The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 58: Bodies Hit the Floor

Update 58: Bodies Hit the Floor

Last time, we caused a lot of property damage in the name of beating up uniques. This level's about done for; let's get away before it collapses.

Well, okay, we'll kill this Great Wyrm of Many Colours that somehow spawned in the vault while we were fighting Maeglin and Atlas. It's a straightforward fight; the thing never breathes once. And we get a Potion of Speed and a Potion of Enlightenment for our trouble. Nice!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3750')

Erk. A pack of Crebain! These evil crows are fast, show up in groups, and can shriek for help. No good! Fortunately Orb kills them all; they only have about 9 HP apiece. But this kind of thing is why telepathy is so important -- you can see major threats as soon as you enter the level, before you've even taken a turn.

Clairvoyance doesn't reveal anything interesting, so we just start wandering around and checking out the floor items.

That's a Nightwalker and a pair of White Dragons. We've already killed one Nightwalker, and while that's no reason to get cocky, I see no real reason to avoid fighting this one.

Though we do retreat to a better position for LOS, haste up, and lay down a Glyph of Warding.

You miss the Nightwalker. <4x> You smite the Nightwalker (88). You smite the Nightwalker (198). It was a great hit! The Nightwalker casts a ball of nether. You resist the effect!

Maces of Disruption are so very good at killing undead Our second attack lands all 6 blows, dealing a total of 594 damage! There's no way we could ever match that with direct-damage spells. It only takes 4 rounds of melee to get the Nightwalker to flee, after which we Orb him down. No drop to speak of though.

We take out a trio of Storm Giants, whose lightning-based attacks are notably ineffective against us They were guarding a Ring of Constitution <+5>, a straight upgrade over our old <+4> ring. Now swapping out our Great Hammer for our Mace of Disruption only costs us 67 HP, which is pretty reasonable.

The rest of the level is pretty dull, with one notable exception:

The purple V is Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger. As a vampire, her melee attacks naturally drain experience, but they also can cause confusion. Fortunately we have that covered already. Her spells would be fairly nasty (Brain Smash...), but aside from Nether Ball they can all be neutralized by either a 100% saving throw or an antisummoning corridor. So, we dig ourselves a little hidey-hole and wait for her to wake up.

It takes her a bit to get past that Bandit that's trying to reach us, but she does eventually manage it!

You miss Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger <2x>. You smite Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger (112). You smite Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger (103). You miss Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger. You smite Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger (121). Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger tries to make you stop moving. You avoid the effects!
You smite Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger (118). You smite Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger (102). You smite Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger (182). It was a great hit! You smite Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger (152). It was a great hit! You miss Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger. You smite Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger (266). It was a *GREAT* hit! The rune of protection is broken! Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger misses you. Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger misses you. Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger misses you. Thuringwethil, the Vampire Messenger hits you.

That was 820 damage in a single round of combat! Holy hell!

Thuringwethil proves unusually adept at breaking Glyphs of Warding, but her melee simply isn't damaging enough to prove dangerous, and her spells can't really hurt us either. We annihilate her in short order. Her drop is just a {magical} Short Sword and Light Crossbow.

And that's it for this level. No interesting floor items, aside from that Ring of Constitution.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3800')

This level starts out slowly as well. We rip apart a top-tier adventurer group (Sorcerer, Knight Templar, Berserker, and Ranger Chieftan) without breaking a sweat, and move on to a Great Wyrm of Thunder and an Ancient Multihued Dragon (not at the same time, mind you). Those done, we head south, and come to a screeching halt:

The black S is Ungoliant, the Unlight! Hm, tricky. Ungoliant's bag of tricks include STR-draining melee (and our STR is not sustained), poison and darkness breath (we resist both), and the spells Blind, Confuse, Heal Self, Cause Darkness, Frighten, Slow, Darkness Storm, and Summon Spiders. And she has 13000 HP, +20 speed, and a high AC -- we only have a 37% chance of hitting her.

Still, if anyone can kill her, we can. We retreat back up the corridor to reduce the chance that she wakes up, and it's a good thing too -- we've only barely completed our antisummoning corridor by the time she's on the warpath.

We throw down a couple of Glyphs, cast Prayer (hit rate goes from 37% to 43%), haste up, and prepare to engage the beast.

