The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 14: Marathon

Update 14: Marathon

Last time, Freude made it past the halfway mark in the dungeon, and finally found his first Potion of Strength! We're rested and restocked, so time to get back down there and beat up some more monsters.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2700')

Cavern level. Skip! The scroll to our northwest is *Destruction*, which is nice, but otherwise nothing happens between here and the stairs.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2750')

Another level, another staircase. Let's get some depth covered today, since the game is giving us stairs to work with.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2800')

That room has a group of Barrow Wights and a Silent Watcher; Silent Watchers are moderately annoying stationary monsters, but by now they're no kind of threat. Killing the wights nets us level 36 (626 max HP).

Also in the room: the next step up from the Maia we've been pulverizing lately, the imaginatively-named Greater Maia. Mostly annoying because they're fast, resist everything, and are non-evil, so there's no easy way to kill them. And they can heal themselves. Still, Freude is the greater melee monster now, so this one goes down without too much fuss.

The game seems to be making up for lost time on the consumables front, as we find some more Potions of Speed and a Mushroom of Vigor while exploring. Then, just as I was about to head down some stairs...

You sense the presence of evil creatures!

A Dark Elven Druid is standing on the squares in question, but the real news is the other monsters. From least to greatest, we have a group of Dreads (like the Dreadmaster, they're fast ghosts who can drain STR -- no fun at all), Scatha the Worm (the first unique ancient dragon; he's frost-based but not too threatening), and a Dracolich. Flavor text:

The skeletal form of a once-great dragon, enchanted by magic most perilous. Its animated form strikes with speed and drains life from its prey to satisfy its hunger.

Dracoliches are big, burly dragons and can cause a lot of damage in a hurry. I bet we can take this one. But we'll deal with Scatha and the Dreads first, since they're closer.

Scratch that. We'll deal with the druid first, since he's awake.

The Dark elven druid summons animals. The Greater basilisk gazes at you. You resist the effects! The Greater basilisk bites you. The Greater basilisk bites you.

Greater Basilisks are probably one of the nastier natural monsters out there, mostly because they're fast and can breathe poison, nexus, and darkness. However, they're too fragile to last long against Freude, especially as they don't resist Totila's flamebrand.

The Dreads wake up and walk through the walls to us, but Freude can take them down in about a turn of melee apiece. One of them drops another Potion of Constitution, putting us at 644 max HP.

While we're trying to dig into that strange *-shaped room to get a better position on a Chaos Vortex that breathed on us, Scatha finally wakes up and comes after us. We finally have an excuse to get faster than an opponent!

You feel yourself moving faster! You have 5 charges remaining. (on our Staff of Speed)

We're now at +14 speed, to Scatha's +10. We'll get a bunch of free turns against him.

You burn Scatha the Worm (78). You burn Scatha the Worm (78). You burn Scatha the Worm (72). You miss Scatha the Worm. You burn Scatha the Worm (84). Scatha the Worm claws you. Scatha the Worm claws you. Scatha the Worm misses you. Scatha the Worm bites you. You are covered in frost! One of your Metallic Green Potions of Enlightenment was destroyed! One of your Pungent Potions of Speed was destroyed!

His melee isn't even all that threatening, now; 2x 4d10 claw and 2x 4d14 cold bite sounds impressive, but he can't hit us reliably, we resist some of the cold damage, and our AC provides some degree of damage reduction against the physical damage.

Armor class in Angband combines both damage reduction and evasion into a single number. I believe the damage reduction is linear and caps at 60% at 350 AC, or something like that. That means that with our current AC of 134, physical melee attacks deal 22% less damage. "Physical melee" basically means attacks that don't have attached elements or abilities (e.g. a paralyzing sting isn't reduced, but a normal sting is), and that don't use "touch", "gaze", "wail", etc. as their attack verb.

