Part 28: Brain BoostersUpdate 28: Brain Boosters
Last time, Bryson II dove down to where her predecessor met an untimely end, acquiring a number of lucky items in the process. But we're still missing acid and electricity resistance, which is nigh-suicidal when you're at 1400' with only 121 HP.
Of the two, acid is somewhat less important than electricity. Every time you get hit by an acid attack, a random armor slot is selected to be damaged. If there's something there, and it's providing at least 1 point of AC (i.e. hasn't been damaged to uselessness already), then it loses a point of AC and the damage you yourself take from the attack is halved. This acts like a weak form of acid resistance (resistance cuts damage to 1/3rd normal). You get the half-damage effect even if the armor is immune to acid damage, note, so endgame characters running around with all-artifact gear are effectively doubly-resistant to acid.
Unfortunately, we have no gloves for Bryson II, so each attack has a 16% chance of dealing full damage anyway. As long as we're careful, we should be able to manage, but this is still a top priority. Amulets of resistance to either electricity or acid exist, but ideally we'd find a Shield of Resistance or something.
We pick up a Wand of Lightning Balls (base 64 damage/charge with a 44% boost from our Magic Devices skill) and some Potions of Speed from the Black Market. Anyway, let's get back down there.
You feel yourself yanked downwards! (to 1400')
A very quiet start -- just a Skeleton Orc and a Silver Mouse (which, if I haven't mentioned it, drains fuel from your light source when it bites you; a negligible threat). Good; we want to have "clear" areas from which to operate as we nibble away at the denser pockets of monsters. Getting surrounded is not easily survivable with a mage.
Soon enough we run into one of those pockets:
Here we have Ugluk the Uruk and his escort of Orc Captains (in orange) and Uruks (in cyan). The Ice Trolls and White Wolves are also a potential threat. Ugluk is immune to fire, cold, and poison, but that still leaves acid and electricity as viable attack vectors. We can use our Dragon Scale Mail on his escorts.
The Light Hounds here are an annoyance, but because of our innate light resistance they can't blind us. And as long as we stay out of rooms the Wargs and White Wolves should leave us alone. One problem though: that makes it much harder to pull Shoot 'n Scoot.
Ugluk, the Uruk wakes up.
Excellent, he's on his way.
Time to start pelting him with Acid Bolts. With our recent INT boost the failure rate is only 5%.
10 Acid Bolts later, Ugluk is 80% dead and in melee range. He could theoretically deal 78 damage in melee with perfect rolls, which is high enough that I don't really want to spend even one round next to him. Fortunately, Phase Door takes us somewhere safer:
It only takes 3 more Acid Bolts to dissolve Ugluk away. His drop? ...well, it's appropriate for an orc warrior, anyway.
Totally useless to us; wielding them drops our max mana from 76 to 57, and we don't need the combat boosts. +3 STR is nice but not that nice.
Clearing out the various other monsters in the area nets us level 26 (125 HP, 79 SP). We also find this:
Unfortunately, our current rings are providing Free Action and fire resistance (and redundant cold resistance), which are far more important than acid resistance.
Elsewhere on the level...
You see Mim, Betrayer of Turin (unhurt, asleep).
...you just stay asleep, Mim. We won't be fighting you until we get access to non-elemental attack spells, and that's not going to be for a bit.
Sangahyando and Angamaite of Umbar are a different story, though. They're immune to electricity and fire, which is no problem for us. Conveniently, Angamaite wakes up first.
He dies trivially to an Acid Bolt barrage, and we can rest up to full mana before tackling Sangahyando. Their drops: A Longsword (2d5) (+6,+5), Studded Leather Armor [12,+5], and Chain Mail of Resistance [32,+12]. Excellent! Two resistance holes, patched up. We didn't really get much of an opportunity to abuse our Dragon Scale Mail, but it's not like we're short on elemental attack ability. The chainmail is pretty heavy (22 pounds!), but we'll just have to make do.
Exploring more of this level would require bypassing Mim (and, most likely, his sons as well), but conveniently we just found the resistances that were holding us back. Onwards!