Oh, what? Ji Indur Dawndeath, what are you doing here? Go away, we're busy!

Ungoliant gets stuck for a bit; I think there must be a monster in her way that's unwilling to progress further north.

I guess that means we kill Ji first, then.

Three rounds of melee in, Ji is half-dead...and he casts an Acid Ball that destroys one of our two Staves of Speed Four more rounds of melee and he dies, having taken no other offensive action -- he couldn't break our Glyph. Good riddance.

Let's rock, Ungoliant! We get in four full rounds of melee before Ungoliant makes a single action -- which is to cast Confuse. But with all that, we've barely scratched her; her healthbar is still full.

She starts dancing in and out of LOS, confused by our Glyph. We manage to knock off about 15% of her HP before her next attack, which is to breathe poison, for 266 damage after resistance kicks in. Easily survivable, but we cast Heal anyway; there's no sense taking chances!

You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (61). You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (48). You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (51). You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. The rune of protection is broken! Ungoliant, the Unlight misses you. Ungoliant, the Unlight claws you. Ungoliant, the Unlight bites you. You resist the effects! Ungoliant, the Unlight stings you. You feel very weak.

No problem; we just throw up another Glyph and resume bashing her about the ankles. We can handle at least some STR drain before it adversely affects our offense -- at least, we're still getting the full 6 blows with our Mace of Disruption.

She proceeds to break our Glyph twice in a row (but whiffs the STR-draining sting both times), and now we're nearly out of mana. We step back to our backup Glyph, and drink a Potion of Restore Mana.

Ungoliant proves to be aggravatingly good at both breaking our Glyph and choosing to cast Darkness Storm, probably her most effective spell. The cost of recasting Glyph and casting Heal drains our mana rather quickly, so we have to chug another Potion of Restore Mana by the time she's 60% dead. I mean, we're still winning, but the fight's dragging on. Incredibly, our temporary speed boost actually runs out mid-fight, and we have to use the last charge on our sole remaining Staff of Speed. Here's hoping it doesn't blow up when we try to recharge it...

You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. <3x> You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (41). You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (58). Ungoliant, the Unlight flees in terror! Ungoliant, the Unlight surrounds you in darkness. Darkness surrounds you.

Ha! The fight's as good as won. Oddly, she seems to be unable or unwilling to flee -- but that's fine, it just means we don't have to sit around waiting for her to regain her courage.

You miss Ungoliant, the Unlight. <5x> You hit Ungoliant, the Unlight (49). You have slain Ungoliant, the Unlight. Welcome to level 46. You feel less weak.


As we rest up from the battle, we discover what was obstructing Ungoliant all that time:

Yep. A Water Vortex.

And now for the fun bit!

That is a nice crossbow. Our current crossbow gives +3 STR/Stealth, resistance to light, sustain DEX, and Free Action (i.e. immunity to paralysis). If we used this crossbow instead, we'd gain immunity to acid at the cost of the stat boosts -- but we'd also basically free up a ring slot since we'd no longer need to wear a Ring of Constitution. This isn't a very good crossbow for shooting things, mind you, but that's okay; we hardly ever use the bolts we do have anyway.

Losing +3 STR doesn't hurt our blows/round any, which makes me think that the Priestly blows/round calculation must be pretty favorable. We're capped at 4 blows/round (our Mace has +2 blows, of course), but it seems to be pretty easy to achieve that number even with a horribly heavy weapon.

Ehh, less exciting.

Ji also dropped an Awl-Pike of Gondolin and some Black Dragon Scale Mail, both junk.

Continuing south, we beat up a Great Swamp Wyrm and find this in the room it was guarding:

Holy geeze that's a lot of damage bonuses. And with +4 CON on our crossbow now, we don't need the +5 CON from our Great Hammer so much any more...hell, this weapon will be better for killing Sauron (who lacks acid resistance) than our Mace of Disruption is!

Goodbye, Great Hammer 'Belurgon', hello Broad Axe of Animlas! Now we just need to find another Ring of Speed, or a Ring of Damage, or a Ring of Power...

