The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 17: You Feel Your Life Force Draining Away

Update 17: You Feel Your Life Force Draining Away

Last time, Freude killed the Father of All Dragons. He also finally found a source of telepathy, and a new weapon. We need to head back to town to drop loot off and recharge our Staves of Speed.

The air about you becomes charged... You have 10 Scrolls titled "co abitat" of Word of Recall.
You feel yourself yanked upwards!

In town, we:
All set to return to the dungeon:

Incidentally, I haven't mentioned being hungry in a long time. This isn't just because food has been plentiful (though it has been). Freude is getting Slow Digestion from his bow (that's the "S.Dig" entry), and as of recent versions, when Angband says "slow digestion" it means it. I don't think I've ever seen a character with slow digestion leave the "Full" state. This is fine, since you also can't overeat any more -- used to be eating too much would put you into a "Gorged" state which reduced your speed by 10.

Anyway, into the dungeon!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3600')

Aw, man, another hydra pit? These things are everywhere!

You are aware of 52 monsters:

Pit monsters always spawn awake, so they'll be after us as soon as we take an action. That action should be to hide around a corner so we avoid LOS with most of them. Unfortunately, the door is placed on the wrong wall:

But fortunately they don't breathe on us or cast any spells before we're safely around the corner.

From here we can do our usual detection. I use our Potion of Enlightenment, and while it doesn't show us any vaults, it does give us some areas of interest to check out:

Of course, we have to chew through the hydras first. 94110 AU later, they're all dead, at the cost of 2 Staves of Identify and miscellaneous scrolls and arrows. In their pit is a few junk items and that Mulberry Staff:

You have a Mulberry Staff of *Destruction*.

I still haven't shown off what *Destruction* does, but now we have a rechargeable source of it (or, more realistically, a disposable source; odds are that recharging will fail on this even if it's at 0 charges).

Oh hey, there's a Gravity Hound. Let's make him go away.

Let's make everything go away.

There is a searing blast of light! You have 2 charges remaining.

Dungeon? What dungeon?

*Destruction* randomizes the dungeon in a fairly large radius around you. It also removes all monsters and items from the area. Uniques? Gone. Artifacts? Gone. If you are in truly dire straits, *Destruction* will give you a significant breather.

It also blinds you (hence the searing blast of light), but we have protection, and even if we didn't, a potion or two would clear that right up.

We're going to want a nice stockpile of Scrolls of *Destruction* for the endgame, if possible.

Exploring a bit, I find this pack of Nether Hounds:

The Nether hound breathes nether. You feel your life force draining away! The Nether hound breathes nether. You feel your life force draining away! The Nether hound breathes nether. You feel your life force draining away! The Nether hound breathes nether. You feel your life force draining away!

Whoops, I thought we still had resistance to nether That cost us 240k experience and we're temporarily back down to level 43. Oh well; it'll be back soon enough.

Over on the other side of the dungeon, we run into another Ringwraith!

This is Khamul, the Black Easterling, and he's the penultimate Ringwraith, just under the Witch-King of Angmar. He has strong melee and a good set of nasty spells, but he's only at +10 speed, which makes him relatively slow. Hasting up, we retreat to build an anti-summoning corridor, but we're just a bit too slow.

Khamul, the Black Easterling summons fiends of darkness.

A Master Vampire is no trouble, but Archliches are nasty pieces of work, mostly because they can move through walls. Fortunately, we are in the perfect terrain for dealing with this, because Phase Door will practically always take us out of line-of-sight of all enemies:

The Archlich is easy pickings, so to speak:

The Archlich disappears!

This terrain isn't so great, but if he summons we can just phase away again. Fortunately, Khamul doesn't resist electricity, so Thunderfist's 4d6 damage dice become 12d6; a very nice damage boost.

Then after two turns of combat, this happens:

Khamul, the Black Easterling commands you to go far away. You sink through the floor. (to 3650')

On the plus side, I guess this means that even the Ringwraiths are afraid of us now! As well they should be

3650' doesn't look too interesting until we run into this room and get a chance to do a little remedial unique-slaying.

