The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 42: Living off the Land

Update 42: Living off the Land

Last time, we were introduced to Friar Tuck, and began his extremely foolhardy and misanthropic quest to kill off Morgoth while having nothing whatsoever to do with the town. We've scraped by, relying heavily on a sling and a reasonably strong right hook.

And now we're going to try to take on a pit full of nagas, in the hopes that the loot and levels they give will keep us afloat.

Step 1: a Green, Red, and Black naga. Black are the bog-standard variant; Green have an acidic bite, and Red have a STR-draining bite. We just leveled; we don't want our STR to drop any, because it'll be a long time before our next restoration.

You have 16 charges remaining. The Green naga looks confused.

This ought to slow its advance some and give us some room to set up firing lines.

I'm beginning to think this was a bad idea...

The Green naga picks up a Wooden Torch (5000 turns).

Oh, son of a bitch! Nagas can all pick up objects, so if we want that torch, we're going to have to kill all of them. But a single Green Naga is giving us serious trouble (they can deal 1d8 and 2d6 damage in each attack, and confused or no, they attack us disturbingly frequently), so that doesn't look likely.

Your Iron Shot (1d4) (+0,+0) hits the Red naga (12). The Red naga dies.

Well, that's something (we got 31 EXP from the kill!), but this is still going pretty poorly. Confuse Monster lasts for a very brief period; we only get a few turns of firing before we're back in melee range.

Your Rounded Pebble (1d2) (+0,+0) hits the Black naga (12). The Black naga dies.

Phew. That's the first wave down. We get a torch! And a Whip, which doesn't affect our spellcasting (but we'll have to see if it does any useful amount of damage).

Making our way back to the pit, we pick off some of the stragglers from that first group, hitting level 10 in the process. 73 HP, 19 SP, and Orb of Draining's failure rate drops to 29%. Also, our Whip proves to be (+5,+6), making it strictly better than the Dagger. Excellent!

Uh oh: Guardian Naga (in blue). Native to 750', with on average 144 HP. Let's see if we can't hit her with Orb of Draining.

The Guardian naga is hit hard. The Green naga dies.

15+3d6, doubled, is on average 51 damage, so three of them ought to kill the Guardian Naga or nearly so. A pity we can only cast two before running out of mana. Still, some Rounded Pebbles make up the difference:

Your Rounded Pebble (1d2) (+0,+0) hits the Guardian naga (14). The Guardian naga dies. Welcome to level 11. You can learn 4 more prayers.

75 HP, 20 SP. This might just be doable!

We score some Hard Leather Armour from one of the Green Nagas, quadrupling our AC (our poor gloves and boots are much reduced from acid damage).

We get our STR drained by a Red Naga, but then conveniently, killing it levels us up again; at level 12 we have 84 HP and 22 SP -- enough for 3 Orbs! Or, well, 2 on average considering the 23% failure rate.

Another Guardian Naga is plinked down (with Bless active, we have a 53% chance to hit it -- ouch!) and drops a Rod of Treasure Location. Nice! Our pack is jammed up with un-identified scrolls that I'm too scared to read, lest they be Summon Monster. But using our staves is pretty safe (we're too shallow for Staves of Summon Monster), and one of them is a Staff of Identify! Excellent. We'll need to ration these charges carefully, since identification is not readily-available without access to the town, but "some" is a hell of a lot more than "none".

The last Guardian Naga eats three Orbs in the face and dies, netting us level 13, 85 HP, and 24 SP. We can do this! And we're now hilariously overpowered for our depth. Now my concern is food; we're doing a lot of resting to recover SP after killing nagas here, and we only have 2 rations right now...

We've made it to the pit, and all that's left is the few nagas that got pulled off to the east where they couldn't path around to us.


You sense no evil creatures.

Victory! No more food, alas, but we got a new Torch, some shiny body armour, and a Staff of Identify from this venture, and of course three levels. Speaking of which, we could learn some spells...but now I'm hoping to run into a copy of the second prayer book (the one we skipped), so we'll hold off for now. All of the spells in the third book are not yet useful and too expensive and hard to cast anyway.

