The Let's Play Archive


by Lobster Maneuver

Part 5: Hiros

Previously on Heroes...

Hiro Nakamura escaped a devious trap in the Gnomish Mines, robbed a peaceful dwarf for his armor (then killed him later), and swore eternal vengeance against all nymphs. I think that about gets us up to speed.

Chapter 5 - Hiros

4 ogres? Child's play.

Again? I want those potions of gain level.

I'm getting some serious deja vu here. Second time this has happened, with a group of o's again no less. We're going to use the same engrave Elbereth in the dust then levitate over it trick to take these guys out.


Unfortunately, that potion made me burdened. I'm going to go drop some stuff off at my stash at dlvl 3.

Unburdened and ready to go!

As I said before, magic whistles are trivially easy to identify, just try and apply them. Here's what happens if it's a magic whistle.

Nothing else interesting here, let's head down.

Ooh, thank god I didn't trigger this one either. Auto-searching from Excalibur is awesome. Another boring floor otherwise, let's keep going down.

Ugh. Enemies with wands can wreck your shit real fast in the early game. All of the elemental attack wands do 6d6 damage, and they can bounce off a wall behind you and hit you again in the back for another 6d6 damage. That's...a lot.

They also destroy your items. Fire can burn your armor items, reducing its AC, as well as burn up scrolls and blow up potions. This is why you should put your items in a bag to protect them.

Luckily for me, I take these 2 guys out without taking another hit. The wand of fire is a great item to have in the early game, since it allows you to engrave a permanent Elbereth. Remember how engraving with your fingers can get smudged out just by standing on that square? Even the engraving I did earlier with the diamond ring will wear out eventually. But, if you engrave with a wand of lightning or fire, it's permanent, period. You won't get touched if you're standing on a fire-engraved Elbereth, ever.

This trap cracks me up so much, it's so freaking random. You're just strolling along, casting spells and worrying about your AC like a good D&D nerd, and BLAMO! land mine.

The land mine injures your legs and lowers your carrying capacity. Since walking around burdened is always a bad idea, I'll usually stay in one spot and wait this one out. If you wait long enough, your leg will heal and you'll get better.

Let's go over to's most popular deaths page for a quick sec:

Rank Number Percentage Type 1 9506 1.896 killed by a soldier ant 2 7645 1.525 killed by a jackal 3 7321 1.460 killed by a water moccasin 4 7163 1.428 killed by a wand 5 6912 1.378 killed by a dwarf
Yeah, soldier ants are pretty nasty. They don't hit really hard, but they come in large groups (3+ usually) and they attack 3 times to your one. Use extreme caution in fighting soldier ants and make sure you only take them on one at a time. People have been known to use an early genocide on a, since by the time you meet the other common genocide choices (liches, mind flayers) you usually are much better prepared, while when you meet soldier ants you might not even have any of your ascension kit yet.


And this little room means that we've made it to the Oracle level, one of the guaranteed levels in the game. You can consult (pay) the Oracle to learn some more about the game, but isn't that what I'm here for? For most people, the Oracle is more useful as a source of multiple fountains for #dipping stuff.

These randomly generated statues sometimes contain spellbooks. Hit them with a pick-ax, or line them up and zap them with a wand of striking or a force bolt to break them open.

Awesome. The Samurai is actually abysmally bad at casting spells, but we can sell these for good money. A credit card is actually a pretty useless lockpicking item that is useless compared to the skeleton key we got earlier.

Hey look, a cat. Cats and dogs are also pretty dangerous, since they also move really fast (kittens are #22 on the most common deaths list), but they can also be tamed if you throw some tripe at them. I had some tripe that I looted off of b's bones piles, so I'll save myself a bit of hassle and tame this cat.

Presto! Insta-pet!

3 monsters here, all of them pretty unique. Let's start with the first guy, the leprechaun.

Leprechauns will attack by stealing any money you have open, then teleporting away (similar to nymphs). If you don't have any money though, they are defenseless and can't even teleport. So, just put all your money in a bag or drop it on the floor and the leprechaun can't touch you.

This one is kind enough to identify potions of healing for me before he dies.

Suck on that, you damn nymph. My cat doesn't HAVE anything for you to steal, mwahahaha.

Floating eyes are pretty special. Attack it in melee, and you'll be paralyzed for some large number of turns (usually 100+) while nearby newts and lichens beat you to death. Serious. This is the cause of all those "killed by jackal, while helpless" deaths that you might see. Don't attack floating eyes in melee.

How do you kill a floating eye, then? Just not in melee. It doesn't have much HP and dies to just about anything. Cast spells, zap wands, fire arrows/daggers, throw rocks or food rations at it - there's plenty of ways to kill a floating eye. Please, for the love of god, just don't attack it in melee.

Also, don't get in the habit of holding down buttons when you move in Nethack. Floating eyes are that nasty dark blue color that can be hard to see, and if you're moving without thinking you could easily attack one and fall victim to the nearest goblin. If you want to move large distances, either "g move", "Ctrl move", or use the "_" search function to move.

Hiro knows how it's done.

