The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 29: Fickle Luck

Update 29: Fickle Luck

Last time, Bryson II covered a few glaring weaknesses and boosted her INT a bit. Sure, it cost her some physical stat points, but bah, who needs to be dextrous? Or tough? That's for the warriors. On a related note, we're down 3 speed points due to overburdening

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1650')

Earth Hounds inbound, but there's only three of them, so we should be able to cope. Earth Hounds, if you've forgotten, breathe shards. There's also a passel of expert adventurers (Master Rogues, Paladins, Easterling Champions, and the like), all of whom are pretty much dross at this point. Honestly the Stone Giant in the room is more dangerous, what with his boulders potentially doing 60 damage each. We only have 119 HP!

Still, we manage to kill everything without having to stop and rest, and we still have 50 SP left over. Having a large mana pool is a great relief, I must say.

Exploring for a bit, we encounter more Stone Giants, one of whom brings us down to 40 HP with sequential boulder-throws. Nothing our Cure Serious Wounds potions can't handle (they restore 40 HP apiece), but still a bit scary. Then we run into a Black Wraith:

His Cause Critical Wounds spell could kill us outright; the monster memory lists it as doing 150 damage. I don't know if that's a maximum or average; it's probably not flat damage since practically every damage value in Angband is randomized to some extent. Still, we don't want to get hit by it! Unfortunately we don't really have any fantastic options here. Our Teleport Other spell is at a 24% failure rate, and it'd take awhile for us to take him down with spells (not that long -- wraiths are all pretty fragile -- but long enough).

I opt to phase away to get multiple attempts at teleporting him...and of course that means that the first attempt works. Oh well, suits me fine.

Of course, he'd've given us 2400 EXP if we'd killed him -- but there's just no profit in taking chances when he can turn out those kinds of damage numbers.

Then it turns out that we basically have to kill him anyway, because he keeps coming back. I guess Black Wraiths don't deactivate the way most monsters do when you get far away from them. Very annoying! Oh well, nothing for it. I mean, we could just go down the stairs, but man, there's cowardice and then there's cowardice. Odds of him casting Cause Critical Wounds are about 1 in 35. He can also cast Nether Bolt, but that only almost kills us, so as long as we stay away from him we should be okay.

I break out our Wand of Acid Bolts for this fight, since it has the highest damage output of all our spells, given the boost our Magic Device skill gives it. We're also hasted (thanks to a potion, to conserve mana just in case). The fewer turns he gets, the better.

You failed to use the wand properly. The Black wraith points at you and incants terribly.

Eek. So much for 1 in 35 chances! On the plus side, he "only" did 55 damage to us, leaving us neatly half-dead. Better than all-dead. A Cure Critical Wounds potion patches the damage.

You have 16 Scrolls titled "spentis hema" of Phase Door.

Black Wraiths don't deal much damage in melee -- just 2x 1d12 hits. But they also drain experience, and besides our safety margin is narrow enough as it is.

You have 8 charges remaining. The Black wraith screams in agony. The Black wraith flees in terror!
Welcome to level 28. You feel less weak. You can learn 15 more spells. You have 7 charges remaining. The Black wraith is destroyed.

122 HP, 127 SP, and most importantly, we're still alive!

Looking at the source code, I think that Cause Critical Wounds deals 10d15 damage. A quick Monte Carlo simulation indicates that that means it has about a 44% chance of killing us outright from full health Maybe I should have checked that before sticking around to fight this guy!

On the plus side, he dropped a Potion of Enlightenment. Those things are always handy.

We clear the rest of the level without incident. I briefly tarry with the idea of wielding a Whip of Flame we find, but honestly all it gives us is resistance to fire, and it's exceedingly unlikely that we'll need rFire on the weapon slot.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1700')

A pretty quiet place, all told. We score a Ring of Strength <+3> off of a Shadow Drake, which is tempting...but I'd rather have the +4 stealth from our Ring of the Mouse (which replaced the old Ring of Resist Fire and Cold), at least for now. We also get a Potion of Dexterity, which is, well, it's better than not having a Potion of Dexterity DEX is a dump stat and pretty much always will be, for us.

