The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 57: Rocks Fall

Update 57: Rocks Fall

Last time, Friar Tuck finally fixed his frailty. Forwards!

Conveniently, there's a down staircase in the vault for us to use.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3650')

Now that we've fixed our HP, what are we looking for? Honestly, Tuck's in pretty good shape right now. Our Mace of Disruption deals 390 damage/round against non-undead targets, which is just about enough to qualify for "endgame quality". We have +22 speed, which is just over the threshold to not get double-moved by Morgoth when temporarily hasted. And we have 7 Potions of Speed, which should be enough to kill him.

The main remaining issues are that our HP drops by about 200 when we wield our Mace, due to losing the +5 CON from our Hammer, and that we don't have both protection from blindness and protection from confusion at the same time. We can mostly fix the former by maxing our internal CON stat (currently at 18/57) and gaining more levels (currently at level 44), but the latter will require equipment upgrades.

And of course, there's one last spellbook out there that we'd like to find.

So in short, we'll be taking our time diving down to the bottom of the dungeon. I'm going to try to check on every item we detect before we leave each level.

The room we entered the level on had some chumpy enemies, and this Bone Golem. Bone Golems can drain STR with their melee, and they have a few nasty spells like Brain Smash and Summon Undead, but they don't cast very often. They do qualify as undead, so our Mace does good damage against them. By the time the fight is over, we're down to 18/100 STR (our max is 18/210). But hey, we can cast Restoration.

Usefully, the Bone Golem was standing on some Seeker Bolts of Slay Evil (4d5) (+8,+7). 241 damage/shot against evil targets!

There's a Dracolisk to the southwest. Dracolisks are nasty things -- 3000 HP, painful melee, and they can breathe fire and nexus. The Lesser Balrog on the path to it is barely a speedbump, in comparison.

For old time's sake, we stuff 20 Orbs down the Dracolisk's throat. It hits us with a nexus breath shortly before dying, but we've resisted nexus for quite awhile now.

We find another Dracolisk on the other side of the level, after having exhausted all other possibilities. He drops a Potion of Constitution and a Potion of *Healing*!

You feel very healthy! (no change to HP)

Our CON is now 18/***, which doesn't really change anything but looks nice.

That done, let's move on.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3700')

There's a vault on this level! A funky one, too. We chug Enlightenment and take a look:

This is the Greater Vault "Twisted Cube". I think it's supposed to be like that old drawing of the "impossible" cube where the back edges cross in front of the front edges (or vice versa)...doesn't work very well in ASCII to be honest.

There's a Potion of Constitution and a Potion of Experience in there. Alas, the prayerbook is just another copy of Ethereal Openings. Sure is a lot of equipment in there though.

Somewhat more urgently, we have a unique ainu to deal with: Osse, Herald of Ulmo, off to our northwest a bit. Flavor text:

Encrusted with barnacles, slimy and dripping, the Maia of the untamed sea has dragged himself down into Angband to send you to a watery grave. Osse is the most powerful and heartless of Ulmo's servants and embodies the untamed power of the ocean. Terror grows in your heart with each squelching step of his approach.

Naturally, he has both Water Bolt and Whirlpool; he also has Mana Bolt, Summon Maia, and, oddly, Breathe Nether. His melee is powerful and drains experience, he's very fast, and he has 6000 HP. Sounds like fun!

We dig ourselves an antisummoning corridor and fill it with Glyphs; fortunately, he doesn't wake up during this process.

He does wake up while we're resting up to restore our mana, though!

We cast Prayer (taking our hit chance from 47% to 50%...ehh, not really worth it), nuke the Xaren that disturbed us in a single round of combat, and engage with Osse!

You miss Osse, Herald of Ulmo. You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (57). You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (58). You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (55). You miss Osse, Herald of Ulmo. You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (49). Osse, Herald of Ulmo fires a jet of water. You resist the effect! You have been stunned.

Stupid lack of stunning resistance.

You feel very good. You are no longer stunned. Osse, Herald of Ulmo breathes nether. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! *** You resist the effect!

Ow. From 658 HP (since we're using the Mace of Disruption, our max HP is reduced) to 249 in a single attack. But hey, casting Heal will take us out of the danger zone.

You feel very good. Osse, Herald of Ulmo creates a whirlpool of water. You resist the effect! You have been stunned.

