The player assumes the role of an adventurer who explores the mysterious ruins of the Temple of Apshai. This player character investigates room after room of this dungeon setting while seeking treasure and combatting monsters. Along the way, the player discovers powerful weapons and armor with which to overcome the Temple's inhabitants. Like many early role-playing games, Temple of Apshai records player statistics, which increase through accumulation of experience rewarded for defeating monsters and acquiring treasure. The object of the game is to develop the adventurer's capabilities to further escape from the dungeon.
The set layout of levels in Temple of Apshai permitted use of printed descriptions of the many rooms. Pen-and-paper role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons frequently make use of verbal depictions given by dungeon masters to suggest to players what is of interest in a setting. Similarly, in Temple of Apshai the player matches an on-screen room number to its entry in the manual that accompanies the game. One sample entry reads in part, "The aroma of vanilla makes the senses reel [...] Gems stud the south wall". To the player, the aroma suggests the presence of a giant ant, and the gem-studded wall might conceal a passage leading to treasure. Such use of printed material to detail a game setting was rare at the time of Temple of Apshai's release and has since been employed infrequently in graphical CRPGs.
Source: Wikipedia, "Temple of Apshai," available under the CC-BY-SA License.