View Full Version : It breathes -more- You have died. Let's play Angband!

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02-23-2009, 10:14 PM
Hi guys!

Back when Netbrian ran his excellent Nethack LP (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=6967), I decided that it was high time that Angband got a little love. Even the excellent @Play (http://www.gamesetwatch.com/column_at_play/) column at GameSetWatch give it short shrift in the roguelike world, which is kind of a shame, because Angband is recognized as a direct influence on pretty much every tactical (and semi-tactical) hack-and-slash game that's come out since the early 90s.

Wait, what's Angband? For those of you who don't know, Angband is sort of the bastard stepchild of roguelikes, although it's the closest in lineage to the original Rogue - and in fact isn't even based off Rogue itself. It's based on Moria, which is a roguelike created by a student in the early 1980s when Rogue was removed from the campus mainframe and he wanted to keep playing games. Some of its interesting features that diverge from vanilla Rogue will come up from time to time, but I'm going to try and keep the LP from getting too front-loaded - the mechanics of Angband are easy to learn, hard to master, and violating any one of its basic principles will get you killed no matter how good a player you are. Unlike Nethack, where success is almost absolutely assured after a certain point, even veteran Angband players can - and will - die from not having the right item on hand, knowing the right spell, or stepping somewhere without thinking about it.

For those of you who really like reading fantasy novels about elves and dragons, you probably recognize Angband as the dungeon built to imprison Morgoth from the Silmarillion, of all things - and that's the objective of our game, to get to the 100th floor of the dungeon (or 5000' feet below the surface) and slay Morgoth. Needless to say this isn't exactly an easy thing to do. There's an additional objective as well, but I really doubt we're going to get far enough to even attempt it.

I'm going to admit upfront that I am not a very good Angband player - average at best. I haven't mastered some of the weirder, more aggressive, and apparently more useful strategies, but damned if I'm not going to try them this game. My best record for a run was an elf mage to floor 30 of the dungeon - with a hilarious and inappropriate death which I'll explain the dangers of as soon as we get started. As a result unlike most LPs this one won't be about "winning" the game: My goal is to play as far as I can to teach everyone the basic mechanics, spoilers, and strategies that you need to get started and then turn you loose.

We're not starting quite yet: First everyone needs a chance to catch up on the (excellent) Nethack LP - it's not required reading, but I'm not going to be able to avoid comparing the two games in several regards and it'll be more fun for you, the viewer, if you're at least a little familiar with the world of roguelikes. And now you get to pick what kind of character I'll be running for at least the first few games, and after that, I'll try and showcase as much variety as I can.

First: Our character is going to need a gender and a name! I'll trust you guys to pick one, and let you know that gender has no affect on gameplay. Women and men are equally beefy and able to carry tens of pounds of equipment in Angband.

Picking a class is the easy part, and will affect what kind of races we can play anyway.

Character classes
Warrior: Your standard @-sign which exists mostly to run into letters (and other special symbols, so it can pick them up). Warriors have high strength, dexterity and constitution, but suck at anything to do with magic. It will also be extremely boring to watch a game where I play a warrior.

Mage: An @-sign which can learn (almost) every magic spell in the game. They're not strong at the beginning, but this is only a disadvantage for a few floors: The right mage will gain spells quickly and become absolutely unstoppable in ranged combat. Naturally they suck at hitting things and shooting bows.

Priest: An @-sign that prefers to blame itself rather than god. They can learn every prayer, which is essentially magic God gives you (even though you still need a book) and have a lot of wisdom, but aren't very smart. They make average fighters, but cannot use edged weapons without serious penalties: St. Peter frowns on dealing with anyone who has their arms chopped off. I don't like playing priests because of the large number of limitations they have, but at high levels they're even more unstoppable than mages.

Rogue: An @-sign that doesn't steal things, but is very sneaky. Rogues are quiet and can sneak around monsters, and are sort of a jack of all trades: They learn some support spells, are good at using magic items, and are good fighters. Rogues aren't the most fun to play, but they're the most likely to win.

Ranger: A ranger is a warrior/mage hybrid @-sign. They can learn almost all the spells a mage can at a severely diminished pace, and are awesome with bows. You might think this is a good class to play, but it takes a long time to learn spells and since they're great fighters they don't need most of the spells a rogue doesn't get anyway.

Paladin: An @-sign ranger who gave up on magic and instead decided to go to church every Sunday. It's a priest/warrior hybrid class, and I have never ever played one so I can't say much about them.

The race you choose is going to affect the classes that I can play, so pick carefully!
Human: You're a human, you know what they are. Humans can be anything and do anything - they're the base class.

