The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 39: Mopping Up

Update 39: Mopping Up

Last time, Bryson II started making a name for herself by killing every named monster she could find. Except for Kronos. Stupid titans...

Back in the dungeon, we waste our Potion of *Enlightenment* on a level that has a whopping 6 items on it, and no special dungeon features. Not even a single moated room! Oh well.

The next level is more promising. Not only is there a maiar pit...

...there's also a lesser vault on the other end of the level.

Maiar pits are great for us, because maiar drop a ton of not-guaranteed-good items. The problem with monsters with guaranteed-good drops (like the top-tier dragons and demons) is that they always drop equipment. We don't really need more equipment at this stage; upgrades are welcome but by no means necessary and frankly pretty unlikely. However, more wands and consumables are welcome, and for that you just need monsters that drop lots of stuff.

Speaking of wands, there's two wands of Drain Life just lying around on the dungeon floor, as well as a couple of Potions of Experience. We're nearly to level 48 and we haven't even killed anything notable yet!

Rend Soul ought to do nicely here

You hit the Lesser Maia (34). You hit the Lesser Maia (32). You hit the Lesser Maia (33). You have slain the Lesser Maia.

Or, y'know, melee. That works too.

Rend Soul beams something like 50% of the time now, which makes it quite viable for killing groups of monsters so long as we don't mind the occasional summon.

The Blue Wizard writhes in agony. The Blue Wizard commands you to go away.

Or that

Oh well. We ended up pretty near the vault, but let's finish up the maiar before tackling that.

For the Istar, we hole up in a tiny anti-summoning corridor:

Mostly because he can summon more ainu, and we don't really want this getting any more out of control. Fortunately, Rend Soul does for him in a half-dozen casts or so. And he drops a Staff of the Magi! Unlimited mana until it blows up!

The rest of the pit is easily-cleared. We even kill 7 Lesser Maiar with a single casting of Rend Soul. Nice spell, that. Aside from the Staff of the Magi, we get another Potion of Experience, a Potion of Dexterity (our last stat that isn't maxed, and it's getting close), a Wand of Dragon's Frost, and a couple of Potions of Life. Not a bad haul.

Also, somewhere in there we hit level 48, and now have 823 HP and 371 SP. Chaos Strike is down to a 3% failure rate; Mana Storm is at 20%. Everything else is at 0%.

Before tackling the vault, we go and check out some armor, and discover another randart!

Compared to our current Dwarven Multihued Dragon Scale Mail, we'd gain shards resistance at the cost of 2 points each of STR and CON (though we'd still be over the CON cap). We'd also lose 16 SP due to the armor's weight. Ehhhh. I think we'll pass. Now that we've killed Carcharoth, we shouldn't see Huan quite as often (they always get generated together, making them effectively twice as common as long as one is alive), and he's really the only big unique shards breather.

Right, so, that vault:

The Mouth of Sauron is here, but after that the next-biggest monster is a mere Rotting Quylthulg. That's pretty pathetic. Well, let's kill ourselves Sauron's mouthpiece. Flavor text:

The Mouth of Sauron is a mighty spell caster. So old that even he cannot remember his own name, his power and evil are undeniable. He believes unshakably that he is unbeatable and laughs as he weaves his awesome spells.

Said spells include: Cause Critical Wounds, Paralyze, Teleport To (i.e. summon to melee range), Create Traps, Darkness Bolt, Fire Ball, Mana Storm, Nether Storm, Whirlpool, Plasma Bolt, Summon Greater Demons, and Summon Greater Undead. There's a few duds in there, but these are mostly pretty nasty things. His melee also causes disenchantment and drains charges from our wands/staves.

Appropriately, these are basically similar to Sauron's own abilities, but a bit weaker. The Mouth of Sauron is mini-Sauron. So this should be a good warm-up.

First, we need to wake him up:

Eat Cloudkill!

The Mouth of Sauron shrugs off the attack. 6 Algroths resist a lot.

Now we retreat and wait for him to enter LOS...

Right. Commence bombardment! Opening up with Rift to take out those Algroths...

The Mouth of Sauron disappears! 2 Algroths die.

