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One of the most famous and influential variants, Zangband was an early variant named for Roger Zelazny the fantasy and science fiction author, and incorporated new player races, opponents, artifacts and player classes mostly taken from Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber series, with bits and pieces taken from other sources with more muted influence, such as Michael Moorcock's Elric saga.

Zangband set itself apart from other variants by actively amalgamating and incorporating code from different sources. Zangband 2.4 with its static overworld comprised of multiple towns offering services and quests using code originating with Kangband. In later versions, Oangband style combat, using percentage-based damage bonuses and fixed blows per round was introduced.

Zangband also pioneered a magic system in which mages would select two realms from a choice of five, expanded upon in its descendants, which offers some variety in playing magic users.

The main legacy of Zangband is the 2.4 version providing the basis for other variants which led to Hengband, the ancestor of PosChengband.