Part 37: Taking NamesUpdate 37: Taking Names
Last update, Bryson II started a profitable career in scumming the bottom of the dungeon for new toys. Let's right right back in it!
Ooh. Ungoliant to our northwest, and a Graveyard to our northeast. Let's see if we can't banish that Graveyard to pieces. We'll want to hit L, D, and s at the very least, for the Black Reaver, Dracoliches, and Drujs.
Choose a monster race (by symbol) to banish: L
Stop to recharge our Staff of Banishment...and it doesn't explode
Choose a monster race (by symbol) to banish: D
Choose a monster race (by symbol) to banish: s
That looks much more manageable. There's still a Bone Golem in there that we'll want to teleport away, but we should be able to deal with everything else.
Taking care of the more proactive denizens of the Graveyard doesn't take too long. Firebolt remains highly effective against vampires, and Meteor Swarm does for the wraiths.
All clear! Of course there's no stat potions. The only really notable drop is a couple of Potions of Enlightenment and a Potion of Life. Life is so hilariously overkill that we don't really want to even bother devoting the inventory slot to it; Potions of *Healing* will do everything we need and we have 17 of them sitting at home.
We spot Ariel, Queen of Air in a small room and head over to visit her:
She's no more resistant to meteors than anyone else. Results are predictable; she manages to blow up a few potions, but that's all.
That's good for this level; let's pull up another one.
Eol the Dark Elf to our north. Well, we should be able to kill him. He has a number of nasty summons and attack spells, but only 2400 HP.
From here we can wake up Eol without bothering the Black Reaver and Dracolisk sharing his abode. Hey, I've found a use for Cloud Kill: we need a radius-3 spell to hit him from here!
You have 2 charges remaining. Eol, the Dark Elf grunts with pain. Eol, the Dark Elf points at you and screams the word 'DIE!'. You have been given a nasty cut.
Ooh, our 86% saving throw failed us. That did 140 damage in addition to the bleeding effect. Easily patched up.
He summons a Vampire Lord to tank hits for him, but we just teleport it away instead. We get him down to 60% dead, and then one of our two Drain Life wands blows up on recharge. Alas! Well, we still have one left.
You have 2 charges remaining. Eol, the Dark Elf cries out in pain. Eol, the Dark Elf casts a bolt of raw magic.
Ow. 220 damage. Why don't we get mana bolts like that? I guess they'd be kind of overpowered. Oh well. Eol dies the turn after this...and his drop is universally crap.
The next level proves interesting:
Naturally, that's Gothmog there in the vault with his escort of balrogs, though he has somehow run out of unique escorts Carcharoth is just east of us, but he's still asleep so we should be able to teleport him without difficulty. Hoarmurath of Dur, a Ringwraith, is also in the vault. Finally, there's a pack of Time Hounds to our north, fortunately blocked off by rubble.
Nothing in the item list of interest besides a Scroll of Acquirement, which will almost certainly just give us another junk ego-item. Where on Earth are the Potions of Constitution?
Getting closer to the vault, we can see that the Witch-King of Angmar is also present. Hm. He can be kind of a jerk; we may want to avoid him.
Gothmog piles out of the vault and gets teleported away again. I wonder if he's noticed the pattern yet.
We prepare to fight Hoarmurath. Worryingly, the Plasma Hounds are following him out. Shouldn't they not be chasing us? We aren't in a room! Fortunately, they stop just short of entering LOS.
We convert our mana into meteors, use our Staff of the Magi, and resume bombardment, culminating in an Explosion for the kill. This staff is awesome. So is Raal's Tome
And hey, he dropped the Phial! Finally!
It's crap. But then what did you expect? The only remaining artifact light source is the Star (based on the Star of Elendil), and it probably also won't be worth using.
Things have been going so well, why don't we try fighting the Witch-King? Could be fun!
He isn't immune to fire, which means we break out our Wands of Dragon's Flame. They're doing 318 damage per shot now, way more than any of our spells can do (unless we roll extraordinarily well with Rift).
You have 3 charges remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar grunts with pain. The Witch-King of Angmar casts a bolt of raw magic.
You have 2 charges remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar grunts with pain. The Witch-King of Angmar summons its kin.
He pulled a Nightcrawler, a Nether Wraith, and a Grave Wight. Enough for us to abandon this position.
The Witch-King of Angmar slams against the door.
...you do realize you can just go around, right? It'd take you a whole one turn out of your way!
You have 2 charges remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar grunts with pain. The Witch-King of Angmar smashes you with psionic energy. You feel yourself moving slower! You resist the effect! You resist the effect! You resist the effect!