Oh, right. Oh well, he just got knocked back into the vault; he returns soon enough, and we can start hitting him with Chaos Strikes.

The Mouth of Sauron grunts with pain. The Mouth of Sauron casts a bolt of plasma. You have been stunned.
You failed to concentrate hard enough! The Mouth of Sauron tries to make you stop moving. You avoid the effects!
You failed to concentrate hard enough!
The Mouth of Sauron grunts with pain. The Mouth of Sauron casts a bolt of plasma. You have been heavily stunned.

Oh come on, we failed to cast at 15% failure rate (due to the stunning) twice in a row! Oh well, a Potion of Healing will clear that up.

The Mouth of Sauron grunts with pain. The Mouth of Sauron invokes a storm of raw magic.

And there goes about 375 HP. Yikes.

You feel very good. You have 7 Dark Red Potions of Healing. The Mouth of Sauron casts a ball of nether. You resist the effect!
The Mouth of Sauron grunts with pain. The Mouth of Sauron invokes a storm of raw magic. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***

Y'know, buddy, you have other spells. Spells that don't hurt so much. Ow.

The Mouth of Sauron grunts with pain. The Mouth of Sauron summons fiends of darkness.

A Grave Wight, a Nightcrawler, and a Master Vampire, left-to-right. At least the Nightcrawler is placed such that we can teleport it away. Unfortunately, with the Grave Wight in the way, we can't teleport it this turn, and there's the (small, granted) chance that the Nightcrawler will cast a Nether Storm on the same turn that the Mouth casts Mana Storm. I'm not sure, but that might just be enough to kill us.

So. Step 1: throw up some doors.

Step 2: Mass Banishment, clipping part of the vault in the process, but there weren't any interesting monsters in there anyway.

Step 3: chug Cure Critical Wounds, and invoke our Staff of the Magi.

You feel very good. You have 28 Shimmering Potions of Cure Critical Wounds.
You feel your head clear. You have 2 charges remaining. You hear a door burst open!

Step 4: get the hell out of melee range! Go go Phase Door!

Ehhh, it's not ideal, but it'll do.

The Mouth of Sauron grunts with pain. The Mouth of Sauron invokes a storm of darkness. You resist the effect!
The Mouth of Sauron grunts with pain. The Mouth of Sauron points at you and incants terribly. You avoid the effects!
The Mouth of Sauron grunts with pain. The Mouth of Sauron casts a ball of fire.
The Mouth of Sauron cries out in pain. The Mouth of Sauron cackles evilly about traps.

Fortunately, he sticks to his smaller guns this time around, and we're able to whittle away his HP without having to stop to heal so often. Soon enough,

The Mouth of Sauron cries out in pain. The Mouth of Sauron flees in terror!
The Mouth of Sauron writhes in agony. The Mouth of Sauron flees in terror!
The Mouth of Sauron dies.

A tough fight, but we are victorious!

He drops the first pair of randart boots we've seen:

Not worth losing the +10 speed on our current boots, that's for sure. Oh well.

The now-mostly-empty vault has a couple of Potions of Healing, making up what we had to use against the Mouth. There's also a Potion of Augmentation.

You feel very dextrous!

We've almost maxed our stats!

Our next level is a labyrinth:

Not really worth burning a Potion of Enlightenment on. We get almost killed by a Great Wyrm of Chaos's chaos breath. Y'know, as you do. But otherwise nothing interesting happens.

The next level has a promising start, placing us near a Graveyard:

But the only treasure after the inevitable Mass Banishment is a pair of Enlightenment potions. Oh well; far more interesting is the Wand of Annihilation we find lying on the floor. That makes 3!

The only other thing on the level is a Green Dragon pit:

Not even any Great Swamp Wyrms in it. To make a point, we just wade into melee and chop them to pieces the hard way. It doesn't take long. We net a few more consumables and another Wand of Drain Life from the deal.

Back in town, the Black Market has something of interest:

Protection from stunning is very rare, and crowns like this one are the only reliable way to get it. It can also show up on ego-items that get "random abilities", like bows of Lothlorien and weapons of Gondolin, and of course it can show up on randarts, but you're still very unlikely to find it.

