The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 43: Backpack of Boulders, Arms of Udon

Update 43: Backpack of Boulders, Arms of Udon

Last time, Tuck achieved some semblance of stability by finding an everburning lantern and a copy of Words of Wisdom, which he can use to cast Satisfy Hunger. We're no longer in danger of running out of the "fundamental" consumables, which takes a lot of pressure off of Ironman play.

We also killed ourselves a number of uniques and a giant pile of nagas. Orb of Draining really does a number on evil enemies.

Anyway, let's get back in there!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 750')

Bleh, a cavern level. And Moaning Spirits like the one to our southeast can drain DEX with their melee attacks. At least the Manes (group of brown "u"s) are easy:

You hear a scream of agony! 5 Manes are destroyed.

We find a new potion, and per Standard Operating Procedure use our Staff of Identify on it.

In your pack: a Dark Red Potion of *Healing*. You have 5 charges remaining.

That thing heals more than 10 times as much HP as we have. Ridiculous. And now we're stuck carrying it around until it breaks or we get really desperate; I don't expect it to survive to the endgame.

Another un-ID'd potion is Brawn; score! We'll hold off on drinking it for now just in case it drains WIS; I'd like to find a Potion of Contemplation first to counteract that potential effect.

We find a shield that pseudos as {excellent} and doesn't trigger anything when we get hit by a Spotted Jelly's acidic touch, so it must be Resist Fire, Resist Cold, or Resist Lightning. Some more experimentation will be needed to figure out precisely which.

Over in the northwest of the map, we kill some Wolves and an Easterling Warrior, and hit level 19 -- 115 HP and 35 SP. And, as the last thing we do on this level, we find Lagduf the Snaga!

9 Snagas are hit hard. Lagduf, the Snaga is hit hard. 8 Snagas flee in terror! 3 Snagas die.
A line of shimmering blue light appears. You have 17 charges remaining. 3 Snagas shrivel away in the light!
Lagduf, the Snaga is hit hard. You hear a scream of agony! Lagduf, the Snaga flees in terror! The Snaga dies.
You hear several screams of agony! Lagduf, the Snaga dies.

And he drops a randart!

Quite nice for a warrior, but it's pointy and not blessed, so we can't use it. The failure rate modification for using non-blessed weapons seems to be variable, or scaled somehow; it takes Orb from 5% to 27%, which is really not acceptable for us. Maybe someday we'll be able to use pointy weapons effectively. In the meantime, we huck the Rapier of Mardor at a nearby Wolf and forget it ever existed.

Next level!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 800')

This level would be singularly uninteresting...except for one thing:

Our first dungeon spellbook, Ethereal Openings! And it is way early. We're only at 800'! Well, let's take a look!

* Not the actual description.

So yeah, this spellbook fixes one of the two glaring weaknesses of priests, viz. their lack of good mobility spells. It's not much use to us now, but it will be supremely helpful throughout the game. Thanks, RNG!

And that does it for this level, so on to the next.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 850')

It's Shagrat, the Orc Captain, and his captained orcs! I bet they don't like Orb of Draining! En route to his hidey-hole, we find a new Staff of Identify and an un-identified Ring; feeling spendy, I burn a charge on the ring to discover it's a Ring of Ice. An easy replacement for our Ring of Slow Digestion; we now have at least two elements covered (possibly plus whatever our shield does), as well as an activation for 75-damage ice ball and temporary cold resistance. Handy!

Anyway, Shagrat:

7 Snagas are hit hard. 6 Black orcs are hit hard. Shagrat, the Orc Captain is hit hard. 7 Snagas flee in terror! 2 Black orcs flee in terror! 4 Snagas die.

And then I accidentally cast Portal again . At least we score level 20 (127 HP, 37 SP) off of a Giant Red Scorpion while returning to the fight.

A line of shimmering blue light appears. You have 16 charges remaining. 3 Snagas cringe from the light! The Black orc cringes from the light! The Snaga flees in terror!

Shagrat's not gonna know what hit him...assuming I don't accidentally teleport us away again!