Hey, it's Tom, Bill, and Bert, the Stone Trolls! They're all clones of each other: 1100 HP apiece, fast, immune to cold, and they can throw boulders. Looks like the boulders can do upwards of 60 damage, so we'd really be best-served by, well, leaving them in this little enclosed area that's blocked in by rubble. Or at least by making sure that we only fight one at a time. Rather than rely on their relative lack of alertness, we'll just teleport away two of them.

Bill the Stone Troll disappears!
Tom the Stone Troll disappears!

Clear out the Ghost too, just for safety's sake. Then take a hit from our Potions of Speed, and start laying into Bert.

Bert the Stone Troll grunts with pain. Bert the Stone Troll hurls a boulder.

Not a great start; his boulder did 35 damage. Still, we can keep on top of that by healing each time he clonks us with one.

By the time he's gotten closer, he's 70% dead and we're down to a bit under half mana. Man, it is so nice being able to kill big targets with just spells!

Bert the Stone Troll cries out in pain. Bert the Stone Troll flees in terror! Bert the Stone Troll hurls a boulder.
You feel very good. You have 15 Gold Potions of Cure Serious Wounds.
Bert the Stone Troll screams in pain. Bert the Stone Troll flees in terror!
Bert the Stone Troll dies.

That's one down! Now we just have to cast Detect Monsters obsessively while exploring the rest of the level so we don't drop in on one of his buddies unprepared.

He dropped a Lochaber Axe (3d8) (+4,+4). Also in the room was an Amulet of Wisdom <+4>, impressively nice...if we were a priest. It doesn't even make our saving throw budge. One of these days we'll find a Ring of Intelligence!

A bit later we find Tom, now awake and angry (he got woken up by being teleported, which I'm sure was a shock). Fortunately far enough away that we have time to take the requisite two attempts at Haste Self (nominal failure rate: 32%).

Tom the Stone Troll fiddles with the lock.
Tom the Stone Troll fiddles with the lock.
Tom the Stone Troll slams against the door.
Tom the Stone Troll slams against the door.
Tom the Stone Troll slams against the door.
You hear a door burst open!

I'm amazed he tried to pick the lock. Dude's fingers must be the size of tree trunks

Perfect -- plenty of room for us to bolt him down as he approaches. It takes 21 total bolts (during which he throws two boulders, one of which misses) before he dies. That's two! His drop: Mithril Gauntlets [6,+3] and a Potion of Resist Cold Guess he must have picked that up somewhere.

Khim, Son of Mim is that orange h in the corridor. Like his brother, he doesn't resist acid or electricity, and this is an excellent opportunity to take him out. He's nowhere near as threatening as the Stone Trolls are, mostly because he moves at normal speed and has nowhere near as much health. He drops nothing interesting, but a Master Thief right behind him drops this:

Very nice! Bog-standard 1d5 Bolts fired from this would do about 70 damage per shot (assuming we hit). This is a potential way for us to kill monsters like Mim who are immune to all elements. Unfortunately, it weighs 11 pounds and bolts are also heavy. We need more strength!

Also, there's a couple of vaults in the area:

You are aware of 55 monsters:

The Nexus Vortex could be annoying, and the Mature Dragons are durable, but everything here looks doable.

Bill the Stone Troll fiddles with the lock.

Oop, and Bill's back, to our south:

Better deal with him first, I think. None of the vault denizens can get to us right now anyway, even the ones that are awake.

On the ground: a Small iron chest (Poison Needle).
You set off a trap! A small needle has pricked you! You feel very sickly.
You set off a trap! A small needle has pricked you! You feel very sickly.
You have disarmed the chest.
You have found 900 gold pieces worth of silver.
You have found 465 gold pieces worth of garnets.

So not worth it We're down to 101 max HP now, and a CON score of 4. It'll take a whopping 9000 experience for us to level again for a free restore. I think this warrants eating the Mushroom of Vigor I've been lugging around for awhile.