Mughash the Kobold Lord is the strongest kobold in the world! Note that this places him below Orfax, Son of Boldor who is King of the Yeeks.

You shock Mughash the Kobold Lord (150). It was a great hit! You shock Mughash the Kobold Lord (276). It was a superb hit! You have slain Mughash the Kobold Lord.

Frankly I'm amazed he survived the first hit. Well done, Mughash

A Dreadlord invades our personal space; as a result we acquire a Rod of Identify. Excellent! No more having to rely on Staves of Identify and their limited charges.

And then I notice an entry in our monster list:

Polyphemus is mostly notable for his gobstoppingly powerful melee: 2x 11d10 hits, and then an 11d10 shatter hit. "Shatter" means that it causes earthquakes (much like that Shovel of Earthquakes we found awhile back); it also means that the attack is tagged with an effect and thus the damage is not reduced by our AC. Earthquakes in the hands of a monster can be especially nasty due to the (small) chance that you will be crushed by falling rock, which adds something ridiculous like 200 damage to the attack.

In short, meleeing Polyphemus hurts. On the flipside, he destroys items that he walks on, so we don't want to see him in a vault. And he has no summons, so we can fight him in open terrain, where we're less likely to get crushed (since the game gives you a saving throw to dodge to an open tile). We're probably best off trying to kill him now.

This should make a good arena for us to fight in.

You shock Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops (88). You miss Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops. You shock Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops (91). You shock Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops (112). Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops misses you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you.

On the plus side, electricity is the only element he doesn't resist.

Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you. The cave floor twists in an unnatural way! You nimbly dodge the blast!

And that's what happens when you save against taking a crapton of extra damage. I think the save is DEX-based, so with our 18/170 DEX we're in pretty good shape.

We've about half-killed each other; this makes a good time to phase away and heal up.

Something breathes. You are hit by something strange! You're not as wise as you used to be... You're not as bright as you used to be...

Time vortices! Fortunately it drained the two stats that we don't use We duck away from the corridor; vortices move so erratically that I'll bet we'll be done with Polyphemus before this one enters range again.

Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops shoots a spear of ice. You have been given a light cut. You have been stunned. Some of your Pink Potions of Cure Light Wounds awere destroyed! One of your Copper Speckled Potions of Cure Critical Wounds was destroyed!

Ice is an oddball element; I don't think resistance to cold gives you any protection against it. It just cuts and stuns you, kind of like a combination of sound and shards attacks (and note we resist sound but still got stunned).

Finally, Polyphemus turns to flee, but far, far too late.

You shock Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops (97). You have slain Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops.

He put up a good fight, but he was no match for an enemy smart enough to run away and heal. The only thing of interest in his drop:

That's some pretty fantastic damage! Thunderfist does better when its fire or lightning brands kick in, but Aglarang is pretty solid against everything, and has +5 speed to boot. 480 damage/round is definitely endgame-quality, and the speed boost puts us at +20, which is also endgame-quality. I go ahead and throw it on.

One last thing of interest on this level:

This is a Zoo. As the name implies, it has a random assortment of "natural" creatures; looks like the king monster in this batch is a Time Hound. Zoos often have lots of items in them to encourage the player to clear them out, since natural monsters otherwise rarely have drops. It could be worth clearing this, and we can handle a Time Hound.

Most of the monsters in here are so weak that they'd rather run away from us than fight. They also only move at normal speed, so we get three times as many turns as they do. Once the Time Hound finally gets lured out, the rest of them drop like flies. Or lice -- the last three enemies were all Giant White Lice, having one last orgy before the descending katana clove them into pieces.