Shagrat, the Orc Captain is hit hard. The Black orc is hit hard. The Black orc flees in terror! The Snaga dies.
Shagrat, the Orc Captain is hit hard. The Black orc dies.
Shagrat, the Orc Captain is hit hard.
Shagrat, the Orc Captain is hit hard.
Shagrat, the Orc Captain is hit hard. Shagrat, the Orc Captain flees in terror!

And then we run out of mana, and he's out of slingshot range. But he soon runs into the remains of his escort and recovers some semblance of courage...the fool.

Your Iron Shot (1d4) (+0,+0) hits Shagrat, the Orc Captain (16). Shagrat, the Orc Captain dies. You have 12 Iron Shots (1d4) (+0,+0).

(Incidentally, I chucked our Rounded Pebbles; they were taking up a lot of weight and we have plenty of other offensive options now)

And what did he drop?

You have Red Dragon Scale Mail [24].

Oh hell yes. Barely heavier than our Leather Scale Mail, more AC, resistance to fire, and of course one hell of an attack activation.

You breathe fire. 2 Black orcs die.

We're gonna get along just fine, new buddy.

Incidentally, you may think things are going rather easily for us just now. This is the point at which humans are strongest, really -- character level is still a big determinant of character power, so we have more HP and SP, and our spells hit harder and fail less often, compared to characters of other races. Moreover, Orb of Draining makes a fantastically powerful attack right now, punching harder than any mage spell, especially against evil targets. Soon enough the lack of intrinsic abilities and decent stats will start to catch up with us, and eventually Orb's power will wane, but for now we're riding high.

Nothing else of interest on the level; let's head on.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 900')

We start in this scroll room:

A bunch of useless-to-us scrolls, and a set of un-ID'd ones that I burn an Identify charge on, and thankfully so: they're Summon Undead.

We finally manage to identify our shield by stumbling into a Blue Jelly -- it's Resist Cold. Redundant with our Ring of Ice, but oh well; we now have all of the basic resists covered except for acid, which is the least urgent.

Also, we found another randart.

You have the Long Sword of Earsil (2d5) {special, cursed}.

...oh. Cursed artifacts are almost never worth dealing with when playing with standarts; when playing with randarts, they're categorically never worth using. But I'll identify this one anyway so you all can bask in its uselessness:

Wow, this one actually theoretically has some utility. Usually they're just awful, like literally worse than even an {average} item in every way. Experience drain amounts to losing a point of EXP every turn or two; it's pretty irrelevant except in the early game. Random teleportation is painful though. The curse would keep us from un-equipping it if we were stupid enough to equip it in the first place; we could try to break it by using enchantment scrolls on the thing.

Anyway, it's a lousy weapon, and gets thrown in the corner.

Down in the southwest corner, we find a Giant White Tick, which means we can finally identify this Light Brown Potion we've been carrying around for ages. It is, as I suspected, Neutralize Poison.

Also, Giant White Ticks have absurd AC scores; our chance to hit is a pathetic 12%, or 24% with Bless active. Or we can just Orb it twice.

A pack of Forest Trolls dies quickly to our Wands of Light, but we're starting to run low on those -- only 8 charges left. On the flipside we're starting to run low on light-sensitive enemies. We hit level 21 (137 HP, 38 SP) off of the last one.

Okay, this shouldn't take long. Hello, Bullroarer the Hobbit.

Bullroarer the Hobbit screams in agony. Bullroarer the Hobbit flees in terror!

Bullroarer's not evil, but as one of the first uniques in the game, he's quite fragile -- just 60 HP! He conks out when we hit him with a second Orb; predictably, his drop is uninteresting.

That about does it for this level.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 950')

There's a Werewolf in that moated room to our east, and the adventurer party includes an Easterling Champion, who's 4 levels out-of-depth. They should mostly just be annoyingly durable instead of legitimately dangerous.

Sure enough, the Werewolf eats 4 Orbs and dies; the Easterling Champion is nearly downed by just a single Orb.

A bit later, something really ignominous happens:

You smite the Giant black louse (23). You have slain the Giant black louse. Welcome to level 22. You can learn 4 more prayers.