Unfortunately, while we've found three copies of Beginner's Handbook, Words of Wisdom is not yet in evidence. Meanwhile,

You have no room for a Book of Magic Spells [Sorcery and Evocations].

Very funny, RNG. I guess we need to go deeper.

Standing here on a staircase is the safest place to try to ID our scrolls.

You are surrounded by a white light. You have a Scroll titled "cogo rio ino" of Light.
You have 2 Scrolls titled "comptio consus" {tried}.
You are full! You have 3 Scrolls titled "inus mandam sa" of Satisfy Hunger.
You have 2 Scrolls titled "veter exor" of Phase Door.
You have no more Scrolls titled "va ca ma se co" of Magic Mapping.

...well, that was unexpectedly productive. Our food worries are sorted for the time being, we have a couple of spare Phase Door scrolls, and we didn't stumble onto Deep Descent!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 300')

This should be pretty safe with our extra levels, but we're going to take our time anyway. The more turns of light we have socked away, the better; plus we don't want to miss any books.

At 300', we burn through the last of the torch we were using and start the new one we got from the Naga Pit, leaving us with 5000 turns before blackout. We also hit level 14 (88 HP, 26 SP) from miscellaneous slaughter. We find a Cloak and some Iron Shod Boots that pseudo as {magical} and {excellent} respectively. The boots are almost certainly Slow Descent, but they could potentially be Free Action or Stability; the other possible egos would be obvious on wield.

Finally, we get a Carnelian Ring that turns out to be Slow Digestion, rendering our food issue even more moot. As you may remember, Slow Digestion is effectively "You no longer need food"; I'm reasonably certain that if we found no more food for the rest of the game what we currently have would still be more than enough, if we kept Slow Digestion on.

We didn't find a new torch on this level, but we do have 5 spare Flasks of Oil, y'know, in case we find a lantern! Man, a lantern would be so nice right now. Anyway, let's continue on.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 350')

Hey, a torch!

You have a Wooden Torch of Brightness (5000 turns).

A special torch, with an extra +1 light radius! So basically it's a lantern that can't be refuelled. Hey, I'm just happy to know that we have another 5000 turns before we're reduced to stumbling around in the darkness.

Then I try to disarm the needle trap on a Small Wooden Chest, and

You set off a trap! A small needle has pricked you! You feel very weak.

Small Wooden Chests basically only ever have money anyway, what was I thinking? Stupid. We're now at -1 speed due to our weight burden, and a new level is a long way off since we're so overleveled.

350' is otherwise dull. Next!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 400')

Our first orcs. No a problem; we have 5 Wands of Light with 35 charges between them.

A line of shimmering blue light appears. You have 30 charges remaining. The Cave orc shrivels away in the light! The Snaga shrivels away in the light!

Meanwhile, setups like these are just asking for an Orb in the face:

2 Kobold shamans die. 2 Small kobolds die.

So is it "shamans" or "shamen"? I like the latter, but then I also use "boxen" instead of "boxes" so I'm probably not a reliable source for this kind of thing.

More importantly, one of them dropped a lantern!

No more light worries! We now have over 50k turns' worth of light, with all our flasks of oil, and not even counting our torches. Freude won in under 100k turns, and I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll find more oil before our current supply runs out. All right! Mission: Morgoth is officially go! From here on out, if we die it's our own fault. Probably.

Anyway, back to the dungeon.

Interesting. Just a templated room, not a vault, I'm almost certain, but there's plenty of items there.

Yeah, this is no vault. However, there is a lovely prize here anyway:

You have a Lantern (Everburning).

Right, now we definitely don't have to worry about light

It's still worth holding onto our Flasks of Oil for now, since there are better lanterns out there. Bryson and Freude both were using Lanterns of True Sight for most of the game. Hell, I'd rather use a Lantern of Brightness than an Everburning Lantern.

