The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 52: Sight Beyond Sight

Update 52: Sight Beyond Sight

Last time, we cleared out a greater vault and found a few interesting items -- most importantly, a Rod of Detection, a Rod of Identify, and a Cap of Telepathy.

There's still a lesser vault on this level that we'd like to clear -- it has a couple of Potions of Restore Mana in it, and it never hurts to have more of those. We start heading for the exit, and

The Balrog of Moria hits you. You are enveloped in flames! One of your Holy Books of Prayers [Exorcism and Dispelling] was destroyed! The Balrog of Moria misses you. The Balrog of Moria misses you. The Balrog of Moria touches you. Energy drains from your pack!

Silly me, forgetting to check for monsters. Well, this is as good a time as any to kill this guy. Just, let's stay out of melee range, okay? We Blink away, and haste up and cast Resist Heat & Cold.

We could swap in our Mace that gives immunity to fire, but that would lose us 4 points of WIS, which we need to hit a 0% failure rate. Double-resisting fire should be enough.

Oh wait, the Balrog of Moria moves very quickly. Even while "sprinting" (from our Crown's activation) we're only at +12 speed. Hrm. Well, he can't kill us in two turns even, so let's give this a shot anyway.

This is not really ideal terrain, in that we don't get many turns to fire at him before having to Blink, but it suffices. The Balrog of Moria has 3000 HP, meaning we'll need around about 25 Orbs to kill him.

The fight is surprisingly uneventful. He does breathe fire, once, but only once he's mostly dead; through all our protection he only deals about 20 damage to us. He catches us with melee a few times, and burns some of our books, so we only have 2 copies each of books #2 and #4, but we can cope. Within short order, he's running away, and the fight is basically won.

His drop: a (Defender) Rapier, {magical} boots, {magical} White Dragon Scale Mail, {magical} Adamantite Plate Mail, and this:

Very nice -- a stat stick in bow form! And honestly this is an amazingly strong bow, too, especially with that built-in brand. Against monsters that don't resist fire, we'll be getting an x7 multiplier on each shot, which is incredible. If we had some standard Bolts (1d5) (+10,+10), they'd be doing, on average, 154 damage/shot. And there are much stronger bolts out there.

Heading over to the lesser vault, we find a familiar face:

Uvatha the Horseman, chumpiest of the Ringwraiths! Now's a good a time as any to kill him. He has no spells whatsoever; he's just fast and his melee drains experience. Neither of those is a problem for us! Fifteen unanswered Orbs knock him right down, and he drops...oh, heck yes.

Gloves with freakin' +5 to WIS! Ironically, if we equip them now, then our SP actually drop by 2 points -- we've hit the cap on SP gains, but the gloves weigh more than our Alchemist's Gloves. And we lose 54 HP from losing the +3 CON on our current gloves. But this will afford us a ton of equipment flexibility. For example, if we wear these, then we can also wear our mace with fire immunity, and not lose any spellcasting ability. Or we could wear our Cap of Telepathy.

I think it's safe to say we won't be wearing the other set of randart gloves we found last update, with the +3 DEX/speed and electricity immunity, though. So we drop them. They're nice, they just aren't really suited to our class.

Finally, we head over to the vault, and in my excitement I crack it open before detecting the contents.

Somehow the Lernaean Hydra is there. Well, now you see him,

The Lernaean Hydra disappears!

now you don't.

The only other residents are a pack of Wargs and a Metallic Green Centipede, of all things; a single Orb does them all in, and we claim the two Potions of Restore Mana.

Right, we're done here. There's still a Ring of Constitution on the level that I'd like to check out, but it's on the opposite end from where we are, and there's a bunch of nasty monsters that we teleported away on the path. It's probably only a +3 or worse ring anyway.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2750')

We have spare Potions of Enlightenment from the vault; chugging one reveals that the level has a new type of ring (could be a Ring of Speed!), and a Potion of Constitution! We need to make a beeline for that sucker.

En route, we tunnel through a wall, and get surprised by a pack of Plasma Hounds (our Rod of Detection was still recharging from earlier, hence the surprise).

EVen with haste from our Crown, these guys are still nasty -- fast and 330 HP apiece. We have a couple of Wands of Drain Life that we picked up last level; two zaps from one will kill a Plasma Hound, though only just. Better than we'd manage with Orb, anyway.

Since we're in the area, we check out the Silver's a Ring Mimic That almost certainly means it's a Ring of Speed or something else really valuable. Oh well, on to the potion! You can see it in the center of this special room:

The only thing here that can destroy potions is the Young Multihued Dragon. We'll want to take out the pack of Hellhounds first, though. Go go fire immunity!