Further exploration turns up a Scroll of Mass Banishment (our sixth), and this room:

That's a Horned Reaper in cyan there. Flavor text:

A giant humanoid demon wielding a massive, heavy and sharp scythe. Feared by foes and friends alike when it flies into one of its berserk rages, the Horned Reaper will cut down anything in its path between it and you - even the minions it has just summoned.

In other words, they can trample lesser monsters, and there's not many monsters stronger than a Horned Reaper. Their melee is 4 11d11 hits per turn, they're at +20 speed, and they have four spells: Frighten, Slow, Summon Demon, and Haste Self.

But hey, we have a new axe that deals nearly 800 damage/round against demons! Bring it!

Two turns before starting melee, I remember that our Staff of Speed is empty, and cast Recharging...successfully! Four more uses of temporary haste, awright!

Not, I will admit, the ideal position from which to fight a summoner, but it should suffice.

You miss the Horned Repear. You miss the Horned Reaper. You fiercely smite the Horned Reaper (194). You fiercely smite the Horned Reaper (249).

I mean, damn.

7 turns later, the Reaper breaks our Glyph...and whiffs four times in a row And then one turn after that, we land all four blows for a colossal 871 damage, destroying it.

I like our new axe.

That was the last thing of interest on this level; onwards!

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3850')

Another level with no really interesting features. Ho hum.

I mean, there's monsters and so on lying around, but nothing that can pose a serious threat to us. We blast apart a Demilich and an Ethereal Dragon without breaking a sweat; in the rubble is this:

Wearing this instead of our old Ring of Constitution doesn't affect our HP at all while we have our new Axe equipped; if we swap in the Mace of Disruption then we go from 848 HP to 733 HP. Not ideal, but it's still worth it for the Mace's damage bonus against undead. Once we get our CON maxed, we shouldn't have any HP problems with either weapon equipped.

And hey, now we have a base speed of +30! We're carrying so much crap that we're actually at +28, but that's a minor detail.

In the room to our south, guarded by some Kobold Shamans, is a new wand:

Is it worth keeping this around? Probably not. We get a 23% damage bonus on them from our device skill; not as good as Bryson II did, but still respectable. But against evil targets, Orb does about 50% of the damage without using an inventory slot, having a failure rate, or being able to be drained by monster melee attacks. If we were going to fight Morgoth at range, then this would be more tempting, but we aren't.

Continuing onwards,

The Chaos hound breathes chaos. You feel drugged! You resist the effect! You feel your life force draining away!

Wooo, pretty colors. There's also a Jabberwock somewhere in there, but I think it's still asleep for the moment. Annoyingly, we have no healing effects that cancel hallucination, so we just have to wait out the duration, while chopping Chaos Hounds apart with our Axe.

You can see clearly again.


Yep, the Jabberwock is still asleep. There's also a Dracolisk and an Ancient Gold Dragon in there, along with four more Chaos Hounds. We pull the Hounds out first. It takes 2-5 rounds of melee to kill each, but we have a significant speed advantage over them now. It's not quite enough to double-turn them every turn, but it's close. When there's only one left, we get impatient with it (it's having pathing difficulties) and take the fight inwards.

Time to revenge ourselves against a Jabberwock!

You corrode the Jabberwock (107). You corrode the Jabberwock (95). You corrode the Jabberwock (79). You corrode the Jabberwock (109). The Jabberwock misses you. <2x> The Jabberwock bites you. <2x>

Jabberwock melee is painful -- each attack deals 10d10 damage. Their chaos breath also hits extraordinarily hard, for 470 damage when they're at max HP. Fortunately our melee deals damage rather quickly now, which drops the peak damage this one can deal. Even more fortunately, he completely forgets that he even has a breath weapon, and never uses it. Two castings of Heal keep up with his melee output, and we drop him in 11 rounds.

As for the other monsters, the only thing of note that happens is the Dracolisk burns one of our Scrolls of *Destruction*. But he drops another one, so...I guess that's a wash

The rest of the level proves to be just one big disappointment. Oh well, there's plenty more to go before we hit the bottom.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3900')

Well, at least the terrain's interesting. The most powerful monster present is a mere Enchantress (native depth 2000') though. But hey, she drops a randart!

...yep, that sure is a randart.

More usefully, the Mature Gold Dragon that was hanging out with her dropped a Potion of Augmentation!