Now at 397 HP, i.e. in the danger zone from nether breath, and our failure rate on Heal is nonzero due to stunning. Time to drink one of our 16 Potions of Healing, and Osse, would you mind not casting a spell this time?

You feel very good. You are no longer stunned. You have 15 Black Potions of Healing.

Ah, he decided to walk away from our Glyph this time. Good. I take the opportunity to use one of our Staves of Speed -- how on Earth did I forget that earlier?

We get several "free" rounds of combat in as Osse dances around our Glyph. Then he breaks it:

You miss Osse, Herald of Ulmo. You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (51). You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (123). It was a superb hit! You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (57). You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (55). The rune of protection is broken! Osse, Herald of Ulmo misses you. Osse, Herald of Ulmo misses you. Osse, Herald of Ulmo misses you. Osse, Herald of Ulmo hits you.

No problem, that's why we have backup Glyphs.

20% down, 80% to go!

The second Glyph breaks when Osse's 40% dead; he manages to land an EXP-draining hit on us, but only deals 27 damage. He's tried and failed to cast spells twice now, in addition to dancing back and forth.

Osse, Herald of Ulmo casts a bolt of raw magic.

Me and my big mouth. Oh well; that's only 200 damage. We still have to heal it right away, in case he decides to follow up with a nether breath -- which he doesn't, naturally. Still, best not to take chances.

You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (60). You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (63). You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (48). You miss Osse, Herald of Ulmo. You miss Osse, Herald of Ulmo. You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (54). Osse, Herald of Ulmo summons an ainu.

Just a Greater Maia, but it marks Osse's return to spellcasting.

Osse, Herald of Ulmo creates a whirlpool of water. You resist the effect! You have been stunned.
You feel very good. You are no longer stunned. Osse, Herald of Ulmo fires a jet of water. You resist the effect! You have been stunned.
You feel very good. Osse, Herald of Ulmo creates a whirlpool of water. You resist the effect! You have been stunned.
You feel very good. You are no longer stunned. Osse, Herald of Ulmo summons an ainu.

Not much progress there, and we drank two Potions of Healing (Whirlpool takes us into the danger zone...though, come to think, his HP is low enough that his nether breath probably doesn't hit the damage cap any more). But finally we get a chance to hit him again. Osse casts Mana Bolt, Whirlpool, and Summon Ainu again, but all for weak damage, and soon he's trying to run away -- but he's pinned in place by his summons.

You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (131). It was a *GREAT* hit! You hit Osse, Herald of Ulmo (53). You have slain Osse, Herald of Ulmo.

Total cost to us: three Potions of Healing and one charge on our Staff of Speed. You can see why I didn't want to fight him with our previous characters, though -- we cast Heal an awful lot in that fight, and every time we cast it is a time that Freude or Bryson II would have had to drink a Healing potion instead (or Phase Door + drink several Cure Critical Wounds).

Osse's drop, appropriately, includes a copy of Godly Insights. He also drops a chest which contains a Staff of Holiness (casts a weak version of Holy Word on use) and this maul:

Not bad, but not as good as what we already have.

We head off to the vault, and literally one turn before I was going to cast Detection, get headed off by Omarax, the Eye Tyrant.

Flavor text:

A beholder of greate size and age, floating in the air. His gaze seems to shred your soul and his spells crush your will. He is ancient, his history steeped in forgotten evils, his atrocities numerous and sickening.

Omarax, like all beholders, is simply not worth fighting. His melee attacks drain charges, cause disenchantment, drain INT, and drain EXP, and his spell list includes Brain Smash, several powerful attack spells, and Summon Kin, which will pull even more beholders. He also has 6500 HP, i.e. more than Osse has.

Freude and Bryson II never fought him, and we probably won't either; not because he's dangerous or would cost a lot of consumables, but simply because he's too annoying.

Omarax, the Eye Tyrant disappears!

Now for the vault.

Wow. nasty. And everything that isn't in the central rectangle is only held in by a door, so we could easily get swarmed here. Let's analyze this on a room-by-room basis, starting at the upper-right and working our way around clockwise.

The first room just has a Chimera, a Bile Demon, and a Floating Eye. No problems there.

South of that, there's an Elder Vampire, a passle of chump dragons, and a Patriarch. No problems there either.