Can't be blinded, confused, or paralyzed, but that slowing effect still sucks. Stupid Brain Smash!
You have 3 charges remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar grunts with pain. The Witch-King of Angmar commands you to go away.
Bah, Teleport Other! It's only funny when we do it, guys!
It doesn't take us long to return to the fight. On the plus side, he's 50% dead. On the minus side,
You have 2 charges remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar grunts with pain. The Witch-King of Angmar summons major demons.
The Greater Balrog isn't so much of a problem, but Pazuzu could really make us regret life. And they're behind the Witch-King, so we can't get rid of them easily. We throw up some doors to block LOS while we retreat and try to think of a way to get rid of Pazuzu while keeping the Witch-King around...
We get a few more rounds in, but the demons are still following, plus a Dreadmaster and a Nether Wraith from the vault are after us. And on top of that,
The Witch-King of Angmar summons its kin.
There's too many monsters here. Doors go up again, and we banish W and U, and teleport away the Dreadmaster. That leaves us like this:
We dig a tunnel north, and plug the entrance with a Glyph of Warding:
The hope is that this will slow them down enough that we can run around the loop, coming up behind Pazuzu so he can be teleported. Alas, the Witch-King breaks the glyph easily. However, it buys us almost enough distance to duck around a corner (Pazuzu summons greater demons in his one turn), and we have a speed advantage...
Success! They're now chasing back towards us clockwise!
The Horned Reaper disappears!
Pazuzu, Lord of Air disappears!
Finally, some peace and quiet. We get back to blasting the Witch-King, and we're almost there...
You have 1 charge remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar screams in agony. The Witch-King of Angmar flees in terror! The Witch-King of Angmar commands you to go away.
Right next to Carcharoth; fortunately, he didn't get a turn next to us (though he can't one-shot us anyway). He gets teleported again, and then I fat-finger a spell and accidentally cast Teleport Self...
Ergh, this level is getting uncomfortable fast. Gothmog, the Lernaean Hydra, and Carcharoth all in relatively close proximity. Fortunately the Hydra is still asleep, but the other two are awake and angry. We just want to kill the Witch-King! Is that too much to ask?
We have to teleport both Carcharoth and Gothmog away twice before we make it back to the Witch-King and the Loop of Yakity Sax:
He's recovered 10% of his health in the time we were gone, too.
You have 2 charges remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar cries out in pain. The Witch-King of Angmar summons ringwraiths.
Stop doing things! Just...just sit there and die already!
He pulled Khamul the Black Easterling, and Adunaphel the Quiet. They'll just have to wait in line.
You have 1 charge remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar cries out in pain. Adunaphel the Quiet grunts with pain. Khamul, the Black Easterling resists a lot. The Witch-King of Angmar flees in terror!
You have 0 charges remaining. The Witch-King of Angmar writhes in agony. Adunaphel the Quiet grunts with pain. Khamul, the Black Easterling resists a lot. The Witch-King of Angmar flees in terror! The Witch-King of Angmar summons major demons.
Oh, no you don't. C'mon, Rift!
Khamul, the Black Easterling shrugs off the attack. The Witch-King of Angmar is destroyed.
Hell yes! Of course, his drop is kind of being trod on by ringwraiths and demons right now. We banish the demons: a pair of Pit Fiends. Pit Fiends are assholes. Then we shove meteors into Khamul's face until he bites it. His last action is to summon greater undead, but that can't save him from the power of Rift.
That just leaves Adunaphel, who is cleverly hiding in a wall (she can walk through walls, unlike the other ringwraiths), where we can't hit her:
However, she stupidly always moves along a straight-line approximation to us, so by walking a bit south, we can pull her back into the corridor:
Dragon's Flame is devastatingly powerful against her; she only has 2100 HP.
Welcome to level 43. Adunaphel the Quiet is destroyed.
640 HP and 331 SP. And a corridor full of loot!
A corridor full of loot that has one item of interest:
Ehh, our current rings are better.
Anyway, this level is way too lethal now. Time to reroll!
Bad start; we can't hide from the Demonic Quylthulg like this. Fortunately, it only summons a single Hezrou, a fairly nonthreatening specimen, and we're able to flee for the room exit. From there it's relatively simple to sneak back around and pulverize the Quylthulg with meteors. Unfortunately I then make the stupid mistake of trying to melee the group of Barbazu (bright green Us) in the room, and we lose 2 points of CON (HP down to 554) in the process. Levelups are a long way away, too.
