Documentation on documentation

Documentation is now written in ReStructuredText, a lightweight and readable markup language designed for Python.


ReStructuredText leaves much freedom in the syntax - in our help files we try to stick to consistent conventions as in the following.

Markup for sectioning

Document title

Section title

Subsection title

Sub-subsection title

Blank and spaces

One blank line before and after every paragraph. Two-char indent in definition lists.

Inline help parser syntax

As to the time when this documentation was last updated, the online help parser programmed into Angband does the following:

  • ignore colons (|)

  • ignore paragraphs starting with .. (including their trailing blank line)

  • recognize link targets (.. _something) and be able to open a file to the right position using them.

  • recognize “menu” links for the online help navigation. Links are given with the following format (g is the hotkey here):

.. menu:: [g] option.txt


Sometimes it is tricky to get a thing to display in the correct way in both the online help and the compiled RST. This is often due to the complex interaction between backslashes and backticks in RST. In particular, in several places we need to use in RST a syntax such as


If this appeared directly in the help file, then the online help parser would display a spurious backslash character \ before the i letter. It would be quite complicated to instruct it to parse backslashes using the full RST syntax. Instead, we adopt the following workaround: we write

this is a paragraph containing the word |``D``isarm| just in the middle

and later in the file we define a substitution directive

.. |``D``isarm| replace:: ``D``\isarm

Magically this works, since the online help parser skips pipes.