The Let's Play Archive


by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 65: Bonus update 3: Cheating Without Cheating

Bonus Update 3: Cheating Without Cheating

Let's take a quick break from Tuck's adventure to talk about how to abuse the game a bit. Rodna, we need you!

Rodna's kind of frail and poorly-equipped at the moment.

Let's just fix that real quick, aye? We input the debug command ^aC...

Create which artifact? Bladeturner

Create which artifact? Ringil

Create which artifact? Gondor

Create which artifact? Thorin

Create which artifact? Fingolfin

Create which artifact? anor

(Unfortunately the game doesn't match un-accented characters to the accented versions when typing an artifact's name, but fortunately you can use a substring, and "anor" doesn't show up in any other artifacts' names)

Create which artifact? Thr

Create which artifact? Dwarves

Create which artifact? Cubragol

Create which artifact? thien

Create which artifact? Vilya

Create which artifact? The One Ring

You are wearing the Ring of Power 'The One Ring' (+15,+15) <+5> {cursed}. Oops! It feels deathly cold!

Okay, that should do it.

Look at that. It's beautiful!

And just for fun,

Create which artifact? Deathwreaker

Create which artifact? Doomcaller

Rodna is now running around at a base speed of +47. Arguably Deathwreaker would be a better weapon for her than Ringil, since Ringil's famous speed bonus isn't really doing much for her (remember, bonuses to speed have diminishing returns starting at +27). But she's laughably overpowered anyway. So we're all set to start showing off some cheesy tactics!

First, into the dungeon. The ^aj command lets us jump to a dungeon level of our choice.

Jump to level (0-127): 20

The ^aw command invokes an Enlightenment effect.

And the ^an command lets us summon a monster by name.

Summon which monster? Betrayer of Turin

Of course we get his sons as well.

(Mim's name has an accent -- a circonflex over the i -- but the substring approach works for monsters as well as for artifacts)

The simplest cheesy tactics involve having a speed advantage over your foes. Which we do, very much so. The first one is named "Whack 'n Back". We just walk up to our target, like Khim here:

Then we attack him.

You hit Khim, Son of Mim (88). You hit Khim, Son of Mim (87). You miss Khim, Son of Mim. You miss Khim, Son of Mim.

Then we take a step back.

And Khim spends his turn walking closer to us instead of smacking us in the face. This kind of tactic will utterly trivialize any monster that a) doesn't have significant spellcasting abilities (or at least their spellcasting is far less dangerous than their melee), and b) that you can outspeed. In most games, it's pretty much limited to early-game uniques that you spend a Potion of Speed on. On the monster's turn, they can't melee you, since you've moved away; thus their options are either to move closer (in which case you just repeat the process) or to cast a spell (in which case you get two turns to either recover from the damage the spell did, or inflict ranged damage).

Monsters don't cast spells more frequently when they aren't in melee range. Their AI is almost literally "If (1 in cast chance): cast a spell; otherwise, if adjacent to player, make an attack; otherwise, move closer to the player."

Slightly more advanced than Whack 'n Back is Pillardancing. For that, we need a freestanding column.

You tunnel into the granite wall. <2x>
Ibun, Son of Mim tries to cast a spell, but fails.
You tunnel into the granite wall. <4x>
Khim, Son of Mim tries to cast a spell, but fails.

Be with you guys in a sec, okay?

Even with our bulging muscles, digging through granite is still somewhat slow going with all these interruptions, so we use ^at to teleport ourselves away for some peace and quiet. Who needs actual spells when you have debug commands?

Incidentally, we're losing experience:

This is caused by the experience drain effect on the One Ring. Someone must have changed this recently; it used to permanently drain one or two points every turn, but now the drain is only temporary (i.e. can be restored by Restore Life Levels), but much more extreme. Anyway, ^aa patches us up.

You feel *much* better!

And we have our freestanding pillar!

Now we simply lure our target to the pillar:

Attack him...

You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turin (97). You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turin (109). You smite Mim, Betrayer of Turin (97). You miss Mim, Betrayer of Turin.

And then step so that the pillar is between us and him.

Like with Whack 'n Back, the monster cannot make a melee attack on his turn because we've moved out of melee range; unlike with Whack 'n Back, he also can't cast a spell, because he can't see us. So he has literally no choice but to move next to us, and we repeat the process.

Pillardancing is hard to set up, since free-standing pillars are fairly rare; it also requires a speed advantage, and of course that the monster you're fighting not be a wallwalker. It's also scummy as hell, so I don't generally use it. Generally, if you have a speed advantage over your enemy, you ought to be able to kill them in a straight-up fight anyway; these tactics just really make certain of things.

Next up: LOS chicanery! There's a common LOS trick called "hockey-sticking" (or just the hockey stick) that refers to a situation in which you can see and target an enemy without them being able to see and target you. It comes up an awful lot against zephyr hounds, so let's make some (on a new level).

Jump to level (0-127): 50

The problem with zephyr hounds is that they have the pack AI, which refuses to close to melee range unless you're in a room (with the goal being that that way they can surround you). Combine that with their annoying breath weapons, and you have monsters that can chase you from a distance, breathing on you all the while, and refusing to get close so you can slaughter them properly.

The trick is to lure them into melee range without letting them all breathe on you. Enter the hockey stick.

From our position in this room, we can see, and target, that Plasma Hound. However, he cannot see or target us. If we bring up the targeting interface, it will actually show us the path that a projectile we fire would take:

In addition to giving us a free turn to cast, say, Mana Storm at this hapless hound, on his next turn he'll move diagonally towards us:

You freeze the Plasma mound (129). You freeze the Plasma hound (93). You freeze the Plasma hound (102). You freeze the Plasma hound (99). You have slain the Plasma hound.

As long as we can kill the hounds at least as fast as they enter the room, we can set up a nice little conga line of death, with zero risk of getting breathed on. Things break down a bit if we can't keep up with the influx, or if we only mostly kill a hound and it runs away. Still, this is the most reliable way to deal with hounds short of, say, Banishment.

Hockey-sticking works in other situations, too. For example, this Quylthulg is completely at our mercy:

Note, however, that if our positions were reversed, then so too would the Quylthulg be able to target us (or at least, be able to cast his summoning spells), while we wouldn't even be able to see him. The asymmetries in the line-of-sight rules work both ways.

You can also hockey-stick from further away than just the classic "knight's move", if you're willing to manually adjust your targeting reticule. All you have to do is target a tile past your opponent:

By targeting the marked tile, the projectile we fire will pass through the Quylthulg's tile and hit him before it hits the wall. The AI won't abuse this kind of situation, though -- if they can't hit you with a "straight" target (targeting the tile you're in), then they can't cast spells.

I'm generally happy to abuse the basic "knight's move" hockey stick, but I've never really bothered with advanced versions like this one. It seems a little beyond the pale that you can slip a projectile right around the corner like this.

That about does it for shady shenanigans! Next time we'll get back to Friar Tuck's adventures. Here's hoping someday he'll be a match for Rodna here.