The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 11: Freude's On Fire

Update 11: Freude's On Fire

Last time, Freude discovered that the dungeon is no longer the friendly, welcoming place it used to be. Now we're back in town to restock and make a few equipment swaps before heading back down.

First, as usual, let's make a pass through the stores to look for items of interest. The Armorsmith has something we haven't seen before:

Gloves of Slaying are like Rings of Slaying -- they give minor combat bonuses. +3 to-damage isn't a whole lot, but every little bit helps. Our current gauntlets are giving us resistance to Light (not an especially big deal), and +1 to our light radius (fairly helpful), along with redundant resistance to electricity and a pointless activation. These gloves might be worth using instead.

Items in the stores refresh every 1000 normal-speed turns, but only if the player is not currently in the town. Theoretically, if there was an item you really wanted that you couldn't afford, you could just hang out in the town, murdering townspeople for their occasional money drops, and eventually be able to buy the item. Store refreshes won't replace every item in stock, though, so it's not uncommon to see the same item several times before the RNG finally gets rid of it.

Meanwhile, the Temple has this little number:

Holy Avenger is one of the best enchantments available, mostly because it gives Slay Evil, which increases your damage against a huge number of enemies who otherwise aren't really vulnerable to anything. The CON sustain is random; it could be for any stat. See Invisible and protection from fear are both excellent abilities, though of course we no longer require the latter from items.

The damage on this morningstar is not really impressive, though.

Back at home, it's time to make some equipment swaps.

You were holding the Phial of Galadriel <+3>. Your light source is a Lantern of True Sight (7500 turns).

The Phial is quite nice, but the Lantern gives us protection from blindness. More importantly, it gives us See Invisible, which frees up one of the all-important ring slots. We're going to get our Ring of Dexterity <+6> back on. Compare our damage before:

and after:

and with those Gloves of Slaying from the Armorsmith:

Is an extra 17 damage/round worth losing +1 to our light radius? Hard to say, but I'm going to use the new gloves for this next dive and see how it goes.

Checking our other weapons, Dagmor is still our best damage dealer. Which is a pity, since I'd really like to be using Totila. We just don't have the stats for it to be competitive yet.

Dropping by the magic shop, we get our staves recharged and pick up a new Staff of Detect Evil. We're all set to enter the dungeon again. Here's Freude's equipment:

and inventory:

And since we haven't seen it in a bit, here's his character sheet:

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2050')

You sense the presence of traps! You sense the presence of buried treasure! You sense the presence of objects! You sense the presence of evil creatures!

The only notables here are a Phantom (purple G, another straight Ghost upgrade), and a Demonologist (purple p, summons demons, naturally). Fortunately no doombeasts in evidence yet. The Phantom tries to cause amnesia a few times, but even when it succeeds that doesn't really interfere with Freude's combat abilities, and it falls quickly. It drops a Staff of Confuse Monsters, which attempts to confuse every monster in line of sight. The failure rate is atrocious, though, so mostly it's just a "wake up every monster in LOS" item. Freude has that covered already by dint of being lousy at stealth.

The Demonologist's only successfully-cast spell is Teleport Self, and he comes back shortly thereafter so I'm not really sure what he thought he was trying to accomplish. He did drop another Rod of Trap Location, though; those are always welcome as they can be destroyed by electrical attacks.

The Mature green dragon conjures up scary horrors. You avoid the effects!

Having innate immunity to fear is wonderful

You have a Purple Potion.
In your pack: a Purple Potion of Augmentation.

These potions are fantastic -- they permanently increase all of your stats by +1 apiece. It's somewhat rare to be finding one this early, but on the flipside the normal stat-gain potions have been unusually thin on the ground, so this balances out.

You feel very strong! You feel very smart! You feel very wise! You feel very dextrous! You feel very healthy! You have no more Purple Potions of Augmentation.

Handily, this takes us from 5.5 blows/round with Dagmor to 6.3. More damage! More facestabbings! We can now kill Mature Dragons in two rounds of melee!

You see an Acidic Cytoplasm.