Half-elf: A human and an elf had a baby @-sign. From their dad they take the ability to be anything, but they take after their mom in a strength penalty and a limited ability to see in the dark.

Elf: An @-sign which makes a good magician, but not too much else. They think they're too smart for religion and can't be priests or paladins. Not the strongest in the bunch, either.

Hobbit: An @-sign which loves smoking and thieving. They're good at playing rogues, but are weak and better suited to that sneaking thing and ranged fighting. They can only be warriors, rogues, or rangers.

Gnome: I honestly can't tell you much about the gnome @-signs other than that they make awesome mages, in part because they're immune to paralysis and I believe some stunning effects. But they an also be warriors, rogues, or even priests.

Dwarf: Dwarves are the @-signs that love to run into lowercase letters to hit them. As as result they make good warriors, priests, or paladins. But they can't be quiet, so they have to hit everything.

Half-Orc: Half-orcs are those @-signs which should look more like lowercase 'o's. They kill shit and can be warriors or priests.

Half-Troll: Half-trolls are those @-signs which should look more like uppercase 'T's. They also kill shit and can be warriors or priests, but have one big advantage: They regenerate really fast, so they make the best warriors.

Dunadan: Some @-signs from a fantasy novel which are the only race that has no penalties to any of their stats. They can't be rogues, though, and raising them a level costs more than twice as much experience as to raise a human a level. A game with a dunadan will take forever to finish just because of some of the required grinding.

High elf: @-signs that make the best mages and can see invisible things. They take even more experience to level. We will not be playing a high elf unless you are unbearably cruel, but I'll be cruel back by posting screenshots of every time they gain 1/20th of the exp needed to level. They can't be rogues, priests, or paladins.

Kobold: Hooray! This @-sign is a hideous dog-creature which sees very well in the dark and is immune to poisons of all kinds - which will make the early game significantly less dangerous - but they can't be mages or paladins. They're usually pretty weak, but adorable.

You guys have until Friday evening to pick!

Finally, there's the matter of picking a tileset to get your posts in. I'm not even going to offer up the ASCII option because it was opposed last time, but here are your options with a sample of what a bunch of stuff will look like:

8x8 tiles

16x16 tiles

32x32 tiles

NEXT SUNDAY: We learn some useful Angband lessons in fun ways to die early from Goofus the half-orc. Next week is when I'm queued to begin the LP proper, and our character will need some time to get updates going anyway.

02-23-2009, 10:30 PM
My god, those are ugly tiles. Shouldn't they be square?

02-23-2009, 10:32 PM
Yeah, those... those tiles are pretty ugly. I wouldn't mind a shift to ASCII if that's what the game has to offer.

Also: You should start with a Kobold Warrior named Gon. Hooray!

Alternatively: a High Elf Mage named Dez and/or Lyll.

02-23-2009, 10:40 PM
You should start with a Kobold Warrior named Gon. Hooray!


02-23-2009, 10:43 PM
The class/race discussion was over before it began! Hooray!

02-23-2009, 11:10 PM
Gnome/Mage was my typical choice back when I played vanilla. Shame many variants ditch Gnomes... I hate scumming for FA or spending one of my ring slots that should have a Ring of Damage/Combat or high resist.

Dorf priest or pally might be an interesting run, though. Who gives a frak about stealth? (Except that time where I relied on legendary stealth to pick off packs of greater demons one by one...)

02-24-2009, 01:36 AM
So our tile options are blurry, fuzzy, or tiny? Yeesh. I'll vote for the 8x8. Or ASCII. I mean, damn.

I'm going to go against the grain and vote for a kobold rogue, because I'm a rebel.

Octopus Prime
02-24-2009, 02:10 AM
I too am down with the 8x8, then I think I could actually amke out what is going on.

Also: Kobold Rogue: Hooray!

02-24-2009, 07:49 AM
Also: You should start with a Kobold Warrior named Gon. Hooray!

Pick me! Hooray!

ASCII please. Those tiles are fugly and useless. There's too many cases were confusing one is instant death, whereas in Nethack once you level some you can survive those mistakes.

...but 8x8 if we absolutely must. But seriously, ASCII. All you ASCII haters can go play Shirien.

02-24-2009, 08:04 AM
<Tolkien nerd>

Angband was actually Morgoth's fortress, not his prison. He did imprison a lot of other people there, however. Angband was eventually sacked by the Valar (the gods, basically), and he was imprisoned somewhere outside of creation.

Why, yes, I am one of those horrible people who enjoyed the Silmarillion enough to read it more than once.