...wait, where'd our mace go? Shit. I dropped our mace last level while shuffling our inventory around

Guys, this is why you don't play Angband when you're tired. Whelp, no more fire immunity for us! I stash our Cap of Telepathy around the corner, since it can easily be destroyed by fire attacks; I just need to remember to not leave it behind.

Fortunately all the Hellhounds destroy is one of our Staves of Teleportation and a couple Scrolls of Phase Door. Retrieving our Cap, we can then loot the vault. In addition to an extra 18 HP (up to 401 total) from the Potion of Constitution, we get a Potion of Enlightenment and another Staff of Speed. Nice!

Everything else on the item list is boring, so let's move on. Conveniently, there's a down staircase right here.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2800')

Right off the bat, we're facing Vargo, Tyrant of Fire. No way we're fighting him without a far more effective offense; he'd tear our books to shreds. He gets teleported away. Which of course means he's awake now; oh well.

Enlightenment just shows a bunch of equipment items on the level -- no potions, no scrolls, especially no prayer books. We might as well check out what's available.

An awful lot of dragons here. The hydra has only 7 heads and no fire-based attacks, so it's easily dealt with. Significantly more threatening is this Blue Wizard:

1320 HP, fast, non-evil, and has a plethora of painful spells. If we were to fight it, we'd actually be best-served sticking to melee; we'd deal on average about 110 damage with melee and only 64 with Orb.

...y'know, that sounds fun. Let's melee a Blue Wizard! Since they can summon, we first dig ourselves an anti-summoning corridor:

Then we wake it up with splash damage from Orb, duck into our hidey-hole, cast Glyph of Warding (at a 30% failure rate), and haste up.

You miss the Blue Wizard. You hit the Blue Wizard (39). You hit the Blue Wizard (36).

And it ducks away from the fight, exhibiting that odd "pathing" behavior that we've seen with Bryson II in the past.

Might as well splash some Orbs at it while we can't hit it in melee.

It shrugs off the attack.

You hit the Blue Wizard (41). You miss the Blue Wizard. You hit the Blue Wizard (36). The Blue Wizard commands you to go away.

Ooooooh shit 11 Nether Hounds! That's just not playing fair. Scotty, get us out of here! *PORTAL*

Incidentally, the reason we didn't get breathed on when we teleported is that none of the Hounds had been "activated" yet by us getting close to them. As a result, all of them were sitting at 0 energy, as all monsters are when first generated. Energy, as you may remember, is how the game tracks partial turns: you need to accumulate 100 energy to get a turn, and how much energy you get per "game turn" depends on your speed. At normal speed you get 10 energy per tick; at +10 speed you get 20.

If we'd been close enough to these hounds to activate them, then left, then got teleported back, we probably would have eaten several nether breaths before getting our next turn, as they would have all been at varying energy levels. Any with enough more energy than we had would have gotten a turn before we could have responded.

Back over near where we were fighting the Blue Wizard -- you can see the Glyph as the yellow ;. Unfortunately I suspect our sprinting would run out before we could tunnel back to the Blue Wizard. Let's just leave him be, and leave this level. We checked on most of the equipment items anyway, and they were all crap. The most interesting was an Executioner's Sword of *Slay Troll*.

En route to the stairs, we kill an Ettin and hit level 37 -- 412 HP, 291 SP.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2850')

We still have Potions of Enlightenment left, so we burn one, and...


Godly Insights! It's here! It's finally here! Gangway!

Go away, Inertia Hounds! I don't want to deal with you! I have a spellbook to steal!

The Inertia hound disappears!

Good, nothing's guarding it -- and I used our Rod of Detection to make sure. We tunnel around this blue rune trap (I think blue is Teleport It's summon monster; orange is teleport. Thanks, Golden Zucchini!), teleport away an Ancient White Dragon (love to kill ya buddy, but this ain't the time), and smash through the remaining resistance.

You have a Holy Book of Prayers [Godly Insights].

New spells! New spells that make life stop sucking!

This is the second of the "patch glaring omissions in the priestly spell list" books (the first was Ethereal Openings). We're now just as good at movement abilities as mages are, and even better than them at detection. We're lagging in offensive abilities and buffs, though. Still, this is an immense improvement in our quality of life.

Pardon me while we nuke a Lesser Balrog into glowing coals. He destroys one of our copies of prayer book #2, leaving us at 2 spares again (we picked up a third on the previous level). Which reminds me, though.

