The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 3: Shopping

Update 3: Shopping

Last time, Freude had a running fight with Wormtongue before deciding "sod this" and heading back to town to get lunch. This time? Shopping!

The town is the only "persistent level" in the game, and even then everything outside of the stores regenerates each time you visit it. It's populated by townspeople, naturally, as well as the occasional mangy mutt and flea-bitten stray cat. Right now we can see one of the most dangerous monsters in the game: a Mean-Looking Mercenary.

No really, these guys (and their pals, the Battle-Scarred Veterans) have an impressively high kill count. Many's the unwary level-1 adventurer who figured they'd be easy pickings and could drop a bit of gold to help with starting purchases, only to discover that mercenaries pack a 1d10 melee attack and more health than you can comfortably remove as a youngster.

Not that he's a threat to us. I'm just saying.

Anyway, let's take these stores in order.

Store 1, the General Store! More importantly for the gaping hole where Freude's stomach should be, the closest this place comes to a restaurant. The General Store sells an infinite supply of various basic equipment items.

Lyar-el here is giving me advice that would be relevant if I didn't practically have the bestiary memorized. The 30000 next to "General Store" is the maximum amount he'll pay for any items you sell him; in practice it should be 0 for this game (and even if we could sell equipment, he doesn't buy much of anything).

Time was the General Store also sold Brass Lanterns, which give a radius-2 light and thus let you see monsters before you're right next to them. If you bought nothing else before entering the dungeon, you wanted a lantern; hence the thread title. Nowadays you have to find your lanterns in the dungeon, though the General Store will still sell you fuel for them (the flasks of oil).

On the way to the next store,

You are getting weak from hunger!

This is bad news. Once you become weak from hunger, you're only a short time from fainting due to lack of food, which causes unresistable paralysis. Don't faint in the middle of a fight: remember to eat breakfast! I've lost characters before because I plain forgot to feed them.

That tastes good. You are no longer hungry. You have 5 Rations of Food. That tastes good. You are full! You have 4 Rations of Food. That tastes good. You have 3 Rations of Food.

Once you reach the "Full" state, there's not much point in eating anything more. One very recent change is the removal of the "Gorged" status, which was caused by overeating and cut your speed in half. This was a big problem in the late game because healing potions give a minor amount of food, and players were getting gorged in their attempt to keep their HP up. Nowadays if you overeat you just waste the excess.

Store 2, the Armoury! Mauglin doesn't have any helpful advice for us, the jerk. The inventory's a bit light, too; I was hoping to pick up a new hat, but I'll have to settle for just a pair of boots.

Store 3, the Weaponsmith! Arndal's lousy max payout of 10k AU would be a pain in a "selling" game, since enchanted weapons form the bulk of your payroll. Shopkeepers occasionally retire and get replaced by new ones, but it happens so rarely it's not really worth holding onto valuable items in the meantime.

Oh hey, check out that rapier!

That's almost twice as much damage as our dagger does. Sweet! You can examine items before buying them to decide if they're worth getting, which makes this purchasing decision dead-easy.

We should also pick up a bow to use those fancy arrows we've been hucking at monsters. Bows (and slings, and crossbows) are kind of weird. The damage they deal is (sum of damage bonuses + ammo dice) * (bow multiplier). So with our 1d4 Arrows (+3,+4) we'd deal (4 + 2 + 1d4) * 2 damage with that shortbow, or (4 + 1d4) * 3 with the longbow. The longbow is the winner here.

You are shooting with a Long Bow (x3) (+0,+0). You add 31 Arrows (1d4) (+3,+4) to your quiver.

The quiver is an elastic bag that holds ammo. Normally you're limited to 40 items per inventory slot, and only like items can stack. In the quiver, essentially any ammo items can stack, so if we have 4 stacks of 10 each of different ammo types, then we only lose 1 inventory slot. This is good given the tendency ammo has of breaking when used, which leads to lots of small stacks.

The stack size limit used to be 99, which made archery a bit overpowered. You get an arrow! And you get an arrow! Everyone gets an arrow!

The Temple! Like the General Store, it has unlimited supplies of certain basic items; in this case a bunch of moldy old books, and potions of Cure Light Wounds. We already have plenty of those, thanks anyway Bosk.

Might as well buy a Potion of Boldness just to find out what it is, though; it only costs me 8AU. Turns out they're Gold Speckled; is Boldness actually just goldschlager? Boldness is just crappy Heroism: it cures temporary fear, and that's it. Heroism also gives temporary protection from fear, so you should always use it instead if you have the option. I buy 5 potions; should be enough to deal with any poltergeists that get lucky enough to hit me.

