The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 12: Carving Meat with Freude and Dagmor

Update 12: Carving Meat with Freude and Dagmor

Last time, Freude recalled to the dungeon with not quite enough consumables, lost a lot of gear to fire attacks, and leaned rather heavily on his Wand of Teleport Other to avoid unpleasant fights. Let's get back to town and take care of that consumables situation.

The air about you becomes charged... You have 1 Scroll titled "co abitat" of Word of Recall {!*!*!*}.

Yeesh. The other three that we were carrying all got burned. This is why you carry backups!

You feel yourself yanked upwards!

As usual, we start off by checking the stores for goodies.

Oh, nice! Mushrooms of Vigor restore any stats that have been drained. We've been lucky so far to not have gotten badly drained by any enemies, but we can't count on that luck holding out. This is an easy purchasing decision.

You bought a Red Mushroom of Vigor for 600 gold.

Scrolls of *Enchant Weapon* simply attempt to enchant your weapon multiple times, choosing randomly between to-hit and to-damage. *Enchant Armour* similarly increases your armor's AC multiple times.

That Scroll of *Destruction* is a clutch late-game escape item. I think I'll let it speak for itself when it comes time to actually use one; the effects are rather dramatic.

You bought a Scroll titled "no per" of *Destruction*.

Finally, we're still wearing an Amulet of Resist Acid since we've found literally nothing better yet. Might as well pick up that Amulet of Infravision; being able to see monsters from further away can be quite valuable.

Aside from that, we pick up some more scrolls and staves. Freude actually has plenty of healing potions just from exploring the dungeon. In fact, I think we've only bought one Potion of Cure Critical Wounds all game! Here's his inventory prior to heading back down:

The Waybread and Wand of Slow Monster are just space-fillers, really; I don't anticipate needing them. Which is good, because our inventory is full right now.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2200')

We start out in a dark room; zapping our new Rod of Illumination reveals:

Well. I'm glad this Time Vortex didn't decide to breathe on us when we couldn't see him; I'm also glad we have a way to light rooms, because fighting him in the dark would suck.

You have 12 Arrows (1d4) (+1,+1). The Time vortex breathes time. You're not as strong as you used to be... You're not as agile as you used to be...

He just drained our two most important stats! Stats which we specifically have sustained, too! Time attacks pierce sustains, remember.

Fortunately we've just gone from 6.7 blows/round to 6.5, which isn't such a big deal. We should be able to cope until we get another level, at which point they'll get restored. Or if we're lucky, we'll find some stat potions.

Another two arrows and the Time Vortex dissipates, anyway. Now we can detect what's around us:

That's a Vampire Lord to our south (the blue V). If we want to gain a level anytime soon we should avoid it; it has entirely too much health and, of course, drains experience with its bite. Let's head north instead.

You see a Pungent Potion of Speed. You have a Pungent Potion of Speed.

Oh baby, daddy missed you! It's been so long! Maybe now we can kill one of the many, many nasty uniques we keep running into!

A pack of Hezrou to the northeast should make for good pickings. The p monsters are just a group of not-quite-novice adventurers (Bandits and Illusionists and so on). Not even a speedbump any more.

The Phase spider commands you to come hither.

One of the perils of powerdiving is that you skip over monsters when they're in-depth, and first encounter them after they've stopped being a threat. Phase Spiders can't really hurt us any more, but they do have several annoying spells. The "teleport to" spell, just demonstrated, is especially annoying as it teleports you, pulling you next to the caster. No problem here, but when there's nastier monsters around such spells can be dangerous.

The Hezrou casts a bolt of fire. Your Cypress Staff of Detect Evil was destroyed! Some of your Arrows were destroyed!

I just bought that thing! Goddamn. I even had backups of our other staves, but the magic store only had one staff of Detect Evil. Frickin' fire attacks

The Hezrou don't drop anything interesting, but they do get us enough experience to reach level 33. We now have 427 max HP!

