The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 1: Let's get started!

Update 1: Let's get started!
Right! There's a bunch of races and classes and stat distributions and crap like that, but for our first character I'm just rolling up a Half-Troll Warrior. Meet Freude!

Not to be confused with everyone's favorite nutball psychoanalysist, "Freude" means "Joy", because we're gonna be getting a lot of schadenfreude out of watching him beat the tar out of his enemies. See all those stats? Wonder what they mean? Who cares! We've got monsters to kill!

Super quick roguelike primer
We're the @. Walls are #. Enemies are letters ('p', 't', etc.). Practically everything else is an item, but the numbers in this shot are all shops.

This is the town. Full of shops and townspeople. Boring. Fortunately, we started out with all the kit we really need (thanks to the birth option "Start with a kit of useful gear", which deducts some of our starting gold appropriately):

Why does Freude have a dagger? Shouldn't he have a bigger weapon? I mean, he's a hulking warrior with a ridiculously huge STR stat, right? Actually this is exactly what you want to be using.

You are on a down staircase.

And we're standing on a staircase! So just hit the ol' ">" to head downstairs...

You enter a maze of down staircases.

And here we are on dungeon level 1, a.k.a. 50'. There's 127 levels in the dungeon, because powers of 2, but Morgoth is hanging out on level 100 (i.e. 5000'); the rest would be called "post-game content" in this day and age but there's nothing actually new down there, so usually people just stop after they kill the big guy.

Anyway, this room has some soft armor (the ]) and a scroll (the ?), and the walls are composed of a mix of granite, quartz veins, and magma veins. The quartz and magma are easier to dig through than granite, and can sometimes have treasure deposits in them, which is what that * is (a "quartz vein with treasure"). If we wanted to be miners, we could probably dig that money out with our dagger; digging depends mostly on the character's STR score. But that's boring. Let's pick up the items here instead.

You have a Set of Leather Gloves [1]. You have 3 Scrolls titled "quanis voco".

The [1] in the gloves' description is their AC (armor class) bonus. For comparison, our soft leather armor increases our AC by 8. Still worth using 'em; something is better than nothing!

Scrolls have randomly-generated titles. We'll have to read one of these to find out what they do.

You feel the Set of Leather Gloves on your hands is magical...

Sweet, our gloves are enchanted! They give a bit more protection than usual; we won't find out until we get into a fight. What just happened here is that we "pseudo-ID'd" the gloves. Pseudo tells us roughly how magical an item is: average, magical, excellent, splendid, or artifact. Back in the old days, lots of early equipment was cursed, so everyone waited for pseudo to kick in before they dared wield anything (since cursed items made you weaker and stuck to your body so you couldn't remove them). Nowadays it's pretty safe to wield everything you find without IDing it first.

A bit more exploring, and our first enemy!

You see a Soldier ant (unhurt, asleep).

Most monsters start out asleep, but as you take turns near them, they gradually wake up. The lower your Stealth score, the more noise you make; Metal Gear Solid this ain't.

Freude is...not the most stealthy of characters, so he can expect to be stabbing his enemies in the face more often than not. There's no backstab system, so all this really means is that he doesn't get to decide where and when to have his fights. Of course in his case "where" would be "right here" and "when" would be "right now" anyway.

Sure enough, one turn later the Soldier Ant has woken up. We can also see a Rock Lizard behind it. Even though our torch only illuminates a radius-1 circle, we can see warm-blooded monsters outside that range thanks to our infravision. Half-trolls have infravision out to 30' (3 tiles). Kinda strange that lizards and ants count as warmblooded though. Oh well.

You hit the Soldier ant (5). You hit the Soldier ant (4). You have slain the Soldier ant.

Our first kill! Soldier ants are pretty pathetic; probably even a level-1 mage could kill one in melee if they really had to. We get 3 EXP for the kill, leaving us with 9 more to go until our first levelup.

We get multiple strikes (a.k.a. "blows") per round because we have good STR and DEX scores and we're using a lightweight weapon.

