View Full Version : Do You Want Your Possessions Identified? Let's Play NetHack

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12-24-2008, 03:47 PM
Well, I'm feeling that itch again, and the only way to make it go away is to torment myself further. I'm going to do an LP of Nethack, a game I'm at least competent on. Unfortunately, competency is not enough.

The format of the LP will be as follows -- I'll generate a character, and post screenshots as I go. If I die (and I will), I'll create another character and keep going. The life of subsequent generations will be abbreviated until I reach essentially the point where I left off (so you'll only see a highlight reel of the early game after the first run), although there might be an outtakes thread of the inevitable "walk two tiles, fall into a pit, die" games.

My character will be a Chaotic Female Elven Wizard. I chose this class because I wanted the variety spells would offer, and I think the game will be a bit more interesting early on due to the delicacy of the character. I also chose it because I'm very competitive, and I wanted to exceed the death toll in the Shadowgate LP. Unfortunately, I'm not really a good enough player to use any class/race/alignment combo, which is why this wasn't put up to a vote.

The reason I posted this early (with permission!) is that I do believe in limited democracy, and I need to gauge some opinions on things before we start on Sunday. (Due to the nature of the LP, I also need to pre-play a great deal as I have no idea how much content a given day of playing time will create).

1. Tiles of ASCII characters? This is a purely aesthetic and personal choice, and thus naturally has spawned emotional debates on the internet and destroyed friendships. I prefer, and am used to, tiles, but if there is a big upswelling in favor of ASCII characters, I'll go ahead and play that way.

http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/tiles.png http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/ascii.png

Note that if we do use ASCII characters, the images will still be screenshots like the above, rather than simply pasting a fixed width font into the thread. This is just how the Windows version works. I will endeavor to get better at cropping though. (PS, if anyone has some webspace I can use, I'd really appreciate it. I'd prefer not to rely on Photobucket).

2. What would you like the heroine to be named (and no, unicode symbols are not an appropriate response). The beauty of this thread is I'll get to use nearly all worthwhile suggestions, because we can use a different name for each time we die.

3. Similarly, what should we call our cat? As above, I can use all suggestions, since we'll be going through characters rather rapidly.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated, but I won't be able to do things with significant effect on gameplay ("play the entire game blindfolded and never wielding a weapon!"). My apologies. :)

12-24-2008, 03:52 PM
My first ascension was a female lawful dwarven archaeologist named Dez. So like, you could go with that maybe! Makes the gnomish mines super easy!

Also, use the ASCII tileset. I don't care how many votes you get for the graphical one, it is the wrong choice.

Also also, you fucking rule and this thread is going to kick more ass than anything ever. You sir are a crazy man and I salute you for it.

Octopus Prime
12-24-2008, 04:52 PM

12-24-2008, 05:54 PM

12-24-2008, 05:58 PM
The cat should be named Autobahn.

Also I vote for tiles. ASCII is boring.

12-24-2008, 06:38 PM
1. I kinda prefer the ASCII but am afraid that'll get really dull to look at very fast. But I have to look closer to see what's going on in the tile pictures so vote ASCII anyway.
2. Tall.
3. Guido.
4. Spork.
What do you mean there is no 4?

Ample Vigour
12-24-2008, 07:00 PM
Also I vote for tiles. ASCII is boring.

12-24-2008, 07:06 PM
Tiles are far more boring than ASCII. You guys are just like 100% wrong.

12-24-2008, 07:06 PM
Tourist conduct*. Just sayin'. Also, ASCII.

I hate Nethack (I think I made it out of the first floor in like one of the twelve games I played, and I can't abide a roguelike which practically requires spoilers to be able to win it) but maybe I'll do an LP of Angband one of these days. Now that would be boring!

Also, if you get the chance: I don't care if you savescum to do it, but you have to eat Famine.

* Didn't there used to be a tourist conduct? I guess it got removed when the tourist class was added, that should tell you how long ago I played.

Ample Vigour
12-24-2008, 07:19 PM
Tiles are far more boring than ASCII. You guys are just like 100% wrong.

Brick, it's impossible to be as wrong as you are on this without intensive training. Do you have some sort of Bad Taste Bowflex in your apartment you never tell us about?

12-24-2008, 08:21 PM
ASCII! I mean is it even really Nethack with the tiles?

Also without the ASCII this (http://www.metafilter.com/41210/HACKEM-MUCHE) wouldn't be the greatest metafilter post ever.

12-24-2008, 08:35 PM
ASCII! I mean is it even really Nethack with the tiles?

No. It's Fakehack.

12-24-2008, 09:51 PM
I fail to see why ASCII is the defining aspect of Nethack. Brick and ravinoff are objectively wrong and history shall prove as such.

Clearly the only option is to do two separate Let's Plays.

12-24-2008, 10:01 PM
Guys, the idea of an LP is to be inclusive, and tiles would really help with that. They'll be much easier for people who haven't already played Nethack enough to ascend to understand.

I'm glad I'm not the only person with nothing better to do on Christmas Eve night (Christmas E'en?) than debate this.

12-24-2008, 10:02 PM
ASCII text is ugly to look at. Let's go with tiles, yes?

12-24-2008, 10:04 PM
I fail to see why ASCII is the defining aspect of Nethack. Brick and ravinoff are objectively wrong and history shall prove as such.

Clearly the only option is to do two separate Let's Plays.

I played a good bit with tiles before discovering the One True Faith that is ASCII. The main advantage of ASCII for me is ease of recognition and speed of situation assessment. Once I learned the ASCII sizing up any given situation in Nethack seemed much quicker.

Also if you ever plan on playing Nethack on public servers ASCII is the only option. Nethack.alt.org gives you really great statistic tracking plus spectating on other's games can be interesting.

Guys, the idea of an LP is to be inclusive, and tiles would really help with that. They'll be much easier for people who haven't already played Nethack enough to ascend to understand.

I'm glad I'm not the only person with nothing better to do on Christmas Eve night (Christmas E'en?) than debate this.

With either tiles or ASCII Netbrian is going to have to give plenty of explanation for people unfamiliar w/ Nethack to understand what is going on at all. I don't think tiles lessen the amount explanation very much. In other words tiles certainly seem more inclusive but I think in fact that are only marginally so. I could be wrong though, it has happened before.

ASCII text is ugly to look at. Let's go with tiles, yes?

Honestly they are both pretty ugly. Aesthetics aren't the appeal of Nethack.

12-24-2008, 10:25 PM
ravinoff made all my points for me. =)

Aside from that though, if this LP is successful in getting anyone into the game, it will be better for that person to learn the ASCII rather than the tiles. The Nethack wiki and usenet group refer primarily to ASCII, for one thing, and I don't know of any public servers that use tiles.

Remember way back when I suggested the FF1 Let's Play, and asked if I should do the original ugly-ass 8-bit NES version, or the beautiful upgraded GBA version, with all the new bells and whistles, and people scoffed at the very idea? It's like that. Let's get the full-fat, full-force, undiluted Nethack experience. (Or at least as much as we can before Netbrian comes to his senses and abandons this folly.)

12-24-2008, 10:29 PM
With either tiles or ASCII Netbrian is going to have to give plenty of explanation for people unfamiliar w/ Nethack to understand what is going on at all. I don't think tiles lessen the amount explanation very much. In other words tiles certainly seem more inclusive but I think in fact that are only marginally so. I could be wrong though, it has happened before.

It's not so much the explanation time I think we'll be saving as the frustration on the part of the reader. Someone experienced with Nethack will be able to parse what's going on with the ASCII easily, but for others (myself included, I expect, despite experience with ADOM and Dwarf Fortress) tiles will be easier to remember from update to update. Having to remember that an f is one thing, but an F is another, and an f with a filled background is something else entirely is intimidating; but being able to pick out that one thing is a little dude with a bow, another is a dude with a tail and a club, and that the little orange kitty with a heart is our familiar is less so.

Maybe begin the LP with tiles while the audience is learning the ropes, then switch to ASCII later for the full experience once they know what's going on? Or would that be too confusing?

12-24-2008, 10:37 PM
1. I fully concur with those that say playing Nethack without using ASCII is for pussies that can't hang and is, in fact, not actually Nethack. That said, if people want to go with tiles, I'm easy like Sunday morning.

2. Trixie

3. Patches

12-24-2008, 10:39 PM
Aside from that though, if this LP is successful in getting anyone into the game, it will be better for that person to learn the ASCII rather than the tiles. The Nethack wiki and usenet group refer primarily to ASCII, for one thing, and I don't know of any public servers that use tiles.

There's another good point to be made: Anyone who actually plays Nethack regularly, aficionado or not, is going to want to use the ASCII set. It's not as intimidating as you think, and looks clean and delicious compared to the muddy Windows 3.1 Background Blue-Grey that the tileset apparently uses for the dungeon floor.

Seriously, tileset guys: They are ugly and if there are ever large screenshots of more than a few squares, it will look AWFUL.

I'm sure our LP host will do a fine job of explaining what all those crazy symbols mean to us. You pick up on them a lot faster than you think you would, and I imagine part of the fun of LPing a roguelike would be teaching the audience how to play them (even moreso than other LPs, since roguelikes are nothing but mechanics - especially Nethack) and part of that is learning how to identify what that light blue semicolon is. (SPOILER: It fucking kills you.)

12-24-2008, 10:57 PM
I'm voting tiles. I do play NetHack regularly, and I always play with the tiles. I tried playing ASCII for a while, but my time is short and I decided it was easier to stick with the graphical interface than memorize what all the characters mean on top of the sheer volume of commands and play strategies.

Like it or not, there are some people who are partial enough to graphics that they won't even consider a game that seems to be purely text/characters. I know elitism is kind of in the main in TT, but let's give the impatient people a chance to realize how wrong they are, and not potentially scare them away with something that, on its surface, is so different from what they're used to. (Of course it's going to be different beneath the surface, but hopefully they'll be in too deep before they realize that).

12-24-2008, 11:19 PM
ASCII is the only way to go.

Also: I salute you for even considering this. :)

12-24-2008, 11:55 PM
Like it or not, there are some people who are partial enough to graphics that they won't even consider a game that seems to be purely text/characters.

Something tells me these kinds of people wouldn't be interested in following a Nethack LP anyway, even with the tiles.

12-25-2008, 12:34 AM
(SPOILER that's not really a spoiler: It fucking kills you.)Hell, everything kills you in Nethack, including and usually yourself.

The Dread Cthulhu
12-25-2008, 01:22 AM
Remember way back when I suggested the FF1 Let's Play, and asked if I should do the original ugly-ass 8-bit NES version, or the beautiful upgraded GBA version, with all the new bells and whistles, and people scoffed at the very idea? It's like that.

Wasn't that more to do with the GBA version being incredibly easy?

Ample Vigour
12-25-2008, 01:36 AM
Anyone who actually plays Nethack regularly, aficionado or not, is going to want to use the ASCII set.

Stiv, I'd like to introduce you to the splitting headaches I get when I try to play Nethack without a tileset.

Wait, I actually wouldn't. Because I'm not a monster.

12-25-2008, 08:47 AM

1) I abstain from the tiles vs. ASCII debate. Just because.

2) You should name your Elven Wizard "Valkyrie". Just to be confusing.

3) Given that, my wife suggests the cat's name be "dog". I concur.

12-25-2008, 09:23 AM
I can't understand the ASCII at all. So I vote for ASCII as long as there's a detailed explination on what is what and what the heck is going on.

12-25-2008, 11:55 AM
I also demand we do an IVAN bonus chapter just to show what another intentionally cruel roguelike is like. IVAN is great fun, but just expect to die. A lot. And in incredibly amusing ways.

12-25-2008, 01:35 PM
1. If I have to vote, I'd toss my vote in for ASCII because that's how God intended Nethack to be played, and do we want to go against God*? But I also don't really care either way because Nethack is infinitely replayable and someone in the future may Let's Play it again using ASCII. Or Tiles. Or holographic brain scans.

2. Labarbra

3. Cuddles

*If this were a Megaten game, and for all we know it is, the answer is probably yes.

12-25-2008, 01:53 PM
I figured it out. This isn't an LP but a social experiment to see if Talking Time can be so polarized as to ultimately destroy the boards. It's basically a destruction test of our little internet utopia.

I'm onto you, Netbrian.

12-25-2008, 06:30 PM
First, the current ASCII/Tiles count --



Tiles -

Ample Vigour

So it looks like, barring a major upset, I'll be stuck with ASCII. I'm going to be spending the rest of the night registering sock puppets.

(Honestly, if it didn't have to be done manually, I'd just use both. Unfortunately, Nethack doesn't exactly have extensive screenshot capability to begin with.)

My first ascension was a female lawful dwarven archaeologist named Dez. So like, you could go with that maybe! Makes the gnomish mines super easy!

I'm going to play a Wizard anyhow. However, with combat classes, I've actually found the Gnomish Mines to be most rewarding with hostile monsters. That way, it's easier to kill them, eat them, and take their armor. For instance, it's much harder to get a pick axe (without a pet) if Dwarves are peaceful. Gnomes are also a good source of early nutrition.

On the other hand, for your average Healer or Priest, peaceful mines are a godsend.

Oh, and just for you, one of the names for the character will be "Lyll", with her pet cat, "Pochi".

I hate Nethack (I think I made it out of the first floor in like one of the twelve games I played, and I can't abide a roguelike which practically requires spoilers to be able to win it) but maybe I'll do an LP of Angband one of these days. Now that would be boring!

If you do an Angband LP, it had better be a video LP. And you better play the legendary bookless, artifactless, Hobbit Mage.

I tried Angband without spoilers.

"It breathes poison. You die."

Even with spoilers, I've never gotten past stat-gain. I do like Angband though.

ASCII! I mean is it even really Nethack with the tiles?

Yes. Nethack's identity is the merciless game design, the incredible variety, and the awesome number of interactions present. I will agree with you that in general, tiles versus ASCII doesn't improve the accessibility all that much. I play with tiles because they're adorable and distinctive, not because it makes an already very dense game any easier. I cut my Roguelike teeth on Alphaman (of all games), and you get used to ASCII fast.

I will add that I haven't found any big difference in situation assessment when playing with ASCII versus tiles. I also use ASCII when playing Angband or ADOM (for any ADOM players out there, the furthest I've gotten in that game is the Mana Temple, so YMMV). Nethack just seems to have tiles unusually well suited for the game.

*If this were a Megaten game, and for all we know it is, the answer is probably yes.

Sure. Just for you, the outtakes will include "Fun With Unicorns!".

I also demand we do an IVAN bonus chapter just to show what another intentionally cruel roguelike is like. IVAN is great fun, but just expect to die. A lot. And in incredibly amusing ways.

I've never played Ivan, unfortunately. However, if anyone wants to do another Roguelike LP, more power to them!

I figured it out. This isn't an LP but a social experiment to see if Talking Time can be so polarized as to ultimately destroy the boards. It's basically a destruction test of our little internet utopia.

I'm naming the main character Aerith (not Aereis you stupid American plot destroyers), based on a wonderful female role-model in the objectively good game Final Fantasy 7.

12-25-2008, 06:35 PM
Name vote: Aeaireiathssea

12-25-2008, 06:44 PM
Hold on a sec. It's a roguelike. Couldn't you just switch between tiles and ASCII in each subsequent playthrough?
I'm not actually suggesting this.

Also, you forgot the most important part: what are you going to name the cat?

12-25-2008, 06:46 PM
I cut my Roguelike teeth on Alphaman (of all games), and you get used to ASCII fast.

I cut my Roguelike teeth on Rogue, you damn whipper snappers. I've also always posited that Diablo is just Nethack on steroids.

12-25-2008, 06:46 PM
Put me down as another vote for ASCII, that's what I came to this thread to see!

12-26-2008, 12:06 AM
I wish to propose a compromise: use this tileset (http://www.olywa.net/cook/nhack.htm).

Name the cat Garfield so you don't feel as bad when it dies.

I've also always posited that Diablo is just Nethack on steroids.
That's no secret... though it's more like Nethack is Diablo on steroids. Except the timeline doesn't work out.

12-26-2008, 12:54 AM
If you do an Angband LP, it had better be a video LP. And you better play the legendary bookless, artifactless, Hobbit Mage.

I tried Angband without spoilers.

"It breathes poison. You die."

Even with spoilers, I've never gotten past stat-gain. I do like Angband though.

I have never heard of this character build, but if I do an LP, I promise you that I will have an epilogue where I play just that character and see how far I can take it.

I'm okay with Angband's system of "try and die" as opposed to Nethack just because the system is so much more limited. Maybe I'd finish a game if I knew a bit more about where the most frequent stat-gain drops are, but other than that after about floor 25 you have a pretty good understanding of where the game's going.

Looking forward to this one! I know a lot about Nethack thanks to the @play column at GSW, but just not enough to actually play it.

q 3
12-26-2008, 09:01 AM
I vote for Falcon's Eye (http://users.tkk.fi/jtpelto2/nhfeatures.html#SCREENSHOTS), if only to thoroughly enrage the ascii purists.

Also name the girl Cat and the cat Girl.

12-26-2008, 09:12 AM
As if this wasn't going to be confusing enough already.

12-26-2008, 11:35 AM
I wish to propose a compromise: use this tileset (http://www.olywa.net/cook/nhack.htm).

It's... beautiful...

Red Hedgehog
12-26-2008, 02:20 PM
1. ASCII - The tileset just gets annoying after awhile.

2. Main Character: Irene.

3. Cat: Ryu.

12-26-2008, 05:02 PM
Tiles, man. LPs need to appeal to those of us without the means/skills to play these games, and I for one don't know that I could take several pages of the adventures of "@." Though I do look forward to multiple deaths.

In that spirit, I don't care what name you use, but like the Hydlide LP, I think we should keep the adventurers in the family.

12-26-2008, 05:05 PM
I vote for Falcon's Eye (http://users.tkk.fi/jtpelto2/nhfeatures.html#SCREENSHOTS), if only to thoroughly enrage the ascii purists.

Does ... it make me a bad person to like that?

Emcee Escher
12-26-2008, 07:15 PM
Does ... it make me a bad person to like that?

No, it just doesn't live up to the levels of snobbiness TT requires. We won't hate you if you like it, we'll just shun you for life.

12-26-2008, 07:44 PM
I vote for Falcon's Eye (http://users.tkk.fi/jtpelto2/nhfeatures.html#SCREENSHOTS), if only to thoroughly enrage the ascii purists.

But Nethack 3.4.3 has been released since that was updated! Us snobs have to insist upon the latest version being played because otherwise Netbrian is going against the wishes of the dev team, and maybe missing out on some really hilarious deaths.

Meanwhile I am actually seconding a vote for the Geoduck tileset because it is (a) adorable and (b) retains the clean, sterile, hospital-like sheen of ASCII while adding some graphical touches for our TTY-impaired friends. Everyone can be happy!

Actually it's also been a long time since we've had a character named PANTS. Let's name the cat PANTS, in homage to days gone by.

12-26-2008, 07:58 PM
I wish to propose a compromise: use this tileset (http://www.olywa.net/cook/nhack.htm).

Even as a ASCII religious zealot I have to admit that that tileset is pretty great. Not great enough to cause me to change my vote though.

This thread has got me in a roguelike mood, I've been playing Nethack (and a little Crawl) off and on throughout the day.

12-26-2008, 10:30 PM
Both ASCII and the tileset I've seen are rather generic, so I say just split the difference and go with Geoduck.

12-26-2008, 11:09 PM
i'm looking forward to learning about nethack. don't let me down.

12-27-2008, 10:31 AM
Is Nethack still being produced? Because if it is it just became that much cooler.

Also, what shivam said.

Octopus Prime
12-27-2008, 11:32 AM
i'm looking forward to learning about nethack. don't let me down.

Assuming I'm not misreading this, do you mean to say that YOU of all people know nothing of Nethack?


12-27-2008, 11:47 AM
well, i know the tenuous outline of what nethack is, but i've never actually delved it myself.

12-27-2008, 01:05 PM
i'm looking forward to learning about nethack. don't let me down.

I don't think you'll have to worry about this. Anything Netbrian doesn't cover, I'm sure other Nethack players around here (see also: me) will be more than happy to pick up.

12-27-2008, 09:54 PM
ASCII is relentlessly confusing to me. I'm voting tiles.

12-28-2008, 12:54 AM
Don't forget that I voted tiles. I didn't see my name on the vote tally list above, for whatever reason.

The Dread Cthulhu
12-28-2008, 01:03 AM
Tiles plz.

Octopus Prime
12-28-2008, 03:54 AM
I'm also for the tiles, since then I can easily tell what is going on.

12-28-2008, 07:20 AM
Tiles ahoy!

12-28-2008, 10:02 AM
Unfortunately, I didn't actually expect a turnaround in favor of tiles, and have started LPing the game with ASCII. I might try tiles after the first death, but we'll have to see.

This game takes longer to process for LPs than Legacy of the Wizard does. More writing, and I have to crop all the bloody images.

Oh, and I rediscovered EO2. Legacy of the Wizard, Nethack EO -- I'm feeling my favorite games aren't returning my feelings of love.

12-28-2008, 10:03 AM

Now I want to play some Linley's. Sigh.

12-28-2008, 10:07 AM

Now I want to play some Linley's. Sigh.

Make sure to tell us when the yaks eat you.

12-28-2008, 10:36 AM
ASCII is the only option when playing the game the way it was meant to be played: on a VT102 in your dorm room.

12-28-2008, 11:32 AM
Make sure to tell us when the yaks eat you.

That's why I'm not actually caving into my desire. Nethack is all about the complex interactions of stuff the DevTeam added to the game over the years; Linley's makes up for it lack of aforementioned complex interactions by being balls-to-the-wall hard. I'm terrible at both of them for completely different reasons.

12-28-2008, 06:04 PM
Can I vote for the Geoduck tileset twice?

12-28-2008, 06:10 PM
Let our descent into hell begin! (I mean this quite literally).


A bit of background information first. Look at the bottom row of the screen, showing our name, our dungeon level, alignment, and statistics. The stats are traditional D&D – strength (of which I have very little) helps you push, carry, and kill things. Dexterity helps you dodge, hit, and use things. Constitution helps you survive things, and will affect how many HP Daz (the 1st of her line) gains per level (it also affects how many HP is regenerated per turn). Intelligence is, as you might expect, the all important stat for a Wizard, and affects reading spellbooks, spell failure rates, energy regeneration. Wisdom, as Intelligence’s long-lost twin, affects spell point gain per level and energy regeneration. Charisma is integral to sexual satisfaction.

Note that stats don’t play a critcal role in Nethack, and there is no min-maxing – our character will be a maxed out ‹bermensch. There are two common ways to increase stats – the most straightforward way will be “drinking potions of gain ability”.

Due to the fact it’s fairly easy to change stats, your starting attributes aren’t important in relation to overall gameplay success. In short, our friend Daz can’t carry much and is very intelligent (Nethack hearkens back to the glory days of real fantasy, where men were men and elves lorded it over you pathetic humans with their superior IQs). Her constitution does seem unusually high for an Elven Wizard, which is a bright spot. To the right of her stats is her alignment (Nethack puts some effort into pretending that the “Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic” isn’t “Good/Neutral/Evil”, but not much.)

HP is the HP you know and love, and power is essentially spell points (no Vancian casting here, despite Nethack’s roots in early D&D). We see can also look at the turn count, gold, and dungeon level.

The game also shows the AC, or armor class. An executive summary of AC is that the lower the AC, the harder you are to hit and the less damage you sustain. This is really all you need to know, but here are some more details for the mechanically inclined among us. Nethack AC starts at ten, to a minimum of -127, and ACs above seldom encountered in normal gameplay. Each piece of armor (or other source of protection) reduces your armor class by a certain amount. In this case, my cloak decreases it by one. Until you reach zero, the lower your armor class, the harder you are to hit. Once you’ve reached an armor class of zero, lowering it further doesn’t affect how hard it is to hit you, but instead decreases the amount of damage you take.

Now, for my inventory – the quarterstaff will suffice for a little while, but I intend to replace it as soon as I can. The cloak of magic resistance is a very powerful item – it essentially renders me immune to a huge number of effects that would bring other classes to their knees. People often wish they had cloaks of magic resistance. My scrolls and potions aren’t good for much at all – their greatest value will be the fact that I’ll be able to rule them out in the future, and won’t find out which scroll is “destroy armor” when my cloak gets shredded. Don’t expect to see much out of the harp either.

All Wizards start with the rather ineffective spell of force bolt (the wand of striking can be used four times for exactly the same effect), and one other spell. Dez’s other spell, “Detect Unseen” will be useful significantly later on, but the high cost and failure rate will render it somewhat ineffectual for much of the game. The one bright spot in this starting inventory is the ring of warning - monsters that pose a threat, but are outside our visible range, will be denoted with a number based on how powerful the monster is. This helps avoid the situation of turning a corner in a hallway and coming face to face with an FOE.

My avatar is the “@” (blame the people that voted ASCII for this), and my pet cat “Autobahn” is the highlighted “F”. The red block is an open door, and the red “+” is a closed door. I’m standing on top of the staircase out of the dungeon, which is represented by a “<” (downstairs are “>”). Finally, the yellow “%” is food.

Note the game uses specific characters to denote entire classes of items. Potions will always be a flavor of an exclamation mark, while the percent sign is something you might eat.


Fortune cookies can be eaten for a pithy remark, but I find them most useful in taming animals. Their nutritional value is sadly limited.


The teal “(“ is a whistle. When I use it I get “You produce a high whistling sound.” This means that the whistle is a common whistle made out of tin, and of no use to me.


The yellow “:” is our first monster, a newt (the game categorizes them as lizards, and this I cannot forgive). They are as threatening as they sound. The “|” is a tombstone. Later on, we’ll get a chance to desecrate it, but not yet.


I kill and eat the newt, and move on. Monsters in Nethack will sometimes leave corpses when they die (bigger monsters tend to be more likely to leave corpses than smaller ones), providing you with not only nutrition, but other effects as well.

And of course, they also provide you with a thousand classic ways to kill yourself.

The “`” is a boulder. And yes, Nethack has block puzzles. Oh, does it have block puzzles.


But not today. I blast the boulder into smithereens with my force bolt.


For our effort, we’re treated to yet another boulder. This one is dealt with similar grace.

12-28-2008, 06:11 PM

The pink ďxĒ is a grid bug (from the Tron arcade game apparently, which is before my time). They move like a rook, and are dispatched with ease.


Our feline friend dropped a lichen corpse from an earlier encounter (usually cats will just steal your food). Lichen corpses are notable because they donít rot and decay like other corpses. A Nethack rite of passage that all players go through is eating corpses that are too old Ė this is a ticket to a sick, sick death.


We go down the stairs to level two. Note the fashionable newt on the side.

Before I went downstairs, I dropped off my two spellbooks by the stairs to the second floor. Spellbooks are used for learning (and much later on, re-learning) spells, but they arenít necessary to cast the spells. Nethack dungeons are persistent, so Iíll be able to go back for the books later. Right now though, theyíre a lot of weight I donít need (although I suppose you could throw them at something).


The door is locked. This means we need to search every square in the dungeon to find the right key to this door.


Or we could use the violent method. The teal ď=Ē is a steel ring. I pocket it and move on Ė we wonít be wearing it for awhile, if at all.

Rings in Nethack provide (mostly, but not universally) useful effects. You do want to be conservative with them though Ė each ring increases your food consumption. As Wizards are dumped into the dungeon with no food at all, this is a major consideration.

One of the defining features of Roguelikes is how item identification works. When I find an item, such as a ring, a potion, or a weapon, the game will tell me the outward appearance (ďa steel ringĒ), but not what it does. In order to determine the effects of the item, you need to either try it (which can be dangerous), or use a source of the spell ďidentifyĒ (which are few and far between). In the case of rings, you can sometimes determine their effects by wearing them for a little while (if you are suddenly lifted up in the air for instance, youíve found a ring of levitation), but thereís a catch Ė if equipment has a negative effect (such as lowering your statistics), it will often be cursed. If an item that you wear is cursed, you wonít be able to take it off again until you uncurse it or otherwise deal with the effect (for instance, the scroll of destroy armor I started with does provide a rather extreme way of dealing with cursed items youíre stuck to).

Any item in the game can be cursed. In many cases, the curse will not only prevent you from taking off the item, it will also change the itemís effect in a way you generally wonít like. For instance, a cursed scroll of light creates darkness. Conversely, blessed items often have an effect thatís enhanced in some manner.

Determining whether or not an item is cursed is a very important part of the game. If youíre playing a character of the ďPriestĒ character class, you automatically detect this, but for those of us not so endowed, the method immediately available is to drop the item and watch what your pet does. If they are reluctant to move on top of a tile with an item in it, that means either the pet is playing mind games with you (never something to be ruled out), or that the item is cursed.

I also see the staircase down to another level in the dungeon. However, itís generally good practice in Nethack to explore each level before going to the next one, so I leave it for now.


When I get hungry, my lichen corpse provides scant sustenance, but lets me keep going. This room contains a fountain Ė you can dip things in the fountain, or sip the water. There often benefits to this, but in true Nethack tradition, it will also kill you. My character is far too fragile for such nonsense right now, so I admire it and move on. (Luckily, Nethack has no thirst mechanic).


