Part 12OK. I ended up taking a quest after all:
It worked out pretty well!
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The ascent to level 24 was utterly uneventful. This does mean we've passed the halfway point, though. A lovely milestone. (For reference, I've only done this with one character before, though admittedly I wasn't playing giant death robots before.)
The moment we enter level 24, we get ambushed:
This turns out to be a trend. The Eternity Engines helpfully teleport themselves to us once we get near, and then we slaughter them in one or two rounds of combat. They're worth boatloads of XP, too.
(Screenshot taken rather later; we were level 30 at the time, so they were actually giving us more XP.)
In no time at all we have the whole level cleared out and head home. Only notable loot: a crown I picked up off the floor.
It's an artifact!
But we can't wear hat-slot items, so...
Off it goes to the black market.
Oh, we also found this:
We only get two blows a round with it, but +22/+28 freezing is a combination I can respect. We'll be using it for at least the rest of the update, against enemies that we can't sword effectively.
Second quest of the update!
And off we go.
This time, the ascent is much more interesting. To explain, first I should give some background.
In the original Rogue, demons were late game enemies. One of their abilities was to summon more demons; which could in turn summon more demons. This had the effect that, even if you could fight & kill demons, they could end up summoning each other faster than you could kill them, forming an exponentially-growing demonswarm that covered the level.
In Steamband, there's a set of minor demons ('u') themed after the cardinal sins: lust, envy, greed, gluttony... They're not too much of a threat by the time you run into them (though some have stat-draining or food-eating attacks that could be unpleasant for an unprepared foe), but their main gimmick is that they can all summon more of each other.
I think you can see where this is going.
We actually encountered one or two of these guys earlier, but one or two of them aren't a big deal. Once they reach critical mass, though, they can easily take over a level; like this one. I ended up teleporting twice & then taking the stairs back down to the earlier level, because the demons were rapidly filling every available space on the level above. We can kill them in about two turns each, and they don't do much of anything to us... but eventually, numbers would tell!
This means I end up hurrying through levels 23 and 22, though thankfully level 21 seemed to be mostly outside their natural spawn range.
I'm just going to stop commenting about our speed. It's just stupid at this point.
As before, we find our quest target quickly once we reach level 21:
They aren't too hard to kill or too painful, but they do take 6-8 rounds to chop down.
Midway through the level, we find a neat vault. It's split into four sections, each of which must be tunneled into separately. (Thankfully I know the trick of looking for granite walls in the middle of identical-looking permanent walls, now.)
Two of the sides have Martian Cylinders inside:
They spawn robots or Martians if left to their own devices, but thankfully they're 'very slow', so we take them to pieces before they spawn more than two waves apiece.
The third, top side is uninteresting - the enemy inside, the Mastodon, has a (presumably accidental) space in the name. "You impale the Mastodon ." That's the most interesting thing to say about it.
Uncorking the final bottom chamber lets the Jabberwock spring out!
He doesn't accomplish much, sadly.
Not sure either of them are worth using, though. For contrast, our current torso is this one:
And I think the extra resistances are worth more than the regen boost and minor muscle/vigor buffs? The time resistance, in particular, would be a shame to lose...
The last interesting thing in this level is that we start running into Martian Missile Walkers. We've run into Martian Tripods already, who... don't really do anything to us... but the Missile variants have a neat trick up their long tentacle sleeves.
Guided missiles that blast a huge hole in the level around us!
End of update skill report:
I currently have 3 skill points leftover from the quest reward, so if you want to opine on their distribution (or on equipment choice - I haven't gotten to selling things yet...), this'd be a good time.