The Alchemist! Ga-nat here is going to be one of our best buddies, since he sells a number of vital items. In particular, I pick up another 14 Phase Door scrolls; Phase Door combined with our bow will let us murder just about every early game unique.

We also pick up a couple replacement Word of Recall scrolls -- scrolls can be destroyed by fire and acid attacks, and nothing sucks quite so much as getting stranded in the dungeon. Also scrolls of Magic Mapping and Identify, mostly to learn the flavors ("flavors" are the special descriptions for each item, like how Boldness potions are Gold Speckled). Conveniently, it turns out that some of the scrolls we were already carrying were Identify, so we now have 7 of the things.

On the subject of Word of Recall, since teleporting yourself to and from the town is kind of a big deal, I inscribe our scrolls:

This will cause the game to prompt us for confirmation three times before we do anything with the scrolls.

Finally, I throw Ga-nat one of our un-ID'd scrolls (turns out to be Detect Invisible), and one of our Pungent potions. It's speed! Time to buy that sucker back. Oh well, 75AU isn't a bad price to pay for learning what these are.

Potions of Speed are a mainstay item for the entire game. They temporarily give you +10 speed, which is double your base speed. Being able to double-turn normal-speed enemies is huge (and would have let us obliterate Wormtongue). Perhaps more importantly, not getting double-turned by fast enemies is vital for mid- and late-game survival. Potions of Speed aren't the greatest way to achieve that (ideally we'd have something more permanent), but they're invaluable nonetheless.

Sup, Luthien? The Magic Store is pretty boring; most of this stuff is junk even for characters who actually care about magic. Staffs of Teleport, Detect Evil, Mapping, and Identify are all sold here, though, so we'll be giving Luthien plenty of our cash over the course of the game. Right now we're too poor to get anything worthwhile.

Hey! Kinsman!

The Black Market can stock just about anything except for artifacts, but it does so at hilariously high markups; I think they charge 3x what a normal store would, and they also give you vastly less money if you're stupid enough to sell to them (but they do buy anything). Lo-Hak's inventory is pretty meagre, but I do pick up a Scroll of Teleportation, on the off-chance that we get into really deep trouble. In fact, our remaining 300AU isn't anything much, might as well get two more of them.

Finally, our home (stopping to kill a Mangy-Looking Leper en route). In Diablo parlance, this is our stash. We can stick items here that we might want to use later.

Here's our inventory right before returning to the dungeon. I burned a scroll of Identify on that scimitar. Slay Undead is nice and all -- it triples the damage dice of the weapon against undead targets -- but it's still not worth using. I give it to a local Village Idiot.

The Village idiot dies. The Scimitar of Slay Undead breaks. You have no more Scimitars of Slay Undead (4d2) (+2,+5).


(I also ditch that Mace I've been lugging around)

The air about you becomes charged... You have 2 Scrolls titled "co abitat" of Word of Recall.
You feel yourself yanked downwards! (to 450')

And here we are! A pack of jackals (weakest individual enemy in the game), some more Heroism potions, some cash, and a spotted mushroom patch. Mushroom patches are like molds (stationary enemies with annoying physical attacks -- the Spotted variety can poison), but they die if you sneeze on them.

You hit the Red naga (12). You hit the Red naga (10). You hit the Red naga (12). The Red naga crushes you. The Red naga misses you.

I am loving this new rapier, guys. Red nagas, like some other red enemies, can drain STR with their bite, not that we care. Also in the room: our first staff!

You have a Banyan Staff.

Using it has no apparent effect, so it must be situational.

Nothing else of note shows up before the next staircase, so down we go! We're going to have to stop taking the first staircase we find eventually, but I say we put that off as long as possible.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 500')

You feel something messing with your mind. You are confused!

So much for taking that staircase I found! Gonna have to deal with this Dark Elven Priest first. For some reason, Dark Elven spellcasters are all fast enemies, which makes them atypically dangerous. This guy's also a bit out of depth (he's native to 600'), but hey, that just means we'll net 60 EXP when we kill him!

You are confused. The Dark elven priest conjures up weird things. You are more confused! The Dark elven priest hits you. The Dark elven priest hits you.
You are confused. There is a wall in the way! The Dark elven priest surrounds you in darkness. Darkness surrounds you. The Dark elven priest hits you. The Dark elven priest misses you.

That is, assuming we can swing in the right direction Fortunately, if/when we do stumble towards him, we land our full complement of attacks.