The long room along the southern end has a Greater Balrog, a Dracolich, a Time Vortex, a Great Swamp Wyrm, and a bunch of Forest Trolls that will just get in the way. Tricky.

The southwest corner has a Minotaur, a Giant Fire Tick, and a Giant Gold Dragon Fly -- again, no problems.

The western room has Maeglin, Traitor of Gondolin. Ouch! He's sharing a bunk with a pack of Nether Hounds and a Great Wyrm of Law. That room is going to take a lot of finesse and/or Teleport Other.

The long northern room has a Great Wyrm of Chaos, an Undead Beholder, a pack of Time Hounds, Glaurung, Father of the Dragons, Polyphemus the Blind Cyclops, and worst of all, a Shrieker Mushroom Patch waaaaay in the back corner!

Finally, in the middle is Arien, Maia of the Sun, a Greater Draconic Quylthulg, a Greater Titan, and a bunch of chumps.


The obvious most dangerous rooms are the large rooms along the western and northern ends. They are therefore our priorities. If we can clean them out, then we should be relatively safe in dealing with the others.

The various zephyr hounds are already awake and raring to kick down doors. Fortunately we have a Staff of Banishment handy with 2 charges left. The first does for the zephyr hounds; we use the second on Ancient Dragons, since those Great Wyrms (especially the Great Wyrm of Chaos) have me feeling antsy.

And again, we successfully recharge the staff! Well then. We also banish Quylthulgs (there's a number of them here, especially a Nexus Quylthulg, and it'd be a disaster for us to get teleported away by it). The other charges get saved for the time being.

Three rounds of tunneling, and we're inside the vault.

We creep over to the northern room and crack open the door.

Then we fling an Orb inside.

It grunts with pain. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops is hit hard. The Master lich is hit hard. Glaurung, Father of the Dragons is hit hard.

The "it" in this case is just a Doombat. We teleport it and the others away, though the Master Lich gets trampled by Polyphemus. That done, we close the door again.

Sleep tight, other monsters that are sharing space with a Shrieker Mushroom Patch. I hate it when monsters think to pack an alarm clock.

Monsters in the vault are starting to wake up, but fortunately so far none of them have been dangerous. We open the door to Maeglin's room, bash a Killer Stag Beetle into squishy bits, and teleport away the Master Vampire (which is in the way) and Maeglin himself.

Success! The only remaining seriously threatening monsters are Arien, a Greater Balrog, and a Greater Titan.

Since we're here already, we start by clearing out Maeglin's room of the remaining chaff. We get a Potion of Constitution (internal stat up to 18/77, now higher than our internal DEX score!), but nothing else.

By now the Undead Beholder in Glaurung's room has woken up, so we might as well teleport it away too. While walking over to the doorway, I notice that the Titan and Arien are both picking up items from the middle room...we'd better get them out of here before they pick the entire central room clean!

On the plus side, there's a sword in the northwest corner of the central room that I know the Greater Titan stepped on. So it either has Slay Evil or it's an artifact.

Problem: both Arien and Greater Titans can cast Teleport-To, which could get us surrounded. We do have a speed advantage over the titan though, and in fact ought to be able to kill it...if we can just get rid of Arien first.

You tunnel into the granite wall. <23x> You have finished the tunnel.

Good news: we didn't get pulled by either Arien or the Titan. Bad news: Maeglin is just outside the vault. Good news: he's too dumb to get inside.

We take a step back to the west, and Arien moves through the tile we just opened.

Arien, Maia of the Sun disappears!

Now for the titan. Freude killed one of these once; Bryson II never bothered. They have 4 12d12 confusing hits per turn, 3300 HP, and can cast Teleport-To, Heal Self, and Summon Monsters. Being only at +10 speed is their big weakness; we can approximately double their speed with temporary haste.

We haste up, bean it with a few Orbs, and switch in our Mace of Disruption as it enters melee range. With the Mace equipped, our CON is now 18/187, dropping us to 702 HP -- still more than a 100 HP difference compared to having our Hammer equipped. But it more than doubles our damage output, so it's worth it.

You hit the Greater titan (138) It was a superb hit! You miss the Greater titan. You hit the Greater titan (61). You hit the Greater titan (54). You hit the Greater titan (58). You misse the Greater titan.

And no response, because we're simply too fast for it. But on the second turn,

The Greater titan hits you. The Greater titan misses you. The Greater titan hits you. The Greater titan hits you.