Anyway, the fight proceeds with us trading blows, and by the time Scatha turns to flee, we still have 460 HP remaining. Scatha does have other abilities -- a frost breath (which could deal 244 damage, resisted, when he's at full health) and a few basic spells -- but he didn't try to use them. A pity. His drop: {magical} gloves, a {magical} dagger, and a {magical} longbow

Working our way around to the Dracolich, we encounter and dispatch another group of Dreads, one of whom drops this:

Mmm-mmm! It's a shame we need our current armor's poison resistance, because Rohirrim is quite a solid piece of kit. We're keeping this baby to go in the house.

Also dropped by the Dreads: some Potions of Healing, a Potion of *Healing*, another Wand of Teleport Other (), and a Scroll of Deep Descent. Much as Deep Descent is amusing, at this point I do think we want to see at least a little of each level; we're at the point where endgame gear can realistically be found, and we want a fairly complete kit before taking on Morgoth. Dive too fast and we'll have to fight him with substandard gear and insufficient consumables.

Also: this is not the way to the Dracolich

Something whooshes. You are hit by cold! One of your Metallic Green Potions of Enlightenment was destroyed!

And now we're down to 367 out of 644 HP, courtesy of the Dracolich's cold breath. This is a problem, because they can also breathe nether, which we don't resist, and they can hit the damage cap: 550 damage. So we're in instadeath range here. And we can't even see our enemy yet! Phase Door could potentially take us out of danger, as could Teleportation, but they could also just land us in worse trouble. We have 8 Potions of Healing; I'm just going to burn one of those.

You feel very good. You have 7 Viscous Pink Potions of Healing. The Dracolich conjures up weird things. You resist the effect!

Excellent, nearly in melee range, and Totila protected us against confusion (Freude's saving throw is at 48% now, incidentally). Time to haste up and beat this dragon-mummy down. Dracoliches, like Scatha, only move quickly, so we can outpace it with temporary speed.

You burn the Dracolich (66). You miss the Dracolich. You burn the Dracolich (72). You burn the Dracolich (81). You miss the Dracolich. The Dracolich claws you. The Dracolich claws you. The Dracolich bites you. You feel your life slipping away!

Dracoliches have surprisingly nasty melee: 2x 4d12 claw and 1x 7d14 experience-draining bite (which, because of the drain, doesn't get damage reduction from AC, so a single bite could take off nearly a sixth of our HP). We're actually losing this damage race: he's at 70% and we're at about 50%. Once again, phasing + Cure Critical Wounds could probably help, but I'm still worried about that nether breath. Granted it only has about 1 in 24 odds of coming out, but it'd nuke us just the same. Down the hatch with another Healing potion!

You feel very good. You have 6 Viscous Pink Potions of Healing.

Annoyingly, he never does use any breath attacks, so we could have saved that potion. Oh well.

You burn the Dracolich (57). You burn the Dracolich (72). You burn the Dracolich (72). You burn the Dracolich (60). You burn the Dracolich (116). It was a good hit! The Dracolich flees in terror! The Dracolich tries to pick up an Arrow of Slay Undead (1d4) (+9,+10), but fails.

Monsters that can pick up items are mysteriously barred from picking up artifacts or items that can slay them. They can still be generating carrying such items, though, so it's possible for e.g. one Cutpurse to drop a Dagger of Slay Evil that his pals then cannot pick up. A bit weird altogether.

Your Arrow of Slay Undead (1d4) (+9,+10) pierces the Dracolich (162). The Dracolich is destroyed.

27500 experience, minus the ~2k that he drained. We have Hold Life, so the experience drain that did get through was vastly reduced. Alas, his actual drop was just a Rod of Slow Monster, a Mushroom of Emergency (200 HP heal plus temporary resist fire/cold, but makes you hallucinate for a long time), and a wooden chest with some money in it. Not really worth the items we expended, but a fun fight.

Now that's done, there's nothing keeping us on this level.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2850')

Let's burn an Enlightenment potion here -- in part because, since two of them got destroyed, we only have one left and it's using up a slot in our full inventory.

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

At first glance, there's not much here, but when we consult the item list:

You can see 11 items:

That's more like it! Augmentation, another Staff of Speed, and another Potion of Healing!