I do pick up the potion, shown by a ď!Ē. The ďZĒ is a kobold zombie, and doesnít pose a great threat to even my resources. When time comes for an Angband (another Roguelike) LP, Zs will be far, far scarier.

Eating undead seldom leads to positive results.


We find another staircase, a wand, and a potion. Periodically, you will hear dungeon noise in the message window, which is a good indication of the features or monsters on the level. Hearing someone cursing shopkeepers is especially useful, as it tells you to look around for a shop

I find it in the end, though it wasnít easy. Unfortunately, not all doors are immediately visible in this game, and (right now), you have to use the search command next to the fake wall to find them (searching each wall for the one door masquerading as a wall is exactly as fun as it sounds). When we get more powerful, my ďDetect UnseenĒ spell will accelerate this by instantly revealing hidden doors and passages, but right now itís a slog. This is one of the features most likely to turn a new player off of the game.

The green ďFĒ is a lichen, which I kill.

This shop only sells potions unfortunately, and I donít have much money. Later on, when weíve collected more, weíll return here, but now is not the time.

12-28-2008, 06:13 PM


I kill the jackal (ďdĒ), and eat his body. Jackals have some of the most meat on them of all the early monsters, so things went well.

I also gain a level. Although this one doubled my HP and power, levels donít play much of a role in Nethack beyond the very early game. Trying to grind for experience is a sure way to die, of boredom if nothing else. Just go through each dungeon level, and your experience will take care of itself. Mechanics like hunger also prod you to keep moving.

Just in case that wasnít a clear enough message about how the game was meant to be played, the power of the monsters created is directly affected by your own level as well as the dungeon level. Thus, grinding means that youíll encounter powerful monsters without the equipment to deal with them.



The first staircase I choose takes me to a special dungeon branch called the ďGnomish MinesĒ. At this point, I can either continue down through the Gnomish Mines for some nice rewards, or go back up and continue down the main dungeon. The Gnomish Mines are almost always worth clearing out, but Iím not ready for them yet. Weíll take the other path, and return here later on.


There we go.


The room in the north gives me another potion and some gold, and then we continue eastward. Autobahn devours a red mold, which wonít attack me on its own, but damages you if mÍlťed. I prefer to avoid this, but Autobahn has no such inhibitions. My lichen corpses are a sad bastion against the insidious hunger creeping over me.


This room contains a cram ration (ď%Ē, which provides enough nutrition to tide me over) and a scale mail ď[ď. As many of you have likely guessed by now, metallic armor inhibits spellcasting (and weighs a great deal), so I pass on it.


Note the comments in the message window about feeling tough, meaning my constitution has been increased by a point. This is another way to increase statistics. Performing certain actions will exercise a stat and increments a counter. Periodically, the game will reset the counters, and then randomly change your stat (the higher the counter has gotten, the more likely they stat will increase). For instance, pushing boulders around exercises the strength statistic, and will make it more likely that your strength will increase later on.

Of course, this process also works in reverse. If you eat too much and become Satiated, this will abuse your dexterity statistic. This can cause the game to revise the stat downward, so you have to be prepared.

12-28-2008, 06:14 PM

The next room yield dollars and drinks.


We are blessed here with an armor shop, which is of course the shop least useful to Dez. However, it may have a few trinkets.

There are two objects of interest to me. One is the pair of boots in the southwest corner, and the other is the apron on the east side. The boots are determined to be either jumping, water walking, or speed. The other armor interferes with my spellcasting, so I cast those aside.

The reason I know this is ďprice identification.Ē A shopkeeper will charge the same amount for items (with a few exceptions) whether or not theyíre identified. So by looking at the price they charge for a generic set of boots, you can then check a guide (or http://nethack.roy.org/clippy/clippy.pl ) to see which boots would go for that price. This is especially helpful when narrowing down armor and weapons, and can also tell you the cursed status of an item.

I realize itís asking a lot to keep a price guide on hand for playing the game, and itís generally not all that necessary (though it does give you an edge). The sole exception to this is scrolls of identification Ė theyíre always the lowest priced scroll. Remembering that does make a big difference in gameplay.


Unfortunately, I only have enough money for one item, and there is something even more important. The apron is mediocre armor, and wonít supplant my cloak of magic resistance. However, it has three very useful situational abilities. The first is that it helps with alchemy (more on this much later). The second is that it is one of the very few ways to get resistance to acid, which makes fighting certain enemies much less dangerous. Finally, it confers poison resistance, and poison is the bane of the early game of Nethack. Poison has a multitude of unsavory properties. At worst, it can be an insta-kill Ė one of the most unsporting deaths in Nethack is deadly poison (Iíve lost strong characters to a single hit by a poisoned arrow, or falling into a trap with poisoned spikes. Itís one of the very few deaths I feel is genuinely unfair in this game). Failing that extreme, poison can also lower your strength stat, sometimes significantly. This will throttle your damage output and carrying capacity, and is often going to be the prelude to death by some other hazard. The apron will allow me to negate this threat fairly easily, as will soon be seen. Later, when I have the money (they both cost 66 gold), Iíll come back for the boots.


Unfortunately, we pick a fight with the mimic pretending to be armor. Luckily, we are victorious. Uncharacteristically, Nethack does not engage in the favored CRPG tactic of making mimics far more powerful than anything else youíve seen so far. Otherwise, Iskenderun would have a few more pieces for his used armor dealership.


Foods supplies low. This message is apparently very witty to people that have played Gauntlet.


We eat our last food, but the critical food shortage means our hearts are heavy, and each step is painful. Iím not sure how much further we can go on.

Next time Ė we see how much further we can go on.

12-28-2008, 06:47 PM
"de"whats!? I have to know!!

Also, it appears your first image tag is broken.

Thanks, fixed this.

Any feedback is welcomed -- one thing I'm particularly working on is standardizing my screenshot format and image cropping, as I was unhappy with some of these results.

12-28-2008, 07:52 PM
I think if there's one thing I learned about Roguelikes it's that I enjoy reading about other people playing them more than playing them myself.

12-29-2008, 07:18 AM

12-29-2008, 07:53 AM
Holy crap, I knew wizards were EZ-mode but god damn that's a lot of kickass powerful stuff you're starting out with there.

I agree that poisoned traps are probably the only truly unfair death in the game, but they're almost exclusively dangerous in the very early game. Not much you can do about them but laugh it off and reroll.

Even worse than dying to a poison trap (or whatever) is to watch your pet fall and die in one. Or get crushed by a boulder. Or anything else, really, leaving you stranded with no line of defense.

Speaking of which, take that whistle. Sure it's not magical, but every little bit helps to keep your pet in line.

12-29-2008, 03:03 PM
Holy crap, I knew wizards were EZ-mode but god damn that's a lot of kickass powerful stuff you're starting out with there.

Well, they are certainly EZ mode once you get to at least mid-game. Pretty high death rate at the start though, at least when I play them.

12-29-2008, 05:31 PM
Holy crap, I knew wizards were EZ-mode but god damn that's a lot of kickass powerful stuff you're starting out with there.

As the other poster mentioned, the equipment is wonderful, but doesn't always quite compensate for the incredible wizardly infant mortality. I've found it much harder to get a Wizard to the mid-game than a Valkyrie, Samurai, or even an Archeologist.

Amusingly enough, the particular kit for my Wizard is actually pretty low quality in comparison. I got one decent ring, and the rest was essentially chaff. I've had some truly sick starts, such as a ring of conflict, a ring of slow digestion, and a wand of polymorph. Oh, and a magic marker.

These starts aren't the ones I win with though.

I agree that poisoned traps are probably the only truly unfair death in the game, but they're almost exclusively dangerous in the very early game. Not much you can do about them but laugh it off and reroll.

I'm okay with the standard strength ravaging poisonous traps and enemies -- that's just part of the game. It's the deadly poison that I dislike.

Even worse than dying to a poison trap (or whatever) is to watch your pet fall and die in one. Or get crushed by a boulder. Or anything else, really, leaving you stranded with no line of defense.

Yeah, losing your pet is a big problem for a Wizard. It's especially fun if it's in the starting room.

Speaking of which, take that whistle. Sure it's not magical, but every little bit helps to keep your pet in line.

I've tried, and I've seldom found it worthwhile. I can always wake them up with my harp.

12-29-2008, 05:40 PM
Even worse than dying to a poison trap (or whatever) is to watch your pet fall and die in one. Or get crushed by a boulder. Or anything else, really, leaving you stranded with no line of defense.

Speaking of which, take that whistle. Sure it's not magical, but every little bit helps to keep your pet in line.

This is Brickroad, reminding you to have your pet spayed or neutered.

12-29-2008, 08:34 PM
Part 2 --


Cave spiders, while not a huge threat, can be annoying. They hide under items, so theyíll surprise you (or in this case, my cat.) They can be tricky to hit, but Iím able to survive. I think that my constitution (usually high for this race/class combo) has been giving me an edge here.


We score! I stumble upon a (Autobahn-tested) pointy hat! This essential piece of a Wizzardly Wardrobe has two effects when worn by a member of the chosen order. It increases my charisma by two (by announcing to everyone just who and how important I am), and it grants clairvoyance (more on this soon!)


The red k is a Kobold, the filthy little creatures that those of us familiar with D&D (i.e., all of us) know. Speaking of D&D, because I am playing an Elf, I have infravision, which allows me to see enemies with body heat in darker areas, at a longer range than normal. This will be useful a bit later.

There isnít much else to say about Kobolds, other than they arenít good to eat. Not even Autobahn is interested, and she never misses an opportunity to steal my food.


This wonít stop me from trying.


By wearing the apron I purchased earlier, Iím able to safely eat kobold corpses. In Nethack, you character can gain certain abilities by eating corpses of monsters with those abilities. For instance, eating a yeti (an icy monster) can provide for me cold resistance. In the case of kobolds, and many other poisonous creatures, I can get intrinsic (as opposed to extrinsic, which is provided by equipment) poison resistance, allowing me to bypass all negative effects of poison anything. (One Nethack oddity is that the other ability of my apron, acid resistance, cannot be acquired this way).

Now, of course, the problem with eating poisonous corpses to get poison resistance is twofold Ė

1. Itís a percent chance, and thus not guaranteed. Doing this is likely to ravish your stats.
2. Even if you do manage to get poison resistance, it still gets added after the poison has taken its toll.

However, by wearing the apron, which provides me with extrinsic poison resistance, I can safely eat poisonous corpses. Once the random number goddess decides to gift me with intrinsic poison resistance, Iíll be able to laugh at orcs and their puny poisoned arrows, and eat feasts of kobold thigh.


Iíve found an altar. Anhur is hungry

Altars are powerful locations in Nethack, and finding an altar of my own alignment this early is a huge stroke of luck. Expect us to come back here several times.

The first thing I do with my new toy is dump all my stuff on top of it. Altars react to items based on their blessed/cursed status, thus revealing the status of the item. This provides us with more convenient method to determine which items are safe then letting our cat stomp on them.

Speaking of identifying items, there was that wand we found earlierÖ


One of the features of Nethack that some people love and some people see as yet another reason you need spoilers to play this bloody game is finding out information about wands by using them to write things (if youíre playing on a public server (more on this later), they can even be obscene).

In this case, my wand blasts the ground with unholy fire, thus telling me I have a wand of fire. This is a really good find Ė while I can use it to attack enemies, wands of fire and lightning have an even better property weíll be exploiting soon.

Note that before testing the wand through engraving, you always want to write something on the ground first. Some wands only react if thereís a pre-existing message. For instance, a wand of polymorph (oh so much more on them later) will change the original message to something different.

Speaking of spoilers, the official reference site of this LP is http://www.steelypips.org/nethack/ .


It isnít obvious in a screenshot LP, but parts of the dungeon level that I havenít been to yet have already been mapped. At random intervals, my clairvoyant hat will reveal portions of the dungeon in a limited radius around me. This is exceptionally helpful for pointing out secret doors and passages, and will make the game far less tedious (my least favorite part of the game is methodically searching each wall in a dungeon level, trying to find the secret door that leads to the room with the down staircase.)


The blue ďeĒ is a floating eye. I could whack it with my staff, but I donít feel like it right now. Zap!


A taste of force bolt leaves me with that rarest of finds Ė a floating eye corpse thatís too far away from Autobahn for her to steal!


Eating the floating eye corpse gives me the ability telepathy Ė itís turned off normally, but when my character is blinded, it will allow her to sense the location of all mindful monsters on the map.


Iím selling these fine leather jackets, would you like to buy one? (They were added to Nethack for the benefit of the archeologist class. That and the fedora.)

The ď#Ē is a sink (seriously). Weíll be having fun with those later.


The ď^Ē is an energy trap. Had I not been wearing my cloak of magic resistance, my spell points would have been reduced to zero. Things like this is why I canít wear the apron in normal gameplay.

12-29-2008, 08:39 PM

Um, am I interrupting something?


Luckily, neither dogs, bats, or giant levitating disembodied eyes can manipulate doorknobs.

(Of course, the characters in Jurassic Park also thought this).


Here, in a completely premeditated maneuver for educational purposes, I valiantly strike a member of a battalion of floating eyes with my own stick.

I am immediately paralyzed for several turns, and Autobahn follows suit. Luckily, floating eyes do not attack directly, and no other monsters wandered in to take full advantage of my helpless state. Accidentally hitting floating eyes is a wonderful way to get yourself killed, all the more bitter because after the first time, you know full well it was your own bloody fault.

Note that many Roguelikes have floating eyes that behave in very similar manners. However, you have to be careful! For instance, in Angband, the eyes can attack to paralyze, without requiring you to strike first. In a Roguelike similar to Nethack, ADOM, the eyes not only paralyze, but I believe they can attack on their own. ĎWare the marching eyes!

(Iím hoping that if I pretend this was for educational purposes, people will believe I made this incredibly stupid move on purpose).


While wait for my cat to recover (I swear she stood there paralyzed twice as long as actually necessary, simply to annoy me), I deal with a shrieker, whose attack pattern consists of yelling at me while I attack it. (In Nethack, shriekers are most notable by having corpses that are not poisonous, but can convey poison resistance. Unfortunately, I am not blessed with a corpse).


I forgot to grab a screenshot of this, but earlier on I picked up a leash. You can attach leashes to your pets (I, as the LPer, reserve the privilege to make the inevitable S&M jokes later on) in order to keep them within a close range. In general, this makes them less effective at attacking enemies, but is helpful for ordering your pet around (for instance, when you need to get them somewhere quickly).

Sharp eyes will also notice that Iím hungry. Sharp memories will know that Iíve eaten all my lichen corpses and cram rations. This wonít end well.


Nethackís hunger mechanic fulfills its purpose by forcing me to descend deeper, rather than playing with the altar.


Nethack then fulfills its reputation as the very original ďgame that hates youĒ by strategically placing a pit trap where my cat will fall into it. For now, I am a very lonely wizard in a very dark dungeon. Iím frankly surprised that I didnít get pulled into the pit by the leash myself.

Weíll find Autobahn on a lower dungeon level, but depending on how long sheís roamed free, she might go feral and attack me. If this happens, I can bribe her with cookies back to my side. At the moment though, I have more pressing concerns. Note that losing oneís pet is a big problem for a Wizard Ė it forces me to engage all the monsters myself, which is a very fast way to get killed.


Such as my stomach. In my despair with no one to turn to, I kneel down and pray for guidance. I am blessed with manna from heaven and encouraged to go on my way.

Those of you who have played Earthbound will know of a similar mechanic.


There are good reasons not to take out your unresolved issues on doors in this game. Weíve just demonstrated one of them, as the door promptly self-destructs. In the future, Iíll use Force Bolt to blast the doors open. Well, actually Iíll probably just forget and kick them again, but I should use Force Bolt.

Playing ADOM for so long (where door traps are nastier than Nethack ever dreamed) means that even in Nethack, I stand diagonal to the door to kick them down when possible. There is no reason for me to do this other than inertia. ADOM makes Nethack look like sweetness and desire.


Or so I thought, until I too fell into a pit trap, and ended up two dungeon levels lower. Note that this is inevitably not going to be the level my cat ended up on because the game likes to see me cry.


I continue on my way, like a little lost lamb looking for her little lost cat. I see some gnomes, friendly sentient creatures whom I promptly kill and eat.


Two things Ė

First off, Nethack has random existing engravings scattered throughout the dungeon. Most of them are pithy quotes, but some are meaningful. This is one of the meaningful ones, and weíll see why later on.

Second, this level has two staircases going up. What to do?


Itís that time. There are holes (ď^Ēs). Next time, it will be our womanís job to put things in them.

12-29-2008, 10:21 PM
wow. this game is super confusing to follow.

12-29-2008, 10:23 PM
wow. this game is super confusing to follow.

Is there something you'd suggest to make it easier? Would you like more screenshots of each individual action? I'm genuinely curious.

After playing through the game, I'm beginning to rethink using ASCII characters. Tomorrow has already been written up, but on Wednesday, I'm going to play through the next session using tiles rather than ASCII. I think that will help people unfamiliar with the game follow what I'm doing. After a day or two of tiles, I'll ask for opinions on the contrast.

12-29-2008, 10:28 PM
i just don't get what i'm looking at. I'd love for you to make a legend for the map or something, just so i can have a handy reference without having to scroll way up. or like paint in lines pointing at what i should be looking at in the screen or something.

12-29-2008, 11:33 PM
i just don't get what i'm looking at. I'd love for you to make a legend for the map or something, just so i can have a handy reference without having to scroll way up. or like paint in lines pointing at what i should be looking at in the screen or something.


Maybe something like this?

12-29-2008, 11:39 PM
i just don't get what i'm looking at. I'd love for you to make a legend for the map or something, just so i can have a handy reference without having to scroll way up. or like paint in lines pointing at what i should be looking at in the screen or something.

Here is a partial legend:

@ - Humanoid, when highlighted or underlined depending on system = you
. - dungeon floor in a room
▒ - Hallway
+ - Closed Door
∑ (larger and red in above images) - Open door
│┌ ┐└ ┘─ - Walls
< - Stairway up
> - Stairway down
⌠ - Fountain
# - Sink
^ - Trap
! - Potion
? - Scroll
+ - Spellbook (yes, same character as closed door but different colors)
/ - Wand
) - Weapon
[ - Armor
" - Amulet
= - Ring
A through Z and a through z plus : ; ' & ] ~ - Things to kill (there are exceptions like your pet, don't kill that).

12-30-2008, 05:15 PM
Just popping in to say that the ASCII text isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Hooray!(?)

Ample Vigour
12-30-2008, 05:16 PM
Just popping in to say that the ASCII text isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Hooray!(?)

I can take the static images, but something about how it moves when I play just makes my head ache.

EDIT: Oh, if only someone had made a graphics pack for this game! Oh, wait.

12-30-2008, 05:27 PM
Oh yeah...trapped doors, or more appropriately, what hides behind them are a pain in the ass in IVAN.

A not untypical encounter will be a locked door, which when kicked to "unlock" it will explode in your face, probably blowing off an arm or leg and destroying most of your equipment. Then the kamikaze gunpowder dwarf will run at you shrieking glory to their particular (random) god and then blow up in your face. I tend to use fireball wands as door openers a lot in IVAN if I have them...

12-31-2008, 06:07 PM
And so we return to the world of Sokoban, a block pushing wonderland fraught with deadly peril and copious amounts of food. Alone and friendless, we wonder whatís next.

Quick Note Ė When cropping screenshots, Iíll generally remove the parts of the textbox that donít apply to that particular moment. Thus, any lines you see at the top are going to be left there for a reason, and should probably be read.



Iím going to try and get tile versions of each Sokoban level. While Iím generally fine with ASCII characters, I think higher contrast in the tile version works better when showing off the Sokoban puzzles.

Because I love you so much, in addition to narrating my adventures, Iím going to give a blow by blow account of my block pushing. You can find it here -- http://www.steelypips.org/nethack/soko-331.html. I didnít feel compelled to repeat in the LP a Sokoban solution I followed religiously. The goal is to push a boulder into each of the pit traps blocking the way to the stairs up (there are more boulders than pits). Each level contains a fair amount of guaranteed treasure without disproportionately strong monsters, making this excellent for early Wizards.

A few notes Ė Sokoban works by different rules than the rest of the game. Neither the player nor monsters are able to teleport (which generally works to our advantage). You also arenít able to push boulders diagonally. Secondly, the entire map is revealed upon entering Sokoban, rather than in bits and pieces as you explore. Later on, Iíll detail more of the quirks of Sokoban.


First off, I collect both a wand and rations of food. Sokoban is guaranteed to contain quite a bit of food, as well as several wands. This will essentially end our nutritional problems in the foreseeable future.


A monkey tries to steal my stave and run away. He fails.


He does manage to steal a potion. When I blast him with my mighty magic, it also manages to shatter the potion bottle. With my luck, that was probably a potion of gain ability or something similarly awesome.


There are two scrolls in this alcove. Prior knowledge of the game means that I know these are scrolls of earth. Scrolls of Earth will drop boulders all around the character, which can be both an escape mechanism, and a source of spare boulders (for instance, if you destroy too many boulders, or push too many into corners). Using it in Sokoban comes at a price however.


I pick up a tin on my boulder pushing crusade.


One of the enduring mysteries of this LP is what kind of corpse this unfortunate creature was. It was created when a monster spawned in one of the pits, and then when trying to escape, fell into the next one. The flavor of pit trap used in this level simply damages you when you walk over it, and leaves you vulnerable for a few turns while you try and climb out.


Oh, itís a beautiful nymph! Iíll go hit on her. This cannot possibly end badly.


Taking off my clothes is a promising start.


Unfortunately, she doesnít stop with that, and continues to loot my still living body. This I cannot accept, and I raise my hand in defiance.

Note that nymphs are infamously annoying in Nethack, because once they steal your items, theyíll immediately teleport clear across the level. You have to decide whether or not to just give up, or try and chase them. Chasing them often makes the problem worse, as they pick you dry. In Sokoban, things are much easier going because teleportation isnít allowed, so itís easier to corner them.

Nymphs do have some positive value though, because they can steal cursed equipment thatís stuck on your character. As they donít attack directly, itís safe to approach them without anything in your inventory (including weapons). When they steal your items, their only choice will be the equipped cursed items, thus freeing you from the burden.

Of course, not attacking directly doesnít mean they wonít throw your own potions at you, or zap your own wands. One of my most frustrating deaths was a nymph stealing my wand of death (bonus points for figuring out what it does), and then zapping me with it. That went exactly as well as it sounded.


I eventually manage to kill the nymph, and recover my equipment. Note that I take a risk when I use Force Bolt on nymphs Ė as we saw before, this spell will break glass things, such as the mirrors nymphs often carry. And we all know that breaking a mirror means bad luck, so that can lead to trouble down the road.

12-31-2008, 06:08 PM

Another Nymph draws near!


This time, she stole my weapon. However, I managed to take her down without magic. I have done well in defeating the nymph.

Note that while this character will eat bloody near anything, I wonít eat nymph corpses. They provide a certain attribute called teleportitis Ė which causes the player to teleport to a random location on the current level ever 50 to a 100 turns. While some people swear by the ability of teleportitis extricate the player from deadly situations, I find it to be far more trouble than itís worth. However, later on weíll gain the ability to control our teleportation, in which case teleportitis is very attractive indeed.


As we finish up our dalliances with the nymphs, we then encounter a far less attractive enemy, a group of hill orcs. Orcs are generally not generally dangerous enemies (especially when compared to the original Rogue), but they do appear in groups of three or four, which can make things more difficult (especially if they manage to surround you). Moreover, they will often use poisoned weapons, which can drain your strength or kill you instantly.

The orcs also helpfully demonstrated for me that enemies take no account of anyone between them and the player when throwing things. Theyíll fill their ally with arrows and daggers all day long if you let them (this is another reason to try to herd them into hallways, rather than letting them ambush you in a room).


Gollum lied. Orcses taste very good indeed.


For those following along at home, I though it might be helpful to include a show of my current inventory to keep track of whatís going on (see Brickroad, I did keep the whistle).


Before going up to the next level, I drop some of it in the corner to pick up on my way back (if I survive that long). This includes the potions of confusion, the mirrors, and the whistle. I also identified the pine wand as a wand of digging and the hexagonal wand as a wand of light. More on these later.



The next level of Sokoban amps the difficulty even further. The pit traps have evolved into actual holes in the level (like the holes that Autobahn and myself got dumped into in the first place). Falling into one of them will take you back a level or two, and do a bit of damage.


The ring of warning indicates a rather large welcoming party in the room containing the stairs up. In a normal game, Iíd just lead my pet into the room and then shut him in to deal with the monsters. Unfortunately, this has been nixed.


We have a close encounter with a leprechaun. They work like nymphs except that they go after gold rather than items. This makes them far, far less irritating. However, that doesnít say much.



Oh, and they hit back. This leprechaun helpfully downed a potion of invisibility, and took me down to half HP. Eating the corpses pose the same problem as nymph corpses (note that this is one of unusual cases where your pet will eat something that you shouldn't. In most circumstances, if your cat will eat it, it's fine for you too).

12-31-2008, 06:09 PM

Tins are an interesting feature of Nethack, and weíll see more on them as the game goes on. Theyíre scattered throughout the dungeon, and each contain meat of a given monster, and once you find a tool called a tinning kit, you can make your owned tinned meat from monster corpses. Eating a tin of given monster meat will grant any of the intristics or attributes of the monster, but with negligible nutrition. However, tinned monster meat is comparatively safe to consume. Even if the meat is poisonous, rotten, or both, eating a tinned version will at most only make you sick for a few turns, rather than draining your stats or killing you. (There are a few specific monsters that kill you if you eat them, even tinned, but this fact is telegraphed well in advance. Note also that tins will always warn you about what kind of monster meat youíre eating before you actually consume it).

This means, for instance, you can tin the meat of a kobold zombie, and then eat it for a chance at poison resistance. Even though the corpse would have killed you seven ways to Sunday, the tin will only make you vomit. Moreover, later in the game as the monsters get bigger, you might be too full to actually eat the corpse. By tinning it, you can save it for later and still get the benefits. Some people even like to make a show of tinning important monster corpses as a kind of collection (ďSee my tin of meat of the chromatic dragon?Ē)

This tin contained spinach, which is a special case Ė you can only find spinach in tins you find laying around, rather than the homemade variety. Eating spinach, in addition to the unusually high nutritional content will increase your strength by a point. This makes them very valuable in the early game, especially for our fragile little Dez.


I really donít like the look of all those monsters. I break the door down and brace myself.


The first few monsters were garter snakes, which arenít a problem. Then I have to start dealing with orcs. Iíd like to amend what I said earlier Ė orcs arenít dangerous except in large numbers. In this case, to conserve mana, I switch to blasting them with wands of striking, rather than force bolt.


More loot, and some human corpses. Since Iím an elf, eating the human corpses wouldnít be cannibalism, but this one has aged too much to be appetizing.


In the spirit of a Fire Emblem LP, hereís a screenshot of my increase to Wisdom. This image serves no other purpose then to make me feel better for not taking pictures of every level up.


Iím kind of between a rock and a hard place here. Hill orcs to the west of me, a dwarf (the ďhĒ, for humanoid) and a Mordor orc to the right of me, and only two shots of force bolt left. This really doesnít look fun.


I dispatch the hill orcs first, so I at least have somewhere to run. The dwarf has been doing a number on me though Ė note the low HP and spell points. This is getting really, really ugly.


Fortunately, I am able to prevail through exhausting my wands of striking.

You may notice the hunger status of Satiated in the bottom of the screen, indicating that Iíve eaten more than enough recently. Different Roguelikes deal with people overeating in different ways. In Angband, youíll end up being gorged, and given a significant speed penalty for a short time. In ADOM, you simply canít eat another bite while satiated. In many console Roguelikes, you can eat as much as you want, but it simply doesnít do anything after a simple point.

Nethack has its own elegant solution to the problem. If you eat to much, you die instantly.


The horde of orcish troops has not yet been exhausted, though I certainly am. He keeps coming.


At this point, I give up and take a breather in the lower level, waiting for my HP and power to restore. This is a fairly slow process, so I kill time by walking from the upstairs to the downstairs and back.


Recharged, I give things another go. While all the ASCII characters look intimidating (though after playing Nethack long enough, e-mail addresses look intimidating), this isnít too bad. The yellow F is a yellow mold and the green b an acid blob (both passive and harmless). The blue o is the last hill orc standing. The three Ss are garter snakes, also harmless. We have a blue floating e, and three human zombies. Finally, we have the red M the mummy. Especially one at a time, this is doable.

(Note Ė unfortunately, doing the monsters legends like this is very tedious and time consuming. In giant swarms of monsters Iíll bite the bullet and make them, but only in special cases).


The snakes are taken care of, and then the acid blob. Since acid blobs donít attack, I simply stand there for awhile, recovering further before continuing.


And then the Orc reads a scroll of create monster. Or, might I say, ďcreate lots and lots of monsters.Ē Remember what I said about doable? Iím going to amend that.

Weíll return to this vale of tears tomorrow.

12-31-2008, 06:44 PM

I hateses rothes. =(

12-31-2008, 07:08 PM
Nethack has its own elegant solution to the problem. If you _________, you die instantly.
You might as well put that on a keyboard macro, because it's a phrase that's useful (and probably will be used) again and again.