You feel very dextrous! You feel very healthy!

Our internal DEX is now 18/88, and our internal CON is 18/87. We're nearly there!

And hey, maybe we'll find more stat potions in this pit:

1 Great Wyrm of Thunder, 14 Ancient Gold Dragons, 6 Mature Gold Dragons, and 34 Young Gold Dragons. That is a lot of items. Mind, sound breath destroys potions...

Let's rock!

It takes 11 rounds of melee to kill the Great Wyrm of Thunder; everything else falls markedly more quickly. We periodically retreat a step or two down the corridor to protect our loot from stray breaths, not that these guys get many chances to breathe before dying. Pretty soon...

9 Young gold dragons shudder. 3 Mature gold dragons shudder. The Young gold dragon misses you. <6x>
9 Young gold dragons shudder. 3 Mature gold dragons shudder. The Young gold dragon misses you. etc...
9 Young gold dragons shudder. 3 Mature gold dragons shudder. 6 Young gold dragons flee in terror!
6 Young gold dragons dissolve! 3 Mature gold dragons shudder. 3 Young gold dragons shudder. 3 Young gold dragons flee in terror!
3 Mature gold dragons shudder. The Young gold dragon shudders. The Young gold dragon dissolves!

Dispel Evil is fun, but Orb is markedly more efficient. Oh well.

2 Mature gold dragons are hit hard. The Mature gold dragon flees in terror! The Mature gold dragon dies. 2 Young gold dragons die.
2 Mature gold dragons die.

And the only loot we lost to a breath attack is a single Potion of Speed. Our loot: another Potion of Speed, still intact; a Scroll of *Destruction*; a Potion of Healing; a Potion of Constitution (). Worth it!

Mopping up the rest of the level, we paste an Archlich, but not before he summons a pair of demons -- a Lesser Balrog and an Osyluth. So we paste them too, and hit level 47 (863 HP, 366 SP). We may not have a general-purpose evil-slaying weapon, but we do fantastic damage against undead and demons.

You enter a maze of down staircases. (to 3950')

Well now.

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

Radagast the Brown and his three Istari escorts to the southwest, a rather pathetic golem pit to the northwest, and a "Skull" vault way off in the corner. Nothing particularly tempting-looking in the item list, but this should still be interesting.

I'm thinking it's time we dealt with Radagast. He's kind of a giant pain in the ass -- +20 speed, 7500 HP, melee attacks that disenchant, blind, and burn, immune to all elements, and his spell list is Blind, Teleport To, Mana Bolt, Water Bolt, Fire Bolt, Ice Bolt, Summon Ainu, Summon Animals, Summon Hounds, and Summon Spiders. So you can understand why we've been avoiding him in the past. But frankly, we've run out of excuses.

Which is not to say we're taking this fight lightly. We haste up, cast Prayer, break down the last wall, and retreat back to our first Glyph.

Let's rock!

You hit Radagast the Brown (149). It was a superb hit! You miss Radagast the Brown. <2x> You hit Radagast the Brown (46). You hit Radagast the Brown (48). You hit Radagast the Brown (52). Radagast the Brown casts a bolt of fire.
You hit Radagast the Brown, etc. Radagast the Brown sets off a blinding flash. You avoid the effects!
You hit Radagast the Brown, etc. Radagast the Brown fires a jet of water. You resist the effect! You have been stunned.

Stunning from Water Bolt and Ice Bolt is major gotcha #1 of this fight. No matter how good at spellcasting you are, if you're stunned, your minimum failure rate on spells is 15%. Fortunately, casting Heal successfully will clear stunning, so as long as we work on casting it as soon as we get stunned, we shouldn't be in major danger. His Water Bolt does about 150 damage -- but that's quite survivable.

After a number of turns in which Radagast mostly sticks to dancing back and forth, with the occasional Water Bolt, one of his Istar friends wakes up and joins the party.

Radagast can push past weaker monsters, so this doesn't limit his movement any; we just have something to beat on for the turns when he decides to walk away from the fight for a bit.

You hit the Istar (148). It was a *GREAT* hit! The Istar magically starts closing wounds. The Istar looks REALLY healthy!

What a waste of a good critical

You hit Radagast the Brown, etc. Radagast the Brown casts a bolt of raw magic.

