The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 18: Mother Lode

Update 18: Mother Lode

Last time, Freude explored a "Crown" vault, and discovered that there's still plenty of nasty uniques not worth tangling with. Time to head back to town.

The air about you becomes charged... You have 8 Scrolls titled "co abitat" of Word of Recall.
You feel yourself yanked upwards!

We ditch some spare Staves of Identify (now redundant with our two Rods of Identify), Hithlomir, and an old Amulet of Trickery to stash Thunderfist, the Heavy Crossbow of Extra Might, and a new, better Amulet of Trickery. At this point we could start wearing a Trickery amulet to cover poison resistance; that would let us swap out our body armor (still the old Elvenkind armor) for, say, the Dwarven armor we have stashed away. But then we'd have to replace our Crown of Might with the Cap of Telepathy, which loses us STR/DEX/CON bonuses and a CON sustain.

While checking out the stores, we indiscriminately slaughter a local veteran, and he drops a type of potion we've never seen before. Surely they will be powerful!

You sold 5 Potions of Poison for 0 gold.

There's one more important thing we need to deal with while back in town.

You feel your life energies returning. Welcome to level 43. Welcome to level 44. You have no more Black Potions of Restore Life Levels.

There, that's much better.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3750')

Some Time Hounds to our southwest; nothing else threatens.

Fortunately we're able to get into a good position to deal with them. Annoyingly, one of them doesn't quite die and turns to flee; it gets off a breath that drains our experience. Oh well.

Slightly further west, our telepathy picks out a new target:

That's Ar-Pharazon the Golden in that moated room. We teleported him away from the False Wall vault awhile back; now that he's alone maybe we can take him down. Looking up his stats, the biggest problems are that he can heal, summon monsters, and teleport us away. His actual direct offense is negligible -- 4x 8d8 melee attacks per round.

LOS trickery in place, it's time to pull him out of his room.

Here he comes!

You hit Ar-Pharazon the Golden (69). You hit Ar-Pharazon the Golden (75). You hit Ar-Pharazon the Golden (64). You hit Ar-Pharazon the Golden (71). You hit Ar-Pharazon the Golden (91). It was a good hit! You miss Ar-Pharazon the Golden. You hit Ar-Pharazon the Golden (64). Ar-Pharazon the Golden summons its kin.

He nabbed a Grand Master Mystic. Like Master Mystics, GMMs like to stun you, only even moreso. Fortunately this one can't get to us.

We get Ar-Pharazon down to about 20% health while he plinks ineffectually at us, and then

Ar-Pharazon the Golden commands you to go away.

Oh well, we're close enough to get back to the fight quickly.

Not the greatest setup for a fight, but Ar-Pharazon is so close to dead that it hardly matters. He eats two Arrows of Slay Evil getting into melee range, and then a single round of melee sets him fleeing, and another delivers the coup de grace.

The Grand Master Mystic cuts us up a bit with his feet, but fails to stun us and has too few HP to survive long in melee. Him gone, we can examine Ar-Pharazon's drop: A Light Crossbow of Extra Might (x4) (+15,+18) that isn't quite as good as the Heavy Crossbow we found earlier, some Seeker Arrows of Slay Demon that could come in handy, and a useless Tulwar of Gondolin. Oh well.

Hey, that looks like a potion depot!

Nope, scrolls Not even any good scrolls.

Nothing else of interest on this floor, so we continue downwards.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3800')

Some Ethereal Hounds are headed our way. However, we know they aren't currently in LOS, because we can't target them. This is a bit of an exploit, but if it keeps us from eating extra nether breaths, I don't mind.

This is about as good as you can hope to do when Ethereal Hounds are swarming you (though a pack of only 3 doesn't really qualify as a "swarm"). In a corridor like this, at least they need to be adjacent to you before they can breathe on you.

There was a Potion of Enlightenment in the entry room; might as well chug it.

Oh my. I think I've found what we'll be doing for the rest of the update! If I'm reading the vault file correctly, this vault is called "Sphere" and it is chock-full of goodies -- guarded by nasty monsters, of course. At this point literally any monster in the game could be in that vault, except for Sauron and Morgoth themselves. Fortunately many of the nastier cells in the vault are blocked off by granite walls, which we'll have to dig open. There's still plenty of areas blocked merely by secret doors, though, so monsters could easily swarm us.