First, up to the northwest to clear out some Ologs and grab the Cure Critical Wounds potions, then as we head east we run into a pack of Nexus Hounds:

Nexus, if you've forgotten, is the "teleportation element". We're wearing Boots of Stability that give resistance to it, though, so these guys aren't much of a threat. I've still adopted the recommended position to draw them out and kill them without letting them get LOS for breath attacks.

Head up north, then down south, and a Ghost comes out of the walls to give us another two Potions of Enlightenment. So much for freeing up an inventory slot!

You sense the presence of evil creatures!

Whoopsy. That pink D is Smaug the Golden. He's basically Scatha with a fire theme and a few more dice on his attacks (2x 4d12 claw, 2x 5d14 fire bite). We can take him! Haste up, then drop all of our staffs (except Teleportation, just in case) so they don't get burned...

Wakey wakey, Smaug!

You smite Smaug the Golden (84). It was a good hit! You miss Smaug the Golden. You smite Smaug the Golden (61). You smite Smaug the Golden (59). You miss Smaug the Golden. Smaug the Golden conjures up weird things. You avoid the effects!

Alas, Totila doesn't have a frostbrand, so we'll be doing less damage in this fight -- we get the x2 Slay Evil instead of the x3 Firebrand. We're still easily able to win the damage race, and by the time Smaug finally busts out his firebreath, he's so badly hurt that it only does about 100 damage to us.

You smite Smaug the Golden (57). You miss Smaug the Golden. You smite Smaug the Golden (104). It was a good hit! You smite Smaug the Golden (51). You smite Smaug the Golden (63). Smaug the Golden flees in terror!

Hey, we're the same color!

You smite Smaug the Golden (59). You have slain Smaug the Golden. Welcome to level 37.

and 673 max HP. And his drop...

You have a Pair of Mithril Shod Boots [8]. You feel the Pair of Mithril Shod Boots in your pack is excellent...
You feel strangely quick. You are wearing a Pair of Mithril Shod Boots of Speed [8] <+6> {splendid}.

Heck yes! Boots of Speed! Our base speed is now +10, and when we're hasted we go up to +20! This is huge. Speed is really the God Stat in Angband, and it is very hard to have too much of it. Freude is now functionally about 60% better at everything he does. Of course, he'll need that speed to match the increasingly faster monsters he's facing. I bet if we faced a Dracolich now we could do it without healing.

Smaug, you are a gentleman and a scholar

This Death Mold is a prick though Oh well, nothing a spot of tunnelling can't fix. Finally, we reach the room with the Potion of Augmentation:

A Giant Tarantula in the northwest, a Green Glutton Ghost, and then the g is a Drolem. Flavor text:

A constructed dragon, the drolem has massive strength. Powerful spells weaved during its creation make it a fearsome adversary. Its eyes show little intelligence, but it has been instructed to destroy all it meets.

Drolems are somewhat infamous in Angband as a source of instadeath for unwary adventurers. They have 2200 HP, which means their poison breath comes just shy of hitting the cap, at 733 damage. As they're native to 2200', they're the first serious threat of poison-based instadeath in the game. Practically every Angband vet has heard the phrase "It breathes. You die." even if they haven't themselves experienced the phenomenon. Back in the old days, when Angband players were all super-cautious and refused to go past 1600' without maxed stats, they also refused to go below 2000' without resistance to poison. Since poison resistance was bloody rare and Rings of Resist Poison in particular were native to something like 3000', this tended to involve a lot of tedious scumming.

Of course, we resist poison (the resist is a lot more common now), and anyway have nearly enough HP to survive an unresisted breath. Its melee chews up about half our health, but it never put us in serious danger. That done, let's drink!

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

Up to 710 max HP and 5.2 blows/round with Totila. We need...another +6 STR, or +1 DEX, to get to 5.5 blows (and remember, the cap is 6).

That's it for this level, so on to the next!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2900')

Might as well use Enlightenment here too. And...oh my.

That's a big sucker, isn't it? That vault is named "False Wall", and I suspect it's just chock-full of nasty monsters. However, there's also 73 items on the level, including 7 potions/scrolls/etc. we've never seen before. The only stat potions are Dexterity though, and we're nearly maxed on that.