Currently we get 3.4 blows/round, which could be better written as "each blow we take uses 1/3.4th of a round" (we'll never actually make 4 blows/round with this setup; we just use 3/3.4ths of a turn each time we attack). Warriors can get upwards of 6 blows per round (everyone else caps at 5 or 4), but they'll need seriously high STR/DEX to be able to do that with the heavier weapons. For the first half of the game or so, we'll be sticking to daggers, whips, spears, and the like unless we find something really good.

Every blow we make gets our full to-damage bonus applied to it -- in this case, +3 from our stupidly high STR score. That bonus gets applied the same no matter how many blows we get, which is why lots of pokes with a dagger are better than one big smash from a warhammer. In fact...

You were wielding a Dagger (1d4) (+0,+0).

Who needs weapons? This roughly halves our damage output, but we're still more than capable of pancaking most enemies we run into with our bare hands.

Speaking of which.

You punch the Rock lizard (4). You punch the Rock lizard (4). You punch the Rock lizard (4). You have slain the Rock lizard.

Even though our fists are labeled as 0d0 weapons, they actually do 1 damage (plus our STR damage bonus) per hit. So we deal a flat 4 damage/hit when punching.

(Rock Lizards are even more pathetic than Soldier Ants. Goodbye!)

Well, now we seem to be stuck. There's no way out! As it turns out, many dead-ends in Angband contain secret doors. You can search for them to reveal them...or, if you're strong enough, you can just start tunneling into them. Searching is usually faster, though, even for Freude:

I believe this means he has a 13% chance of finding hidden things each time he searches, and that he gets a free search action once every 43 turns. Perception is not really worth worrying about. Neither is searching skill. Soon enough we'll have magical means to replace manual searching. In the meantime though we get to do things the old-fashioned way.

You have found a secret door.

A bit more exploring, and we find ourselves a White Worm Mass!

This isn't the greatest setup to show off their gimmick (which is shared by other monster types anyway), so we'll just beat them up per usual.

You know more about the Set of Leather Gloves you are wearing. The White worm mass crawls on you. You are poisoned!

Whelp. Poison, like in most RPGs, just causes damage over time (and cancels HP regeneration). More importantly, because our gloves were actually used for something (trying to protect us against the worms), we were able to identify the bonus on them.

+5 gloves! Not bad. If you ever benefit from a property on a piece of equipment, that property will automatically be identified. As a result, you can "ID by use" your equipment. Or if you're lazy, you can just use magical identification, which reveals all the properties on an item.

You punch the White worm mass (4). You punch the White worm mass (4). You punch the White worm mass (4). You are no longer poisoned.

The White Worm Mass has what is probably the weakest poison attack in the game. It also moves slowly (getting half as many turns as we do), so it doesn't retaliate.

You punch the White worm mass (4). You have destroyed the White worm mass.

Freude is now yellow because he's been hurt a bit (18 out of 22 HP remaining). This provides a quick way to get an idea of how much health he has left. Anyway, there's a staircase back there (the > ), and 50' is boring. Time to make like a spelunker and dive!

You enter a maze of down staircases.

Ooh, this could potentially be trouble. There's a bunch of Cave Spiders here. Cave Spiders show up in groups, and they move fast -- 2 turns to our 1. They can put some serious damage out if we let them.

Still, we're a big, strong half-troll; how dangerous could it be? Charge! (after re-equipping our dagger!)

Amazingly, none of the spiders wake up. Maybe they're recovering from a spider kegger.

You hit the Cave spider (5). You hit the Cave spider (6). You have slain the Cave spider. Welcome to level 2.

Because we were a bit out of our depth, the monsters are worth significantly more experience; we got 14 points from that spider! Now we have 43 max hitpoints...

...and are half dead, since levelups don't restore HP. Oh well, half-trolls have innate regeneration; those HP will be back soon enough.

Welcome to level 3. (58 max HP!)
The Cave spider wakes up. The Cave spider bites you. ***LOW HITPOINT WARNING!***

The game is kind enough to inform you when your HP are getting low. I have it set to throw the low-HP warning at me when I'm below 50%. Angband rewards prudence; if you're half dead, then you should seriously consider quitting the area and finding someplace to rest up.