There's his biggest attack spell. It dealt...230 damage to us. That's a pretty spicy meatball, but the impact is lost when we can easily heal it back.

Radagast the Brown shoots a spear of ice. You have been given a light cut. You have been stunned. Some of your Cloudy Potions of Restore Mana were destroyed!
You feel very good. You are no longer bleeding. You are no longer stunned.
The rune of protection is broken! Radagast the Brown hits you. Radagast the Brown hits you. You are enveloped in flames! Radagast the Brown misses you. Radagast the Brown hits you. You are blind.

Oops, right, he can blind with his melee attacks.

This doesn't stop us from "seeing" him with telepathy, but it does stop us from casting spells, including Heal. This would be a problem...except we have 18 Potions of Healing and 11 Potions of *Healing* in stock, since we so rarely need to drink them for actual HP restoration. So we just take a step back onto Glyph #2 of 7, and

You feel very good. You blink and your eyes clear.

Given that Radagast is currently 80% dead, I'd say we overprepared a little -- except that rune breakage is semi-random. We got lucky this time, but he could easily have decided to break several runes in rapid succession, the way Ungoliant was. Better to prepare and then not need them, than to be caught flat-footed. (Though we would have simply swapped in our Lantern of True Sight to cover blindness protection if we were fighting "fair").

80% dead soon becomes 90% dead and Radagast flees, which basically signals the end of the fight -- he returns, we bash him in the face, he gets frightened again, he runs away, lather, rinse, repeat. He does summon an Istar who summons another Istar, but that doesn't really slow things down any; we simply kill them while Radagast is AWOL.

You hit Radagast the Brown (100). It was a great hit! You have slain Radagast the Brown.

That's two down! Just Arien, Maia of the Sun is left.

Incidentally, gotcha #2 would have been his Teleport To spell, had he ever cast it. It would have pulled us out of our antisummoning corridor and off of the Glyphs, which would have been trouble. Good thing it never happened!

Radagast, appropriately, drops a Shield of Elvenkind that gives disenchantment resistance as its bonus resist. That's it though -- rather disappointing. His remaining Istari escorts do better -- one drops a Potion of Experience, taking us about 20% of the way to level 48, and another drops an Amulet of ESP. His last escort, a Blue Wizard, summons another Istar (making for four summoned here overall), and drops a Potion of Dexterity; we're now only one or two potions away from maxing both DEX and CON!

On that note...

You feel very dextrous! You feel very healthy!

At last! Maxed stats! It took way longer than usual, but we're finally here! In fact, our stats are pretty insane across the board -- ridiculous WIS, effectively maxed DEX and CON, and top-tier STR. Folks, we are in Good Shape.

Moving on, we pay a quick visit to the golem pit.

We've been lugging around a Staff of Banishment for awhile now.

Choose a monster race (by symbol) to banish: g

Fighting these guys would have been an unrewarding slog; instead, we can just take about 180 damage in Banishment backlash and loot the items at our leisure.

...the items are all {magical} dross. Phooey.

Finally, the Skull vault!

Hm. Well, there's Arien. Gothmog is stuck in the left "eye" of the skull, while Lungorthin is to his southwest, along with two Lesser Balrogs and three Gelugons (ice-based demons). Arien is way to the southeast, not even in the vault, so we can deal with her whenever we please. The Chaos Hounds could be a problem though; there's two full packs of them.

Let's take out Arien first. That should give us a line on fighting some of the Chaos Hounds too, once we're done.

Arien's repertoire is almost all offense. She has decently-strong melee (which just burns and hurts, no status ailments or anything), 5500 HP, +20 speed, and the spells Blind, Teleport To, Fire Ball, Fire Bolt, Mana Bolt, Plasma Bolt, and Summon Ainu. She can also breathe fire and plasma. This fight is going to hurt our inventory a bit, so I'm going to stash some of the more flammable and less immediately-needed items well away from the blast zone.

Shown: our spare flammable prayer books (we have 3 copies of each still in our inventory), 2 Scrolls of Banishment, 5 Scrolls of Mass Banishment, 6 Scrolls of *Destruction*, 1 Staff of Banishment, 1 Staff of Speed (we found a spare, thankfully, so we can keep 1 in our inventory), and our other Cloak of the Magi. Also, with our DEX over 18/150, we're now theftproof, so I ditched our spare dungeon spellbooks.