These guys are jerks. They move quickly and have four acid-touch melee attacks per round. Only Freude's body armor and shield are acid-resistant it's fortunate that the Cytoplasm only hits his shield twice before dying

Psh. We took out an Ancient Green Dragon last time; you think an Ancient Red is going to stop us now? We have the power of hyperspeed archery on our side!

The Ancient red dragon breathes fire. The Arrow burns up! One of your Scrolls titled "propera" of Phase Door was destroyed! One of your Scrolls titled "quae or mo" of Identify was destroyed! One of your Scrolls titled "co abitat" of Word of Recall was destroyed!

Pathetic! Only 80HP of damage! (Which means that he was at 80 * 3 * 3 = 720 HP remaining, since breath damage is a third of current HP and we have fire resistance to reduce damage by a third) Though this does remind me that I forgot to restock on Phase Door and healing potions while in town

You poison the Ancient red dragon (44). You poison the Ancient red dragon (41). You poison the Ancient red dragon (38). You poison the Ancient red dragon (41). You poison the Ancient red dragon (41). You miss the Ancient red dragon. The Ancient red dragon claws you. The Ancient red dragon misses you. The Ancient red dragon misses you. The Ancient red dragon claws you. The Ancient red dragon claws you. The Ancient red dragon bites you. You are enveloped in flames!

His melee is slightly more threatening, but by this point he's eaten a dozen arrows and is mostly dead. Our next assault (6 blows per round! ) sets him to flight, followed by an arrow in the back for the kill.

A piece of cake, and worth 3400 experience

Nothing to worry about, just slaughtering a Mature Multi-Hued Dragon and its brood

Lokkak! Buddy! Ready for round 2? Our first exchange takes him down to 90% health and us down to 75%, which is not a fantastic rate, but it's better than we did last time!

You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (41). You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (50). You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (32). You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (41). You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (80). It was a great hit! You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (44). Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan misses you. Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan hits you. Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan hits you. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***

Okay, so we're half dead. The good news is, so is he! One more round of melee, then we phase away...

Right into the middle of his pack of goons. I figured this would happen. Fortunately, they're all basically non-entities compared to Lokkak himself, so we just ignore them while chugging healing potions for a few turns. Between them, they take off 10-20 HP each turn, but we can outheal that.

Lokkak can't push past his own goon squad. This amuses me. Phase away again:

and from here we should be able to finish the fight.

You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (87). It was a good hit! You miss Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan. You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (35). You poison Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan (44). You have slain Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftan.

Vengeance! For, uh, keeping us away from that vault! Who knows what wondrous items we might have looted from it had you not been there?

Unfortunately his only drop is a {magical} Heavy Crossbow. Heavy Crossbows have the best base damage multiplier in the game at x4, but our shortbow, Amras, is x3 and doubles our shooting speed, so it's the clear winner.

That does it for this floor; no out-of-depth super-uniques this time. Here's the floor map:

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2100')

Oh hey, I'd forgotten about these. This is a cavern level; instead of an assortment of rooms and corridors, instead we get a bunch of organic irregular caverns. They are a bitch and a half to explore, because it's practically impossible to constrain line-of-sight, so lots of monsters can see you at any one time. The devs keep having to ramp up the number of items that spawn on the floor in cavern levels to try to keep players from just making a beeline for the exit every time they find one

Speaking of which, we'd be doing that, but first we need to take care of that Ancient Blue Dragon to our west.

Three rounds of melee, and he's toast Ancient Multi-Hued Dragons are still dangerous, but the other types are not much of a threat with our vastly improved offense. Of course, any monster can be dangerous with the right accompaniment.

Those dark blue orcs from before were yet another pair of orc uniques! Ugluk, the Uruk and Lugdush, the Uruk are completely uninteresting, except Ugluk resist poison and thus takes slightly longer to chop down.

Lugdush, however, drops something that is very interesting.

You have the Set of Caestus of Fingolfin [5] {special}.

I haven't seen these guys in years! Granted that has more to do with my penchant for playing with random artifacts than with their rarity, but this is still a lucky find. Check them out!

Fingolfin's caesti are excellent combat gloves with +10 to-damage, making them a strict upgrade over our current gloves. Between the damage bonus and the extra DEX, we go from dealing 267 damage vs. poison-vulnerable enemies to 336! Thanks, Lugdush!