On the theory that one of our unknown potion types is probably Boldness, we stand next to this Green Mold and let it attack us a bunch:

Annoyingly, it has a low hit rate (our AC has skyrocketed to 48 thanks to several magical armor finds), and when it does hit us, our 51% saving throw keeps kicking in. Finally,

The Green mold releases spores at you. You are terrified!

There we go.

You feel very good. You have a Viscous Pink Potion of Cure Serious Wounds.
You feel bolder now. You have a Pink Speckled Potion of Boldness.

Ha, I was right! Saved us a charge of Identify.

We're all set to continue; let's just use-ID some scrolls...

The air around you starts to swirl... You have a Scroll titled "cona pas res" of Deep Descent.

Oh. Well, it had to happen eventually, and this is as good a time as any, really.

The floor opens beneath you! (to 650')

Just a Baby White Dragon; about as gentle an introduction as we could ask for. An Orb, a whack with our Whip, and a Rounded Pebble do it in.

Oh, man. Mughash! Mostly dangerous because of his escort, which represent a giant pile of HP to wear through. But we were able to handle the Naga Pit; I bet we can handle him and his buddies.

First, though, we explore to the northwest, and take down a pack of White Wolves, netting us level 15 (98 HP, 28 SP) and a stat restore. Hooray!

Right, so, those kobolds:

Mughash is in the inner room; his escorts are mostly not. How foolish of him. We take out the shamans with an Orb, the group of normal Kobolds with another, and then flee to recover mana. A single Large Kobold chases us, but it's no threat on its own.

Yeah, that looks manageable.

4 Large kobolds are hit hard. You hear a scream of agony! 3 Large kobolds flee in terror! The Kobold archer dies.

Orb of Draining is the best spell But now Mughash has broken free and is chasing us:

Mughash the Kobold Lord is hit hard.
Mughash the Kobold Lord is hit hard. Mughash the Kobold Lord flees in terror!

Y'know, it's odd, but we haven't failed to cast Orb of Draining once so far. It's currently at a 14% failure rate; that seems implausible. The RNG must be saving up for something big

Your Rounded Pebble (1d2) (+0,+0) hits Mughash the Kobold Lord (14). Mughash the Kobold Lord writhes in agony.
Your Rounded Pebble (1d2) (+0,+0) hits Mughash the Kobold Lord (12). Mughash the Kobold Lord dies.

We find a new pair of boots that also pseudo as {excellent}; at this point we pretty much have to burn some Identify to figure out which of our two ego boots to keep. Our old Iron Shod boots are Boots of Free Action; excellent! The new ones are Boots of Stability; junk! Well, that was an easy decision. To be fair, Stability provides nexus resistance, which is decently valuable; Free Action is absolutely vital, though, so until/unless we find it on a non-boot slot we'll be wearing these boots.

On a different note, chugging random potions while in combat isn't always a good idea...

The potion makes you vomit! You are getting faint from hunger! You are paralysed! You have a Metallic Green Potion of Salt Water.
The Kobold archer fires an arrow, but misses.
You can move again.

Whoops. Well, I guess food isn't completely irrelevant, but we still have 8 Scrolls of Satisfy Hunger in our pack, so this problem is easily-solved.

Back in the day when overeating (or drinking too many potions) could put you in a "gorged" state that gave you -10 to speed, Potions of Salt Water could be valuable for letting you continue to chug healing potions in the middle of a big fight. A pretty marginal use, honestly, but a use. These days that's no longer possible, so as far as I'm aware these potions are completely junk.

We can now learn 10 spells, and there's only 8 in the second spellbook (if I recall correctly, anyway). Might as well learn some from book 3. We gain...Turn Undead and Cure Mortal Wounds. Hooray.

Southeast of Mughash's digs, we find another unique: Ufthak of Cirith Ungol!

