Part 33: WyrmslayerUpdate 33: Wyrmslayer
Last time, Bryson II did some precision almost-dying against Smaug and found another spellbook. Not the spellbook that she wanted, but who's going to say no to the RNG? That would be churlish, not to mention decidedly foolhardy.
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2650')
That Ancient Green Dragon to our east is worthy of more respect than the other "basic" ancient dragons, since we still lack permanent poison resistance. On the other hand, we can now cast Resist Poison thanks to our new spellbook. And oddly enough, he only hits 211 damage with his breath attack unresisted; we have more HP than that! How bizarre that we can actually tank a hit.
His drop includes a Wand of Dragon's Flame. Someone's experiencing a bit of chromatic dismorphia, I think.
In that large moated room to the north, we find an interesting little toy:
Crossbows of the Haradrim are among the better non-unique bows in the game. I think they can only show up on Light Crossbows, and only at <+1>, but that's still an x4 multiplier with 2 shots/round, which is not to be trifled with. We'll stick with our spells though.
Time was, groups of trolls like this were one of your best bets for finding great gear in the late game; they dropped lots of items, and the more items you found, the more likely you were to find something useful. Nowadays monster drop rates in general are severely reduced, so if you're doing a "dive to the bottom" kind of strategy, your best bet for equipment upgrades is actually simply finding things on the floor. Or killing early-game uniques. Case in point -- these trolls drop two piles of money and nothing else.
One of Freude's favorite (or at least frequent) pasttimes was clearing hydra nests. We're not going to bother with Bryson II; they have entirely too many HP and their breath attacks can wear you down fast.
Aside from that nest, there's nothing else of interest on the level, so we move on.
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2700')
Kind of tight quarters to start out. Hello, Mr. Ancient White Dragon. We're stealthy enough to simply walk away from him without any trouble; of course we can kill him, but preferably we'd do it in a way that doesn't mean taking any melee damage. Like so:
A Stinking Cloud wakes him up and brings him into LOS, and then we Acid Bolt him down at our leisure. He has an interesting drop:
It's not better than our current cloak, not by a long shot, but it's still interesting.
And then the game crashed when I tried to force-redraw the screen, since I have to resize things when taking screenshots of item descriptions or else the descriptions end up really wide and table-breaking. Fortunately I'd saved right beforehand, so no progress was lost. Go go Ctrl+S reflexes! It's almost like my fingers knew something would go wrong...
Alas, the only other thing of interest on the level is a Rod of Detection. Mages never get the spell Detection, though they have all of the components via Reveal Monsters, Detect Treasure, and Find Traps, Doors & Stairs. It's not really worth carrying rods around just to save a couple of turns though. Oh well.
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2750')
Not too much in the area, but the D is a Great Crystal Drake. They breathe shards. We don't resist shards. We'll stay away from Mr. One-Hit-Kill over there, even if it means digging ourselves an entirely new dungeon somewhere else.
There's also a Death Mold in the room with us. Death Molds are immune to the basic four elements. We plink this one down with Magic Missile anyway, just on principle. It's a really evil mold! You can't let something like that live! Also, killing it gets us to level 35 (261 HP, 281 SP).
A pit full of golems? That's a new one on me. Naturally these guys have a shit-ton of HP. However, only the Silent Watchers (in red) and Pukelmen (in, uh, puke-brown) have any spells, and they're mostly inconsequential. So hey, why not.
The Earth hound fiddles with the lock.
Oh come on! You can't teach dogs to use a doorknob! It's the only thing that keeps us safe sometimes! Well, that and Acid Bolt.
As it turns out, even the Mithril Golems don't resist acid (even though the defining characteristic of mithril armor in this game is that it's naturally acidproof).
The Silent Watchers don't move, and we'd rather not spend turns in their LOS because they can shriek for help, which hastes all monsters in LOS -- and fast golems are bad news. We end up having to punch a hole in the wall to drain out the other golems without getting spotted by the Watchers. It's a tedious process, as the golems seem to be especially bad at pathfinding; if the required path deviates more than a few tiles away from a straight line then they get stuck.
Down to just the Watchers, some Stone Golems, and the Colossus, who has a whopping 2640 HP...but moves slowly. With Haste Self, that puts us at better than a 3x turn advantage. It takes 45 Acid Bolts to take it out as it sloooowly lumbers towards us.
Finally, it's just us and the Watchers. It's time to make some cheese.