Oh, there's also a nest on the level, and it looks to be full of hydras. How pleasant. Here we have a couple of 7-Headed Hydras and an 11-Headed Hydra. The 11-headed types have a fire theme and can also cast plasma bolts for some reason. They're also worth over 7000 experience apiece.

For future reference, hydras always drop cash, and we currently have 116739 AU in our purse. Let's haste up, and drop back so they can't all get LOS on us at once:

And commence the slaughter! Of course, 11-Headed Hydras resist fire, and Totila doesn't slay animals, so killing these guys is a bit of a slog. They can also put out a fair amount of damage, so we're slowly getting worn down.

After 6 kills (plus one dying to another one's firebreath ) we're about half dead, and there's no end of them in sight. Our LOS position is also considerably worse as some 7-Headed Hydras took the long way around and bashed that door down.

Running down the corridor forced us to eat a couple of firebreaths, but phasing could easily have landed us in the middle of a pack of hydras, so this is preferable. From here we shouldn't have to face more than two hydras at a time. Chugging a few Cure Critical Wounds potions helps with the damage.

Fortunately, we seem to have dealt with most of the nastier hydras. 7-Headed Hydras are no real threat any more. Once we start seeing 5-Headed Hydras I know the main threat is done.

What? A 2-Headed Hydra? C'mon man, go home.

Our final killcount for the nest: 8 11-headeds (plus one that got ganked from us), 4 9-headeds, 14 7-headeds, 5 5-headeds, and a smattering of the weakest types. We also now have 201144 AU. I don't think we'll need to worry about money again, unless a Ring of Speed shows up in the Black Market or something.

An Emperor Wight showed up and dropped off a pair of boots of Speed... <+3>. One level earlier I would have been ecstatic

He does also drop this:

It's quite nice, but it doesn't compare to Thorin.

Right, let's check out that vault!

You sense the presence of traps! You sense the presence of evil creatures!

Okay, let's take a look at the monster list.

You are aware of 73 monsters:

And that's just in the half of the vault we can detect! We can't even see the far side! Everything from the top through Ar-Pharazon is in the No Fucking Way category, and frankly the Demilich is not worth fighting either. I'll get into their abilities sometime when we aren't facing them all at the same time. On the other hand, we do have 14 charges worth of Teleport Other available. I think this vault is lootable, but it's going to take some care; we'll want to pull each nasty monster out individually, zap them away and repeat. And of course, this means that teleporting ourselves is not a realistic option -- we might land right next to one (or more!) of the uniques we teleported away. If we get into trouble, then Teleport Level or *Destruction* are our go-to choices.

One other thing: we only have 1 more charge of Detect Evil, so I can't afford to waste it to tell if a monster has noticed us yet. That's going to make this a bit more hair-raising.

Whelp, time to crack the vault open.

You tunnel into the granite wall. <3x> You have found a secret door.


Also, check out all those traps. I really wouldn't mind having a Rod of Disarming right now.

You have disarmed the trap door.

Phew. The only thing that would suck more than triggering a trapdoor now would be triggering one after having cleared the vault but before picking through the loot.

Saruman of Many Colors concentrates on his body. Saruman of Many Colors starts moving faster.

Ugh, this is unpleasant. Not just Saruman, but there's a Nexus Quylthulg in this corridor who will happily teleport us away if we let it have turns where it can see us. That will be problematic when we've punted all of the uniques across the level. Well, first things first, Phase Door away:

and land just outside the vault. Remember, teleportation cannot land you inside a vault, so Phase Door will basically always drop you just outside if read while inside one.

The Dreadlord here has found us, but I think we can take him. If not, well, he's a wallwalker and thus would likely catch up to us later anyway. Like the other Dread-type monsters he drains STR; he can also cast nether storms and summon undead in addition to other unpleasant spells. This is not the greatest setup for fighting him, but it could be worse. He also doesn't resist fire, conveniently.

Ugh, this is bad though. Can't teleport Saruman away because the hydra is in the way. Go away, hydra!

You have 13 charges remaining. The 7-headed hydra disappears! Saruman of Many Colors commands you to go away.

