The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 10: Oh Wow, Everything Looks So Cosmic Now!

Update 10: Oh Wow, Everything Looks So Cosmic Now!

Last time, Freude did his best imitation of a Slinky and fell down the stairs a bunch, very nearly getting into serious trouble. Now we're back in town and it's time to restock and get ready to actually explore some levels.

First, let's stop by our house and drop some loot off.

You drop a Quartz Ring of Strength <+2>.
You drop a Platinum Ring of Damage (+0,+8).
You drop the Soft Leather Armour 'Hithlomir' [10,+20] <+3>.
You drop Partial Plate Armour (Dwarven) (-3) [40,+12] <+2>.

Much as the stat boosts on the Dwarven armor are quite juicy, for now I think we're best served by the poison resistance that the Elven Hard Leather Armour we found gives.

Next, we check the stores for upgrades. Nothing much in the armorsmith, weaponsmith, or temple (though the weaponsmith does finally have a crossbow now that we no longer need one!), but in the Black Market:

Oooh, that's a tempting Ring of Damage. And we can just afford it! It'd leave us very short on Teleportation and Identify for the next dive, but I think we'll survive.

You bought a Ring of Damage (+0,+12) for 27918 gold.

Compare our damage with our Ring of Dexterity <+6>:

to our damage wearing the Ring of Damage:

That's quite the respectable jump! Losing out on 6 DEX is a bit of a blow, but the only other functions it provides (besides the extra melee blows in combat we'd been using it for) are AC and a very minor chance to hit in melee; we won't miss either of those.

We still have enough cash to restock on Phase Door and Word of Recall, and to buy some Scrolls of Identify. Fortunately we're still well-stocked on healing potions simply from what we've found in the dungeon. Here's what we look like before going back into the dungeon:


Somehow I completely forgot to mention finding that Wand of Teleport Other. Looks like a Ghoul dropped it while we were exploring 1900'. These things are fantastic -- they send a single monster to a different portion of the dungeon. They are key for picking and choosing your battles, especially when you're trying to get at items that have a nasty guardian (say, in a vault).


You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1950')

This is an unusual room layout. Doesn't look like a vault, though; not enough stuff in it.

And I just realized I forgot to get a Staff of Detect Evil We probably couldn't have afforded it, though.

This is an Ettin, a massive two-headed troll. They're a pretty good match for us in melee.

The Will o' the wisp misses you. The Will o' the wisp hits you. The Will o' the wisp hits you. You feel drugged!

We are now hallucinating Every monster and item on the map gets replaced by a random symbol every turn, and the Look command just tells us

You see something strange.

It's like being blind, but you can still make educated guesses about where the monsters are, because monsters will never be in a tile that has no symbol in it.

Will o' the Wisps are a pain in the ass, incidentally; in addition to hallucinogenic claws, they also are incredibly evasive, very fast, and love to teleport themselves away just when you're finally making some progress on them. Fortunately they do next to no damage, so we can ignore this one until we finish killing the Ettin.

Instead, it teleports away shortly before the Ettin dies We step into an alcove to get some peace while waiting for the ants to stop crawling on our skin, and when we step out

The Plasma vortex breathes plasma. The Aquamarine Ring of Reckless Attacks is destroyed! You have been stunned.

Plasma, as an element, is a mishmash of fire, electricity, and sound. It destroys flammables, jewelery, and wands, and if you encounter a pack of Plasma Hounds then the stunning can be a serious threat. This lone vortex is highly unlikely to knock us out though. Killing him does get us to level 29, though, which also restores that lost point of CON.

See the way the walls of the room to our south are disappearing? Something that can bore through rock is headed for us.

It's an Umber Hulk. That's fine. All of the wall-borers more dangerous than Umber Hulks are very dangerous.

Oh, and those hounds aren't Earth Hounds; they're Impact Hounds. They breathe force, which shatters potions and stuns you. Not quite as dangerous as Plasma Hounds, mostly because they're slower and their breaths do less damage.

(The Will o' the Wisp returns, and this time stands still enough for us to put it down. Good riddance)

Something breathes. You are hit by something strange!

And like that, we've been teleported:

"Something strange" in this case was a Nexus attack. I talked about them earlier, but short version is they bounce you around the dungeon, and in previous versions they also had a small chance of totally ruining your character. We might be able to go back over to that part of the dungeon and clear out the breather, but if it's a pack of Nexus Hounds, it's probably more effort than it's worth.

