The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 51: Curlicues

Update 51: Curlicues

Last time, we risked being instantly killed by a unique that completely and utterly outclassed us, and won. Is this the turning point in Friar Tuck's venture?

Problem: Huan is still out there somewhere. So is the Phoenix. In here, we're safe, but as soon as we leave the vault, we risk getting blasted by a monster we can't even see coming. And there's no stairs in here.

(Secondary problem: the Phoenix is native to 2700', so we're risking instant death by an undetectable monster basically all the time anyway. But baby steps)

Fortunately, we can solve this, by simply casting Teleport Level. It's kind of scummy, in that it could take us upwards instead of downwards, but I'd rather be a bit scummy than risk leaving our little coccoon here in search of a staircase.

You sink through the floor. (to 2700')

Ah, problem solved.

We haven't gotten to spend much time on this level and it's already proving interesting. We had to Blink away from that Storm Giant, but that just lead us to Harowen the Black Hand. Harowen is normally not that dangerous, but he can steal items, and our DEX is nowhere near enough to make us theftproof, so we need to avoid him for the moment.

Harowen the Black Hand disappears!

Meanwhile, Storm Giants are fast, have 700 HP, and can cast a few spells, but they aren't all that dangerous for all that. The biggest problem is that they have 2x 10d8 shocking melee hits, which is pretty painful. Orb does this one in quickly, and we net a Potion of Healing off his corpse.

Hey, two vaults! And we have a Potion of Enlightenment kicking around!

An image of your surroundings forms in your mind...

Plenty of potential here; alas, the only dungeon prayer book is yet another copy of Ethereal Openings. Much as I love Teleport Other, we really need the second dungeon prayer book.

The big vault is "Curlicues One"; there's 7 of those "monster up to 40 levels out of depth" tiles, in it, and only 3 of them are sealed behind rock. Of course, just because the monster can be from deep in the dungeon doesn't mean that it is. The potions in the lesser vault are 2x Restore Mana and two junk potions -- Restore Life Levels and Resist Poison.

More interestingly, west of where we entered is an apothecary!

We get a Potion of Strength, maxing us out at 18/150 (after equipment bonuses); a Potion of Intelligence, another Potion of Strength...and 2 Potions of Enlightenment No CON, no WIS.

As for that big vault,

Honestly the biggest worry (after that Nightwalker, anyway) is what monsters in there we can't detect. Everything else that we can see is something we should be able to kill, with care, or at least teleport away. But if the Phoenix is back in there, let alone Huan, then we have problems.

First things first, let's bag us an Ancient Multihued Dragon.

AMHDs have breath weapons that, when at full health, deal 616 base damage. We have resistance to all their breath attacks, acid damage is automatically halved by splashing on our armor, and we can double-resist fire and cold; that just leaves poison and electricity to deal "full" damage of 205. No problem, right? Especially with our new crown's activation.

You activate it. You start sprinting.

Now, let's see if it stacks with ordinary haste.

You feel yourself moving faster! You have 3 charges remaining.

Alas, no change in our actual speed. Oh well.

The Ancient multi-hued dragon is hit hard. The Ancient multi-hued dragon breathes lightning. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***
You feel very good.
The Ancient multi-hued dragon is hit hard. The Ancient multi-hued dragon breathes frost. One of your White Potions of Cure Critical Wounds was destroyed!

Et cetera. AMHDs have about 1850 HP, so it doesn't take too long for Orb to wear this one down. Alas, he blows up one of our Potions of *Healing* with a stray cold breath before dying. He does drop a randart, though!

Not bad, though the slays are a bit pointless due to the small damage dice. We'd be vaguely competent melee fighters if we equipped it, but it's not blessed, and doesn't give WIS or regeneration like our current weapon anyway.

More usefully, he also dropped two Wands of Disarming, which will be important for clearing the Curlicues vault. Because, well, it looks like this up close:

That is a lot of traps.