Medusa, the Gorgon tries to cast a spell, but fails. Medusa, the Gorgon points at you and incants terribly. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***

O'erweening offense is fantastic, but you still need to be able to survive at least a few rounds in combat against enemies if you hope to kill them, and Medusa is seriously not worth tangling with right now. By herself, we might be able to take her if we had a source of temporary speed. However, she can summon hydras, which at this point would drop a bunch of fast, high-HP, high-damage lizards with poison and fire breaths on us. In fact, considering how long hydras remain a valid threat throughout the game, we probably aren't going to kill Medusa until we can alpha-strike her (i.e. kill her before she can get more than a couple of turns).

For now, I'd rather not risk teleporting Freude in a cavern level, so she needs to go away instead.

You have 8 charges remaining. Medusa, the Gorgon disappears!

Teleport Other is a fantastically useful spell, thank you for noticing.

Nothing else intercepts us between there and the stairs, so we can make our escape.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2150')

I think this is a reasonable time to show off what those Potions of Enlightenment that we found awhile back do.

An image of your surroundings forms in your mind... You have no more Metallic Green Potions of Enlightenment.

(Our other one is stashed at home)

And like that, we have a complete map of the dungeon. Not only that, the entire dungeon is lit, so we can see monsters outside our normal light radius. And we know what every item is. They aren't identified for us, but we have a lot more information than the red *s that Treasure Location gives us. By hitting ], we can bring up a complete list:

You can see 20 items.

The most interesting thing on this list is the Viscous Pink Potions, which could potentially be stat-gain potions. They're to our southeast, in that moated room. After that, we can check out the small vault to our southwest.

Ah. Well, nothing worthwhile ever came easily (except Dagmor ). The highlighted monster is a Beholder, and they're really not worth fighting. Nasty spells, their melee drains charges from your wands and staves, they have no drop, and they aren't even worth all that much experience.

You have 7 charges remaining. The Beholder disappears!

Eventually our wand will run out, of course, and we'll have to risk trying to recharge it. I'm not really looking forward to that day.

Nothing else gets in our way en route to the moated room.

In your pack: 2 Viscous Pink Potions of Healing.

Ah well, I'm not going to complain about this. Potions of Healing are a staple consumable for the mid- and late-game. The item description speaks for itself:

Keep in mind that right now Freude has 399 HP, and practically every other character at this stage would have less. Potions of Healing finally let you restore hitpoints while in a fight without needing to phase away first, and they make good panic buttons.

The Hellhound breathes fire. The Pair of Leather Sandals burns up! One of your Scrolls titled "propera" of Phase Door was destroyed! One of your Arrows was destroyed! One of your Arrows of Slay Animal was destroyed! The Hellhound misses you. The Hellhound bites you. You are enveloped in flames! The Hellhound misses you.

Hellhounds are kind of a pain. Like Flame Hounds (the fire-based zephyr hound), they have a firebreath and fire-damage melee, but they're fast, have entirely too many hitpoints, and have three fire-damage bites per turn instead of just one. That translates to a massive culling of your stock of arrows and scrolls. One of them even destroyed our Staff of Mapping

That done, we can investigate the vault:

Tricky. The D isn't an Ancient Multi-Hued Dragon; it's only cycling between the brown colors. It's a Great Crystal Drake, and wields shards as its breath weapon instead of a more conventional element. If anything, that's worse than an AMHD though, because we don't resist shards; it could hit the shards damage cap against us (it has 1848 HP, and the cap for shards is something like 400-500 damage). I don't think that Freude can survive that.

On the other hand, it only casts spells 1 time in 5, and it has three other spells it can use, so the odds of being breathed on in any given turn are only 1 in 20. We have good odds of being able to teleport it away. On the gripping hand, if you keep taking 1 in 20 chances in a game as long as Angband, eventually you'll fail. The intelligent thing to do would be to leave this vault alone.