You drop 3 Holy Books of Prayers [Beginners Handbook]. You have no more Holy Books of Prayers [Beginners Handbook].

We don't need book 1 any more! As a reminder, here's what was in that book:

Everything in this book is either useless or made completely redundant by a spell in another book (e.g. Chant is better than Bless; Clairvoyance replaces Call Light; Detection replaces the detection spells). I guess Remove Fear isn't totally useless or replaced by another spell, but I'd rather have the inventory slot than be able to dispel fear magically. Especially since our saving throw is currently 93%.

Now that we've seized the real prize on this level, what's left? There's a Zoo (full of natural monsters, most of whom would be a pain in the ass to kill) to the southwest, with an Ethereal Cloak in it.

But our current cloak is pretty nice, so it doesn't seem worth the effort.

There's another moated room to the southwest, but between it and us is Ar-Pharazon the Golden and an Ethereal Dragon:

Moreover, the Phoenix is off to our south, awake and angry. Man, being able to detect him coming is so nice. We resist light now, thanks to our new bow, so fighting him is theoretically possible (i.e. he can't instakill us) -- but he's still a nuke-happy bird with 3600 HP, so it's really not worth it. The Ethereal Dragon is much more feasible. He has a darkness breath which, when he's at full health, will hit us for about 300 damage -- but he's evil, so we should be able to chip that down pretty quickly.

Ar-Pharazon the Golden has no big nukes; he just summons, heals himself, and casts Teleport Other. He's also very fast and has 4000 HP. Fighting him is likely to be an exercise in frustration, and it's not something we want to attempt when there's two pits on the level that we could get teleported to. So we'll want to avoid him.

Problem: Ethereal Dragons can move through walls. I thought Bryson II determined that they couldn't? Man. And this terrain is lousy for fighting a wallwalker in -- lots of short jaggy corridors. Even when we get a decent distance away, bullshit like this happens:

There's no way to get him to step south into the corridor without us actually being more southerly than westerly of him. On the flipside, that does mean we can flee down the corridor. Down that way lies a room, which has...

Hm. One of the Inertia Hounds we teleported away earlier, a Marilith, and a passle of Gold Dragons. The Inertia Hound is the main problem, since he could take away our temporary haste. But we can just teleport him away again. Teleport Other solves problems!

The Inertia hound disappears!

Now let's see about that Ethereal Dragon.

Yeah, this terrain works one hell of a lot better. We hit him with a few orbs, and then

The Ethereal dragon breathes darkness. You resist the effect!

About 200 damage dealt to us, but we can heal, so who cares? He even breathes twice in a row -- so we just heal twice in a row. The Heal spell is really the linchpin of priest strategy; we wouldn't be able to get into these fights without it, especially not when playing ironman.

Some unlucky Blinks land us on the western end of the room.

The Ethereal dragon breathes light. You resist the effect! The Marilith shrugs off the attack. The Rock lizard dies.

Mariliths aren't that dangerous on their own, but they can summon demons; let's put the kibosh on that.

The Marilith disappears!

Then back to Orbing the Ethereal Dragon. He runs out of tricks to play and dies rather quickly; the Young Gold Dragons next to him get killed by splash damage. They only drop money and a Scroll of Phase Door, but hey, 12k EXP is not to be ignored.

Heading south, we get close enough to detect the contents of the pit. It's a Priest Pit!

Acolytes, Priests, Paladins, and a Patriarch. Easy pickings. More worrying is the Dracolich off to our west. Their nether breath hits for 513 damage when they're at full health; we can't withstand that. Hell, even if we had nether resistance, they could still one-shot us; nether resistance is one of those weird random ones where the damage you take is anywhere from 1/7th to 6/7ths of full damage. 6/7ths of 513 is 439, and we only have 412 HP. Yeah, we're not fighting him.

We get closer, and determine two things:

One, the Dracolich, though awake, isn't giving chase just yet; two, the Phoenix ran up the wrong tunnel and is unlikely to come after us either. Good! Though we need to keep a close eye on the Dracolich anyway; if we get closer it might "activate" and start chasing us.

First, though, we need to deal with Ar-Pharazon.

Still slumbering peacefully. How adorable. Wakey-wakey, Arphy!

Ar-Pharazon the Golden disappears!

We then kill the Ancient White Dragon behind him, with Glyph of Warding, Resist Heat & Cold, and our Crown's activation. By the time we're done, it turns out the Dracolich is headed our way after all:

Fortunately, with temporary haste up, we move faster than it does, so it can't both move to where it can see us, and breathe, before we get a turn.