Losing this stash would be disastrous. So let's not do that.

Yeah, that looks good. Let's do this!

You feel righteous!
You feel yourself moving faster! You have 2 charges remaining.
You feel resistant to fire! You feel resistant to cold!
You tunnel into the magma vein. You have finished the tunnel.

You hit Arien, Maia of the Sun (46). You hit Arien, Maia of the Sun (52). You miss Arien, Maia of the Sun. You hit Arien, Maia of the Sun (48). You hit Arien, Maia of the Sun (50). You miss Arien, Maia of the Sun. The rune of protection is broken! Arien, Maia of the Sun hits you. You are enveloped in flames! Arien, Maia of the Sun misses you. <3x>

Literally the first round of combat, that. Not a good sign! We have 6 backup Glyphs, but they don't all provide perfect LOS defense, so we'd rather not have to use them.

Fortunately, the second Glyph lasts longer; Arien contents herself with slinging attack magic at us, but aside from one Mana Bolt it's all pretty ineffectual -- and the Mana Bolt's damage is trivially healed.

You hit Arien, Maia of the Sun, etc. Arien, Maia of the Sun summons an ainu.

She just got a bog-standard Maia, the second-weakest "A" monster. Like Radagast, she can push past weaker monsters, so when she walks away from our Glyph, it gets shoved into melee range, and pasted in only two rounds of combat.

Her second summon is literally the worst possible summon...for her.

Yep, just a Lesser Maia. These guys are native to 1300'! We've tripled their native depth now. It dies in a single round.

Arien flings a few Plasma Bolts at us, but those are the last actual damaging actions she takes against us. Pretty soon she's running away and the fight is essentially over -- she does the "I got my courage back! Oh wait, that mace is kinda scary, I'm gonna run away again..." dance twice before dying. Victory! And all the unique maia are dead!

Our loot includes a Scroll of *Destruction*, and this tasty-looking armor:

Very nice. We've been wearing a set of Dwarven Chainmail for over 1500' now for its +2 CON. Wearing this armor instead drops us to 18/190 CON (one point below the cap on HP gains), losing us 70 HP (from 863 to 793) -- but only when we're using our Mace of Disruption instead of our Axe. That's a pity, but on the flipside it gives protection from both blindness and confusion and provides a source of poison resistance, meaning we no longer have to wear the Amulet of Trickery we've been lugging around. In turn, that means we can equip the Jewel 'Dionwe' we've also been lugging around, which gives us immunity to cold -- though we do lose 2 points of speed and nexus resistance in exchange. I'm not certain that exchange is worth it.

In any event, we can stop lugging around our Lantern of True Sight, since we finally have an unambiguously better swap item. While we're at it, we don't need the Jewel-Encrusted Crown 'Echeldar' any more -- that's the crown that gave us the "sprinting" activation. Our base speed is now +30 (well, +33, but we're badly overburdened), and we have our Staves of Speed and Potions of Speed. So that frees up some inventory slots.

Now, let's deal with that vault.

First things first, those Chaos Hounds are getting banished. Simply not worth the trouble, even if they are worth 13500 EXP apiece.

Reaching the vault environs, we start digging an antisummoning corridor, but it's for naught; we don't even manage to dig out a single tile before Lungorthin wakes up.

Lungorthin is like Arien on steroids -- more powerful melee, 7000 HP, and his spells are Blind, Confuse, Frighten, Summon Greater Demons, Summon Undead, Breathe Fire, and Breathe Plasma. He has a problem, though: he's a demon. Our melee is literally more than twice as effective against him as it was against Arien.

His melee can also drain charges from your charged items, healing him in the process, so we quickly use a charge from our Staves of Speed, then ditch them and the Staff of Banishment.

Then we cast Resist Heat & Cold, lay down a Glyph, and it's clobbering time!

You fiercely smite Lungorthin, the Balrog of White Fire (280). It was a good hit! You fiercely smite Lungorthin, the Balrog of White Fire (195). You miss Lungorthin, the Balrog of White Fire. <2x>

Lungorthin's actions in the fight:
Whelp. He had plenty of opportunities to cast spells; he just did a phenomenally terrible job of selecting which spells to cast.

