The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 47: He Who Fights Demons

Update 47: He Who Fights Demons

Last time, we made serious inroads on stat gain, and found a couple of equipment improvements. Here's what Friar Tuck looks like, just before taking the stairs:

We're looking pretty good! Which just means that the RNG is about to deliver a fierce right hook

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1900')

Hooray, a cavern level No point setting up a stash; we'll be leaving as soon as we can.

On the way to the stairs, we pick up a new scroll, which IDs as Banishment. Those can be handy, so we'll hold onto it for now.

Under fire from Light Hounds, we find a Potion of Wisdom right next to the stairs. Our new Lantern protects us from blindness, so light and darkness attacks are mostly just a nuisance now.

You feel very wise!

And our SP climbs from 151 to 166.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 1950')

Yikes, this is a nasty entrance! Emperor Wights are fast and can cast Nether Bolt and Cause Critical Wounds, and that's Tom the Stone Troll behind it -- which means Bill and Bert can't be far behind.

Also I fat-fingered and accidentally hit 'h', launching an Iron Shot at the Emperor Wight

Your Iron Shot of Acid (1d4) (+2,+2) dissolves the Emperor Wight (60). The Emperor Wight cries out in pain. The Emperor Wight miss you. The Emperor Wight hits you. The Emperor Wight touches you. You feel your life draining away! The Emperor Wight touches you. You feel your life draining away!

Y'know, let's just portal away from here. I want to kill these guys, but only once we know the terrain.

Okay, there's a Priest Pit to our east, with four Patriarchs swarming out of it. The undetected monsters are probably Acolytes, who aren't evil; I suppose there might also be Paladins and Gallants in there. Really it's kind of weird which "religious" monsters are evil.

Patriarchs are fast, have about 450 HP, and are worth a whopping 2400 EXP apiece; on the flipside they have a number of nasty spells and reasonably punishing melee. We can fight them if we have speed parity though.

First, though, a Paladin confirms the other contents of the pit:

One Orb sends him off, to be replaced by a Patriarch.

We haste up, and start Orbing.

The Patriarch is hit hard. It writhes in agony. The Patriarch tries to make you stop moving. You avoid the effects!
The Patriarch is hit hard. The Patriarch magically starts closing wounds. The Patriarch looks healthier.

Stupid Heal Self spell. It takes 5 Orbs to kill one Patriarch from full health -- assuming they don't heal! And since we need to use a Potion of Speed to match them, we want to kill all four Patriarchs in one pass, so now we get to charge the pit.

I don't mind some Paladins soaking up splash damage while we nuke the Patriarch just around the corner. Except one of them isn't a Paladin...

You feel something roll beneath your feet. The Patriarch is hit hard. The Knight Templar shrugs off the attack. You hear a scream of agony! It cries out feebly. It screams in agony. The Paladin dies. The Knight Templar points at you and incants terribly. You avoid the effects!

Knights Templar! The paladin equivalent to the Patriarch, and also not evil; they have twice the HP of the Patriarch, equal speed, and can cast nastier spells -- their Cause Mortal Wounds could theoretically kill us outright (it can deal upwards of 225 damage and we only have 189 HP!). They do show up a bit later (native to 2200' instead of 2000' as the Patriarch is), but that's not really enough to explain how much more dangerous they are.

Yeah, uh, we out. Bye guys! *PORTAL*

Not exactly my choice of landing zones, since the pit is between us and the rest of the level. We seem to be teleporting an awful lot, this level. Not a good sign!

So hey, we have that Scroll of Banishment, right?

Choose a monster race (by symbol) to banish: p
You have no more Scrolls titled "ex osus pli" of Banishment.

From full health down to 75 HP from the banishment backlash, but hey, the pit's gone! No regrets, either; we don't have the inventory space to spare on hoarding Banishment like we could with previous characters.

That dealt with, we drop off our stash and examine the items in this room. One of them is quite fortuitous:

Full resistance on a shield! Now we don't need our Defender whip for elemental resistances. Excellent!

You were wearing a Wicker Shield of Resist Acid [2,+4]. You are wearing a Large Metal Shield of Resistance [12,+10]. The weight of your armor encumbers your movement.

Oops, we're over the weight limit on armor. This costs us 2SP (and would cost more if we equipped even heavier gear) but has no other side effects. Totally worth it.

We swing through the pit; there's nothing in it, alas. Either whatever loot was there was picked up by the residents, or there never was any to begin with and the residents' natural drops were supposed to be the entire reward. Oh well.

Our friend, the slightly-melted Emperor Wight, is stuck behind a Skeleton Troll. Ha!