Getting closer, our telepathy picks up several nasty characters:

You are aware of 85 monsters:

Atlas is back, as is his bigger, badder buddy, Kronos. Neither is worth tangling with. Kronos's melee is particularly ridiculous: 4x 12d12 confusing attacks. On average he'll do 312 damage/round if all four blows hit, and he has lots of nasty spells. I don't know what the devs were thinking when they put him in the game, because he's just ridiculously strong.

Fortunately, besides the titans we don't see much else of danger in here; of course the vault's so huge we can't see all of it.

Oh, did I mention that Atlas can bore through walls?

Atlas, the Titan disappears!

You have 22 charges remaining. Kronos, the Titan disappears!

This is why we still carry Wands of Teleport Other even though we have a Rod of same -- we wouldn't be able to teleport away multiple enemies in a row otherwise, because the Rod needs time between activations to recharge. Now we just have to take out that Great Wyrm of Many Colours. It proves annoyingly durable and peppers us with breath attacks; even though we resist, they do a lot more damage than its melee does, so we have to heal up mid-fight.

Conveniently, the Archlich comes after us next; it was the only other threatening foe in the vault that we know of. Archliches can move through walls, remember, and we can't teleport it while it's standing in one (the teleportation bolt will just hit the wall instead). While trying to pull it out of the wall, I miscalculate and give it a chance to cast a spell...

The Archlich summons fiends of darkness.

An Elder Vampire, and Akhorakil the Blind, another Ringwraith! Akhorahil is native to 2250', so we ought to be able to squish him. However, I make the mistake of trying to fight him and the Elder Vampire at the same time, which results in

Akhorahil the Blind summons some friends.

He got a bunch of scrubs, but one of them is a generic Quylthulg, which could summon even more enemies. Time to break up LOS a bit; we Phase away:

From here, the Elder Vampire, a wallwalker, will get to us first. Then we can kill Akhorahil, and then his summons.

Ironically, the Elder Vampire is more durable and dangerous than Akhorahil. Between the two of them, though, they only cause about 200 damage to us, and drain some experience. Easily replaced.

The vampire did drop a Potion of Augmentation though! Yoink.

You feel very strong! You feel very smart! You feel very wise!

And like that, all the stats that we care about are maxed (Remember, the ! indicates a stat that can't be raised further by stat potions).

Digging through Akhorahil's drop, we find this booby prize:

You'd have to be really desperate for telepathy to consider using this.

Right, back to the vault!

It looks like we ought to be able to just waltz in and deal with the remaining "loose" enemies. So I take three steps in and

You found a trap! You hit a teleport trap!

Forgot to detect traps. At least it wasn't a trap door!

Atlas moves a bit erratically, so the Archlich gets teleported away first. Which is good, because

You failed to use the wand properly. Atlas, the Titan hits you. Atlas, the Titan misses you. Atlas, the Titan hits you. Atlas, the Titan hits you. You are confused!

Like Polyphemus, Atlas can cause earthquakes; unlike him, the other half of his attacks cause confusion. Fortunately, we're 50% faster than him, so we can drink Cure Critical Wounds without him responding, and then successfully use Teleport Other on the next turn.

Heading back over to the vault from the other side, what do we spy?

A Great Wyrm of Balance! These are the strongest non-unique dragons in the game, able to breathe any of chaos, disenchantment, shards, or sound, as well as summoning other dragons and of course hitting like a truck. But I like fighting dragons, so I won't teleport this guy away if I can help it.

Oh, and the W is Ren the Unclean. He's another Ringwraith; small potatoes.

Atlas's earthquakes shook up the terrain a bit; this is better than fighting in a corridor, but not by much.

Fortunately, the Wyrm declines to use any spells or breath attacks, instead chopping off 50% of our health in a straight-up brawl before finally dying. We hit level 45 -- 1047 max HP!

Uh. Another Great Wyrm of Balance, and Radagast the Brown again! Oh, and Ren's still there. I'm kinda wishing I'd dug an anti-summoning corridor before heading back east and reactivating these guys. I take us back and start desperately digging (Aglarang, our katana, is not a great digging tool even with 18/*** STR), but it's not enough:

Radagast the Brown commands you to come hither.

Radagast the Brown disappears!

Yeah, this really isn't the greatest setup. Fortunately Ren's ranged attacks are mostly bolt spells, so I think we can safely fight the Wyrm even though Ren will be able to see us (and therefore cast spells).

600 HP later, the Wyrm flees, again not having cast a single spell. We phase away from Ren so we can heal up...and land up here:

Well. This looks safe!