We start digging our way to the entrance, but we get interrupted.

The Death drake misses you. The Death drake claws you. The Death drake bites you. You feel your life draining away!

Death Drakes are dragon-ghosts, more or less: they can pass through walls and breathe nether for not quite as much damage as we have HP. We Blink away, activate our Crown again, and start the tedious business of trying to get it into the corridor so we can Orb it properly.

The Death drake breathes nether. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! *** You feel your life force draining away!

Erk. 10 HP left. When I said "not quite as much damage as we have HP", I meant it. We drink a Potion of Healing rather than risk the 1% failure rate on casting Heal; fortunately, the next time we Blink away, we have a clear firing line.

Five Orbs hit the Drake before it reaches melee range again, dropping the damage it can do with its nether breath by about 100. Then we start blinking again, and the Drake moves back into the walls.

Fighting a wall-walking monster when your only attack can't hit it when it's in the walls is seriously annoying in an elbow-shaped corridor like the one we're in, but we do finally manage to get the thing running away. It drained about 50k EXP from us before that point, mind you.

You feel your life energies returning.

But that's no longer a problem! Hooray for being able to cast Remembrance. Which we can do...just so long as our experience doesn't get drained so low that we lose level 35.

We resume digging the tunnel, and hit the temporary-slowness part of sprinting. Interestingly, our Crown has finished recharging. What happens if we activate it again? ...we get returned to normal speed, that's what. Curious. I guess the temporary speed and temporary slowness are on separate timers. I guess that's for the best -- being able to get a permanent +10 speed by just repeatedly activating our crown would be a bit broken.

Anyway, let's crack this puppy open. First target: the Great Bile Wyrm in the northwestern quadrant (just northeast of our position). The Ologs in the southwest quadrant are also ripe for the plucking...assuming that they covered over the "monster up to 40 levels OOD" instead of palling around with some horrific threat we can't see because it's not evil.

You have finished the tunnel.
There is a bright flash of light! <10x> You have 11 charges remaining.

Wands of Disarming are a bit niche, but there are times when having one is seriously nice. Taking the time to disarm all these traps, and risking setting off the trapdoors, summoning traps, teleport traps, etc. is very much not worthwhile.

Something breathes. You are hit by something! You have been stunned.

Pretty sure that was a force breath; everything else that causes stunning has a more descriptive damage message, I think. Must be Impact Hounds up there, just out of LOS.

Or it could be a Plasma Vortex. Weird. I thought the message for that was "You are hit by something *VERY* hot!" Anyway, while we Orb the vortex down, Mr. Bile Wyrm pays a visit:

Time to step out of LOS, I think...

Of course, in the two steps we make, the Plasma Vortex breathes plasma three times, despite a listed breath frequency of 1 in 5 (it's fast, naturally). So we're stunned when the Bile Wyrm re-enters LOS, and the failure rate on Teleport Other is 16%. Unacceptable. But that's why we keep Scrolls of Phase Door! Scrolls have either a 0% failure rate, or a 100% failure rate (because you're blind, confused, or amnesiac).

Now we just wait for him to enter LOS...

The Great Bile Wyrm claws you. The Great Bile Wyrm claws you. The Great Bile Wyrm bites you. You are covered in acid! Your Set of Alcehmist's Gloves of Quendilwe is unaffected! The Great Bile Wyrm bites you. You are covered in acid! Your Pair of Iron Shod Boots of Free Action is damaged!

Hm, maybe we should have activated our crown. If we screw up casting Teleport Other now, he could kill us with a breath. He can hit the damage cap on acid: 1600. Half that for hitting armor, then a third of that for our resistance, makes 266 damage per breath. Well, Phase Door will take us out of LOS again.

Then we heal up, activate our Crown, and try this again.

There he is.

The Great Bile Wyrm disappears!

And there he goes. Now we just have to wait out the downtime on our crown again, and then head back into the vault.