Angband's LOS scheme is a little wonky. From here we can actually target the leftmost Watcher! But he can't see us. Normally we'd use Fireball here, but Silent Watchers are immune to fire (and to cold and poison), so it's back to Acid Bolt for us. 16 Acid Bolts does for the first one, and oh what the hell:
That's the path a projectile would take from our current position to the northen Watcher. Angband's LOS scheme is really wonky. You can't tell me that's intentional! Just remember, monsters use the same rules to hit you with spells when you can't see them. LOS is asymmetric, but it's asymmetric both ways, if that makes sense.
All clear, finally. Alas, the only item that wasn't automatically squelched was a magical Ball & Chain. Not worth it!
There's nothing else here. Next level!
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2800')
Bad start. A pack of Inertia Hounds about to barge into LOS, that p is a Grand Master Mystic, and the Nether Wraith and Night Mare aren't a lot of fun either. We haste up, getting enough turns to cast more detection spells:
Ah, a vault.
Hey, it's Pac-Man again! The monster list is seriously worrisome this time:
You are aware of 88 monsters:
On the other hand, with the amount of speed we have now, and careful LOS positioning, it ought to still be possible to loot this vault by teleporting monsters away. I've been less teleport-happy with Bryson II than with Freude, mostly because Freude could afford a few screw-ups and Bryson II can't. But there are a lot of little jags in the corridors here which should make it possible to zap monsters away from safety.
Before we dive in, though, it's worth chugging a Potion of Enlightenment to see what the potential rewards are:
Oh. Tenser's, again. Thanks game. The big find is the Potion of Constitution, and it isn't even in the vault! It's up in this moated room to the north:
You feel very healthy!
Right, well, let's crack this puppy open and hope we don't die.
You feel yourself moving faster!
The wall turns into mud!
The Night mare disappears!
We also teleport away a Nether Wraith, a Berserker, and a number of other monsters that we could kill, if we were fighting them one-on-one in better terrain where we could avoid melee range.
The Grand Master Mystic is to our north, but he's hemmed in by Cave Spiders. Given that we have to get into LOS of him to reach the rest of the vault anyway, and I'd rather clear it out proactively than wait for everything to wake up and come to us (neverind that that would take ages), we pop around the corner, clear the spiders with a Stinking Cloud, and then teleport the Mystic.
Next is the Dracolisk, in the southeast corner.
If we took a step to the east, then potentially, the Dracolisk could wake up, decide to breathe nexus, and end our game right there. Instead, we wake him up with a Stinking Cloud so he comes to us and gets teleported.
Next is the Bile Demon, the pink U in the bottom center of the vault.
For him, we creep around the southern edge of the vault to get close enough, pull him with another Stinking Cloud, and then teleport him.
Finally, the center of the vault, with the Great Hell Wyrm.
Turn the door into mud, Stinking Cloud, teleport. The Ancient Blue Dragon actually comes out first, so he gets teleported too.
All clear! The Nether Hounds in the northwest are a concern, but their nether breath is only 55 damage per, so we should be able to take them, assuming they break free of the mummies holding them back.
- Boots of Speed <+6>. Not an improvement over our current set.
- Another copy of Tenser's Transformations, as we saw. Theoretically useful in case our current copy got stolen, but realistically that's not going to happen.
- A Lance (Holy Avenger). Like we'd use a 30-pound weapon with no useful stat modifiers!
- Hard Leather Armor of Resistance. We're still wearing a Robe of Elvenkind with resistance to sound, which remains better than this.
- A Ring of Constitution <+5>. A straight upgrade over our old <+3> ring, taking our HP to 296.
- A Potion of Strength, dropped by a chest.
A lot of effort for relatively little gain. Oh well, not everything can be a cornucopia of loot.
On a side note, we did the entire vault up to now without resting to recover mana (since that increased the likelihood that a monster would wake up). We're now at 89 mana left. Having a big mana pool rocks.
Now here's a neat trick:
If we step north, then we'll enter LOS of some Nether Hounds and risk eating a few experience-draining breath attacks. However, we can cast Door Creation:
And now we can step north without them seeing us. And I'm glad I decided to check out the rest of the vault, because the Mumaks were guarding this:
Plus five to CON! Compared to our old pick, we lose +3 stealth and ability to tunnel...but an extra 35 HP (to 331) more than makes up for that. We now have a whopping +17 CON from our equipment, which is positively insane. Eventually we'll be able to shed some of that once we start getting more potions of Constitution down the hatch; our internal CON score is still sitting at a measily 13.