This seems like sufficient cause to burn a Magic Mapping scroll:

He's escorted by Black Orcs and Cave Orcs, which are both vulnerable to bright light. Ufthak himself should fall to Orb pretty quickly.

Lineups like this are always fun. Well, except for that Illusionist. Go away, buddy.

A line of shimmering blue light appears. You have 23 charges remaining. 3 Black orcs cringe from the light! The Black orc shrivels away in the light! 4 Cave orcs cringe from the light! 3 Black orcs flee in terror! 2 Cave orcs flee in terror! The Illusionist tries to teleport away.

Ha, perfect! No more Illusionist. A couple more blasts from our raygun get us level 16 (99 HP, 29 SP) and clean up the remainder of the escorts, leaving just the big man himself.

Ufthak of Cirith Ungol is hit hard.
You failed to concentrate hard enough!
Ufthak of Cirith Ungol is hit hard.
Ufthak of Cirith Ungol is hit hard.

Okay, so he's a bit more durable than I expected; he still has 40% of his HP left. That's okay. We hit him with a Wand of Stinking Cloud a few times (since we only have a 60% chance to hit him with missile weapons and something like a 90% chance to use the wand successfully), and pretty soon he's running away. Once he's frightened, plinking him to death with our pebbles doesn't take too long.

He drops a Morning Star (2d6) (+4,+6); not much but we'll replace our Whip anyway. Our STR and DEX are so terrible that we can't get multiple blows with anything, so if we're going to fight in melee we want the biggest weapon we can lift, to maximize our damage per blow. The only problem with this is that we're now at -2 speed despite getting our STR restored, so we have to shed some of our less-useful consumables (and some of the 6 copies of the Beginners Handbook we've picked up) to get back under limit.

Killing off some miscellaneous orcs gets us to level 17 (107 HP, 31 SP), which would mean we could start learning spells from book #4...if we had it. Instead, we clean out book #3, learning Sense Invisible, Protection from Evil, Earthquake, and Sense Surroundings. And then we get nearly 200 EXP from casting them all.

The rest of the level nets us a Ring of Protection (easily use-ID'd), an unknown staff that tries to do something to all monsters in LOS (ergo Sleep Monsters or Confuse Monsters, both useless), an unknown amulet, and some unknown scrolls, which we use-ID while standing on the stairs as Door/Stair Location. Hooray.

We also get an Oily Yellow Potion; we're now in-depth for stat-swap potions, so we have to actually use up Identify charges for them, since we don't want to accidentally drink Intellect, Toughness, or Nimbleness (the INT/CON/DEX boosters). But this potion is a Potion of Enlightenment. How bizarre. In a normal game I'd hold onto this for another 40 levels or so, but since it's taking up precious inventory space, we'll use it sooner.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 700')

Like, right now.

How convenient, a nifty room with Wormtongue in it! There's also a Homunculus, the yellow u; they hit to paralyze so it's a good thing we already have Free Action! Wormtongue should die quickly to Orb of Draining, which currently does (25 + 3d6) * 2 damage to evil (the 3d6 never changes, but the 25 will go up with our level). He only has 250 HP.

Wormtongue wakes up early, it appears. Early bird gets the Orb!

Wormtongue, Agent of Saruman is hit hard. Wormtongue, Agent of Saruman casts a bolt of frost. One of your Flasks of Oil was destroyed!
Wormtongue, Agent of Saruman is hit hard. Wormtongue, Agent of Saruman tries to make you move slowly. You resist the effect!
Wormtongue, Agent of Saruman is hit hard.
Wormtongue, Agent of Saruman dies.

Bam. He drops a Lucerne Hammer...

Your Lucerne Hammer of Flame flares! You are wielding a Lucerne Hammer of Flame (2d5) {splendid}. You do not feel comfortable with your weapon.

Yeah, Lucerne Hammers are pointy, despite the name. Oh well. Also in the not-quite-a-vault is a Main Gauche of Venom (which would have been a fantastic weapon for Freude), some Cure Critical Wounds potions, and an unknown scroll and staff.

