or Populous, the player here controls a divine entity or god (if you will).

Unlike in those games, this god is of a more passive type, not exercising their will and agency upon monsters and landscapes directly, but rather favouring mortal adventurers with their attention, granting boons and punishments, as these champions sally forth in an automated fashion on behalf of the player-god, plumbing randomly-generated dungeons of doom (and, no doubt, gnomish mines) in search of a holy artifact, the Amulet of Yendor. That's right: the player in this game is playing the role of a god in the preeminent roguelike NetHack, and stands to be the ultimate beneficiary should their chosen one successfully retrieve the Amulet and sacrifice it to their god.

Player input into this adventuring is quite limited; sporadically the champion will make an sacrificial offering at an altar and the player has the option of receiving it graciously, granting a boon, or ungraciously, smiting the sniveling wretch. Similarly, adventurers in dire straits may pray to their god for divine intervention -- intervention which isn't always enough to keep their bacon out of the fire. Worst of all, the simulated human playing the role of the adventurer underling may just get bored and wander off, quitting the game and cutting short the simulation the real player is divinely overseeing.


Credits (Windows version)

6 People

What Fools These Mortals written by
Uses Python cookbook recipe "getch()-like unbuffered character reading from stdin on both Windows and Unix" by
  • Danny Yoo (http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/Cookbook/Python/Recipe/134892)
Uses Python cookbook recipe "one-liner word-wrap function" by
  • Mike Brown (http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/Cookbook/Python/Recipe/148061)
WFTM uses the introductory text from NetHack. I don't know who wrote that specific text, but it may have been
WFTM quotes spoiler information from "Amulets and their properties in NetHack 3.4" by


The changelog boasts achievements attained by the initial release:

* Full deity compliance with Nethack 3.4.1

* Nethack-like front end with command line switches

* Tiny Nethack-like event-based game simulation

* Intercessory prayer

* Sacrifices

* A variety of punishments to inflict on mortals

* Almost none of the excitement of real Nethack!

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Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 37400


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Game added by Pseudo_Intellectual.

Last modified February 22nd, 2023.