(How's that for redundant messaging? The darkness spell simply removes the "permanently-lit" attribute from tiles near you; as far as enemy spells go it's extraordinarily harmless)

Eventually, after he's taken off a good 30% of our HP...

You hit the Dark elven priest (12). You hit the Dark elven priest (10). You hit the Dark elven priest (8). The Dark elven priest flees in terror!

So now we can rest up and wait for him to get his courage back. Of course, being a priest he also has a heal-self spell:

Something mumbles. Someone sounds REALLY healthy! Someone recovers its courage. Someone tries to cast a spell, but fails. Someone tries to cast a spell, but fails. You are no longer confused.

Fortunately, this time he lays off the confusion, and though it takes a few rounds (and he heals back to full again), we finally put him down.

You have slain the Dark elven priest. Welcome to level 11. (133 max HP!)

Confusion can really be a pain in the ass -- you can't melee reliably, missile combat is a crapshoot, and spells are completely impossible. Later on we'll encounter enemies who can cause confusion with their melee attacks, and there's precious few ways to get away from them.

Anyway, that little hurdle is dealt with, so onwards! Downwards!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 550')

Hello there, Mr. Cave Bear! Yet another melee-only enemy. The early game's full of 'em. Also in this room is an invisible enemy, though. It hit once, and then

Something makes a soft 'pop'.

That's the sound effect for a phase door when you can't see the caster. And next

Something touches you. You feel very naive.

Lost Soul! He just drained our WIS score wait why do we care we don't use WIS for anything.

The WIS stat is the casting stat for holy casters -- priests and paladins. It determines how much mana (spellpoints) they have and how many spells they can learn (their level and available spellbooks determine which spells they can learn). It also affects saving throw, but we're a long, long way from getting a meaningful bonus from it.

INT is the same for arcane casters (mages, rangers, and rogues), except it also affects your magic device skill.

Anyway, there's not much we can do about this guy besides stumble around and hope we run into him, literally. Or just leave and hope he doesn't follow -- they move very erratically and have trouble staying on target. Aside from the WIS-drain attack and the phase door, he can also try to drain mana, which is pointless for us since we have none. These guys are a pain in the ass for holy casters and a borderline non-entity for everyone else.

Meet the brigand! They're upgraded Cutpurses: more HP, better attacks, and instead of stealing money, they try to steal random inventory items.

You hit the Brigand (8). You miss the Brigand. You hit the Brigand (8). The Brigand hits you. The Brigand touches you. You grab hold of your backpack! There is a puff of smoke!

And there he goes. Looking at the code, our 15 DEX should only allow us to save against theft 8% of the time, so we've been pretty lucky.

That scroll turns out to be a stack of 4 Scrolls of Word of Recall. So I guess I didn't have to buy that spare back in town. Oh well.

As part of general gameplay streamlining, recent versions of the game are likely to give you entire stacks of "basic consumable" items like Word of Recall, Phase Door, Cure Light Wounds, etc. The less time you spend in town, the better. Fine by me; shopping is pretty dull.

You found a trap! You hit a teleport trap!

Freude has really got to get something to deal with these traps. Eventually one of them is going to get him into trouble.

But that can wait! Staircase!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 600')

Ahh, one of these rooms. Play Angband long enough, and you'll start recognizing 23-tile corridors. This is a "moated" room -- a large rectangular room surrounded by a corridor. They take many configurations, and can be fairly dangerous, or harmless.

While exploring it, I take a screenshot one turn too late...

The King cobra spits on you. You are blind! The King cobra bites you. You are poisoned!

Fortunately, blindness isn't too debilitating for warriors. You take a penalty on your chance to hit (same as when trying to hit invisible monsters), and you can't cast spells or read scrolls, but at least you don't move in random directions.

Sure enough, blindly flailing to the northeast takes down the cobra in another couple of turns. Of course, now we're blind and poisoned. We could just wait it out, but it's more fun to try to explore!

You feel a wall blocking your way.

Yeah, okay, this is dumb.

You feel much better. You blink and your eyes clear. You have 12 Pink Potions of Cure Light Wounds.

(The poison went away on its own; CLW and CSW don't help with being poisoned so we'd have had to wait it out anyway)

Shortly afterwards, a kobold breaks down the door leading into the inner room:

Hm, I'm not familiar with this layout; they must have added it for 3.5. A bit of searching turns up no doors inside, so the rest of the room must be accessible from the moat. Sure enough,

You have found a secret door.

