The Let's Play Archive

Dungeon Crawl

by Chakan

Part 51: GreatZebu, SpEn - Two

Spriggan Speedrun, Part 2

Last time we made our way from D1 to the lair. Lair is a critical point in the
game. On the early levels you can die very easily for lots of reasons, but
once you get to lair you should have some options for dealing with trouble,
whether by killing or getting away. Once I get to lair I start to feel like I
should win if I don't screw up.

There are two things we need to accomplish in the lair. First, we need to find
the entrance to the branches where we'll find runes that we need to get into
Zot. Second, we need to rack up some experience so that our skills are up to
snuff when we get to the more dangerous parts of the dungeon.

One important part of winning the game is not killing yourself by volunteering
to do high-risk levels. I've done spider's nest many times, and I've never been
happy afterwards. The loot tends to suck, and the spiders are surprisingly
dangerous, especially if you don't have rPois (which we don't). We skip it
without thinking twice.

We find the entrance to the swamp on lair 2. The vampire mosquitos are
especially annoying since they'll sicken and rot us and can't be put to sleep.
Swamp is probably the easiest lair branch. We'll be back later.

We finally get invisibility castable. It will be a key spell for the rest of the
game. In a lot of games, invisibility is a defensive skill for running away when
you get in over your head. In crawl, it's much more effective as an offensive
spell. It gives us a stealth bonus and lets us stab enemies without SInv even if
they know we're around. Enemies still get an idea of where you are when you
attack, so you can't get complacent.

Poor elephants never had a chance. Invisibility -> massacre will be a recurring

Soon, we find a catoblepas. These guys are really dangerous. They breath
calcifying dust at you that will paralyze if you stand in it. If we get
paralyzed in sight of enemies, we will almost definitely die. Fortunately we
lull it to sleep.

One of my favorite uses of enslave. Mimics are immune to magic, so we can't
hibernate or confuse them. It's much more fun to have them attack yaks or frogs

Soon we find the snake pit. This branch has gotten a whole lot more dangerous
since 0.9 because of constriction. Until we get blink, constriction is a
potential death sentence. Nagas also see invisible, limiting our offensive
options. We'll stay well clear of the snake pit for now.

Enslave is a champ in lair. Big packs of guys without high magic resistance are
just begging for an enslave or two. It's much more mana efficient and less
hazardous than getting in for hibernates or confuses.

Invisibility continues to own.

And own. I really enjoy the blood spattering.

We find the slime pits, the most dangerous lair branch. This isn't normally a
factor in a three rune game. It's extremely dangerous, full of murderous oozes
and jellies. If I had found a Jiyva altar, I probably would have taken it. Then
all the jellies would be on my side, and I could waltz down to slime 6 and get a
free rune.

Pwnguin pointed out how good Jiyva is for speedruns a little earlier.
Unfortunately you're dependent on finding an altar unless you can dive to slime
6 for the altar there. I'm pretty sure I'd die in the attempt. Under the
circumstances, I'm mostly happy that there isn't a terrible entry vault with
oklobs and killer oozes and jellies. I stay patient on the religion front--I may
still find and take a Jiyva altar if I get a jelly vault in the main dungeon.

We go ahead and take on lair 8. Sometimes the end vault has some good loot, and
the experience is worthwhile. We get the catoblepas ending, which also features
death yaks.

Death yaks are either trivial or an incredible pain, depending on whether or not
they wake up. When they wake up we run and either ignore them or cast confuse 20
times or so until it works.

Sadly the loot isn't useful to us.

No lair run is complete without at least a mention of hydras. SpEn has a great
answer to hydras. Just hibernate and stab. As long as they don't wake up in that
critical one turn window, you're fine.

This NaMo ghost illustrates the problem pretty well. We go from poking a
harmless chump to getting bashed and in serious danger of dying in one turn.
We run.

Our skills as of the end of lair. We're pretty much set on traps & doors and
shields now. Now that we can cast invisibility reliably, we don't need any more
hexes, and our spellcasting is as high as it'll ever need to be. I've trained
fighting up to around 8 for the extra HP, but it's very inefficient to train
much higher. We'll keep training stealth and dodging forever.