...oh. Okay then. Let's see what's in the rest of the vault.

You sense the presence of evil creatures! You have 0 charges remaining.

You are aware of 82 monsters:

Looks like we knew about most of the worst ones already. The Undead Beholder is actually outside the vault to our north. We'll want to stay aware of that Hand Druj in the top-left untrapped corridor of the vault; drujs are stationary offensive spellcasters and can put some serious hurt on you in a hurry.

Of course, the Dreadlord, and Saruman (who's the brown p in the top horizontal corridor with all the traps), are both on their way over. Maybe we can deal with them separately this time.

Looks like it...but a bunch of Bats of Gorgoroth are also here, and will clog up firing lines for teleporting Saruman even worse than the hydra did. On the plus side,

You burn the Dreadlord (82). You have destroyed the Dreadlord. Welcome to level 38.

740 max HP This is more than most mages get by the endgame even when optimizing for CON.

Oh, good. Saruman took to the forefront of the battle.

You have 12 charges remaining. Saruman of Many Colors disappears!

That's one down!

The Death drake claws you. The Death drake misses you. The Death drake misses you.

Death Drakes are dragon ghosts, basically; they can move through walls, breathe nether, and can bite to drain experience, but they're far less deadly than Dracoliches are.

Itangast the Fire Drake is like Smaug, but weaker. He takes off a whopping 130 HP before dying. But he drops something interesting:

If you need stats sustained, Anarion is your buddy. Our only unsustained stat is INT, and pfft, who needs INT? Still, that may change come the endgame, so Anarion is worth keeping around; late-game monsters can do a number on your stats.

Itangast has more gifts for us!

Avavir is pretty handy, though it does deal slightly less damage than Totila and has no evil slay. Dual fire/cold brands will apply to most monsters, but there are an awful lot of uniques who are evil but resist all elements. Avavir gets dropped, sadly.

Finally, one more gift!

Awright! Our first artifact helm! We've been toting around a Leather Cap of Wisdom since 1900'. Celebrimbor is mostly nice for the DEX boost and disenchantment resist, but it's hard to argue with a hat that is strictly better than our old one in every way.

Man. Thanks, Itangast!

Moving into the vault, I close the door to the Hand Druj so it can't zap me, and then

The Demilich points at you and screams the word 'DIE!'. You have been given a nasty cut.

Looks like he can't get to us; there's too many chumps in the way "Nasty cuts" are the second-biggest wound in the game (just below "mortal wound"). They take off more health per round than the lesser injuries, but our regeneration will have it cleared up in a few turns anyway. I back off and close the door so the Demilich, too, cannot cast at us.

This corridor is much more reasonable. Hell, it's downright trivial. The biggest danger here is that while we're fighting these guys, something more threatening could come up behind them.

Down this corridor is yet another artifact (and far from the last, I'm sure):

Cammithrim is a lesser version of Fingolfin, really; the CON sustain, light resistance, and light radius don't make up for Fingolfin's extra damage and DEX bonus.

Two problems: one, that's Shelob, who needs to be treated with respect. Two, that's a fucking Time Hound and aaaagh get out of LOS!

You found a trap! You hit a teleport trap!

...if I'd been paying attention, I would have seen the message

Shelob, Spider of Darkness cackles evilly about traps.

Crap. Saruman is somewhere on the level, and we're out of detection.

Oh, there he is. Y'know, he's only fast, not very fast; we could outspeed him 2:1 and maybe take him down in melee. Problem is, he has a lot of nasty summoning spells and we don't have the setup to mitigate them. No, I'm playing it safe for now.

You have 11 charges remaining. Saruman of Many Colours disappears!

Heading back to the vault, we clear out a Greater Maia and a couple of ancient dragons; while sorting through the loot, our old buddy the Ancient Multi-Hued Dragon returns.

But he's no threat any more; we have the resists, we have the damage, most importantly we have the speed to take him down. He only does 80 damage before dying.

Among the loot pile is one more Potion of Dexterity.

You feel very dextrous!