Heading over to investigate that room full of items, we run into a Patriarch. Patriarchs are the priest-types of the last tier of "evil adventurer" enemies. They have a number of annoying spells, most pertinently being able to summon the undead, but they're pretty fragile; a couple of arrows and one round of melee does for this guy.

He was accompanied by a Master Thief (but our 18/164 DEX makes us theftproof ) and another Patriarch, who summoned a Vampire Bat and then died. Bats of all stripes are too fragile to be a threat to us any more.

However, he did drop something very interesting.

You have the Small Metal Shield of Thorin [5] {special}.

Thorin is a staple shield for most characters. STR and CON bonuses are useful for everyone, outright immunity to an element is always handy, and sound and chaos are two of the nastier "high" elements, even if you don't run into them often. This replaces our old Shield of Resistance; our body armor still protects us from all of the basic elements. And now we're up to a ludicrous seven blows per round!

Your maximum number of blows per round is dictated by your class. Mages and priests max at 4; rangers, rogues, and paladins at 5; warriors at 6. Dagmor is giving us a bonus 2 blows, though, which lets us exceed the cap. Still, we can only get up to 8 blows/round with Dagmor, which is a good sign that we're starting to reach the point where other, heavier weapons will be preferable.

Continuing on, we kill an Ancient Red Dragon without taking a single point of damage. Shoot him until he gets into melee range, he flubs all his attacks, one round of melee makes him flee, shoot him down as he runs away. We might even be able to take an Ancient Multi-Hued Dragon now!

The contents of the room that had all those items turn out to be an {average} Quartersaff, an Amulet of Wisdom (I'd rather have the extra sight range from Infravision than a couple of percentage points on our saving throw), a Potion of Wisdom (that is most welcome however), 30 Arrows of Acid, and a Ring of Open Wounds. Remember those? They still suck.

Exploring onwards...

The Ranger summons animals.

Whoops, bad positioning on my part. Fortunately the Ranger just pulled a bunch of schlubs: a Mirkwood Spider, Metallic Red Centipede, Werewolf, Wereworm (A man-worm? So does he wake up in the morning covered in topsoil or something?), and a Giant Salamander. The Ranger himself, and his Black Knight buddy, are not really a threat either. If he'd gotten a luckier summon, though, this could have been a lot worse -- imagine being surrounded by Hellhounds.

Exploring to the south nets us another Potion of Speed (), and a staircase that I think we'll take. There doesn't seem to be much more on this level.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2250')

This demonstrates how extended infravision can be helpful; we wouldn't have seen the further-away dragon without our new amulet. Now imagine that instead of a dragon it was a Gravity Hound. Yeah. Being able to see nasty monsters on turn 1, before you waste time casting detection spells, can potentially save your life.

This turns out to be another cavern level. Ick. Not having Detect Evil handy makes this especially dangerous, as we run a serious risk of being blindsided. And where the heck are the stairs?!

Blindsided by this guy, for example. This is an Ethereal Dragon; its elements are Light and Darkness, it is of course fast, and it can move through walls. Worst of all, its bite causes confusion, which we still have no protection against. We could teleport it away, but we'll just end up running into it again. Meleeing it is not an option though, so that means archery.

Your Arrows of Acid glow. Your Arrow of Acid (1d4) {splendid} dissolves the Ethereal dragon (180). The Arrow of Acid breaks. You have 29 Arrows of Acid (1d4) (+12,+12). The Ethereal dragon grunts with pain.

Excellent, that was about a tenth of his HP in one shot. And indeed, 11 arrows (and 4 Scrolls of Phase Door) later, he dies, having taken no offensive action beyond casting one Confuse spell. Having the right slay on your ammo can make archery a very powerful proposition indeed.

Kavlax the Many-Headed breathes chaos. You resist the effect! You resist the effect! You resist the effect!