Ren's total actions: Crisdurian is a great killing-things sword; unfortunately for it, Aglarang is even better. Crisdurian does a whopping 1 point of damage more when its stronger slays apply.

The Magi amulet is a good source of basic abilities like See Invisible, Free Action, and protection from blindness. They can give you some badly-needed flexibility sometimes, for example if we wanted to swap out our Lantern (which is currently covering See Invisible and protection from blindness). Of course we need our current amulet for telepathy.

Cambeleg is arguably better than Fingolfin: Fingolfin has very slightly higher combat boosts (+10 instead of +8), but Cambeleg's +2 STR/CON is better than Fingolfin's +4 DEX in most cases. We have all three stats maxed, though, so it makes no difference.

Heading back into the vault, we almost make it to the western entrance before monsters swarm out. Phase Door takes us up here:

Which is really just about perfect; we can set up an anti-summoning corridor at our leisure.

Note that Feagwath is back; we're not going to try fighting him this time. I think he calls for overwhelming offense and/or a surfeit of healing items, neither of which we have.

Yeah, this should be enough. Having some room in your anti-summoning corridor to retreat can occasionally be handy. The enemies right outside aren't dangerous, but Feagwath is loose, and there's another Grand Master Mystic out there.

Speaking of which. Also note Kronos to the northwest, rendered totally impotent by a pile of rubble.

Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer disappears!

The Grand master mystic misses you. The Grand master mystic misses you. The Grand master mystic hits you. You resist the effects! You have been heavily stunned. The Grand master mystic hits you. You resist the effects!

Heavy stunning is no joke -- our offense has dropped from 506 damage/round to 362. And of course we're nearly knocked out. Any level of stunning when fighting a mystic is a good reason to stop and drink healing potions. This gives him a few free rounds, but his offense isn't that strong damage-wise, so we eventually wear him down anyway.

Digging through the loot from this most recent fight, we find something interesting!

Holcolleth is caster gear, really, but it's still better than our current cloak; effectively we trade +1 speed for an additional +2 stealth. From what I've read, every +3 stealth makes you about twice as stealthy (it's some weird exponential thing), so this is a welcome upgrade.

I take us back into the vault, from the left side, and get teleported again!

The Lesser titan commands you to come hither.

Whoops, didn't see him there. Fortunately we're not adjacent to him and he's the only really dangerous thing here, so we aren't obligated to flee immediately.

Then he summons a Nightcrawler:

Flavor text:

This intensely evil creature bears the form of a gargantuan black worm. Its gaping maw is a void of blackness, acid drips from its steely hide. It is like nothing you have ever seen before, and a terrible chill runs down your spine as you face it.

Nasty things; acid and CON-draining melee, a bunch of powerful attack spells, and the ability to summon undead. This is a reason to flee immediately; we can kill it, but this is not the right terrain to do so.

Phase door takes us to the corridor north of the vault again, so we can just re-use our previous anti-summoning corridor. Handy!

Good, and we can clear out the titan now, too. Though actually...he's probably picked up a lot of items from the vault. Maybe we can kill him, despite his confusing melee?

Yes we can! None of his attacks land, and he actually wastes a turn on summoning a Green Glutton Ghost of all things Between him and the Nightcrawler (which dies gratifyingly quickly), we get another Rod of Teleport Other!

Finally, we work our way into one of the chambers of the vault:

And find a Potion of Life:

Look at that. It's ridiculous. Nobody in Vanilla Angband is ever going to have anywhere close to 5000 HP.

This little corner ends up being a good place to pull some more vault denizens. A Dread brings us a bunch of items it picked up, and we get to teleport another Archlich away:

We get a Ring of Damage (+0,+13), just ever so slightly better than our old one, and crack open the corner of the vault, only to discover that an Air Elemental has crushed most of the contents. Of course, what is left is the item that he couldn't crush:

Ehh, it's crap

Tom the Stone Troll pays us a visit:

Tom, Bert, and ErnieBill are the three Stone Trolls that menaced Bilbo and his dwarfish friends. They often show up together, though by this time they're no kind of threat at all. Predictably, his drop is terrible.

We reach the center of the vault:

From here, we can "see" all intelligent monsters in the vault; the only remaining big guns are two Great Wyrms of Thunder (i.e. sound element). Of course there could be some Bone Golems or greater Quylthulgs that we aren't aware of. Mopping up ought to be straightforward. Loot list time!
Huff...phew. Are we done?

I think we're done.