Unfortunately, clearing out the Nether Hounds is definitely not a profitable endeavour; we lose far more experience than we gain, and the only loot is a replacement Potion of Enlightenment, and this cloak:
Right, that's this vault cleared.
And we've poisoned the rest of the level with horrific monsters. Rather than create stairs to get out, though, let's bop back to town.
The Black Market has the last Potion of Intelligence we need to max out Our INT is now 18/*** (a.k.a. 18/220), which affects things only in that our failure rates are ever so slightly lower on the really tricky spells. There's also a Potion of Wisdom, but I opt to save our money on the off-chance that a spellbook shows up; they can be expensive.
The Alchemist fortunately has a Potion of Restore Life Levels, getting us back about 30k experience we'd lost. Otherwise, we do the consumables dance and then head back down.
You feel yourself yanked downwards! (to 2800')
Not much here, but we get another Potion of Constitution. 349 max HP! Our CON score is now 18/100 (internal 14). Also, while plinking away at this Death Mold with Magic Missile, I note that our SP is slowly recovering, which means we're regaining more than 1 SP per turn. Hooray for regeneration!
Will o' the Wisps are, if anything, even more annoying for mages than for warriors. They're immune to all elements, walk through walls, and frequently cast Teleport Self (only to return ~100-200 turns later), which means it takes a long time to plink them down with Magic Missile. I don't really get why they're in the game, honestly, since they're not exactly threatening, just a colossal pain in the ass.
Anyway, this level is dull. Let's check the next one.
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2850')
Our Rod of Magic Mapping hasn't recharged, but given the number of items scattered about, I'm guessing this is a cavern level. Remember the devs had to add a bunch of floor items to those to try to convince players to not immediately head for the stairs.
Sure enough, a bit later we have our map:
Nothing too threatening; the hounds are Vibration Hounds, which breathe sound, which we resist. We clear out the area, finding Jack Diddly in terms of loot. However, we do find this fellow:
Scatha the Worm! Scatha is Smaug's cold-themed clone, more or less. We can now cast Resist Cold, cutting his potential 244-damage breath to a mere 81. Easy peasy. Hell, his Cause Critical Wounds spell does more damage. He does manage to make us drink a Healing potion through a combination of that spell and his breath attack, but otherwise we just burn through 140 SP in Acid Bolt and Phase Door spells before he falls over. Victory
His drop is some Seeker Arrows of Wounding and a bunch of merely magical armor
Oh well, next level!
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2900')
Wow, check out the monster list.
The Ancient Multihued Dragon is the D further to the south, which means that Ji Indur Dawndeath, Itangast, and a Jabberwock are all right here in this moated room. Cripes. Itangast we can handle; he's weaker than Smaug. The Jabberwock is a different story; they breathe chaos, which we don't resist, and have the HP to make it really hurt. They're also native to 3400'; what's he doing here?
Finally, Ji Indur Dawndeath has a number of moderately painful spells and 3200 HP. I'd say this is an excellent time to bust out the Dragon's Flame wands, since he's immune to Drain Life, but for some reason he's immune to fire too. Honestly he's not really worth fighting right now; we simply don't have the means to damage him quickly enough.
We don't want to go in there, which means they need to come out to us. So, crack the room open with Stone to Mud, then cast Light Area.
Itangast the Fire Drake wakes up. The Grey wraith wakes up.
I don't know exactly how it works, but lighting spells have a chance to wake up monsters in the room. It's clearly not 100%. Since Itangast is the only one we actually want to fight, this is a bit annoying; the terrain would be ideal if only the other guys weren't here, but as it is we can't risk them waking up in the middle of the fight. Oh well. Itangast gets teleported away, and we'll track him down later. I guess this does mean that Ji Indur Dawndeath and the Jabberwock can just slumber peacefully away in this cul de sac.
Oh yeah, and the Lernaean Hydra is here too. Hahahahaha fuck fighting that guy now. He has 4500 HP! His breath attacks and spells really hurt!
Hm, annoying. Itangast landed up next to a Lesser Titan. Also fuck fighting those guys. They can teleport you next to them, and their melee is absurdly painful (4x 9d9 confusion hits -- theoretically up to 364 damage!). Also, there's another Ancient Multihued Dragon in the east-west corridor between us. The game's laying it on a bit thick now, isn't it?
Here's our combat arena for fighting Itangast. Fortunately, he's awake and the titan still slumbers.