Anyway, that threat's taken care of; let's see what else is in this room.

You have a Gold Speckled Potion. You have 2 Scrolls titled "propera".

More random consumables. We're currently hurt, which is a good time to try out potions; if they heal us, then we'll be able to identify them. If you drink a potion and there's no apparent effect, then you won't learn what it does.

(As a result, Kobold characters, who have innate poison resistance, will never be able to ID-by-use potions of poison)

You have no more Gold Speckled Potions {tried}.

Oh well. At least the game marks that potion type so next time we find some, we'll know we've already given them a shot.

A Cutpurse! Cutpurses are evil rogues; they can steal gold and then teleport away when they attack you (the gold can be retrieved if you chase them down), and they wake up easily. Freude will probably never find a sleeping Cutpurse.

You miss the Cutpurse. You hit the Cutpurse (4). You hit the Cutpurse (6). The Cutpurse misses you. The Cutpurse misses you.

You hit the Cutpurse (6). You hit the Cutpurse (5). You hit the Cutpurse (4). You have slain the Cutpurse.

So much for that! He drops 64AU worth of copper. Because "Au" is the atomic symbol for gold, geddit? No seriously, that's the symbol Angband uses instead of GP or gil or whatever.

This is more gold than you'd normally get from money drops. I have the "items sell for 0AU" option turned on, so selling equipment is pointless (I can sell consumables to identify them, and then recognize them later in the dungeon). This cuts way down on boring trips back to town to unload useless junk on the shopkeepers. In exchange, treasure drops are worth significantly more.

Oh yeah, and Cutpurses usually show up in groups.

You hit the Cutpurse (7). You hit the Cutpurse (5). You hit the Cutpurse (7). The Cutpurse flees in terror!

Freude finally drops an enemy into the terror zone without killing them! Once reduced to low enough HP (something like 10-20% of their maximum), most enemies will try to run away. In the early game this is very helpful for characters to get some turns to recover from the fight. Later on it mostly just gets annoying to chase down enemies who are almost dead. We'll let this guy go and rest up some.

When I said "Cutpurses usually show up in groups" I should have specified that those groups can include other adventurer types, like this Apprentice here, who's an evil mage. They can cast Magic Missile, Phase Door, and Confuse. Moderately dangerous in groups, but there's just the one of him, and he falls in melee without trouble. Then I chase down the Cutpurse and kill him.

Welcome to level 4.

64 max HP!

Levelups also increase some of your skills a bit, but for warriors they mostly just give more HP. Other classes love levelups because they get access to more spells, but screw that!

Gee, I wonder if there's a secret door here?

You have found a secret door. You have found a secret door.


Oh look, a White Icky Thing. I quote the monster memory (which has flavor text for every monster):

It is a smallish, slimy, icky creature.

A chump; it dies in one hit. More importantly, there's a staircase here. 100' isn't much more exciting than 50' was, so let's keep diving!

You enter a maze of down staircases.

Angband doesn't have persistent levels -- every time you return to a given depth, you get a fresh level. The game glosses this with the "maze of staircases" -- you get lost in the maze, and thus can't retrace your steps.

This is pointless in my case, since I'm playing with disconnected stairs: whenever I take a staircase, there's no corresponding staircase in the other direction when I arrive on the new level (so I'm not standing on an up staircase now, for example). It's doubly pointless because I'm playing with the "forced descent" option which prevents me from ever going upwards (except to teleport to and from town). The staircases might as well be fireman poles for all I care.

A Kobold Shaman. Kobolds are mostly just weak fodder enemies, but the shamans have some basic spells (Confuse, Heal Self, Magic Missile, and Cause Light Wounds). Still, he dies in one round of combat before he can actually cast anything.

Have you figured out yet why I started with a Half-Troll Warrior?

You have a Set of Leather Gloves [1]. You have a Cloak [1]. You have a Clotted Red Potion.

Various spoils from exploration. The Cloak pseudos as {average} shortly afterwards. Oh well, it's still a free point of AC.