The Dracolich disappears!

Let's crack this pit open!

You have picked the lock. The Paladin sets off a blinding flash. You resist the effect! The Acolyte conjures up scary horrors. You avoid the effects! The Priest conjures up scary horrors. You avoid the effects! The Acolyte points at you and curses. You avoid the effects!

Gotta love our saving throw We focus our fire on the Patriarch:

The Patriarch is hit hard. 8 Paladins cry out in pain. 12 Priests are hit hard. The Acolyte cries out feebly. It writhes in agony. The Acolythe writhes in agony. You hear a scream of agony! 9 Priests flee in terror! 2 Acolytes flee in terror! 6 Acolytes die. The Priest tries to cast a spell, but fails. The Priest is no longer afraid. The Priest summons a companion. The Priest points at you and curses horribly. You avoid the effects! The Priest is no longer afraid. The Acolyte conjures up scary horrors. You avoid the effects! The Acolyte is no longer afraid.

Man. Talk about message spam. The Priest's summon was a Giant Silver Ant, incidentally.

I'll spare you the rest of the messages. It takes 4 Orbs to kill the Patriarch and all the Paladins, and another 3 to kill everything else in the pit; during that time, not one spell gets past our saving throw, nor do any melee attacks. The monsters here were a bit underleveled.

We get a Potion of Intelligence, 2 Potions of Speed, a Shield of Elvenkind that provides resistance to nexus (our current one provides resistance to sound, which is more useful since nexus is already covered by our Amulet of Trickery), and a Metal Cap of Seeing (provides See Invisible, Resist Blindness, and a searching bonus; trash).

West of the pit, we find a Dagashi and his two Ninja trainees.

Pathetic, really; Ninjas only have 90 HP and the Dagashi only 170. If they hit us, they'd drain our STR, but with a setup like this that's not happening. I'm digging our Superb stealth rating (again, thanks to our new bow); few monsters have woken up before we were able to deal with them.

Now, to find some stairs...stairs stairs stairs, where's the stairs? Way the hell on the other end of the level, that's where. Blast. We retread our steps, to avoid disturbing the Phoenix. Instead we'll have to face Ar-Pharazon again.

And with him? Itangast the Fire Drake! Well, him we can kill!

Ar-Pharazon the Golden disappears!

We're already hasted up; we throw on Resist Heat & Cold (Itangast can only breathe fire) and prepare for nuking.

Itangast the Fire Drake is hit hard. The Basilisk hisses. Itangast the Fire Drake points at you and incants terribly. You avoid the effects!

12 Orbs later, Itangast reaches melee range with only 30% of his HP remaining. We throw up a Glyph of Warding...but he just destroys it in a single turn. Man.

Itangast the Fire Drake is hit hard. Itangast the Fire Drake misses you. Itangast the Fire Drake misses you. Itangast the Fire Drake bites you. You are enveloped in flames! Itangast the Fire Drake misses you.

Oh well; his melee doesn't do that much damage; 4 Orbs later he's dead and we still have 384/412 HP. Victory! He drops a bunch of {magical} items, a Shield of Resistance, and this Shield of Elvenkind:

There aren't that many disenchantment breathers; the only ones we care about are Great Wyrms of Balance and Chaos, and the Tarrasque. Disenchantment resistance is mostly for melee characters. We'd much rather have sound resistance (as our current shield provides), since sound attacks can stun us.

We continue our trek to the stairs, to the northeast in this shot:

We have to haste up to safely teleport away the Dracolich again. En route, we also get close enough to detect the contents of the Zoo:

2 Plasma Hounds, a Winged Horror, 2 Greater Basilisks, 2 Eleven-Headed Hydras, and (not actually in the Zoo, but close by) 4 Storm Giants. Plus a bunch of chumps. That...y'know, that could be a lot worse! We can teleport away the most annoying enemies, and there's a staircase right there in the moat. What say we pay a visit?

Okay, so the Phoenix is en route. We'll use these sleeping Storm Giants as a buffer against the rest of the Zoo while we wait for the Phoenix to arrive so we can teleport it. Storm Giants, in case I haven't mentioned it before, are the strongest of the elemental giant types; they're fast and cast lightning spells in addition to the usual giant abilities (preposterous melee damage and the ability to hurl boulders). They don't have the HP to last against Orb.