Aside from that, we find a Scroll of Mass Banishment that could come in handy, and several stat potions that are not Constitution I just don't understand it! Stat potions can clearly be generated, so why is Constitution being so bloody rare?
Oh, great, a cavern level. Huan is to our east. We won't go that way. On the "plus" side, check out what we found to the west:
Yep, that's the best prayer book in the game. Still useless to us!
Further west, we find Gothmog again, as well as Saruman. Let's see if we can't kill Saruman this time.
We've set up an antisummoning corridor filled with Glyphs of Warding. Here's hoping this works...
One interesting thing about Glyphs: set up like this, if the monster fails to break the glyph, they sometimes step away from you -- which means you get a free turn to pound on them when they step back adjacent to you.
Of course, that only lasts so long.
Saruman of Many Colours shrugs off the attack. Saruman of Many Colours summons animals.
A Ethereal Hound and a 9-Headed Hydra. Could be worse; could be better too, as the hound can move through walls. However, we can use our "free" turns when Saruman backs away from LOS to hit the hound in melee, so it won't last forever.
Saruman of Many Colours shrugs off the attack. The 9-headed hydra grunts with pain. The rune of protection is broken! The Ethereal hound claws you. The Ethereal hound claws you. The Ethereal hound bites you. The Ethereal hound misses you. Saruman of Many Colours summons animals.
Saruman seems determined to be the Friend to All Living Things tonight. He really needs to be pickier; this time he got a Black Harpy and a Night Lizard! Those guys were never a threat to us! I'm pretty sure even a level-1 Bryson could have pulled out a victory against one of them!
Saruman of Many Colours grunts with pain. Saruman of Many Colours flees in terror! Saruman of Many Colours tries to teleport away.
Hey! Get back here! Fortunately he didn't go far, and he's already returning to the battlefield:
And this time, he doesn't teleport away.
Saruman of Many Colours dies.
Crap drop though.
On the next level, we see a trio of really nasty uniques:
Ungoliant is with a pack of White Wolves, with a pack of Chaos Hounds just outside her room. Ancalagon the Black and Glaurung are in the corridor to our west.
This seems like a good time to dispatch Glaurung. We'll need to get Ancalagon out of the way first, but that's easy enough as he's still slumbering.
Ancalagon the Black disappears!
Like with Saruman, the main threat from Glaurung is his summons, and the solution is an antisummoning corridor with generous use of Glyphs of Warding.
He woke up before we could finish recovering from casting all those Glyphs (they're 60 SP apiece!), but oh well, that's what our Staff of the Magi is for. Glaurung has 7500 HP and is immune to fire and poison, which he can also breathe. That leaves us plenty of options for offense, though.
You have 1 charge remaining. Glaurung, Father of the Dragons shrugs off the attack. Glaurung, Father of the Dragons summons ancient dragons.
He got a Great Bile Wyrm, a Dracolisk, and an Ancient Gold Dragon. Ouch. Fortunately, Glaurung is doing the same dance as Saruman was, periodically stepping away from the glyph, which gives his summons a chance to get into LOS so we can teleport them away.
You have 8 charges remaining. Glaurung, Father of the Dragons shrugs off the attack. The rune of protection is broken! Glaurung, Father of the Dragons claws you. Glaurung, Father of the Dragons claws you. Glaurung, Father of the Dragons misses you. Glaurung, Father of the Dragons misses you.
And this is why we laid down multiple glyphs. They still probably won't last the entire fight though.
Sure enough, soon we're on our last glyph. That Ancient Gold Dragon is fleeing from us as our melee prowess proved too great for it to handle Glaurung, meanwhile, is half-dead, mostly from Drain Life and Dragon's Frost.
Glaurung breathes poison a few times, but his offense peters out as his HP decrease; eventually he runs away. There's not much point in chasing him down; he returns shortly thereafter to get his face caved in. I try to see if we can kill him in melee, but sadly our hit rate is a pathetic 14%; it doesn't look like we can keep up with his regeneration. Oh well.
His drop has a number of top-tier ego weapons, all of which are of course useless to us, and this:
That thing would wreck face against anything the brands apply to, as those massive 7d5 damage dice would get tripled (Remember we're getting an additional acid brand thanks to our Ring of Power). Useless to us, of course, but quite pretty.
Ungoliant is awake, and I just noticed the Tarrasque is prowling around too. Freude never tangled with the Tarrasque, and I doubt we will either. It just puts out too much damage, too quickly. Even if it can't one-shot us, we'd have to spend at least half our turns healing. Rather than try to find a way around these guys, we'll just make ourselves a new level.