On the other hand, I spy part of a vault to our northwest! Mmmm, tasty tasty vaults. Crack them open and eat the gooey centers!

The sword in our current room is a Broad Sword of Extra Attacks <+2>, incidentally. Lower damage bonus than Dagmor gives, though, so it'd be a strict downgrade. Dagmor is pretty awesome, guys!

The Time vortex breathes time. You feel your life force draining away!

Gah! Another Time Vortex! We get phenomenally lucky and it just drains our experience twice. Running around with drained stats so soon after leveling up would not be fun, because the next restore is a long way away.

We made it back to where we started without finding a path to the vault; might as well check out Mr. Nexus.

By resting here, I hope to draw out the breather in such a way that we'll be able to see it before it attacks us, so we can at least learn what it is.

Instead we get Gorbag. Hi, Gorbag! You're way out of your depth, buddy.

You poison Gorbag, the Orc Captain (41). You poison Gorbag, the Orc Captain (35). You poison Gorbag, the Orc Captain (32). You poison Gorbag, the Orc Captain (47). Gorbag, the Orc Captain misses you. Gorbag, the Orc Captain misses you. Gorbag, the Orc Captain misses you. Gorbag, the Orc Captain misses you.

In fact, in three rounds of combat, he doesn't land a single blow. Dude's native to 950' and we're more than twice that depth into the dungeon. His loss.

He drops some arrows that pseudo as {excellent}, so they slay something. I'll hold off on finding out what, to conserve ID.

Finally, Mr. Nexus turns out to be a vortex. No problem. An arrow and a few stabs with Dagmor put it down (and, again, the vortex isn't resistant to poison. How does that work?).

We're going to have to dig our way in, aren't we? We haven't enhanced our digging ability any since the last vault, and I haven't seen any Lances lying around.

While mulling over what to do, I run into this charming fellow:

This is a Black Wraith, and they're kind of a pain in that they're fast, they have two experience-draining attacks per turn, and they're durable enough to last several rounds in melee.

Also, they can cast fear spells and I forgot to buy Heroism again Fortunately, phasing away lands us on the other side of a Cold Hound, where we can safely wait out the duration.

You hit the Black wraith (31). You hit the Black wraith (33). You hit the Black wraith (30). You hit the Black wraith (28). The Black wraith casts a bolt of nether. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! *** You feel your life force draining away! The Black wraith misses you. The Black wraith hits you. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! *** The Black wraith misses you. The Black wraith misses you.

Despite how bad this looks, ultimately we're able to take him down. We are short 5000 experience from where we should be, though. But he dropped a Maul. Mauls weigh 20 pounds! That's still 340 turns to dig through granite, but we only need to clear a single tile; that should be good enough.

You tunnel into the granite wall. <959x>

Oooooor not.

You tunnel into the granite wall. <175x> You have finished the tunnel. The Emperor wight misses you. The Emperor wight hits you. The Emperor wight misses you. The Emperor wight touches you. You feel your life force draining away!

We've fought Emperor Wights before; they're more or less weaker Black Wraiths. Phase away, put Dagmor back on, and this guy's toast...but we're now 7k experience below where we should be. What's with all the undead lately?

Kavlax the Many-Headed breathes fire. The Set of Gauntlets burns up! Some of your Arrows were destroyed! The Olog screams in pain. Kavlax the Many-Headed breathes acid. The Long Sword of Venom melts! Your Elven Cloak is damaged! *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! *** Some of your Arrows were destroyed! The Olog dies.

Whups, maybe I should look at dragons instead of just assuming that anything with a 'd' symbol is small potatoes now.

Kavlax is, more or less, a multihued dragon on steroids. In addition to being able to breathe acid, cold, electricity, and lightning, he can also hit you with chaos, nexus, shards, sound, and gravity. Chaos confuses you, makes you hallucinate, drains your experience, and destroys all non-artifact items outside your inventory. Gravity is even worse: it slows you (and Free Action is no protection) and it teleports you like Phase Door does, which is perfect for knocking you out of your carefully-chosen little battle perch.

And he's fast! We are lucky here that he didn't choose to use his gravity breath, because it could easily have killed us. Gravity -> other breath -> third breath is quite possible for Kavlax. Hell, if we didn't have so many hitpoints, just two breaths could end us.

