Samuel Stoddard originally started development on Murkon's Refuge in 1993 as a UNIX terminal game using ASCII symbols for graphics, the UNIX version was completed and released in 1995. In 2002 he remade it as a browser game, using wireframe graphics and released it on March 23, 2002. It is still available on his RinkWorks website along with it's 2005 sequel Murkon's Vengeance, at http://www.rinkworks.com/vault/.
The gameplay is heavily influenced by the early first person dungeon crawlers, like Wizardry and Bard's Tale, where the player assembles a party of up to 6 characters, and then tries to reach the bottom floor of the 10 levels deep dungeon to defeat the evil First Mage Murkon, gaining experience and loot along with way. Similarly to the Diablo games (and unlike Roguelikes and many other dungeon crawlers), death is not permanent - your party is carried back to your most recently visited town where you then have to pay to revive each party member (if you can't afford reviving all of them, you can still continue with a smaller party, or recruit/create new party members at the Inn, and return to the church later on to revive the others). You also have to return to a town and sleep at it's Inn in order to level up. The dungeons are not randomized.