God, I'm hopeless, aren't I?

</Tolkien nerd>

02-24-2009, 11:04 AM
Yay! I've been looking forward to this LP, since I've been on a roguelike bender lately and am happy to get a sense of one of the other major branches in the genre.

I'll be different and vote for a kobold priest, since I want to see some divine smiting.

As for the tiles . . . yeesh, those are all pretty ugly. If ASCII isn't an option, I'll vote for the 8x8 -- is there an option somewhere to make the tiles wider so they at least look square?

02-24-2009, 05:11 PM
I'll be different and vote for a kobold priest, since I want to see some divine smiting.

Kobold priest might be good. I remember playing this a little way back when. I had a dwarven priest which didn't get very far.

02-24-2009, 06:40 PM
Priest: An @-sign that prefers to blame itself rather than god.

I know that if I had typed this, I'd want someone to comment on it. So here it is.

Anyway, let's get this Kobold priest goin'!

02-24-2009, 08:53 PM
I agree with all of you that these tiles are extremely fugly. For reference, here's what the ascii will look like, even though I couldn't get as much stuff on the screen:


I wanted to make this as non-roguelike-fan friendly as possible, but honestly, compared to Nethack's (frankly quite good) tilesets, ASCII is the way to go here. This is what the graphical Windows version looks like, but I'll (probably) be playing on Mac when my computer comes out of the shop. The only difference is that the tiles will look a little more square, and all those gray blocks will be replaced with #s and the occasional % symbol.

For those of you who might be worried about remembering which letters and symbols are what, I'll be keeping everyone abreast of these things as often as possible. Most of them make a lot of sense (except some of the item symbols, but there are so few of those it's not much of a problem), and the whole thing isn't nearly as overwhelming as Nethack. It's not like I wouldn't have to remind you of what those hideous tiles are every time they show up anyway.

I'm totally not surprised that you guys want me to play a kobold, but right now it's a serious horserace between priest and warrior (and there's still plenty of time left for the rest of you to come in), 3 to 4.

For the curious: I didn't explain the thread title up above, so I might as well do it here. The most famous (and deadly, at least before you get resistances) of common monsters in Angband are hounds, elemental-based monsters which can perform breath attacks. These are essentially spells that hit a 3-tile radius, and these monsters come in groups: HUGE groups. If they all breathe on you in the same turn, you can get the dreaded status message(s):

It breathes X. It breathes X. It breathes X. It breathes -more-
You have died.

It's been a while since I made it deep enough into the dungeon to die this way, but believe me, in the past there have been many deaths at the hands (paws?) of hound-type monsters. Maybe if we're lucky (?) I'll even get to post one.

02-24-2009, 10:07 PM
Does Angband have any hounds that breathe elements you literally can't get resistances for?

02-24-2009, 10:36 PM
Hah! I thought the -more- was some kind of clever emphatic "oh god, please stop" message in the game.. but it's just the line buffer. =(

02-25-2009, 07:26 AM
I'm clearly pre-emptively outvoted, but I'd actually go for the 32x32 tiles on the grounds that a few more details give me a slim chance of actually figuring out what the hell the fugly icons are supposed to be. Really, what's needed is a *better* tileset. It's weird that nobody has made one, but I guess Angband's a little more niche than some of the other RLs?

Anyway, looking forward to this!

02-25-2009, 12:21 PM
Warriors have high strength, dexterity and constitution, but suck at anything to do with magic. It will also be extremely boring to watch a game where I play a warrior.

Priest please.


02-25-2009, 01:30 PM
Really, what's needed is a *better* tileset. It's weird that nobody has made one, but I guess Angband's a little more niche than some of the other RLs?

It's not that nobody has ever made one. There have been dozens of variants and spinoffs of Angband over the years, many with graphics. However, many of the projects are moribund now, so when playing the current vanilla version you don't have that many options. For example, here's a screen from ZangbandTK:


Red Hedgehog
02-25-2009, 03:00 PM
Those tilesets are awful. I'd go for ascii, but then I'm used to playing Nethack in ascii (although lately I've fallen in love with the tileset that was was posted for Nethack in the LP).

I want to see a gnome mage.

02-25-2009, 04:47 PM
Originally I had no opinion about what race/class combo to pick, but I just read it again and saw that you've never played a paladin before. It's time to correct that. I cast my vote for a dwarf paladin.

02-25-2009, 08:31 PM
Hah! I thought the -more- was some kind of clever emphatic "oh god, please stop" message in the game.. but it's just the line buffer. =(
I also thought this at first, and even though I'm slightly disappointed it wasn't, it's still pretty funny as a title.