There goes 231 HP! Wait, why aren't we using a Glyph of Warding?

With a Glyph up, all the Titan can do is impotently throw boulders at us; about ten turns later, it's dead. We loot its drop, which includes the Potion of Experience we saw earlier. We don't have time to finish looting the room, however; the Greater Balrog is on its way.

(Also note Maeglin trying to bash his head through a 10'-thick wall of solid titanium)

As with the Titan, we throw up a Glyph and prepare for melee. Greater Balrogs have weaker melee than titans do, but make up for it with summoning and attack spells that can do similar amounts of damage. We'll just have to try to kill the Balrog before he gets too many of them off.

You hit the Greater Balrog (54). You hit the Greater Balrog (55). You miss the Greater Balrog. You hit the Greater Balrog (58). You miss the Greater Balrog. You hit the Greater Balrog (58). The Greater Balrog summons the undead.

This helps. That White Wraith can't touch us. Indeed, I think to check our saving throw -- it's 100%! Brain Smash, and a whole host of less-dangerous spells, officially cannot touch us. This is wonderful news.

The Balrog spends several turns glaring at our Glyph of Warding before remembering he has other spells. He leads off with a Plasma Bolt, but we can easily heal from that. Then he follows up with this:

The Greater Balrog breathes fire. One of your Holy Books of Prayers [Chants and Blessings] was destroyed! One of your Holy Books of Prayers [Exorcism and Dispelling] was destroyed! One of your Scrolls titled "ex osus pli" of Banishment was destroyed! One of your Scrolls titled "manior et laes" of *Destruction* was destroyed! One of your Birch Staves of Speed was destroyed! The White wraith is destroyed.

Between the damage we've dealt to him, and our permanent and temporary fire resistance, that only did 64 damage...but it sure hurt our inventory. Cripes.

He breathes fire again, and casts Fire Ball, but both don't damage our inventory. Finally, literally one turn before he dies,

The Greater Balrog summons major demons.

A Bile Demon behind us, and an Osyluth just around the corner. Bile Demons aren't anything much; Osyluths can drain STR, CON, and WIS with their melee. We can cope. First, though.

You miss the Greater Balrog. You miss the Greater Balrog. You hit the Greater Balrog (46). You miss the Greater Balrog. You miss the Greater Balrog. You hit the Greater Balrog (102). It was a superb hit! You have destroyed the Greater Balrog.

And another first kill for our dynasty! Freude and Bryson II never killed one of these guys.

Shortly thereafter, we're getting double-teamed by demons:

The Osyluth is the first target, mostly because he's faster and has fewer hitpoints than the Bile Demon. Neither our STR nor our WIS is sustained, but we have a preposterous WIS score of about 18/260 so he's unlikely to actually affect us (he'd have to land 5 WIS-draining hits before our failure rates would be at all affected).

Fortunately they mostly stick to trying to break our Glyph; they succeed once, but we just re-cast it. Then, again, one turn before dying, the Osyluth summons a demon...and pulls another Osyluth.

(Hi, Maeglin! Don't think we haven't forgotten about you!)

We execute the Osyluth on the left and turn to the right to face our new attacker. Osyluths can push past Bile Demons, so basically we retread the previous fight except we aren't getting double-teamed. This time the Glyph gets broken twice and we lose a little STR and WIS, but not enough to hurt. When the Osyluth flees, he pushes past the Bile we just Orb him down.

As for the Bile Demon, he just sits there in melee like a chump. I was waiting for him to break out his acid breath, but he never did.

Victory! Again! Annoyingly, not one of the many demon drops was worthwhile; not even a single ego item! We head into the central room and mop up the remaining monsters, all still asleep except for a Stegocentipede that's desperately trying to hide in the corner since we completely outclass it.

Killing a Glabrezu gets us to level 45 (827 HP, 350 SP). We can finally learn Elemental Brand from Holy Infusions...not that we'd ever want to cast it.

As for that sword the Titan couldn't pick up?

I guess it'd be nice if you had an off-weapon brand or slay, but those are vanishingly rare, and with good reason: they make crap weapons like this super-powerful.

Back to the vault, we have a minor Hummerhorn infestation:

Naturally, running over to deal with them requires us to lead Maeglin into the vault.