There we go. Target lured, commence bombardment (after applying Resist Fire, of course). 16 Acid Bolts in, he breathes fire, dealing a mere 44 damage. And that's the only damage he does. The only interesting thing in his drop:
Well, it's an extra point of CON (366 HP), and we didn't need the resists from our current shield anyway.
And now, let's get off this level before something wakes up and pancakes us.
You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2950')
Oh, great start. On the off-chance that the door is on the eastern side of the nest, we pretty much have to cast Door Creation on our first turn; otherwise, the door could open and then a bunch of hydras would have LOS on us. Fortunately, it isn't; unfortunately, we still have to figure out how to get the fuck away from here.
Fuck, no, it was on the eastern side and they're just slower than expected! Also I didn't pay any attention to the nest while casting our detection spells. Stupid me.
Uhhhh....shit. Teleport Self is really counter-indicated at these depths, which leaves Teleport Level, or scrolls: we have Banishment and *Destruction*.
Y'know, let's just banish all the hydras. This is about as good an opportunity as any, and this way we get the items in their nest. There's 55 of them, and Banishment does IIRC 1d4 damage to the caster per monster banished, so this is survivable (unless there's another hydra nest on the level and the RNG gets jammed on rolling 4s over and over again, but that's incredibly unlikely).
Choose a monster race (by symbol) to banish: M
You have no more Scrolls titled "lam wizzy" of Banishment.
Down to 223 out of 366 HP. Unfortunately the nest loot is just a Katana of Westernesse and a Potion of Restore Mana. We have 7 of those things kicking around in our inventory right now, and 8 more at home. Mana is not a problem any more.
Hey, it's Akhorahil the Blind! Unlike Ji Indur Dawndeath, he is not immune to fire, so I think we can probably take him down with our Dragon's Flame wands.
This is a pretty good firing line. 6 charges of Dragon's Flame later, and he's 70% dead. We could follow up with Acid Bolt, but I think actually we'll get faster returns in this case from casting Greater Recharging (at a 23% failure rate) on our wands. Assuming they don't blow up of course.
They didn't blow up Four more charges of Dragon's Flame are go!
You have 3 charges remaining. Akhorahil the Blind screams in pain. Akhorahil the Blind flees in terror! Akhorahil the Blind summons some friends.
Could be a lot worse. He got a Winged Horror and a Ghost, and the Ghost is about to die in a firestorm. The Winged Horror has some moderately nasty ranged breath attacks, but only 1013 HP, so we should be able to take it down fairly quickly once Akhorahil dies.
You have 2 charges remaining. Akhorahil the Blind cries out feebly. The Winged Horror flaps angrily. The Ghost is destroyed.
You have 1 charge remaining. The Winged Horror flaps angrily. Akhorahil the Blind is destroyed.
We switch to Acid Bolt to finish the Horror off, mostly in case there's anything flammable in Akhorahil's drop. As it turns out, we needn't have bothered; there isn't a single ego-item or artifact in the lot, let alone a spellbook Some days it just doesn't pay to purge the world of evil.
Hey, something to raise my spirits: a couple of vaults!
Western one first:
The only big guy here is a Greater Basilisk; they can breathe nexus and poison, but we have poison covered now via the Resist Poison spell. Odds of us getting hit by a bad nexus stat-swap: (1 in 8 spellcast chance) * (1 in 3 chance of picking nexus) * (something like 1 in 6 chance of triggering the stat-swap effect) * (36% chance of picking INT as either of the stats to be swapped) ~= .2%. I think we can afford to fight this guy, as long as we do it quickly. A good opportunity for our Cold Balls wand.
The Greater basilisk is badly frozen. The Greater basilisk breathes poison. You resist the effect!
Go Resistance! Also, he's weak to cold; excellent!
Welcome to level 36. You can learn 14 more spells. The Greater basilisk freezes and shatters!
(375 HP, 289 SP)
Alas, no actual loot in the vault. Next!
Again only one big enemy; this time it's Fundin Bluecloak, the blue h. We'll just teleport him away. He's not especially lethal (his only big attack spell is Cause Mortal Wounds, which I think can't do more than 225 damage), but he has 5000 HP, is immune to all elements, and can summon, so he's really not worth fighting.
Our loot: another Wand of Dragon's Flame, a Potion of Constitution (393 max HP!), and some pretty but useless ego weapons.
That does it for this level, and this is a good place to take a break. Next time: we have to decide whether or not to power-dive.