Also I support Dwarf Paladin, though I'm sure anything will be cool.

02-25-2009, 08:35 PM
Kobold Priest plz.

Octopus Prime
02-26-2009, 01:27 AM
I still think "It Breathes - You Die" is a good name for... something.

02-27-2009, 09:51 PM
The final votes are in!

I rolled the Kobold Warrior/Kobold Rogue votes together because not only is that cheating and gives me leeway to play my favorite race/class combination in the game (seriously) but because like I said, a warrior will be boring to watch because he won't use anything but swords and bows. Warriors can't even use wands right some of the time.

So here's what we've got! I might be a little off, but here were the requests:

Kobold Rogue: 5
Kobold Priest: 4
Dwarf Paladin: 2
Dwarf Priest: 1
Gnome Mage: 1

Since I'm going to be dying - a lot! - these are the characters I'll play first, starting with the most-requested and working my way down to least (unless our kobold rogue meets an unbearable fate, like falling into a pit trap on the first floor, which is instantly fatal for anything with less than 12hp).

For those of you who care about the minutae of the game: This is mostly going to be of interest to other roguelike players, but here's the general setup for the game(s) that I'll be running. For the curious, coming back here later after I explain things like scumming, variants, and how artifacts are generated might make what I'm about to put out there more interesting.

First, I'm going to be playing vanilla Angband 3.0.9b. Kobolds were introduced in the 3.0.x line as a playable class, probably due to the fact that they show up in every variant, and it seems like there's been some balancing in general. 3.1.0b is out now and good lord do I have mixed feelings about it - for a new player, I can see it being very nice (more balancing, traps now have depths associated with them, removal of potions of stat loss (!!!)) but those balance changes just irk the hell out of me. Part of the fun of roguelikes is how unforgiving they are from the second you start playing.

The birth options I have set are: No autoscum, preserve mode, no ironman settings (this is a real game, not some ridiculous challenge), and monsters are "smart" - they'll chase sound, smell, and act intelligently in groups. For the curious, this just modifies the pathfinding algorithms slightly in the first two cases, and in the last case makes monsters more likely to flank me and fuck my shit straight up. Smart groups is a new option introduced in the 3.0.x line, and it makes things like cave orcs - which were previously a pushover with a wand of light - extremely dangerous, because if you spend too long in one place where they can, they WILL flank you instead of blindly running down a tunnel straight at you. This makes monster pits something other than exp farms, and I love it.

In an ordinary game, I'd never look at a single spoiler. Since I actually want to try and win this, though, I'll allow myself two spoiler sources: Source code (mostly for missile weapon damage calculation) and an artifact list. In most games I play I only end up with two or three artifacts by the time I bite it, but again, I'm in it to win it on this one and will be playing cautiously.

I promise to never cheat death or savescum. I will never turn on wizard mode, or use the debug commands. Every single cheat option will be off. Okay, this isn't exactly true - I used some of these tools to manipulate Goofus' game.

For everyone: Did your eyes just glaze over? That's okay, that was some really serious jargon-filled muck that only somebody who's played Angband a few times already (or maybe another roguelike) would understand. Don't let it scare you, I'm going to be way friendlier once the posts start coming in... approximately... SOON.

02-28-2009, 01:55 AM
randarts or no randarts?

02-28-2009, 11:07 AM
randarts or no randarts?

Randarts still doesn't work very well, and is (even after all this time) considered an alpha feature. Plus I'm seriously going to need artifact spoilers for this one and randarts ruins that. So no.

No more walls of text! Let's get started!

PART 0: What can we learn from Goofus?

Goofus is going to teach us some of the most basic things about Angband! These are things new players find out on their own, usually very very fast. I'm going to save you some time, and have a little fun warming up in the process. I'll skip over a few things that I'll cover at the start of my first real game, like what each of the buildings are.

Goofus is a half-orc who has been kind of blessed by the gods. He's an absolute idiot, but has managed to live a pretty decent life - born as the son of the handsomest orc and the most hideous human, he was raised in a loving environment where the sharp corners were filed off of everything after he almost lost both his eyes. In fact, just about the only thing Goofus has ever been good at is hitting things. So when he reached the orc-equivalent age of 18 - I'm not a big enough dork to read Tolkien, maybe somebody else can fill us in on exactly when that is - he decided to head to whatever town it is that's built on top of Angband, which is probably the worst place to put a town except in a floodplain which is only dry because it's surrounded on all sides by leaking dams. Because this town doesn't have a name as far as I know, we're going to call it Adventureville, home of Adventure!