This is not a good time to fight Maeglin. As you may remember, Maeglin is mini-Morgoth: he's very fast, has 6000 HP, can bore through solid rock (but not permanent walls), and has only summoning spells at his disposal -- including both Summon Ringwraiths and Summon Uniques! The combination of wall-boring and summoning spells is a doozy, and we'll want to fight him in as broken-up of terrain as we can manage. A vault is...not ideal.

Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin disappears!

We'll deal with you later, Maeglin. Don't fret.

Stepping south, we luckily don't trigger the Shrieker Mushroom Patch. Not that much is left asleep in the vault, but the last thing we need is a bunch of hasted Hummerhorns running around (remember, shrieking for help hastes all monsters in LOS). Enter Orb.

8 Hummerhorns die. The Rattlesnake dies. The Shrieker mushroom patch is destroyed.

Moving south, we take out the rest of the Hummerhorns, and the Elder Vampire that was in the eastern room. He's significantly less threatening with a perfect saving throw -- the only spell of his that can hurt us is Nether Bolt, which is also his weakest spell.

Maeglin comes back again while we're sorting through drops.

Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin disappears!

I get the feeling the dungeon is slowly getting hollowed out...

Most of the loot is rather terrible, though we do find some replacements for the stuff that got burned by the Greater Balrog. There's also this trident of Gondolin which randomly got telepathy as its special ability:

If you get lucky with a weapon of Gondolin early on, you can get telepathy well before you're "supposed" to, which greatly simplifies life. This is, of course, much too little too late for us, especially since it's not blessed.

Incidentally, we've been interrupted by Maeglin at least half a dozen times now.

Look at that map! It's full of holes! Also, Polyphemus is back. However, he at least is no trouble. Some careful manipulation of his pathing sets us up for a nice firing line:

Polyphemus has ranged spells, but he doesn't cast all that often...says the LPer, who then gets pelted five times in a row by spells and boulders. The monster memory says he has a 20% chance to cast each turn! What the hell!

Still, by the time he reaches melee range, he's half-dead, despite us having to continually stop attacking to cast Heal to clear stunning effects (since most of Polyphemus' spells are water-based and thus cause stunning).

We cast Glyph, switch in our Mace of Disruption, and get to melee...

The rune of protection is broken! Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops misses you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you.
The rune of protection is broken! Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you.

Unfortunately, Glyph of Warding is expensive, and all that Orbing drained our mana earlier, so we have to drink a Potion of Restore Mana. Meanwhile, Polyphemus' last melee attack has been causing earthquakes. Fortunately we've already looted all the items in the radius, so the earthquakes won't destroy anything valuable.

You feel your head clear. You have 13 Cloudy Potions of Restore Mana. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops misses you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops misses you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you.
The rune of protection is broken! Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops misses you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops misses you. Polyphemus, the Blind Cyclops hits you. The cave floor twists in an unnatural way! You are severely crushed! *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***

Ouch! This entire fight is a statistical impossibility! Down to 189/715 HP -- getting crushed by earthquakes hurts. Normally you get a chance to dodge to an adjacent open tile, but there are no adjacent open tiles because we're surrounded by permanent walls. This is not a good place to fight an earthquake-causer...but it wouldn't be such a problem if our Glyphs didn't keep getting broken!

We could spend 50 mana on casting Healing, the big 2000-HP heal from Purifications and Healing, or we could just drink one of our 10 Potions of *Healing*. We go with the former option. Casting Holy Word would be a cheaper option (it heals 1000 HP in addition to its other effects), but the failure rate on that spell is currently 20% -- no good.

You feel very good.

...and? No follow-up? Somewhere between our slight speed advantage (+30 vs. +20) and Polyphemus' erratic movement, we got a free turn, finally. We cast yet another Glyph of Warding, and get back to bashing him in the face.

After that gauntlet, Polyphemus only casts two more Ice Bolts, and breaks the Glyph one more time, before fleeing. Of course, there's nowhere for him to go.

Three more Orbs later, he dies. Phew.

Among his drop:

Ehh. We're definitely not about to swap out our only source of poison/nexus resistance in exchange for protection from blindness.

Finally, for the last room of the vault.

Oh, right, there's a Time Vortex here. And an infestation of Giant Fireflies, apparently. It takes 3 Orbs to kill the Time Vortex; it breathes time once, draining our EXP. No big deal for us.

Finally, the vault is clear! Annoyingly, there's no good loot in this room either.