Is it worth swapping for our current crown? We'd need to get an alternate source of telepathy, which means either swapping our cloak for the Cloak of the Magi we have, or removing our Amulet of Thievery for the Pendant of Vindir. The latter swap loses us some speed, and nexus resistance, but we gain sound resistance from the Crown of Serenity. The former swap would drop our INT low enough to impact our spell failure rates, which doesn't seem acceptable.

I do think it's worth swapping out the Trickery amulet; stunning is just no fun for mages. We do lose nexus resistance though. We'll have to be careful around nexus breathers -- most notably Dracolisks, Greater Basilisks, and of course Nexus Vortices.

Back in the dungeon, we soon come face-to-face with Tselakus, the Dreadlord:

Flavor text:

This huge affront to existence twists and tears at the fabric of space. A master of mighty magic, Tselakus hungers for your tender flesh. Darkness itself recoils from the touch of Tselakus as he leaves a trail of death and destruction. Tselakus is a being of sneering contempt, laughing at your pitiful efforts to defy him. Mighty claws rend reality as he annihilates all in his path to your soul!

Wow. Big talk, coming from an overinflated ghost. Tselakus can summon greater undead and ringwraiths, but that's really about all he can do that's seriously threatening. He doesn't even have any extra resistances! Dragon's Flame rips him a new one...

Tselakus, the Dreadlord summons ringwraiths.

Me and my big mouth. On the one hand, we've already killed all of the ringwraiths; on the other hand, that means that instead of pulling, say, Uvatha the Horseman, Tselakus got this guy:

Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer! This is technically a good opportunity to fight him, except, y'know, Tselakus. We throw up some doors to block LOS, and get lucky with their actions, enabling us to teleport Feagwath away. Otherwise we would probably have had to cast Word of Destruction, and nobody wants that.

We have to banish Tselakus' summons a few more times, but we have the spare mana to do that, since our offense comes from our Dragon's Flame wands. Our only consumable use is a single Potion of Healing after Tselakus cast Darkness Storm and Nether Storm in quick succession.

Naturally, his drop is crap. Now, where'd Feagwath get to...?

Ah, there we go.

Feagwath is, broadly, a more powerful Tselakus who can't move through walls. We'd like to avoid melee range with him, because he can touch to drain charges...but he also has summoning spells. Tricky. Also like with Tselakus, we'll be relying on Dragon's Flame for the bulk of our offense.

Well, here goes nothing!

You have 3 charges remaining. Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer grunts with pain. Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer tries to make you stop moving. You avoid the effects!

Man, I don't even know why monsters try casting Paralyze at this point in the game.

Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer commands you to come hither.

Erk. Bad touch! A Phase Door lands us just outside the room, and we dig ourselves a short corridor:

...only to watch Feagwath be totally unable to find a way around to us. Come on, your pathfinding can't be that bad, right? ...right?

A little tricky targeting will let us Stone to Mud the wall a ways down the corridor, giving Feagwath a shortcut so he can actually make it to us:

By targeting the tile with the yellow rectangle, the tile with the blue * will get hit. You can also use this kind of thing to hit monsters that are just around corners, as an extension of the cheesy LOS tricks we've played in the past, but it's usually more trouble than it's worth.

The vein turns into mud! You have found something!

Guess that wall was a treasure vein. Who cares? Feagwath's back out!

You have 1 charge remaining. Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer grunts with pain. Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer summons some friends.

Let's see...a Mummified Troll, a Mature Black Dragon, a Dagashi (hopped-up Ninja, basically), a Killer Fire Beetle, a Giant Tan Bat, a Black Harpy, and a Blue Jelly. Dude, you have weird friends. And the joke's on you! We can hit you anyway even with all this chaff in the way!

You have 0 charges remaining. Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer grunts with pain. The Mature black dragon cries out in pain. The Dagashi cries out feebly. The Killer fire beetle resists a lot. The Mummified troll disintegrates! The Dagashi flees in terror! The Black harpy dies. The Blue jelly is destroyed.