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1450')
Bleck; Bats of Gorgoroth to the southwest. These guys are aggravatingly durable and can breathe both poison and darkness. Darkness in particular is a major threat because of the blindness it causes. We'll just try to avoid those guys.
There's also a pack of Uruks and Wargs to the south, and then Ufthak of Cirith Ungol to the southeast. Ufthak only resists cold, so he should be straightforward to kill. We'll take out the Uruks and Wargs first, so we don't get surrounded.
As you may remember, Black Orcs are weak against light. Go go Spear of Light!
A line of blue shimmering light appears. 7 Black orcs cringe from the light! 2 Black orcs flee in terror! The Black orc misses you. The Black orc misses you.
A line of blue shimmering light appears. 6 Black orcs cringe from the light! The Black orc shrivels away in the light! 5 Black orcs flee in terror!
A line of blue shimmering light appears. 6 Black orcs shrivel away in the light!
Interestingly, after the first beam, none of the orcs was more than 50% dead, and yet several still got frightened. I guess doing large amounts of damage in a single turn can make enemies flee even when they have plenty of health left.
Ufthak of Cirith Ungol wakes up.
Almost disappointingly easy; he dies in only 6 Acid Bolts. I guess he is only native to 700'. He drops a Set of Gauntlets [3,+5]. More handgear we can't use!
Oh, hi there Beorn! We're going the other direction now. Uh, the direction that doesn't involve poison- and darkness-breathing bats. I guess that'd be north. This level is rapidly getting crowded. We take the next staircase off without doing much more exploring. No point pushing our luck.
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1500')
Nice and peaceful. Y'know, we probably could take Beorn if we could get him away from his escorts (and used a Potion of Speed and stayed the hell away from melee range, unlike last time), but it'd take a long time since he has 1400 HP. For comparison, Ugluk had 720. We're talking heavy reliance on magical devices here; at least Beorn doesn't have any resistances.
Probably best to avoid him for the forseeable future, though. If nothing else, it'd be good to be able to survive 1 round in melee with him.
The purple u is Draebor, the Imp. Flavor text:
An intensely irritating git of a monster.
Draebor's name is, according to legend, an anagram of the name of one of the classmates of the original Angband developers. A very annoying classmate. As a consequence, Draebor's attacks poison and insult the player, and his spells consist entirely of teleportation (including "teleport the player off this level"), summoning, and status ailments. The devs made sure to give Draebor a nice drop so everyone would seek him out and kill him at the earliest opportunity.
Thanks to the rubble in the way, we're able to take the 4 attempts necessary to successfully cast Haste Self (at nominal 47% failure rate, note) before letting Draebor into LOS. Of course, his first action is
Drabor, the Imp summons its kin.
Well, this seems like as good a time as any to bust out that Wand of Lightning Balls. The Tengus (in pink) especially need to go as they're liable to teleport us away otherwise.
You have 5 charges remaining. Draebor, the Imp grunts with pain. The Tengu cries out in pain. The Tengu is destroyed. The Imp is destroyed. The Quasit is destroyed.
Not bad. Of course, our followup acid bolt decides to beam, hitting everything on that line anyway, but it doesn't pay to take chances in Angband; better go with the guaranteed AOE attack.
Draebor doesn't opt to do anything of note with his remaining turns, and we bolt him down without him laying a finger on us. His drop: An Iron Helm [7,+7], a Flail (2d6) (+4,+3), a Long Sword (2d5) (+6,+5), and White Dragon Scale Mail [14,+17]. All junk! Draebor, you suck!
The only remaining thing of interest on this level is a Wand of Acid Bolts, which deals 10d8 + 40% damage per charge. A worthy replacement for our old Wand of Lightning Bolts.
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1550')
Ugh, a cavern level. These are a mixed bag for us right now; Freude hated them because he always wants to constrain LOS and stay close to monsters, neither of which are easy on these levels. But Bryson II likes to keep her distance. She still wants to keep only one monster in LOS at a time, but at least for now that's not a huge priority since most monsters still don't have ranged attack abilities. Pretty soon she'll be making a beeline for the closest stairs though, just like Freude did.