You found a trap! You hit a teleport trap!


Freude's been teleported so far away I can barely get his new location and the rest of the dungeon in the same screenshot.

I didn't so much "find" the trap as "stumble blindly into" it. Theoretically the Perception skill would be helpful here to find the trap before I walked into it, but I'd have to be immediately adjacent to it and have Perception trigger and have the search attempt succeed, so the odds aren't exactly great.

Well, one place is as good as another. More exploring nets us 37 Arrows (1d4) (we have no bow, but we can always throw them at things), 5 Pink Potions, and kills of a Fruit Bat (weak, fast enemy) and a Blue Yeek (total chump).

Then we find another adventurer party. Here we have a Soldier, in brown, and an Acolyte, in green -- the evil warrior and priest, respectively. Soldiers have 2 1d7 melee attacks and enough HP to be a credible threat to most young characters; Acolytes can cast Cause Light Wounds, Heal Self, and Cause Fear, and are mostly not a threat. We kill them off (and another Acolyte who was hiding around the corner), and get some gold and 2 Scrolls titled "abruma constus" for our trouble.

Alright, another staircase. Warriors can pretty much skip most of the early game, and that's what I'm trying to do here. But since staircases are one of the safest places in the game, I might as well read some of those scrolls I got. Much as how there used to be lots of cursed equipment, there also used to be lots of bad consumable items, so you wouldn't want to try identifying potions, scrolls, etc. by just blindly using them. Most of the nasty stuff has been removed, but there are still Scrolls of Summon Monster, hence why we stand on a staircase to try this stuff out. If we get into trouble then we can just go down the stairs to escape.

You have 2 Scrolls titled "quanis voco" {tried}. You feel righteous! You have a Scroll titled "abruma constus" of Blessing. You have a Scroll titled "propera" of Phase Door.

Blessing gives you a pathetic AC and to-hit bonus for a short time. Phase Door teleports you to a random nearby square, and is super useful. The third scroll has some situational effect that wasn't appropriate right now. Oh well.

Because we were able to identify some of those scrolls by using them, we got some experience. Only a point or two since these items are so low-level, but IDing high-level consumables by using them can net decent experience. Not really worth potentially wasting a powerful potion or scroll, though; soon enough we'll switch to identifying everything before using it.

You enter a maze of down staircases.

You see a Holy Book of Prayers [Beginners Handbook.

Well, this is useless! I can't even browse the book to see what spells are in it.

You used to be able to destroy items to clean up some of the clutter in the dungeon. Nowadays, instead you can ignore them -- functionally similar except that you can ignore entire categories of items, and if you decide you actually need them you can un-ignore them later. So we'll just tell the game to pretend that these prayerbooks don't exist and get on with our lives.

You have no more Holy Books of Prayers [Beginners Handbook] {squelch}.

Ah! Now I can show off the White Worm Mass's gimmick! It, like these Giant White Rats, can breed explosively (which must be hell for rodent midwives). On their turns, instead of moving or attacking, they can pop out a clone on an adjacent tile. The breeding rate isn't too fast, but if you don't keep a lid on them they can still get out of control easily. Giant lice ( ) are even worse, since they're fast monsters and thus breed twice as quickly.

Keep heading downwards!

You enter a maze of down staircases.

Keep heading downwards!

You enter a maze of down staircases.

Here on 300' we find a Giant Red Frog. These guys would be nasty if we weren't the Best Race -- their bite permanently reduces your STR ("drains strength"). Such reduced stats stay reduced until you either level up (at which point they're restored to your normal maximum) or find a way to permanently raise the stat (setting a new maximum; the stat is restored first). Red and pink monsters often reduce STR, and yellow ones reduce DEX.

However, we are the Best Race, and therefore have our STR sustained. It cannot be reduced except in very specific circumstances.

Oho, our first orcs! These Snagas are barely more dangerous than Soldiers (they have more health and AC, but a weaker attack), but they always show up in groups. The game still thinks we're massively underleveled for where we are, so they're worth a lot of experience; killing these five gets us levels 6 and 7, and our max HP is now 86.