Welcome to Adventureville, Goofus! For a half-orc that was raised far away from every kind of possible civilization, this is a real town of action, even though it only has eight buildings. "GOOFUS NEED TO FIND FRIEND" is the first thing Goofus says to himself upon entering the town, in typical orc fashion. He's heard of these "friend" things before and thinks that maybe talking to somebody will help him out. Right now Goofus is carrying a whole bunch of things in his backpack, but doesn't care about any of them - he just wants to find somebody who isn't completely repelled by his hideous face.

Don't worry about what all those numbers are just yet. Goofus isn't smart enough to visit any buildings, and they'd probably all lock the doors just from looking at him anyway.


Finally! After wandering around the town for a while, Goofus stumbles upon a battle-scarred veteran (t). He looks pretty messed up, and Goofus thinks that he's found his friend, and goes to say hello! "HELLO UGLY MAN, GOOFUS SAYS HELLO" Well, he wasn't exactly raised with the best social graces. He fumbles with the mysterious 'T' and 't' keys for a while, trying to find an analogue for 'talk', and gives up, instead just running into the guy.


That doesn't turn out so well. Now Goofus is crying, punching and kicking at the mean old man who he thought might share some useful tips for dungeon survival, or maybe even give him a comforting hug. He's a little homesick, after all. In fact, it turns out that the battle-scarred veteran doesn't take kindly to strangers.

LESSON 1: Everything in Angband is out to kill you. There is no 'talk' action. There are no friendly characters. Everything wants to kill you - except for a few characters in town, who mostly exist to bother the hell out of you or steal all of your money before you can buy anything. Angband lacks Nethack's nuances of alignment and friendly characters and shops in dungeons and all of that: It's all monsters, all combat, all the time.


The battle rages onward! Finally, Goofus chases down the veteran, ready to deliver the killing blow, when he realizes that maybe if he was holding a sword or something he might have a better chance. While he's busy thinking, he gets hit in the head with a rock and dies.

The gods see this, and after a moment of conference, decide to give Goofus another chance.

LESSON 2: Check your equipment! Every RPG since the beginning of time has told you this, but in Angband, you might not even realize you start carrying a bunch of great stuff. Warriors like Goofus get a good sword and some armor, magic- and prayer-using classes get their first book, and so on. Forgetting to equip your character before a quick run into the first dungeon floor is a common cause of death for new players.


This time around, Goofus is smart enough to check what he's got in his knapsack. In addition to some sandwiches and dead rabbits that his mom put in there, he's carrying a few torches, armor, and a sword. "SWORD LOOK AWESOME" bellows Goofus, probably because he's been sheltered from them for his whole life because he'd probably cut off his own damn arm or something. Now he finally gets to have one! Fortunately, he's sensible enough to realize that putting on the armor might be a good idea too.

Remembering his past life, Goofus decides not to wander around town, and instead goes straight into the dungeon.


Goofus ends up in a nice, spacious, well-lit room. "DUNGEON NOT SEEM SO DANGEROUS TO GOOFUS", he says, and for right now that's true. Goofus decides to take a few steps into the dark hallway - this will totally show his dad that he's not afraid of the bogeyman, either!


After stumbling around for a while in the dark, touching walls to feel where they are and generally getting lost and disoriented, Goofus starts to cry. I mean, what else could he do? Maybe those of you looking at the inventory screen have actually figured out what Goofus needs to do next:

LESSON 3: Always have a light. Some characters can get "around" this problem because all non-human races have a limited ability to see warm-blooded monsters from a certain distance away in the dark, but this is no substitute for a torch. A common problem new players have, instead of running out of food, is running out of light - hunger in Angband is very slow, but your starting supply of torches will only last for about 5000-7000 turns. That sounds like a lot, but believe me: you go through turns fast in this game.


Goofus isn't as smart as we are, though, and keeps stumbling along the hallway until he finally comes into another room. On the floor there's a green potion with little flecks in it (!) - it looks just like the stew that mom used to make back home, so naturally Goofus runs over and immediately drinks it. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HFPa-M6Ssk)

(A brief aside: The [-=WIZARD=-] text there is because I was playing Goofus in Wizard Mode, which allows access to the debug commands that can do fun things like create items. Wizard mode is occasionally useful for the novice player, in that it teaches you a lot about what the game has to offer and a little bit about combat mechanics from looking at the status messages it, and the cheat options, can generate.)


Oops. Mom's stew probably isn't the healthiest thing to eat either, but at least it's not poison. For orcs, at least.