Also of note in that vault: the black u is a Death Quasit, and it's heading for us. Normally they're a pain because they're very fast, can move through walls, and drain DEX. Fortunately our Dexterity ring has that sustained for us, so he's not going to cause any trouble. There's also a pack of Hezrou (the green Us), which are low-level greater demons. They're experience pinatas at over 3k apiece; they have weak melee and, rarely, can breathe fire or summon demons. Honestly not a serious threat.

The Great Crystal Drake is awake and heading for us; unfortunately, so is that Emperor Wight. I don't want to have any other monsters in LOS when the drake arrives, so there's no chance of being unable to teleport it away (Teleport Other is a "bolt" spell, so it can't hit monsters behind other monsters). But the Emperor Wight only takes one turn to kill


You have 6 charges remaining. The Great crystal drake disappears!

The rest of the level is now a potential death trap, but we've already seen everything of interest loot-wise anyway

Ariel, Queen of Air casts a ball of frost. One of your Icky Green Potions of Cure Serious Wounds was destroyed! The Grey wraith resists a lot. The Hezrou is destroyed.

Hey! No fair killing the Hezrou! I wanted the experience!

Ariel isn't evil, so our Staff of Detect Evil didn't inform us of her. She's very fast, casts cold and electrical spells, and has a confusing melee attack. Annoyingly, she also crushes items when she walks on them, which means if she's in a vault then you're liable to lose a lot of loot. You can see she destroyed some rings and a wand already. I don't really feel like fighting her either.

You fail to use the wand properly. Ariel, Queen of Air misses you. Ariel, Queen of Air misses you. Ariel, Queen of Air misses you. Ariel, Queen of Air hits you. You are confused! Ariel, Queen of Air misses you. Ariel, Queen of Air hits you. Ariel, Queen of Air hits you. You are more confused!

...crap. Fortunately, Ariel moves erratically, and also has non-confusing attack spells. Thus, she doesn't spend every turn attacking us. After a few turns of chugging Cure Critical Wounds to clear confusion, only to get confused again (and beat on by the Hezrou, who have woken up), we get another chance:

Ariel, Queen of Air tries to cast a spell, but fails. You have 5 charges remaining. Ariel, Queen of Air disappears! The Beholder gazes at you with psionic energy. You are confused!

Oh yeah, I forgot about him Looks like Mr. Beholder came back for more. Oh well...

You have 4 charges remaining. The Beholder disappears!

We're really putting that wand through its paces today, aren't we?

Finally, we can get to killing the Hezrou that have been flailing ineffectually at us all this time. They go down in about 2 rounds apiece, and one of them drops a Magnesium Rod, which, appropriately, is of Illumination. This duplicates the effect of the Staff of Light (or the Phial), and will be quite handy as soon as we aren't on a level where everything is lit anyway.

There's a Draconic Quylthulg in the upper-left corner of this room. Naturally, they summon dragons. Letting Draconic Quylthulgs summon, and then killing the summons, can be quite profitable, but it's also alternately dull and terrifying, and a lousy idea when there's other nasty monsters on the level.

Fortunately, he just phases away after we take one step towards him. Suits me fine.

That's a Mumak coming up the corridor behind us; they're giant slabs of beef with no special abilities. They're worth 2k experience apiece though, so working our way through the herd nets us level 32.

In the northern portion of the moat around the vault, we run into these Vrocks. They're the next step up from Hezrou, with powerful melee attacks (2x 8d12 crushing attacks!) and status ailment spells. Ironically they're worth less experience than the Hezrou are. One of them drops a Beryl Ring of Constitution <+5>, which would take us from 409 HP to 473 HP; quite nice. However, we need the offense from our current rings more. Rings of Constitution are a mainstay for mages and other fragile characters, just to keep them out of potential-instadeath range.

Finally, popping open this chest nets us a Potion of Constitution!

You feel very healthy! You have no more Green Speckled Potions of Constitution.

Our max HP is now 417!

I'm going to call it here. A bit of a short update, but we lost a lot of items to elemental attacks, and need to return to town to restock. We got one nice equipment upgrade, and some stat boosts; this was a good run. However, our Wand of Teleport Other is starting to run low; we've been leaning on it awfully heavily.

Next time, maybe we can stop making our problems run away from us.