The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 55: Spring Cleaning

Update 55: Spring Cleaning

We spent all of last update working our way through a rather large vault, and markedly improving Friar Tuck's power in the process. We're almost three times faster than we used to be, and with better resistance coverage (including a nifty immunity to electricity). We still have a long ways to go, but things are looking up!

Of course, this particular level is now full of nasties that we teleported away. As usual, I'd really rather not explore any of the level now, but there's no down stairs available in the vault; just up stairs. Previously we would cast Teleport Level, which risked taking us up in the dungeon. However, we have a new option now: Alter Reality, which we learned at level 40. Alter Reality will simply generate a new level at our current depth, taking us neither up nor down. Sounds good to me!

The world changes! (staying on 3150')

Lots of items on this level, but I don't think either of these two rooms qualifies as a vault. The delineation gets a bit fuzzy sometimes, I'll admit.

Being at +20 speed completely trivializes all of the enemies in this area except the Master Mystic in the bottom row of rooms -- he matches our speed, isn't evil, has nearly 1000 HP, and loves to spam summoning spells. We'd prefer to just leave him be, but he's also pretty easy to wake up, so he just gets teleported away instead.

To the east, we run into Fundin Bluecloak again.

We can now match Fundin's speed, and while he does have 5000 HP and is non-evil, we can probably fight him in melee. The sticking point is our pathetic 31% chance to hit him, but even with that, attacking him in melee has a higher average damage than casting Orb does.

We dig a couple of anti-summoning corridors, then wake him up with Orb.

Blessing ourselves increases our hit rate to 38%, which seems worthwhile (it's nearly a 25% improvement in our average damage).

Fundin wastes his first turn summoning a Werebear, which will jam up the corridor and prevent Fundin from summoning anything else; perfect.

You miss Fundin Bluecloak. You miss Fundin Bluecloak. You miss Fundin Bluecloak. You hit Fundin Bluecloak (76). It was a great hit! Fundin Bluecloak misses you. Fundin Bluecloak misses you. Fundin Bluecloak misses you. Fundin Bluecloak misses you.

...this could take awhile, folks. Fundin's hit rate improves after this; by the time we've taken off 10% of his health, he's taken off over 50% of ours. But we can cast Heal, so that's just fine. We cast Heal five times getting him down to half health, in fact. This kind of thing is part of why melee is superior to Orb: we'd have to cast Heal regularly anyway (or else deal with Fundin casting summoning spells when not in an antisummoning corridor, if we wanted to avoid his melee), and this way we can conserve our mana supply for just Heal instead of splitting it between Heal and Orb.

Fundin's offense, incidentally, is 4x 8d8 strikes with no special properties, and the spells Cause Mortal Wounds and Brain Smash. Our AC of 202 should be mitigating the melee damage pretty well (if I recall correctly, AC damage reduction tops out at 60% with an AC of 350), and our saving throw is 99%...which still means we should keep our HP above 225, the max damage that Cause Mortal Wounds can deal.

You miss Fundin Bluecloak. You hit Fundin Bluecloak (44). You miss Fundin Bluecloak. You miss Fundin Bluecloak. Fundin Bluecloak points at you and screams the word 'DIE!'. You avoid the effects!
You hit Fundin Bluecloak (45). You hit Fundin Bluecloak (41). You miss Fundin Bluecloak. You miss Fundin Bluecloak. Fundin Bluecloak points at you and screams the word 'DIE!'. You avoid the effects!

We get him down to 90% dead, and we still have about 2/3rds of our SP remaining; he's simply not winning this damage race. Of course, once he starts running away, killing him takes a long time: he returns, we hit him once or twice for 40 damage, he runs away again, rinse, repeat. He has about 500 HP left when he first starts fleeing, so that's a lot of cycles. Finally, however, he dies.

He drops an Amulet of Trickery that's worse than our current one, a {magical} Executioner's Sword, and this helm:

Fuck yes WIS and CON on a hat! We lose 4 STR, 4 INT, sustain WIS, and the haste activation from our crown, but we gain 82 HP, putting us at 493 total.

I'm not too fussed about losing the haste activation; we have 3 Staves of Speed with 15 charges between them, and we shouldn't need to use temporary haste as much as we used to. Plus the chance of getting caught with our pants down when "temporary +10 speed" turns into "temporary -10 speed" had me a bit worried, I must admit.

So hey, speaking of uniques we've been avoiding but can finally kill now,

Ar-Pharazon the Golden is up there, hanging out with a bunch of chump adventurers. Ar-Pharazon is similar to Fundin Bluecloak: same melee, only 4000 HP, and his spells are Heal Self, Teleport Away, Summon Monsters, and Summon Kin (which produces, in his case, more 'p' monsters). But he's also evil, and has a much worse AC; our chance of hitting him with Bless up is 81% (or 79% without it).

