游戏中所有的氛围都是基于高超的文案描述上，Apshai 中的 233 个房间，以及扩展后的超过 500 个房间，每个房间都有一个数字，玩家可以在游戏优秀的插图手册（显然是 TRPG 爱好者的作品）中找到他们刚刚进入的房间的描述。这些描述，最好是用不祥的声音大声朗读，来给游戏中的副本塑造良好的代入感。
When entering a room, players could search for traps and secret doors, grab treasure or put their ear to a door to listen for movement within the next room. With high enough Intelligence and Ego stats, an adventurer could even smooth-talk their way past deadly enemies. If diplomacy fails, combat kicks in.
Players have four methods of dispatching foes: a normal swing of the sword, a powerful thrust that could inflict great damage but also left a character more open to attack, and a parry that favoured defence over offence, and a bow to shoot enemies at a distance so long as arrows were at hand. The character's gear and experience also played a role, and players had to be careful not to become so tired they can't act.
Setting the mood for all of this was the superb writing. Each room – 233 in Temple of Apshai and over 500 with the expansions – had a number that players could refer to in the game's excellent illustrated manual (clearly the work of tabletop enthusiasts) to find a description of the room they just entered. These descriptions, preferably read aloud in an ominous voice, truly gave the dungeons a sense of character.
The vanilla-smelling caverns, the dim roaring sound that becomes louder as an adventurer treads in a certain direction, the “SPROINGGG!” of a crossbow trap that someone apparently forgot to load with a bolt – these descriptions gave players an environment in which to tell their own stories, and made the plain graphics pop with imagined detail.
Besides mood setting, the room descriptions also provided subtle clues as to where players could find secret doors, traps, treasures, or monsters. See some scratch marks on the floor near the East wall? Good chances of finding a secret door there. Skeleton on the floor? Don't turn your back on it, he probably feels fine. See some laundry hung out to dry? Steel yourself for the wrath of an angry housewife.
Thanks to the evocative writing and the strategic combat system, the Temple of Apshai is a timeless classic that still retains its replay value today. Even if one had the map of every dungeon memorised, reading the room descriptions is like going back to a favourite novel, and surviving combat is never a sure thing, even for veterans.