Part 7: Ran-dum, DsCK - Three
Xom titters and snickers as we return to the Lair of Beasts. For serious characters the lair is a chance to start deciding what your long-term plans are, what high level spells to work towards, whether to go light or heavy armours, etc. For Ran-dum it's the chance to show off how bad Xom is by getting teleported next to a ten headed hydra and die. Hopefully not, but we go where the wind takes us.
Xom granted us this lovely ring right as we entered the Lair. It's not literally the best thing ever, but I've never had a ring this good, even if the Int+2 doesn't do much for us. I should explain resistances in DCSS, rF+ means the ring gives us one pip of fire resistance, so we take a fair bit less damage from fire, rF++ and rF+++ provide more total resistance, but the first pip is the most important. Mostly, this ring is a good amalgamation of things we'd normally use ring-slots for, rPois, MR, SInv and some type of resistance. Finding this on a normal character, I'd wear it till death or victory, but being a Xommite tempers my elation.
Quaff-identifying potions gives us a potion of cMut, cure mutation. We lose the +1 Int, -1 Str and a level of passive mapping. We set up a stash and move on.
Vampire mosquitoes are jerks, they can sicken you with their attacks, they leave rotting corpses (as in , their corpses cause rotting if you eat them) and they come in packs, a common theme for annoying enemies. Ran-dum takes them out and suffers no ill-effect from the sickness. Vampire mosquitoes, water and fog mean the entrance to the swamp, a further branch off of the lair. Five levels deep, the swamp is really annoying and sometimes deadly because it's partially flooded and moving in water makes you slower at everything. Tougher than orc by far, we wont be heading into the swamp for some time.
You hear a distant snort as you enter L:3, there's an entrance to a labyrinth, twisting changing mazes designed to starve unprepared adventurers, and those that survive are meals for the hungry minotaur at the end. If I had a scroll of magic mapping, I'd use it immediately because the portal to the labyrinth is on a timer, but I don't, so we frantically search for it. ed note: portals to places like the labyrinth show up as stores if you magic map.
We reach the entrance with little time left. Hurriedly, Ran-dum enters the labyrinth.
Unceremoniously, we're dropped into a random hallway. The -cTele means we cannot control teleport (teleport and determine where we will land,) something we can't do anyway. Labyrinths are broken down into three areas: outer, middle, and inner, with different walls to denote the change. The exception is the outermost walls of a labyrinth, which are always the rough rock we see now. Note the turn count.
We find smoother rock, which is the middle layer of the labyrinth. Mazes aren't too hard for me most of the time, I typically can do them without even using a ration, but I've heard from others that they're some of the hardest portals because the difficulty is in finding your way out. Autoexplore doesn't work here, and it can get tedious trying to get out.
A hungry ghost is chilling out past some transparent rock wall, it's probably a vault designed to scare you with the game programmed to make sure it can't get out, but I may be wrong. We never fight it, but sometimes there are vaults in labyrinths with enemies other than the minotaur. Note the turn count, I'm starting to get a bit short with the game as this is by far the longest I've spent in a maze.
Xom gets a bit testy with us too and mutates us one of the worst things he could give us, now we receive less nutrition from meat but slightly more from bread and veggies. This combined with our fast metabolism mutation has me a bit worried that we might legit starve in here.
The final type of walls, these mean we're pretty close to the minotaur. I'm relieved that we'll be out of here very soon.
The minotaur himself, standing on the trapdoor out. He picks up a few things from the stash and...throws stones at us. We kill him from afar with our trident, but he still does decent damage. never underestimate the minotaur, he often uses items from his cache of goodies to really lay down the pain, we got lucky with that this time.
After killing the minotaur, we grab his Kickin' Rad loot and pop the hatch out. The funny looking thing between the stones and the robes is actually swamp dragon armour, which looks promising at first sight. Upon closer inspection, the sword is holy-branded and so wont be wielded by our demonspawn hands, the staves are useless but neat, the leather armor is worse than our current +3 ring mail, the swamp dragon armour is pretty ok, but we'll need to train up a bit to wear that effectively. The robes are the real prize, Acc+5, Str+4, Stealth++. While we lose some AC in doing this, we want the extra accuracy, damage and stealth if we're sticking with Xom for the time being. We'll trade up to the swamp dragon armour later once our skills are a bit shored up. Returning to the lair...
Erica blasts us for quite a chunk with Iskenderuns Mystic Blast, a stronger version of magic dart. We take her out with little difficulty though, and that was a pretty lucky shot on her part.
After clearing things out, we enter this room to find a snapping turtle and the stairs down to the shoals. Like the swamp, the shoals are a branch off of the lair. Like the swamp, the shoals is too hard for us right now. Like the swamp, the shoals is really annoying. The snapping turtle guarding it is notable because it has a reaching attack and high HP/AC. Casters do not want to get into fights with these guys and he hurts Ran-dum a fair bit before we put him down. I've referenced but not talked about reaching attacks. Polearms and some monster attacks can hit things that're not right next to you, but two spaces away, this is done by evoking the item (v) or using tab to attack the closest thing, which will automatically reach if necessary. Reaching used to be a brand that some polearms had, but it was made universal in .9 I believe.
No! Fuck you Xom. Xom gets a little bored and so decides to spice things up by summoning a host of nasties to fight us. Most of the stuff is chaff, but the sun demon (looks like a sun with legs, to our NE) and hellwings (look like skeletons with legs, one is immediately to our S, the other is two spaces to our N) could potentially kill us. And because they're summoned, we get no experience from killing them. We burn our blink scroll, blinking over to the the corpse right below the skeleton to our SW and book it to the stairs up. Those guys will hopefully disappear eventually. This is pretty much the last trick that Xom pulls, and it's probably the meanest.
A crumbling entrance to a spiders nest. Spiders nest are really hard and basically never worth it. I never do them, especially if I think the character can take it on. So, the choice is up to you guys. Ran-dum will probably die if I go in there, but he might not and there could be really good stuff at the end (Spiders nests typically generate either lots of really really bad loot or one amazing item, at least in my experience). Your choice, I'll leave voting open till ~6:30 eastern tomorrow, so no rush. I can answer questions about stuff if it'll help you make a decision.
Total time in Labyrinth: 2,676 turns, more than that time I played a mummy and decided to figure out how they work.