The plan's the same: lure him into an antisummoning corridor and poke his face in with our Rapier. We just have to hope we don't get teleported away too much. Step one is to tediously tunnel all the way up to him:

This time we set up some Glyphs of Warding, mostly because we can (against Fundin, there was the risk of him waking up while we set them, forcing us to fight him with reduced SP). Then we break the last wall down.

Amazingly, he's still asleep.

The Illusionist is hit hard. The Easterling warrior screams in pain. Ar-Pharazon the Golden is hit hard. The Illusionist flees in terror! The Illusionist dies.

Arfy steps into melee range,

You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (40). You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (38). You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (42). You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (36).

And he steps out again.

I really think the odd pathing behavior we see with monsters when we're standing on glyphs has to be a bug. We can fling the occasional Orb at him when he does this, for free splash damage.

You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (44). You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (46). You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (42). You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (46). Ar-Pharazon the Golden summons some friends.

Figures he'd get a Lesser Balrog. That seems to be everyone's favorite summon in this particular game. Oh well, they're old hat now. We'll kill it after we kill Arfy. The main change is that now he can't dance in and out of melee since the Balrog is in the way.

You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (42). You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (44). You miss Ar-Pharazon the Golden. You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (36). Ar-Pharazon the Golden pushes past the Lesser Balrog.

Or maybe he can. Okay. Arfy still hasn't spent even a single turn trying to break the Glyph, so we don't really care; we can fight both him and the Balrog from here.

Half-dead, Ar-Pharazon finally manages to break the Glyph, hitting us for about 80 we just step back to Glyph #2.

You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (85). It was a great hit! You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (42). You miss Ar-Pharazon the Golden. You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden (36). Ar-Pharazon the Golden commands you to go away.

And we're back where we entered the level. Bah. Amazingly, in the time that it takes us to walk back to the fight, only one more Glyph gets destroyed.

You smite Ar-Pharazon the Golden, etc. Ar-Pharazon pushes past the Lesser Balrog.
You smite the Lesser Balrog, etc. Ar-Pharazon the Golden pushes past the Lesser Balrog.

I've heard of fiddling while Rome burns, but I think tangoing while getting stabbed in the face is taking heedlessness to a new level. With that kind of behavior, it's no real surprise that the fight ends quickly. We got breathed on once by the Balrog (naturally, destroying one of our two Scrolls of Banishment in the process), but otherwise the only damage we took was from one round of melee attacks from Ar-Pharazon.

How...pathetic. Seriously, game?

Alas, their combined drops amount to four useless pairs of footwear and a stack of Arrows of Slay Undead. At least we won't have to see Ar-Pharazon's ugly mug on every single level from here on out.

The last thing we do is tear our way through the other templated room on this level.

Ologs (the trolls) have a lot of hitpoints, but nothing here can actually hurt us. We get a Potion of Enlightenment, a Potion of Speed, and some enchantment for our Mace of Extra Attacks...which, I just realized, we could have used in the last two fights. Oh well!

We're done with this level. Onward!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3200')

Eol the Dark Elf is to our southeast; again, we should be able to kill him now. He has even fewer HP than Ar-Pharazon, but a higher AC and a number of attack spells that don't care about saving throws.

There's also an item room of some kind to the southwest. I think that's a scroll room; I'm starting to learn what these things look like. All of the item-dump rooms are new in 3.5, so I'm still getting used to them. It's not the potion room, anyway; that one I've definitely learned!

As with Fundin and Ar-Pharazon, our first step is to dig an anti-summoning corridor into the rock.

This takes some time with our Rapier, but we can afford to be patient. Especially since despite all those passed turns, Eol hasn't worken up.

Wake up, Eol!

Eol, the Dark Elf is hit hard. Eol, the Dark Elf surrounds you in darkness. Darkness surrounds you.

He's awake now

As with the others, Eol spends most of his turns dancing in and out of melee range. He also summons a demon...but unlike Ar-Pharazon, he just gets an Imp.

Also unlike Ar-Pharazon, he can't push past weaker monsters, so the Imp actually makes him stick around in LOS longer, with results like this:

Eol, the Dark Elf casts a ball of acid. Your Steel Helm 'Dosgin' is unaffected! One of your Birch Staves of Speed was destroyed!

Still, he doesn't have enough HP to last all that long. Pretty soon he's trying to run away...but he's pinned in place by the Imp, and dies ignominously, never having managed to break our Glyph.

His drop is boring, save for this:

That's honestly not a bad set of resists! It's a shame we need our ring fingers for stat boosts instead, and probably always will.

We stroll into the item dump, murder a Troll Priest, and verify that it is indeed a scroll room.