Oh well, they can't all be epic battles against worthy foes. We're up to 141 HP and 40 SP, and, in the room south of the Battle of the Louse...

You have a Hard Leather Cap [2]. You feel wiser! You are wearing a Hard Leather Cap[2] <+2> {splendid}. You can learn 8 more prayers.

A cap of Wisdom! Only 5 more SP (as our WIS hits 18/50), but we're that much closer to the real gains. Plus our minimum failure rate dropped to 4%! Now if we could just find a Ring of Strength. I decide to bite the bullet and chug our Brawn potion, since running around overburdened is getting tiresome.

You feel very stupid. You feel very strong! You have no more Clotted Potions of Brawn.

Perfect! We don't need INT anyway.

An Easterling Warrior gets us our first Potions of Restore Mana, and a Snaga drops us a Wand of Drain Life, which should prove quite handy; 150 damage is more than anything except our Dragon Scale Mail can put out, and it can be used several times in rapid succession. These wands are native to 2500', so this is a very lucky drop. We've been getting several of those lately...

Anyway, next level!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1000')

1000'! The early game is officially over. And we get a nice little welcoming committee: a pack of Earth Hounds.

Followed by some Ogres, an Orc Shaman, and a Guardian Naga. Phew. We use up all our mana (Earth Hounds take two Orbs apiece) and the activations on our Ring of Ice and Dragon Scale Mail before we get a breather.

Zephyr Hounds are out in force on this level, in fact. This is troublesome -- they have ranged attacks, they come in packs, they're always awake, and since they aren't evil, we can't detect them. Fortunately they're individually fragile and use the group AI, so if necessary we can duck into a corridor to recover mana.


It's Smeagol! Everyone say "Hi, Smeagol!"

Smeagol is hit hard.

Very good, class! 6 Orbs total do in Smeagol's curiously ridiculous 400 HP, and he drops some diamonds. Whoopie. We have 28k AU built up so far, and it's all totally useless.

In this spiral room, we beat up some Fire Hounds:

(Uh, pretend the screenshot was taken before we killed them )

2 Fire hounds freeze and shatter!

Man, Rings of Ice are awesome, at least when you find them early enough that you can make effective use of their activation.

It's Nar the Dwarf! Unfortunately non-evil, resistant to both fire and cold, and he has 450 HP. We lean heavily on our Wand of Drain Life to kill him. He drops a {magical} Lead-Filled Mace. Ugh, way too heavy for us.

A bit later, we find a {splendid} Cloak on the ground that boosts our stealth by 2. That's either a Cloak of Stealth or a Cloak of Aman (which, in addition to the stealth bonus, gives a random high resistance); either way, an easy upgrade over our old one.

Eat dragonflame, ogres!

You breathe fire. The Scroll titled "mo tabus" of Holy Chant burns up! 3 Ogres die. The Baby green dragon dies.

Oh dear, a 2-Headed Hydra. 200 HP and not evil...but they're weak to frost!

You feel resistant to cold! The 2-headed hydra is badly frozen. The 2-headed hydra flees in terror!

Nothing to it.

Before heading to the next level, I ditch some gear -- our 5 Wands of Light, one of our spare Rods of Treasure Location, and our Potions of Cure Light Wounds go out the window. We're still at -1 speed due to burden, but things aren't quite as dire as they were before.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1050')

We fought off a 3-Headed Hydra in this room; more durable than the previous guy, but not by so much that we couldn't Orb him down after using our Ring of Ice. While resting from the fight, our Cloak self-IDs as a Cloak of Aman. I didn't realize that was possible! Its bonus resistance is Shards; handy with all the Earth Hounds around here.

So perhaps if you're totally out of ID, you could just equip the items you're curious about and then wait a few thousand turns. Ehh, there must be a better way.

A few notables here; Grishnakh the Hill Orc is the yellow o, and there's a group of Gnome Mages to his east. Gnome Mages are assholes who cast Frost Bolt and Summon Monster, so we don't want them to wake up if possible.