LESSON 4: Never, ever, ever use-ID. Use-ID is just what it sounds like: Identify what an item is by using it. This is especially dangerous on early floors - drinking a potion of poison or reading a scroll of summon monster will kill you, immediately, unless you're a very lucky fellow (or lady). Unlike Nethack, where there are multiple ways to use an item, Angband usually only has one. And that one use will result in death.


Goofus crawls his way down the corridor, crying and heaving, trying to get all the poison out of his system. Have you ever seen a half-orc vomit? It's pretty gross. Like, even grosser than regular vomiting. It doesn't matter much, because he dies anyway.

This time the gods actually argue a little about bringing Goofus back, but they put it to a vote and he gets to teach us a few more lessons.

02-28-2009, 11:10 AM
When we last left Goofus, he had just been brought back to life by the benevolent gods. Actually, given how poorly Goofus is making out, maybe they're not that benevolent and just enjoy watching him suffer. But for whatever reason, this time he goes in prepared: Goofus won't drink any potions, puts on his armor and takes his sword, and even decides that it might be smart to light one of those torches so he doesn't have to touch a bunch of slimy bugs on the walls. Those just make him hungry.


So Goofus ventures down into the horrifying depths of Angband again! This time, he happens into a room where there are two monsters - a centipede ('a') and a snake ('J'). "NO PROBLEM FOR SUPER-STRONG ORC GOOFUS" he bellows, and then proceeds to immediately go and bash his sword into the snake. After all, snakes can bite you and poison you (although this one can't) and centipedes are just tasty snacks.

And finally - a battle where Goofus is victorious! Not only does he crush the snake under the heel of his massive orc foot, he also eats the centipede (but not really - you can't eat monsters in Angband). He's all bloody and angry, but managed to gain a mysterious skill increase known as a 'level' out of it. This doesn't really do much but make him able to take more damage. "GOOFUS TOTALLY RULES" he shouts, running down the hallway without giving a second thought to the fact that he's bleeding all over and should probably take a bit of a breather.


And then there's another snake in front of him! Goofus is still all battered from his last fight, but is still "totally pumped", and so has no problem deciding that he should stick the pointed end of his sword (the end that dad always told him not to play with) straight into the snake. Unfortunately, he has a very hard time of this, and...


Well, maybe if he'd done a little bit to take care of his earlier wounds, all those times his sword missed the snake wouldn't have mattered quite as much. Goofus dies again.

LESSON 5: Always rest! Whenever in a clear room or empty hallway and not at full HP or Mana, rest. There is no reason to run around below full strength, unless you're cornered by a large group of monsters. Another mistake that novices make is not abusing the 'r' (rest) command. It's there to make sure you survive. Mages who don't use the rest command die almost instantly.

This time, the gods are way angrier. How the hell could anyone be so stupid? they wonder, and finally, there's a vote. This time they're going to bring Goofus back - but play a cruel, cruel trick on him, and if he can live through it, then he's worthy enough to deserve this third chance. If not, well, tough titty - he should be dead anyway.


As with all his deaths, Goofus is now back in town, standing on top of the stairwell that leads to the dungeon below. He doesn't really think much of the fact that he's been getting murdered left and right and then manages to come back to the town as good as new.


Suddenly, out of nowhere, a potion appears! High in the clouds above, the gods are snickering and punching each other in the shoulder like a bunch of drunken college students who are finding out about "All Your Base" for the first time.

Goofus, naturally, is suspicious.


A cloudy potion? "SEEMS ALMOST LIKE MILK", says Goofus, who really just happens to love milk. Especially when it's spoiled, which is exactly what this potion smells like it is! Down the hatch!

Goofus, of course, never learned Lesson 4.


It's just like it says: A feeling of death flows through Goofus' body, and he knows exactly what that's like by now. Sort of like when you stick your feet into a bucket of ice and they almost fall off, like what happened to him when he was the orc-equivalent of 8. His entire life flashes before his eyes. Well, his lives.


I mean, that's the only possible explanation for this, right?


LESSON 6: Even veteran players forget the rules sometimes, and do stupid things. My most ignomious death was from a Potion of Death. They start showing up in the high-20s in the dungeon, and I was playing a mage - who had an identify spell - at the time. But! There was this awesome new potion, I'd already IDed the potions I thought were 'bad', and I was out of mana. Surely, this had to be one of the fabled stat gain potions which, coincidentally, start showing up around that floor as well!

You can guess what happened. I stopped playing for two years after that.


And so the story of Goofus, the half-orc, comes to an end.

NEXT TIME: Will Gon the kobold rogue fare any better? Stay tuned to find out the shocking answer sometime early next week!