That about does it for Feagwath; we drain most of the rest of his health with Dragon's Flame, and finish him and his remaining summonlings off with a Rift.

Feagwath, the Undead Sorcerer is destroyed.

Along with a basic Amulet of Trickery, he drops this:

That is one hell of a lot of brands and slays. A shame the damage dice are so tiny, since that's the only thing that slays multiply. Nice activation, too -- it's the same as a Potion of Healing. And a lot of resists! We bring it with us for the novelty factor if nothing else; we still need the +CON on our current weapon.

The next level starts us off near the Tarrasque, the R to our southeast:

There is a searing blast of light!

Screw fighting you, buddy! Oh, Word of Destruction, you are the best spell, even if we don't get to cast you very often.

There's also a vault on the level; as we mosey on over to it, we run into Ancalagon, the black D in this moated room:

Ancalagon the Black is kind of a problem. Flavor text:

"Rushing Jaws" is his name, and death is his game; the greatest and most terrible of all dragonkind, his power dismayed even the Valar for a time.

Ancalagon has 10000 HP, just 500 fewer than Sauron has, making him the fourth most durable monster in the game (Morgoth -> Ungoliant -> Sauron -> Ancalagon). And his spell list is Breathe Acid, Breathe Cold, Breathe Electricity, Breathe Fire, Breathe Poison, Summon Ancient Dragons, Summon Kin (which is basically also Summon Ancient Dragons).

On the flipside, we can double-resist or totally null all of his breath attacks, and there aren't any more unique Ancient Dragons left alive, so we can get rid of his summons with Banishment. Yeah, let's go for this.

Arena prepared. Let's haste up, cast Resistance, and start blasting! We'll use our Wands of Drain Life for this; we have 26 charges built up, after all. Ancalagon is immune to all basic elements, so it's either this or attack spells, and we'd rather conserve mana for banishing summons.

You have 24 charges remaining. Ancalagon the Black shrugs off the attack. Ancalagon the Black breathes acid. You resist the effect!

Immunity, bitches

You have 16 charges remaining. Ancalagon the Black summons ancient dragons.

A Death Drake, a Great Wyrm of Chaos, and an Ancient Black Dragon. Banished as soon as they arrived. Goodbye!

You have 1 charge remaining. Ancalagon the Black grunts with pain.

Man, that's a lot of HP. We've dealt 6250 damage to him, by my calculations, so he's a bit over half-dead. Time to start Phase Dooring around as we recharge our wands and then blast him with them.

You have 3 charges remaining. Ancalagon the Black grunts with pain. Ancalagon the Black summons ancient dragons.

A Great Wyrm of Balance, a Great Hell Wyrm, an Ancient Black Dragon, and an Ancient White Dragon.


Soon he's down to his last thousand hitpoints, and we switch to Chaos Strike and Meteor Swarm.

Ancalagon the Black grunts with pain. Ancalagon the Black flees in terror!

Eat Mana Storm!

You failed to concentrate hard enough!

Er, I said, eat Mana Storm!

Ancalagon the Black dies.

There we go. That wasn't so bad. Total bill: one Potion of Healing and a few Potions of Cure Critical Wounds. In exchange, we get 80k experience, and this pretty little number:

Of course, we just switched out our ESP-giving hat last time we were in town, so there's not much point in wearing this now, but it is a straight upgrade over our old ESP hat if we decide to switch things up in future.

In the moated room we found Ancalagon in is a Scroll of Acquirement, which creates this:

A decent little amulet, but not better than an Amulet of Trickery.

Anyway, we were headed for a vault, weren't we?


We don't really want to fight any of those guys, except Waldern. Eat Mass Banishment, vault!

Unfortunately Mass Banishment doesn't have quite enough range to wipe the entire vault, but we can still stealth what's left, teleporting away uniques as we get to them.

Huan, Wolfhound of the Valar disappears!
Kronos, Lord of the Titans disappears!
Ungoliant, the Unlight disappears!

That was easy Waldern's still asleep, so we can loot the inner sanctum before he wakes up and starts crushing items. And hey, check it out: a randart with a vaguely meaningful name!

