Part 43: Tuna Taint - FourTuna Taint the Stinger, MfVM Part 4
in which the RNG makes it all up to me
This update goes by fairly smoothly, all things considered. I pick up right where I left off, and am given a nice little gift: a late Sigmund to meet. I was getting a little hungry.
Prince Ribbit is a cursed human in blink frog form and comes with teleport self. He can show up as early as D:4, but here he is rather managable. Still a little dangerous, but nothing that Mephitic Cloud and Toxic Radiance cannot solve. I get none of those pesky accuracy problems with my spells.
I meet a distant cousin, and kill it.There's nothing in this small vault but some big fish, the merfolk, and a couple rations. Still very appreciated given my food situation (almost all of the common snack foods are fruits).
I find a ring of wizardry, which really excites me but for now really only helps with Venom Bolt. Wizardy reduces the rate of spell casting failure dramatically, and can stack. Obviously, when all your spells are at 1% failure it isn't much help, but it is a wonderful find if you're some sort of hybrid, especially if you're training on a shield or medium armor. I'll showcase the effect later on, once I find another spellbook, or hinder myself with some armor.
Soon afterward I meet some annoying eels. Normally, when you meet eels before lair, it can be a big problem, caster or melee, but especially melee. When this type of monster gets injured, it likes to dive to safety under the water where you cannot target them and take the time to heal, popping up at the worst autoexplore moment. Diving underwater doesn't save them from poison damage, however, so they still die if I cannot target them, or even if I'm off screen.
This room also goes down with a minimum of effort. Guess how I solved it. Side note: orc rooms like these used to be a pile of free faith and exp for melee builds. Now that all polearms have reaching, standing in the door or a nearby corridor is a lot more dangerous, especially considering how said polearm is usually a halberd. Polearms can reach through allies and enemies to hit their target.
And here's an encounter I actually solve differently, with judicious application of Mephitic Cloud and Venom Bolt and no Toxic Radiance, for once. I get a lovely Troll Hide, which I promptly enchant into +0 Troll Leather Armour for a nice bonus to my regeneration rate. Certainly I have Cure Venom, but I'm poisoning myself nearly all the time. The regen will let me get off a few more Toxic Radiances before I have to spend a turn curing the poison. It will exacerabate my hunger issues, unfortunately, since I'm unwilling to snack on any fruits. Fortunately it won't make me hungry if I'm at full health, and bit more efficent use of nutrition than healing without it. It currently more than doubles my natural regeneration rate while increasing my hunger rate by 1.5 points, or 50%. I come out ahead here, unless I'm a spriggan.
I go from regaining a health point roughly every four or five turns to every other turn. The spell of regeneration is considerably more potent, troll leather regeneration won't make a significant difference over the course of a fight, unless the fight is already going on way too long to be safe. It will make a huge impact on the amount of time I spend resting on each floor, however, indirectly increasing piety and decreasing the number of dangerous monsters I encounter due to the piety decay and monster spawning mechanics (which gets nastier the longer you're on a floor).
Skippable Mechanics Paragraph: What else does troll leather armour do for you, compared to a robe? Like leather armour, it has a base AC over 2, enough to get you some minimal guaranteed damage reduction (19.7% in this case). GDR only applies to the maximum potential damage for the attack, so some attack that normally might deal 8-20 damage can only do 8-16. You can never prevent more than half your total AC, however, so a 100 damage attack with 10 AC and 20% GDR can still only prevent 5 points off the max, so a 100 damage attack can still deal up to 95 if you only have 10 AC. In other words, we won't see a huge bonus seeing it on simple troll leather. It is still significant, but moreso when you expect to get hit for damage rolls with maxes of say, 10-30, unlike the late game, where the heavier armour and better overall ac, or high shields/dodging is important for melee builds. It's still quite helpful right now, however, when high shields, armour, or dodging are all out of my reach. On a merfolk or elf, you'll probably be better focusing on dodging and what you can't dodge, resisting with a robe of resistance. This is definetly a large step above all of the non-ego robes I've found so far. On top of the GDR, I still get the regular total AC role for damage reduction which can prevent all damage, its just a bit less reliable.
