The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 7: A Bloody Swathe

Update 7: A Bloody Swathe

Last time, we got our revenge on Wormtongue and wrested a lovely little dagger from his corpse! Now that we've more than doubled our damage against most enemies, this part of the dungeon won't be very interesting any more. What say we head downwards?

On the way to the stairs, we run into Ulfast here, and some Uruks that took only one turn apiece to kill

You freeze Ulfast, Son of Ulfang (28). You freeze Ulfast, Son of Ulfang (37). You freeze Ulfast, Son of Ulfang (43).

Yeah, this won't take long. Ulfast gets in all of 3 attacks before fleeing in terror. Of course, that just means we plink him to death with arrows. And his drop?

Alas poor Nimthanc, we hardly had a chance to use ye.

Freude is getting pretty dang lucky lately. Dagmor does slightly more damage than Nimthanc, which we just found! At these depths poison resistance is a bit more common than cold resistance (which Nimthanc hits), but Dagmor is still a fairly straight upgrade. Thanks, Ulfast!

Realistically, by these depths you'd normally be feeling lucky to have found one artifact. On the flipside, you'd also have had decent odds of finding a useful non-artifact weapon or armor and better rings than we have. Freude is a bit above the curve, but he's not absurdly so; most of his power still comes from being a warrior in the early-ish game, when overwhelming melee power can solve all your problems.

And never fear, the RNG will compensate. It always does.


You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1150')

Not much of interest in our current room (the potion is just Resist Heat), but that looks like a pit to our southwest. Better check it out.

The lone orc is an Orc Shaman; they have some basic spells, but nothing particularly interesting. He drops an un-ID'd potion, which is Restore Mana. These are a staple consumable for spellcasters. Which we aren't. One of the Half-Orcs drops a new ring, which turns out to be Teleportation. These give you a +2 speed boost, but they occasionally and uncontrollably teleport you about the dungeon. Some people like them as escape items, but it's pretty rare for me to get into trouble that's a) going to get me killed, b) escapable through teleportation, and c) not likely to kill me imminently, so I can wait for the ring to decide to activate.

Another Half-Orc drops a Scroll of Deep Descent. Excellent.

Anyway, that pit:

I can see where this is going. Meet the Blue Icky Thing, a surprisingly dangerous enemy. They can breed explosively, and they're spellcasters -- Confuse, Blind, and Scare. Nothing particularly much, granted, but in large numbers they can keep you locked down pretty well.

Behind it is a Shambling Mound, confirming my suspicions. This is a Slime Pit, full of basically the grossest enemies Angband has. Slimes, jellies, icky things, mushroom patches, and molds all call this room home, and it is almost certainly not worth clearing. Not because it's dangerous, just because the enemies in it are a pain in the ass -- draining stats, damaging armor, causing annoying status ailments, and generally just getting in the way.

Okay, fine, we'll get close enough to douse part of it in cleansing fire, but that's it.

(The Shambling Mound is a mobile Shrieker Mushroom Patch, incidentally)

The Magic mushroom patch surrounds you in darkness. Darkness surrounds you. The Shambling mound makes a high-pitched shriek. You hear a sudden stirring in the distance! Something messes with your mind. You feel your memories fade. The Green icky thing starts moving faster. 2 Grey mushroom patches start moving faster. [Half a billion other enemies start moving faster] The Magic mushroom patch surrounds you in darkness. Darkness surrounds you. Something moans. The draining fails.

Yeah, that was all in one turn. Magic mushroom patches are mostly an irritation, though they have the distinction of moving at +30 speed, tied for the fastest in the game. A Memory Moss hit us with its amnesia spell, which increases spell and item failure rates and makes you forget how to read (so you can't use scrolls). Ochre Jellies are mobile, fast (well, this one's now at +20 speed rasser frassin' Shambling Mound ), and have four acid attacks per round.

Finally, something in there tried to drain our mana. Ha ha, we don't have any!

In the old days, amnesia would delete your map and un-identify your items, which was mostly just a tedious annoyance. The new amnesia is less thematic but at least it's tactically significant. Also, in the old days, Magic Mushrooms showed up in groups.

You breathe fire. Welcome to level 25. You feel less naive. The Shambling mound disintegrates! The Shimmering mold disintegrates! The Red mold resists a lot. The Magic mushroom patch disintegrates! You hear a scream of agony! You hear a scream of agony! The Grey mushroom patch disintegrates! The Spotted mushroom patch disintegrates! You hear several screams of agony! The Green jelly quivers in pain. You hear a scream of agony! You hear a scream of agony! You hear a scream of agony! The Grey icky thing dies. The Spotted jelly is destroyed. The Black ooze is destroyed. The Green icky thing dies. The Ochre jelly is destroyed. The Blue ooze is destroyed.