The loot? A {magical} shield, a Potion of Resist Cold, a Rod of Acid Balls, a Wand of Teleport Other, and the Whip of Gothmog:

This is actually the first cursed item we've found. Curses, in Angband, simply prevent you from un-equipping the item until the curse is removed. They come in three flavors: normal curse, heavy curse, and permanent curse. The latter one, as the name implies, is irreversible: once you equip the item, you're stuck with it for the rest of the game. There's only a few items with it, and they're all amazingly powerful artifacts. Normal and heavy curses are in recent versions functionally identical; the former would require a simple Remove Curse spell/scroll while the latter would require *Remove Curse*, but neither of those exists any more. Instead, you break curses by trying to enchant the item; even if the enchantment has no chance of improving the item's pluses, it can still break the curse.

Anyway, Gothmog is pretty crap. Immunity to fire is normally fantastic, and it does great damage against dragons, but we don't want the aggravation, and it'd make a lousy swap weapon until its curse is broken. Realistically, I'd rather have the spare inventory slot for something we might actually use.

We're done with this level.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3700')

An Ancient Multihued Dragon just next to us, and the L is a Black Reaver, one of the top-tier undead. We don't want to tangle with him. Fortunately, Black Reavers are pretty hard to wake up; unfortunately, when they are awake, they'll bore straight through the walls to get to you, leading all the other monsters in the area behind them.

I figure we're safe for the moment, and detect up...

Oooooh, the "Crown" vault! These things can be dangerous, mostly because they have such an open design. All of those chambers are connected to the main room just by secret doors, so they'll get opened by monsters pretty quickly. Forget about killing dragons or dealing with the Reaver; we need to set up some LOS mitigation, stat.

As soon as we deal with these Dreads, we should be pretty clear to set up an anti-summoning corridor. One problem, though:

You are aware of 28 monsters:

Fundin Bluecloak is the blue h; he's stuck behind rubble and not going anywhere. No way, no how are we fighting Atlas or Ungoliant right now, though, and the Phoenix is a definite maybe. Depends on what else is in the vault that we aren't aware of yet due to telepathy's limited range.

Dwar, Dog Lord of Waw has the best name As you might imagine, he can summon hounds, but he's a non-threat.

Atlas is an up-statted Greater Titan. Considering how much trouble we had with a Lesser Titan, and the fact that we no longer have protection from confusion (it was on Totila, now long gone), we can't fight him. He'll pick up some of the loot in the vault, but that's unavoidable.

Ungoliant is not just freakishly powerful; she also has the second-highest HP score in the game, at 13000. Not even Sauron has more HP. Her melee isn't so strong, but her breath attacks are horribly powerful, and frankly I don't think we have the healing resources (at 7 Potions of Healing and 23 Potions of Cure Critical Wounds) to outlast her. Remember, Ungoliant is the lady who ate the two Trees that the gods put up to provide light to the world; in-universe she's considered an ally of Morgoth himself.

Anyway, let's crack this sucker open and get to killin'.

You tunnel into the granite wall. <107x> You have finished the tunnel.

Looks like the Phoenix is the first up to bat. This could be rough on our consumables; I'm kinda wishing I'd picked up a Potion of Resist Fire earlier. Fortunately, with temporary speed we can hit +30 while he's only at +20, so with any luck he won't get many opportunities to burn us.

The Phoenix hits you. You are enveloped in flames! One of your Mulberry Staves of *Destruction* was destroyed!

That, and a single lightbreath attack, are his only actions of note, and his drop is lousy. Goodbye, Phoenix! You suck!

Next up, Dwar!

His total actions:
His drop isn't anything special, but we do get our first superweapon:

Maces of Disruption, Scythes of Slicing, and Blades of Chaos are all "base" weapon types with special abilities -- respectively, Slay Undead, Slay Animal, and Resist Chaos. They also have huge dice (5d8, 8d4, 6d5). Such a weapon with Slay Evil or Extra Attacks on it can be an excellent endgame choice.

Maces of Disruption are also hilariously heavy (30 pounds apiece), such that warriors are literally incapable of achieving their maximum blows/round with them.

I decide to sneak into the vault a bit to see who else is present.

You are aware of 30 monsters:

Erk. Feagwath the Sorcerer [sic] is bad news. Buuuuuut I think we can probably take him, assuming he doesn't cast spells too often. Manabolts hurt! Manastorms are even worse! The Great Wyrm of Many Colours is just an up-statted Ancient Multihued Dragon; we could take the other Great Wyrms, and we can handle this guy.