Too bad it doesn't improve your tunneling ability.

And this scythe, with which even we could plausibly melee Sauron:

(Remember, we're getting an acid brand thanks to our Ring of Power, and Sauron doesn't resist acid)

Waldern wakes up to discover he's being showered in meteors; he dies 13 turns later. Water way to go, eh?

The next level brings us face-to-face with Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin:

Flavor text:

The son of Eol the Dark Elf, Maeglin is every bit as evil as his father and more. His greed for gold led him to betray the Hidden Kingdom of Gondolin to Morgoth's forces. He is a mighty warrior himself, and some of Morgoth's greatest servants answer his call.

Just as the Mouth of Sauron is mini-Sauron, Maeglin is mini-Morgoth: he bores through rock and has a bunch of summoning spells, though he doesn't cast them all that frequently. Only 6000 HP, too. I'd rather kill him now, in favorable conditions -- that is to say, not when we're fighting someone else. Drain Life and Chaos Strike are going to be our primary weapons here.

You have 7 charges remaining. Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin grunts with pain. Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin summons animals.

An impressive meatshield, Maeglin, except the only part of it that's the slightest bit dangerous is a Gravity Hound. We just cast Mass Banishment to clear the way for our bolt attacks to start hitting him again.

You have 1 charge remaining. Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin grunts with pain. Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin summons major demons.

A pair of Horned Reapers. Easily banished. Next!

Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin summons major demons.

...okay, a Horned Reaper, an Osyluth, and a Lesser Balrog. Easily banished. Again.

Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin summons ancient dragons.

I'll say this: casting Banishment over and over is doing a number on our mana supply. A shame we have a couple of Staves of the Magi in our inventory.

You have 1 charge remaining. Maelgin, the Traitor of Gondolin cries out in pain. Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin flees in terror! Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin summons ancient dragons.

A Great Wyrm of Law, an Ancient Multihued Dragon, and an Ancient Gold Dragon. Banished like the rest of 'em! I wonder what it's like, getting summoned from wherever you're currently hanging out, and then the very next turn getting banished from the level again.

Anyway, Maeglin eats a Mana Storm and falls over. Victory! He drops another copy of Kelek's Grimoire of Power, which is neat. Totally pointless, but neat.

The rest of the level has nothing interesting except a Potion of Augmentation. Our internal DEX stat hits 18/88!

The next level is cavernous:

But importantly, there's an old, old friend here. Mim, Betrayer of Turin, off to the northeast! Oh, how many times we saw you early on when our only attack options were elemental? Buddy, you are going to regret getting in the way so many times.

You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turin (33). You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turin (35). You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turin (39). You miss Mim, Betrayer of Turin.

We don't need spells to kill you!

You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turn (41). You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turn (33). You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turn (39). You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turn (33). Mim, Betrayer of Turin flees in terror!
You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turin (39). You have slain Mim, Betrayer of Turin.

There, I feel better now!

The next level has our old friend, the False Wall vault.

[Insert missing screenshot here; sorry, folks!]

The Tarrasque is in the bottom corridor on the east half; Cantoras the Skeletal Lord is the very very slightly off-color s, just left of the Sabre-Toothed Tigers (the yellow f's); north of him is The Cat Lord. And there's a few nasty quylthulgs, dragons, and undead and the like, but they're all getting banished so who cares? As for the uniques, naturally we aren't fighting the Tarrasque, but the other two should be doable.

First things first, we've gained access to the vault, but a Great Wyrm of Law is heading our way.

Let's see if we can't kill this one, unlike last time.

The Great Wyrm of Law screams in pain. The Great Wyrm of Law flees in terror!
The Great Wyrm of Law dies.

Yep. Go Mana Storm! If only it were more reliable...

Once again, the uniques we want to fight are hung up on a bunch of no-name monsters. This would be an ideal time to cast Mass Banishment, but then we'd have to face both the Cat Lord and Cantoras at the same time. Instead, let's head to the northern corridor, open it up and...

The Cat Lord commands you to come hither.

...cast...Rift...oh well.