And that's about enough of that. Wait a few turns for Freude's brain to reboot, and

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

Oh hey, and while we wait, we found a Metal Cap that pseudos as {ego} in the moat of the pit. That means that it has some extra enchantment on it above normal AC bonuses. Let's check that out.

You were wearing a Metal Cap [3,+4]. You are wearing a Metal Cap [3] {excellent}.

Curious. No obvious enchantment means it's not Intelligence, Wisdom, Light, or Telepathy. That proooobably means that it gives See Invisble, which is always welcome. I can't think what else it would be.

Anyway, let's ditch this town.

The floor opens beneath you! (to 1400')

Nothing obviously of interest to aim for. Guess we'll just explore.

Just north of where we started, we find our first trolls -- a pack of Stone Trolls. Trolls take the place of orcs once you get deeper into the dungeon: they show up in groups, they have basic melee attacks, that's really all you need to know about them.

Well. There is one more thing.

The wall turns into mud! You have 2 charges remaining. 3 Stone trolls lose some skin!

Stone trolls are apparently stonelike enough to be vulnerable to Stone to Mud. The damage is pathetic, but we got some damage out of that wand we've been lugging around for who knows how long!

(Dagmor, our shortsword, can take them down in one round apiece if all 4 blows hit)

Oh, and we ID'd-by-use that cap we found. It's a Metal Cap of Regeneration [3,+10]. Alas, regeneration does not stack. Freude is not Wolverine.

A ways south, we find a couple of Cyan potions, but our sources of Identify are all tapped out. Oh well; it can wait.

Our total exploration of 1400' before finding another staircase:

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1450')

That looks like an interesting room to our northwest. We work our way through some novice adventurers and a Fire Vortex, then hit this guy:

This is an Earth hound. They have a new element to introduce us to: shards. Shards damage shatters potions and causes cuts; on the whole it's not very threatening if you can regenerate since that drastically improves recovery from cuts.

Angband has "high" elements and "basic" elements. The basic elements are acid, fire, cold, and lightning; everything else is a "high" element. The difference is in the damage cap and side effects. Basic elements have a damage cap at a whopping 1600; even Freude, who has the highest potential HP growth in the game, will never have that many hitpoints. High elements cap out at anywhere from 300-600 depending on the element (with poison a notable exception at 800). High elements also all have various unusual side effects, from causing cuts or poison to draining your experience or making you hallucinate.

Anyway, Fido is alone, which is always bad news for a zephyr hound as they just don't have the muscle to be a threat individually. Behind him is a pack of Baby Gold Dragons:

Baby dragons do not normally show up in groups; this is our clue that there's an older dragon around somewhere. Sure enough, shortly after we clear the kids out, Mommy comes calling:

You poison the Mature gold dragon (36). You poison the Mature gold dragon (21). You poison the Mature gold dragon (30). You poison the Mature gold dragon (21). The Mature gold dragon claws you. The Mature gold dragon claws you. The Mature gold dragon bites you.

Mature dragons are reasonably beefy, but Mommy here is only really dangerous because she's significantly out-of-depth; normally she wouldn't show up until around 1800'. Mature dragons all move at normal speed, and while they have a lot of hitpoints, their melee isn't much to write home about. You're only likely to be in trouble if they decide to spam their breath attacks. Speaking of which, Gold enemies use the "sound" element as their breath attack. Sound causes stunning, which is a legitimate threat if you get hit hard enough due to the potential to be knocked out.

Killing this dragon gets us 2160 experience points, by far our biggest single reward yet and half what we needed to level again. She also dropped a bunch of treasure, including an amulet and some scrolls that we haven't seen before. Our lack of ID is rapidly becoming a problem.

That's this room cleared out. Exploring takes a long time before we turn up anything particularly interesting, and when we do, it's just one of these guys:

Annoyingly, they resist poison.

You were wielding the Short sword 'Dagmor' (1d7) (+13,+11) <+2>. You are wielding the Dagger 'Nimthanc' (2d4) (+9,+12) [+10].
You miss the Dark elven druid. You miss the Dark elven druid. You freeze the Dark elven druid (37). The Dark elven druid summons spiders. The Dark elven druid hits you. The Dark elven druid hits you. The Dark elven druid hits you.

There's their summoning spell in action. That's a Giant Fire Tick and a Giant Red Scorpion behind him. Neither has any ranged attacks, fortunately. If he'd summoned a pack of Aranea then we'd be in trouble. Their curse spells can cause a lot of damage very quickly, and Freude has no saving throw to speak of.