12-31-2008, 07:12 PM
how the HELL do you do ascii block puzzles? my hat is off, sir!

12-31-2008, 08:09 PM
You might as well put that on a keyboard macro, because it's a phrase that's useful (and probably will be used) again and again.

Just wait until we get to cockatrices.

And I actually used tiles for most of the block puzzle bit, and only turned on ASCII for screenshots.

12-31-2008, 08:49 PM
I seem to recall that eating too much in ADOM will give you an "are you sure you want to do that?" prompt, and then if you do it, you have a chance to choke and die.

Then again, I've never gotten very far in any roguelike other than DoomRL (http://doom.chaosforge.org/)'s easy mode, and ChessRogue (http://chessrogue.sourceforge.net/).

12-31-2008, 09:57 PM
how the HELL do you do ascii block puzzles? my hat is off, sir!
Under the nethack options menu you can set what character the boulder is. I find the block puzzles much easier if you set it to something other than the default `, I use the numeral zero.

12-31-2008, 10:52 PM
I seem to recall that eating too much in ADOM will give you an "are you sure you want to do that?" prompt, and then if you do it, you have a chance to choke and die.

I played ADOM a lot, and it just doesn't let you eat too much. Nethack does give you a warning if you approach the limit though, and gives you a chance to stop most of the time (unless you're really dancing on the line).

Oh, and for what it's worth, I generally like rothes, because they're a fairly substantial early corpse.

Edit --

I actually feel that Nethack is actually fairer than ADOM or Crawl (though not as fair as Angband). ADOM has much nastier and unpredictable traps in comparison to Nethack, and even more brutal a clock. The late game is also far more dangerous than Nethack's comparatively tame endgame. My experience with ADOM has been that I ended up in cases where progressing was either very difficult or impossible. When I die in ADOM, it tends to feel much like my own fault than Nethack or Angband.


For instance, imagine the above situation where my character is facing an orc, and tries to blast them with a magic missile. My finger slips, and instead of hitting right, I hit up. This means that the magic missile is going to bounce between the two falls, going through me each time.

In Nethack, the worst case scenario is that you get hit by your own magic missile twice, which will generally not kill you (note that, especially later on, you're likely to have equipment to render this completely harmless). In ADOM, this will destroy you. I've lost a half dozen of my best characters to this simple mistake, and even in the cruel world of Roguelikes, it's more frustrating than challenging. (Now, this doesn't mean I don't like ADOM. If I didn't like it, I'd never have gotten far enough for this to be such a problem. But it does make it frustrating).

01-01-2009, 11:37 AM

Starting from the top left Ė

We have ďpĒ which is a rock pincer (fairly weak, but they like to hide), a ďdĒ which is a little dog (this can be nasty, and one of your starting pets), and a ď:Ē for iguana (harmless). The next row has a monkey (weíve seen them before) and a gas spore (more on this soon).

The next row we have a golden naga hatchling (they can be tricky, but their corpses can convey helpful intrinsics, and they arenít too hard), a housecat (kittens evolve into these), and the bloody Mordor orc whose fault this is in the first place.

Then we have something hidden, an acid blob (another passive monster), and a rothe (they can be pretty mean in the early game, especially since they often have friends). Next line we have an imp, and finally three rats in a column.

The saving grace is that we can feed cookies to the housecat and the dog to shanghai them into killing some of the monsters for us.

I take the opportunity to fight the monsters, and fire off a force bolt at the orc while he was in the same file with me. Unfortunately, it turns out the imp wasnít actually hostile until I blasted him with pure magical energy. Even for chaotics, you donít want to attack peaceful monsters.


My next step is to tame the cat to deal with some of the weaker monsters in the room, and block off the doorway.


While our cat deals with the monsters, I eat one of the naga corpses. The fact that it said ďYou feel sickĒ indicates that it was old enough to become deadly in the near future.


I figure I should name the housecat eating all those monsters for me, so I choose the second entry in the thread, Guido.


The rock pincer promptly jumps to the ground and lays its teeth into Guido, killing it. Well, thatís that.

The red ď@Ē, another humanoid, is a werejackal. These monsters are not fun to deal with Ė they do high melee damage, and can summon friends. As Guido found out to my despair, they can also use weapons while in humanoid form.


I manage to avenge my adopted cat, but exhaust my mana reserves again. The reason that this problem has been cropping up again and again is that I lost my pet, the normal Wizardly way to deal with enemies. At this point in the game, Iím just not well-built enough to machine gun monsters down with impunity, and keep running into this problem.

I help myself to a mummy wrapping, and move on to round three.



Let us continue this fantastic journey in the world of rocks!


Unfortunately, I mistyped, and accidentially moved one of my rocks into the corner of the room. Worse yet, that blocks the access route for getting behind other boulders in order to push them around. I blast my force bolt at it.

Now, there is a consequence to this. When you do things in Sokoban like destroy boulders, read scrolls of Earth, etc (weíre going to have an outtakes session where Goofus shows us all the things not to do in Sokoban), you take a penalty to your luck as a punishment. Luck effects a great deal of things (accuracy, your ability to dodge, how much damage you take, etc), and one of the most notable is dealings with your god. IF your luck is negative (like mine now is), religious relations become much trickier, and they arenít as likely to help you out.

This is well and good, but I feel Nethack drops the ball by not actually indicating to the player that theyíre getting punished for something. The luck stat is notoriously subtle, and thereís no good reason to make the connection. The game should really put a message like ďyou feel like you are behaving inappropriatelyĒ when you do something wrong to at least leave a clue.

Anyhow, we take the hit and move on.


The Y diagonally from me is an ape, from whom I devolved. These suckers will murder me if I get too close. Fortunately, while they canít fit through the walls to move at me diagonally, my spells donít share their difficulties. (Apes hunt in packs apparently, and the ď1Ēs are also apes outside my visible range.)

My strategy is essentially to stay seated, and zap them whenever they move my field of fire. This actually worked sickeningly well, well enough to almost feel unfair.

Then, I did what I do whenever I think something Iím doing might be unfair. I thought of soldier ants.


Eliwood, eat your heart at. Half of my stats increased in one go.

One of the benefits of Sokoban, especially for Wizards, is that each time you push boulders around, it exercises your strength, thus making ensuring that youíll probably see several stat increases as you finish the area. Characters with lower starting strength tend to benefit most, due to the increased likelihood of increasing lower stats, diminishing returns for each additional point of strength, and just plain hitting the maximum.

The increase to my already quizzically high constitution also helped a lot, and the increase to Wisdom will provide a minuscule increase to power regeneration.

01-01-2009, 11:39 AM

Nethack giveth, and Nethack taketh away. You know how Etrian Odyssey meant that you could never look at woodland creatures the same way again? How deer and antelope became rather frightening, and god forbid you even touch a squirrel?

Well, Nethack does this with insects. Theyíre fast, hard to hit, come in packs, and hurt like the hell beasts they are. Iím quickly surrounded by very dangerous fire ants (ďaĒs), whom hit hard and set your scrolls and equipment on fire. To improve matters, Iím flat out of magic.

I could pray, but breaking that boulder hurt my luck, which makes asking the divine for help a dicey proposition.

So I do what anyone would do, and write a message to future generations on the floor. Namely, ďElbereth.Ē For those not up to date on your Elvish, Elbereth is part of a hymn to the divine being Varda in the Lord of the Rings canon, and Frodo invokes the word as defense against the Nazgul.

In any event, if you write ďElberethĒ on the ground, most monsters in Nethack will flee from your location, and will not melee you. This serves as an excellent second-to-last resort. However, if you write in the dust with your finger, or even engrave with something sturdier (such as a diamond), the word will be munged after spending a few turns on the square, removing the protection. Thus, it should mainly be used to give yourself a bit of space to run away. Note also that monsters with spells or ranged attacks can still attack you indirectly, so you have to watch out for that.

However, if you have a wand of fire (or of lightning), you can (for all intents and purposes) permanently engrave it and behave more aggressively. In this case, I can stand on my single square, and attack the ants as they come by, leaving myself reasonably safe.


Since I wonít be attacked while on this tile, I switch from my staff to a dagger I found on the previous level (I was confident it was uncursed by observing another monster wielding it). While Iím very inaccurate with daggers and they do less damage than staves, there are very good reasons for me to want to practice using them.

Note that regardless of my weapon, this is a very tedious process. I only get one attack when a fire ant comes adjacent to me, as they immediately flee when they come close. Moreover, fire ants are very hard to hit. There are reasons I donít like to resort to doing this.


Finally, success! After you use particular weapons a certain number of times, you can choose to increase your skill in that weapon, improving your accuracy. Thus by poking the ants with my toothpick, I was able to up my dagger ability to become slightly less nightmarishly inaccurate. There are four skill levels (at least as far as Iím concerned, Monks are an oddity and), ďUnskilledĒ, ďBasicĒ, ďSkilledĒ, and ďExpertĒ. Which categories you can increase your skill level in, and how much you can increase your skill level in that category, is determined by your character class. For instance, as a Wizard, I can enhance short swords, but not long swords.

There is a limit to how many skills you can improve at a given character level, which is why I didnít improve my quarterstaff skill (due to the limited long term potential of the weapon).

You might ask ďwhy did you use bare handed combat enough to have the chance to increase it?Ē The answer is Ė remember this?


It turns out that after that happened, I never remembered to re-equip my quarterstaff, and had been brawling this entire time. (This is far from the first game where Iíve forgotten to re-equip weapons, and I pray Iím not the only one). This explains a lot of the earlier game, particularly how the leprechaun was able to beat me up.

That rather humiliating fact aside, you can also enhance different categories of spells. Enhancing spell categories will decrease the failure rate of spells, and for some spells, going from basic to skilled will change the effects. In order to preserve skill slots, I wonít enhance attack spells until I find one that benefits from this, and I havenít used Detect Unseen enough to improve my skill level in that category (and thus reduce my failure rate).


In any case, enough with the boring mechanical things. I finish off the fire ants, and one ape that was still hanging out.



In the staircase room of doom, I tame two animals. I felt bad about the last pet lasting such a short time, so re-using the name ďGuidoĒ was only natural. (Also note my strength improved in the interim as well. (Quick visual notes Ė all friendly animals (i.e., pets) are highlighted to make them stand out).


Dwarf lords can wield weapons, and Iíve found that high level dwarves to be unusually deadly toward pets. I take the unprecedented step of actually stepping in to defend my pets at a non-trivial personal risk. My reward is a wand of teleportation, which (outside of Sokoban) is very useful in emergencies, teleporting either monsters or myself as the situation warrants.

I leave Guido the 2nd and 2.5th on this level for the time being. Iíll go get them after finishing the Sokoban puzzle in the next room (but before taking on the last roomful of monsters). Having pets wandering around while you do the Sokoban puzzles can be a pain, as they end up behind the boulders and prevent you from filling the holes.



After I complete the last puzzle, thereís a room full of monsters to take out. In one of the three small rooms to left, there will be a prize.


One of the pieces of starting equipment Iíve been neglecting is my ring of protection from shapechangers. These rings prevent monsters from changing their form, and lycanthropic monsters canít summon help or infect me. In this case, Iím going to start wearing it due to my much improved food situation, Iíll start wearing it.


The specific reason behind this is because you often see giant mimics in Sokoban, and as they try to fit in with their surroundings, they mimic boulders up here. I donít want to get caught off guard and embraced to death by a large amorphous blob, so Iím taking precautions. In the case of this mimic, I can now bolt him to his painful death before actually touching anyone.

01-01-2009, 11:40 AM

The obligatory power up shot.


Fog clouds are yet another rogue weather phenomena the intrepid adventurer must deal with.


After finishing Sokoban, I bring my pets up for the final battle.

Unfortunately, this will not be televised, as Infranview stopped taking screenshots without informing me. Essentially, I lead the Guidos into the room to dispatch as many monsters as possible, while I stood outside the (open) door with Elbereth burned under my feet. Both of my pets died to poison arrows, to be replaced by the new Guido the 3rd. I managed to somehow continue surviving, and found myself an amulet and some gold. Iím really sorry for not being able to record this.

But most importantly Ė


Letís look closer.


I found a spellbook of magic missile. This spell is a game changer for oh so many reasons.

Magic Missile is a step up from force bolt. It does significantly more damage, scaling with my level. Unlike force bolt, it doesnít destroy fragile inventory items, and it doesnít miss. It can even bounce off walls, allowing you to hit some monsters multiple times. The coming darkness will stand no chance against Dez, as she cuts down all who stand in her way.

At which point, sheíll probably get killed by deadly poison.

Next time Ė we begin our search for the missing Autobahn, our beloved cat. And hope she hasn't gone feral.

01-01-2009, 12:01 PM
Please tell me I'm not the only person who read H as "a scroll labeled BOOBIE FETCH".

01-01-2009, 12:10 PM
Please tell me I'm not the only person who read H as "a scroll labeled BOOBIE FETCH".

Don't worry, there will be plenty of that.

01-02-2009, 08:13 PM

Well, weíre back! We just finished Sokoban, recruiting Guido the 3rd and finding a powerful spell and a powerful amulet. Now, we will continue our quest, going ever shallower in the dungeon to the bitter end.

Iím going to experiment with the next one or two sections. First off, Iím going to play using tiles for a bit, just to see what people think of it. Secondly, Iím going to stop cropping the screenshots for the time being. Doing that has been rather time consuming so far, distracting for me to look at, and doesnít seem to necessarily add much value. I appreciate any feedback on the format changes people can give me.


This wasnít necessary in Sokoban, due to the small dungeon size, but I leash Guido the 3rd to me. Right now, I mainly want him to follow me, not actually fight much.


We ascend up to the previous dungeon level, which we havenít actually explored yet. We see a wood nymph in her natural habitat (which is far more dangerous than Sokoban since they can teleport now), and a jackal.


Whatís this? We found Autobahnn, but heís gone feral! We only abandoned her six thousand turns ago, and adopted a new cat to replace her! What could she possibly be unhappy about?

We also see a scary looking yeti lurking around.


As always, when I need affection from my cat, I bribe her with food. Autobahn quickly returns to my side. I also show off my new magic missile spell to dispatch the nymph (magic missile wonít break mirrors, making my luck (which is damaged goods already) safe in this case) and the yeti.


I let the cats have the nymph corpse (and a quasit that happened to be actually hostile and wandering around) while I feast on the Yeti. Iíve been trying to avoid being overly satiated thus far, but yeti corpses are attractive, because they can confer resistance to cold. Unfortunately, it isnít happening this time.


A kobold also had the bad fortune to be wandering around without a chaperone, so I kill him instantly and wear an apron to prepare to eat my fill. The gushes of water that have been tormenting my poor cats is a rust trap Ė if you step into it while wearing metallic equipment, it will damage them and give them less of a chance to hit. Itís a fun way to annoy cats though.


Sadly, I still donít manage to gain poison resistance from the kobold corpse, but he does drop some food and a scroll of create monster. Fortunately, this time I was smart enough to kill the enemy before he managed to summon half the dungeon to make my life a living hell.

Autobahn also managed to evolve into ďhousecatĒ, making telling my two cats apart much easier.


This level contains the Oracle (which is based as much on the Usenet oracle as the one at Delphi), surrounded by fountains and statues of centaurs. (Sokoban is always the level directly below the Oracle, which makes it easier to know where to look if you donít skip the level entirely like I ended up doing.

You can purchase either a minor or major consultation from the oracle. A minor consultation will give you something from the true rumor file, which provides opaquely worded bits of trivia that will occasionally help you. Major consultations provide important information on gameplay and what you need to do in order to win. To be honest, I see major consultations as mainly a way for people to maintain the polite fiction that spoilers arenít necessary to win the game.


After our visit with the oracle, we take on a naga hatchling, mainly in the hopes that her corpse will give us poison resistance (spoiler Ė it doesnít).



Iím providing both flavors of screenshot here, just to make sure you remember that blue a, and remember it well. These are soldier ants, the nastiest monster in the game relative to when you encounter them.

According to a public Nethack server, despite being a mid-game hazard, soldier ants are, by a large number, the most common way to die in Nethack (cite -- http://alt.org/nethack/topdeaths.html ). They are sickeningly fast, hit multiple times for high damage, are difficult to actually kill, and can poison you. The development team understands just how hellish and frustrating these creatures are, so they helpfully made sure they come in groups of three or four most of the time. In short, soldier ants are bad news.

On the plus side, a helpfully positioned spotted jelly means that soldier ant canít actually reach me (you cannot move diagonally through doorways with intact doors). Running like a child is the better part of valor, and I avoid this like the plague.


Note that my clairvoyance has shown me that thereís something beyond the room. Someday, I might actually take advantage of this. Maybe when I donít value my own skin quite so much.


At last return to dungeon level five, from where I had been lost forever. Weíre finally going to continue our aborted attempt to explore this level.

With my luck, this time the pit trap I fall into will have spikes on the bottom, ending our misery.


It hasnít come out enough in the LP just how much Iíve appreciate having clairvoyance (and thus avoiding having to manually search for passages). It isnít common to get the ability this early, and it has been wonderful.

01-02-2009, 08:14 PM

I find a weapon shop, which interests me very little at this stage in the game. The most amusing aspect of this detour is playing with my new amulet from Sokoban. Itís an amulet of reflection Ė whenever beam attacks (such as magic missile) hit me, they will simply harmlessly bounce right back. This means, for instance, that I can blast a magic missile at a mimic, bounce it off a wall (to hit the mimic again), and then bounce it off of myself (possibly hitting the mimic again). It makes spell battles at close quarters much easier, and can prevent many of the generous methods Nethack provides you to die.


Thatís interesting Ė a small disconnected room. Right now, I donít have a way to mine though. File this one away for later.


Sleeping traps donít affect me because apparently elves (at level four or above) donít sleep.


We ascend the spiral staircase once again, and I discover that herding cats is exactly as much fun as it sounds.


In a sudden burst of holy fervor, I return to my altar to check for curses in my inventory.



One of the odd features of Nethack is dropping rings down sinks. Doing this will cause you to lose the ring forever (in most cases), but gives you a message that, with effective use of spoilers, allows you to identify that type of ring in the future. Obviously itís most useful if you have more than one of that type of ring already. In this case, I use it to identify my two cursed (and thus unlikely to be worth lugging around, as the rings generated as cursed are nearly always unhelpful) rings, finding what a ring of polymorph (which causes you to randomly polymorph into different monster types) and a ring of aggravate monster (which is apparently so noxious that the sink spat it back out).

Weíll have more fun with these wondrous devices later.


Ding! More power.


We go up again, both cats in hand. Note that I didnít spend much time with the altar yet Ė Iíll go into some of the features of these wondrous devices later on.


During my travels, I get ambushed by a ferocious cat. I donít really need another pet right now, but cats are a pain to kill. Instead, I throw my meal at the cat. Note that if you throw food at cats, dogs, or horses that they will not eat (in Nethack, in real life some cats will eat anything, including books), they become peaceful and wonít attack you.

Unfortunately for this kitten, your pets have no compunctions about attacking peaceful monsters as long as they arenít a significantly higher level than your pet. Thus, the kitten is safe from me, but not my jealous companions.

(One of the coldest things I ever did in Nethack was, when a kitten manage to take down my pet little dog, was to take the corpse of my old friend and feed it to the kitten, thus taming the kitten and gaining a new, more powerful follower.)


Remember this? I team up with my cats to take down the mimic. Unfortunately, you have to be really, really careful when using spells in shops Ė you donít want to accidentally hit the shopkeeper.


My coffers full, I buy the boots that I had to leave behind so long ago. To my delight, they turn out to be boots of speed. They do exactly what they sound like, and speed your character up, making it easier for me to attack, and more importantly, to run away.

In some cases, you can even hit a monster, and take a step back before they can hit you. Theyíll close back in, right in time for another hit. (On the other hand, some monsters can and will do that to me, so itís hard to think of this as unfair).


We ascend another dungeon level, leaving Guido the 3rd behind at the moment. For some reason, training to cats to do anything remotely resembling what you want them to do is hard.


I visit the potion store. Iím not buying quite yet, but I take the time to get a price list from our fine shopkeeper friend. I transcribed this to a word document for later. The 400 zorkmid options are the most interesting at the moment.

I do the same with the selling prices for all my potions for later.

Next time Ė Dez explores the gnomish mines, looking for gnomes and mines to eat.

01-02-2009, 10:17 PM
Why didn't you bring both cats and shoplift a bunch of potions? you have the rations to wait it out a while. Too heavy to carry?

01-03-2009, 12:52 AM
Iím going to experiment with the next one or two sections. First off, Iím going to play using tiles for a bit, just to see what people think of it. Secondly, Iím going to stop cropping the screenshots for the time being. Doing that has been rather time consuming so far, distracting for me to look at, and doesnít seem to necessarily add much value. I appreciate any feedback on the format changes people can give me.

I find tiles nearly incomprehensible (tiny bitmaps on gray backgrounds are difficult for my rather poor eyesight to differentiate), so I suspect some sort of own-medicine snark is called for here. As someone who works at a text terminal 95% of the day, though, I suspect that my tastes in visuals are rather nonstandard.

Not cropping the images is just fine, especially if it frees up time for your insightful commentary.

01-03-2009, 01:56 AM
It is fucking impossible to see where your character is on the tileset. That's my main complaint, the character graphics are just too mushy and samey against that background (everything else about them is fine). Cropping might help and gives us a good place to focus our attention.

I was wondering when we'd get to putting things down the sink.

01-03-2009, 03:09 AM
Yeah, I don't like the tileset at all.

Another benefit to the ASCII is that when pointing out monsters and things you could say like "That big red D is a dragon," rather than "That kinda lumpy reddish-brown blob thing is a dragon." Everyone knows what a D is, but I can't tell what most of those pixel creatures are supposed to be.

I wouldn't mind you showcasing some of the more popular tiles though, just to show people what's out there. Have you seen that funky isometric one? Fun place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

01-03-2009, 03:57 AM
Hey got a question here. Do the resistances come in varying levels, or is there just one? What I mean, is that if you had eaten more grey oozes, would you have gotten more acid resistance?

Octopus Prime
01-03-2009, 11:05 AM
Having only played Nethack with tiles before, so am I.

And the thread also convinced me to play Nethack again, for the first time in many a moon.

Damn do I hate Boulders.

01-03-2009, 12:32 PM
Hey got a question here. Do the resistances come in varying levels, or is there just one? What I mean, is that if you had eaten more grey oozes, would you have gotten more acid resistance?

There's just one in Nethack. Once you eat a corpse and gain, say, cold resistance, that's it, you're essentially immune to cold attacks.

The next set will be tiles since it's already done, and then I'll decide again how to continue.

And about shoplifting -- I don't actually shoplift much unless I either have a magic whistle, or the store has something I specifically want. After finishing up the mines, I might go ahead and do it (but by then I hope to simply have polymorphed my pet into something that will eat shopkeepers, thus saving me the trouble). In retrospect, I should have done this, but I didn't think of it.

01-03-2009, 12:37 PM
here's a dumb question-- what is sokuban, and what does it have to do with nethack? are there just random rooms you encounter that have block puzzles in them, or do you have to seek them out?

01-03-2009, 12:52 PM
here's a dumb question-- what is sokuban, and what does it have to do with nethack? are there just random rooms you encounter that have block puzzles in them, or do you have to seek them out?

Sokoban is rather well-described here on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokoban). I used to play a version of it called Boxxle on my original Gameboy. (I got stuck after the first few puzzles. I was a kid. I still suck at Sokoban.)

Sokoban, as part of Nethack, first appeared in SLASH'em (as NetHack is open source, people make custom versions; SLASH'em is one of the longest-lasting, with lots of added stuff--Super Lotsa-Added-Stuff Hack, if I remember correctly, and I refuse to cheat and look it up) and got pulled into the official release by the DevTeam a while back. As to why it's in Nethack ... uh ... because it is. There's a reason that Nethack has sinks. Kitchen sinks, if you get my drift.

I haven't played enough modern Nethack (and am not good enough at it, to be honest) to tell you whether Sokoban is a 'side-dungeon' where you can choose to quest or not or part of the 'main dungeon' that you're "forced" to go through. I put "forced" in quotes not for emphasis; a well-equipped player can skip many (but not all) things you're ostensibly required to do in the game.

EDIT: I did some research after the fact; I forgot that Slash'EM is actually a fork of a fork; SLASH stands for what I described above, and Slash'EM adds Enhanced Magic. SLASH is no longer actively maintained, but Slash'EM is. If you think this sort of thing is complicated, for the love of $DEITY don't investigate Angband, its predecessors or its spawn. Your head asplode.

01-03-2009, 12:53 PM

We then take the path to the dungeon branch we skipped over last time, the Gnomish Mines. Usually I do this earlier in the game, but the limited visible range can make this section very tricky. Moreover, I was short on power Ė a situation that could get me cornered very quickly.

Note that the layout of these dungeon levels is different than the main branch. Instead, these are large cavernous levels, injecting some variety into the game, and as an added bonus, making it much easier to get yourself surrounded, and for monsters to blast you at a range.

One of the problems with my leashes is that due to my boots of speed, I now move faster than my cat will walk. Thus I constantly have to wait for her to catch up, even when sheís actually trying.


Remember the wand of light I found in Sokoban? I can use it here to permanently light up small areas. It can help in high-activity places, but isnít really a substitute for something more permanent.

Then I get stuck in a bear trap. Luckily, Autobahn has my back while I struggle to escape. You can actually disarm bear traps and set them yourself later on, but theyíre very heavy and frankly not worth the effort.


I gain another level. Nethack is designed in such a way that around level 10 Ė 14, it starts becoming nearly impossible to level up through gaining experience, forcing you to use alternative methods.

As an aside, one thing Iíve noticed in this game is that Iím actually playing much better than I generally do. I wonder if the fact that I have to keep pausing to take screenshots, think up commentary, or demonstrate concepts means that I play more cautiously than normal, rather than being more aggressive.


Iím always wary of housepets dealing with monsters wielding weapons Ė this can seriously amp their damage output. Thus, while Autobahn is happily stealing my kills, I dispatch a gnome with great justice.


I then go back upstairs to stash some of my equipment. A blessed 400 blessed gold potion is going to be paralysis, gain ability, or gain level. This is safe to drink right now.

Fortunately, it turns out to be gain ability, increasing each of my non-maximized stats. I stow the other potion for now Ė potions of gain level are more helpful later on.


A gnome dropped of large stack of daggers. Iiiinteresting.


Magic missile abuse is the most wonderful thing of all time.


I manage to find a pick axe, which is even more of a plus. Pick axes allow you to cut through almost any dungeon wall at will. If youíre frustrating at finding secret passages, you can simply start hacking through the rock until you find something. Need a boulder destroyed? The pick axe and blast it to bits without the messiness associated with a spell. Canít find the staircase down? You can cut a hole in the floor to the next level.

Unfortunately, pick axes are also heavy. I find them useful enough to be worth making space for though Ė I like being able the remodel the dungeon how I see fit.

(My absentmindedness killed me again here. I maximized the window again, so I had to crop things down a bit.)


For example, I found an arrow trap that I saw fit to disarm. In previous versions of Nethack, people would simply put on plate mail and move in and out of arrow traps for hours on end, collecting as many arrows as their sanity would allow. The development team came to their senses, and the traps will now run out.

Oh, and also a single poisoned arrow (yes, this has happened before) could kill me.


We descend deeper into the mines. Contrary to my normal custom, Iím not exploring each level entirely at the moment. Instead, Iím going to descend as fast as reasonably possible until I find some sort of light source. Iíll then go back and smoke out anything I missed.


Disaster strikes. In a heartrending typo, I blast a magic missile, hitting Autobahn, and weakening her enough that the savage hill orcs (thatís the ďyou hear some noisesĒ part) finish her off.

I feel genuinely guilty about this.

(Unrelated note Ė when enemies arrange themselves in a neat little line like that, it makes my job much easier.)


I kill the orcs, and find a strange gray stone. I take my despair at my poor cat out on the gray rock, which refuses to move. This is an indication that I donít want to touch it Ė some gray rocks are loadstones, which canít be dropped easily, and weigh you down a great deal.

Of course, if you donít ever pick it up, you canít mark it or name it for the future.


I take an unsuccessful trip back into the main dungeon in order to find Guido the 3rd (who is wisely remaining hidden). I do get a chance to verify that my daggers arenít cursed. This will be fun.

Oh, and my pick axe leads to some interesting possibilities for that room on the lower left.


Well, I am chaotic after all. I help myself to the gold as spoils of war.


I battle a winter wolf cub on the way out, carrying my nice pile of money. My amulet of reflection makes this battle rather silly Ė their attacks simply bounce off.

01-03-2009, 12:55 PM

And now, finally I get to make use of my daggers, which are frankly overpowered. You use the same skill for wielding daggers as for throwing daggers, so you donít have to expend extra skill slots. Unlike darts, arrows, throwing stars, etc, daggers donít have a chance to break, and unlike spears itís quite easy to find them in large quantities. As your skill level increases (and Wizards can get to expert, compounding the problems further), you can throw multiple daggers at a time. This allows me to make the winter wolf into a pincushion.