Octopus Prime
02-28-2009, 11:20 AM
Did the deadly murder potion cause Goofus to gain 3 levels?

02-28-2009, 01:12 PM
Yep. It most certainly did.

02-28-2009, 05:22 PM
Did the deadly murder potion cause Goofus to gain 3 levels?

This is a fun quirk of the game: Sometimes use-IDing certain items causes a gain in experience (for the obvious reason: If you drink (or read, or aim) something and you have no idea what it is, you're more worldly). As we'll see later, casting spells, disarming traps, and opening doors can also give you experience, but I'd never actually encountered use-ID experience of this kind before. It's really sort of magical.

It's also fun to learn exactly how the potion of death works. A character's max HP is around 500 as a hard limit, and it looks like the potion immediately drops it by -501: This means it causes death for all characters, instead of just toggling a "you're alive/you're dead" switch. The -498 we see below is because whenever you gain a level, I believe your current HP goes up by 1. The level-up calculations must be done after HP reevaluation for whatever reason in the game's event loop, which could result in some interesting quirks where a character will die with more than 1 HP.

The more you know!

03-01-2009, 01:35 AM
Finally! It's time to begin...

The adventures of Gon the Kobold Rogue! Hooray!


Say hello to Gon! It sounds like he's of pretty high birth, although this isn't going to do very much for us. Unfortunately he's the runt of the litter and this means that he's probably got some big bulging eyes or something, but we all know he's way cuter than that (http://los.yoonhuh.com/Suikoden/Image/Gon01.gif).

Okay, so let's talk about what each of Gon's stats mean, and how they're going to help him survive the dungeon! Let's single some things out, first.

Armor [0, +2]
Fight (+4, +2)
Melee (+4, +2)
Shoot (+4, +2)

For Armor, that +2 is the bonus to whatever the number on the left (current armor class, or defense) is. In Angband, unlike in Nethack or D&D, your AC goes up instead of down. For attacks, the number on the left is the to-hit bonus, which just increases your chances of hitting. Heavy weapons and characters with bad fighting ability have less of a chance to hit, so this helps with that. The right number is the damage bonus; this number is applied to whatever damage you do in fisticuffs. One of Fight or Melee covers unarmed combat, which only Goofus would try anyway. I'll cover shooting damage later.

Strength (Str): This is Gon's ability to hit things. As a warrior-like class, it's pretty high; this means he can carry a lot of weight, including wielding heavier weapons and armor, and he gets an immediate bonus to both damage and to-hit: +2 for both.
Intelligence (Int): This determines Gon's spellcasting abilities - how much Mana, or SP, he has, and what the failure rates for spells will be. For mages, I think it has to be at least 12 to even learn spells, and I want Gon to pick some things up. Intelligence also helps when using magic devices like wands, rods, and staves. It influences Saving Throw, which as you D&D nerds know, is magic resistance.
Wisdom (Wis): For Gon, this serves little purpose. When playing a priest, Wisdom acts the same way Intelligence does for a mage, but it also influences your saving throw.
Dexterity (Dex): This is what Gon is best at, being a rogue. Dexterity influences a lot of things: It gives you a starting AC bonus (+2, for Gon), a to-hit bonus (also +2), influences your ability to avoid attacks, determines how good you are at disarming traps and unlocking doors, and also how quiet you are. There's a reason that rogues are the attack-based class most likely to win the game.
Constitution (Con): This determines your hitpoints, how fast poisons are purged from your system, and how quickly cuts heal. Being a kobold, Gon can't take a whole lot of damage, so this is going to become important fast.
Charisma (Chr): The most useless stat of all, Charisma determines what you pay in town for items. Gon is an ugly mother (or so others think), so he has to pay through the nose.. you'd think! But it turns out that CHR 8-12 gives the base value for what you pay, which is usually pretty fair. By the time we can raise charisma, it's going to be practically useless to do so.

The farthest column to the right in the middle row should be mostly self-explanatory. Gon starts off being pretty good at almost everything, but he'll have to be very careful around magic users.

Oh boy! What else. Gon has some infravision - 50ft worth - which means he can spot warm-blooded monsters up to 5 tiles away, even if they're invisible. Kobolds have the best infravision, and also come with Poison immunity, which you can see in the lower-left part of the chart. Those first two columns down there in that table? Those are all the resistances/immunities we'll need. Those other two columns? We're going to want at least half of those filled up. There's a lot of stuff to get in Angband.