We finally manage to get two good rounds of melee in, and that does it for the druid; his summons fall in a single round apiece. The druid dropped a Turquoise Ring. Our inventory is now stuffed full of items that we cannot identify.

Summoning spells used to summon monsters around the player. Now they summon monsters around the caster. This is a subtle difference but means that in this case the druid wasn't able to summon monsters behind us. Getting boxed in by summons used to be a major problem. Summons are still such a huge force multiplier later on that we'll be abusing LOS tricks to avoid the worst of them, but this does mean that early summons are less lethal.

Burning the last charge on our Staff of Mapping reveals most of the rest of this level:

And here's what's in that room:

The Master Rogue to our southeast is the next iteration up of the "evil rogue" adventurer type. They move quickly and can steal gold, but have only 75 HP, which is hilariously little at this point.

The A is a Lesser Maia. Maiar are usually decently strong opponents with annoyingly tough defenses. The Lesser Maiar are the weakest of the bunch, and thus not too durable. Later ones start summoning each other and turning the dungeon into a giant demigod clusterfuck.

"A" monsters used to be Angels -- cherubs, archangels, and the like. A bit out of place in a broadly Tolkeinian game, so they got replaced. The angel uniques were some of the most dangerous in the game. They aren't any easier now.

Unfortunately, every time we get close to the Maia, someone else comes in to interrupt. First a pair of Illusionists, then this Frost Giant and his Hill Giant cousin. Giants have nasty melee attacks: the Hill Giant has 2x 4d8 and the Frost Giant has 2x 5d8. They can also all throw boulders, which do a lot of damage. I've talked smack about a lot of melee-oriented enemies in Angband, but Giants are legitimately dangerous, and they're even moreso now that they show up in (small) groups.

Finally, some piece and quiet. The drops are some more potions of Cure Serious Wounds, an un-ID'd scroll, some Bolts, a Wand of Trap/Door Destruction, a Small Metal Shield [5], and a Flask of Oil. The oil can just go straight into our lantern (wasting most of it since it was 1600 turns from max capacity anyway). We might as well just wield the shield -- it instantly pseudos as {excellent}, which means it probably gives some elemental resistance.

While I decide what to do with the rest, another Frost Giant shows up:

and between him and something hidden that keeps shooting arrows at us, we get down to 63 HP, which is far too little for this dungeon depth. Time to flee!

You have 6 charges remaining. (on our Staff of Teleportation)

Fortunately, a little resting and we're ready to go again. "Fight until nearly dead, teleport away, rest up, return to fight, repeat" can be a valid tactic as long as you're confident that teleporting won't land you in trouble. Unfortunately, the game can always choose to spawn new enemies, so teleportation can never be 100% safe even if you take pains to clear the level before taking on the enemy that warrants such tactics. This is also why you teleport before you're one turn away from dying.

On our return we take out the Frost Giant easily enough, netting level 26 and 310 max HP. We still have a big inventory space problem, though:

I want to keep the empty staves because they can be recharged in town. The rest of these items qualify as "things we want to learn what they are" and "things we need to not die". The Cure Light Wounds and Heroism potions can go, I guess; they're not as vital and they're easily replaced.

I wield the bolts to our quiver. Even though we aren't using a crossbow, we can still put crossbow ammo in the quiver, where it stacks nicely with our arrows. The bolts are Bolts of Wounding, as it turns out; it's more important than ever for us to get ourselves a crossbow.

Just to our north is a trap door; when triggered, it sends you to the next level. There's nothing worse than completing a colossal battle, settling back to sort through your loot, and tripping one of these. Generally not worth bothering with unless you're having trouble finding staircases. I'd use this one, but I'd rather we finish up this level and then head back to town.

You tunnel into the granite wall. <5x> You have finished the tunnel.

I'm pretty sure there was a secret door there. I'm also pretty sure we can dig through granite faster than we can find doors by searching, now. That'll change once we stop wearing that Ring of Digging though.

A bit later, I get this message:

On the ground, a Small Metal Shield of Resist Lightning [5,+3].

Which is a bit odd, since there aren't any small metal shields in sight. However, the one on our arm has been identified as indicated. I guess pseudo-ID was modified to fully-identify items after awhile, now. I think I remember reading about making items auto-ID once you reached a sufficiently high character level, too.

Resist lightning is nice, since we didn't have it before. In fact, if we swap out the Ring of Digging for the Ring of Resist Fire and Cold (or just wield Nimthanc), then we get resistance to all four basic elements. That's definitely worth doing; it'll cut down on the damage we take significantly.

This was a neat room. Nothing in it except some Cold Hounds, a Red Mold, and some nonmagical equipment. We're almost done here.