It was to be ready for dagger throwing that I ditched the quarterstaff Ė and later on, weíll find something to make the weapon type even more powerful. Things will get very interesting very fast now.


I blast my way back upstairs, finally becoming an expert in daggers. This means I can now throw three at a time in certain cases. Just in case my damage output wasnít already sick. And Iím not even using my spells much yet.

Of course, daggers are no defense against stepping into a poisoned pit trap. Iím getting really concerned about this.


Dez checked the chest! Wow! This is a nice chest (but depressingly empty)!


This is a brown pudding Ė an enemy much more dangerous to my equipment than my person. When you hit them in melee combat, they have a chance of dividing.

Some players exploit this to absurd extremes. Theyíll engage in pudding farming by purposely hitting them with the lowest damage output weapon imaginable. Theyíll then methodically cull some of the puddings for their death drops (in Nethack, monsters have a chance of creating an item out of the ether when they die), and their corpses.

The punishment for engaging in pudding farming is, of course, the fact that you have to partake in something so mind meltingly tedious simply to make yourself so powerful that the endgame isnít fun anymore. Whee.

I, not being so inclined, simply fire some magic missiles at it.


Unfortunately, I make a big mistake. You see, cave spider corpses are not poisonous. Giant spider corpses are. I forgot this distinction, and ate a giant spider corpse. My strength promptly dropped four points, and my inventory suddenly became distressfully heavy. It isnít necessarily a game ender, but is very inconvenient. I have got to redouble my efforts to obtain poison resistance.


I take a trip back up to lighten my load for the time being. Hopefully my circumstances will improve enough to recover the stashed non-essentially items later on.


Things do look up Ė welcome to Minetown.

01-03-2009, 12:56 PM

Ravens are scarier than they look. They donít do much damage, but they can peck your eyes out to blind you. While my telepathy will show me thinking monsters, stuff like undead or blobs wonít show up on my radar, so I still take a risk. Thus, I feel justified in blasting a magic missile at the poor bird.


My clairvoyance helpful automaps the area for me, and Iím very thankful that the level is lit this time around. The humanoid figures (without the copious fur) are watchmen Ė peaceful NPCs that wander around and donít do much in particular. Theyíll get mad at you if you wreck the fountains, pick locks too conspicuously, or attack shopkeepers or other watchmen. Of course, they couldnít care less if you get attacked.

Watchmen are mostly a nuisance, and I often go out of the way to feed them to my cats at this stage in the game. They also mean I have to be careful aiming so as not to hit any of them. Thereís also a watch captain thatís more powerful than his underlings.


I enter a temple with a priest of Thoth. The forbidding feeling mentioned in the message queue indicates that this isnít of the same alignment as myself, which means I canít sacrifice upon their altar without annoying the priest. However, I can still use it to check the curse status of my inventory, and I can donate money to the priest later on, in order to buy bonuses to my armor class.


Yet another creature has gotten their hands on a wand of create monster, a situation which can quickly get out of hand. I blast his heart out with my missile, being careful not to hit the priest, and get the wand for myself.


Another winter wolf makes a pathetic attempt to blast through my fortress of reflection. What makes this notable is that I was able to get cold resistance from the corpse of the wolf. This is another feather in my cap (in this case, because the situation wasnít so critical, I used daggers rather than magic missiles to kill the wolf.)


My strength stat is slowly starting to recover, which will ease the pressure on my carrying capacity. I have no idea what I did to be come wiser though (the giant spider incident comes to mind as a counterexample.)


Shopkeepers donít like it when you bring pick axes too obviously in their shop. It isnít trivial, but you can hack through store walls to escape with the merchandise. Honestly though, this is almost never worth the effort, because shopkeepers are tough opponents and there are far more effective ways to loot them.

The most inconvenient thing about this is that you need to find somewhere to leave the pick axe to prevent a monster from grabbing it. The last thing I want to do is give some gnome an even better weapon.


Picking locks can still be done despite the watchmen, but you generally want to avoid having one supervise you while doing this. Even chaotic characters get penalties for killing them, so I donít want more trouble.


A hardware store Ė how intriguing.


Youíd think that talking to the watchmen would lead to some cool Discworld in-jokes. Sadly, this doesnít happen. I was shocked to find out this wasnít the case.


I stash the pick-axe at the temple, not having any better ideas and being too lazy to go put it upstairs where monsters wonít get it. I might buy one of those boxes from the hardware store later on for this purpose Ė monsters wonít open boxes (though gelatinous cubes, a D&D import, will eat them.)


I purchase a key to replace the lock pick I found in Sokoban. Their effects are exactly the same, but keys work faster.


Of course, Nethack still has it in for me. Opening these boxes with my new key to look for more merchandise causes to box to breath fire at me in revenge. I only have cold resistance right now sadly, not fire resistance. The box contained a tin, which I bought in hopes it contained spinach (at the very least, itíll be an easy way to make pet monsters peaceful).


I also kill off the mimic, if only to make navigating around this place a bit simpler.

Thereís one other interesting thing about that hardware store Ė lamps usually cost about ten gold pieces. Here, I theyíre much more expensive. I wonder what that might mean.

Weíll see next time.

01-04-2009, 07:58 AM
Man I wish I could get anywhere close to where you are in Nethack... don't know what it is about it but I just get completely lost in all the commands... But awesome LP so far.

If anyone is interested I stumbled across another Roguelike based off the Dungeon Crawl Roguelike that actually has a really nice tile/windows interface with mouse control for some things found at http://crawl-ref.sourceforge.net/

I actually managed to get a character to level 8 which is amazing considering I die before I'm level 3 in nethack.

01-04-2009, 11:50 PM

In our last episode, Dez hit minetown with its corrupt police force, overpriced shopkeepers, and homicidal gnomes. Today, we continue our quest, and we find out the gnomes dug too greedily and too deep.

After the first few shots, this will be done in ASCII (while my personal preference remains tiles, ASCII does feel more authentically Nethack, and the second round of voting resulted in a tie. This is still something Iím accepting opinions on though.


One of the items I bought at the hardware store was an overly expensive bag. By taking all of a dead dwarfís material possessions, I find out that things get lighter when they are put into the bag. This is a great development.


A bag of holding is a powerful item in Nethack, as it greatly expands your inventory space, and will make our strength issues far less pressing. It does take a turn to shuffle your inventory in and out of the bag though, so youíll want keep essential items (like escape wands, powerful potions, food, etc) on your person. Unfortunately, we donít have portable holes in Nethack (my sources tell me Slashíem does though), so weíll have to sit out the wellspring of D&D comedy springing from putting portable holes in bags of holding and vice versa.

Along these lines, a tip for new players Ė donít put unidentified wands in bags of holding. The results will be tragic.


I get unhappy with my pick axe (and the possessions of the dead dwarf for that matter) sitting out in the open, so I purchase a large box from the hardware store. This also keeps things tidier (moreover, if I get pets again, it prevents them from rearranging my storage units just to annoy me).


Well well wellÖ I seem to have some expensive lamps in my inventory, one of which is blessed.

Moreover, Nethack has a rub command (useful in this situation and absolutely nowhere else).


Thanks Nethack. Thereís an 80% chance that rubbing a blessed magic lamp will give you a wish, a 10% chance the djinni will become your pet, and a 10% chance the djinni will try to kill you.

Coming as a no surprise, I get the one that tries to kill me.


Luckily, the enemy isnít incredibly hard at this point, and bouncing a magic missile through him is once or twice is enough to do him in.

Now, if thatís the blessed lamp, I think Iíll wait on playing with the cursed one.

We then take the downstairs at the left side of the level, going further into the mines. But this time, things are different.


I start out with a heroic charge toward the gnomes, wielding my now-unmagic lamp and hitting him upside the head with it. Uncharacteristically, I realize that I havenít equipped my dagger after the jinni fiasco, and remember to do so before playing for an hour this time.


The black W showcased above was a wraith. Theyíre a fairly tame monsters by Nethackís standards, though they can hit to drain levels (not generally a big deal in this game, but an annoyance.) The most notable things about wraiths are their corpses Ė eating the corpse will cause your character to gain a level. Later on in the game, their one of the easiest ways to improve, and weíll hope to make use of them. The corpses rot after a few turns though, and you canít tin them, so you have to act fast.

The corpses have very little nutritional value, but that doesnít mean you die from overeating if you go for one after a big meal. In fact, choking on a wraith corpse is one of the classic Nethack deaths.

Luckily, this wraith doesnít leave a corpse, sparing me the ignominy.


The blue ď)Ēs are my daggers that Iíve been embedding in the resident dungeon population. While I can throw three at a time, itís not consistent Ė the game has uses an odd routine for deciding how many missile weapons you throw each round you try.

I still have my cursed lamp, so letís activate it.


Like an old lawnmower, you have to try several times to get the bloody thing on, but we preserve and there is now light. This will improve my visibility enormously, and make exploring these dark caverns much quicker.

Note that magical lamps will work as a light source in perpetuity, which is quite valuable (especially later on). However, rubbing them and freeing the inhabitant for a wish (or to commit suicide) turns them into a standard oil lamp, which does burn itself out after some time. One of the more interesting decisions to be made here is whether to rub the lamp and get the chance at a large benefit right away, or to delay this in favor of using it as a light source. In my case, the decision was made for me Ė I donít have an immediate way of uncursing the lamp, so rubbing it would be too dangerous.


The clairvoyance is also helping me as well. Note that Iíve been hitting the magic missiles heavier than I like to Ė Iím only about 50% charged.


I need to take care of some exciting inventory management, so I go back upstairs. My route is blocked by a large ape, which is too dangerous to try and stab to death.


This is the ASCII version of the watch captain. Note that while your pets can generally eat watchmen with impunity, the watch captain generally comes out ahead in fights with a normal pet. Generally this means it isnít worth the risk.

01-04-2009, 11:52 PM

I add some more daggers to my stack, giving me yet another magazine of gnome killing ammo. Daggers really are unbalanced in this game, and I probably shouldnít be allowed to get away with this.


Back downstairs, we encounter another soldier ant, but he doesnít seem to have friends (my ring of warning would have picked them up otherwise). That doesnít mean heís not scary (the poison sting can still insta-kill me).


I manage to magic missile it again, but I still have to be really careful, particularly around ants. Theyíre just too fast and unpredictable.


Remembering to wear my apron this time, I eat the corpse. Nothing wonderful happens, and I still donít have poison resistance (this is actually pretty uncommon for me at this stage in the game.) This is ominous.


Chameleons are interesting creatures (the red ď:Ē Ė they shift between random monsters in the Nethack bestiary. This can lead to odd situations, such as encountering an arch lich on the fifth level of the dungeon Ė at which point, you then learn to your horror that chameleons also gain the strengths of the mimicked monsters. You then either die, or run around long enough for them to turn into something manageable.

In this case, the ring ďprotection from shapeshiftersĒ Iíve been wearing forces chameleons to stay in their base form, rendering them trivial to defeat. This ring has been helping me out more than I expected when I first started out with it. I cover her with daggers and move on.

(Incidentally, chameleons can make certain kinds of pets a pain to manipulate. Eating a chameleon corpse will cause a pet to randomly change into some other monster, and the transformation is generally not going to be in your favor. I hope you enjoy your new pet lichen.)


After getting stuck in yet another bear trap (ironically, there are not, in fact, any bears in this game at all), I finish exploring this level to my satisfaction, and move on to the next one.


This level is lit, thankfully. I start by cutting a swathe through the indigenous gnomish population.


I continue to explore the level, leveraging my awesome dagger artillery to the fullest.


That menacing apostrophe right next to me is a wood golem. This particular genus of golem is more dangerous than his friend the gnome, but that doesnít say much. The most notable thing about them is that they leave a pile of quarterstaffs behind when you kill them. Frankly, I prefer the gold golems (I have fond memories of grinding gold golems in Dragon Warrior when I was young (i.e., about 16. I had something of a retrogaming mid-life crisis when I discovered emulation, and then bought an NES)).

I go down yet another level.


One quick note Ė you have to be careful about how inventory stacking works in this game. Once you check something for whether or not itís cursed, it wonít stack with identical items that havenít been checked yet. Moreover, you can only throw multiple items at a time if you have enough entries in the stack left to doo that. So if I have two daggers in one inventory slot known to be uncursed, and two identical daggers in another slot that are also not cursed (by my character doesnít ďknowĒ that), Iíll be at a disadvantage since Iíll never throw three daggers at a time.

For this reason, you generally donít want to check the status of your large stack of ranged material. That way, when you hoover up other items throughout the dungeon, youíll be able to immediately combine it without having to go visit an altar later on. As is so often the case with good Nethack practice, here you can see me observing this mainly in the breach.


Rock moles are intriguing little monsters. First off, they will happily chomp through the dungeon walls, redecorating the place and making it more open. Second, theyíll eat metallic items, including weapons, rings, and gold. Theyíre not hard to kill, but you never know Ė any time you play, at that very moment, a rock mole might be munching on that precious ring of slow digestion you wanted so badly.


I then fall in yet another pit. Itís instructive to note that while Angband is generally ranked lower in the ďRoguelike Games that Hate YouĒ (redundant, I know) ladder than Nethack, pit traps are much worse in Angband. This is due to the fact that the levels in Angband arenít persistent Ė once you leave, the level vanishes. In many cases, this is helpful because you can always play at a given dungeon level until youíre ready, or use stairs as an escape route (and never see your opponent again). However, this means that you will inevitably see a stack of artifacts and powerful weapons, take one step toward them, and fall into a pit to the next level, seeing the treasure fade away forever.

When the Angband LP is done, Iíll be very disappointed if we donít see this. Almost as disappointed as Iíll be if they donít identify potions by drinking them and seeing what happens (yay potion of death!)


Long worms are apparently a Dune reference, which I havenít read. The ďwĒ is the head of the worm, and the tilde is its tail (which can stretch out quite far). Their glacial movement means that despite their relative sturdiness, it isnít difficult for me to execute them. They leave teeth which you can turn into knives if you are so inclined.

01-04-2009, 11:54 PM

Leocrottas are a mythical donkey-like creature from India that I didnít know about because nobody bothered to put them into a Megaten game yet (this is also how I found out about God).

More pressingly, theyíre very vast and very dangerous Ė they do more damage than you expect, and Iíve had many powerful characters die because they underestimated these beasts. In fact, I think they can outrun me even now, and I donít want to gamble on fighting. SoÖ


I aim my wand of digging downward, and create yet another pit to fall through. I land on top of an indigent gnome in a level with several more monsters, but none as scary.


Things start out badly, as Iím mobbed so badly that theyíre will to sacrifice their comrades in order to fill me with poison arrows (god this game really wants me to feel that gaping hole in my list of resistances.) Oh Nethack, you never cease to amaze me

01-05-2009, 12:36 AM
When the Angband LP is done, I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t see this. Almost as disappointed as I’ll be if they don’t identify potions by drinking them and seeing what happens (yay potion of death!)

Not only have I lost a shitload of artifacts to a pit trap that was in a greater vault, my most humiliating death was running a Wizard who had reached level 30 and use-IDing a potion of death because I was out of mana and didn't feel like resting for a handful of turns.

Hubris. Come to think of it, have you explained use-ID and how it works yet? I know it's not as important in Nethack but it's still a classic roguelike tradition.

01-05-2009, 12:48 AM
Not only have I lost a shitload of artifacts to a pit trap that was in a greater vault, my most humiliating death was running a Wizard who had reached level 30 and use-IDing a potion of death because I was out of mana and didn't feel like resting for a handful of turns.

Hubris. Come to think of it, have you explained use-ID and how it works yet? I know it's not as important in Nethack but it's still a classic roguelike tradition.

I haven't explained it yet, but will try later on. (I can't describe how wonderful it is that I do not seem to have found a single scroll of identify yet.) I generally rely on it mostly for wands and certain kinds of rings though. The problem is of course is that while use-identifying is a Roguelike tradition, so is extraordinarily sadistic game design.

Your situation is the corollary to the low level character selling unidentified potions, and finding out only too late what a potion of augmentation looks like. The only time I seem to get these potions early is if I sell them -- I never find them when I identify everything.

01-05-2009, 12:08 PM
So, a Baby Silver Dragon is a pretty good pet for the early game, right? Ah, the wonders of starting with a Wand of Polymorph and a Ring of Slow Digestion makes for a fun opening.

Unfortunately, that didn't help against the ants.

01-05-2009, 12:43 PM
Man, I hate to go against the expected norm, but I just can't look at the pics in ASCII during this LP (I do try my best though). Count my vote for tiles (for whatever it's worth).

01-05-2009, 01:10 PM
Yeah, my vote for tiles is definite this time. I can do ASCII well enough when I'm playing, but the tiles are easier for me to figure out when I'm looking at a static picture and don't know the context very well.

01-05-2009, 02:45 PM
Oh, I give up. Starting Wednesday or Thursday, I'll use tiles in the thread, and provide a link to an alternate version with ASCII.

01-05-2009, 03:45 PM
Oh, I give up. Starting Wednesday or Thursday, I'll use tiles in the thread, and provide a link to an alternate version with ASCII.

He he.. Or you could just post both side by side and let people decide which one they want to look at.

01-05-2009, 04:22 PM
Didn't he already do that?

01-05-2009, 05:58 PM

Yesterday, I saved the game the trouble by creating my own pit trap to take me to the next level, so desperate was I to escape the leocrotta's claws. Too many ancestors have been killed by these fearsome creatures.


Ignoring the hail of poisoned arrowfire, I struggle towards the exit, blasting a dead zone. Miraculously, the deadly poison didn't kill me.


I see a beautiful woodland unicorn. Like so many video game monsters, unicorns are color coded to tell you if they are benevolent helpful creatures (white unicorns, which I am happy to kill), neutral, aloof creatures (gray unicorns, which I can also kill and which I am facing here), or dark and sinister unicorns (black unicorns, which are my friends). As you suspected, the color is the only thing that distinguishes them.

You can actually improve your luck by throwing gems at a unicorn. Dez is apparently not a maiden, as this one refuses to come near me though. Even bouncing a magic missile around is problematic. Also, you need to be careful Ė unicorns are tough opponents, and meleeing them is an efficient way to die.


My problem is solved, as the unicorn, repulsed as Dezís apparently immodest dress (she has no pants), ends up in a sleeping trap, and is paralyzed while I take potshots at him.


Success! Killing unicorns is a coup, as you get both a unicorn horn (which is also probably overpowered), and their corpse, which is very likely to grant poison resistance.

As you might expect, the corpse doesnít give me poison resistance, and I add yet another black swan to my flock. Itís scary when a game toys with you like this.


However, there are compensations. Unicorn horns, in addition to being able to cure almost any status ailment (including blindness, confusion, stunning, sickness, etc), can also restore stats that have been cut for one reason or another. This allows me to quickly restore my strength back to where it was before the giant spider corpse fiasco.

You don have to be careful with the horns though Ė even when blessed (which improves their efficacy), they arenít guaranteed to work the first time. Thus in true emergencies, you have to be careful (especially with something like sickness where you have only a few turns). Later, Iím hoping to get the cure blindness/sickness/etc spells that provide a more consistent recovery.


Unicorn horns also canít heal wounded legs, which happen if you kick something heavy (like this loadstone, which I was trying to decide about picking up or not). This decreases your speed and carrying capacity, but wears off after a few turns.

At one point, I might just pick up a loadstone, name it, uncurse it, and drop it just so Iíll never have to kick another one.


There. This will make things safer.


The 1s are mimics, pretending to be gems or rocks. They make things irritating, but my ring makes things easier so I donít get surprised.

The bloody stupid sculpter apparently decided that what this dungeon needed was some fungal arrangements to lighten the atmosphere a bit.


Then Iím hit with a boulder. I expect an ancient Aztec artifact for putting up with this.


I finally find a gray stone, in the doorway from southeastern area (the door that leads to nowhere.) This one, as demonstrated by the fact that it moved when I kicked it, isnít a loadstone. More on what it does a bit later, but itíll be enough to say right now that itís what we came for.

This is actually the lowest level of the Gnomish Mines dungeon branch Ė the layout is fixed, so I knew where to look for the treasure. Now that weíve looted it, itís time to go back to minetown.


Remember the Leocrotta that caused me detour? Now that I can pick him off at a range, Iím slightly less scared. Theyíre still devastating, and I wonít be taking them lightly.

01-05-2009, 05:59 PM

I name my gray stone the melodious appellation ďstone1.Ē This is mostly useful when looking at the other useful gray stone.


Speaking of gray stones, I punish my poor leg again. I also pick up a dog, though pets arenít as helpful as Iíd like at this point Ė you can often find polymorph traps in the lower depths of the mines to make them something more powerful.


Here Dez heroically pulls his dog out of the pit that the dog wouldnít have fallen into if he wasnít following Dez in the first place.


Weíre back in minetown for the time being, but Iím not going to do much here.


It turns out my copper wand is ďturn undead,Ē the unloved throwaway ability of priests that has existed as long as D&D has. Turn undead can scare undead (which is pretty useless, because as always, the undead actually vulnerable to it are exactly the undead that you donít need to bother scaring), but it also has another nifty feature which I hope to demonstrate later on.

The white Z is a human zombie, on whom Iím experimenting.


Any potions in a delicatessen (or food shop) will be either booze, fruit juice, or water. Water is always clear potions, and neither booze nor fruit juice have much inherent value. Itís nice to be able to know what they are though, so I know which potions are useless, and that I can rule them out when identifying other things. I also purchase some tins.


Continuing our sick running joke, I still donít manage to get poison resistance. Eating scorpions ought to be worth something, shouldnít it?


The rest of the trip upstairs passes uneventfully, though I lose the dog somewhere along the way. One of the tins I bought contains spinach, which results in increasing my strength to sixteen (the maximum for elves).

Before I continue my epic journey, let us make a trip to the altar. I have a few things I need to finish.


On our way, we find Guido the 3rd, happily having adopted to her new home on dungeon level three. I decide to leave her here without retaming her, keeping at least one of my former pets alive. It will be in very lonely company, unless of course I find a way to transform her from a kitten into something far more lovable, such as an angry black dragon.

01-05-2009, 06:01 PM

Sacrificing in Nethack is killing a monster, dragging its corpse over to an altar before it has rotted too much, and offering it to your pagan god (no, you canít offer partially eaten corpses. Sorry.) The benefits of sacrificing include pleasing your deity if youíve done something really stupid, decreasing how long you have to wait until it is safe to pray again, and increasing your luck.

In this case, because the sacrificed was consumed with no other message, that means that I can pray safely, and that my deity is okay with me. Thatís all I need at the moment, but there will be more.

I then go into the corner of the room and dump my inventory out (Iím having capacity problems again). Iím trying to identify the potions I can safely do without.


Another interesting feature of unicorn horns is that if you dip them into a harmful potion (such as confusion), they will purify that potion into water. This means by dipping a unicorn horn into each potion in my inventory, Iíll be left with potions that are at almost at worst, harmless.

There is a catch though Ė I havenít identified potions of polymorph yet. If I dipped my unicorn horn into one of those, itíd transform the horn into some other tool, and unicorn horns are too important at the moment to risk like that. So first, Iíll dip some amethysts in my inventory into the potions to make sure I donít have any potions of polymorphs. I know the purple gems are amethysts solely because I have six of one kind of purple gem and two of the other. Amethysts, in yet another of Nethacks wonderful special cases, also turn booze into fruit juice, which helps consolidate things further.


I then go to the fountain in the north-western part of the room (near the stairs), and engage in liberal application of pick axes. This results in a destroyed fountain and a pool of water. Not to miss an opportunity, I take off all my clothes, drop almost all my possessions, and jump in with the potions Iíve determined to be useless for a bath. The bottles are filled with water rather than booze or fruit juice, and I have nine clear potions.

In a stroke of genius, I also remember to equip my dagger after finishing my little swim.


My next step is to dump my water on my altar, and to kneel down and pray. My god is well pleased, and uncurses my amulet (I actually didnít know it was cursed, having never bothered to take it off). More importantly, I now have nine bottles of well aged holy water.

Holy water is very important in Nethack Ė dipping something in holy water will cause cursed items to be uncursed, and uncursed items to be blessed. So for instance, I could dip a loadstone in holy water to uncurse it, and be allowed to drop it. Lacking one at the moment, I bless the following Ė

1. My bag of holding. Blessed bags of holding reduce the weight of the items inside by more than uncursed bags of holding.
2. My unicorn horn. Blessed unicorn horns have better odds of healing things faster, and this means that theyíre more likely to work when you need them to.
3. My remaining magic lamp (remember this)? Having done the Gnomish Mines, this opens myself up for a wish.
4. The gray stone I found at the bottom of the mines.

I suppose itís time to explain this stone. One kind of gray stone, guaranteed to be found at the bottom of the Gnomish Mines as a kind of prize, is a luckstone. Normally, changes in your luck will wear off after some time passes. For instance, when I broke a boulder in Sokoban, the penalty to my luck eventually wore off. An uncursed luckstone will stop the effect time has on your luck, so the alterations never wear off. (Note that while you can have both bonuses and penalties to your luck at the same time, theyíre added together and evened out. Thus, you wonít have simultaneously good and bad luck.

Now, blessing my luckstone means two things. First, only bonuses to my luck donít wear off normally Ė penalties will vanish over time. Secondly, you get a boost to your luck simply by having a blessed luckstone in your inventory. This is a great benefit, especially later on.

What make this even more powerful is that one of the easiest ways to increase luck is simply by sacrificing to your deity. It doesnít take that many blood sacrifices before your luck will be maximized for as long as you hold on to your luckstone. Moreover, now I have the food supplies to be able to camp out at this altar longer than I cold before.

The section that follows is incredibly boring. Essentially, it consists of me zapping my two wands of create monster, killing the resulting monsters, and then sacrificing them to my deity. Lather, rinse, and repeat until you stop seeing the four leaf clovers that accompany sacrifices that result in a luck increase.


I prayed earlier, so my first set of sacrifices go toward reducing my prayer counter to zero. Each time you pray successfully, you start a timeout counter. Until the timeout expires, if you pray again, your god will get mad at you. You can either simply run down the clock, or sacrifice monsters. The more powerful the monster, the more it decreases the timeout until it becomes zero again. Until the timeout is zero, you wonít get the other benefits of sacrificing.


This is the point where I start getting luck bonuses, as noted by the clover appearing.

Note here that I sacrificed a Tengu, whose corpses can grant both teleportitis and teleport control. Some people are willing to take a gamble and eat their corpses (teleport control is a very powerful ability), but Iím not willing to take the risk of the endlessly irritating teleportitis at this point. So into the cauldron of despair he goes.


One of the blasts of my wand creates a giant beetle. Eating the corpse causes the game to give in, and finally, finally, finally grant me poison resistance (as indicated by the message ďyou feel especially healthy.Ē) This had degenerated to outright absurdity.

The wand of create monster can also create peaceful monsters, which is unfortunate. Even a chaotic doesnít want to annoy them, and they can play with your inventory or block your aim. In this case, the green @ is another elf, and the ďi" is a quasit. (Note that killing and sacrificing the elf would do interesting things, but Iím not going to risk that yet.)


And finally, I finish what I came for. Next time, weíll play with my new toy. I promise, I have no intention of sacrificing much again -- boredom kills in this game. We'll see some for holy water and to be able to pray again, but I mostly have what I want from my god.

User input time Ė what to do with the magic lamp! Iím taking this seriously, so no wishing for iron chains or a figurine of a succubus. (If I get no feedback, Iíll go with the standby ďblessed greased fixed +2 silver dragon scale mail.Ē)

01-05-2009, 06:02 PM
So, a Baby Silver Dragon is a pretty good pet for the early game, right? Ah, the wonders of starting with a Wand of Polymorph and a Ring of Slow Digestion makes for a fun opening.

Unfortunately, that didn't help against the ants.

Yeah, I love those starts. While I'm morphing my pet, I also try to transform my spellbooks too, in order to diversify my start.

Baby dragons are especially wonderful when they grow up.

01-05-2009, 06:40 PM
a figurine of a succubus

Is... is that a real item? I want that to be a real item.

01-05-2009, 06:56 PM
Well, if you really wanted to, you could wish for some of the artifacts from other classes.

Or a wand of polymorph is always fun.

But I think I'll actually vote for a Blessed Statue of an Archon. Or whatever it's called.

01-05-2009, 09:18 PM
I'd wish for the armor so it gets my vote.

And finally, I finish what I came for. Next time, we’ll play with my new toy. I promise, I have no intention of sacrificing much again -- boredom kills in this game. We'll see some for holy water and to be able to pray again, but I mostly have what I want from my god.
Aww...you're not going to get sacrifice to get Magicbane?

01-05-2009, 09:19 PM
Aww...you're not going to get sacrifice to get Magicbane?

Look at the message window in the final screenshot. :)

01-05-2009, 09:28 PM
Look at the message window in the final screenshot. :)
Excellent, Magicbane is one of my favorite things about wizards.

01-05-2009, 10:45 PM
Peeps are going to have to explain a) Magicbane and b) the significance of the wish.

01-05-2009, 10:52 PM
Peeps are going to have to explain a) Magicbane and b) the significance of the wish.

I planned to detail both of these in the next section -- Magicbane was a sort of cliffhanger.

01-06-2009, 07:22 AM
Wish for your GDSM.

You're going to ascend this character.