Unfortunately, fancy cloak or no, Friar Tuck is no Solid Snake, and we soon have an angry orc and a bunch of wolves after us. Grishnakh dies in two turns: one of dragonbreath, one of Orb. The Wolves take longer, since there's so many of them. And of course, while we're dealing with them, Grishnakh's escort wakes up, and while we're dealing with them, Brodda the Easterling shows up:

We're low on mana, and our Dragon Scale Mail is still recharging, but our Ring of Ice, plus the only two Orbs of Draining we have the mana to cast, are enough to put Brodda to flight. And finally, we get a moment's rest.

Alas, the Gnome Mages are awake; no nuking them all with a single Orb. It takes 4 instead; oh well.

We hit level 24 (156 HP, 49 SP) off of a pack of Mirkwood Spiders, and burn some Identify to learn about a Staff of Mapping and a Staff of Confuse Monsters (which must mean that the one from last update was Sleep Monsters). We're oddly plentiful on identification -- we have 4 staves with 28 charges between them, and 4 scrolls. The extra weight from lugging 4 staves around is annoying, though. Every time we pick up a new one its charges "merge" with the rest of the pack, so there's no way to separate out a drained staff from the pile. Best we can do is drop all but one staff, use it up, destroy it, and then pick up the others. In the meantime, we have 20 pounds worth of identification slowing us down, literally.

We nab a Ring of Free Action from an isolated room, and that does it for this level.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1100')

Ulfast, Son of Ulfang is the tan p; the dragon is a Young Green Dragon, our first of that generation. We can handle both. More importantly,

The last "town" spellbook! Exorcisms and Dispelling!

We learn what we can, and I remember to check Ethereal Openings, discovering that Teleport Other is now available. This would be a prime moment if it weren't for the 50% failure rate and 20 SP cost.

Anyway, where were we?

Oh, right.

You breathe fire. Ulfast, Son of Ulfang screams in pain. Ulfast, Son of Ulfang flees in terror!

Yeah, you better run away. Mostly because we ran out of mana dealing with a huge pack of White Wolves, a Druid, and a Dark Elven Priest. We duck into the corridor and rest up, and when he returns, drop him with a pair of Orbs.

Fortunately, by the time the Young Green Dragon wakes up, we've recovered enough mana for precisely 3 Orbs, which is enough to kill it. An easy 600 EXP.

Exploring further, we somehow manage to get completely blindsided by a rather important orc:

Bolg, Son of Azog, who is King of the Uruk-Hai. And we're half-out of mana. Let's just come back later, hey? *PORTAL*

Yeah, this works nicely.

One problem with Bolg: he's fast. Shoot 'n Scoot only works if you get turns in-between Phase Doors to attack your opponent. Fortunately we have a stock of Potions of Speed. They count as endgame consumables (we'll never learn Haste Self, and Staves of Speed can be drained in melee, leaving just the potions), but this qualifies as an emergency.

You feel yourself moving faster! You have 5 Vermilion Potions of Speed {!*}. Bolg, Son of Azog hits you. Bolg, Son of Azog hits you. Bolg, Son of Azog misses you. Bolg, Son of Azog misses you.

Phase Door away...

You breathe fire. Bolg, Son of Azog cries out in pain.
You feel resistant to cold! Bolg, Son of Azog cries out in pain.
Bolg, Son of Azog is hit hard.
Bolg, Son of Azog is hit hard. Bolg, Son of Azog flees in terror!

One more hit should do it.

Welcome to level 25. You can learn 9 more prayers. Bolg, Son of Azog dies.

His drop? The mage book Resistances of Scarabtarices (I'd be more annoyed if we didn't already have Ethereal Openings), this gargantuan flail:

and a {magical} Mace.

The flail's quite nice, but it also weighs a preposterous 28 pounds, setting us to -3 speed. That's really not tenable. Why couldn't you have given us a Whip instead, Bolg? There's no point to a stat stick if it's too heavy to lift!

And that does it for this level. This seems like a good place to stop for now. Next time: we pass sentence on several traitors.