Whoops whoa hang on that's a hydra.

Hydras, especially 4-Headed Hydras like this one, are serious threats. They're fast, they have plenty of HP, and they can attack 4 times per round. Later ones start picking up elemental breath attacks too, basically turning them into fast dragons with crappy drops. This guy doesn't have any breath attacks, but he does have some spells, and manages to land a fear spell on us. And I dropped our Potions of Heroism Now if we try to attack in melee, we get the message

You are too afraid to attack the 4-headed hydra!

Fortunately we can still shoot the thing with our bow, or activate our dragon scale mail, though the fear worsens our failure rate a bit.

While we rest up after that fight, this guy intrudes:

Ws are wights and wraiths; this guy is a Forest Wight. They're all magical, experience-draining undead of various sorts. If we let this guy hit us, he could drain some of our experience. That can be restored by drinking the confusingly-named Potions of Restore Life Levels, or by simply killing things until you get it all back.

You hit the Forest wight (21). You hit the Forest wight (25). You hit the Forest wight (25). You have destroyed the Forest wight.

Or we could just take it out in a single round of melee. Wights and wraiths are all glass cannons.

The Bloodstone Ring was really a monster! The Ring mimic hits you. You are poisoned! The Ring mimic hits you. You are more poisoned! The Ring mimic hits you. You are more poisoned! The Ring mimic hits you. You are more poisoned! The Ring mimic tries to cast a spell, but fails.

Ack! Object mimics (scrolls, potions, rings, and treasure chests) are a lot sneakier than Creeping Coins are, and don't have an obvious tell that gives them away. What's worse, they tend to pretend to be various valuable things that you'd really like to have, so every time you find one is a disappointment. I don't know what Bloodstone rings are, but I'm sure they'd be an improvement over what we're wearing right now.

As a threat, though, they aren't all that much. They're totally immobile, and while they have some spells usually they aren't much of a danger. This one put an awful lot of poison on us, but I'm feeling lazy.

You feel very good. You are no longer poisoned. You have 4 Copper Speckled Potions of Cure Critical Wounds.

And that's about it of interest on this level. Here's the complete map:

And here's our inventory filled with un-ID'd junk and not staying-alive gear:

(Now would be a lousy time to discover that your last scroll of Word of Recall had gotten burned )

The air about you becomes charged... You have 4 Scrolls titled "co abitat" of Word of Recall.
You feel yourself yanked upwards!

Okay, first things first, let's get some ID capability back. To the magic shop!

You sold 2 Staves of Identify (0 charges) for 0 gold.

And now there are 2 staves of Identify available containing a total of 27 charges! The magic shop will recharge any item you sell to it that it can normally sell (so no using it to recharge Wands of Annihilation or Staves of Genocide...). This is fantastic because it's failure-free; other methods of recharging always risk accidentally destroying the item in question. Of course, you have to pay for the service by buying your staves back, but we can afford it.

Now, let's see what our loot is.

You feel very wise! You have no more Shimmering Potions of Wisdom.
You feel very naive. You feel very dextrous! You have no more Smoky Potions of Nimbleness.
Your Set of Leather Gloves of Free Action glows brightly! You have no more Scrolls of Enchant Armor.

Perfect. We boosted our WIS, then traded that WIS for a DEX boost. With another point of DEX we'll go from 4.0 blows/round to 4.3 blows/round, which isn't nothing.

And now our inventory has significantly less junk in it. A quick scan around the other shops shows little of interest, though there is this weapon at Arndal's:

Despite what it says, we didn't actually buy this. The "Sustains your life force" ability is protection against experience drain. If you have it, 90% of the time experience drain attacks will fail; the remaining 10% of the time, you'll only lose 10% of the experience you normally would. If you're irrationally attached to your experience score, this can be a handy ability; otherwise, just carry potions of Restore Life Levels with you; the alchemist sells them.

Annoyingly, Arndal doesn't have a crossbow, and the Temple doesn't have any Cure Serious/Critical Wounds Fortunately, we found some during our last trip, so we're not completely bereft of healing. Lacking anything better, I load up on 40 Cure Light Wounds potions. Better than nothing!

This seems like a good place to stop for today. Before we go, one last look at Freude:

His inventory:

His equipment:

His home:

Elvagil is along for the ride because it gives See Invisible; carrying a separate weapon just to deal with poison-resisting non-natural enemies (i.e. ones that Dagmor doesn't deal enhanced damage against) seemed a poor trade, so Nimthanc stays at home.

His character sheet:

And his abilities:

If we could just find an innate source of See Invisible, then we'd be in quite good shape. As it is we're still doing entirely decently. Next time we'll have to dive again.