01-06-2009, 07:48 AM
Wish for 3 cursed scrolls of genocide...
Blessed Figurine of the Archon

01-06-2009, 10:01 AM
Wish for your GDSM.

You're going to trip over a cockatrice corpse

Fixed that for you. And I'd prefer silver to gray in this case -- I have a cloak of magic resistance and Magicbane already. Silver frees up my amulet slot for something interesting later on.

01-06-2009, 10:14 AM
Fixed that for you. And I'd prefer silver to gray in this case -- I have a cloak of magic resistance and Magicbane already. Silver frees up my amulet slot for something interesting later on.

True enough! Although you have work to do on that cloak unless you want to get grabbed by a ;. =)

01-06-2009, 02:39 PM
True enough! Although you have work to do on that cloak unless you want to get grabbed by a ;. =)

Warning -- Nethack jargon where I don't even attempt to explain anything yet.

Actually, ;s aren't a big deal. In watery levels they inhabit, if I do find an oilskin cloak, I can always use it as a swap, relying on Magicbane for my resistance. Freeing up the amulet slot also means that I can use ESP to find them early, or just wear an amulet of magical breathing to oblivate the whole bloody problem.

My experience is that because Wizards are so strong once their early game is over, they don't have big problems with aquatic creatures. They can detect them early (using detect monsters, ESP, etc), and fight at a range, especially if I get cone of cold, teleport away, etc.

01-06-2009, 03:24 PM
My experience is that because Wizards are so strong once their early game is over, they don't have big problems with aquatic creatures. They can detect them early (using detect monsters, ESP, etc), and fight at a range, especially if I get cone of cold, teleport away, etc.
Cone of Cold is so much fun on those levels. Bawhoosh! Instant icebergs!

01-06-2009, 03:41 PM
Pretty much all characters are overpowered by the mid-game. If I have the four biggies (magic resistance, reflection, poison resistance, bag of holding) before my quest level I know I'll touch the amulet. (Providing I don't die of boredom in Gehenna.)

01-06-2009, 03:57 PM
Oooohhhh.....so many things to wish for:

finger of death if this were later game. magic marker. but yes, the +2 B/G/F GDSM is the best option, and basically the guaranteed first wish from everyone.

....unless you two-hand, in which case Grayswandir is quite sexy, and best to wish for early before you get too many artifacts in the game otherwise.

01-07-2009, 12:13 AM
As I promised, the ASCII version is located http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP07aASCII.htm for those purists among you.

The tile version is http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP07aTiles.htm .

Note that I'm terrible with HTML, and used Microsoft Word to generate those.


The last time we were here, we killed a lot of monsters, and sacrificed their warm corpses on the black altar to my pagan god in a blood ritual that wasnít nearly as interesting as it sounds like it should be. I finally received my reward, the athame named Magicbane.

Artifacts in Nethack are weapons (and normal artifacts are always weapons) with special properties. Some can be found simply by naming the proper item (naming an elven dagger ďStingĒ actually transforms it into an artifact), these arenít all that powerful (there are also benefits to keeping the number of artifacts generated in the game as low as possible.) On very rare occasions (though it has happened to me a few times), an artifact will simply be generated randomly in the dungeon for you to pick up. Much later in the game, some monsters will be carrying specific artifact swords if they havenít been created yet.

Like some classes, there is a specific artifact Wizards have set for them to be their very first gift, the athame Magicbane. Athames are apparently some sort of object used in rituals, and are considered to be daggers as far as skills are concerned. Magicbane doesnít do a whole lot of damage, but it has some properties that make it a very powerful first gift.

First off, I can engrave ďElberethĒ in one turn without damaging my weapon, which acts as a safety valve (especially if youíre short on ways to burn your message into the ground.) Magicbane also does more damage per hit than conventional daggers. The artifact also provides artifact resistance when wielded Ė this is helpful if my cloak gets damaged or destroyed. Later on, monsters will start throwing curses at me, which Magicbane will block. Finally, when you hit monsters with this artifact, youíll get a random magical effect (such as scaring the monster.) Getting Magicbane is quite a big step on your path to victory.

Now, some people will continue sacrificing at this point so they have one weapon for combat and then use Magicbane while exploring. I donít have the patience to do that, so my plan is to sacrifice enough that I can pray again, and weíll continue our quest from there.


Luckily, this conga line of giant rats will make things pretty fast, and I doubt this will take long.


See? Note that because youíre sacrificing nearly all of your corpses, you donít want to play with altars until you have a strong food supply. Having artifacts, luck, and holy water is so attractive in the early game that I used to starve characters rather than diving.

Now, about that other magic lamp.


Players in Nethack can, under certain circumstances, get wishes. One common early source is a magic lamp. Sometimes, youíll find genies in bottles (but this is less reliable.) If you drink fountains or sit on thrones, you also have a chance for wishes (though itís also rather dangerous.) Of course, the most powerful source of wishes are wands of wishing, which can give you multiples.

Contrary to every expectation, Nethack doesnít follow the D&D tradition of using wishes as a method to screw up the player in the most devious ways imaginable Ė theyíre essentially played straight. If you wish for sliver dragon scales, youíll get silver dragon scales, and not, say, silver dragon scales being worn by an angry silver dragon.

You can wish for nearly every item in Nethack, with surprisingly few provisos. One is that if an item has bonuses, the higher bonus you wish for, the lower your chance of actually getting it is (+2 is usually considered the best compromise.) You can wish for artifacts, but your chances of getting the artifact go down each time Ė my experience has been that during normal gameplay, this isnít worth the effort (certain kinds of artifacts that you arenít suppose to have will make this point by trying to kill you.) Generally you canít wish for more than one or two items at a time, though there are items that (for good reason) break this rule. And no, you canít wish for the amulet of Yendor (the item we came to this dungeon to find in the first place), nor the items critical for getting the amulet.

Early in the game, wishes can radically change your course because of the power level of the items you can get. Some of the better plays wish for tins of green dragon meat Ė it seems trivial, but itís a guaranteed way to get poison resistance. Others will wish for powerful spellbooks or amulets of life saving (if you die while wearing one, it disengages and resurrects you.)

After thinking about this, I decided to go with an illustrious Nethack tradition, silver dragon scale mail. This is light armor that provides intrinsic reflection (allowing me to use another amulet when I find one) and huge bonuses to my AC, all with no penalty to spellcasting. The survivability aspect to a character class that has trouble finding usable armor is just too attractive. Other people in the thread suggested gray dragon scale mail (usually the right choice), but this just didnít make sense to me. I already have my cloak of magic resistance and Magicbane providing me that particular ability. Silver will free up my amulet slot later on.

I considered a blessed figurine of an archon (which, when applied, would create a pet archon), and that finished in a strong second (tied with a spellbook of identify.) I decided against it for a few reasons. A big one was the chance that the archon wouldnít be friendly, resulting in a wasted wish. Itíd also make pet management trickier, since I could never afford to leave it alone Ė pets that donít eat go feral very easily. Since I donít have a magic whistle, it could result in delays while I drag my pet to the downstairs.


Note that my AC went from eight to negative three. This makes me much harder to hit, and will make meleeing much safer. I wonít have to rely on magic missile quite so much.


Before proceeding further, I store some of my unused items. Iíll certainly come back to this level later on.


The first order of business is actually to proceed upward Ė I want to buy the potion of gain ability now that I have holy water to make full use out of it.


Iím stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. I need one more point of dexterity and several more points of charisma (Dezís lack of charisma hasnít been keeping me up at night, but there are a few benefits. Itís not like I have to actually make a choice about which stats to increase.)


Rope golems, unlike their siblings the other golems, donít leave anything behind when they are destroyed. Unfortunately, theyíre pretty dangerous opponents Ė they can choke you and prevent you from running away. I resort to further missiles and reduce it to twine.

My descent continues.


I stop at the Oracle level (the spell failures in the message box are me trying to practice detect unseen Ė itíd be a great spell if it werenít for my 50% failure rate) to engage in some recreational vandalism. If you destroy statues (either with the spell force bolt or my pick axe), thereís a chance (which improves the deeper you go) to find a spellbook inside. This is apparently a reference to another Roguelike titled ďLarn,Ē and where Larn got the idea from I have no idea.


After finishing my work, I hop up the stairs for a quiet place to read. The single spellbook I found contains ďjumping.Ē The spell of jumping allows you to jump to a visible square with an unobstructed line of sight and within a radius determined by your skill level in escape spells. This can be used to escape from sticky situations when necessary, but itís rather unattractive with my low rate of power regeneration. Itís also good for practicing the escape spell school, which includes some very attractive high-level magic.

As you might expect, the ďknightĒ character class has the built in ability to jump. Yes, knights jump in an L like the chess piece.

It could have been far worse.


You might remember that during our first trip here, this room contained an army of soldier ants. Iím still not willing to melee them, so I instead waited one spot northwest of the doorway for the ant to come directly southeast of me and the doorway, and thus in range of a magic missile. The spotted jelly directly in front of the doorway meant that the ants couldnít go after me directly.

01-07-2009, 12:14 AM

I go down further, and get hit by an orc using poisoned weapons. Iím almost tempted to just keep standing here just to show off the fact that I donít fear him anymore. On fear of him simply pulling out a wand of death, I demure and throw some daggers.


Speaking of our old enemies, I also take the chance to zap some leocrottas and eat them. Sadly, this doesnít confer any benefits, but it is satisfying.


This is just the game taunting me, showing me how it could have had the chest blow up and kill me. But it didnít, and just wants to keep me on my toes. The chest contains another mysterious gray stone.

All right, I have the holy water now and Iím sick of breaking my leg every time I see one of those god forsaken rocks. Letís tear the band-aid off, and go for it.


Yep, a loadstone. Identifying stones inside chests is very difficult, and I wanted to do this anyhow.


I dip the loadstone in holy water, allowing me to drop it. Note that if I picked it up, it would automatically curse itself again.

Later on, I might transform myself into a rock mole to eat it.


On the next floor, I see a shop closed for inventory with its door locked. This happens every now and then, and if you simply unlock the door, youíll be fine. However, itís very easy to miss the message on the doormat when cruising through the dungeon, and simply kick the door down. This will cause the shopkeeper to get unhappy with you. Now, if you have visible gold, they might let you ďpay me for the door repairsĒ and let you live. Otherwise, you just have to run away. Iíve lost several characters to angry shopkeepers by not paying attention to this.


I unlock the door and waltz on in (when grocery stores are closed to inventory, they donít react nearly so well to me picking the lock so I can buy something.) This is another potion shop. I record the price list, and buy two more blessed potions of gain ability (I was lucky in that they were blessed to begin with Ė no holy water necessary.) All of my stats are now maximized save for charisma.


We can now add ďdoorsĒ to our list of nemeses.


I really donít like the way that party of monsters in the southeast corner is looking. Weíll try to go around it for the time being (note my low power level.) Later on, weíll get better crowd control spells and this will be a breeze.


I find a crested helmet on the ground. At this point, Iíd normally just check to see if itís cursed and if not, wear it to see what happens. Unfortunately, thereís one specific helmet that automatically curses itself (among other things) if you put it on, so you have to be careful. At this point, Iíll just dump it in my bag of holding until I can identify it more fully. There are a few really useful kinds of headgear, so the extra weight is worth it. However, given that I havenít yet found a single verified scroll of identify, this could be awhile.


I encounter a yellow light, which helpful blinds me, thus activating my telepathy and showing me the wild monsters in perfect formation in the southeast. I donít think I want to go that way yet.


The black unicorn is a welcome change (the black color coding means that itís peaceful. I try half-heartedly to get it positioned to throw gems at, but it counters my efforts (your best bet is getting it stuck in a hallway.) If I had more magic, Iíd try using the jumping spell to improve my position, but not now.


I nip around the top, careful to avoid anything that looks like a fight (this really isnít like me at all.)

Note that seeing rocks on the ground like this is a good indication you should search hard before moving Ė it usually indicates the presence of a rock trap and an unfortunate monster meeting his end there.


Two sinks on one level. Donít worry, I promise that weíll be having fun with sinks very, very soon.

01-07-2009, 12:15 AM

Oh god, not again. This time, rather than the themed throne room I skipped before, we got to see a whole variety pack of dangerous monsters, starting with a helping of fire ants. This room is extremely dangerous, and I really donít want to deal with it either.

Later on, Iíll make a key for which monsters are what, but all you need to know for now is that theyíre bad news.


Fortunately, the monsters start out asleep, so after dealing with the fire ants and a few other unusually alert monsters, I manage to slip away.

Unfortunately, there are no paths to the staircase that donít involve going into that room and killing monsters.

Fortunately, I can make my own paths with my pick axe. Apparently, boring large holes in the wall isnít enough to wake up these monsters.


Further do I descend. Maybe weíll stop running into giant armies of monsters. Or, maybe Iíll just stop running away from them.


Remember doors, one of my new dungeon hazards?

Add floors to that list. Nethack is a veritable no-mans land.

Now that Iíve identified loadstones, land mines have also taken care of the important task of breaking my legs.


Generally the message ďVlad was hereĒ indicates a door leading to a hole somewhere. Later, weíll meet Vlad.

The jelly monster near me is surprisingly deadly Ė Iíve had powerful characters devoured by these guys. They do acid damage, which you have to wear special equipment to resist, and can engulf you to prevent you from escaping. Fighting them is also hard Ė meleeing them with Magicbane would expose me to the acid, and the jelly could corrode my daggers.

Luckily, there are always magic missiles. I eat the jelly and descend further.


Wait, what? Iím getting a telepathic message? From an NPC?

Nethack has NPCs?

And whatís this about a Öic transporter?

I wander around aimlessly, and receive fall into a portal (the blue one, the orange one is on the other side.)



Iím not sure I like this ďplace that isnít a dungeonĒ in my dungeon crawling. However, I press onward. We have some random clouds and a large body of water (the red thing on the east side is the portal, it takes me between this world and the dungeon.)

The corpses were my idea.

Note that there are two little ghosts west of me. One is a harmless manes Ė even level one characters could eat them. The other is a lemure Ė a high leveled undead ghost-like thing that can take a lot of damage and drain my levels away.

(The card game Magic the Gathering was intended to include a lemure in the Ice Age set, but the artist got confused, and drew a lemur instead. Frankly, it made the card more memorable, and much more adorable. http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/arcana/340 )


The giant mass of rock to the left is actually the tower. Note that the black parts arenít unexplored. Theyíre just the masses of darkness to show how evil things are.


It has a cool throne in it though. But not visible doors in it. You might think it should be opened with sheer magic, but no.


It was opened with a pick axe. Unfortunately, this involved systematically hacking at every wall to try to find one that breaks. And yes, there was just one Ė every other wall in the building is indestructible.


My wonderful quest leader then examines me to determine my suitability.


I measure up so badly that I was ejected from my world and told to become less worthless. I need to become level fourteen. Iím level eleven. And as I mentioned, you canít grind for EXP to any useful extent in Nethack.

So, rather than making war, Iíll embrace the alternative. And no, it doesnít involve ceasing to run away screaming from monsters.


I find a giant and promptly eat it. My strength has actually been maximized, so it serves no purpose. (strength at eighteen for non-elves actually works on that horrid percentile system from D&D, so characters can continue to gain until they are in the highest one percent of characters with eighteen strength. This requires a lot of giants, and I am glad to be spared the atrocity.

Moreover, I shouldnít have tasted it -- there was a very high chance the corpse would be a problem.

Giants only occur normally in flavors Ė fire giants, frost giants, storm giants, stone giants, etc (Iím sure they missed an element somewhere. No wood giants?) If you see just a vanilla giant corpse, it wasnít from a living giant Ė it came from undead giants, like a giant mummy. Thus, this corpse was probably a giant zombie, and eating it was probably not my best move. Somehow, I emerge unscathed.

Next time, Dez will later push her luck still further with a little something I call ďcockatrice egg omelets.Ē

01-07-2009, 01:40 PM
On my first ascension I had to make do with elven chain until I got to the Castle, whereupon I promptly wished up my +2 GDSM. I think I had a cloak of magic resistance but prefered to go with displacement instead, giving me displacement/magic resistance/reflection (from the amulet).

Amulets of life-saving are nice, but they aren't a substitute for playing well.

My second ascension I played a Caveman who actually found everything on his own and had no wants by the time he found the wand in the Castle. Even made his own GDSM, though he just wore the scales for a while. I think he ended up using most of his wishes on magic markers for enchant weapon/armor scrolls.

No, wait, one wish was for a T-shirt.

01-07-2009, 02:05 PM
I played a Caveman

Secret best class.

01-07-2009, 02:08 PM
Secret best class.

Not really. It actually sucked a great damn deal.

Archaeologist on the other hand was an awesome class, especially to learn the game with. I feel like I learned a lot of very useful tactics that people who start out with Wizard or Samurai or Valkyrie don't. (But maybe I'm just deluding myself.)

01-07-2009, 06:56 PM
Like last time --

ASCII Link: http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP07bASCII.htm
Tiles Link: http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP07bTiles.htm

In our last episode, we had a near death experience with a giant corpse far deadlier than the giant itself had ever been. Thus, we've decided it's a good time to find religion.


While temples can always be found in Minetown, they also occur in the wild on the deeper dungeon levels. Again, we have a priest with an alignment different than mine, so no sacrificing on this altar.

Later weíll kill the priest and sacrifice him on his own altar. Being chaotic is awesome.


First though, I give the priest a large pile of money. He repays me by improving my armor class by three. Priests donít care which alignment you are as long as you give them money, youíll get AC.

I can still use the altar to check my inventoryís curse status too, and do so.


My next stop is a jewelry store, where they sell rings, glass fraudulently sold as gems, mimics sold as something that wonít try to kill you.

Now, rings can be very good, but the problem remains that I still donít have a freaking means of identification (seriously, itís the most common scroll in the game.)

What other methods reveal themselves to us? I pile up all the rings, record the prices, and pick up every ring with a duplicate (including copies of rings already in my inventory.)


I then dump all the rings down the sink and see what they do. This is called ďthrowing money down the drain,Ē but less efficiently. If anything useful comes up, I can buy their counterparts in the shop (which is why I didnít take unique rings.)

Sustain ability is good in the early game (it prevents your stats from changing, so you can wear it while eating poisonous corpses to prevent strength loss,) but not worth much after you find a unicorn horn.


Regeneration is very good, and I might buy this. Iíd definitely have gotten it were it not for the scale mail. Regeneration significantly increases food consumption, but makes recovering HP much faster. Especially in the wizard early game, Iíve appreciated it a lot Ė it means you get better quickly while running away.

The food consumption thing hasnít been obvious, but for most of the time Iíve been able to get enough food just by corpses laying around, so much that Iím usually about to become satiated. In any case, the situations Iím concerned about generally murder me fast enough that my HP wouldnít have time to regenerate.

If only I found something to regenerate spell energy faster.


This is a ring of polymorph control. If you polymorph yourself while wearing it, you get to choose what you polymorph into. I plan to play with this later, but itís of limited useful right now. Since I have magic resistance and protection from shape changers, polymorph isnít something scary to me, and polymorphing myself isnít on the radar for quite some time.


I screenshotted this one just because I found the sink eating things amusing. Rings of hunger do exactly what they sound like they do.

Okay, so none of the rings are game changers (the prices indicate that the most important rings arenít in this store.) Unhappy, I take my rage out on the hapless sink, kicking it so rapidly that you think Iím Chun Lee.


Now, what would you expect to happen if you kicked a sink?

Yes, thatís right, an incubus has come out to play. Please note that the next section is NSFW.


I take off all of my clothes, and lie with the incubus. It immediately takes me to level thirteen, another step on my road to maturity (note that level 13 required me to double my existing XP normally.)

Yes, this is exactly how I plan to get myself to level fourteen. Now we just need to put our clothes back on, find this guy, and do it (him) again.

Succubi and incubi are very amusing aspects of Nethack. Essentially, they can seduce you for various effects, some positive, some negative. If you do get seduced, all your clothing gets removed (this means itís a bad idea while surrounded by powerful monsters to take a little siesta.) Females can only be seduced by incubi and males by succubi (yes, there is a sexual orientation patch that changes this.) Later on, I might use an amulet of change to change my sex temporarily in order to exhaust all the succubi in the dungeon once Iíve run out of incubi.

The encounter is controlled by my charisma and intelligence. For each article of clothing, you have a chance of your charisma divided by twenty that your lover will ask before taking them off. Moreover, the higher your charisma, the less likely it is that youíll have to pay for the encounter.

The probability that the intimacy turns out positively is affected by the sum of charisma and intelligence Ė itís equal to (Intelligence + Charisma + 1)/35. Thus, I need one more point of charisma (or something boosting my intelligence further) to always be satisfied, but my odds are excellent already. Wizards make out like bandits at this part.

After the encounter, the paramour teleports away, and gets a headache. While theyíre with a headache, theyíll simply attack you rather than do anything nice. You just have to wait it out at this point.

There are multiple effects of the encounter. Positive effects includes increasing my constitution, wisdom, and refilling my HP. Even better, they can also both refill and increase my power, and increase my level. The negative effects are the reverse of the above Ė decreasing the status, draining your magic, and decreasing your level. Note that all but draining your magic are pretty easily reversed, and unlikely at this point.

This, and other public service announcements about these public displays of affection can be found at http://www.nethack.de/spoiler330/succubi.txt .

Yes, Nethack combined dating games and long tedious random dungeons that all look the same before Tartarus was even a glimmer in your eyes.


After the encounter, I suit back up and attack the gold golem while waiting for a few more rounds. Touching things after an encounter removes your armor is one of the classic Nethack ways to die.


Yes, yes, now I have to find something else to do while waiting for him to recover his libido. Otherwise I could accidentally kill him.


Yes, I hit the 1/35 chance of a bad effect, and it decided to be the effect most devastating to me. Now I get to wait around while my energy returns to the proper levels.


Affair number three.


I descend another dungeon level for awhile to recharge for a bit and look for anything interesting. Early results donít look good.

01-07-2009, 06:58 PM

So I give up and go back upstairs. I see fire giants, inspiring me to kill and eat them. In addition to boosting strength if applicable, I can also receive fire resistance from fire giants, and do (surprisingly) on my first try.

Giants can carry around and throw boulders at you. One way to damage your luck in Sokoban is to polymorph into a giant and move in between boulders to push them (you canít pick boulders in Sokoban up.) However, you can, without penalty, summon giants or turn into a giant, go down into the dungeon proper, pick up a boulder, and then use that in Sokoban.


Paydirt. Not only did I gain my fourteenth level, I got my power restored. Thatís all we need, enough with this vale of tears.


Your quest is a set of levels unique to your class where you accept a mission to regain a powerful artifact from a powerful being that has stolen it. Each class has their own set of levels, artifact, leader, and nemesis. Finishing the quest is required to beat the game.


In the case of the Wizard, even if it wasnít required, thereís no way in hell I would pass it up. Letís go to the tower of darkness!

Special tip Ė donít kill your quest leader (especially before you finish the quest.) It will not end well. However, one of my favorite hobbies is feeding the friends of the quest leader ambling aimlessly around to pets Ė they often have useful equipment.


I find two spellbooks in the chest, and lock myself in to read them.


I get the spells of cure sickness, wizard lock, and cancellation. Cancellation is too hard for me to cast right now, but will be strong when we improve our abilities with matter spells. Cure sickness has a forty percent failure rate, but the fact that sickness tends to kill you so quickly means that such a rate isnít quite acceptable. It can be used for improving healing spells enough to get to basic level, and thus able to cast it perfectly.

Wizard lock will lock a given door, and can even create doors out of nothingness solely for the purpose of locking them. Itís of marginal utility (though it can be helpful if youíre trying to seal off an area to do something slightly dangerous, like playing in pools of water to dilute potions.) The best thing about it is that itís a matter spell, and thus I can use it as a springboard for improving that school (for one thing, this could allow me to cancellation, and later on, polymorph.)


We stash the books near the stairs and start to dive (yes, you go down to get to the tower of darkness.)


Yes, yes, I actually went from the encounter with the incubus directly to my quest leader utterly naked. Iím sure that made a positive impression on them and all those apprentices in the middle of the tower. ďThis was a very educational experience.Ē

Iíve got to be a bit less absentminded.


I find a wand of speed monster, and immediately zap it at myself. It has no immediate effects, but increased my natural speed. Thus if I end up swapping out the speed boots temporarily later on, my character will still be fast, though not quite as fast.


This actually doesnít mean much, there are more dungeon levels to go.


Oh good, another cloudy outdoors level. I kill the tengus and bats endemic to the wizard quest and continue forth.


I score with a spellbook of light. In addition to the nice effect of permanently lighting whichever areas I cast it, it also quickly increases my divination (and that spell school is spectacular.) Iíve been hoping for this.


Sick of not having identify, I read the scroll I have the most of, and detect all the food on the level. Well, Iím glad I can now detect food. Anyhow, no other possible candidates present themselves.

The very first wish I ever received in Nethack was used on a scroll of identify, five years ago.

(To the ASCII people Ė sorry, Iíve done my best, but only managed a tile version of this shot.)

01-07-2009, 07:00 PM

Yes, once again I had to try every single bloody wall before I found the one place with a secret door that I could break through. Being a master of arcane forces isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.


In case it wasn’t obvious, breaking through this part of the tower (or hole in the ground, because the staircases still go downward) was really bloody tedious.


We descend into another dungeon-like quest level, and play with a uranium wand (which I’ve been told has no long-term effect on your health.) It turns to be slow monster, which isn’t really worth the weight at this point.

I encounter a xorn, which are fun enemies that move through walls and can eat rocky objects. I zap him to death.


I find a gray spellbook, but it causes me great pain to read (indicating it’s probably cursed.) We’ll pick it up on our way back and uncurse it to see if it’s something interesting.


On a happier note, I find a wand of lightning. It can also burn the word Elbereth into the ground, and hits harder than wands of fire. This is a great find.


This is, I believe, the last dungeon level where the enemy resides. My strategy is to mainly attack and scurry up the stairs to heal whenever things look remotely scary.

Of course, the outcome of our courageous stand won't be revealed until next time. I can tell you right now though, it's scary. But if I prevail, well, let us just say that Dez won't have to wait until the end to become a demi-goddess.

01-07-2009, 08:54 PM
I don't think they've been mentioned yet, but with all the hoohah over tiles, the Vulture (http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Vulture%27s) branch might be interesting to some (heretical, blasphemous) folk.

Ample Vigour
01-07-2009, 09:17 PM
I don't think they've been mentioned yet, but with all the hoohah over tiles, the Vulture (http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Vulture%27s) branch might be interesting to some (heretical, blasphemous) folk.


I've never gotten past the gnome village in nethack, so this is all pretty intimidating stuff to me.

01-07-2009, 10:24 PM
I don't think they've been mentioned yet, but with all the hoohah over tiles, the Vulture (http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Vulture%27s) branch might be interesting to some (heretical, blasphemous) folk.
I am a ASCII partisan but if you're ASCII-llergic then I'd say Vulture's is a far better choice than most of the tilesets (the exception being Geoduck's tileset (http://www.olywa.net/cook/nhack.htm) that Bongo Bill pointed out, because that tileset is really good).

01-08-2009, 03:10 AM
I love this LP, I have no mind or patience for the dozen hundred arcane things there are to do in this game but it's fun to see in action.

01-08-2009, 07:47 AM
Last night, I had a nightmare that Dez got killed by a poisoned arrow, and I got the dreaded message -- "Do you want your possessions identified?" It took me awhile to convince myself it didn't happen.

Some people dream in black and white. I dream in ASCII.

01-08-2009, 07:48 AM
Some people dream in black and white. I dream in ASCII.

'spect knux

Also I approve of the suggestion of trying out different tilesets. I mean, as long as we're being unauthentic anyway...

01-08-2009, 09:07 AM
For those of us not in the know (i.e. me), how far is Dez in the game at this point?

01-08-2009, 09:23 AM
For those of us not in the know (i.e. me), how far is Dez in the game at this point?

Depends on how you look at it. In terms of actual amount of dungeon traversed, still pretty early. (There are 50-ish levels.)

In terms of gameplay, pretty far. Netbrian is ridiculously well-equipped and has a lot of important intrinsics. Typically you don't want to descend down into the second half of the dungeon without magic/poison/fire resistance, some form of telepathy, reflection, and a negative AC. Our intrepid Dez has all that plus some other neat toys. Wait until you see what she gets at the end of her Quest.

What typically happens is the early game is a ridiculous uphill climb to get all your ducks in a row, then once you get them it's about 30 dungeon levels of mind-numbing tedium, then an incredibly exhilirating endgame sequence.

01-08-2009, 04:15 PM
We're already farther than *I've* ever gotten, that's for sure. Hooray for resistances.

01-08-2009, 04:33 PM
Wizards (and Valkyries) are basically all but unstoppable if they survive their class quests. Valks get max strength and Mojolnir (think by the Hammer of Thor, which returns to your hand when thrown, so you melee and ranged with the same thing). Wizards get a TON of new spellbooks (which cannot be emphasized enough; Netbrian has nearly tripled his arsenal of spells even before fighting the last boss) and the Eye which...you'll see.

Rangers too. That was the third and last class i ascended. You get the Bow of Diana...which magically creates arrows of random enchantment every hundred or so turns.