The Cat Lord isn't especially threatening, beyond a single melee attack that does 12d12 damage. His only spells are Teleport To (which he just cast) and Summon Cats. His melee causes confusion, drains dexterity, blinds, and paralyzes, but we have protection from all of those effects. So we just stand in melee range and cast Chaos Strike over and over again.

His melee does eventually wear us down, and we Phase Door out of the vault. Fortunately, errant Chaos Strike beams have cleared out his escorts, so he's able to chase us outside.

By this time, he's 60% dead; shortly thereafter he is all dead.

Bizarrely, his drop isn't set to only generate at least "good" items, so he drops a copy of Incantations and Illusions, and some (+6,+7) Rounded Pebbles.

Next up is Cantoras, and now we can use Mass Banishment to let him out.

Cantoras' flavor text:

A legion of evil undead druj animating the skeleton of a once mighty sorcerer. His power is devastating and his speed unmatched in the underworld. Flee his wrath!

Cantoras has the distinction of being one of the few monsters at +30 speed. We can only barely outspeed him with Haste Self active. He's also immune to fire and frost, and of course Drain Life as he's undead, so we'll have to rely on spells to kill him. His own spells include Brain Smash (), Cause Mortal Wounds, Frighten, Slow, Teleport To, Nether Storm, Whirlpool, Ice Bolt, Mana Bolt, and Summon Greater Undead. And he casts often. This could get ugly.

Cantoras, the Skeletal Lord jerks. Cantoras, the Skeletal Lord shoots a spear of ice. You have been given a light cut. You resist the effect!

Hooray for protection from stunning! Ice attacks normally cause cuts and stunning.

Cantoras, the Skeletal Lord jerks. Cantoras, the Skeletal Lord summons fiends of darkness.

A Demilich, a Vampire Lord, two Black Wraiths, and a Forest Wight. We don't quite have enough mana to cast Mass Banishment right now; I got sloppy. Fortunately we're still at basically full health; even if these guys all busted out their strongest attack spells they can't kill us this turn. Down a Potion of Restore Mana, and then we can cast Mass Banishment. We don't use the Staff of the Magi at this juncture because it has a failure rate; save that for a time when it isn't urgent.

And, oddly enough, that about does it for the fight. Cantoras mostly stuck to moving around, and only ever cast that one summoning spell. We did have to drink one Potion of Healing, and he blew up a Potion of *Healing* with an Ice Bolt, but that (and the Potion of Restore Mana) are it for consumables. Repeated Chaos Strikes do in his 7500 HP shockingly quickly.

Welcome to level 49. Cantoras, the Skeletal Lord is destroyed.

838 HP, 381 SP! Mana Storm down to 17% failure rate! Chaos Strike down to 0%!

The west half of the vault is basically already cleared, thanks to the Mass Banishment we cast. We get a Potion of Life from the floor, but that's it.

Let's just clear the center for the experience and treasure, banish the east half, and loot the floor. None of those guys in the east are really worth fighting anyway.

Now that we're immune to stunning, Plasma Hounds aren't dangerous; we kill them off easily, and they're by far the strongest monsters in the inner sanctum. Alas, the only loot of note is these amazingly powerful bolts:

If we were using the Light Crossbow of Tellur (x6) (+8,+22) sitting back at home, these would do at least 340 damage per shot against evil targets. That's pretty impressive. Y'know, if you're into archery.

Pretty soon the vault is empty and we loot the remains: a Potion of Experience, a Potion of Enlightenment, a Potion of Dexterity, a Potion of Healing, another copy of Kelek's Grimoire of Power, and two Rods of Healing that we admire and leave on the floor.

It's tempting to keep going and try to mop up a few more uniques, but honestly, we don't need it. Next time: we fight Sauron and Morgoth. But before we go, one last retrospective of Bryson II's stats.


Why all the extra books? Because we automatically pick up items that match those already in our inventory, and I haven't gotten around to clearing the extras out. Usually we run around with 3 spares, not that the extra weight is much of a problem for us any more.



Not quite to a 100% saving throw, but again, we don't really need it.


That's a really solid spread of protections there. Freude didn't have most of these for most of the game. Then again, he had 400 more HP than we do.