Unfortunately, Orb doesn't have quite the blast radius needed to kick the skeleton into action. Which reminds me -- now that we're level 30, Orb of Draining has a radius of 3 instead of 2. In practice the monsters hit by the fringe of the Orb will take very little damage, but hey, that's more than nothing.

We step south and breathe fire blindly to our west.

You breathe fire. You hear a scream of agony! It cries out in pain. Something mumbles. You are hit by something cold! *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! *** You feel your life force draining away!

Ow. Stupid nether bolts. Down to 85/189 HP. At least a Cure Critical Wounds potion can get us out of the danger zone.

Eat Orb, wight!

The Emperor wight is hit hard. The Emperor wight flees in terror!

Yeah, that's what I thought. Emperor Wights are glass cannons; if you can keep your distance and they don't cast many spells, then you can kill them fast. We step back around the corner and rest up, waiting for it to return; when it does, a single Orb massively overkills it.

The Wight dropped a Wand of Fire Balls, which could come in handy; they deal a base 144 damage! We only get an 11% bonus on top of that, but the base damage still makes them worthwhile.

Getting closer to where we entered the level, we can verify that the Stone Troll Trio is all present:

Tom, the eastmost, is far enough from his brothers that we can pull him without bothering them. Excellent. The three brothers can each throw boulders, and they all move fast; that's enough to make me not want to fight them together.

Tom's at the extreme of our range; open fire!

Tom the Stone Troll is hit hard. Bill the Stone Troll is hit hard. Something picks up an Iron Shot of Acid (1d4) (+2,+2).

...I miscalculated Whelp!

You breathe fire. It grunts with pain.

Naturally dragonfire has a smaller radius than Orb, but that's okay; if we can kill one then the other will be easier to deal with. We open up with the Fire Balls wand.

You have 5 charges remaining. It grunts with pain.
You have 4 charges remaining. It cries out in pain. Something hurls a boulder.
You have 3 charges remaining. It cries out in pain. It grunts with pain.

Time to switch to Orb; Tom must be nearly dead now.

It cries out in pain. It shrugs off the attack.
It screams in pain. It shrugs off the attack.
You hear a scream of agony! It grunts with pain. Something picks up an Iron Shot of Acid (1d4) (+2,+2)

And now for Bill! Our attack animations tell us he's still a long way down the corridor, so we just keep flinging Orbs at him.

It grunts with pain. <4x>

Oh hey, we have infravision now! Hooray for our Amulet of Trickery! Bill is about 50% dead, now, which should mean about 5-6 more Orbs will do him in. Against evil, we're hitting over 100 damage per Orb, and the Stone Troll Trio each have 1100 HP.

Bill the Stone Troll is hit hard.
Bill the Stone Troll is hit hard.

And phase away...

Bill the Stone Troll is hit hard.
Bill the Stone Troll is hit hard. Bill the Stone Troll flees in terror!

Bill the Stone Troll dies.

5 Orbs. Called it! He dropped a {magical} Two-Handed Great Flail, and the Iron Shot of Acid we flung at that Emperor Wight back at the beginning of the level.

Finally, it's time for Bert.

11 Orbs, and he dies, having flung two boulders at us for a total of about 95 damage. Alone, each of the Stone Trolls is no real threat, as long as you can avoid melee range, as we can. Heading down the corridor, we find the loot that Bill didn't grab: Augmented Chain Mail of Resistance, and this:

Hey, they're an easy upgrade over our Mithril Gauntlets! We go from 189 HP to 208, and we get back the SP we were losing due to having too much armor on. Alchemist's Gloves only weigh .5 pounds, which is still pretty heavy for what I imagine are basically somewhat heavier-duty versions of disposable latex gloves.

Moving on, there's a lot of dragons to the west:

Two Mature Dragons (one multihued, the other white), and their respective broods. No problem for Orb of Draining. We hit level 31 off of the Mature Multihued Dragon: 221 HP, 171 SP. Two more levels and we'll have Glyph of Warding, and maybe even enough SP to cast it three times in a row!

The Mature Multihued Dragon also dropped a Scroll of Acquirement, which as you may remember generate random {excellent} or better items. This one gets us this:


We also find a Ring of Constitution <+2>. Wearing it gets us up to 244 HP, which seems like a big enough gain to be worth replacing our old Ring of Acid.

We head back to the checkerboard room to explore it more thoroughly, and run into a Mind Flayer. These assholes can drain your WIS and INT with their melee attacks (presumably representing them eating your brains), but he dies to Orb like everything else does, and drops this:

Another new shield! Awesome. Sound is a reasonably handy resistance, too, since sound attacks cause stunning.