We eventually need charms, so I use sure blade to start training it. I cast it a
total of zero times. Charms are one of the strongest schools of magic. We also
want to train translocations, but I'll have to wait for a book.

So that concludes lair. Not shown: me murdering Erica and an OpWz ghost, and
finding an intriguing randart ring. I've been very short of identify scrolls all
game, though, and can't id it. The scrolls I've found I've mostly used on
potions. Quaffing mutation can be a game ender if you get shoutitis or
teleportitis, and possibly wasting cure mutation is a bigger risk than I want to
take at this point.

Now it's decision-making time. We make it out of lair around turn 16000. The
biggest things we need now are spells. In particular, we really want haste,
apportation, and blink. Repel or deflect missiles, regeneration, control
teleport, and controlled blink would also be great. I wouldn't say no to summon
butterflies or phase shift either. A wand of teleportation is high on our list,
right above better armour and a wand of hasting.

You don't need to do the orcish mines at all, particularly not in a speed run.
But given my long shopping list of spells, I decide to take it on. I really want
a translocation spell so I can get started training it. The plan is to spend as
little time there as possible.

The mines have a few notable characteristics. Normal loot is mostly replaced by
gold, and the enemies are mostly orcs. The level layouts are often disconnected,
but there are guaranteed down staircases right next to entrance and next to the
up staircase that corresponds to every guaranteed down staircase. That means you
can get from the top to the bottom in just a few moves, if you're so inclined.
It's dangerous to just run to the bottom, though, so we'll clear things enough
that we can safely retreat.

We find a jewelry show on level 1. The resist mutation amulet and +Blink ring go
on my shopping list.

We also find an armour shop. Eh, couldn't have afforded it anyway.

Nothing in the mines see invisible, so we rampage down to level 4 quickly.

We find the ending vault. It's centaurs and orcs with crossbows, mostly on the
other side of deep water.

I think I'm in good shape, picking guys off with a combination of stabbing and
confusion leading to drowning. Then I get hit by an arrow of dispersal and I'm
immediately in trouble. Dispersal is dangerous because you can't reliably run
from it. I'm forced to heal and teleport.

While clearing out the level, I find a bazaar.

I find stuff that would be useful to other characters, stuff I already have, and
a +0 cap. Yeah, gimme that cap. I also buy a potion of resistance. My resists
aren't great and a potion of resistance can be the difference between life and
death if you happen to run into Nikola.

The I kill the easier vault guys via invisi-stab.

The tougher ones get confused while next to deep water.

I find a lot of stuff I can't use.

And this, my favorite book. Apportation, blink, and control teleport are all
incredibly important to us. They're always useful, but they're especially great
if you want to be able to win without also being able to kill a lot of really
tough enemies. This makes the trip to the mines very much worth it, especially
since we spent less that 1000 turns here.

On our way back down, we find a treasure trove. This one wants to be shown
Geryon's horn.

We also find a portal to Hell. We could go in and try to kill Geryon, but that
would be suicidal. We'll give him a try later, though. We get a randart demon
trident from one of these crimson imps. I throw it into the lava, because why

The Spriggan Baker's vault. The bread would be handy if we hadn't already found
more than enough food to last us the entire game. I enjoy seeing it and
murdering my fellow spriggan though.

Oklobs don't see invisible, but it's still safer to stay away.

On D16, we find the entrance to the Vaults. At this point, we have some options.
We can go back and get the swamp and snake pit runes. We can explore vaults. Or
we can continue down into the dungeon.

I'm not going for runes yet. I have to fight down to D27 regardless of my
strategy, and I'll get a lot stronger along the way. It'll be much faster and
more efficient to gather runes when we have better gear and skills. The vaults are
nice because they have double the loot of the normal dungeon and provide a lot
of experience, but they're not strictly necessary to win in the way that the
main dungeon is. The dungeon gets tougher more quickly than any of the other
options, but I know that I'm not wasting turns by doing it next.

I'm currently around turn 22000. Almost halfway to my time limit, and still no
runes. I also have the 10 toughest levels of the dungeon and all of Zot ahead of
me. Can I make it in time? Be sure to tune in next time for:

Spriggan Speedrun, Part 3: Deeper, Faster