Pretty quiet, aside from the hydra nest! Well hey, hydras are all weak against cold, and we have a Wand of Dragon's Frost. As long as we keep Resistance up, they shouldn't be able to hurt us much.
You have 2 charges remaining. 3 9-headed hydras are badly frozen. 9 11-headed hydras are badly frozen. 4 5-headed hydras are badly frozen. 4 4-headed hydras are badly frozen. 3 7-headed hydras are badly frozen. 3 3-headed hydras are badly frozen. 2 2-headed hydras are badly frozen. The 9-headed hydra flees in terror! 2 5-headed hydras flee in terror! 2 4-headed hydras flee in terror! The 3-headed hydra flees in terror! 2 2-headed hydras flee in terror!
It occurs to me in hindsight that any potions in the area of effect would have been shattered by the cold. Fortunately we didn't get any messages about unknown items being destroyed, so I guess there weren't any stat potions in there.
In addition to Dragon's Frost, Ice Storm from Raal's Tome is quite effective here, and the stunning effect occurs decently often too.
All clear! In addition to the preposterous amounts of cash that the hydras dropped, we get...four magical pieces of gear. Not even ego-items!
Nothing else on the level, so let's make a new one.
Yikes. Right next to a Horned Reaper, and Kronos, Lord of the Titans, with Polyphemus the Blind Cyclops and a pair of Greater Titans. And there's a maiar pit! Just the one Istar in the pit, though; we ought to be able to kill everything else.
First things first, though; the Horned Reaper, Kronos, and the Titans need to go.
Much neater. Polyphemus gets the honor of a fight. He has a few annoying damage spells, but he doesn't cast them often. So long as we avoid melee we should be fine. Of course, Phase Door could land us in the maiar nest if we cast it while in the northern half of this room.
This is a better arena. The pack of multihued dragons to our south is no serious threat.
Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops grunts with pain. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops fires a jet of water. You resist the effect! You have been stunned.
Unusually, Polyphemus moves erratically, presumably to represent his blindness. Of course his spells still have perfect accuracy. The "water" element is unexpectedly dangerous, as it can confuse and stun. We're immune to the former, fortunately.
Polyphemus is immune to acid, fire, and cold, which rules out all of our wands except for Drain Life. We're mostly using meteors on him instead.
Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops shrugs off the attack. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops creates a whirlpool of water. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***
That's his most deadly attack: a water ball. 222 unresistable damage isn't exactly pleasant, but we can easily survive it.
We have to chug a couple of Healing potions, but soon enough
Welcome to level 44. You feel less sickly. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops screams in pain. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops flees in terror! Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops dies.
(Incidentally, I have no idea why the game sticks the levelup messages at the beginning of the sequence instead of the end. S'weird)
His drop is pathetic, but hey, we leveled up, and got our CON back! 651 HP, 339 SP. On the flipside, our Wand of Drain Life (which I'd lead the fight off with) blows up on recharge
Right, so, that maiar nest:
The Istar is trying to lead the charge, but he'll soon find himself elsewhere
9 Greater Maiar grunt with pain. 5 Greater Maiar grunt with pain. The Greater Maia cries out in pain. The Maia conjures up scary horrors. You avoid the effects! The Greater Maia summons some friends. The Greater Maia summons some friends. The Lesser Maia conjures up weird things. You avoid the effects!
Oh right, summoning spells. Hrm. That Great Hell Wyrm could be a problem.
Agh, what was I thinking, casting Rift?
Actually, this may work out. Goodbye, Great Hell Wyrm!
Did it! The remaining Maia and Lesser Maia can't summon anything, so they're no real threat.
The Book of Magic Spells [Sorcery and Evocations] burns up! The Flask of oil shatters! The Bubbling Potion of Augmentation shatters! The Locust Staff of Teleportation burns up!
Oh god, what have I done? Those precious CON gains! That's it, we're sticking to melee for the rest of the nest.
- A Wand of Acid Balls and a Wand of Dragon's Flame (we now have 7 of those things!)
- 2 Potions of Wisdom and a Potion of Dexterity.
- A couple of Potions of Enlightenment (we're up to 7 of these, and should probably drink them more often)
- This morningstar:
Ehh, it's okay. Nice damage, but no useful slays.
- A Potion of *Healing*
- A replacement Wand of Drain Life.
Frustrated at the lost potion, we head south and slaughter the multihued dragons, and what's this?
A Potion of Constitution!
You feel very healthy!