Exploring north, we spot a Phantom, and try to move into an open room so we can engage it without it slipping into the walls. Unfortunately, just as we're about to light the room up and open fire,

Something messes with your mind. You feel your memories fade.

What does this do to us? Two things. First, if we try to use a scroll,

You can't remember how to read!

That is some heavy-duty amnesia!

Second, while we can still try to cast spells, there's one eentsy little problem:

And these are the easy ones! Dispel Evil is at 61%, and Teleport Level is at 71%!

Well, like it or not, we've got to try to engage the Phantom with these crappy stats.

There he is to our northwest. Meanwhile the Manticore has woken up and started beating our faces in. C'mon, dragonfire!

You breathe fire. The Phantom screams in agony. The Manticore cries out in pain. The Phantom flees in terror! The Manticore hits you. The Manticore hits you. The Manticore misses you. The Manticore misses you. The Phantom tries to make you forget things. You avoid the effects! The Manticore misses you. The Manticore hits you. The Manticore hits you. The Manticore misses you. The Phantom tries to cast a spell, but fails.

Phew. We can tank the Manticore's attacks no problem; the main thing is that the Phantom stayed close enough that we can still see it. It's odd that he's trying to cast so many spells, though -- his only spell is Amnesia and his cast chance is 1 in 5.

Anyway, we can't rely on Orb, so c'mon, Wand of Fire Balls!

You have 2 charges remaining. The Manticore cries out in pain. The Phantom is destroyed. The Manticore hits you, etc. etc. etc.

And this is why we carry backup offensive options. One of the reasons, anyway. We whip the Manticore to death in melee, and grab the Phantom's drop -- a Long Bow of Power. Well hey, let's keep an eye open for arrows. We haven't been using our sling much lately anyway; a good bow will almost certainly do more damage.

That's the last thing of interest on the level; we grab our stash and head onwards.

We're standing on the remains of a Master Vampire that attacked us as soon as we lit the room up. Lucky us, he dropped a Potion of Intelligence and a Potion of Wisdom! Our SP goes from 171 to 187 as our WIS hits 18/142; I'm betting the next one gets our failure rate down to 1%. Meanwhile, our INT is...9

Ugghhhh, a Will o' the Wisp is after us (the white E). Have I mentioned these guys are assholes? These guys are assholes. Very fast, move through walls, spam teleportation spells, and their melee causes hallucinations. Not very sturdy, fortunately. Unfortunately,

You breathe fire. The Will o' the wisp resists a lot. The Will o' the wisp hits you. The Will o' the wisp misses you. The Will o' the wisp hits you. You feel drugged! The Will o' the wisp misses you. The Will o' tho wisp misses you. The Will o' tho wisp misses you.

At least hallucinating doesn't increase our failure rates any. We Orb it once, and it teleports away; by the time it returns we've stopped seeing things that aren't there, and down it with two more Orbs.

When you're hallucinating, the game will spawn lots of random glyphs all over the place:

It also randomizes the glyphs that things that are actually present display as. However, the game will never make a thing that is actually there look like it's not there (e.g. if there's an item on the floor, it will always be replaced by a random glyph, not by just nothingness). As a result, you can still make educated guesses about where monsters are, and more or less keep track of things.

Though, if you try to use the 'l'ook command to check things out, all you get is

You see something strange.

We explore for awhile without finding anything interesting besides another hilarious-overkill Potion of *Healing*, but then

Our first Ancient Dragons! Ancient Blue dragons hit 211 damage with their electricity breath, which with resistance is only 70 damage; no problem for us.

From here we can wake him up with Orb, and then commence the pummeling. Ancient Blues have 633 HP, or about 6-7 Orbs.

It grunts with pain.
It cries out in pain.
The Ancient blue dragon is hit hard.
The Ancient blue dragon is hit hard. The Ancient blue dragon conjures up scary horrors. You avoid the effects!
The Ancient blue dragon is hit hard. The Ancient blue dragon flees in terror!
The Ancient blue dragon dies.

Easiest 2500 EXP we've made yet.

This Ancient Green is a bit trickier, since he's closer in, but his breath attack does the same damage and we resist poison (thanks to our Amulet of Trickery), so it shouldn't be a problem.

The Ancient green dragon is hit hard. It writhes in agony. The Energy hound howls in pain. It howls in agony. The Energy hound yelps in pain. The Energy hound flees in terror! The Ancient green dragon pushes past the Energy hound.
The Ancient green dragon is hit hard. You hear a scream of agony! 2 Energy hounds die. The Ancient green dragon breathes poison. You resist the effect!
The Ancient green dragon is hit hard. The Ancient green dragon claws you. The Ancient green dragon claws you. The Ancient green dragon misses you.
The Ancient green dragon is hit hard. The Ancient green dragon flees in terror! The Ancient green dragon sets off a blinding flash. You avoid the effects! The Ancient green dragon conjures up scary horrors. You avoid the effects!

