Part 4: Collision
Hm. I've never actually fought the samurai quest nemesis before, but I've certainly heard all about his tsurugi. That would certainly be a shitty way to end this game (if I make it that far, knock on wood). I'd feel OK about doing it with a wand of sleep, since with Excalibur + katana, I do quite a bit of damage at once, but I'll see when I get there.
Lobster Maneuver: Are you planning on getting a /oDeath before the quest or are you going to tough it out without it?
Now, back to the LP...
Previously on Heroes...
Oh right. THIS happened.
Chapter 4 - Collision
When you run into a bad situation like this, the most important thing you can do is take a deep breath, don't hit any buttons, and think about it a bit. This isn't Starcraft or CS, although clearly you didn't need me to tell you that. Think through all your options - what exactly is the problem? If it's monsters, can I take them all on? Do I need to run away?
Looking at the things that are surrounding me, the only really dangerous thing is the pony (brown u). The rest of the monsters are somewhat troubling (the werewolf could be annoying), but not a huge problem. If I can get out from their little trap, I shouldn't have a problem just beating them down one or two-ish at a time.
First step is to move to the corner, I'm not surrounded. I then start drawing Elbereths in the dust with my fingers. Elbereth is a great tool that is explained very well in the Elbereth spoiler. Suffice to say, the werejackal (red @) and elf (green @) are both immune to Elbereth, but everything else will run away from it.
Darth l33t nailed it in one - normally, Elbereth that you write with your fingers will start to degrade as you fight on it, or even if you just wait on that square. However, if I'm levitating over the Elbereths, they won't degrade.
I can stand on this square and take out enemies one at a time without worrying about my Elbereth degrading. The werejackal and elf are the first priority, since they resist Elbereth.
Tada! You won't get attacked if you're standing on an Elbereth'd square, so it was really easy to just keep meleeing things until they died.
Elves have a chance of giving you sleep resistance. Obviously, you shouldn't eat them if you are an elf, but in that case you also get sleep resistance intrinsically, so there's no real reason to eat them.
This is Izchak's lighting store, the only guaranteed store in the entire game. He sells candles, which we'll need much later in the game. More importantly though for the early game, always check his store for magic lamps, which are the easiest source of early wishes. No magic lamps here, unfortunately.
Gray stones are interesting - they can either be luckstones (one of the most useful items in the game), loadstones (one of the worst), touchstones, or flint. They're trivial to price identify, since the two useful stones cost different from loadstones/flint, but they're also really easy to identify without a store. First things first, kick the stone in some direction. If it's a loadstone, you'll get an "Ouch, that hurt" message. Don't pick those stones up, since they weigh a ton and automatically curse so you can't drop them.
It moved, so it's not a loadstone. Pick it up and apply it against any metal object - if you have a sword or something that works fine. If it's a touchstone, it will go "scritch, scritch". If it's not a touchstone, #name it (with the y option) "The Heart of Ahriman".
If it's a luckstone, your hand will slip and you'll give it the wrong name. This is because of a game mechanic (bug? you decide - some feel this is abuse) that won't let you name it The Heart of Ahriman, which is the Barbarian quest artifact luckstone. If your hand doesn't slip, it's flint and you should name it as such and drop it.
I usually collect cloaks as I go down the mines - they sell for a pretty good amount of money, and they're really light. This is only really useful in the early game - by mid game, you'll be rolling in so much money you won't need an extra 25 zorkmids.
I also price ID some of the other stuff I found in b's bones pile. There are only 2 scrolls in the game with 80 base price, enchant armor and remove curse, and they're both really useful. It's in my best interest to bless those two and figure out which is which soon.
BUC checking the rest of my stuff. I also remember that I haven't identified that price 100 bag I picked up in the tool shop, so I'll do that now. It's either oilskin or holding - if it's holding, it reduces the weight of everything in it. Pick up something heavy that puts you to the next level of encumbrance, then put it in the bag.
My encumbrance didn't change, so this is probably oilskin. Oh well.
Just going back upstairs, stabbing bees with my sword.
Now's a good time to talk about that stethoscope I found earlier. You can apply it towards enemies and find out a lot of info about them. It's also useful for finding secret doors/passages and learning a bit more about yourself if you apply it at yourself. You can also apply it for free once per turn, so there's no disadvantage to stethoscoping everything in sight.
In this case, it tells me that this dwarf has an AC of 2. But going to the dwarf lord wiki page shows that dwarves have a base AC of 10. Hmm, looks like this guy is wearing some pretty sweet armor. Hiro likes new shiny armor! I'm willing to deal with the alignment penalty for killing a peaceful monster to get this armor.
Awesome. A dwarvish mithril-coat is pretty much the best armor available to melee classes until you wish up or make some dragon scale mail. It doesn't provide as good an AC as some other items, but it's really light and also gives magic cancellation 3.
Don't forget to BUC test your stuff before you put it on! The helm and mithril coat lower my AC down 3 points to 1.
I engrave using my diamond ring in the little stash I'm setting up next to this altar to protect it from passerbys.
Ugh. Nymphs are a big pain in the ass in the early game, since they'll steal items from you then teleport away. It then becomes a big game of tag while you chase and try to kill the nymph before it steals more of your stuff. If the nymph grabs an early wand of lightning or something similar, your game can end really quickly. Nymphs can also be good for some things though, like stealing that cursed piece of armor you put on by accident.
While running around trying to find that nymph, I sacrifice something or another and my god gives me a gift! Snickersnee is a reasonably good early-game weapon for Samurai that is their guaranteed first sacrifice gift. It does about as much damage as Excalibur, but with lower to-hit and doesn't provide auto searching or level drain protection. I'll stick with Excalibur for now - onto the stash with you.