Sadly, this fellow doesn't leave me his helpful hide. I handle this rather elegantly by closing the door, dropping all my scrolls, then murdering him. Sticky Flame item destruction avoided quite handily. Sucks not to have opposable thumbs, doesn't it? I can't count the number of times in my noob years where I forgot I could close doors rather than pillar dance some damn ice beast or unseen horror for all eternity.
Things are getting a bit rough now, between Hill Giants and Trolls. That tends to happen around D:10 quite a lot. However, killing him is well worth it when I find this Bailey on the other side, apparently a spear themed one. At this depth, it should be Orc focused.
This lands me in a fairly linear vault, which can give a lot of characters in trouble. It includes a series of chambers, graduating from orcs to orc warriors to orc knights. It's no trouble for me however. I pick up quite a few bardiches and a glaive - they end up all rather unexceptional. The real loot from here I don't notice till later on. Hint: it's three ridiculously excellent potions.
Look, it's the ghost of one of my previous test characters. A Naga Stalker can't do anything of note to my poison immune mushroom buddies. I can't poison him, so I let him get punched to death by my shrooms - who needs Dispel Undead?
This guy, however, can threaten me. You may have seen him in one of the other poster's LP, but to briefly recap: Nessos is a Centaur Warrior with blink, haste, animate dead, and a longbow that shoots poison arrows. He goes down in much the same way as anyone else, however it could have gone very poorly if mephitic cloud didn't succeed, what with haste on top of the fact that centaurs can often attack twice a turn normally. Elves, Spriggans, and Mummies are expected to shit their pants, however, if they're careful enough not to die outright from an early Nessos. I'm incredibly lucky here to have him within mephitic cloud range instead of on an open level, where I usually find him, since these walls negate his longbow range advantage over Mephitic Cloud.
Do you hate spores and ballistomycetes? Well, no more. Even before you get the ability to generate them yourself, they're rendered neutral. Just realize that neutral doesn't mean you're immune to 'friendly fire' if one happens to go off in your vincinity.
Remember how I mentioned some great Bailey loot? Three potions of experience. The first took me from around nine skill to fifteen, the third one took me upt to twenty polearms skill and four traps & doors, enough for normal (although not minimum) delay on a bardiche. Nice, nice, nice. I also pumped a point into strength because I was tired of being burdened. Now that I'm here, I switch to manual mode so some of my less used skills actually go up by more than 9%. I'd like a bit more health, evasion, and a lot less near starvation from spell hunger, so I focus on those. I haven't found a single spell book and my venom bolt rate is around 10%-20%, so I'm not really concerned about much else.
I also kill Jozef, but it was barely worth a mention, let alone a screenshot. On D:13, however, I have to kill a total of three centaur warriors, which is making me rather glad that I won't have to go any deeper (lair ranges from D:8 to D:13). My bardiche doesn't really help me against these equine assholes, and mephitic cloud doesn't have the range I really need. I plan to have a lot more evasion and health by the time I finish Lair, if not repel missiles (I can only hope). I certainly won't be using a shield.
I finally reach the lair, and take stock of my situation and skills. I'm well set up with a +2, +1 orcish bardiche, +0 troll leather, two wands of lightning, a wand of cold, a scroll of vorpalise weapon, a ring of magical power, and a ring of sustenance, among other, more standard things. Venom Bolt is my most difficult spell to cast, at 10% failure rate. My level three spells are hungerless, but Venom Bolt is still at Honeycomb, meaning I need to use a bit of caution in its use if I don't want to consume all my permafood.
Meanwhile, Fedhas has granted me the use of Reproduction and Rain, but the odds of succeeding at that is 74% and 53%, respectively.