Oh, and we found more junk spellbooks: the prayerbook Words of Wisdom, and the spellbook Conjurings and Tricks. Man, with an INT of 4 I don't think Freude can even read...though I guess he can still use scrolls. Hm.

Ah, a mold. Molds are stationary monsters -- no matter what their speed is, they'll never leave the tile they're on. This Brown Mold can cause confusion with its melee attack, though, so it can be kind of a pain to deal with.

You hit the Brown mold (5). You hit the Brown mold (7). You hit the Brown mold (5). The Brown mold releases spores at you. You are confused!

Case in point. I try to move away, but

You are confused. There is a wall in the way! The Brown mold releases spores at you. You are more confused!

Confusion causes your attempts at movement to randomly fail and send you in a random direction instead. It also prevents you from casting spells or reading scrolls, and you can't aim ranged attacks either, so I hope you like shooting walls. After a few turns, I finally manage to create some space and rest up until the confusion wears off. Then I figure, I have these 37 arrows in my pack, might as well use 'em for something!

Your Arrows glow. The Arrow breaks. You have 36 Arrows (1d4) (+3,+4) {fired}.

Hunh. They're magical, how about that. Well, it'd be nice to save them, but I kind of want this mold out of the way too. Arrows break 35% of the time when used, even when they hit their targets. 8 arrows later (5 of which break ), the Brown Mold is destroyed and we can move on...

Stupid me.

A bit later, the arrows pseudo as magical (thus, they have no other enchantments besides the one we already knew about)...and the other pair of gloves I found pseudo as excellent! That means they have some extra bonus in addition to the AC bonus. Equipping them doesn't tell me anything, so the bonus isn't obvious (like, say, a bonus to DEX or STR would be), which almost certainly means that they're Gloves of Free Action. Free Action prevents paralysis, which sucks, so I'm perfectly happy with that. My old gloves are in any event no longer worth keeping.

("good" just means "with AC/to-hit/to-damage bonus but no other abilities")

Time to show off one of Angband's more annoying gimmicks. Here we have a Copperhead Snake (chump; poison bite but not much health) and a Green Jelly. Jellies, like molds, don't move, although there are slimes and oozes and the like that share the j symbol that do. The Green Jelly, in particular, has a rather annoying attack:

The Green jelly touches you. You are covered in acid! Your Set of Leather Gloves is damaged!

Our gloves, which had been [1,+5] (same enchantment as the old ones, which I should have kept around for demonstrating this, oh well) are now [1, +4].

Whenever you get hit by acid damage, the game picks a random armor slot and attempts to damage the armor in that slot, reducing its AC bonus by 1 to a minimum of the natural AC bonus of the armor (so e.g. our Soft Leather Armor could be damaged all the way down to [8,-8]). If the armor is capable of being damaged, or if it is immune to acid damage, then the actual HP damage you take is halved. So having armor giving at least +1 AC in each slot is a cheap way of getting some resistance to acid attacks. The only way to avoid damaging your armor is to find an item that gives you total immunity to acid attacks (or to equip acid-immune armor in every slot, of course).

Anyway, we'll just let that jelly be; he's not in the way and it's not worth trying to kill him. Exploring onwards:

Grip, Farmer Maggot's dog bites you.

Aww, puppy! Flavor text:

A rather vicious dog belonging to Farmer Maggot. It thinks you are stealing mushrooms.

You hit Grip, Farmer Maggot's dog (5). You hit Grip, Farmer Maggot's dog (4). You hit Grip, Farmer Maggot's dog (4). Grip, Farmer Maggot's dog flees in terror! You hit Grip, Farmer Maggot's dog (4). You hit Grip, Farmer Maggot's dog (7). You have slain Grip, Farmer Maggot's dog.

Yeah, there's no factions or friendly monsters or anything like that in this game. Sorry, Grip!

(Fang and Wolf are around somewhere, too; there's no particular reward for killing any of them, but they're the first unique monsters in the game)

And with that act of canicide, let's end this update. It's gotten kind of long. See you next time, as we keep diving!