And like that, Freude is the nimblest motherfucker in the dungeon. 18/*** is the highest any stat can go (it's equivalent to 18/220); pumping it further has no effect on your abilities. Also note the ! next to "DEX"; that means that Freude's internal stat (that is, his score before racial, class, and equipment modifiers are applied) has hit its maximum, so further potions will have no effect either. In short, we are done with DEX. And now we get 5.5 blows/round! Getting more will require finding more STR boosts.

More loot! An Aluminum Rod of Teleport Other. Now we have an unlimited source of fight avoidance! It has to recharge between uses, of course, but this is still going to be invaluable, not just because it'll save charges on our wands, but also because monsters with drain-charges attacks can't touch it.

Remember that Nexus Quylthulg? It's awake now, and there's monsters between us and it. I have a plan, though. We got some White Dragon Scale Mail; just put that on for a bit (and haste up, to attempt to get the drop on the quylthulg)...

The Nexus quylthulg casts a phase door.

...that works too He'll be just outside the vault now, but that's fine.

This is Shelob and Ar-Pharazon, and we aren't gonna fight them both. We could Phase Door ourselves, or just make them go away.

You have 10 charges remaining. Shelob, Spider of Darkness disappears!
Ar-Pharazon the Golden disappears!

I do so dearly love Teleport Other

A Druid drops another Staff of Detect Evil. Excellent.

You sense the presence of evil creatures!

Saruman's on the other side of the vault again, there's a Time Hound right next to us, Thuringwethil and Tselakus are still on our side of the vault...fortunately the Witch-King and the Nightwalker are both contained in that central cell and can't get out.

About those Time Hounds...

You get a terrible sense of deja vu, or is it a premonition? All at once you see a little puppy and a toothless old dog. Perhaps you should give up and go to bed.

Time Hounds can breathe time, naturally, and come in groups. Fortunately their melee attacks aren't all that bad, and we have the speed to keep up with them, so we manage to kill them without getting hit by time once. Being in LOS of a pack of Time Hounds can be game-ending, so they deserve respect.

We've pulled Thuringwethil; time to clear the beetle in the way and get her out of the vault.

Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger summons its kin.

Crud. Generic Vampire to our east, but that's an Elder Vampire to our west; they're the strongest non-unique vampire. Still not very threatening, but annoyingly durable (2600 HP!) and they can pass through walls.

The Elder vampire smashes you with psionic energy. You feel yourself moving slower! You resist the effect! You resist the effect! You resist the effect!

...slightly more threatening than I gave them credit for. That spell is Brain Smash, and in addition to causing damage, it slows, confuses, blinds, and frightens you. Fortunately, Elder Vampires are just at +10 speed, so hasting up lets us reach speed parity. Temporary haste doesn't exactly cancel temporary slowness; they're each separate timers (so we're benefitting from +10 temporary speed, and suffering from -10 temporary speed, at the same time). Eventually the slow should wear off and then we'll be at +20.

The Time hound breathes time. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! *** You're not as powerful as you used to be...

Yikes. The Elder Vampire did take us down to about 200 HP, and now we're at 100. That's "could be felled by a stiff breeze" levels. What's worse, the Time Hound just drained all our stats:

First things first: heal up!

You feel very good. You have 9 Viscous Pink Potions of Healing.


There must have been two groups of them, because we've hit them on both sides of the vault and now have 12 kills. And because they aren't evil, I can never be certain there isn't another one lurking around the next corner

Also, I dropped that Mushroom of Vigor somewhere and can't find it now. Whoops.

In completely unrelated news, puppy!

You see Fang, Farmer Maggot's dog (unhurt).

You burn Fang, Farmer Maggot's dog (69). You have slain Fang, Farmer Maggot's dog.

Just slightly more threatening:

You see Tselakus, the Dreadlord (undamaged).

Tselakus, the Dreadlord disappears!

And that should do it for massively dangerous evil uniques on this side of the vault!

The Nexus Quylthulg commands you to go away.

Right next to Tselly, too!

You have 9 charges remaining. Tselakus, the Dreadlord disappears! Again!