Having a quiver of 500 +6 blessed arrows and shooting three at a time is even more broken than the multiple-dagger throw (i carry so many because they often break, and dont' want to enchant all over again and risk the new arrows not stacking)

01-08-2009, 04:59 PM
Last night, I had a nightmare that Dez got killed by a poisoned arrow, and I got the dreaded message -- "Do you want your possessions identified?" It took me awhile to convince myself it didn't happen.

Some people dream in black and white. I dream in ASCII.

I wonder if there's ever been a serious (by which I mean obsessed with completing a run) roguelike player who didn't have a dream like that.

01-08-2009, 08:55 PM
Basically, barring bad luck and stupid errors, this is an ascension if he finished the class quest boss. Congrats!

01-10-2009, 02:24 PM
I'm enjoying this LP quite a bit. It's tempting me to try this game out, but I'm not sure I have the time to dedicate towards learning all the intricacies I'd need to actually have a chance at beating it. I do love this window into the complexities of the game through someone who knows all about it.

01-11-2009, 07:51 AM
I just read this whole LP in one sitting, and I'm completely sold. I know I don't have the free time to play this damn game myself, but reading it has been amazingly entertaining. I'd also be in favor of seeing the Vulture mod in action. Thanks Netbrian!

01-13-2009, 08:05 PM
Well, Iím back. Weíre about to face the perilous quest. If we win, a powerful game-changing artifact will be ours.

As usual, the different versions for purists --

ASCII -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/NethackLP08aA.htm
Tiles -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/NethackLP08aT.htm


Wait a minute. Who is Lyll? What happened to Dez? Actually, wasnít Dez about to finish the quest?

Well, erm, letís back up a bit.

Ē Basically, barring bad luck and stupid errors, this is an ascension if he finished the class quest boss. Congrats!Ē


I think this falls under the ďreally, really stupid errorsĒ category. Remember what I said happens if you overeat in Nethack?

Yes. You die.

Whatís the best way to describe this experience? Well, this is Talking Time, so Iíll assume youíve all played Persona 3. This is best compared to the final boss of that game, which has a fiendish tendency to, hours into the battle, inflict you all with charm and instantly kill you. It feels kind of like that.

The exception being, of course, that it takes longer to beat the final boss of Persona 3 than it does to beat most of Nethack itself.

So, the last several days have been spent playing through Nethack characters (with an infant mortality higher than a 10th century peasant), trying to get one to where Dez was. Originally I took screenshots of their progress, but as the death toll grew, I gave up. You didnít miss much Ė ever seen someone start with a ring of conflict, a ring of slow digestion, and a spellbook of identify get eaten by a unicorn? I have.


So, finally, I created Lyll, named after the awesome character in Legacy of the Wizard. She had the same unassuming start as Dez, her second spell being Wizard Lock and no useful rings. However, she managed to triumph, and clawed her way back to where we left off.

After this experience, all I can say is that I think games where the death mechanic is ďbump you back to your last saveĒ is incredibly generous.


Lyll races through her dungeon, heedless of the danger before her.

The first thing you might notice is that Lyllís strength is twenty-five, well above the Elvish maximum. This is because Lyll wears gauntlets of power (appropriate for a Legacy of the Wizard character), which boost your strength, but interfere with spellcasting.

That brings us to another one of the differences between the two sisters. Unlike Dez, Lyll still hasnít found a spellbook of magic missile, which is the essential Wizard spell. This means that Lyll relies much more on melee combat and throwing daggers, even now. Due to this, the trade-off the gauntlets offer is more attractive than it otherwise would be. They offer significant bonuses to carrying capacity, melee damage and missile damage. And make it easier to kick things.


There we go, back here again. This place is filled with vampire bats. Lyll didnít have much trouble getting poison resistance, but she will have to deal with the bats hand to hand.


It doesnít take long. Whenever Iím not satiated (yes, I learn from my mistakes), I eat the vampire bat corpses. The less food I have to carry, the better.


The Wizard quest includes several peaceful prisoners. Even as a chaotic, I get no benefit from killing and eating them, but I still feel obliged to let them out. Unfortunately, I have no idea who ďNewt the WizardĒ is, or what itís a reference to.

I approach the lair of the boss, the dark one. After this horrific battle behind me, I can only guess whatís ahead Ė the last time I fought him was truly epic, going up and down levels as I slowly, slowly poked away at him, until at last he gave up the ghost. I stood, triumphant and covered in blood.


Hereís an unabridged, unedited transcript of the battle Ė

What do you want to zap? (wand of death)

In which direction? Southeast

You kill the Dark One!


This was somewhat less than Wagnerian. When Nethack says wand of death, they mean a freaking wand of death. None of this ďinsta-death spells donít work on anything you could possibly want to bother with them onĒ nonsense.

I take my new toy up to the top..


Well, thanks. That means I get to keep this (like a chaotic character would ever give away an awesomely powerful artifact she could use.)


Yes, I somehow managed to find boots of speed again.

The Eye of Aethiopica is a truly incredible artifact. The first, minor effect is that of an amulet of ESP. Within a certain radius, I sense all non-mindless monsters, giving me excellent warning as to whatís ahead.

However, what truly makes the Eye incredible is the main effect. Remember how we had to carefully conserve our spellpower throughout Dezís quest, using every chance we had to let our pet or our daggers do the work?

Thatís over now. The Eye supercharges your energy regeneration to several points per every step or two. For all intents and purposes, I can cast spells with abandon, my reserves nearly limitless.


I return upstairs, to what became my home base. The bugbear over there a peaceful monster that had been wandering around. Lyll already sacrificed as much as I intend to for the rest of the game.


We stop to blast a cockatrice to death (yes, Iím using Force Bolt. Yes, it still sucks). Cockatrices are infamous Nethack machinations Ė anyone that touches their bare flesh to a cockatrice or their corpse is instantly killed. On one hand, this makes them very tricky to deal with Ė if you accidentally offer them without gloves on, this kills you. Their corpses are, if anything, even more dangerous than the normal monster. Wandering around blind? Touch a cockatrice corpse without gloves and itís game over.

On the other hand, they have their benefits. If you wield a cockatrice corpse (while wearing gloves of course), almost any monster you hit will be instantly turned to stone. This includes the games most powerful monsters and boss enemies Ė the only exceptions tend to be creatures made out of stone already. This can rather help you out in a jam.

I canít take chances though Ė I blast it at a range and leave the corpse.


We go into an armor shop, but it seems to be missing a shopkeeper.

How mysterious.

Well, early in the game, Lyll got the pony she always wanted. However, n a freak magical accident (and by accident, I meant ďI dragged the pony on and off a polymorph trap for five minutesĒ), the pony (nicknamed ďDeathponyĒ) was transformed into a powerful golden Naga. The new pet could not be controller Ė she rampaged through shops devouring shopkeepers (ironically, she eventually died when, after an epic battle with yet another doomed shopkeeper where she eked out a victory, it was promptly eaten by a tiny mimic.)

This was no fault of Lyllís own, but she did take the opportunity to loot the shopkeeperís wares, and even better, their bodies. This is one stop on this path of destruction.

Unfortunately, itís not a stop with much to offer me. I canít use any heavy armor, and already have the gloves and boots I want.


This was my first base camp, on the same level as the Gnomish mines. You can see my wading pool where I watered down my potions to the left.

I loot the chest, and then examine my inventory Ė I have plans.

01-13-2009, 08:08 PM

First, my inventory. I have the same Magicbane we saw last time around, and a quiver of daggers. The Eye we saw earlier is there, as is the cloak of magic resistance, the pointy hat, and the speed boots. Iím also carrying a robe, dropped by a priest in the middle of an unfortunate Naga attack. The robe improves my chances of successfully casting a spell, and is useful when using difficulty utility spells.

This around, I did manage to get a magic whistle. One toot on this whistle will teleport all pets to your vicinity. This makes leading your hordes through the dungeon much easier, since you donít have to keep up with them. The touchstone, when applied, will automatically identify gems for me (this is useful when dealing with unicorns.)

The Bell of Opening? Itís one of the three plot coupons we need later on.

Nethack veterans will notice one thing I donít have Ė a source of reflection. Sokoban didnít have on this time around, and I wasnít able to find one in the dungeon. I also havenít had a wish yet, making getting reflection much more problematic. I resist nearly everything, so most attacks donít bother me, but it means that if I get hit by, say, lightning, my rings and wands will be toast.


I was about to show people the entire contents of my bag of holding, but itíd be just one long neverending page of junk.

Lyll brims with ill-gotten gold, most from the shopkeepers Deathpony killed, but some from vaults too. One of the nice things about priests is that after you donate a satisfactory amount of money to them, you can simply feed them to your pet, get your money refunded, and go on to the next priest. The AC bonus you get from donation sticks around.

The water walking boots and the oilskin cloak will be used later on. An oilskin cloak means itís much harder to grab me, but itís a very situational item.

The gauntlets of dexterity (which are not metallic) provide a bonus to dexterity equal to their enchantment bonus (so a +2 set of gauntlets give you +2 dexterity, as opposed to gauntlets of power which simply set your strength to 25.) Since, unlike gauntlets of power, gauntlets of dexterity donít interfere with spellcasting, I eventually plan to move these into my permanent armor set.

The rings are mostly junk, but levitation will be useful.


Now, I engage in a Nethack yard sale. I take my junk pile, spread it over recklessly the dungeon, instead of trying to con my friends into buying it, polymorph it repeatedly.

Polymorph Ė oh, this is fun. Zap it, and any monster or item nearby is transformed into something different. In the most trivial cases, it means that rather than running away from dangerous monsters, I can simply turn them into a newt and eat them.

Some people will tame cats or dogs in this fashion, and polymorph them with the spell or wand, hoping to get a more powerful monster. If I find a wand in the very early game I might try this, but later on Iíll avoid it if possible. Itís possible to kill a monster when theyíre polymorphed, and there are substantive penalties for killing your pet. If your supply of polymorphes is limited (maybe youíre using a wand, or donít have the eye to quicken regeneration to an acceptable level), it can also be tricky. Pet lichens are not the most useful pets.

Iíve found it safer, though more tedious, to simply use a polymorph trap. If you stand on the trap (youíre immune to it if you have magic resistance,) and swap places with your pet, they can also be polymorphed that way. This method will not kill someone with system shock, and you can use it until you run out of patience.

Items are even better Ė in a procedure called polypiling, I can take a stack of items and zap them to get new items to sift through. Some items vanish in the process, and things like wands lose power, but it makes it far, far easier to get specific items I want. One insane member of the Nethack newsgroup made it their mission in life to polymorph every item in the dungeon.

This person (Efembe) is my idol. Polymorphing has allowed a rapid expansion in my spell selection by morphing old spellbooks into new spellbooks. Many players abstain from this, but I donít feel so inclined. One reason is because I prefer to be more risk adverse, given how tricky it can be to replay Nethack to a certain point when youíre on a schedule. Another is to just demonstrate yet another amusing Nethack feature. Finally, my personality is warped enough that I find it fun.


One of the benefits is a spellbook of fireball. Fireball is an awesome spell. You choose a single target a few tiles away from you, and it blasts repeated fireballs at the surrounding squares. The center of the fireball moves around too, so itís great for crowd control. Unfortunately, spellbooks and potions are incinerated. Finger of death sends a ray that kills anything it touches (and I mean anything), but Iím not quite good enough at it yet. When I ditch the gauntlets, this will come front and center.


I could never do this without the Eye, which is wizard rocket fuel. Otherwise, you just end up waiting too long for your power to regenerate. Now though, I gain most of the points back just by rearranging the line of items to suit my desires.


One of the results of my experiment were large boxes. Unfortunately, Iíve never seen a box created by polymorphing some other item actually contain an item on its own. The process in reverse is fun Ė some people, doing rather absurd Nethack plays, accumulate so many items that the game starts running into memory issues. One quick way of removing these items from the dungeon is to dump them into a box and polymorph the box.


I scored two scrolls of genocide. This scroll is simple Ė when you read it, you name a type of monster. That monster type will be removed from the game entirely (though certain monsters cannot be affected in this manner.) For instance, if you name ďsoldier ant,Ē all of those nasty killers will be purged forever. Blessed scrolls of genocide go further, and remove all monsters using the same character. Thus, a blessed scroll of genocide set to ďsoldier antsĒ will remove all insects permanently.

Early in the game, itís often wise not to read scrolls of genocide. Theyíre very good ways from escaping from indescribably nasty situations. For instance, if youíre about to be hugged to death by an owlbear, this is a failsafe way of keeping yourself alive.

However, later on, when things arenít so tense, there are some specific monsters that might be wise to erase. Iíll probably showcase liches and mind flayers before obliterating them Ė it pays to be careful.


Slow digestion is an absolutely game changing item early in the game Ė it reduces your food consumption to almost nothing. You can take a much more leisurely pace early on with such a treasure, giving more time for shoplifting or altar-camping. Itís particularly strong for Wizards, who are so fragile to begin with, and have no food.

At this point though, itís probably more trouble than itís worth. Iím already carrying about eight rations, and can easily get more (for instance, by polymorphing monster corpses.) Weíve already demonstrated the dangers of in a way I wonít soon forget. Monsters are bigger these days, and provide more nutrition. Finally, Iíll often want to eat corpses, to get abilities, stats, or other benefits.


I take the opportunity to eat a giant too. The boulder the giant carried gave me an easy way to stop up the doorway. Youíll notice that Iím detecting several monsters with no line of sight, thanks to (no pun intended) the eye.


Brilliant. A lost little nymph managed to steal my scroll of create monster. She got penetrated by my mighty dagger, stunning her. In her daze, she got the spell wrong.

Now both of us are surrounded by a horde of acid blobs, staring at me dumbly. Good going Miss.

Note that this will happen if I read a scroll of create monster while confused as well. Under certain circumstances (though it can be a pain to be confused on demand,) the thundering herd of acid blobs can save you.


I dump the corpses on my god to figure out. He needs more to eat anyhow.

Anyhow, you probably are bored by watching me slowly shuffle items around again and again. Tomorrow, we'll make actual progress.

If I can tear myself away from polypiling. It's like Christmas, over and over again!

01-13-2009, 08:13 PM

Good lord, man. Dez was going places, too. =(

If you're gonna choke to death, at least have the decency to choke on a Wraith corpse like a decent upstanding Nethackian.

(Fun fact: I've had two FF11 and one Oblivion character named Lyll!)

01-13-2009, 08:19 PM
No! Dez!! :'(

01-13-2009, 08:20 PM

Good lord, man. Dez was going places, too. =(

If you're gonna choke to death, at least have the decency to choke on a Wraith corpse like a decent upstanding Nethackian.

(Fun fact: I've had two FF11 and one Oblivion character named Lyll!)

Yes, well, I wasn't thinking. I had just eaten a large chunk of meat, and that put me so far over the edge that I choked without any "stop eating" warnings.

It, er... happens.

01-13-2009, 08:59 PM
Dez choking to death was simultaneously heart-wrenching and unbelievably amusing.

01-13-2009, 09:04 PM
I just got warned by a passing RA that I'm going to have to not laugh so loudly.

Man, Dez. Just... Awesome. There are no words.

01-14-2009, 05:58 AM
Genocide @.

01-14-2009, 07:13 AM
Genocide @.

I'm thinking "h". Luckily, I'm not a dwarf.

And Dez dying was like a punch in the gut -- it took a few hours before I could man up and reroll.

01-14-2009, 07:21 AM
I'm thinking "h". Luckily, I'm not a dwarf.

Ah, another classic Nethack death.

On my first ascension I genocided master mind flayers, mind flayers, ;, L and c. (Couldn't just genocide h because I was playing a dwarf.)

On my second I genocided h, L and ;, but I left c and had a great deal of fun slapping folks around with a cockatrice corpse.

Speaking of c, I didn't see a lizard corpse in your inventory.

eta: Also, the temptation to just savescum Dez back to life must have been enormous. Like, who would know, right? So mad damn props for starting a new character rather than committing the most grievous of Nethack sins.

01-14-2009, 04:53 PM
It wouldn't be a Nethack Let's Play without a death. Having our first character ascend would be greatly disappointing.

01-14-2009, 06:11 PM
eta: Also, the temptation to just savescum Dez back to life must have been enormous. Like, who would know, right? So mad damn props for starting a new character rather than committing the most grievous of Nethack sins.

The only acceptable places to savescum in this LP would be to show off hilarious death messages you get from things like drinking from fountains, genocide @, and playing around with Famine's corpse.

Although I too am happy you didn't savescum. Even more impressive that you ran another character to that point in such a short time.

01-14-2009, 07:19 PM
As always Ė

ASCII Ė http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/NethackLP08bA.htm
Tiles -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/NethackLP08aT.htm


I changed my mind about the making progress bit. We'll do some more polypiling. The abandoned shop being another Deathpony memento, I feel the compulsive need to zap the contents of this store a few times just for kicks.


Contrary to my expectations, something good comes out of it. I find a Hawaiian shirt in the pile after most of the armor has melted away. The shirt provides no intrinsic bonus to AC, but has its own special armor slot and can be enchanted. Some people will even wish for one, but manufacturing them is more fun (for, granted, an eccentric definition of ďfun.Ē)


Afterward, I exit the shop and run into a baluchitherium. Monsters like this one that hit hard are still pretty dangerous to me Ė my armor class isnít really that great. I canít survive melee with it long enough to take it down without significant risk to myself.

Remember though, polymorph doesnít just work on items.


My new friend the lemure goes down much more easily to my pathetic little dagger. Speaking of spells, hereís my current repitoire:


Lyll does lack Magic Missile, a critical spell that Dez has. However, she more than makes up to it with the sheer variety of what she can cast. Note that almost none of these spells came from polymorphing Ė they usually came from books dropped by monsters.

Detect monsters shows you all monsters on the map, and if youíre really good, itíll last for multiple turns. Sleep is its usual overpowered self, and can make escapes much easier. Create monster makes camping out on the altars and trying to please your god much nicer. Detect unseen did what it did last game.

Now, the really good spells. Identify instantly identifies some or all of the items in your inventory Ė this means Lyll wonít have the problems Dez did trying to figure out what half of her items do. Since the eye regenerates my power so fast, I can cast it on anything I find on the ground to see if itís worth taking.

Dig will blast a hole in any walls I point it to, almost deprecating my pick axe. Later, weíll do a lot of digging. Remove curse uncurses my entire inventory at my skill level.


Back to Nethack, Rust Monsters are a D&Dism that are harmless in and of themselves, but inflict severe penalties on any rustable equipment you have. In my case, this means my gauntlets of power. They're most notable for their abject failure to make sense in nearly any concievable actual ecology.

The other significant dungeon feature is another portal. Note that this is one of those gold vaults we showed earlier (the hallway is homemade), but it has a special feature..


Thereís a chance that any given vault will lead to a special dungeon level named ďFort LudiosĒ (no, I donít know where the name came from.) This level contains a literal army of soldiers, along with other powerful monsters (including dragons.) Thereís a lot of money to be made if you clear it out, along with plenty of other treasure, but it can take awhile.

My problem is compounded by the lack of magic missile Ė there are a lot of freaking monsters to kill off here.


And this is only scratching the surface. Soldiers arenít that hard, but there are a freaking ton of them. Iím wary about fireballing them too, since it would destroy any spellbooks on the floor.


The duck-like things in the picture (such as the three monsters near the top) are dragons, apparently of the same variety in the Atari game adventure. Dragons are powerful monsters, but if you can kill one you can use its scales to make the same armor Dez had earlier.

This brings up another problem though Ė Lyll doesnít have reflection. Each dragon has a breath weapon which can, at the very least, blast my equipment if I donít reflect it. The big problem is the black dragon Ė their breath weapon is disintegration (the only way to gain the ability to resist disintegration is to eat a black dragon.)

If youíre hit with disintegration, and canít reflect it or resist itÖ Say it with me nowÖ

You die instantly.

Thus, while I can stay here a little while, trying to finish the level is too dangerous.


I stand in the doorway, impaling each solder on my little dagger.

(Soldiers have significant amounts of equipment. One of my Nethack hobbies is to kill a ton of soldiers in the same spot, and then polymorph everything in that spot over and over again.)


Even my mana isnít limitless, and I have to exit the level for a short time to take a breather. Killing endless armies of soldiers is hard work.


My killing spree continues, but without the same energy. I think Iíll have to call it quits for now, and come back when I have magic missiles and reflection.

I do, unwisely, throw a few fireballs for good measure, just because I can.


I leave, an turn off my unmagical lamp.


Iíd like to draw your attention to the wand of cancellation in my inventory.

One of the easiest ways to identify a bag is to name it ďholding,Ē and then put a wand of cancellation inside. If nothing happens, you can remove the name and move on. If the bag explodes, destroying it and everything inside, then you can be confident that the next bag you see named ďholdingĒ is a bag of holding.

Nethack has made many people wish they were dead when the accidentally put a wand of cancellation in a bag of holding, leaving them alive but destroying most of their equipment.

Wands of cancellation do have powerful effects to tempt you to keep them in your inventory. Used on monsters, they have a high chance of removing special attacks, such as stealing items from me, breathing at me, etc. Canceled monsters are sad, sad creatures.

When used on items, they remove most magical properties of the item. The items lose any blessings, curses, or enchantment modifiers (positive or negative.) Spellbooks and scrolls become blanked, potions become non-magical (so, for instance, canceling a potion of booze or oil doesnít do anything.) Wands or tools with magical charges loose all of their charges

This can actually be very useful. For instance, canceling a stack of different types of daggers allows me to use all the daggers in the same inventory slow. It also means that I donít have to go swimming to get blank potions or scrolls, and gives me a simple way of removing negative enchantments.

Luckily, monsters wonít zap wands of cancellation at you in vanilla Nethack.

01-14-2009, 07:20 PM

No, I havenít mixed up the tiled and ASCII versions. Nethack includes a special level known as the Rogue level, which behaves as a throwback to the original Roguelike, Rogue. This means that the font and colors are all changed to match Rogue.


The map layout is also different than how Nethack does itís dungeon levels, instead duplicating the layouts used in Rogue. You only see capital lettered monsters (like Rogue used,) and they wonít leave corpses. An absurd amount of effort was put into making this level behave as closely as possible to the original game.


We continue downward, leaving a simpler time behind us. Ogres are frankly a rather pathetic enemy, but the number of traps showing up is bothersome. Iím immune to most of them, but they can still damage me.


We see another swarm of enemies, and breaking with tradition, I start the slaughter.


Or in the case of another baluchitherium, being slaughtered.'font-size: 9.0pt;font-family:Arial'> They wipe away far too many HP for comfort.


I deal with it the same way I dealt with the last one. This time, I turn it into a spider.

Note that polymorphing monsters is a risky occupation Ė they sometimes resist, and can even turn into something more dangerous. However, I feel itís the least bad option at the moment. Later on, finger of death provides a rather more reliable option. After this encounter, I take the opportunity to polymorph a bit more of my inventory, drink potions, and read scrolls.


A potion of gain level does what it says on the label. The message ďyou feel controlledĒ means that I now have teleport control (which gives me the ability to select the level or spot on the map I land whenever I teleport, rather than just being dumped randomly.) Eating nymphs has suddenly become much more attractive.


I also drink a potion of enlightenment, which tells me my characteristics. One of the easiest ways to find out what an unidentified ring does is to wear it and enlighten yourself. It should give you an extra ability on this list.

First off, being the Glory of Arioch means that I was crowned as a sort of champion of my deity, at title Iím granted by praying at an altar. This means that Iím given several abilities (such as see invisible, fire resistance, cold resistance, shock resistance, etc) and the spellbook finger of death. However, it also means that I have to wait far longer between each prayer or artifact giftĖ so much longer, that many people purposely avoid being crowned. Itís not a big deal in this game, but itís often advantageous to milk your deity for all their worth.

Some people interpret being crowned as your god saying "Thanks for all the newts and gnomes, but I'd appreciate it if you'd get along with the whole "retrieving the amulet of Yendor" bit.

Iím also invisible Ė one of my very early wands was ďmake invisible.Ē This isnít obvious from screenshots, but itís actually a game changer, especially in the beginning. It means many monsters will miss you, or not even attack or chase you, which has kept me much safer. Itís almost doubtful I would have survived without this, given my equipment.

Weíve already discussed telepathy (shows me monsters while blind), warning (shows me potentially dangerous monsters without revealing the monster itself, which is useful now for mindless monsters), clairvoyance (randomly reveals the map within a certain radius to me), regeneration (speeds up HP regeneration at the cost of much higher food consumption) and teleport control. Iím very fast due to my speed boots, and the protection relates to several gifts I made to priests.

My luck actually comes from throwing gems at unicorns, rather than sacrificing. I found this to be much faster and more efficient.


I also found scrolls of enchant armor. Each scroll will assign a one or two point bonus to a piece of armor Iím wearing (if you go above five, thereís a chance the armor will just vanish.) I use these on my boots and cloak of magic resistance. With scrolls of enchant weapon this late, Iím trying to focus them on the pieces of armor Iíll be wearing for the rest of the game, rather than, say, my pointy hat or gauntlets of power.

The AC bonus is sorely needed, and puts me finally past where Dez was much earlier in the game.


I also found a spellbook of detect treasure. This is a really, really useful spell that shows me every object on the map. Itíll be especially nice for finding amulets I may have missed, which I can try to use to get reflection.


I encounter soldiers. They throw bottles at me to very little real effect. One of the nice things about telepathy is that blinding me has little effect Ė I can still see and attack them. Unlike the Ludios Army, this battalion has no black dragon.


On a deeper floor, I find another temple (the priest in minetown got eaten.) This provides both an opportunity to increase my AC further, and for me to get rid of all that heavy gold I was lugging around. At this stage in the game, I have very little use for gold, so the opportunity is appreciated.


Our final AC is eleven. Note that donating to priests has diminishing returns Ė the absolute maximum AC bonus from divine protection is twenty, but getting over ten is really hard, and as far as Iím concerned, not worth the effort.

01-14-2009, 07:23 PM

We see a beehive, with even a queen bee. Fortunately, the hive showed up far, far past the point that I have any fear of bees. Note that queen bees only appear in hives, never ďin the wildĒ as it were. There are no queen ants.


I also find a spellbook of cancellation. This allows me to use the ability of the wand of cancellation as a spell (and no, putting a spellbook in a bag of holding doesnít do anything.) Itís absurdly hard to case though, and has a high power cost. By the time I can cast the spell of cancellation, Iíve almost never bothered blasting monsters with it.

It does allow me to ditch the wand of cancellation though, preventing embarrassing accidents.


Cone of Cold, another spellbook found here, works like Fireball, except with a different damage type. This is much more useful than it seems Ė cold damage breaks potions, but doesnít affect scrolls or spellbooks. Fewer monsters resist cold, and I can use it as a way to cross water. Weíll have fun with this.


Clearing the beehive doesnít yield much. Royal jelly boosts my strength, but itís too late for me to need that (though it also heals me a bit.) There isnít anything wonderful here, but I eat the queen bee corpse for fun.


The next level is very interesting indeed, and represents a rather dark turning point. And stony. An eel will probably grab me, grope me, and make me his own.

01-14-2009, 09:10 PM
OH MY GOD. When I threw a wand of cancellation into a bag of holding and lost all my hot shit -- including Grayswindir, some scrolls of genocide and a fucking wand of wishing with two charges left -- it took every single ounce of willpower in my being to not quit playing then and there.

I'm glad I didn't, because with some sacrifesting I eventually bounced back and went on to ascend that character.

Also, you're fighting standing directly in a doorway! Baaad Netbrian. Stand to the side of the door and only fight the guy standing in the doorway himself, and you're much safer from thrown potions and wands. Consider your non-reflected butt lucky none of those guys had a wand of death.

Also I've wished for lots of Hawaiian shirts in my time. The extra -5 AC is definitely worth it!

01-14-2009, 09:27 PM
Also, you're fighting standing directly in a doorway! Baaad Netbrian. Stand to the side of the door and only fight the guy standing in the doorway himself, and you're much safer from thrown potions and wands. Consider your non-reflected butt lucky none of those guys had a wand of death.

I do spend most of my time outside the doorway, but I hopped in there every now and then to target fireballs or poke around for treasure.

About wands of death -- you can test this in Wizard mode. Cloaks of magic resistance will render you immune to the wand of death. A soldier with a wand of lightning did a number on some of my rings though.

01-15-2009, 04:48 PM
You're using your cloak slot unnecessarily. i'd go for the one that makes monsters miss you more often, or eelskin on this level. About the Eye:

Confers magic resistance and faster energy regeneration.
Half damage when attacked by spells.

Confers telepathy (normal amulet effect).

Creates a single-use portal to the closest level of any dungeon branch you have already visited. The jump occurs immediately, and won't occur if you have the Amulet or are teleporting to or from the endgame levels."

You haven't mentioned how you can #invoke the class quest artifacts yet, for special effects (I previously mentioned you can #invoke the Bow of Diana to make randomly enchanted arrows, making life as an archer much, much happier; you can wish for a different class's artifact, but it doesn't have the full set of abilities as having it and being the correct class).

01-15-2009, 05:22 PM
You're using your cloak slot unnecessarily. i'd go for the one that makes monsters miss you more often, or eelskin on this level. About the Eye:

Confers magic resistance and faster energy regeneration.
Half damage when attacked by spells.