We pick up a new Scroll of *Destruction* and Scroll of Banishment, and try to enchant our Mace of Disruption with a Scroll of Enchant Weapon To-Hit. But it's already at (+10,+13) so the enchantment doesn't stick. Oh well.

There's a few miscellaneous monsters left on the level that we murderize, and also Osse, Herald of Ulmo, who we stay the fuck away from, but no other encounters of note. Next level!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3250')

Miscellaneous encounters on this level get us a Potion of Dexterity and a Staff of *Destruction*. The latter is tempting to hold onto, but we're desperately short on inventory space, and it's redundant with our scrolls, so it gets left behind.

The most interesting room formation is this:

Seriously, the level is just dull. To add insult to injury, we find two more stat potions, for STR and WIS, the two stats we've maxed out.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3300')

This level also starts out pretty slow, but we eventually run into an Archlich:

Archlichs are the highest-tier non-unique lich in the game, and thus naturally have a good amount of HP and many nasty spells. They're also fast and move through walls. However, many of their spells are duds, and their strongest spell is Nether Storm, which we resist (albeit erratically, due to the weird way nether resistance works). Freude and Bryson II never killed an Archlich; let's do that now.

The plan is to wake him up and then run back to the room so we can fight him in the open, where he can't hide in walls all the time.


The Archlich is hit hard. The Archlich conjures up scary horrors. You avoid the effects!
The Archlich is hit hard.
The Archlich is hit hard. The Archlich tries to make you forget things. You avoid the effects!

I love having a speed advantage Amusingly, after a dozen or so Orbs, the Archlich finally successfully casts a spell...and it's Phase Door, taking him further away from us. He then follows it up with another Phase Door that lands him a tile away from us we just Blink.

Finally, after about 25 Orbs, he gets destroyed, having not taken a single effective offensive action the entire fight. So hey, free 30k EXP We hit level 42, and finally get more than 500 HP (502 HP, 326 SP).

Pictured: a pack of Multihued Hounds (can breathe all basic elements and poison, naturally), and a Potion of Strength. We track down the hounds and beat them to death in melee; they'd take about four Orbs apiece with spellcasting.

Finally, the last room in the level:

A maze filled with Fire Hounds, a Grey Mold, and Ariel, Queen of Air. This is as good a time to kill her as we're going to get. We'll be trying to beat out her 2700 HP in melee, as is our usual MO these days. That means swapping in the cloak that gives protection from confusion, since her own melee attacks cause confusion. They don't deal that much damage though.

We're taking you out before you can ruin any vaults for us, Aeriel. Your days of crushing items are at an end!

You hit Ariel, Queen of Air (40). You hit Ariel, Queen of Air (35). You hit Ariel, Queen of Air (35). You hit Ariel, Queen of Air (35). Ariel, Queen of Air misses you. Ariel, Queen of Air misses you. Ariel, Queen of Air hits you. Ariel, Queen of Air misses you.

No need to haste up; Ariel's incredible speed (for a monster native to 2150') is now less than our own baseline, if only by a little. She can't beat us in a damage race, either; by the time she's half-dead we've only lost 100 HP. As if sensing this, she decides to cause some damage that we'll actually feel:

Ariel, Queen of Air casts a ball of frost. One of your Cloudy Potions of Restore Mana was destroyed! One of your Vermilion Potions of Speed was destroyed!

Still, we have enough spares of those. Not too much later, Ariel gets chipped down -- and we still have 333 HP left. Piece of cake.

Shortly afterwards,

You faint from the lack of food. You are paralyzed! The Fire hound misses you. The Fire hound misses you. The Fire hound bites you. You are enveloped in flames! You can move again. The Fire hound breathes fire. The Grey mold disintegrates!

...whoops. I have really got to pay more attention to our food situation.

You are full!

I mean, it's easily fixed by a quick casting of Satisfy Hunger, but imagine getting temporarily paralyzed in the middle of a fight that actually matters. Wouldn't that be ignominous? Killed because you forgot to eat breakfast before the battle.

Anyway, we're done here.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3350')

This level starts out quietly, but after a bit things get interesting:

To our east, a Great Storm Wyrm. To the southwest, the Phoenix, who isn't surprising us this time!

The Great Storm Wyrm would be almost hilarious, since we're immune to his electricity, but we don't dare Blink with the Phoenix around, which means it's able to reach melee range. Still, that's what Glyph of Warding is for; we bag him without difficulty and get another 30k EXP for our trouble (for reference, our next level is now 300k EXP away).

As for the Phoenix, in addition to his fiery melee, firebreath, and light breath, he has fire and plasma-based spells and the ability to summon more birds (likely pulling Winged Horrors at this point in the game). Honestly, the amount of damage he'd deal to our inventory makes him really not worth fighting without fire immunity -- and the devs know that too, since he's worth over 50k EXP to kill. But EXP is easy to come by; Staves of Speed aren't.