You feel less sickly. You have no more Blue Mushrooms of Vigor.

There, back to 122 HP. Looking at the code, a CON of 6 means we take a penalty of .75 HP/level, while a CON of 4 means a penalty of 1.5 HP/, yeah, don't have stupidly low CON scores, folks! Also: mages can cast Trap/Door Destruction. I need to remember this fact.

Right, we're hasted up and good to go. Time to meet your brothers, Bill. Just 20 Acid Bolts for him, and like Tom before him he landed one boulder and missed with a second. His drop: a Ring of Ice (again, he must've picked it up somewhere) and this:

Really the only worthwhile thing this gives us is See Invisible, and there's precious few invisible monsters that aren't detected by telepathy. If we do encounter one, well, that's what Reveal Monsters is for.

Speaking of which, with 127 base SP there's no real reason not to use Reveal Monsters instead of Detect Monsters as our standard detection spell. We can handle the extra 5 SP cost now.

You sense the presence of monsters. You sense the presence of invisible creatures!

Oh hey, there's one of those invisible mindless enemies now That Quylthulg (yellow Q) isn't going anywhere though, so we can just go around him. Hell, he'd probably die in one or two acid bolts anyway. Now that we know he's there he's no trouble. Thanks, Reveal Monsters!

Back to the vaults, we take out the Mature White Dragon and her brood without too much trouble, aside from failing to cast Haste Self four times in a row (statistical likelihood at 32% failure rate: 1%). The northeast vault is the first priority here, in part because the monsters in it are easier to take down quickly, and in part because the monsters in the southwest vault are sealed in (aside from one Shadow, who can walk through walls and gets bolted for its trouble).

A Mature Blue Dragon puts up an impressive fight, breathing twice and taking us to about half health. Otherwise, the only thing of note is a group of Giant White Rats giving us an excuse to break out Stinking Cloud again.

Loot: a Potion of Brawn (stat-swap potion that boost Strength) and 2 Potions of Healing. Not bad. I'd like to drink the Brawn potions (we've stockpiled 4 of them so far), but I want to have some Intellect potions to offset potential drains there first.

Right, back to the other vault.

The Quylthulg gets one turn, in which he summons a Ninja. Fortunately Ninjas are fragile and die easily, because they're also fast and have two STR-draining attacks per round. Yikes. The Quylthulg itself dies in a single Acid Bolt.

For the vault, we start with the southern quadrant. We'll clear the easy ones first, saving the hardest (the eastern quadrant) for last, in case we're forced to flee. Before opening each, we haste up; there's no reason not to cast Haste Self if you aren't in a hurry.

We hit level 29 (128 HP, 131 SP) off of the Cave Trolls in the southern quadrant. The western quadrant has some Arrows of Slay Evil and Red Dragon Scale Mail, both of which are shiny but useless. The Water Trolls to the north do a credible job of draining our SP with their average 316 HP apiece; that's a lot of acid bolts (unlike Water Hounds which resist and breathe acid, Water Trolls resist cold).

Finally, the eastern quadrant has two monsters that have ranged attacks, so we'll pop them open from here, giving us at least one free attack on them while they get into position.

The Smoke elemental resists a lot.

...odd. Smoke Elementals are immune to cold. Considering they're basically darkness/fire elementals, I wouldn't have expected that. However, they don't resist acid, so we go with that. They're fragile, thankfully -- only 82 HP apiece.

The Killer Iridescent Beetle (an electric beetle, basically) and Young Black Dragon take a bit more time to kill but don't do anything dangerous; the Nexus Vortex moves so erratically that it never manages to line up a clear shot on us. And the vault is clear!

That seems like enough for this level, so we pop back to town to drop stuff off. In the Black Market is a Potion of Intelligence

You feel very smart! You have no more Light Blue Potions of Intelligence.

146 SP, but our failure rate on spells remains at 2%. We're going to need equipment boosts to get much higher; our internal INT score is now 18/77.