Confers telepathy (normal amulet effect).

I actually planned to go over the portal ability when I actually used it, but I appreciate the information.

About the cloak slot -- I do plan to use the robe, the oilskin, and the cloak of displacement (should I find one) later on. The issue is that I'm sometimes nervous about depending on my weapon for magic resistance due to pick-axing and that sort of thing. When I ditch the gauntlets of power, I'll fiddle with this too.

01-16-2009, 10:42 AM
I'm sometimes nervous about depending on my weapon for magic resistance due to pick-axing and that sort of thing.
I believe that's why dwolfe pointed out that just carrying the Eye gives you MR. No need to depend on Magicbane.

01-16-2009, 11:30 AM
I believe that's why dwolfe pointed out that just carrying the Eye gives you MR. No need to depend on Magicbane.

Yeah. You have magicbane wielded, the cloak on, AND the eye. Way redundant in a game where you desperately need to burn the castle wish on +2 fixed SDSM anyway. Whereas the cloak of displacement worn full-time will help your tiny 100hp pool greatly.

It's possible to have the eye stolen, but I can't imagine why you would stop wielding magicbane at the same time; your CHR stat is high enough it's pretty unlikely a nymph will strip you down AND have a leprechaun steal the eye on the same turn.

Finally, by not wearing the Eye for the ESP effect, you can fill that slot with a reflection or life-saving amulet; ESP is nice but I've ascended with without that or warning.

Sorry to jump in to theorycraft here, I'm pretty rusty on the actual playing.

PS: red molds have a nutrition of 30. You consume 1 unit of nutrition per turn. You hit satiated at 1000, and can only choke to death at a nutrition of 2000+. I really hope you hit the wrong button trying to eat that red mold. For those playing at home, you should never eat when satiated unless you have a good feel of what put you over the threshold (i.e. i hit satiated with a red mold, i can eat a couple more vs. i just ate a giant worth 750 nutrition, better not eat another). This was truly YASD that can happen to anyone, whether from a lack of game knowledge, being forgetful, or just hitting the wrong key. Such is rogue-likes.

01-16-2009, 12:15 PM
Yeah. You have magicbane wielded, the cloak on, AND the eye. Way redundant in a game where you desperately need to burn the castle wish on +2 fixed SDSM anyway. Whereas the cloak of displacement worn full-time will help your tiny 100hp pool greatly.

It's possible to have the eye stolen, but I can't imagine why you would stop wielding magicbane at the same time; your CHR stat is high enough it's pretty unlikely a nymph will strip you down AND have a leprechaun steal the eye on the same turn.

Finally, by not wearing the Eye for the ESP effect, you can fill that slot with a reflection or life-saving amulet; ESP is nice but I've ascended with without that or warning.

Good point about the eye conferring magic resistance, I had forgotten about that. I'll probably switch to a robe and oilskin cloak until I get to the castle -- I haven't found a cloak of displacement yet. I doubt getting one will be very hard though.

I don't have any alternative to the eye in my amulet slot at the moment-- I've polypiled every amulet in the game so far, and haven't gotten anything useful. Heck, I'd equip magical breathing if it came up.

About the satiation issue -- I actually seldom eat while satiated. What happened here is that I had significantly underestimated the amount of nutrition gained from casting stone to flesh on boulders.

And yes, we all know what I'm wishing for when I get to the castle. The reflection situation is absurd.

01-16-2009, 12:18 PM
About the satiation issue -- I actually seldom eat while satiated. What happened here is that I had significantly underestimated the amount of nutrition gained from casting stone to flesh on boulders.

You... you devoured a boulder made of flesh?

01-16-2009, 12:44 PM
Hmm... is it possible to tame the Black Dragon we saw earlier? I wonder how well it would help out as a pet, being able to disintegrate stuff and all that. Plus: pet dragon. What's not to like?

01-16-2009, 03:01 PM
You can tame a black dragon, but it takes some specialized scroll- or spellcraft. Dragons are pretty badass pets, because though they quit using their breath weapon when tamed (all to the better, really, especially if you're lacking reflection), you can equip them with a saddle and ride them. At-will flight!

Question to the other NH gurus: What's the point of wishing for "fixed" dragon scale mail? It's already rustproof and all that by virtue of its material. Is there some effect that fixing confers a benefit to resist?

01-16-2009, 03:13 PM
You... you devoured a boulder made of flesh?
The downside to boulder sized meatballs is finding large enough spaghetti.

01-16-2009, 03:33 PM
Question to the other NH gurus: What's the point of wishing for "fixed" dragon scale mail? It's already rustproof and all that by virtue of its material. Is there some effect that fixing confers a benefit to resist?

There's no need for it, just good habit to remind yourself that most other things get rusty. The reason we go for +2 is that if you wish for +3 or more, there's a very good chance you'll get a +0 instead of the desired enchantment, which grows as you get greedier on the # you wish for.

On amulets: sorry to hear about the bad luck polypiling for a new amulet. To everyone: at this point in the game you won't starve to death so the extra hunger from wearing the amulet is well worth it for 1.) the ESP, and 2.) you WANT to be hungry so you can eat corpses giving intrinsics (hope for some tengus or nymphs; wizards get intrinsic teleportation control at a certain level, and this is wonderful to have)

Netbrian: Wasn't trying to criticize the play, you're doing great! I'm just a mechanics geek and hopefully people find this sort of talk interesting and worth hearing; I know you don't want to get into it so the LP remains fun and readable. If people don't want to hear it, just skip my posts :) ...But, I'm also trying to give rules-of-thumb for those that want to play at home.

01-17-2009, 07:50 PM
Links --

ASCII -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP09aA.htm
Tiles -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP09aT.htm


In our last episode, we made an abortive siege of Fort Ludios, and eventually gave up entirely and decided to simply keep diving. Weíve now reached a special transition level. Itís marked by the fact that you can now get ravished by eels and drowned without a second though.


Our triumphant descent is marred by a titan throwing a boulder at me. Titans are very powerful monsters that I probably canít deal with at this time. One of the advantages to playing lawfuls is that some of the most powerful monsters are peaceful, and you donít have to deal with this nonsense.


Like this. Iím surrounded by powerful monsters, summoned in by the titan. Clockwise from the top we have a stalker, a disenchanter (they sap bonuses from your weapons and armor), and Elvenking, an Olag-Hai (southeast of the troll is a green dragon) and a fire elemental.

My AC is pretty good, but not that good. The Olag-Hai in particular is a problem Ė they hit really bloody hard. Moreover, Iím some distance away from the upstairs, so it wonít be easy for me to run away if I get into a jam. This looks like a potential deathtrap.


My solution is to invoke the Eye, which creates a portal to any branch of the dungeon. I chose the Gnomish mines arbitrarily.

I take the Olog-Hai and the Stalker with me, but itís more manageable now that theyíre not surrounded by all their friends.

The stalker is easy enough, but not only can the Olog-Hai do thirty damage in a single stroke, he comes back after you kill him.


So I kill the stalker and polymorph the Olog-hai into an elven zombie. Problem solved.


Now the problem is, after invoking the amulet once, I have to wait around a bit before itíll work again. Due to popular request, I swap my currently redundant cloak for a robe. The robe improves spellcasting chances Ė this will help compensate for the gauntlets of power.


I pass the time by moving items into a pile and polymorphing them. I receive a helm of opposite alignment (wearing it makes chaotics temporarily lawful, lawfuls chaotic, and neutrals a randomly chosen one of the two.) Thereís a somewhat unbalanced use for this in the very end of the game, but I feel itís largely more trouble than itís worth. Weíll see if we can get something better.


I dump myself back into the action, but away from the first set of summons, and minus the Olog-hai (the stalker was mainly a meatshield.)


I make it to the stairs (not before the Titan can helpfully summon more entries into his monster army) and burn ďElberethĒ on the staircase. Note that not all monsters will respect Elbereth and run away from me, but many of them will, and it will relieve at least some of the pressure as I try and figure out how the hell to deal with this.


I start getting devoured by a purple worm, and decide to bolt upstairs to recover. The titan finally had gotten into striking distance to me, which didnít help. Summoned swarms of enemies like this can be one of the more frustrating aspects of Nethack, especially given how limited my sources of damage are.


I recover my power and dive back down. I do manage to teleport the Titan away with one of my wands, but Iím left with this mess of summoned monsters and gremlins. As you all know, gremlins multiply when theyíre exposed to water, and thereís a rather lot of water here.

Note that gremlins are peaceful to me, so I canít just kill them all. I might need to find a pet.


In the heat of battle, I manage to fall into a hole, and wake up three levels down.

Frankly, itís probably an improvement, since I donít have to deal with that bloody Titan down here.


I see another freaking Olog-Hai, a shark, and an angel.

My favorite Nethack pet ever was an angel named Mique. I was genuinely sad when she died, and went to great trouble to always keep her near me.

The shark isnít scary.


Oh this looks fun. Thereís a big army of green soldiers, some black dragons (of course they had to be black disintegrating dragons) and a few other random monsters.

I hope you like seeing me take down entire armies, single-handedly and one by one, because youíll be watching a lot of it.


This screenshot only exists because I love the phrase ďshark attacks!Ē

01-17-2009, 07:51 PM

Cone of cold works wonders for me here Ė it freezes the moat to make it easy to cross, cold isnít commonly resisted, and it hits multiple-enemies multiples times.

Note in ADOM, if youíre carrying too much when crossing ice, it can break and youíll fall in. Iím still paranoid about this in Nethack, despite it not working this way.


I use one of my scrolls of genocide to wipe out liches (there was a little gray lich in the army within the castle.) Liches are very dangerous opponents, especially later on. Some people keep them alive to make the endgame more interesting, but Iím not willing to take risks in an LP (I can kill myself perfectly well playing cautiously.)


I use my spell of knock to bring the bridge down. One of the most famous mistakes in Nethack is opening a drawbridge while right underneath it. What do you think happens you instantly if you do this?


I push a boulder in front of the drawbridge to recover a bit. Cone of cold has been rocking so far Ė the chokepoint means that everyone is clustered into a nice little group, making a wonderful target. Unlike fireball, my spellbooks will be safe.


Giant eels are very powerful and dangerous enemies. If youíre adjacent to one, they can drag you into the water, and drown you with surprising alacrity. I can pick away from them at a range, but canít risk my daggers (and I donít have great direct damage spells.) I wonít be able to get away with this much longer, but I relish the opportunity to turn him into a gold golem. Iíve got the (Midas) touch.


Iím running out of cold, so I decide to go upstairs. This is a maze level, and is an interesting change.

It will wear out its welcome about twenty freaking identical maze levels from now. Weíll be seeing this again, again, and again.

But wandering through twisty passages all alike does give me a chance to re-energize.


Iím one adventurer who knows where her towel is (around her head.) I was slightly worried about what Iíd find upstairs.


I donít like the angel thatís insulting me and throwing bottles at me. I want the angel to be my friend.

This is a different repetitive maze than the last repetitive maze we saw. You can tell by the dungeon level in the corner, and not much else.


I kill Medusa by flailing around (literally) blindly. I somehow donít think eating her will be a bad idea, but she isnít very hard. She can make me hard though. The towel around my head meant that she couldnít look at me (with the predictable consequences.) If you have reflection or a hand mirror, you can reflect her stonegaze attack, but I donít have either.

On one side of me is that bloody Titan, on the other side, something even worse, an Archon. Or, in keeping with the Greek theme, Scylla and Charybdis.


Remember the Titan? The Archon is worse. It has nasty spells, more summons, and equipment. Heís already making my life miserable by covering me with giant neon ďPLAYER HERE EAT HIMĒ signs.

The gray thing southwest to me is a Mumak. Itís some sort of elephant thing, though I think the tile looks mostly like a giant mouse.


I treat Medusaís corpse with the respect itís deserve. Itís a lovely souvenir.


Yes, yes, here we go again. This group of monsters is much tamer now.


I resort to ďfinger of death.Ē It kills things instantly, including this irritating invisible titan. The others will go down quickly. The Archon in the corner is still scary.


Then an air elemental eats me. Air elementals are incredibly dangerous, and a genuine threat to me Ė they can envelope me and keep attacking. Theyíll get even worse later on, and no, you canít genocide them. Weíre going to get tornadoed a lot before weíre through here.


Insta-death still works here too. Notice that it lopped of half my life single-handedly. Air elementals are bad news.

I gave up on this, and went back to my castle to continue to attack.

01-17-2009, 07:53 PM

Yellow dragons are scary. They have an unresistable breath weapon. Luckily, the cone of cold rampage has killed most of the soldiers threatening me, so I can continue to blast away.


The acid annoys me so much that I turn him into a crocodile. A soldier caught in the cross-fire suddenly returns to his roots, and his armor breaks. I tried polymorphing the Titan, but heís too powerful for that to work. More is the pity. The shuddering vibration is the normal sound of items being polymorphed and vanishing.

Note Ė this happens to you too if you polymorph. The threat of your armor breaking is not trivial.


Yes, here we go again. I put a troll on ice and keep blasting my way through. Weíre almost done with this part, but trust me Ė the most monotonous is still to come.


After breaking in, I promptly douse myself with the fountain water. This is mainly because Iím hoping either for a wish, or for a nymph to appear so I can eat her.


I clear out one of the barracks and finger the ice troll. I promptly tin the corpse, which prevents him from coming back to life to harass me again. Tinning kits are invaluable tools against trolls, which is why Iím putting up with the weight at all.


Enemies that have sources of reflection can be really hard to take down for a Wizard Ė I have to resort to my daggers, which Iíve pretty much phased out. Angels can start with shields of reflection, and even artifact swords.

Sheís beautiful though.


I literally laughed maniacally when I opened this chest.

Itís a wand of wishing, and it does exactly what it does on the box. I think we all know what my first wish will be for.

We'll see me have my way with it tomorrow.

01-17-2009, 08:05 PM
You know those item scrolls someone mentioned that can tame monsters?

You should make one to tame a black dragon.

(...Well, after the reflective armor, of course.)

01-17-2009, 08:09 PM
She can make me hard though.

Hey, whatever floats your boat man.

01-17-2009, 08:57 PM
You know those item scrolls someone mentioned that can tame monsters?

You should make one to tame a black dragon.

(...Well, after the reflective armor, of course.)

I'll give it a shot, but it'll probably be rather later in the game, using the spell charm monsters.

Unfortunately, Wizards don't ride monsters very well -- the idea of riding a dragon is so attractive too.

01-18-2009, 10:48 AM
ASCII -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP09bA.htm
Tiles -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP09bT.htm


It’s a wand of wishing, and it does exactly what it does on the box. I think we all know what my first wish will be for.


First, I take out my scrolls of charging. The first wish of many people is a scroll of charging (or a way to get one,) so they can recharge the wand when necessary. My polypiling means that I already have a stash.


Yes, finally! Blessed greased (and for good measure) fixed +2 silver dragon scale mail. I waited until just about the last possible moment, but I now have my first source of reflection, and for that matter, my first body armor.


-18 AC is nice.

My next wish is for a magic marker. These are very powerful tools (frankly, they’re probably overpowered) that allow you to write scrolls en masse. It comes with a certain number of charges, and the more powerful the scroll, the more charges are needed to write it. They’re great for mass producing scrolls, especially enchant armor, or even genocide.

Wizards have an additional advantage here. Unlike most classes, Wizards can (if their luck is high enough) consistently write scrolls that they haven’t identified yet. So if I hadn’t found a scroll of charging, I could still write it with a magic marker with a high chance of success. This isn’t possible for other character archetypes, where the odds are stacked against you.


This is one of the reasons I wanted that Hawaiian shirt – I’m going to wear it and gouge myself with scrolls of enchant armor. We’re going to be a star. The first round has already given me a six point boost to my AC.


One of the interesting facts about Nethack is that scrolls have different effects if you use them while confused. In the case of enchant armor, instead of increasing the bonus on the armor, if I read it while confused, it’ll rustproof a piece of armor and remove all previous damage to it. Enchant Weapon scrolls are the same, except for weapons. (Magicbane is of course already rustproof.)

Of course, this leads to the problem of how to get confused on demand (besides partial differential equations.) The most straightforward way I suppose would be to simply keep potions of confusion on hand until the crucial moment. However, there’s another option. After you read a spellbook to learn a spell, you have a certain number of turns before you forget the spell (it’s a very long number of turns.) If you read it again, the counter will reset for you. The part we’re interested in though, is the fact that if you try and cast a spell you forgot, you get confused and stunned. Wait until you get unstunned, and then read the scroll in question to never worry about rust again!


I now have a wand of wishing, and thus far more control over my inventory, and don’t have to carry quite so much around. Thus, I’m swapping out my gauntlets of power for gauntlets of dexterity. Honestly, at this point the main purpose of gauntlets of dexterity is that they don’t inhibit spellcasting and give me AC, with the bonus stats just being there because I can. They’re kind of like T-Shirts for the fist.


If that wasn’t powerful enough, you can also write spellbooks with magic markers, and still (if you’re a Wizard) with a high probability of success even for unidentified spellbooks. Thus, I can somehow write spellbooks for spells I’ve never seen before, read the spellbook, and know how to cast it. Finally, I’ll be able to do decent magical damage with missiles, and not a moment too soon.


I also wrote a spellbook of magic mapping. This gives you a complete dungeon map of nearly every level. It will make those maze levels somewhat more tolerable, if only because they won’t last as long this way. These are the two critical spellbooks for Lyll, and anything on top of that (given her already bloated repertoire) will just be like a cherry on top.


After my long-awaited silver dragon scale mail and two magic markers, I use my other scroll of charging to recharge the wand of wishing. That’s another three wishes to play with, just like that!

Yes, yes, I can only do this once (the same goes for recharging magic markers.) But it’s fun!


All these spellbooks, enchant armor, and charging scrolls is wearing out my magic markers. However, an magic marker that’s been charged once and is now empty can still be polymorphed into some other tool. Unfortunately, polymorphing things in order to get magic markers is so mind-numbingly tedious that not even I’d go for it.


I stash my wand for now – I need to see if I can polypile or otherwise find another method to get the headgear and cloak I want before wishing for it. This does give me the opportunity to show off my new magic mapping spell.

01-18-2009, 10:50 AM

I clear out another barracks, and for the hell of it, cast detect treasure as well (the green things near the bottom of the screen are kelp fronds, and can somehow be eaten for actual nutrition.)

For good measure, I cast detect treasure before continuing, to know which little vault to go into. I also have to levitate over the hallway due to all the potholes involved. Note that the two little hallways to the east of me contain dragons. You knew it wouldnít be that easy, didnít you?


Okay, it was. My skill in attack spells and ditching the gauntlets mean that I can now cast finger of death reliably. One shot up and one shot down means dead dragons and a free trip through the vaults.

The only one that interests me much is the northeast armor vault. Iím going to try and polymorph the armor to get either a cloak of displacement and/or a helm of brilliance, to save myself the wish. I have plenty of food, have no use for more gems, and donít need weapons.


Though only an idiot would die by overeating, I tin the black dragon corpse to rid myself of most of the nutrition before eating it. This preserves the intrinsics, and I now have disintegration resistance.

Now, we can finish what we started in the fort.


Itís kind of pointless now, but one of the dragons did drop scales. If you wear the scales and then read a scroll of enchant armor, youíll receive dragon scale mail. Honestly though, I think itís actually more common just to wish for it directly than to use the normal method of getting it. One of the problems is reliably getting the scales you want Ė generally by the time youíre seeing dragons, you want silver or gray scales, which probably means a wish anyhow.

Had I found scales before looting this castle, I might have forged them into scale mail as a temporary solution before I got the flavor I actually wanted, but the sequence just didnít work out that way.

Oh, and white dragon corpses give you cold resistance. Dragon corpses are nice for this purpose, since youíre guaranteed to get the ability in question. None of the nonsense I went through last time around to get poison resistance (Lyll, by the grace of the Random Number Godhead, had a much easier time of it.)


After having fun with polymorphing a bit, I receive my helm of brilliance. Helms of brilliance donít interfere with spellcasting, and will give me an intelligence bonus equal to the enchantment on it. This means better regeneration, improved failure rates, and more damage. Now that I have magic mapping, the ole pointy hat just isnít cutting it for todayís modern Enchantress.


Waves of psychic energy? This is never a good sign. It means mindflayers are afoot. They can drain your intelligence with their tentacles, and cause you to forget level layouts and identified items. Moreover, if they grope too greedily and too deep, you can actually die of brainlessness.

The fact that Iím describing this here should indicate that I have no intention of actually dealing with them properly.


Sorry hobbits, dwarves, and bugbears. You had the misfortune of having the same ASCII rune as mindflayers, so youíre collateral damage in my banishment (the Angband term for this.) Iím hoping to avoid another death by stupidity (literally.)


I can continue downward, but I want to finish up some things. First off, being able to safely proceed across this level.


Speaking of stupid deaths, I have no intention to be drowned by deep-sea eels. The oilskin cloak means that monsters that try and grab me will slip off, and Iíll be safe.


I thought this might amuse you Ė I hope this is a beautiful statue of how she lived, rather than how she died. It did bring back memories of a simpler, more primitive time though.

Unfortunately, bringing her back to life (which we can do, ironically, with the same stone to flesh spell that lead to her death) wonít solve anything.


I make an abortive attempt to fight the Archon, and it goes very, very badly. My attempt to tame him did give me my very own owlbear, but the Archon slaughtered me. I was only barely able to teleport him away.


This time around, at least most of his summons canít breath in water, so itíll be a bit safer.

Unfortunately, he has a reflective shield, rendering me rather helpless.

A note about the archonís tile Ė I think archons were intended to be the D&D angelic creature (because itís an obscure monster in a fantasy game, Wikipedia will have detailed information), but the tile artist took the name archon a bit more literally, and drew a magistrate instead.

Frankly, this version has more character.


I eventually hide behind a boulder while I wait for my spellpower to return. Fortunately, the only elemental really worth fretting over after the early game are air elementals, not their pathetic little fiery cousins.

This, by the way, is why archons make so attractive pets. My only real option for damage, throwing daggers, is problematic due to his wall of meatshields.


They donít resist cold though. Unfortunately, they fly, so my favorite trick of all time doesnít work Ė I like to freeze water and then lure the monsters near me. I then cast fireball to melt the ice, promptly drowning them. I do this all the time in ADOM in particular, and it never gets old.

In this case, I have to make a strategic retreat.


Only to encounter yet another bloody freaking titan, which as far as Iím concerned, are Archon mini-mees. At least this one isnít reflective (wouldnít it be nice if you could get the destroy armor scroll to work on monsters? It seems very Nethackish to add in an obscure, rarely useful interaction like that.)

I finger him, and then escape upstairs.

01-18-2009, 10:51 AM

First off, I was forgetting Polymorph. Spells like Detect Food are more useful as a means to confuse myself than as actual spellcraft, but this one Iím re-learning.


A word about my inventory Ė

Most of this will go into the bag soon enough, but I thought people might be interested in the end results of my powergaming spree. I still have my wand of wishing (itíll be stashed to avoid the odd lightning bolts,) and Iím waiting to see what this adventure yields before I finish up. I still donít have a proper cloak, but I might go back to magic resistance when Iím done with watery levels, if only because Iíve enchanted it more than the robe or the oilskin cloak. Displacement, which isnít that uncommon, hasnít shown up yet.

Right now, my daggers have been stashed. I plan to bust them out every now and then later (especially against reflective enemies,) but they arenít as general purpose as they once were. The tinning kit is mostly my troll repellant, and I have various other tools (my towel lets me avoid certain sorts of gaze attacks, like the Archonís brilliance.)

My key and touchstone are basically there because I havenít bothered to dispose of them yet. With Knock, Identify, and Wizard Lock, they donít serve much purpose, but weigh so little I feel silly dropping them.

I like to keep at least a few glasses of holy water out of my bag (though I put most of them away.) That makes it easier to deal with monsters that throw curses at me Ė cursed bags of holding will destroy items inside if you open them.

Lightning is for emergency Elbereth, and Teleportation is for emergency everything else. I keep them out at all times.

The lizard corpse is around because it can ward against cockatrice attacks and eating it helps me if Iím being slowly stoned.

Now, the battering ram of magic missile and the siege tower of my silver dragon scale mail mean that itís time to pillage and sack Fort Ludios.


The blast of disintegration misses me of course. Had it hit me, Iíd have reflected it, and even without reflection I would have resisted it. Obviously, if I had attempted this before getting reflection and/or disintegration resistance, it would have hit me unerringly.

It wasnít until now that I realized that disintegration is composed of dis-integration. That seems rather derivative.


I continue my rampage. Magic missile has hugely boosted my damage output, and finally given me a reliable way to attack at a range. The people in the throne room above me will be next. Weíll have fun with cones of cold to extinguish them.


See? This is the first game Iíve really let myself go with this spell (due to missing magic missile early on,) and already Iím an adoring fan. The mass destruction from a safe distance just canít be beat for dungeon clearing.


Unfortunately, the silver dragon reflects missiles and resists cold. I want to preserve spellbooks, so itís time to storm the gates.


No scales from the silver dragon. One of the few reasons to have stormed the castle earlier was hoping to find silver dragon scales, but it was not to be. Unfortunately, you donít get reflection from eating their corpses, much as I would have liked that to be the case.


Croesus is sitting in his throne room (heís also the owner of all those little vaults we keep seeing), surrounded by the corpses of his frozen guards. Itís time for us to take him down, and become the new master of Ford Ludios.


Croesus actually a more powerful opponent than youíd expect from a wealthy miser-king, but even he canít stand against a force of nature. After a few desultory rounds of combat, I am the new lord.


Again, I literally laughed manically when I found the ring of conflict. This was actually a candidate for a wish, and Iím thrilled to have found one.

Rings of conflict cause monsters near you to be hostile to their compatriots as well as to you. This means that at the very least, fewer attacks will be spent against you, giving you breathing room. Even better though, monsters will often kill each other for your benefit. Itís an almost broken piece of equipment throughout the game.

There are disadvantages to the ring. First, peaceful monsters and pets will also attack you (and you canít hit back without incurring penalties,) so you wonít want to use it around a powerful pet or while shopping. It also increases your food consumption a great deal, so itís a trade-off in the early game. My food needs have easily been met, so I have plans for this (for instance, that bloody Archon in the medusa level.)

It also doesnít work at a very long range, or if the monsters arenít in your line of sight. Thus you canít surround yourself with boulders and wait for the monsters to fight it out. Some of the characters between Dez and Lyll started out with a ring of conflict, and still got killed.


Iím rapidly eating the bodies of any nymph I can find, in hopes of teleportitis. Now that I have teleport control, this is very attractive. Not only will I get to randomly teleport wherever I like, but it lets me teleport on demand at the cost of some energy.

It looks like the gremlin nonsense is starting here too. Iím about to erase the whole bloody race from time out of spite. However, thereís a giant room of gold that requires my undivided attention.

The total haul Ė 40,000 gold. Note that this would have been especially important to Dez, whom hadnít been robbing shops right out the cradle like Lyll was. We still got some good weapons, and it was fun.


Note all the traps Ė at the stage in the game where you can get this far though, the traps are only a minor annoyance.

The gremlins mean that polypiling the remaining items on the ground isnít an option right now.


This comes as a surprise to me, as I thought I had teleport control already, at level 17 (a quick look at a guide tells me I did.) I shouldnít be getting that message.

Oh well, had I been wrong and had uncontrolled teleportitis, thereís always wishing for a ring of teleport control.

01-18-2009, 10:53 AM

Now for my whirlwind trip downward. In operation nymph-hunt, Iíll also drink at every fountain possible.

This one boosted my stats (well, my charisma) nicely. I just like being the official best at everything.


This water demon (whom actually ended up teleporting himself into a closet, which amused me enough to leave him there) nicely demonstrates why low level characters should avoid fountains under most circumstances.


I feel like Iím wearing a cat.


After all that gold, I actually get no protection whatsoever (though Iíll have clairvoyance for a short time.) This actually isnít disappointing Ė I donated it so I wouldnít have to carry it around anymore, the last few bits of protection can be really bloody hard to get.


Medusaís starge is still a mess (Iím in the southwest corner.) I still canít deal with that Archon in my current state, so I mostly have to go around.


Weíre going back down, and this time properly. Here Iím cleaning off the stairs so I wonít have to hunt for it again.


Another nymph that doesnít want to go with me. Oh well.

We continue our trip through the castle now, and dive through one of the holes on the east part of the screen. For some reason, nobody bothered to put stairs to the next dungeon level.

01-18-2009, 10:54 AM

We land near the stairs up (they must be an escalator, otherwise I donít get how the one-way stairs thing would quite work.) Weíre now in the valley of the dead, swarming with undead.


I tried to polymorph the cloak of protection into something worthwhile, but it didnít work. As a magical cloak, my chances werenít too bad. Cloaks of protection on their own arenít all that great, and just give you a bit of a boost to your AC.


I take on a storm of undead. Unfortunately, all those wraiths are misleading. On levels like this one that are considered graveyards, theyíre unlikely to lead a corpse. Some people (for instance, if they still havenít done their quest) will lure them up the stairs to the castle, which doesnít inhibit corpse generation, but I donít feel like doing that.

