Part 25: Solid Snake, NaSt - OneYour task is to infiltrate the compound 'Dungeon'. We cannot risk our outside codec contact on this mission, you will have to find some way to get back in touch with us from inside the base. Locate and retrieve the experimental soliton radar. Keep an eye out! Intel indicates that they are developing some kind of new super weapon, codenamed: "Zot Orb". And remember:
This Is A Sneaking Mission
Part 1: On-Site Procurement
Fabulous Orb of Zot?!
"Stalkers use stealth and transformative magic to approach and subdue their victims," says the official description. Stalkers are a hybrid class, stealthy stabbers with a few powerful magic tricks up their sleeves. Naga make for great stalkers; aside from their many advantages detailed earlier by Chakan, they have a natural bonus to stealth checks and, most crucially:
a +5 aptitude in stealth. That's insane. No other race has a +5 in anything, at all. I don't know the exact numbers, but a +5 apt means that we'll rank up the stealth skill over twice as fast as a 0 apt skill.
As for these other skills, Stabbing is probably the other vitally important one. The higher our stabbing skill, the higher our damage multiplier will be for shanking fools. 'Stabbing' an enemy simply means attacking it while it is engaged in something other than kicking your teeth in: sleeping, paralysed, confused, and fleeing enemies are all fair game, among other things. Let's see stabbing in action.
Stab damage recieves bonuses from DEX and stabbing skill, as well as the weapon type used. Long blades have an advantage over other weapons (it is notoriously difficult to stab someone with a whip), short blades have an advantage over long blades, and daggers are the pinnacle of stabbing weapons. Their bonus is double that accorded to a short blade. If you're gonna stab someone, do it with a dagger. Stalkers start with a +2 dagger!
Our starting spell is Fulsome Distillation. It sucks out the precious bodily fluids of a given corpse and bottles it up into a potion. Handily, this identifies the potion so created. 'Tainted' corpses (goblins, orcs) generally create potions of confusion, 'clean' corpses (rats, hounds) result in potions of water, poison corpses (kobolds, green rats) produce potions of poison, and so on.
I have no idea where the bottles come from.
At level 2 we can learn Fulsome Distillation's sister spell, Evaporate. Evaporate lets us use the various 'harmful' potions created by FD as effective grenades. An extremely powerful spell, its main drawbacks are its limited ammunition, and the fact that it is quite noisy. Since the name of the Stalker game is sneaky sneaky stabby stabby, Evaporate is best reserved for emergency or otherwise tactical use.
By the end of D:1 we've picked up quite a respectable haul: a +2 robe, a menacing spiked Orcish helmet, and a +3 Ring of Protection. Onwards.
Turns out we have enough spell levels to memorize the stalker's signature spell: Passwall.
Cast passwall, indicate a direction, meditate for a few turns
and pop out the other side. Hey presto. As spellpower increases, Passwall can take you ever greater distances, the theoretical maximum being 13 spaces. We can't use it to any great effect just yet though, except as a very situational escape mechanism.
stab - oh! A glowing dagger?
Thanks much, Trog. The electric brand is best on fast weapons. Frost and flame brands give their bonus based on a percentile of the base weapon's damage, but electrocution always grants 9+d15 damage. I won't be using this to stab, since the electric proc is fairly noisy, but it will come in handy.
That orc is carrying a falchion, the most basic long blade. It's a nice upgrade in killing power from the dagger. We'll keep using daggers to stab, but train up long blades for use in flat out melee combat.
Hello, sleepy rats.
Like most races, nagas have their movement slowed when in shallow water. Unlike most races however they do not have a chance to lose their footing and fumble when trying to attack, making wading melee not a bad idea, if you can get into a good position before your enemy catches you up.
This sewer's vault is a little cave-temple to Elyvilon, which had some potions in it. There were some uninteresting kobolds as well. They are also potions.
An amulet of conservation! This will help to protect the ten thousand potions I'm lugging around.
An actual naga barding. Damn. I've played a lot of nagas, folks, and I have never seen a barding just lying around when I actually needed one. Most excellent.
Our first unique. Ijyb is the least threatening named guy bar maybe Erica. Like many early uniques he has a pretty good chance of spawning with a wand, and sometimes he will show up on D:2 with a wand of draining and fuck you up. This time he came with a wand of confusion. Usually, as now, he's just fodder.
Ugh, two orc priests. I've lost enough dudes to priests that they always make me a little worried. It's time to break out Evaporate.
select a potion...
The potion explodes! Potions of confusion create short-lived noxious clouds that will confuse any non-poison-resistant creature standing within. That makes us immune - just one more reason why nagas rule. Confused creatures are also susceptible to stabbing, so we'll be busting out the daggers alongside the clouds. Higher-HP creatures are more resistant to the confusing effect, so it becomes much less reliable as the game wears on. At this point though, noxious clouds perfectly counter almost every early-game threat, from gnoll packs to scary uniques.
Fortunately we picked up that wand of confusion earlier
Note how much damage electrocution can do. Our actual attack did no damage to grinder, but the brand going off was enough to instantly kill him from half health. And Grinder is pretty beefy.
Whoashit. Let's not go down those stairs. D&D are enough of a pain in the ass on their own, I don't want to have to deal with Menkaure smiting and tormenting me on the side.
Again, the immense power of the electrocution brand: I zapped him with the confusion wand, then slithered over and dispatched him in a single stab.
Chump City, USA
This is actually a mini-vault I've never seen before; Sigmund had a couple scythe-armed buddies in there with him. That would probably be pretty deadly a few dlvls ago. And if I didn't have infinite flashbang grenades.
Ah, the Ecumenical Temple. Next time, we'll meet Ashenzari, patron god of bondage and voyeurism. Also: sneaking, stabbing.