Atlas comes out, we teleport him away, no big deal. Next comes the Great Wyrm:

You hit the Great Wyrm of Many Colours (66). You have slain the Great Wyrm of Many Colours.

The Dreadlord there has nearly cought up to us, and I underestimated how much damage the Great Wyrm would deal. Still, nothing some Cure Critical Wounds can't fix. Dreadlords are only fast (+10 speed), so we still have a few turns before he reaches melee range; six CCW down and we're near full health. The Dreadlord falls easily soon after.

After quite a bit of running into the vault and back out again, we finally manage to pull the next threat out. It's Ungoliant!

I figure, what the heck, we'll see how far we get before she makes us heal or teleport her.

You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (68). You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (67). You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (66). You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (67). Ungoliant, the Unlight invokes a storm of darkness. You resist the effect!

Answer: 1 turn. Sure, we resisted being blinded, but that still dealt 460 damage to us! Yeesh.

Ungoliant, the Unlight disappears!

And good riddance.

All that's left is Feagwath and Tselakus; I'm pretty sure we can take Tselly, and Feagwath is a maybe. Unfortunately, they're both stuck in the same chamber and refusing to budge:

I'm guessing there's a Death Mold or something on the tile just southeast of Feagwath. I work our way around the vault:

A pack of Ethereal Hounds! Ethereal Hounds can breathe nether, just like Nether Hounds, but can also move through walls, so there's no escaping them. And we still don't resist nether. They knock us down to level 42 (we should be at 44), but the experience gain from killing them gets us our level back. Handily, this restores the stats that got drained by the Time Vortex awhile back.

That done, we might as well loot the vault, since Feagwath and Tselly won't budge. We find:
Whoops, hold on, they finally made it out.

Haste up, and retreat to here:

This isn't a perfect battlefield, but it's pretty good; only one monster and potentially their summons will be able to see us. Conveniently, we're also standing on the Rod of Healing When Tselakus knocks us down to 590 HP, I give it a shot, and it works first try; of course, now we'd have to wait an absurd 3000 turns to be able to use it again. For comparison, Freude has only been playing for 62000 turns so far.

Tselakus, the Dreadlord flees in terror! Tselakus, the Dreadlord invokes a storm of darkness. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***

Ugh, so close to a clean victory, too; we'll just have to chug healing. Two more rounds of melee, and

You hit Tselakus, the Dreadlord (70). You have destroyed Tselakus, the Dreadlord. Welcome to level 43.

We've lost and regained level 43 probably at least a half-dozen times now. And now we get to face Feagwath.

You hit Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer (103). It was a good hit! You hit Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer (69). You hit Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer (69). You miss Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer. You miss Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer. You hit Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer (66). You hit Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer (65). Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer touches you. You feel your life draining away! (and there goes level 43 again...) Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer touches you. Energy drains from your pack! Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer misses you. Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer touches you. You feel very clumsy for a moment, but the feeling passes.

Problem the first: most of the damage we dealt Feagwath was undone when he drained charges from our pack. Problem the second: he dealt about 150 damage to us. He was rolling high, but that's still more than we can comfortably keep up with.

No, the smart thing to do here is just teleport him away.

Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer disappears!

Goodbye, Feagwath. You're just too much of a pain to be worth fighting.

That's it for threats in the vault, so we can get back to looting:
Oddly enough, we're not quite done with the level. There's still that room we spawned in, with the Black Reaper (who still hasn't woken up).

We pull the Ancient Multihued Dragon, and he blows up two Potions of Healing with a frost breath before dying. Then

The Black reaver wakes up.

The Black reaver disappears!

Yeah, bugger fighting those guys. Mostly because they hit to disenchant.

Sadly, nothing in the vault worth our while. Our pack's full again, and there's several nasty monsters scattered across the level, so I'm calling the update here.

Next time: more diving! Maybe we can find a cloak to replace the Elven Cloak we've been wearing since 1800'?