Whoops! It's our day for dragons, apparently. Kavlax resists acid, so our arrows won't be much good, but he also doesn't confuse with his melee attacks. So long as he avoids his gravity breath, I think we can take him.

You poison Kavlax the Many-Headed (56). You poison Kavlax the Many-Headed (53). You poison Kavlax the Many-Headed (44). You poison Kavlax the Many-Headed (41). You poison Kavlax the Many-Headed (50). You poison Kavlax the Many-Headed (41). You miss Kavlax the Many-Headed. Kavlax the Many-Headed breathes frost. One of your Icky Green Potions of Cure Serious Wounds was destroyed! Some of your Copper Speckled Potions of Cure Critical Wounds were destroyed! Kavlax the Many-Headed misses you. Kavlax the Many-Headed misses you. Kavlax the Many-Headed misses you. Kavlax the Many-Headed bites you.

Yeah, this is no trouble. His only other attempt at a breath attack is Sound, which we also resist. Poor dragon didn't realize we'd found Thorin since our last encounter.

His drop is Chainmail of Elvenkind (with Sound as its high resist), a Shield of Resistance, and a few {magical} items. Ho-hum.

Oh, and a bit to the south of where we were doing our dragonslaying?

On the ground: 3 Scrolls titled "levoludo num" of Summon Monster.

Finally, we found some of those scrolls I was so worried about for the first half-dozen updates

Exploring further, we find another Potion of Healing, the book of prayers "Godly Insights" (thanks, but Freude gets his insights by smashing open the brains of his opponents), and a Nickel Rod of Recall. These act just like the Scroll of Word of Recall, but are re-usable; however, they have a failure rate. Fortunately they can't be destroyed, so you're generally safe relying on them instead of scrolls. I usually don't bother until I can find two, though, just in case I arrive on a level and immediately decide I need to go back to town (either because the level is just that hostile, or because I made a stupid gear mistake like forgetting to have Free Action). Waiting for the rod to recharge before you get back to town could potentially be fatal.

Most importantly, we know where some staircases are. And while we run into a bunch of monsters on the way to them, none of them are really worthy of individual mention. We do swap out our Wand of Stone to Mud for a Mattock, though, in case we find another vault we need to break into. Mattocks don't run out of charges.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2300')

Nothing of interest. We might just skip this level. However, that Mature Gold Dragon drops three items we've never seen before, as well as another Potion of Wisdom (and we've still yet to see a Potion of Strength...). The items are:
Yeah, that seems like enough from this level.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2350')

Yikes. Ethereal Dragon again, with lots of Wargs to soak up arrows. This is not a good setup for Shoot 'n Scoot. Time to vamoose.

You have 15 charges remaining. (on our Staves of Teleportation)

Teleportation is getting riskier and riskier, but it was only a matter of time before that Ethereal Dragon woke up and started confusing us. Once our rods recharge, we're able to check out the surroundings a bit:

Another moated room to our east, and what looks like some strangely-shaped vault just southeast. Might as well check it out.

Mm, probably not a vault, just some room template. But it has a Vampire Lord in it (and some Ologs, but they're chumps now). We found some Potions of Restore Life Levels earlier, though, so I'm not too worried about experience drain.

...which is good, because he drains 30k experience (of our total of 285k) before dying.

You feel your life energies returning. You have a Black Potion of Restore Life Levels.

There's nothing else of interest in the vault, so let's go check that moated room out.

Contents: a Storm Giant, a Death Quasit, a Gray Wraith, and another Olog. And no treasure to speak of. On the other hand, just south of that room is this:

The Black pudding misses you. The Black pudding touches you. You are covered in acid! The Black pudding misses you.

Thank you for the acid immunity, Thorin! Black Puddings are annoyingly durable, mobile jellies that show up in groups and have a lot of acid attacks. Flavor text:

A lump of rotting black flesh that slurrrrrrrps across the dungeon floor.