As for his drop? Well, this is cute:

Not as good as the armor we got from Arien, but cute anyway.

Now that Lungorthin's dead, we can work on taking out the remaining "loose" monsters in the vault.

Our incredible demonslaying Broad Axe makes short work of Gothmog's remaining escorts. We kill a Lesser Balrog in only two rounds of combat! Those things have almost 1800 HP! Finally, only the inner sanctum remains.

Okay, not all of Gothmog's escort is gone; he still has two Greater Balrogs here; there's also a Great Storm Wyrm, a Vampire Lord, a Mature White Dragon, and an Ogre Shaman in residence, but they're all totally irrelevant. And due to the local terrain, when we clear the wall to our north we'll be able to take each monster on by themselves, without any of the others being able to interfere.

Gothmog's flavor text:

Gothmog is the Chief Balrog in Morgoth's personal guard. He is renowned for slaying Feanor and Fingon, two of the High Kings of the Noldor Elves, and has never been defeated in combat. With his whip of flame and awesome fiery breath he saved his master from Ungoliant's rage.

Gothmog is pretty similar to Lungorthin, only up-statted: 8000 HP, +20 speed, melee that burns and drains charges, and a spell list of Blind, Confuse, Frighten, Breathe Fire, Breathe Plasma, Summon Greater Demons, and Summon Greater Undead. We'll want to stash our staves again, if only to keep him from healing by draining their charges; otherwise the plan is to haste up, cast Resist Heat & Cold, and smack him in the face until he falls over.

Naturally, one of the Greater Balrogs rushes into melee range first. We knock off 10% of his HP before Gothmog pushes past him.

You fiercely smite Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs (115). You fiercely smite Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs (175). You miss Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs. <2x> The rune of protection is broken! Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs misses you. <2x> Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs crushes you. Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs touches you.

That last attack was the drain-charges touch, but it's totally ineffectual as we aren't carrying any charged items. We re-establish the Glyph and resume hacking.

You fiercely smite Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs (160). You fiercely smite Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs (160). You fiercely smite Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs (140). You miss Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs. Gothmog, the High Captain of the Balrogs summons major demons.

Oop, he pulled Pazuzu, Lord of Air. Pazuzu is not a serious threat to us, since we're immune to his favorite element (electricity), but that's no reason to fight him and Gothmog at the same time. There's confidence and then there's suicidal overconfidence, y'know?

Pazuzu, Lord of Air disappears!

Heh. We haven't had to pull that trick in awhile.

We resume chopping Gothmog into little bits. He contents himself to pointless status-ailment spells, and summoning a single Gelugon, who we also teleport away. Against the power of our Broad Axe, his HP falls fast, and soon enough he collapses in a bloody heap.

Ironically, Gothmog's remaining escorts prove more dangerous than he, breaking our Glyphs on multiple occasions, hitting us with Plasma Bolts, and summoning an Osyluth, who can drain our WIS, CON, and STR (none of which are sustained right now).

Killing one of the Greater Balrogs gets us to level 48 (882 HP, 367 SP) -- which immediately gets drained by the Vampire Lord, who gets lucky twice in that he both breaks our Glyph and manages to land his bite attack. Oh well.

All done here! Our loot: White Dragon Scale Mail of Stealth, a Great Axe (Holy Avenger), a Rapier of *Slay Evil*, Augmented Chainmail of Resistance, a Shortbow of Extra Might, a Large Metal Shield of Elvenkind (with resistance to sound), and this Lead-Filled Mace:

I bet Gothmog thought he was protecting himself by keeping this demonslaying mace out of the hands of do-gooders. Good thing he didn't know about our Axe!

Now let's go track down Pazuzu.

Ahh, here he is, near where we fought Radagast and Arien. Man, this level has not been good for uniques, has it?

Pazuzu's main gimmick is that he's an incredibly fast (+30 speed) melee monster, with 4x 12d12 shocking melee hits. But we're immune to electricity, which goes a long way to reducing the damage he deals. Fun fact: in previous versions, monsters whose melee attacks had elements attached to them dealt "pure" elemental damage (i.e. no physical damage), so if you were immune to electricity, Pazuzu literally could not hurt you unless he decided to cast Mana Bolt or Mind Blast, his only non-electrical attack spells. He can also summon demons, of course.