As it happens, nothing interesting is on the level. We do hit level 27 (126 HP, 82 SP) off of a pack of Ice Trolls, and we set a Vampire on fire (abusing elemental weaknesses is always satisfying ), but that's about it.
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1600')
All clear. A bit west of our starting location, though, we find this:
There's an awful lot of HP worth of ogre in there, and Ogre Mages (the red guys in the middle) can throw frost balls that do a decent chunk of damage. However, careful play should be able to draw them out in manageable chunks.
The Orc Captain (orange o) and his escorts are asleep, keeping the Ogres from getting out. A Lightning Bolt wakes them up, and then we run away:
Our Boots of Speed give us enough of a turn advantage to get the bulk of the Ogres stuck in their pit. We're pretty badly overloaded, but that still puts us at +2 speed, which is better than they can manage.
In fact, the pathing is really rather exceptionally dumb today:
Really, guys? Couldn't make it around that corner? Oh well; suits us fine. We pull several groups out and crush them with Fire Bolts, Acid Bolts, and the occasional Frost Ball when an Ogre Mage is hiding behind one of his compatriots. Partway in, we get a prize!
You have a Cloudy Potion of Intellect.
You feel very clumsy. You feel very smart! You have no more Cloudy Potions of Intellect.
Excellent. We don't need DEX anyway. We now have 109 SP, and our minimum failure rate has dropped to 3%! With this much SP we can take on large groups and still win without running out of mana, so long as we can keep our distance and deal with them one at a time. Remember that Fire Bolt costs 3 mana, and Acid Bolt costs 4, so we can throw out a lot of damage before we need to stop and recharge.
In fact, I decide we can afford to take on the rest of the pit directly, and it goes quite well:
Although, see those traps? Yeah, Ogre Mages can cast Create Traps, and I completely forgot (this screenshot is taken after casting Detect Traps). Stumbling into one nicked our STR score It'll get restored when we level-up, but until then we're eating another point of speed due to our reduced carrying capacity.
Finally, we finish the last of the Ogres, netting a Lantern of Brightness (radius-3 light! Awesome!) and another Potion of Intellect.
You feel very sickly. You feel very smart! You have no more Cloudy Potions of Intellect.
That puts us at 18/118 INT (an internal stat of 18/68, plus 5 from our race and class bonuses), 122 SP, and a minimum failure rate of 2%. Not bad. Our HP did drop to 119 though.
In this isolated corner of the map, we find a chance to cut down on the size of the family of Mim a bit:
Ibun, Son of Mim, and he's all alone. Unlike Bryson II, he hasn't gotten around to patching his resistance to acid and electricity yet, and that's about to bite him in the ass.
Ibun, Son of Mim grunts with pain.
Ibun, Son of Mim grunts with pain.
Ibun, Son of Mim grunts with pain. Ibun, Son of Mim magically starts closing wounds. Ibun, Son of Mim looks REALLY healthy!
While he could theoretically keep doing that indefinitely, he doesn't heal again, nor really do anything else of note. Besides die, of course.
He drops a Great Hammer of Frost (8d1) (+6,+8), which does an awful lot of damage but is waaaaaaay too heavy for us. 18 pounds! Who ever heard of a melee weapon that weighs 18 pounds? I mean, it's not as bad as the 30-pound Lance, but it's still pretty absurd.
That about does it for the level, and this seems like a good place to take a break.
Spells unlocked this update:
- Fire Ball: "Shoots a radius-2 fire ball." At 9 mana a pop and 38% failure rate, this isn't really usable yet, and honestly by the time we start being able to spam it, we should (with any luck) have better options. The damage (82) is pretty good though. Compare to Frost Ball at 6 mana, current 7% failure rate, and 57 damage.
Also, Haste Self is down to a 35% failure rate, which isn't exactly great, but is a heck of a lot better than 50%.
Next time: maybe we can start working on Bryson II's muscles a bit?