They do however drop a lot of items, and they can't really hurt us, so hey, loot pinatas! Nothing much in the drop except a lot of cash and a Granite Ring of (appropriately enough) Acid.

You see a Blue Potion. On the ground: a Blue Potion of Dexterity.

Now if we could just start finding Potions of Strength! Check out our stats:

Once Freude's "Self" score for a stat hits 18/100, further potions will have no effect. We're nearly there on DEX and have a long way to go with every other stat. Our STR started at 17 and our CON at 14, for reference; we've lost two points of STR due to the random drain from Potions of Nimbleness, and gained one from a Potion of Augmentation.

Also in the room:

You have the Hard Leather Armour of Himring [20] {special}.

It's raining artifacts!

Himring is basically here for if you're missing some of the more valuable "high" elemental resistances. We're good without, thanks; Himring can stay in the dungeon.

The room we're standing in would be a great place to take down that Ethereal Dragon, but he doesn't seem to want to come out and play. Maybe he's blocked behind the Wargs. I'm thinking this is like when you want to get up to go to the bathroom, but there's a cat sleeping on your lap. "I would get up and go after that adventurer, but that would mean disturbing Mister Bitey!"

That should do it for this level. There's a staircase to our east, so

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2400')

Nothing special in sight. Heading west to that odd circular room, we get interrupted:

The Dreadmaster misses you. The Dreadmaster hits you. The Dreadmaster hits you. You feel very weak for a moment, but it passes. The Dreadmaster misses you.

Dreads, Dreadmasters, and Dreadlords are all nasty, STR-draining ghosts, and are pretty much the top of the heap when it comes to G enemies. Fortunately we are the Best Race and don't have to worry about the STR drain. Without that, they're still moderately dangerous (they have painful Nether Bolt spells), but they're manageable.

This one sticks to straight melee, and we prove superior. If we didn't have our STR sustained though, we'd be down 5 points right now. Instead, we hit level 34 (493 max HP!) and he drops a Potion of Speed () and a Grey Speckled Potion of *Healing*:

*Healing* is the penultimate healing potion, and really, it's all you need. The best one is ridiculously rare and only slightly more effective. By the end of the game, Freude might be able to top 1200 HP, but he's basically the only race/class combination capable of that feat -- and he's going to be wanting to heal well before he's at nearly-zero HP.

A bunch of exploring turns up not much of interest beyond yet another Potion of Dexterity, and then this guy:

The Dark elven sorceror summons undead. The Dark elven sorceror summons undead. The Dark elven sorceror commands you to come hither.

Dark Elven Sorcerors are about the top of the heap for non-unique 'h' monsters; very fast, and with a giant collection of spells. Unfortunately, monster spellcasting in Angband is random and most of his spells are fairly pointless (Blind, Confuse, Darkness, Acid Bolt, etc.). His worst spells are all summoning spells -- demons, undead, and generic monsters.

In this case, he's sealed his own doom by summoning us to him, since now we can break him in melee. 16 attacks (and 15 hits!) later, he dies, having cast Darkness twice and failed a third spell. His drop is a {magical} shield and a Scroll of Recharging, which we'll want to use on our Wand of Teleport Other when it runs out of charges. Incredibly dangerous and/or aggravating enemies have been rare this trip, though, so we haven't needed it. A pity.

Let's take another staircase.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2450')

A Death Knight, an Ancient Gold Dragon (breathes sound, which we now resist), and...a Giant Clear Centipede? Get out of here, centipede, you don't know where you are. Frankly none of these guys is a threat any more.

Frankly, none of the enemies we encounter are threats. I guess Freude is doing nearly twice the damage he was doing a couple of updates ago. We do run into this guy:

The Ninja misses you. The Ninja misses you. The Ninja hits you. You feel very weak for a moment, but the feeling passes.

Fast, and with two STR-draining attacks per round, Ninjas can be a pain if you aren't the Best Race (or otherwise have your STR sustained). On the flipside.