We move on and clear a few special rooms:

We get a big pile of Restore Mana potions, putting us up to 12 of the things, way more than we need nowadays.

In the last room, we spot someone else to avoid:

The Mouth of Sauron! He can cast a 425-damage Mana Storm, which is survivable, but only just, and does more damage than we can keep up with by casting Heal (which as you may recall restores only 300 HP). Plus he has 7000 HP, so fighting him would take a long time. Best to wait until we have more of a buffer and lower failure rates on our really big healing spells before we take him on.

Another level down, and down we go...

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3400')

Finally! Something interesting! We drink a Potion of Enlightenment and eagerly examine the item list...

No Potions of Constitution, but maybe that Tangerine Potion is Augmentation! It's not even in the vault -- it's in a templated room further southeast. We'll check that out first. As for the vault itself,

The top four monsters are a Bronze Golem (more or less a golem demon), a Jabberwock ("natural" monster that can breathe chaos), Baphomet the Minotaur Lord, and a Winged Horror. That seems doable.

But first!

Figures there'd be a pack of Cold Hounds sitting on top of the potion. This will require some care to ensure they don't break it. Fortunately, one of them walks on the potion, verifying that this Tangerine Potion isn't a mimic like the first two we ever found were.

Careful use of Orb clears the Cold Hounds (and the Frost Giant) out, and...

On the ground: a Tangerine Potion of Augmentation

Oh praise Eru!

You feel very smart! You feel very dextrous! You feel very healthy!

Up to 523 HP, and our "internal" CON stat is 17 now. Hooray, progress!

Back at the vault,

We bust through the wall, rush up to the Demonic Quylthulg...and it teleports away. Well hey, that works.

The vault denizens are held in by granite walls, so we have to break them out before we can kill/teleport them. The Jabberwock and the Bronze Golem are getting teleported, but we'll try to kill everything else if it's not too much trouble. Baphomet is a little tricky, but he doesn't cast spells often (his most dangerous spell is a 200-damage Breathe Force, which causes stunning), so we ought to be able to tackle him if there aren't any distractions. And he's currently asleep.

Against these Impact Hounds, we assume the LOS-safe position and stab them to death as they exit the vault. This works for awhile, but then the Winged Horror and a Berserker make their way out.

Nine rounds of melee kill the Winged Horror -- so much better than trying to kill it with Orb -- and we can focus on the Berserker. With a 50% speed advantage over him, he dies pretty quickly as well.

We ate a nether breath from the Winged Horror, and a couple of force breaths from loose Impact Hounds, but our HP is still well over 50%. Still, we cast Heal, and prepare to deal with Baphomet.

The plan is to Shoot 'n Scoot him. Of course that means leaving the vault the first time we cast Blink, but we should end up on the east side of the vault, where Baphomet can easily track us down. The Jabberwock and Bronze Golem appear to be stuck behind a pack of sleeping Ologs, so I'm not worried about them.

Baphomet the Minotaur Lord is hit hard. <5x> Baphomet the Minotaur Lord casts a bolt of plasma. You have been stunned.

Stupid stunning spells. We hit Heal on our first attempt despite the 15% failure rate, though. It's best to heal early when dealing with stunning; who knows when you'll end up getting multiple failures in a row.

Blinking away actually takes us south, not east, but that works fine for our purposes. We play the Shoot 'n Scoot game for awhile, through more plasma bolts, generic missiles, a lightning ball (ha!), and one mana bolt that actually does nearly 250 damage, ouch! It's not enough to save Baphomet though; we simply have too much HP and SP for him to wear down. To his credit, we're down to only 38 SP left when he dies...and 12 Potions of Restore Mana of course.

His drop is just a Defender Scythe and a bunch of {magical} crap though. Oh well.

We pop the door open, kill a couple of Ologs, and

Oh, right, I forgot about the Bronze Golem. Well, they're non-evil demons (how does that work?) with insanely powerful melee attacks, 3500 HP, and rarely-cast but powerful attack spells. We'll pass on this one, thanks.

The Bronze golem disappears!

And on the Jabberwock. We don't resist their chaos breath.

The Jabberwock disappears!

And the vault is effectively empty! I mean, there's still a troll and vampire infestation, but we can squish these guys without paying attention.

As for loot, we get a number of Holy Avenger weapons that are all worse than our Rapier, a Scroll of Banishment (I note we haven't seen a Hydra Nest since the first one of these we found; figures), and a Potion of Experience. And that's it. Phooey.

We're done with this level, and this seems like a good place to stop for the moment. Next time: a regression towards the mean.