This guy reminds me of when I was playing D&D back in college and an enemy managed to get a fear spell to take hold of my character. I did everything I could to avoid actually running away -- I wasn't very big on that whole role-playing thing back then. In Greenie's case here, it doesn't much matter; he's dead anyway.

The rest of the level just has far too many Zephyr Hounds and a bunch of Giants of various flavors. It's only once we've finished and I go to retrieve our stash that I realize we didn't set one up on this level; we just carried all our crap with us the entire time. Oh well!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2050')

Bleh, bad start: that Beholder woke up as soon as we lit the room. Beholders have lots of spells, plenty of HP, and +10 speed. They're worth 7700 EXP to kill, but they drop nothing, and EXP is easy to come by, honestly. So why bother?

The Beholder disappears!

Teleport Other is down to a 14% failure rate, and its 20 SP cost isn't nearly so prohibitive as it used to be. Hooray for avoiding unrewarding fights! Seriously though, none of the beholder-type enemies are worth fighting, ever, by anyone.

A pack of Mumakil closing in from the west, and a Spirit Troll attacking us in the north. At least the Spirit Troll is standing in an open doorway instead of a wall, so we can Orb it.

Also, that's Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings in the northwest quadrant. He...well, we haven't shirked from fighting many uniques, so why don't we try to take him on?

Because there's a crapton of monsters here to deal with first, that's why. At least we have Nexus resistance, so these Nexus Hounds won't be ruining our stats today. But between the Spirit Troll's attacks and the Nexus breaths, we have to cast Heal "in anger" for the first time -- we were down to 60 out of 244 HP, which is too far into the danger zone for my tastes.

Finally, between dragonbreath and repeated orbs, we break down the Hounds and Mumakil. Each Mumak has about 500HP, which is a lot for a group monster; they aren't fast and don't deal excessive damage with their melee attacks, but they get lots of opportunities to make them as we slowly whittle away their HP.

If we're going to take on Lorgan, we need to figure out our attack vector. He has a bunch of Easterling Champions blocking the eastern approach, but that could actually work in our favor, slowing him down so he can't reach melee range. Lorgan's main gimmicks are punishing melee damage, the ability to summon monsters, and immunity to all basic elements (which is why Bryson put off fighting him for so long); he's also fast and has 1800 HP...and he can cast Teleport To (a.k.a. Summon You To Melee Range).

Still, playing keepaway is better than standing in melee and taking hits. Let's get this party started!

...dangit, that Mumak is keeping Lorgan from walking into the corridor where we can see and blast him.

Fun fact: Lorgan is always generated with a bunch of Mumakil and Easterling Champions. I think he's supposed to be a fantasy equivalent of Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps with an army, complete with elephants.

Anyway, we Orb the Mumak, shaking up Lorgan's escorts; the jittering gives him room to slip out of his chamber, and the fight is on!

Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings is hit hard. 3 Easterling champions are hit hard. The Mumak grunts with pain.
Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings is hit hard. The Mumak grunts with pain. 2 Easterling champions are hit hard. 2 Easterling champions flee in terror! The Easterling champion dies.

It's working! The Mumak can soak damage admirably, and the Easterling Champions on the outskirts of Orb's radius aren't taking much splash damage (since damage falls off precipitously with distance from the epicenter). We just need for Lorgon to not decide to cast anything for, uh, another 15 casts of Orb or so.

Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings is hit hard. The Mumak grunts with pain. 2 Easterling champions die. Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings commands you to come hither.

Me and my big mouth This was bound to happen eventually anyway, and is not a major disaster, what with the existence of Phase Door (er, "Blink") and all. We Orb him again, and then Blink lands us back in the corridor.

We manage another 4 Orbs before being summoned again; this time Blink lands us on the western side of the moati

Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings is hit hard. Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings summons some friends. The Lesser Balrog hits you. You are enveloped in flames! The Lesser Balrog hits you. You are enveloped in flames! One of your Scrolls titled "lendus custius" of Identify was destroyed! The Lesser Balrog crushes you. The Lesser Balrog misses you.

What the hell. Lesser Balrogs are native to 2450', that's not for another 400'! And Lorgan's native to 1800', so how the hell is he pulling something that strong to fight for him? Gahhhh.