Down in the southeast of the level is another copy of that room:

This time we have Boldor, King of the Yeeks, and his son Orfax. And doubtless a bunch of lesser yeeks; oddly, only Boldor, Orfax, and the Master Yeek qualify as evil. I guess the rest of the race is just suffering under Boldor's tyrranical iron grip?

We pop open the door to our east, get terrified by the two Priests, and then Orb them down, hitting level 18 (108 HP, 33 SP). Being frightened dings our spell failure rates pretty badly -- Orb goes from 5% to 28% -- but we only need one successful cast.

Everything we can detect in there is awake, but they aren't coming out -- either stupid pathing or they're gummed up on the non-evil escorts we can't detect. I don't consider either Orfax or Boldor to be a huge threat, but they're both fast and we don't have the mana to fight them together.

We manage to lure out some of the lesser monsters, and a Master Yeek drops a new prayer book! It's Words of Wisdom, the #2 book! Check it out!

All in all, I think you can see why I didn't bother to buy this book at the start. There's a few useful spells here, but mostly they only become useful later. And half the spells are junk.

Hey ho, it's Boldor!

Hey ho, casting the second spell from our second book no longer gets us Orb of Draining; it's Portal instead. Whoops. Let's go ahead and make a keymap for Orb so this doesn't happen again At least getting back to the fight is easy.

Boldor, King of the Yeeks summons its kin.

I guess Boldor doesn't have a defined gender? Anyway, this is no big deal; Orb can hit him over his buddies, and the Master Yeek in front of him will die from splash damage.

Boldor, King of the Yeeks is hit hard. The Master yeek is hit hard. You hear a scream of agony! The Master yeek flees in terror! The Brown yeek dies. Boldor, King of the Yeeks tries to cast a spell, but fails.
Boldor, King of the Yeeks is hit hard. Boldor, King of the Yeeks flees in terror! The Master yeek dies.

Oh Orb, you are the best spell Boldor returns soon, eats an Orb, and falls over dead. His drop is a Whip and a War Hammer; both weapons we can use! The Whip is just {magical}, but the War Hammer makes us smarter when we wield it! Whacking a Brown Yeek over the head reveals that

Your War Hammer of *Slay Animal* glows! You know more about the War Hammer of *Slay Animal* you are using. You smite the Brown yeek (17). You have slain the Brown yeek.

Well hey, might as well use it; it's lighter than our old Morning Star and there's plenty of natural enemies around to smite with it (including, apparently, yeeks). *Slay Animal* also gives Slow Digestion, so hooray for that I guess.

Just Orfax left, plus some number of Blue and Brown Yeeks.

Orfax, Son of Boldor is hit hard. Orfax, Son of Boldor flees in terror! Orfax, Son of Bolder commands you to come hither.

Not the smartest move, teleporting us closer to you, but then again who ever said Orfax was smart? Another Orb and he topples over, leaving a Lucerne Hammer that we can't use. Oh well.

Nothing much of interest in the room, though while wandering through it we get the message

You smite something (25).

Curious! Casting Sense Invisible, we reveal the culprit: a Giant Clear Centipede.

Not very dangerous, and literally any other race except for Dunadan would have been able to see it. I miss having infravision

We go to stand on a staircase and read-ID some scrolls: Holy Chant and Word of Recall (which just prints the message "Nothing happens.").

This seems like a good place to stop. Let's take a look at our good Friar:

We're 5.6 pounds overweight, which means running around at -1 speed. Not remotely ideal; I suppose I should probably drop the oil and one of our spare books. And the scrolls of Satisfy Hunger.

That Amulet got a Scroll of Identify used on it; there's realistically no way to identify electricity resistance at this stage. I knew it had to be either Resist Lightning or Resist Acid, since we wore it for the entire level without figuring out what it did -- all of the other more "passive" amulets (like Slow Digestion) self-ID over time.

Next time: we start hitting the limits of our inventory.