Unfortunately, the entire rest of the "room" is empty.

But while we check out the last sub-room, this happens:

Something shrieks. You hear a sudden stirring in the distance!

This can be problematic. Shrieking is a "spell" some monsters have which wakes up every monster in a wide radius. Even worse, all monsters in line-of-sight get hasted! Fortunately most shriekers have very low HP, because they are priority target #1 in any fight.

In our particular case, it turns out to be a Shrieking Mushroom Patch.

Time to file a noise complaint.

You hit the Shrieker mushroom patch (11). You have destroyed the Shrieker mushroom patch.

At this point it occurs to me I haven't shown off the monster memory. The / command lets you recall information on any monster you've seen before. Here's the entry for shriekers:

Like with identifying items, any time you see a monster do something, the relevant ability is filled in in your monster memory. That includes melee attacks and their damage, spells they can cast, movement speed, loot drops, etc. There's a "cheating" option that gives you full monster memory from the start of the game, which I honestly recommend for new players -- it's too easy to get killed by nasty surprises otherwise.

Oh dear. Remember I mentioned giant lice awhile ago. Well, here they are Fortunately, they're penned in with a Grape Jelly ().

You hit the Giant white louse (9). You have slain the Giant white louse.

And that settles that.

(Grape jellies drain experience when they hit you. No sense picking a fight with one.)

Some more exploration turns up a Lead Wand and a convenient target to use it on.

The wall turns into mud! You have 3 charges remaining.

A wand of Stone to Mud, okay. Totally harmless to non-rock-based enemies (which is to say, its martial applications are limited), but it can be a convenient way to dig a hidey-hole. Of course, we can tunnel straight through magma and probably quartz if we need to, but the wand is much faster.

The Giant White Mouse is surrounded by a yellow box because I've targeted it (using the * command). All of my ranged attacks will be automatically directed at my target. This also lets me fire in a non-cardinal direction.

Awhile later we stumble across this room:

That there is our first ring. Unfortunately

You have no room for an Alexandrite Ring.

Our inventory is so full of potions and scrolls and torches and a quarterstaff that we don't have room for a single little ring. Oh well, that's slot-based inventory systems for you. We can hold precisely 23 slots of items, each of which can be a stack of up to 40 (this includes the quiver). We're also soft-limited by weight -- being overloaded slows you down -- but that's not so much an issue for Freude's mighty thews.

Oh well, the easiest way to free up some inventory space is to start reading scrolls and see what happens. And drink some of the more pointless potions. First, let's retreat into a cul-de-sac:

Just in case one of the scrolls summons something nasty.

You sense the presence of doors and stairs! You have 3 Scrolls titled "perilea vo" of Door/Stair Location.


You sense the presence of buried treasure! You sense the presence of objects! You have no more Scrolls titled "corue praet" of Treasure Detection.

Not junk! This is what our environs look like now:

The orange *s are unknown treasure (i.e. money), which may be buried in walls. The red *s are unknown items. Treasure Detection is quite useful for directing your exploration, so you don't waste time exploring areas that don't have anything except maybe some monsters in them. Sure, monsters drop items, but you can find monsters anywhere.

The air around you starts to swirl... You have no more Scrolls titled "agum mat voleo" of Deep Descent.

Whoops. I don't think we're getting that ring after all. Or those detected treasures. Deep Descent is like Word of Recall, except instead of sending you to town it sends you 5 levels deeper into the dungeon, and the delay before activating is shorter.

You hear a door burst open!

Well, while we wait, we can fight with this Hippogriff that heard us stumbling over the words on those scrolls and got angry.

Four turns later,

You miss the Hippogriff. You hit the Hippogriff (7). You hit the Hippogriff (11). You have slain the Hippogriff. Welcome to level 12. You feel less naive. The floor opens beneath you!

And here we are at 850', now thoroughly, thoroughly out of our depth. Normally a dive rate where your character level equals the dungeon level is reasonable, if not a bit aggressive, for the first 20 levels. We're level 12, at dungeon level 17. But that's okay! We can handle it!

Notice how leveling up restored the WIS that that Lost Soul drained earlier. In the old days, this didn't happen; instead, you typically returned to town and bought a Potion of Restore <name of drained stat>. Such potions no longer exist -- the only "restore stat" items have to be found in the dungeon and are fairly rare. Early stat drain is now much less scary, but later stat drain far more scary, since levelups happen less often and you have a limited stock of stat restoration items.

This seems like a good place to end the update. Next time...perhaps a less meteoric descent.