Finally got that nymph after it stole my bag with...nothing inside. I think that ring mail it picked up slowed it down a lot, since ring mail is pretty heavy . Nymphs have a 50% chance of dropping a potion of object detection, so it's a good idea to name any nymph potions "prob object detection" or something until you can priceID it or find another nymph.
Lot of nymphs on this level, this is number 3. It's easier to take out nymphs from a distance before they get up close and start stealing shit.
Now that I have some cash, now is probably a good time to look through that potion shop and see what it has. Since I have a co-aligned altar available, getting some holy water is a great idea.
Base 50 price potions are pretty worthless, unless you use booze to induce confusion (I use expired spells usually). They are usually my first dilution targets for holy water.
If you are a non-chaotic human, don't sacrifice were-anythings! Don't eat them either. Chaotics should seek out same-race corpses to sacrifice, since they automatically convert any cross-aligned altars and also summon a random demon lord which is peaceful. That's just one more demon lord you won't have to fight in Gehennom.
I head back down to Minetown to poke around a bit more and start diluting potions for holy water. Dipping in Minetown isn't usually a great idea, since if the guards see you they'll get mad, and you also need to make sure you stop dipping when the "flow reduces to a trickle", otherwise the guards will definitely get mad. But I haven't found the Oracle yet, which is the usual dipping spot, and I don't want to go down any further until I get some holy water.
Uh oh. This is why it's not a good idea to dip or quaff from fountains when you're a really low level.
I back into a corridor to take them out, but still lose quite a bit of HP. All snakes have poisonous bites, which can hurt a lot and can also instakill if you're really unlucky and don't have poison resistance.
I hate nymphs.
So that potion is almost certainly object detection. Object detection can be useful for finding vaults on early levels for gold, but I'd rather have the holy water now, so I dilute these guys in the other fountain.
I'm actually starting to get a bit worried about my level. The higher your level, the more dangerous monsters get generated, and my AC isn't exactly stellar.
#pray on a co-aligned altar, and any water potions on it will be converted to holy water. I have 4 potions of holy water, so I can bless 4 things. I decide to bless my luckstone and katana and uncurse the tinning kit/touchstone. In general, it's not a good idea to use all your holy water, since you can make more holy water by dipping uncursed water into holy water, but since I have the altar here I won't worry about that too much. In retrospect, blessing my 80 price scrolls might have been a better idea - oh well, let's hope that doesn't bite me in the ass later.
The uncursed touchstone lets me identify gems from glass. Just apply it on any unknown gems.
If it's glass:
If it's a gem:
Now that I have a blessed luckstone, I figure it's a good time to start accumulating luck. Time to break out that wand of create monster I found earlier. First zap?
At least it's asleep. Throwing that nymph corpse on the barbecue altar is going to feel great.
This means that I've advanced as far as I can in long sword. Samurai are also pretty proficient at dual-wielding, so now I can start to #two-weapon. It's a good idea to build the weapon skill all the way up before #two-weaponing, since you can't build the weapon skill when you're #two-weaponing.
In order to two-weapon, wield your off-hand weapon, wield your main-hand weapon, then #two-weapon. Artifact items will refuse to be in the off-hand, so you can't dual-wield Excalibur/Snickersnee, unfortunately. Luckily for me, the katana happens to be the best off-hand weapon in the game.
Two hits...AT THE SAME TIME.
Christ, this is the most unfriendly wand of create monster I've ever seen. Orcs aren't terribly dangerous, even in large groups, unless...
Well, that's not very friendly. Also, that other orc just drank a brown potion of gain level. I'm going to back out into the corridor to take on these orcs - if I remain in a straight line with the wand of magic missile, he'll zap me to death. Here:
is a pretty good spot to attack the orcs - only the marked orc will be in a line with you at a single time, reducing your risk of magic missile death.code:
|.......| .._.....| |.------| .o. .@ ..
Much better. Orcs shouldn't be playing with such shiny toys anyway.
Another interesting note: if you remember, I found some price 300 potions in that potion shop. There are only 3 price 300 potions in the game: gain level, paralysis, and gain ability. Paralysis and gain level were used by enemies and auto-identified, so that means the potions in the shop must be gain ability. I'll keep this in mind once I get some more money or a pet to steal potions.
Right after that, I pick up a cursed pearl ring. Also, the wand of create monster dies out, so I decide to continue down the dungeon.
Scrolls that are generated in corridors (ie not in rooms) are guaranteed to be scrolls of teleportation, I think. I'm not 100% positive on this, but I'll #name it "probably teleport" and priceID it later. Also, intelligent monsters will read scrolls of teleportation that they find, so it'll probably be identified sooner or later.
Any guesses where this shop is?
That one wasn't too hard. But for extra credit, let's play a special version of "Guess the Mimic"!
Yup, that's the one. If you see something that looks ridiculously out of place (ie a piece of not-armor in a food shop, or a down staircase in...well, any shop), it's probably a mimic. Mimics can be a problem for many low-level characters as they hit pretty hard, and in that case it's recommended you play a little hit-and-run with them (mimics are also really slow). Hiro Nakamura, on the other hand, dispatches mimics in his sleep.
Nothing of real interest in the shop, except for another base 50 price item which is probably booze. Downward!
Uh oh, 4 ogres at once? This doesn't look very pretty...find out what happens to our brave adventurer in the next installment in the Heroes saga, Chapter 5 - Hiros.
Next time on Heroes...