Stage one complete! And our first prize is promising!

We lose regeneration from our old Glaive, but in exchange, we get the extra point of WIS we need to hit a 0% failure rate -- and we get a weapon that we can actually fight with! That's a worthwhile trade. There's also a Trident (Defender), a {magical} suit of armor, and some {excellent} bolts, but who cares?

Look at that. It's beautiful. 0% failure on Teleport Other! Similarly, a 0% failure on Heal is a great source of peace of mind.

Heading to the southwest section, we find a horde of lice:

You hear several screams of agony! 9 Giant black lice die.

When we get to the Ologs, we try out melee, and it works pretty well! Orb works better, though.

Stage two complete! The only loot of note:

Incidentally, we're down to 6 Scrolls of Identify (and no staves). That could be a problem.

Also a problem: Nightwalkers. They can cast Nether Storm and Brain Smash. What say we just leave that one in his little cul-de-sac? I don't think his pathing will be able to get out. It means giving up on a Cap, a Crown, a Whip, and a Tin Rod...but maybe we'll find a source of Banishment we can use to deal with him without getting into LOS.

The next quadrant then will be the one north of the Nightwalker, which has an Elder Aranea, his underlings, and a Patriarch. There's no room for undetected non-evil nasties, conveniently. Elder Aranea have a bunch of basic attack spells, but nothing super-threatening; we can deal with him.

Before we get there, though, we find a set of randart gauntlets on the floor:

Bah. Junk compared to our current gloves, even though they do nothing but give us +3 CON.

...uh. Shit. No more aranea; just a single Stone Troll. Someone's been trampling monsters. For a moment I thought Huan was back, but actually there's plenty more options for who it could be, since the nastiest thing we know was there was the Elder Aranea -- considerably weaker than the Great Wyrm of Chaos we saw get snuffed last time. In fact, the most likely culprit this time is the Lernaean Hydra -- especially since the "monster up to 40 levels OOD" tile was occupied (by the Patriarch). We're nearly in-depth for the Lernaean Hydra -- he's native to 2850', and we're at 2700'.

Well, let's approach carefully, anyway. Haste up, temporary resistances are go.

I do so love being right. And now we can't fail to teleport you away! Unless I fat-finger the spell again.

The Lernaean Hydra disappears!

And our loot:

Ooh, tempting. +3 speed is the big item here, and the light radius; lightning immunity doesn't come into play very often. Wielding them drops our HP from 376 to 324 though. That's painful. We'll keep it as a swap for now, I guess.

All that's left is two open areas full of monsters:

Fortunately nothing too bad is in the first section -- that we can detect, anyway. I wish we could cast Stone to Mud. As it is, we'll be in LOS of a few monsters as soon as we finish digging. Oh well, not much to be done about that.

You have finished the tunnel.

And doom fails to happen! Hooray!

Unhooray. The Balrog of Moria. Normally we'd fight him; his biggest weapon is firebreath and we possess the means to become immune to that. But this is not the time: the terrain is horrible (since he can also summon, of course). So we just teleport him away.

We go back to fighting the miscellaneous monsters spilling out of this part of the vault, and

The Ancient gold dragon is hit hard. The Ancient gold dragon breathes sound. The Clear Potion of Wisdom shatters!

I swear the game has a vendetta against us or something.

Sprinting runs out, sending us to -8 speed, just as soon as this fellow enters the scene:

It's Ugluk, the Uruk, and nobody cares because he's native to 1100' and can barely even hit us. We wait out the slowness timer with him in melee, just to make certain nothing more unpleasant shows up; we have to cast Heal a few times, but we easily make back the mana in-between so it's no big deal.

Finally, the flow of monsters dribbles to a halt. The last one through is an Easterling Warrior, who considerately picked up a bunch of loot and delivered it to us.

(Remember, white & indicates a stack of multiple items on the same tile)

Among the pile:

This is pretty, but we're currently relying on a Shield of Elvenkind to supply our basic elemental resistances, so we really can't swap this in.

