Part 56: Totes, HOPr - FourHill Orc Priest: Part Four
Without hesitation, we begin to clear out the areas outside the vault in Lair 8. Mostly chewing through chaff, but we do pick up a relatively useful item, a Helm of Intelligence. Nothing special AC-wise, but it grants us +3 intelligence. Like any melee fighter, we'll eventually want to branch into spells for charms and translocations, so any INT is good INT.
Then, the vault. This particular vault is the Spriggan Forest. It's filled to the brim with bears, wolves, other assorted wildlife and, of course, Spriggans. This vault is never particularly challenging. Even for the weakest character you can always resort to burning down the forest and everyone inside. But that way isn't entertaining to watch (but it is to play, mind you).
The only hitch to this vault is the druid you see here. The druid packs some nasty spells that can whittle you down if you're alone, and Spriggan's natural evasiveness makes them tough to fight in melee. Thankfully, if we get too low we can just step aside and let an Orc Knight or Sorcerer kill it, so it isn't that much of a roadblock.
However, because this vault is relatively easy, the loot it carries isn't that great. Just 3 stacks of several items, guarded by a few Spriggans and bears. The Spriggan Rider is a regular Spriggan with a spear, riding a Giant Firefly. Stronger and hits harder then other Spriggans, but still relatively weak, especially in comparison to our army.
Only thing worth mentioning from the loot is a Book of the Warp, which carries Controlled Blink. I begin to have a glimmer in my eye of potential translocation mastery before realizing it will be a very long time with Ice Dragon Armor and our INT. Still, can't hurt to keep training.
Quick shot of our Inventory. We've been blessed with a good set of armor, though our weapon is beginning to show its age.
We find another great piece of Randart Armor laying around, but it isn't quite as good as our IDA. Usually this means we would sigh and move on, but thanks to our followers we just put it to good use on them. As far as I can tell, stat decreases don't mean anything to monsters, so its just a piece of really good armor on him for no penalty.
A small Bee Hive that served to feed us and give another Orc Priest a promotion to High Priest, as well as a dozen or so undead bees to follow us on this floor.
These bees will be the source of much frustration throughout this game, but you will probably see very little of it. It is hard to capture in screenshot why having 8 bees surround you as you try to pull and army back and forth from your stash and back down is obnoxious.
Don't you just hate it when you get to a shop, or find a randart on the ground, and it has some really useful attributes but there's just one part of it that makes it unusable for you? For us, the -5 STR is too much to bear with. At least this shop also carries resist mutation.
A neat little sea-creature themed vault down in the dungeon. Goldfish, Jellyfish, Alligators and Big fish. A few scrolls that we have in spades are the rewards, but its the thought that counts.
A short while after, dealing with easy monsters as we descend, we stumble upon this. Evocable Berserk and +STR is nice enough to make it go in our necklace slot.
Rupert was also on this floor, but he's a chump.
Well, that's new and unusual. I did not evoke my necklace. Guess it carries more then just +Rage
The rest of the vault is just boring hack and slash that is, ultimately, unrewarding. We gain nothing we did not already have. Still, experience is nice.
Roxanne isn't particularly dangerous for someone with our shield skill, as we can block most Iron Shots and LCS. Did I realize this at the time? No. So, I immediately fled, abandoning all who were not quick enough to follow.
Oh, so that's what that is. Handy. The damage and the MR are going to go a long way in our survivability.
There is a lack of notable uniques in our delve, so I'm forced to comment on notable creatures. Still ever-present are the hydra, now joined by Boggarts. Boggarts are not difficult, but they can summon creatures, including more of themselves. This can make them a pain if you don't stamp them out quickly. Thankfully, I intend to do just that.
12 draws, 4 sages, 2 helixes that negated each other later...
Jesus, plain decks do not go far at level 15, do they?
A layer down we find a Treasure Trove. They generally ask for hard to find items in exchange for a ton of loot. Not always good loot, but loot. 17 scrolls is a tough sell, but its something we can make do without for a while. Time to start hording.
Sometimes webtiles fucks up with tiles. I never figure out what this means, but it can't be good.
Perhaps the answer is in this vault?
Only thing here is a bunch of loot, a few randarts that go to my army, and 12 Lab Rats. What are special about these rats? They breathe fire. I've mentioned before about how bad breath attacks are to our army. This would be bad news. However, because they are still rats, they have very small HD, and breath weapons scale directly to one's HD. So their breath just tickles instead of hurts.
This does not, however, stop us from raging at them.
Also on this level? Entrance to the Vaults.
The Vaults, in my opinion, are where HoPR hits its peak. Its a wide open area, with many monsters who are not particularly strong on their own, but in a pack, many of whom have no area of effect damage. These traits make them excellent fodder for a well-leveled army. Past the Vaults, however, enemies will start to have AoE attacks, be too strong individually, or be in too small of an area to effectively use our army. Occasionally, a combination of all 3 come into play.
But for now, we can cruise through.
Francis can summon and smite, but doesn't beat our might.
He does, however, give us an Orc Warlord by dying bloodily.
32 bonus damage.
Orc Warlords are fast, hit like a truck, and have a ton of natural HP and defensive bonuses. They will not die quickly, and can take on most enemies by themselves at this point and survive. They are the ultimate Orc. There are no further upgrades. There are no better Orcs. This is the peak.
The game celebrates by giving us so many good rings. We can't quite afford the slaying ring, so we pick up the Wizardry ring with See Invis and Resist Fire. Always good to have one item with more then two resistances on it. Saves time on swaps.
Even Saint Roka has come to join the celebration!
Saint Roka is the best Orc Unique. He's statistically an Orc Warlord, but he can also smite. This alone makes him so useful to have.
And the way things are going for us...
Next time: More Vaults! More Dungeon! ...Less Orcs!