FAangband's principal focus as a variant is to immerse the player in the world of Tolkien's Silmarillion late in the First Age. While it is certainly not perfectly consistent (all the bad guys are still alive; all the good guys are dead, or at least have lost their best equipment), an attempt has been made to remove as many anachronisms as possible.
Changes compared to Oangband 0.7.0
- Races have been significantly changed. Half-Orcs, Half-Trolls, Half-elves and Shadow Fairies have gone; there are new varieties of Elves, Dwarves and Men. Dwarves as a whole tend to have better Intelligence than Wisdom; the reverse is true for (most) Elves and Hobbits. Different races also have significantly different starting conditions.
- There is wilderness. Wilderness is like and unlike dungeon. On the similar side, it is randomly generated in rectangular pieces; the "level" still only goes up or down by one in going from one piece to the next; there is a structured way of advancing through the wilderness. On the other hand, it looks different (no rooms); there are sometimes choices as to how to advance (north or west, maybe, rather than just down); and tactics become quite different. There are five basic types of wilderness open plains, dense forests, rocky mountains, harsh deserts and pathless swamps. It also has day and night, which affects light-hating monsters and the player's need for light.
- There are multiple towns, small and large, spread throughout the wilderness. Each race starts in its natural town. This means that the starting towns for some races are in the middle of quite dangerous wilderness. In order to reduce extreme effects of this (instant death, or instant growth of 15 levels), some races have improved starting equipment, and several races start with some experience already (advancing them in character level up to a maximum of level 5). High elves are no longer the easy option, at least at first. You can move your house to a different town, but only once you have walked there.
- There are multiple dungeons (five, to be precise). At the bottom of each is a guardian, who can only appear there or in special circumstances (which you may be able to guess...) be summoned. The first specialist ability (and second as well for warriors) is still learned at the beginning, but the two others each become available on killing a dungeon guardian. It is possible to ignore the other dungeons and head straight for Angband, but there's a heavy price to pay.
- Word of Recall works differently. Read away from your home town, it still takes you back there. Read in your home town, you are given a list of up to four points to recall to. When you recall back to town, you get the choice of which of your recall points you wish to update.
- Anything from later than the First Age has been removed. No more Rings of Power, Grishnakh, Anduril, Saruman, Witch-King, etc. There are some new uniques, artifacts and ego-items (and some just renamed). There are also new item sets, and some reworked artifacts.