We get distracted by chasing down an Osyluth, another refugee from the Battle of Gothmog, and thus get caught out away from shelter when Pazuzu finally figures out how to path properly.

No worries though; we'll just lay a Glyph, haste up, and commence the beatings. Pazuzu "only" has 5500 HP and a meagre AC of 150, so we shouldn't have much trouble working down his HP.

You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (165). You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (225). You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (180). You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (210).

Especially not with turns like that. Goddamn!

You miss Pazuzu, Lord of Air. You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (140). You miss Pazuzu, Lord of Air. <2x> Pazuzu, Lord of Air summons major demons.

This is somewhat suboptimal. He got a Gelugon, a Marilith, and a Nalfeshnee. Of those, only the Gelugon is a threat, and it's conveniently right next to us so we can teleport it away.

The Gelugon disappears!

The others can stay to jam up any future summoning spells. It's like having an antisummoning corridor!

You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (385). It was a great hit! You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (355). It was a great hit! You miss Pazuzu, Lord of Air. <2x> The rune of protection is broken! Pazuzu, Lord of Air hits you. You are struck by electricity! Pazuzu, Lord of Air hits you. You are struck by electricity! Pazuzu, Lord of Air hits you. You are struck by electricity! Pazuzu, Lord of Air misses you.

3 hits, and we're down 140 HP. Pazuzu's melee still packs a punch even if you're immune to his element. But it's nothing we can't heal, and Glyph is doing a pretty good job of neutering his offense, too.

You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (175). You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (190). You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (165). You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (200). The Nalfeshnee breathes fire. One of your Holy Books of Prayers [Words of Wisdom] was destroyed! Pazuzu, Lord of Air casts a bolt of raw magic. *** LOW HITPOINT WARNING! ***

Okay, so the Nalfeshnee's firebreath can do about 90 damage to us, and Pazuzu's Mana Bolt can do about 340. That's pretty respectable. We spend a couple of turns casting Heal in response. You remember how irritated I got when monsters cast Heal Self? Yeah, I can't imagine Pazuzu's too pleased right now.

But that's just too bad.

You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (185). Pazuzu, Lord of Air flees in terror! Pazuzu, Lord of Air is no longer afraid.
You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (195). You fiercely smite Pazuzu, Lord of Air (150). You have destroyed Pazuzu, Lord of Air.

And that's it for this level! Let's call the update here. Before we go, though, let's take a look at the uniques we know about. By hitting ~, we can bring up the "knowledge" menu:

Monster knowledge lets us look at how many of each monster type we've killed. Friar Tuck has killed a total of 5160 monsters, evidently, with the most common categories being Canines, Dragons (both d and D), Demons (both u and U), Orcs, Men (i.e. "p" monsters), Trolls, and Zephyr Hounds.

Additionally, this screen lets us see information on what uniques are still alive:

There are 97 uniques in the game; of them, we've killed 74, leaving just 23. We aren't necessarily going to be able to hunt them all down by the end of the game; in fact, I'm fairly certain that one of them is impossible for us to kill: Farmer Maggot only ever shows up in the town, and he wasn't there during our one town visit, so he's safe.

Here's the bottom of the list, where all the remotely relevant remaining uniques are:

Several of these are far from pushovers, but it's somehow comforting that we've killed the unique with the greatest maximum depth -- Gothmog is native to 4750', and nobody else is deeper aside from Sauron and Morgoth.

Finally, a quick look at Tuck's status:

Most of these swaps are items that I don't really anticipate using, but they could potentially be helpful, and we have the space. We are 104 pounds overburdened though.

That is one beautiful axe, my friends.

Look at those stats! Look at that saving throw! That speed!

If I had my choice of elemental immunities, I'd go with fire and cold, but acid and electricity do have their uses as well. Our elemental coverage is really solid now. Honestly at this point the only thing we're missing that I'd like to have is better stat sustains. Morgoth hits to drain all stats, and it'd be a bit tedious to have to keep stopping to cast Restoration. But we can just keep casting Restoration as needed, so honestly we could go for victory right now if we wanted to.

Anyway, that's it! Next time: the Power of a God.