Note that as always, cone of cold is killer here.


I mention the Erinys mainly because it scares me. Not because itís particularly powerful, but because the tile looks like medusa, and Iím paranoid of being petrified.

Sheís still pretty easy to blast away at though.


Itís kind of disturbing to see your own corpse staring back at you like that. The game is dropping subtle hints about the future I suppose.

Itís really too bad that you canít revive corpses like this one and force them to be your pets. That would be wonderfully awesome.


For instance, running through the dungeon with a revive version of this corpse would be a wonderful way to finish this LP.


I keep blasting through. I found a spell of clairvoyance, which is interesting. Unlike magic mapping, it only reveals a little bit of the dungeon at a time, but it works in levels like the valley of the dead that resist being mapped by normal means. Itís not something Iíd go out of my way for, but certainly not worth brushing off.


Despite my temptation to the contrary, I end up genociding disenchanters for the hell they wrack on my equipment, rather than gremlins. I can tell you right now that theyíre one of the top candidates for next time.


Amazingly the priest of Moloch is peaceful (and I suffer penalties for killing him,) and I can even donate to him for divine protection. This is despite the fact that heís the evil deity from which Iím stealing the amulet of Yendor in the first place. Iíve never quite understood this, but itís a convenient way to get divine protection if youíve lost it by murdering someone or some other heinous act.

By the way, I have three wishes left. My thoughts are an amulet of life saving, a blessed figurine of an archon, and another magic marker, but Iím open to suggestions.


Unspeakable cruelty and harm? Why if that was a problem, I wouldnít be playing this game!

01-18-2009, 11:10 AM
By the way, I have three wishes left. My thoughts are an amulet of life saving, a blessed figurine of an archon, and another magic marker, but I’m open to suggestions.

The Amulet of Life Saving, definitely - I'd rather not have you lose Lyll in a moment of danger because you didn't wish for one. However, I stand by my desire for a pet black dragon. Named Idoun, if you can.

As for the last wish, what does the figurine of an archon do, anyway?

01-18-2009, 11:12 AM
The Amulet of Life Saving, definitely - I'd rather not have you lose Lyll in a moment of danger because you didn't wish for one. However, I stand by my desire for a pet dragon. A pet black dragon, if you will.

As for the last wish, what does the figurine of an archon do, anyway?

Figurines, when applied, create a monster of the appropriate type. When blessed, there's an eighty percent chance the monster will be tame. In short, a blessed figurine of an Archon is very likely to give me a pet Archon, with the attendant mass destruction that entails.

This doesn't rule out a pet black dragon though -- they're much easier to tame than Archons using traditional methods. For instance, I could simply use my last magic marker to write a spellbook of charm monsters and that'd probably be enough.

01-18-2009, 11:20 AM
A pet archon would be badass, admittedly. Yeah, that wish combination sounds fantastic to me, though that 20% chance of the archon turning on you scares me a little (though I'm sure you've already thought of that already). Godspeed, Netbrian.

01-18-2009, 11:56 AM
Wish for nothing else. Pack the wand away for emergency situations. None of the three things you mentioned are strictly necessary and you never know what you'll find around the next corner.

I never really understood the draw of life-saving. If you have all your protections in place and play carefully, you should never need one, and if you do manage to fuck up it'll most likely be in a way you can bounce back from. Besides, isn't there a guaranteed one later on?

If you really want a powerful pet, bless a tame monster scroll and go get that purple worm you mentioned earlier.

Your HPs are kind of low. Have you considered nurse dancing?

01-18-2009, 12:07 PM
Wait, I have an idea: Silver Dragons reflect magic attacks, right? Couldn't you use one as a pet as a make-shift mirror to reflect magic missiles and other spells off of? Or is it more trouble than it's worth?

01-18-2009, 12:43 PM
Wish for nothing else. Pack the wand away for emergency situations. None of the three things you mentioned are strictly necessary and you never know what you'll find around the next corner.

I never really understood the draw of life-saving. If you have all your protections in place and play carefully, you should never need one, and if you do manage to fuck up it'll most likely be in a way you can bounce back from. Besides, isn't there a guaranteed one later on?

Your HPs are kind of low. Have you considered nurse dancing?

My question is -- what sort of emergency situations do you envision the wand of wishing saving me from?

I've heard this strategy before, and I've never found myself quite certain of it. I have to keep the wand of wishing in my bag to prevent it from getting blasted, so it can't be use in absolute emergencies. I suppose there are occasional situations where a cockatrice corpse might be necessary, but I'm still not sure that'd contribute to my overall survivability moreso than my own Archon or an amulet of life saving.

I generally don't prioritize the amulet, but in this case I have the luxury of an open equipment slot. It'd be either an amulet of life saving, a cloak of displacement, or possibly an amulet of magical breathing.

PR -- Remember, I'm reflective too now, so anything the silver dragon would reflect wouldn't bother me. At this point, I might just choose blue because that's my favorite color.

01-18-2009, 12:48 PM
PR -- Remember, I'm reflective too now, so anything the silver dragon would reflect wouldn't bother me. At this point, I might just choose blue because that's my favorite color.

That's true, you've got the Silver Dragon armor now. Mostly I'm trying to think of which dragon would have the best resistances for a pet at the moment, what with all the possibilities of instant death lying around (silver to reflect death and disintigration? grey to resist magic? yellow to resist stoning? etc.). Unless that's no longer a problem, in which case blue sounds great to me (esp. since it would match with Lyll's color scheme).

In any case, regardless of pet, I've had a change of heart, and think the best name to give a/the pet would be Dez, in honor of her memory. May her soul rest in peace.

01-18-2009, 12:51 PM
Cockatrice corpses would be the big thing, of course. Magic markers would be another biggie. Or scrolls of charging. It wouldn't do to get your unicorn horn or bag of holding cursed, especially if your stack of holy water had been cursed also.

Basically the idea is, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. The wand of wishing can stand in for any other item in the game, and you wouldn't want to find yourself in some unlikely situation where you need Item X, and you could get one if only you hadn't wasted your wish on that archon whom you got separated from after three floors anyway.

If I were in your shoes, though, I would wish for a couple cursed genocide scrolls, warp back up to Sokoban and do some mad nurse dancing. HP is your only apparent weak spot at the moment.

01-18-2009, 02:57 PM
I'm surprised you don't carry a regular bag. i always carried one with a few holy waters, in case of cursed bag of holding; that way they don't get exploded. Not sure what your water supply looks like, esp as I thought Cone of Cold blew up potions on the ground.

01-18-2009, 05:06 PM
I'm surprised you don't carry a regular bag. i always carried one with a few holy waters, in case of cursed bag of holding; that way they don't get exploded. Not sure what your water supply looks like, esp as I thought Cone of Cold blew up potions on the ground.

My supply of water is doing well -- I can cast cancellation to easily transform other potions.

I also have the spell remove curse in case of bag of holding disasters.

01-18-2009, 05:50 PM
It’s really too bad that you can’t revive corpses like this one and force them to be your pets. That would be wonderfully awesome.You totally can!

"Turn undead" wands and spells, when used on corpses, will "turn" them "un" (read: not) "dead." I.e., revive them. So you can fill the graveyard with resurrected adventurers if you like. And charm monster/scroll of taming should work on them just as it does anything else!

01-18-2009, 08:37 PM
Just out of curiosity, can you put the leash on any pet?

01-22-2009, 11:24 AM
There have been no updates for days. Days.

This is unacceptable.

01-22-2009, 11:28 AM
There have been no updates for days. Days.

This is unacceptable.

I bet Lyll got killed by eating a mummy corpse or some stupid shit and Netbrian has been too embarrassed to tell us.

01-22-2009, 12:03 PM
I bet Lyll got killed by eating a mummy corpse or some stupid shit and Netbrian has been too embarrassed to tell us.

Netbrian! You can talk to us, baby, we won't be mad.

We will be sooooo mad.

01-22-2009, 02:37 PM
That would be heartbreaking.

01-22-2009, 02:56 PM
Gehennom is really boring. Playing through it should increase my diligence.

01-22-2009, 03:49 PM
Started a game to kill time whilst waiting for more updates.

Neutral human caveman.

First scroll found, floor 1: blank.
Second scroll found, floor 2: genocide.
Third scroll found, floor 3: genocide.

Something seems strange. -.-

EDIT: Aw man, died to a floaty eye + jackal combo. =( The scrolls were all uncursed as well.

Ample Vigour
01-22-2009, 06:42 PM
Wait, you're not supposed to make backup copies of your savegames? =(

01-22-2009, 06:51 PM
Wait, you're not supposed to make backup copies of your savegames? =(
Real roguelike players regard this as cheating.

01-22-2009, 07:38 PM
Gehennom is really boring.
Yeah, Gehennom is Nethack's biggest failing by far.

Wait, you're not supposed to make backup copies of your savegames? =(
NO! The danger adds to the fun. I am not joking. It's like how poker is 100X more excited when playing for real money.

01-22-2009, 07:43 PM
I'm trying to figure out how to permanently set options under the Qt OS X port. Anyone know how? The game auto-exits when you die, and I have to reset the options I want every time I start a new game.

01-22-2009, 07:45 PM
Wait, you're not supposed to make backup copies of your savegames? =(

No -- Roguelikes are balanced around a particular death mechanic. Why would you bother identifying items in Nethack if you could just restore after a mistake?

Some Roguelikes have somewhat less punitive deaths, but I've never seen one that allows you to do this.

01-22-2009, 07:51 PM
I think he was joking, guys. =p

01-22-2009, 07:55 PM
I'm trying to figure out how to permanently set options under the Qt OS X port. Anyone know how? The game auto-exits when you die, and I have to reset the options I want every time I start a new game.
Edit (or if it doesn't exist create) the .nethackrc file in your user directory. Some information about how to set that file up like you want can be found here (http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Options#Configuration_file).

01-22-2009, 08:11 PM
Edit (or if it doesn't exist create) the .nethackrc file in your user directory. Some information about how to set that file up like you want can be found here (http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Options#Configuration_file).

Mm.. where in user directory? Just.. the root? Or Library/Application Support? Or..?

(still fairly osx-newbie)

01-22-2009, 08:17 PM
Mm.. where in user directory? Just.. the root? Or Library/Application Support? Or..?

(still fairly osx-newbie)


The directory in sidebar of Finder that is your username.

Note: in unix (and mac osx) files that start with a period are hidden files, so once you create the file you won't see it is there from Finder.

Edit: if you want feel free to IM me so as to avoid having a bunch of tech support in the let's play, my AIM screenname is the same as my forum name.

01-22-2009, 08:39 PM
ASCII -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP10aA.htm
Tiles -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP10aT.htm

The first thing I do after entering hell is to immediately leave. I need to poke around with a few things first.


I take Brickroadís command not to wish for anything. Luckily, one of the things I wanted most just appeared Ė a spellbook of charm monster.

Charm Monster is a very powerful spell that has a chance to render monsters near you tame, and thus pets. Not only is it an easy way to find powerful pets, but there are several monsters that are actually easier to charm than to actually kill. Weíll see this emphasized a bit later.


As you can see, the first circle of hell consists of a giant boring maze. For that matter, so do the next twenty circles of hell. Gehennom is infamous for its tedium, and Iím better positioned than nearly any other character class to take it on, with Magic Mapping to find my route, Detect Treasure to see if anythingís worth taking, and Dig to blast holes in it. Believe me, itís usually a thousand times worse.


I do manage to tame a black dragon for PapillionReel. Unfortunately, starting about now, the life expectancies of my pets absolutely cratered, so I donít have high hopes for him. He might make the next section more amusing though.


Pochi, the black dragon, tried to eat a green slime. Now I have a pet Pochi the green slime. Thereís that story.

This is why I hate dealing with the bloody slimes.


Just touching it makes me feel nervous. Getting slimed is unpleasant, which is why I tried to have my pet deal with the bloody thing. Pochi gets left behind.


Interspersed with long boring mazes are long boring mazes with a special demon lair embedded in them. They help break up the monotony a bit, but there are frankly not enough of them.


Bert dies. I also see the demon lord hiding nearby.


First, I have to deal with the balrog, who wonít let me pass. They even come with whips, and are surprisingly high-level opponents.

Fun fact Ė one of the Roguelikes out at the same time Nethack was, Moria (which eventually mutated into Angband,) had the Balrog as the final boss. He was apparently very tough.

I actually spent a great deal of time trying to tame the balrog, but just couldnít manage it. It seems like major demons canít be tamed as such. Like player monsters, zapping them with the charm monsters spell just makes them peaceful.

Unlike player monsters, you can get tame major demons through figurines or polymorphing existing pets, so the dream of a succubus on a leash isnít dead.


We meet our first demon, Asmodeus. The game actually gives you the option to bribe him, but Iím not particularly interested in doing that. Iím overpowered by now, and want blood on my hands.

He apparently embodies the deadly sin of lust, but that isnít visible here. He also doesnít seem to have starred in as many SMT games as I think he should have, though he did make an appearance in ďThe Kids of Shin Megami TensaiĒ


Err, oops. I wanted blood on my hands, but not quite that much. I blast him with magic missiles before he becomes hostile, the sort of thing I generally avoid doing.

Oh well.

Asmodeusí main attack involves frost and cold, which I resist. People that try to play challenges where they donít end up with this resistance often have trouble with this boss Ė he can do a lot of damage if you arenít prepared.


Many major Nethack monsters share an attack pattern. Theyíll wail on you for a few turns, and once youíve done some damage, they teleport to the upstairs to heal. After their siesta, theyíll come back at you for a few turns, and then bounce back. Unless you somehow get lucky, the only real way to do this is to make your way to the upstairs yourself, and wait for him to try and move in to attack you. Once he does that, you can sit on the stairs and prevent him from escaping while you blast them to death.

The quest nemeses (in my case, it was the Dark One) also follow this pattern. In my case, he just didnít live long enough (no, demons arenít vulnerable to finger of death.)

Dealing with the pattern is boring mostly. You run to the downstairs, wake them up, and then plod back to the upstairs, fighting off occasional hit and runs. I purposely dig out tunnels to make the trip as fast as possible, but itís still irritating.

In any case, we make it to the stairs while suffering very little damage. Nethackís resistances tend to work much more like ďimmunities,Ē so either this guy is hellishly powerful or heís a pushover.



He really couldnít even touch me. Now I get to trot back to the downstairs (trip three,) and continue the level.


This is more like it Ė itís a giant swamp level, injecting some freshness into our trip downward. I equip my ring of levitation and my oilskin cloak (I donít want to be drowned by resident eels.)


Oh not the create monster nonsense again. Luckily, itís fairly easy to escape this storm of monsters by floating around them. Most of them canít fly, making this safer.


I tame another dragon for the heck of it, and let her loose on the remaining monsters.

01-22-2009, 08:40 PM

The giant orange blob here? This is Jubilex, another demon lord, prince of the oozes. Heís much more interesting than the last fellow, and can attack me by either sickness (which will kill me after a few turns) or engulfing me. Getting too near him is rather dangerous Iím afraid.

As far as Iíve been able to tell, unlike many of the demon lords, Jubilex was actually created for D&D, rather than being plundered from some other mythology.

The ďwhat a reliefĒ is my frantic attempt to cure the sickness with my unicorn horn.


I run away from Jubilex for the time being (whom doesnít show up with ESP because heís mindless.) One of the things I like about his level is all the monsters scattered around Ė lots of puddings, jellies, molds, fungi, blobs, and cubes. I think itís really cool.


I encounter Jubilex again. My levitation means I can skip over most of the monsters.


Jubilex doesnít seem to use the same attack pattern as most demons, which means heís not only more interesting but falls more gracefully.


My dragon is eating. I need to wait around before he can continue on. My dad is like that too.


In retrospect, it wasnít worth it. He gets eaten by an Olog-Hai, the powerful immortal troll.


Oh goodie, weíre back to our more conventional demon lairs.


This time I infuriate Baalzebub before attacking him. He didnít like the idea of asking him to bribe me not to attack him.


I accumulate another dragon. He wonít last long. Baalzebub is actually more dangerous than Asmodeus with very powerful attacks (even scary to me), and heís gating in more demon friends. Hopefully, my black dragon will play interference.


He doesnít, but I win anyway. Now time for my slog through these demons to continue the literal descent into hell.

(Baazlebub has a powerful gaze attack, so I use the Bugblatter strategy and cover my eyes.)

The next level includes another upstairs.


Interesting Ė itís a cute little tower.

I take the opportunity to go back to the main dungeon for some housekeeping (I need to reread some spellbooks and make some sacrifices.)


I take the opportunity to buy candles. Unfortunately, shopkeepers donít like invisible customers, so rather than the obvious route (wearing a mummy wrapping,) I bore a hole into his walls, pay him for the door repairs, and buy more candles. Izchak, the shopkeeper, was named after a Nethack designer that passed away Ė thatís why heís the only surviving shopkeeper in Minetown. I spared him from Deathponyís wrath.

These are absolutely necessary to win the game, but I hate having them in my inventory. Many a game was became unlivable by someone putting candles in a bag of holding, and then blowing them up. (You can wish for seven candles at once.)

No more procrastinating, I buy them.


Amulets of change are cool. They give you a complimentary sex change. I canít risk Lyllís virtue, but it means that after youíre done with incubi, you can switch sides as it were. There are only about 128 incubi in the game, and that might not be enough to satisfy yo.


I took my friend the golden naga and the elvenking which I accumulated in my vacation. We continue making our way up the stairs.


Sweet! Itís a 1Up you can wear! Another wish saved.

01-22-2009, 08:41 PM

Thereís one of these guaranteed in this tower, which is nice. Thereís also an amulet of strangulation. Hint Ė the one that doesnít kill you is the one you want.

We are in a room filled with chests. The elvenking has died somewhere.


Next time, we fight the awesome opponent and defender of the Candelabraum, Vlad the Impaler, the horrific boss enemy.

01-22-2009, 08:47 PM
You killed.. a black light. Did you use a glowstick or something?

01-22-2009, 10:39 PM
I'm gonna guess that Vlad the Impaler zaps himself to death with magic missile, if that last screen is anything to go by.

01-23-2009, 02:39 AM
I do manage to tame a black dragon for PapillionReel. Unfortunately, starting about now, the life expectancies of my pets absolutely cratered, so I don’t have high hopes for him. He might make the next section more amusing though.


Pochi, the black dragon, tried to eat a green slime. Now I have a pet Pochi the green slime. There’s that story.

This is why I hate dealing with the bloody slimes.


And then you end up recruiting another dragon (named after me, even!*) so it's all right in the end. ...Until he gets eaten too.


Well, anyway, I'm seconding the bet of Vlad killing himself. Unless there's another, more humiliating way for it to be done...?

(*Minor nitpick: Papillon only has one I in it.)

01-23-2009, 08:43 AM
I always like to let Juiblex swallow me, then zap him with a wand of digging and poke my way out. Unihorn takes care of the awful sickness and then you're good to go.

Interesting note about Juiblex: he's the only monster in the game you cannot kill more than once. He doesn't leave a corpse and so can't be raised, he's mindless and therefore will not put on an Amulet of Lifesaving if you give him one, and he's a unique monster and therefore only spawns in one spot. Everything else in Nethack can be re-killed by using one of those three methods.

01-23-2009, 08:48 AM
I always like to let Juiblex swallow me, then zap him with a wand of digging and poke my way out. Unihorn takes care of the awful sickness and then you're good to go.

More often than not thats how I end up killing him as well.

Well, anyway, I'm seconding the bet of Vlad killing himself. Unless there's another, more humiliating way for it to be done...?

The traditional humiliating way of killing Vlad is to wield a tin opener and beat him to death with it.

01-23-2009, 12:17 PM


And then you end up recruiting another dragon (named after me, even!*) so it's all right in the end.[/COLOR]

No. The first dragon died because he wasn't careful about what he ate. You died because the purple worm wasn't careful about what he ate.

01-23-2009, 12:19 PM
Solution: tame the purple worm.

Actually, shit, reverse-genocide them and then tame the whole lot. PURPLE WORM ARMY FTW.

01-23-2009, 12:45 PM
The traditional humiliating way of killing Vlad is to wield a can opener and beat him to death with it.

That sounds awesome. Would Lyll be strong enough to pull this off? If so, I fully endorse this form of humiliation against Vlad over there.

No. The first dragon died because he wasn't careful about what he ate. You died because the purple worm wasn't careful about what he ate.

I thought I was killed by an Olog-Hai? YOU LIED TO ME

Solution: tame some more dragons.

Though the best solution here should be obvious: Purple Worms AND Dragons. Hell, throw in a few Archons and what have you (http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Pet#Preferred_pets) while you're at it if you want. Ascend to the heavens with your invincible army!

01-23-2009, 05:30 PM
ASCII -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP10bA.htm
Tiles -- http://mysite.verizon.net/res10gez0/Nethack/LP10bT.htm


In our last episode, we encountered the boss of the tower, Vlad the impaler. Vlad will, instantlyÖ.

Gently caress you and do not much else.

In an uncharacteristic of this game, Vlad is a threat to nearly nobody at this point in the game. Some people will beat him with their bare hands, and some with tin openers. Mastodons are more of a threat than Vlad, and Iím not exaggerating.

People actually make patches for the sole purpose of making his power commensurate with the fact heís near the very end of the game.

I put him out of his misery and take his candelabrum.


The candles are quickly applied to the candelabrum. This makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief Ė the last thing I needed was for those candles to somehow be incinerated (Iíd have been very glad Brickroad made me save my wishes then.)


This tower is actually outside of hell proper. We go back into the searing flames, the brief interlude of variety but a memory.


The golden naga has lasted far longer than he ever deserved. I think itís because heís too low leveled to actually fight dangerous monsters.

At least he makes sure to eat all those trolls.


The right side of this area is actually like a little town. Itís another one of my favorite levels in the game.


Skeletons are notable mainly because this is one of the very few games Iíve ever played where skeletons are and endgame enemy, rather than experience fodder in the early game.

Rather, theyíre a speedbump in the very late game. If you blink, you wonít notice them.


There are abandoned shops flooded with mimics. Some people will genocide mimics so that when you get to levels like this one, the shops only have items. Tourists are especially attractive choices for this, as their quest include shops of some sort.

Frankly, Iíve seldom had enough scrolls of genocide to have that option, but itís an interesting option.


I polypile a bit and score another amulet of life saving.


The next enemy is another seldom seen undead, the shades, pools of inky blackness. Like wraiths, they have a level draining attack that make them more dangerous than you might expect.


Number three.

Pro Tip Ė Donít pray in Gehennom, and donít sacrifice on this altar (the tower is okay.) It all goes to Moloch, and that makes everyone involved very unhappy.

People can still use this for checking curses and that sort of thing.


Now we get to Orcus, our fourth demon friend. Every D&D campaign is entitled to at least one chance to kill Orcus and steal his wand.


Orcus also hits hard. He has a wand of death, but is most dangerous when he isnít fustily trying to death-ray me.


Purple worms are cool. Every monster they attack gets eaten immediately. Unfortunately, they move and attack very slowly.


We take our place on the stairway.


Bam. We have one empty wand of death. (The wand that I used to kill the Dark One got blasted by an wand of lightning in Fort Ludios and blew up.)

01-23-2009, 05:32 PM

This wraith corpse looks appetizing.

Unfortunately, itís actually the remains of the golden naga after a polymorph gone wrong. Eating former pets is a bad idea, no matter how delicious they look.


This looks mildly interesting, but I donít get to go there yet. That means nothing but mazes.


The vrock dumps monsters all around the maze. We keep our spiral of despair going down.

Iím actually making progress at my normal rate. There isnít just much to talk about in this long boring slog.

It took me about seven LPs to descend the first thirteen levels.


I accidentally activate a magic mortal, and get to go back up the levels.

Iím actually pressing my luck here (I shouldnít be doing this yet,) but Iím really, really bored. A polymorph gone right has given me my dream of a balrog.


The balrog starts his path of destruction by destroying bees.


Let nobody say I donít follow the LP tradition of democracy.


The pet elf is just there mostly to eat things before the balrog gets to them.


Another purple worm. We go after the swarm of monsters below me. Note that I donít have telepathy anymore Ė I swapped the eye out for one of the amulets of life saving.


I try to let my pets kill the monsters, but they had to keep trying to eat the corpses and not fighting.

I eventually resort to my ring of conflict, causing the monsters to turn on each other. My pets largely die, but so does the army. I donít do a lot of damage per hit, so this is the fastest way to blow through things.

Trappers, like purple worms, like to eat monsters whole. It makes conflict work better. A cockatrice was also in the room Ė conflict made the monsters lose their restraint when attacking it, and hence the statues.


Teleport away is a great spell (though I never really get to use it.) As we saw in Medusaís level with the titan and archon, this is one of the most reliable way to erase problems.


Oops. In the next room, I forgot that I had actually reached the lair of the Wizard of Yendor. I intended to make my way to him, and then go back down. Donít do things in the order I am Ė itís suboptimal.

The Wizard of Yendor, nicknamed ďRodneyĒ after the default name choice in Rogue, is a nasty little monster that can steal items, clone himself, summon monsters, and make your life a living hell. Worse yet, you canít kill him permanently Ė for the majority of the rest of the game, he just keeps coming back to haunt you.

This would be scarier if he didnít die to one shot of finger of death.

I kill him, take his Book of the Dead, and then leave.


We finally make our way to the penultimate level of hell. This part involves enough pixel hunting to make Roberta Williams blush. One of these tiles will vibrate. Thus, we have to walk over every single bloody square until we find out which one. God I hate this part.

What you should do, of course, is find the vibrating square, mark it, and then go wake up the Wizard. In my apathy, I rushed things. The Wizard isnít much of a threat, but itís good practice.

Finding the square is excuricatingly boring. The place is a giant maze, and you have to concentrate the entire time, so as not to miss it in a stream of messages. At times, I have resorted to cutting away every single wall in the room just so I could run back and forth rather than worm myself through the maze. In order to mark where Iíve already looked, I use my spell of light to mark them.


They say itís always in the last place you look. Then some wag will inevitably point out that you stop looking after you find it, so of course itís the last place. Regardless of this nonsense (and believe me, the process gave me a literal splitting headache,) I find the vibrating square in what was almost the last place to look.

Most people will leave an object of some sort to mark where the square is, and then go deal with the Wizard. I did not do this because I can be careless sometimes, which would explain my first characterís demise. Due to this, he made some pathetic attempts to harass me while I was searching, in the instant after he appeared but before I insta-killed him.

Now, the invocation. You can theoretically find this out from the oracle, or you can do what everyone else does and read a spoiler.


You burn the Candelabra for a light to read by.

You ring the Bell of Opening (remember this? We found it in our quest.)

And you read the book of the dead.


And then the world splits apart.

Thereís only one way to go Ė down.

01-23-2009, 05:33 PM

Weíre now in the Sanctum of Moloch, the final dungeon level. In here, rests the prized amulet of Yendor. This is our greatest challenge yet.

Well, other than those soldier ants in the early game. And starvation.

In any event, I complained a lot about Gehennom, and I mean every word of it. But even I have to admit that this is when the game gets good again.


First off, we slowly plug through a graveyard. The ghosts are uninteresting, but I find a ďNetbrianĒ corpse. How nice of them.


We now invade the core of the sanctum. The priests here arenít the cute little friendly priests from the rest of the dungeon. From now on, the priests we meet will want to destroy us utterly.


After punching my way through, we detect a priest quartet in the distance.


The sanctum itself is surrounded by fire traps, and the only entrance is a concealed secret door. Classes without the spell detect unseen have so very much fun trying to find the single entrance, as towers of flame blast you every step you take.

The Wizard of Yendor makes another appearance, and kills the high priest for me. The wizard wants the amulet even more than I do.

This makes my life easier, and he dies to the death ray blaster.


The amulet of Yendor is mine. Iíve won, havenít I?

01-23-2009, 05:36 PM
I thought of taking a tin opener to Vlad, but his magic missiles saved me the effort. Honestly, watching him is bloody embarrassing. He could have been the boss of mine's end, and would still be pathetic.

01-23-2009, 05:51 PM
My supply of water is doing well -- I can cast cancellation to easily transform other potions.

I also have the spell remove curse in case of bag of holding disasters.

Ah...I'd just like to point out that being a Wizard is widely known to be the easiest class to Ascend with if you make it past early game for just these reasons (and remind people this is why you choose the class). All the issues I talk about when I chime in are for mere mortal classes, especially the illiterate ones.


Jubilex ProTip(TM): try a wand of digging or the dig spell on him

01-23-2009, 05:57 PM
Ah...I'd just like to point out that being a Wizard is widely known to be the easiest class to Ascend with if you make it past early game for just these reasons (and remind people this is why you choose the class). All the issues I talk about when I chime in are for mere mortal classes, especially the illiterate ones.

Actually, I chose the Wizard class because I liked the variety offered by the spells with cancellation, cone of cold, charm, cure, etc. I thought it'd be fun to show off the different options available.

Originally, I planned to run a Valkyrie, whom I feel is actually easiest in general.

And sorry Nich, no Nocturne jokes until I can play it, which won't happen until Persona 4. Maybe if someone hadn't refused to love me because of an obscure conversation option, I wouldn't have felt compelled to restart.