Part 15We left off with some unspent skill points. Unfortunately, we were capped on the skill we really wanted to spend points on, Swift Blow. (Because we unlocked it so late.)
Fortunately, Golden_Zucchini pointed out that we can actually spend money to raise our skill cap. It costs quite a lot of money (each point costs about four times what we get for selling a stat-raising potion, for example), but it's not like we have anything else to spend the money on.
So we raise the skill cap for Swift Blow three times & dump in our skill points. Afterward, we're now at the 4 blows/turn limit for all of our weapons, including the Warhammer of the Depths. This is probably the last time we'll worry about blows/turn.
Right, heading up.
We find this interesting amulet lying on the ground:
Unfortunately, it's totally useless to us! I end up selling it when I get back to town.
(Later, I realize that I should probably have *ID*ed it; the black marketeer priced it at 500k, which suggests it was actually a bit better than it looked. Ah well!)
And we continue to explore. We find the King of L. Frank Baum's Awgwas inside a pit-type room.
He's a summoner, of course.
He doesn't give us much trouble, but his pals continue to harass us throughout the level. Thanks, King Awgwa!
After running over to the other side of the level, we find another vault, of the same type we found earlier. Unfortunately, there's not much in it; even the monsters aren't very interesting! We grab a book (Moby Dick) and a glaive, which when IDed, turns out to be...
Yeah, OK. Upward to level 12.
For fuck's sake.
We teleport out immediately, but that pretty much sets the tone for the level. Minor demons and cuttenclips harass us constantly, and I can't find the up-stairs for the life of me, even with frequent Structural Anaylses.
In the end, I decide to just recall & try again, since our inventory is pretty full anyway. While the recall is in progress, though, we encounter Captain Nemo!
He's tough as hell (we have a hard time even scratching him), and his hits drain charges from our usable items. If we weren't surrounded by other enemies, I'd have fought him. As it was, I retreated down and right, chopping my way through weaker enemies, until the recall finally went off.
Items sold (including the aforementioned amulet), items restocked, back we go.
Belatedly, I realize that I forgot to grab a new tool of ID while I was in town; we'll be sans-ID for this delve. Ah well!
Exploring the new level 12, we run into the source of all evil on this earth: Miss Cuttenclip.
She immediately summons her vile spawn, but thankfully she's in a corridor, so that's no trouble for us. I shudder to think what would have happened if we'd run into her in a larger room!
(Another level would have been ruined, that's what.)
...I think I may have just murdered a little girl.
Exploration, items. We find this peculiar thing:
I... think it restores stat damage? Maybe? If so, and if it actually works on us, that could be priceless... it's not like we can drink potions for that effect, though it's very rare that something's able to drain us in the first place.
Activating it seems to have no effect.
We also find this:
Which I mention only because I like the name of the brand. It's totally useless for us - even if there was any card we couldn't kill in two rounds, we haven't seen a single card in five floors or more.
All right, up to level 12. Quest: kill quite a lot of rocket sentries.
Steam-Powered Rocket Sentries look a bit like this:
Their rockets do about 60-80 points of damage, which is noticeable, but not excruciating; especially as we act six times faster than them. (Their rockets, unlike ours, can also blast down walls in a smaller version of the Martian Missile Walker effect. Which is neat.)
We cut our way through the level. There are a few moments I worry that I'll have to leave and regenerate the level; the moment I open a pit door and see two dozen Martian Canister and Missile Walkers is especially harrowing. (See picture below, bottom-right area.)
That ends up turning out rather well, though. Fleeing from the Martians takes us into the path of the Jubjub Bird; it's very fast and absolutely bursting with HP, so the Martians catch up to us while we're fighting it, but thankfully the Canister Walkers come out first, and all they can do is spew poison at us uselessly. (If the Missile Walkers had come out first, we would have been in a lot of trouble! For example, this nice 1-wide corridor we're in would no longer exist.)
Once it's at low enough HP, the bird flees; I think it might actually be faster than us! Very luckily for us, the room above is a dead end. We slay the Bird...
...immediately gain a level, and harvest a veritable treasure trove of items.
We take a while finding the last few rocket sentries, but nothing particularly interesting happens in that time. But once we get back to town, we can start IDing the loot the Jub-Jub bird dropped.
The most important items are these two:
We've been using a +6,+7 pike as our piercing weapon for the last ~30 levels or so. It was pretty good when we first picked it up, but it's kind of fallen behind our other weapons by now. This is a very welcome replacement.
Much more importantly, though, there's this:
Not only does it resist confusion (allowing us to switch out the Ring of Resist Bewilderment we've been using for a while); not only does it give us yet more resists, speed, and stat boosts (boosting our HP into the quadruple digits); not only does it activate for healing and even more resists...
...but it gives us another two blows a turn, over the usual cap. That is huge. We've been doing OK on the defense/resists side, but we've been steadily falling behind on the damage front for some time now. A straight 50% damage boost should do a hell of a lot to turn that around!
End-of-update stats & skills:
And our next quest:
Ah - and one last thing. Another milestone we passed this episode...
We've passed the furthest I've ever gotten with any other character. It's all new from here on out.