In return for killing one of the most dangerous enemies in the game, you get arguably one of the most useful intrinsics in the game. Eating a floating eye corpose is the easiest way to get intrinsic telepathy. What's that? Well, put on that towel you remembered to pick up earlier (or a blindfold, if you don't have a towel), and check it out.

You can see enemies! You won't see everything (things that don't have a mind won't show up, like zombies and mummies and molds), so don't rely on it completely, but regardless telepathy is a great tool to have.

It's a good idea to blind yourself as soon as you enter a new level, so you can see if there's any shopkeepers/priests/really nasty enemies on that level while you can still escape back upstairs in a single move. Or, when you're getting bumrushed by orcs.

Orcs are pretty weak, so I let my cat take a few of them on. He/she/it grows up into a bigger cat.

BUC testing some more of the stuff I found.

Reading un-identified spellbooks is usually a bad idea, especially for a low-INT class like the Samurai. If it's too high of a level, all sorts of bad things can happen to you usually involving teleportation and paralysis, so don't do that, or at least check the Spellbook Reading Failure Rate Spoiler first. However, blessed spellbooks can always be read successfully, so this one is pretty much a free spell.

Granted, I'm never ever going to be able to cast this spell, but at least it's nice to know.

I make some more holy water on the altar and bless my 2 price 80 scrolls. In case it's remove curse, I take out all my cursed items. If it's enchant armor, it'll randomly bless a piece of armor that I'm wearing - the dwarvish iron helm is probably the only armor piece out of these 4 that I might use come endgame, so I'll enchant that one up first.

The first one is remove curse. Process of elimination tells me the 2nd is enchant armor. I enchant my iron helm to +2, which lowers my total AC down to -2. Not too shabby.

Loot another wand of fire off this dude. It's always nice to have a backup around in case my first wand of fire runs out of charges.

Now that I have a pet, it's time to go rob this shopkeeper blind. Stealing from shops with a pet can be a long and boring process involving lots of tripe, lot of time, and lots of patience, but the magic whistle makes it all easier.

Wait for the pet to pick up an item, blow your whistle while standing in the door until your pet appears outside the shop, then pick it up.

Free potion! Pets are actually allowed to do whatever they want in a shop - the shopkeeper would get mad if Hiro just walked in and teleported out without paying.

Smoky potions are also special. Regardless of what the smoky potion happens to be in your game, if you quaff a blessed smoky potion, you have a 1/13 chance of summoning a djinn, which then has an 80% chance of giving you a wish. Wishes are good, so good in fact that it's worth blessing any smoky potion you find and quaffing it in hopes of a wish, regardless of what it is. Make sure you take appropriate precautions though, since the potions normal effects will still happen. In my case, since it's a price 200 potion, I'll take off all my armor and lock the shopkeeper's door so that nothing attacks me while I'm naked or polymorphed.

No wish, but at least I didn't get polymorphed . This potion is speed.

My pet cat and I loot the rest of that potion shop pretty easily. Recalling from earlier that I had eliminated all other price 300 potions, that 300 milky potion must be gain ability. If you quaff a blessed potion of gain ability, then...

All your stats will go up. Awesome.

Oh look, a unicorn! Let's go kill it!

Unicorns are usually pretty hard to kill, since they move really fast and try to dodge your attacks by standing a knight's move away, but I actually one-shotted this one .

Sacrificing a unicorn corpse that is not your alignment on an altar gives you mad luck, but they're also heavy and I'm worried I'm not going to be able to get it to the altar before it goes rotten. Unicorns are also a great source of poison resistance and are one of the few corpses that give you poison resistance without actually being poisonous, so I decide to eat it instead.

Awesome. Now I don't have to worry about poisoned arrows/darts and poisoned spiked pits, two of the most obnoxious deaths ever created in Nethack.

Also, I get a unicorn horn out of it. Bless the first unicorn horn you find and apply it to heal stun/confusion/poisoning/stat drops. It's pretty much a vital part of any ascension kit, and can even be used as a pretty good weapon if you're a Priest or a Healer or Tourist. You should collect all the unicorn horns you find anyway, they count as "magic tools" so you can polypile them into magic markers if you get lucky.

Also, anyone see that iguana and bat over there on the right? I forgot to mention earlier that there was a vault on this level - it gives off a distinctive sound, similar to the shopkeeper sound that I showed earlier. Those two enemies probably got randomly generated in the vault, and since vaults don't have any passages out, they got stuck. I pop down into the Gnomish Mines to pick up a pick-ax off a dead dwarf so I can free them. Maybe charge a zorkmid or 500 for my services.

But whilst Hiro is looting the vault, tragedy strikes again! A pack of soldier ants descends upon Hiro's newest friend and tear it limb from limb! Will Hiro be able to exact his revenge on these soldier ants? Can he even continue his journey, having a pet taken from him for a second time? Find out on the next episode of Heroes, Chapter 6 - Better Halves.

Damn, I worked that cat all the way up to level 9 too That's why you shouldn't take your eye off your pets, because they can and will do stupid things like start biting shopkeepers or try and take on 4 soldier ants at once.

Next time on Heroes...