Lesser Balrogs can breathe fire for 586 damage; even resisted that's 195, and we currently have 192 HP. This is not a good situation! If we stay where we are to heal, the balrog gets 2 turns on us, which could easily kill us despite the healing; if we Phase Door, then we might land in LOS of the balrog and it could kill us with a single breath; if we try to teleport (or to teleport it away) then we could fail and get killed. This is the kind of situation I'd save a Scroll of Teleport for, but we threw them away to make inventory space

The least failure-prone option is to cast Portal. 2% failure rate, don't screw me over now

Phew. Okay. We are going to get back up there. We're going to cast Resist Heat and Cold, teleport that Balrog away, and kill Lorgan. He's 60% dead right now and he needs be all dead.

Unfortunately, there's a pack of Vrocks between us and him:

And Vrocks hit hard, man. Two 8d12 crush attacks in melee! We chug a Healing potion here, cast Blink, and end up with some distance:

Then we Orb the lot of them down. Their spells can only blind or confuse, and we have Cure Critical Wounds to clear confusion if it lands. And one of them drops a replacement Potion of Healing!

Now. Lorgan!

He's healed 20% of his HP since we last saw him. Stupid accelerated healing for unique monsters. More importantly, he's in front of the Balrog. How are we going to get rid of that Balrog now? Answer: we aren't.

The Balrog gets stuck in the corner of the moated room. Careful play should let us fight Lorgan without having to deal with his Balrog. And "careful" includes "drink a Potion of Speed because Christ fighting these guys without speed parity is dumb."

Eat Orb, Lorgan! Again!

Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings is hit hard. <7x>
Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings flees in terror!

Hey, this time he obligingly refrains from casting any spells. How kind of him!

Let's repay that kindness.

Lorgan, Chief of the Easterlings dies.

And now that's done with. Lorgan's drop:

Of course, it has Slow Digestion as its random ability, instead of, say, Protection from Confusion, or even Telepathy. But it's still a big improvement over our Cloak of Aman, even if we lose resistance to shards.

Now for that Lesser Balrog.

You feel resistant to fire! You feel resistant to cold!

With temporary fire resistance up, the Lesser Balrog can only hit us for 65 damage per breath. We can cope with that. He has 1760 HP, moves quickly, and can also cast Blind, Confuse, and Summon Demon. We'll just have to hope he doesn't pull that latter.

Something mumbles.

Wonder what that spell was...

Oh. He summoned a Vrock. Carry on. He's a bit close, so we Blink away, and

The Lesser Balrog summons a demon. The Lesser Balrog breathes fire. One of your Holy Books of Prayers [Chants and Blessings] was destroyed! One of your Scrolls titled "veter exor" of Phase Door was destroyed! One of your Scrolls titled "lendus custius" of Identify was destroyed!

Now he has a Marilith. You do remember you're only supposed to cast spells 1 time in 3, right buddy? Oh well, time to burn another Potion of Speed, because our previous one ran out and we aren't winning this fight otherwise. And dammit, we're going to win it.

You feel yourself moving faster! You have 4 Vermilion Potions of Speed.
The Lesser Balrog is hit hard. The Marilith is hit hard. The Vrock is hit hard. The Lesser Balrog summons a demon.

Stop doing that!

Another Marilith. Mariliths can cast Blind and Summon Demon themselves; this is getting out of hand.

Fortunately, the next segment of the fight is blessedly low on casting.

Until the Balrog manages to slip a Confuse past our 80% saving throw, anyway. That's what Cure Critical Wounds potions are for.

The Vrock dies to splash damage, and

The Lesser Balrog is hit hard. 2 Mariliths are hit hard. The Lesser Balrog flees in terror! The Marilith summons a demon.

This fight is never going to end, is it? At least it's just another Vrock, and they can't summon anything.

With the Balrog fleeing, we quickly Orb down the Mariliths and Vrock, then retreat behind a corner to rest up. Soon enough the Balrog returns.

But he's over 90% dead; a single Orb pushes him over the edge.

Welcome to level 32. The Lesser Balrog is destroyed.

At last! An expensive and lengthy fight, but we are victorious! 258 HP, 193 SP, and the loot from taking out several greater demons is all ours.

Tempting; comparing this to our Defender whip, we essentially swap out Regeneration for Hold Life, resistance to darkness, and +1 light radius. But I really, really like regeneration.

This drop from (presumably) one of the Mariliths is junk, though.

And that's it. Let's take one more look at Friar Tuck before closing the update:

We're 44 pounds overweight; despite that, the speed bonuses from our gear have us at +1 speed. And of course we can shuck most of this stuff for normal exploration.

Where did our spare Mushrooms of Vigor get to...? I know we had more than just one!

Next time: things fall apart.