The Let's Play Archive


by Lobster Maneuver

Part 1: Genesis

Chapter 1 - Genesis

The first couple screens let you select your class, gender, race, and alignment, if applicable. Of course, for Hiro Nakamura, this is all pretty easy.

If you've read the Guidebook at least a little bit, or at least played a game or two, or even know any D&D, this should all be pretty self-explanatory. As in all Rogueliks, Hiro will be represented by the @ symbol.

The shaded d next to me is my pet, in this case a pet dog named Hachi. Pets are always useful in Nethack, although some classes rely on them more than others. They can determine the blessed/uncursed/cursed (BUC) status of an item, they can kill things, they can steal from shops, you can ride them (sometimes), pets are great to have around.

Here's our inventory. Since we are a Samurai, some of it is Japanese, but this is a cosmetic change only. We have a katana, a wakizashi ("short sword"), a yumi ("bow"), some ya ("arrows"), some armor, and a blindfold. You'll also note that I'm playing with the menucolors, which highlights things in different colors depending on their blessed/uncursed/cursed status - this isn't terribly important.

Now that we've got the basics down, let's go bust some shit up.

Uh oh, our first enemy. Lichens are known in Nethack world for being utterly defenseless, easy to beat up, and a great source of food. Lichen corpses never rot and grow old, so you can pick them up and eat them whenever.

Woohoo. The Samurai is one of the "easier" classes to play in Nethack, since it starts with a good melee weapon and pretty good armor, so for the first couple levels you can just run around hitting stuff with your katana and not worry too much about anything.


After a bit more exploring, we find the stairs down to the next level.

It's always a good idea to go down any stairs you see immediately, then go right back up. This does a couple things: it generates the enemies on the next level based on your current xp (so monsters tend to be easier), and in case you trigger a trap door or fall in a pit you'll know where the upstairs are on the next level.

Looks boring. Let's head back up to dlvl 1 and keep exploring.

After fully exploring dlvl 1, here's all the stuff I picked up. The slime mold is a type of food. I've picked up a couple potions, but I don't know what they do, so there's no point in quaffing them quite yet.

In Nethack, at the very beginning of the game, many items are given a randomized appearance which has almost nothing to do with their actual trait. In one game, a ruby ring could be a ring of teleportation, in your next it could be a ring of hunger. You'll also note that I know nothing about the BUC status of any of these items. Different BUC status can vary the effect of an item greatly. In other words, it's not a good idea to put stuff on or read random scrolls or anything until you have a better idea of what each item is.

Let's head down to dlvl 2. Make sure your pet is on one of the adjacent squares, otherwise he/she/it won't come down with you.

Wow. A shop on dlvl 2 with a ton of stuff in it. Shops sell all sorts of stuff - this one seems to specialize in weapons, although other shops can specialize in other stuff or be a general store. Let's look through this shop and see if any of this is interesting.

Most of the shop is pretty boring, just weapons that are all inferior to the katana that I start with, but this tattered cape is pretty interesting. Let's try and figure out what this item is by price IDing. Time for a spoiler break!

Let's go first to the Object Identification Spoiler (it's one of the links from the spoiler list), which is probably the most useful spoiler in the game. Scroll down a bit and you'll see the following chart.

Given a base price and your character's charisma level, we can find out how much an item costs to BUY. If you look at a single charisma column and a single base price row, the number on the left is the normal price charged for an item, while the price on the right is after surcharge. Shopkeepers will randomly (1/4 of the time) surcharge an item, which can make it annoying to price ID an item.

In order to price ID this cloak we just found, we look under the 7 Charisma column for any reading that might be 99. You'll notice that there is no listing for 99, but there is a listing for 100 - the surcharge sometimes causes funny rounding errors like this. Going all the way to the left along that row, this means that we have a cloak that has a base price of 50. Let's check out the armor spoiler to see what this could be. Cost of 50 means that it could be any number of cloaks, but you'll notice the * in the rightmost column under Appearance. The * means that this item has randomized appearance that changes every game - items without the star are fixed. Since the description for tattered cape is starred, that means this base price 50 tattered cloak is one of the randomized items and can only be a cloak of displacement or a cloak of protection. Both of these are pretty good things, so let's try and get this cloak!

Except I don't have enough money to buy the cloak. I can try and get my pet to try and steal it for me (and I did, for ~100 turns), but with no luck. Let's search for some more money and come back later.

Read your Hitchhiker's Guide LP recently? Always pick up any towels you find.

113 cash later, I go back and buy the cloak and put it on. It's kind enough to identify itself to me as a cloak of displacement, which adds a point of AC and also makes me gives me the "displacement" intrinsic, which simply makes me harder to hit. Sweet. I also found a long sword in the shop which I'll put aside for later, just in case.

Oh no! 4 enemies at once? And Hiro is without his best friend in the world, Hachi! What will our hero do now?

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Heroes, Chapter 2 - Don't Look Back.


Next time on Heroes...