As it is, I think Kavlax needs to go away.

You have 10 charges remaining. Kavlax the Many-Headed disappears!

Wands of Teleport Other

And now we just need to make a mental note to get right off this level as soon as we finish with the vault, because he could be anywhere.

(Oh, and Ologs are just generically tough melee enemies; basically super-orcs)

From here we take out the Ologs, some Stone Trolls, a bunch of lesser dragons, some Grave Wights, some Carrion Crawlers (centipedes that show up in groups and have a paralyzing sting), and finally a Mature Multi-Hued Dragon (worth 2k experience! We're back in the black!).

Our loot is a bit disappointing, though: a Scroll of Enchant Weapon To-Dam (enchants some of our arrows), Studded Leather of Elvenkind (standard basic 4 resists, plus chaos; the poison resistance on our current armor is more important), a Ring of Damage (+0,+6), and another of the RNG's little private jokes: a Wand of Stone to Mud.

Oh well, it's not worth trying to explore the rest of this dungeon now that Kavlax is about. We could probably take him if we had some Potions of Speed, but we haven't seen any of those in ages.

Here's what the map looks like:

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2000')

We're in the big leagues now. 2000' is roughly when the game stops toying around and starts expecting you to be prepared for anything. We won't be feeling cool and cocky again unless and until we manage to kill Morgoth. Our priorities at this point are 1) raise our stats, and 2) get some permanent speed. We already have +2 speed, but we want to be at at least +10 to match the speeds of the faster monsters down here; some source of temporary speed will also be vital. Meanwhile, getting our stats up (mostly just STR, DEX, and CON) will vastly improve our melee damage and ability to survive being hit.

Right out the gate, we pick up another Wand of Stone to Mud (might as well stockpile these things), and a Lantern of True Sight. Sad as it is, the Lantern is better than the Phial of Galadriel; we lose the Phial's extra light radius and ability to light up rooms, but in exchange we get See Invisible from a non-ring slot, and protection from blindness. There's little point in swapping just yet, but when we get back to town we can put that DEX ring back on and really improve our offense.

A little ways north, we get another chance to do some remedial orc-slaying:

Ufthak is just another random named orc; there's really more than there needs to be. He's only native to 700' so he's a speedbump at this point, really. At least he manages to hit us a few times, unlike Gorbag. His drop is just a random ego Lead-Filled Mace; it improves our INT, which I believe means it's either *Slay Animal* or *Slay Demon*, neither of which is worth burning an Identify on.

The Shimmering vortex makes a high-pitched shriek. You hear a sudden stirring in the distance!

Shimmering Vortices have the Light element, and for some reason can also aggravate monsters and move at +30 speed. In short, they're fast, mobile Shrieker Mushroom Patches. Dispatch with prejudice.

Gorlim, Betrayer of Barahir fires a jet of water. You are confused! You have been stunned.

Not only that, we're down 110 hitpoints! Gorlim is, like Lorgan before him, far more dangerous than his native depth would indicate. His spells are incredibly deadly, he casts them frequently, and like most uniques at this depth, he moves quickly. We absolutely cannot stand up to him.

You feel very good. You are no longer confused. You have 21 Icky Green Potions of Cure Serious Wounds. Gorlim, Betrayer of Barahir casts a bolt of raw magic. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***

And like that, we're down to 133 HP, or 230 below our maximum. If he'd cast that spell twice, we'd be dead right now. His mana bolts are listed as doing 193 damage in the monster memory, and that's an average -- he rolled low. Yeah, I'm not going to risk using our Wand of Teleport Other, especially as we're stunned right now.

Really read 6 Scrolls titled "nimum ormoncto" of Teleportation {!*}?
You have 5 Scrolls titled "nimum ormoncto" of Teleportation {!*}.

We should be safe here. Well, safe-ish. There is no more safe in the dungeon; not any more. Let's explore in a different direction, hey?

Heading west nets us a Cast Iron Wand (of Lightning Balls; lousy damage though), a Smoky Potion of Nimbleness, and a pack of Water Trolls which drop a Gold Right of Lightning.

You feel very weak. You feel very dextrous! You have no more Smoky Potions of Nimbleness.

C'mon, game, there's three other stats you could have drained! Leave our STR alone!