En route back to the vault, it turns out this map is rapidly getting too dangerous to stick around on:

That's the Phoenix, stuck behind a sleeping dragon. I don't know if it was in the vault (it's not evil), but it's awake and hungry now. The Phoenix is a fire-based unique who can put out a lot of damage in a hurry. It's not really worth fighting without a strong ranged weapon, fire immunity, or at least double fire resistance (permanent + temporary resistance). It's telling that the Phoenix is worth 57000 experience -- you'll be earning it if you try to fight it.

The Phoenix casts a ball of fire. Your Scroll titled "no per" of *Destruction* was destroyed! One of your Arrows of Acid was destroyed! One of your Arrows of Slay Undead was destroyed!

Shit, there goes our last-ditch escape. I draw out the dragon by hitting it with an arrow, kill it, and teleport the Phoenix away before it can burn us again, and we're back in the vault. Again.

One more try at sneaking past the Nexus Quylthulg.

Success! Our reward: a Scroll of *Enchant Armour*, a Scroll of Prayer (like Bless but longer-lasting), a Potion of Dexterity, and a Ring of Strength Oh well, Phase Door can take us past the Quylthulg on the way out, and we don't have to go back to that section of the vault ever again.

Beorn the Shape-Changer shows up, another non-evil unique. He's dangerous when you first find him, but he's just a melee beast and he's native to 1700', so he's badly outclassed now. He doesn't drop anything interesting.

An Ancient Blue Dragon drops a Scroll of Banishment. Remember, these scrolls remove entire "races" of monsters from the level, but don't affect uniques. On reflection, I decide to use it to clear out all W monsters on the level, since there's a Nightwalker and Nightcrawler present that I'd just as soon not deal with.

Choose a monster race (by symbol) to banish:
You have no more Scrolls titled "edo matiesto" of Banishment.

And like that, they're gone and we've taken 4 damage. I guess there were only the two non-unique wraiths on the level.

Tselakus is back. Again. He's in the middle of the west half of the vault. I don't like the looks of that bottom row either -- the greater demons could be problematic. Let's see about cleaning up the middle and then call it a day.

You tunnel into the granite wall. <239x> You have finished the tunnel. Something screams. You are hit by something! Something makes a soft 'pop'.

Oh, that's where all the items in that section of the vault went. This is an Istar; they're the top-tier non-unique maiar, and really not worth fighting at this point, even if this one is carrying a bunch of vault items in its inventory. They can summon more Istari, and that gets out of hand really fast. Congratulations, Mr. Istar, you get to live!

The Istar disappears!

Fortunately, the Istar left one item alone in the vault: a Rod of Magic Mapping! Most excellent; we no longer need the staves we've been lugging around.

Which is good, because I dropped them earlier and don't remember where they are

Next and last stop: opening the inner sanctum and dealing with the Witch-King of Angmar.

You feel yourself moving faster! You have 10 charges remaining. (on our Staves of Speed)
You tunnel into the granite wall. <56x> You have finished the tunnel.

Good, he's out in front. The other monsters are nothing serious -- a Winged Horror, some Zephyr Hounds, and various chumps.

The Witch-King of Angmar disappears!

We did it! And the spoils:[list][*]Metal Brigandine Armour of Resistance. Bleh.
[*]Adamantite Plate Armour of Resistance. Amusing mostly because it has a base AC value of 80 and weighs 42 pounds, more (on both counts) than any other armor in the game.
[*]26 Seeker Bolts of Holy Might (4d5) (+22,+21). These are fantastic arrows. Holy Might gives Slay Undead, Slay Demon, and Slay Evil in one convenient package, and these things have some massive pluses on them. If we end up going with a crossbow, they're endgame ammo.
[*]The Iron Helm 'Holhenneth':

A very nice helm; it's a bit of a toss-up which of it and Celebrimbor is better.[*]Pseudo-Dragon Scale Mail of Craftsmanship. Pseudo-dragons have both light and darkness elements, so this armor gives resists to both and lets you breathe one at random as its activation.
[*]a Pair of Leather Boots of Elvenkind

More speed! Heck yes!

This update has run more than long enough, so I'm ending it here. Next time, we'll head back to town, shuffle items around, and then go back to exploring. See you then!