You poison the Ninja (101). It was a great hit! You have slain the Ninja.

Freude just one-shot him

Still, this level is dull. Let's find a new one.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2500')

Much better! This vault is called "Planet X", I believe. Its layout means we should be able to take each compartment without any interference from the others. It's just a shame we can't see what's in it. Rasser frassin' burnt Staff of Detect Evil mutter grumble...

First we have to take on a group of ants. Wait, ants don't usually come in groups. This is a sign: the Queen Ant is in that vault. Her escorts just spawned outside for some reason

Let's crack this sucker open!

An Ancient Green Dragon, a Maia, a Fire Vortex, and a Blue Worm Mass. Chumps! Chumps, the lot of you! But the vortex destroyed some weapons before dying

From here we can break into the other chambers, with more favorable LOS than we'd get from going it from the outer moat.

See? Only this Young Multi-Hued Dragon and whatever is standing just behind it can see us, and if we back up:

then only one monster can see us at a time. Also, more ants -- that's a Giant Army Ant. They're mostly notable as the first monster (that we've found) that can "destroy weaker monsters". What this means is that if there's some low-level monster between you and the ant, then it will just move into that monster's space and one-shot it

No Queen Ant, so she must be in the chamber we didn't open. None of these three chambers had any loot worth mentioning, either.

You have finished the tunnel. Something mumbles. Someone tries to cast a spell, but fails. The Giant fire ant bites you. You are enveloped in flames! The Giant fire ant bites you. You are enveloped in flames!

And there she is!

The Queen Ant's gimmick is that she summons ants. Lots and lots of ants. But what do we care? Ants are all chumps now.

We're not even going to bother cleaning up the summons, or getting into a better LOS position, because these guys are totally irrelevant.

The Queen Ant's other gimmick is that she's the only ant in the game with a drop But it's all trash. In fact, nothing in the vault is interesting, except for one Mushroom of Vigor. Oh well, we haven't been hurting for upgrades.

Heading west, we hit this Master Vampire. They're one step down from Vampire Lords -- far fewer HP and they move at normal speed (Lords are fast). Easily killed, now. He drops another Rod of Treasure Location, though; more are always welcome.

While clearing out this odd moated room, I discover why there were so many trolls in it. This is Rogrog, the Black Troll. Flavor text:

A massive and cruel troll of great power, drool slides caustically down his muscular frame. Despite his bulk, he strikes with stunning speed.

Translation: he's fast and has acid melee. We're immune to acid. He doesn't resist poison. Results are predictable. He drops a Book of Magic Spells [Raal's Tome of Destruction]. This would be fantastic if we were playing a mage, but if you've been paying attention, we aren't.

The 9-headed hydra conjures up scary horrors. You resist the effect! The 9-headed hydra breathes fire. One of your Scrolls titled "propera" of Phase Door was destroyed! One of your Scrolls titled "co abitat" of Word of Recall was destroyed! One of your Arrows of Acid was destroyed!

We seem to have skipped over the 7-Headed Hydra, which is poison-based; 9-Headed Hydras are, clearly, fire-based. And fast, with 4 fiery melee attacks per round. Their HP doesn't compare to the ancient dragons we've been offing left and right, though. Our Arrows of Slay Animal put it down quickly, as it counts as a "natural" monster for some reason. Still wouldn't want to melee it.

Also in the room, a Gauth, a.k.a. weak Beholder; by the time we finish shooting down the hydra it just barely manages to make it to melee range, at which point we summarily dispatch it. Their melee can drain charges and disenchant our gear, so it's fortunate they're fragile.

That about does it for this level. Here's the complete map:

I'm going to call things here; we've covered 6 dungeon levels, our pack is full, and we haven't had to use Teleport Other once! What can I say, sometimes the game decides to stop sending the interesting monsters after you. It'll pick up again soon enough, I'm sure.

Next time: maybe we can finally start boosting our STR score?