Rings of Lightning (and of Acid, Fire, and Ice) all give resistance to their element, a minor AC boost, and have an activation that a) fires a ball of that element, and b) gives temporary resistance to it.

Permanent resistances in Angband do not stack. If you resist, you resist, end of story. However, permanent and temporary resistances do stack. If you have both temporary and permanent resistance to fire, and you get hit by a max-damage fire breath (1600 damage), then your damage will get cut to 1/3rd by the permanent resist, and then 1/3rd again by the temporary resist, to a quite manageable 177.

Still, nowhere near worthwhile to dedicate a ring slot to this.

Heading over to the east, we hit this situation:

Gorlim is in that east/west corridor at the very northwest. If we get too close to him, he'll "wake up" and give chase (monsters far from the player are normally deactivated, with notable exceptions). But I think we can squeak by. In any event I don't really want to leave this level just yet; if we skip every fight by taking the stairs then we'll eventually get into a situation that can't be escaped because we're too weak.


The Ancient green dragon claws you. The Ancient green dragon misses you. The Ancient green dragon bites you. The Ancient green dragon claws you. The Ancient green dragon claws you. The Ancient green dragon bites you.


Bah, y'know what? I'm sick of running away. This fight is winnable! We resist poison! Sure, he took off 100HP with his melee, but if we keep our distance we'll be fine.

Phase away, then chug healing, because I'm not that reckless. Ancient green dragons have 633 HP on average, so their breath attack when at full health could deal 211 damage; resisted, that's only 70. Their melee is more dangerous, but it still doesn't pay to be stupid. Two Cure Serious Wounds brings us back to near-full-health.

Now we start pelting him with Amras. Because we get 2 shots per round, the dragon (who is normally twice our speed) only gets one turn between shots, which he'll usually use to move closer. Classic Shoot 'n Scoot.

The Ancient green dragon conjures up weird things. You are confused!

Or he could spam confusion spells Sure, we can clear that up with one Cure Serious Wounds, but then he gets two turns to move closer to us, because we drink more slowly than we shoot.

And then a Gravity Hound shows up. Goddammit. I wanted to actually win a fight for once. The two of these guys at the same time is not tenable; in fact, just a pack of Gravity Hounds on their own is a massive threat.

You have 2 charges remaining. (on our Staff of Teleportation)

And we're back south of the Gorlim Corridor.

I think we can still take on those two threats; we just need to deal with them one at a time, and have our fingers on the escape button if a gravity hound breathes on us. Let me be clear here, though: this is not a good idea. Realistically Freude should head to the nearest staircase and forget all about this level.

But this will be fun! Possible in the Dwarf Fortress sense.

Okay, from here we should be able to lure out the Gravity Hounds (since there's almost certainly several of them). Problem is, this room is horrible for fighting hounds in, since all of the entrances have no hidey-holes. Fortunately we have Wands of Stone to Mud.

Much better. Also, what is a Cave Orc doing down here? Shoo!

Several hundred turns of resting later, and it seems clear the hounds aren't coming to us. Irritating. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Down the corridor! If there's only a couple of them, maybe we can teleport them away.

Something mumbles loudly. You avoid the effects! Something mumbles. You avoid the effects!

Unless I miss my guess, that was the Ancient Green trying to frighten us, and then blind or confuse us. Amazingly, Freude made both saving throws. We have their attention; back down the corridor!

Something breathes. You are hit by something strange! Gravity warps around you. You have been stunned. You feel yourself moving slower!

Yikes, that could have been a lot worse. Instead the gravity dropped us exactly where we need to be, albeit down 50 HP and slowed. Fortunately the slowing effect only lasts for 1 of our turns (i.e. 2 normal-speed turns). If the gravity effect had teleported us into LOS of the hound pack, then we could be in much more dire straits right now.

Hound in sight; commence bombardment. Those arrows that Gorbag dropped earlier this update auto-ID'd as Slay Animal while we were digging into the vault; they'll come in handy now.

Your Arrow of Slay Animal (1d4) (+9,+6) pierces the Gravity hound (120). You have 22 Arrows of Slay Animal (1d4) (+9,+6). The Gravity hound howls in agony. The Gravity hound flees in terror! The Gravity hound is no longer afraid.