We also get a Potion of Intelligence and a Longbow of Extra Shots; meh. Our INT is the third stat to get above 18 internally; figures it wouldn't be a stat we actually care about.

We step into the next room, and

The Rotting quylthulg summons the undead. The Rotting quylthulg summons the undead.

Yikes. Elder Vampire! Well, we have the solution for that.

The Elder vampire disappears!

And so does the Lich that got summoned; then we step back out of LOS and kill the Quylthulg with the splash damage from Orb.

Among the items in this outer room is one that is very, very welcome.

You have a Titanium Rod.
Identify which item?

Fuck yes, a Rod of Identify! No more worries about running out! Oh man, this is such a relief.

Ariel, Queen of Air casts a ball of lightning.

Ahh! Get away, bitch! Fortunately our new rod is one of the ones that's immune to electrical damage, so she can't actually destroy it -- but she's doubtless ruined many of the other items in the vault. We teleport her away before she can do any more damage.

And like that, the vault is clear!

Alas, all we get from this section is a rather worthless randart:

Except, oh, I've forgotten someone.

Lugdush, the Uruk, stuck in a 1x1 titanium cell. Not to worry, Lugdush, we'll dig you out!

You have finished the tunnel.
Lugdush, the Uruk is hit hard.

Yeah, no. 5 Orbs later, he dies, having utterly failed to even touch us. His drop is crap, but he was standing on this:

Cripes, check out those damage dice! That's the biggest dagger I've ever seen! A shame it's pretty worthless as a stat stick though.

We should be done with this vault now, but I can't help feeling like we need to deal with that Nightwalker. Mostly because he's guarding both a) an unidentified rod, which could be a Rod of Detection, and b) a crown, and a Crown of Lordliness would be really nice right about now.

So okay, this is stupid, but here we go!

Just to our southwest is a stack of Mushrooms of Second Sight, which give temporary ESP. They'll be very helpful for keeping tabs on the Nightwalker.

This is an ideal position, so why isn't he chasing us?

You see 600 gold pieces worth of adamantite.

Oh. His way is blocked, by some Creeping Adamantite Coins. I can tell because the value of the stack is much too low. This logic relies on a bug -- Creeping Coins present themselves as if they're stacks of money, up until you try to walk into their tile -- but they don't adjust their value if you have the "items sell for 0 gold" option on. Normal adamantite piles are worth thousands of AU to us.

So we have some time, then. The Nightwalker can't get us until the coins move, and they won't move until we disturb them. That's actually annoying because it means we can't choose where to have our fight...but maybe it will work to our advantage.

Here. If we haste up, and then teleport away the Creeping Coins, then the Nightwalker must spend at least two turns before he can get into a position where he can see us -- which guarantees that we'll have at least one turn in which we can teleport him away, despite his +20 speed.

You activate it. You start sprinting.
The 600 gold pieces worth of adamantite was really a monster! The Creeping adamantite coins disappears!
The Nightwalker disappears!

Piece of cake And the loot?

On the ground: a Tin Rod of Detection.

Oh, thank all the gods We can detect non-evil monsters! Frabjous day!

Alas, the Crown is just {magical}...but the Leather Cap is a Cap of Telepathy! Which means we have a difficult choice to make, between it and our Crown of STR/INT/WIS/temporary speed. Man. That's tricky.

I'm going to call the update here. On our way out, let's take a look at the dear Friar.

We're doing pretty well for consumables now. We want more Potions of Speed of course, but only for the endgame.

The Rapier, and our new bow, are the only equipment swaps this time. Y'know, we've had those boots for a long time now...

There's our stubbornly low CON score, taunting us. We could easily hit 18/*** CON with our current equipment boosts, if only the potions would friggin' drop.

Zero redundancy in our resists and protections. Oof.

Next time: Tuck sees clearly.