761 HP, and our CON score hits 18/217 (our internal stat went from 18 to 18/37). Further CON gains actually won't improve our HP any -- the cutoff for that is 18/200. But they'll let us start reducing the CON focus of our gear, which will be welcome. Anyway, from here on out we'll only gain HP by gaining levels.
The next level has a vault, so we chug Enlightenment to get a closer look:
And what's this at the bottom of the item list? Could it be...?
Not even in the vault! It's Kelek's! Gangway, losers, mommy needs her spellbook!
Oh yes, come to mommy!
You have no room for a Book of Magic Spells [Kelek's Grimoire of Power].
Bah! Potions of Life, you look expendable! Get out!
You have a Book of Magic Spells [Kelek's Grimoire of Power].
New spells! All the new spells!
- Earthquake: "Causes a 10-square radius earthquake around you. Earthquakes may damage monsters and destroy items in some squares in the area of effect. Artifacts will not be destroyed by this spell. This spell has no effect when used in the town." There are occasional uses for this spell, chiefly for when you want to cut off a monster from being able to access you -- cast Earthquake until it randomly places a wall in the right place. But it's pretty unreliable.
- Bedlam: "Shoots a radius-4 confusion ball that doesn't cause physical damage but has a chance to confuse each monster in the area of effect. Uniques or monsters that resist confusion are not affected." So it's...like a Staff of Confuse Monster but even shittier There is precisely one reason to ever cast this spell: for the experience of casting it for the first time.
- Rend Soul: "Fires a nether bolt that always hits its target. Does not affect undead. Sometimes a beam is fired instead that hurts each monster in its path. The chance to get a beam goes up with your character level." Nether is not a very useful element, since (unless I misremember) evil monsters all naturally resist it. The damage-to-mana ratio is about half that of the bolt spells in the town spellbooks, but the damage-per-turn is quite good. Not a bad choice for dealing with maiar, which tend to resist everything else.
- Banishment: "Removes all monsters represented by a chosen symbol from the level. Uniques are not affected. You take 1d4 points of damage for every monster removed." We have been abusing the hell out of a Staff of Banishment for some time now, but now we don't have to worry about it blowing up on recharge! You can bet we'll be leaning on this spell a lot.
- Word of Destruction: "Destroys everything in a 15-square radius circle around you. All monsters, objects, and terrain features in the area of effect are destroyed, except stairs and permanent walls. You will also be blinded for 10+1d10 turns, unless you have resistance to blindness or light. This spell has no effect when used in the town." Same as the effect of a Scroll or Staff of *Destruction*; this is the ultimate escape spell, and we can now cast it freely for a mere 21 mana. If there's a unique we want off the level (instead of merely teleported away), we can lure it away from anything valuable and then cast Destruction. Destruction is also key to fighting Morgoth, as you may remember.
- Mass Banishment: "Removes all monsters within 20 squares of you. Uniques are not affected. You take 1d3 points of damage for every monster removed." This spell is also fantastic! Summons? Gone. Graveyards? Gone. No mess, no fuss, no inconvenient side-effects like Destruction has. The only problem is the 75 SP cost.
- Chaos Strike: "Fires a chaos bolt that always hits its target. Sometimes a beam is fired instead that hurts every monster in its path. The chance to get a beam goes up with your character level." Chaos is kind of an oddball element. It has a tendency to polymorph its target, which makes this spell unsuitable for killing non-unique monsters. Against uniques, its damage-to-mana and damage-per-turn are both decent.
- Mana Storm: "Shoots a radius-3 mana ball that does unresistable damage to each monster in its area of effect." The ultimate damage-dealing spell. Nobody resists mana. Unfortunately it also destroys all the items in the area of effect, except artifacts.
You may have noticed that the last few spells in the book have nonzero failure rates. They're hard to cast! We can get Mass Banishment and Chaos Strike down to 0% with a few more levels, but Mana Storm is impossible to get to a 0% failure rate. If I recall correctly the minimum is 9% or something like that. It still makes a superior DPS option to everything in the game except maybe for Wands of Annihilation, which also have a nonzero chance of failure.
Remember, Freude was dealing around 600 damage per round in melee, but that was only if all his blows hit, and his hit rate rarely exceeded 80%. And of course, every time he attacked his opponents, they had an opportunity to attack him back. Meanwhile, Bryson II can sit safely away from all those nasty pointy bits and blast things apart with raw mana.
This seems like a good place to end for today. Next time, we'll clear that vault, and then start really scumming the game. If you thought our previous tactics were cheesy, you haven't seen anything yet.