One more arrow and he's dead

Behind him, instead of another Gravity Hound as I expected, is an Emperor Wight. Maybe there was only one hound? That's possible in vault situations, but rare otherwise. The Emperor Wight drains 4k experience before dying But he drops two Metallic Green Potions, of Enlightenment! These will be pretty handy. It'd be a waste to use one now, though, so they'll get saved for later.

Also, it was probably the Wight casting spells at us, not the Dragon. We have to head back down the corridor to find him again.

Right, now where were we?

You have 12 Scrolls titled "propera" of Phase Door.

Oh crap!

The Gravity hound breathes gravity. Gravity warps around you. You have been stunned. You feel yourself moving slower! The Gravity hound resists.

Well now, this is interesting. While we could run away again, it wouldn't make them any easier to deal with. There's two of them, and as long as we keep shooting arrows, they'll only move once per each of our turns; worst case they can deal 100 damage per turn (if both breathe). So let's fill 'em full of arrows!

Your Arrow of Slay Animal (1d4) (+9,+6) pierces the Gravity hound (120). You have 21 Arrows of Slay Animal (1d4) (+9,+6). The Gravity hound howls in pain. The Gravity hound flees in terror!
Your Arrow of Slay Animal (1d4) (+9,+6) pierces the Gravity hound (125). The Gravity hound dies. The Arrow of Slay Animal breaks. You have 20 Arrows of Slay Animal (1d4) (+9,+6).

One down!

And as the second turns to flee, Mr. Green returns to the party.

The Ancient green dragon breathes poison. You resist the effect!

Somehow I think Bard the Bowman was more efficient.

Your Arrow (1d4) (+0,+1) hits the Ancient green dragon (57). The Arrow breaks. You have 21 Arrows (1d4) (+0,+1). The Ancient green dragon screams in agony. The Ancient green dragon flees in terror! The Ancient green dragon breathes poison. You resist the effect!

That barely even tickled! He's so low on health that his breath attack is no longer any kind of threat. One more arrow, and

The Ancient green dragon dies.

Of course, we still have the rest of the pack of Gravity Hounds to deal with, but we're close enough that they'll actually chase us now, and we can snipe them down without putting ourselves at too much risk.

The Gravity hound dies. Welcome to level 30.

At last! Level 30 is an important level for warriors. Allow me to direct your attention to the character sheet:

See that pFear entry? At level 30, warriors get innate protection from magical fear effects. No more cursing the Temple's dwindling stock of Heroism potions! FREUDE FEARS NO MAN.


Finally, after 9 Gravity Hounds, we seem to be out, and can explore further.

You have no room for a Book of Magic Spells [Resistances of Scarabtarices].

Y'know, I think maybe we were dealing with a vault all this time? Resistances of Scarabtarices is the second mage dungeon spellbook (or maybe the first, I forget). You should know how this goes by now.

Sadly, this doesn't work; the dungeon spellbooks are all artifacts, and thus cannot be ignored. But it feels good.

There's nothing else in the room except for some {magical} Hard Leather Armour and a staircase

Further to the south:

A Quylthulg! Legend has it that Quylthulgs were invented by one of the Angband developers after they decided to work on the game while thoroughly soused. The flavor text on this one, which happens to be a Nexus Quylthulg, is: "It is a very unstable, strange pulsing mound of flesh."

Most Quylthulgs are summoners -- they're invisible, stationary monsters that just sit there summoning a particular type of monster (e.g. Rotting Quylthulgs summon undead), and are otherwise entirely defenseless. Nexus Quylthulgs are different: they cast teleportation spells instead. We were very lucky to make it into this room without getting teleported away; it's quite common to be running down a corridor and get the message

Something commands you to go away.

And like that, you're in a different part of the dungeon, with no idea where the quylthulg was or how to avoid it next time.

Instead, since this guy's out of range of our bow, we'll just teleport him away instead. See how he likes it!

You have 9 charges remaining. The Nexus quylthulg disappears!

Unfortunately, the scroll is just Deep Descent (we've had enough of that for now, I think) and the gauntlets are just {magical}.

We've about finished up this dungeon level unless we feel like dying to Gorlim. It's been an eventful trip! Here's what the dungeon looks like:

I think that's about enough for today. Next time: another dungeon level! It's going to carry on like this for some time, unfortunately. We can't have Freude doubling in power on every trip.