Also in the Black Market is a Scroll of *Destruction* which we happily liberate. We shouldn't actually need it anytime soon, so it can wait at home, but it'll be handy eventually.

Time to gamble a bit on Brawn, I think.

You feel very stupid. You feel very strong! You have 3 Metallic Blue Potions of Brawn.

Back down to 131 SP. Oh well. Surely lightning won't strike twice!

You feel very stupid. You feel very strong! You have 2 Metallic Blue Potions of Brawn.

Never taunt the RNG, kids. 117 SP should still be enough for our purposes, but yeesh! At least our STR score of 17 (internal score 18/24) is quite respectable now.

It's interesting -- stat potions are worth more than one point once you get above 18. We drank two potions and went from internal stat 17 to 18/24, which is an effective gain of 3 points of STR as far as mechanics are concerned. Similarly, though we got dinged a /10 for each INT drain, when we drink our next potion of Intelligence we should make back more than /10. So these stat-swap potions can get you net gains because they sometimes give you more than +1 but never drop you more than -1.

I pick up the Wand of Annihilation from our home, just in case we really need to kill Mim. Otherwise, a quick consumables shuffle and we're ready to head back down.

You feel yourself yanked downwards! (to 1700')

Pretty busy-looking, but we've already played this depth once already; not much point in hanging around. We just take the closest stairs.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1750')

Oooh, Barrow Wights. Fragile like all wights, and worth good experience (426 per). They take two Acid Bolts each to kill. I do like a nice experience pinata, even if the drop was crap.

To the west, we take on some Water Trolls, Earth Hounds, and a group of adventurers. Nothing really serious, but we get a Potion of Intellect out of the deal. Now come on, RNG, no whammies...

You feel very weak. You feel very smart! You have no more Cloudy Potions of Intellect.

Oh come on now. This is beyond preposterous! 18/14 STR, 18/67 INT, back to 131 SP. Oh well...

More Water Trolls downed, another Potion of Intellect...

You feel very sickly. You feel very smart! You have no more Cloudy Potions of Intellect.

Amazing! 120 HP, 146 SP. I'll take it.

While we're on the subject of stat-swap potions, though, check out Bryson II's internal stats:

Is that min-maxing or what? This is why the "stat-swap" effect of Nexus attacks was so lethal -- it swapped the values of two of your internal stats. Bryson II could end up with an 18/78 CON (adjusted to 18/48) and an 8 INT (adjusted to 13) if she got really unlucky. Even an internal INT of 10 would be a death sentence. Nexus breathers deserve respect!

Anyway, we're about done here. Next!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1800')

Ooh, a spellcaster pit! Uh, I guess it'd be a University? There's a Sorcerer in the middle, but everything else is chump change. Worst case we can teleport the Sorcerer away. They're fast and can cast a number of nasty spells (like Fire Ball, Summon Dragon, and Summon Undead), but they only have 457 HP and no resists; that seems like it ought to be manageable.

Amusingly, Apprentices can't open doors Or else that door is jammed. Well, we can help out there (after hasting up, of course):

The wall turns into mud!

Weird. It should say the door turns into mud. Oh well.

Apprentices and Illusionists go down in a Fire Bolt apiece; this is no trouble. Then the Sorcerer shows up. He's hiding behind a Mage, who turns out to be annoyingly durable (soaking a Fire Ball without dying, anyway). But as it turns out, we don't want to be here any more anyway...

The Sorcerer summons a dragon.

Yep, that's an Ancient Multihued Dragon alright. Even resisted, any one of his breath attacks would kill us outright. Time to be elsewhere. Teleport Self to the rescue!

Much safer.

Okay, moderately safer. There's a couple of Death Knights in this probable-vault; one of those almost killed Freude way back when, remember? And they can also summon monsters.

I think taking this staircase is a much better plan than trying to continue to kill things on this level. It's entirely too crowded.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1850')

And that seems like a good place to take a break! Next time: more stat gaining! And if we're really lucky, we'll find a new spellbook!