Stupid Eleven-Headed Hydras, pushing past monsters. At least they have the decency to not wake the Storm Giants up.

The 11-headed hydra disappears!

The Phoenix disappears!
The 11-headed hydra disappears!

Now there's just the Winged Horror to get rid of; everything else we should be able to kill.

Though this Greater Basilisk puts up a credible fight, spamming nexus breaths at us. Orbing down hydras, even the lesser varieties, is very hard on our SP pool, so we have to chug down a Restore Mana potion (leaving us with 6 left). The Greater Basilisk dies faster than the hydras did, since it's evil.

I wonder why the Winged Horror is in that corner? I can't think of any reason why Angband's pathfinding would send it that way. Weird. We tunnel through the wall to our southwest to let all the other monsters out in a controlled fashion. Conveniently, this means that many of the monsters have taken significant splash damage by the time they make it to us.

Although these Plasma Hounds still have plenty of health left over at that point. They have 330 HP apiece, or about six Orbs' worth.

A Wereworm drains our experience slightly (and why is an experience drainer not evil?). Instead of spending all our remaining mana on restoring the loss (Remembrance costs 70 SP and we have 73 right now), we opt to just leave it drained until the pit is done.

Thus leaving us with enough mana to avoid fighting the Winged Horror.

The Winged Horror disappears!

Goodbye, Winged Horror! Go terrorize someone else!

Finally, we chop down the remaining members in melee, and the Zoo is cleared.

Er, excuse me a moment...

You hit the Giant black louse (41). You have slain the Giant black louse.

Like I was saying. The Zoo is cleared. We pick up some more Cure Critical Wounds potions (we now have 31 of them!), find a Steel Rod of Probing (er...), and pick up that Ethereal Cloak...which just pseudo-IDs as {magical}. Alas!

Right, we're done here.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 2900')

Our first action on entering most levels is going to be to cast Detection; we'll follow up with Clairvoyance to get the lay of the land. Oh man, I've missed having Godly Insights, you guys!

Anyway, that's a Drolem to our east; they're famous for breathing for preposterous amounts of poison damage (they have 2200 HP, so their poison breath does up to 733 damage when not resisted) and thereby making many players paranoid about poison resistance. They also aren't evil, so killing this one would take quite some time.

But heck, he's between us and a bunch of items. In fact, while there aren't any interesting rooms on this level, there are an awful lot of floor items that could be worth checking out. Of course Clairvoyance doesn't tell us what they are. We'll save our last Potion of Enlightenment for a vault level.

Anyway, that Drolem.

The Drolem shrugs off the attack. <3x>
The Drolem breathes poison. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! *** You resist the effect!

240 damage to us. Easily patched up. I love having Heal at a 0% failure rate!

We unload basically all of our mana into the Drolem, getting it down to 90% dead; then we kill it in melee. An easy 14k EXP.

Heading east, we spot a speedbump.

Castamir the Usurper is the off-white p bonking his head into granite in an attempt to reach us. He's no threat now -- 880 HP, and he can cast the elemental bolt spells and Heal Self. Whoopie.

More threatening is the Master Lich in the northeast. Still, we should be able to handle it. First though, let's kill Castamir.

Castamir the Usurper is hit hard. Castamir the Usurper casts a bolt of fire. One of your Birch Staves of Speed was destroyed!

Oh, you asshole. Naturally he casts no other spells in the entire fight. He just wanted to make certain we'd remember him His drop is also crap, but I expected no less.

For the Master Lich, we haste up, then wake him up with an Orb.

Naturally this brings his escorts along too, but they're skeletons. What are they going to do, fall apart at us?

The Master Lich ends up only casting one spell: Cause Mortal Wounds. This would be scary -- it can punch for up to 225 damage -- but we resist it. Fairly soon we should be able to reach a saving throw of 100%, in fact. Until then, we're merely mostly immune to a wide swathe of nasty spells.

I'm really looking forward to being immune to Brain Smash.

Down in the southeast corner of the dungeon, we kill an Ancient Multihued Dragon, and loot some Potions of Healing from his corpse. Nothing else in the level ends up being interesting, alas. We'll call the update here. But before you go, I want to point out Friar Tuck's stats to you:

Our internal CON stat (in the "Self" column) is lagging behind fully nine points behind our INT and DEX. Meanwhile, we haven't seen a Potion of Wisdom drop in six updates. Well. We saw one last update, but it got blown up.

I'm not trying to imply anything about the RNG. I'm just saying.

Next time: we don't get surprised by monsters we didn't know about, I'll tell you that much.