This entire vault was a bust! And we nearly died! Bah!

At least we can take a stab at killing Maeglin, though.

We have 4 Scrolls of Destruction. Ideally we'd save them for the endgame, but assuming we find the last prayer book, we'll be able to cast Word of Destruction. Better to have a good battleground for this fight right now, I think.

There is a searing blast of light! You have 3 Scrolls titled "manior et laes" of *Destruction*.

Now we just haste up and run for the southeast edge of the destructed zone, with the idea being that if we need to escape summons, Phase Door should take us well away from them.

En garde! My mace to your...whatever it is you fight with!

You hit Maeglin, the Trator of Gondolin (54). You hit Maeglin, the Trator of Gondolin (62). You hit Maeglin, the Trator of Gondolin (46). You hit Maeglin, the Trator of Gondolin (57). You hit Maeglin, the Trator of Gondolin (52). You miss Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin. The rune of protection is broken! Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin misses you. Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin hits you. Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin hits you. Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin hits you.

Unfortunate start. At least we're hitting him reliably! Our second Glyph does considerably better than the first, too, and we manage to knock off 40% of Maeglin's 6000 HP before he casts a spell.

Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin summons fiends of darkness.

One Archlich, two Master Vampires. The latter can't really do anything to us, so we just teleport away the Archlich. Keeping the Master Vampires around does slightly increase the chances of our Glyph getting broken, but I'd rather not spend the turns on dealing with them.

Maeglin's second summon is just Summon Monsters; he pulls a Great Wyrm of Many Colours and nothing else. So that gets teleported away too. Then, since we're down to 90 SP, we drink a Potion of Restore Mana. Arguably it's a bit early, but there are a number of expensive spells we might need to cast in a hurry; best to keep topped up.

Our caution is very nearly unwarranted. Maeglin breaks the glyph one more time, but again, we just re-establish it, and pretty soon we have him fleeing for his life. Alas, despite being afraid, Maeglin can still cast spells...

Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin summons his servants.

Ugh. Atlas the Titan and Ungoliant the Unlight! A nasty combination. Ungoliant, as you may recall, is the second-most-durable monster in the game, surpassing even Sauron; she can also cast really painful darkness- and poison-based attacks. Atlas, meanwhile, is a superpowered titan. His only spell is Throw Boulder, though, so this would be an ideal time to kill him if we didn't have company.

Well, first things first.

You miss Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin. You hit Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin (54). You hit Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin (55). You have slain Maeglin, the Traitor of Gondolin.

Ungoliant, the Unlight disappears! Atlas, the Titan tramples over the Master vampire. Atlas, the Titan picks up a Beaked Axe (2d6).

Now we play Shoot 'n Scoot with Atlas. Atlas can bore through rock just like Maeglin can. While this Destructed zone isn't ideal for fighting him (we want to Orb him down, avoiding his horrifically painful 4x earthquake/confusion 13d13 melee strikes), pretty soon he'll have chewed up some nice openings for us to shoot him with. He's also only +10 speed, so we can get a nice speed advantage with our Staves of Speed.

Oh, look who's back. Arien, go away! You're not welcome here!

Hey, Atlas, quick time-out, okay?

Arien, Maia of the Sun disappears!

Orb wears down Atlas reasonably quickly. He has 6000 HP, but he can't really do anything outside of melee range. Soon enough he eats his last Orb and keels over. His drop: an Amulet of the Magi, a Beaked Axe of Extra Attacks (which he stole from Maeglin's drop), a Set of Alchemist's Gloves of Power, and a randart sword:

Y'know, it's not bad. Nice bonuses, decent slays, good damage. But we have a better stat-stick and a better beating-stick, so a weapon that's merely good at both things isn't worthwhile.

Those Gloves of Power are actually pretty damned nice for a melee character:

+5 STR is a significant boost to your combat output if your STR isn't already maxed. Not only can you get extra blows; it also directly increases your per-blow damage.

As for Maeglin's drop: Gauntlets of Power, a Rapier of Extra Attacks, Studded Leather Armour of Resistance, a Large Metal Shield of Resistance, and a Lucerne Hammer (Holy Avenger). Meh all round.

Right, I think we've abused this poor level enough. We'll call the update here. Before we go, check out the property damage:

I hope Morgoth's insurance covers acts of God.

Next time: things get bloody.