Here's the town, with descriptions of what the buildings are! The Church sells items used mostly by priests, and the house is like a bag of holding, but in town. You always spawn on top of the stairs that lead down into the dungeon (>), probably to encourage players to do silly things like immediately run down the steps their first time. As Goofus taught us, this is also a bad idea. Instead, we're going to check our inventory and cruise around town.


Hooray! Gon's actually got what I think is the best mix of starting equipment in the game. Everyone comes with food and torches, but rogues come with a mid-level weapon out of what you can purchase in town, and the best unencumbering armor - this means it'll be easier for him to hit things. The shopkeeper list is here to illustrate a few things: Each store has a different purchasing limit, what they'll pay for your items (far right) and each one of them has a race. In earlier versions of Angband, certain races would hate eachother, and charge more in their shops - an elf would almost always get a raw deal from the half-orc or dwarf running the weapon store. In this version, though, it's just for flavor. There used to be some other fun things about shops that I'll get into later!

I didn't want to get into too many screenshots, so I didn't run around taking snaps of everything that Gon bought - but he got some cheap armor (a cloak, leather shield, leather cap, and boots) and a long bow from the armories. He also picked up an extra torch with 3000 turns of light, because 4500 turns of light is not going to be enough.

Wait! Before going into the dungeon, there's one more thing to cover -


While running around town, Gon killed a cat. Maybe to eat it, who knows? This little box is the monster recall - Angband keeps track of what you kill, and how many times you've killed it. This box fills out as monsters attack you (giving information about their attacks) and as you kill them (giving information about their defenses). This almost completely eliminates the need to look at outside information about the game's monsters - or as Roguelike players like to call them, "spoilers." That might even be where the term originates from, since I think it dates back to the 1980s.

You'll also notice that killing a cat is worth no experience. In fact, this is true of everything in town, even the things that are more interested in beating you to death than an adorable kitten.


Finally! The meat of Angband, the dungeon. That text in the upper-left is the level feeling - it gives players a general impression of how worthwhile it is to run around this floor and find everything. In lower levels it's easier to get a "good" feeling - they're not always good. Good level feelings can indicate monsters which spawned way higher up in the dungeon than they should have. In the lower levels, up until about Level 7, they don't mean much and we'll mostly be ignoring them.

I'll be putting what each monster and item is on the side of the screen on occasion, but it's not too hard to pick up: !s are potions, }s are ranged weapons, and letters are.. monsters. Different kinds of monsters, but usually the letters make sense for them, like the mold over there.

Molds! Molds don't move, so they're not too dangerous - unless you get close to them. Most, but not all, molds have additional effects that go along with their attack, indicated by the monster color. Grey monsters usually cause confusion, which is one of the worst things to have in Angband: You can't read scrolls, cast magic, and all your movement input comes out goofy. Nethack lets you have some fun with confusion, but Angband doesn't care. It wants to kill you.

Needless to say, Gon runs around the room and picks up everything. He shoots some arrows at the mold to kill it, because momma always told him to be careful around monsters that don't move. We'll see different types of them later, and they're bad.


It's not long before Gon gets stuck, though. It would be kind of cruel of the game to put us in a situation where there was nothing to do about it, right?


Secret doors! Gon feels around the wall, and because he's such a smart young lad, finds the hidden latch that will open up the wall. Classes which have a very poor searching ability - like warriors - are going to have to suck it and go back to town when they encounter a situation like this, because they're so bad at searching they may literally never find that door.

Feeling confident in himself, Gon trundles through the door and finds...


A slew of monsters! I've put the symbol that signifies that monster type in parenthesis, along with the 'flavor' of monster after that. For good measure, there's some indication of what all those other symbols are - only brown 's are doors, other colors indicate food. Or maybe they're ,s. Who knows, with the mystery monospace font?


The mighty Gon swings his cute little sword around a whole bunch, and cuts up the bat and ant. When he gets to work on the lizard, he delivers a few choice blows before the thing gets scared, and starts running away - this is when Gon will either have to chase it, rest, or fire a few arrows to finish it off. In this case, since it'll be easy to corner the monster and it poses no threat, he chases.

03-01-2009, 01:37 AM

Turning the corner, Gon walks past a glint in one of the walls. Since it's so shiny, he turns back around and joyously runs to look at what it is - it looks like copper or gold in the wall, something that he could use to buy more things back in town. He tries to pry out a few pieces with his little sword, but it's not going to take. It's a shame that he doesn't have anything to dig it out with!


Back down the hallway, Gon sees a mysterious floating eye! (e)ye monsters are immobile, like molds, but are even nastier - they get bad effects sooner rather than later, and it's safest to take them out from long distances. Gon notches is bow and shoots the eye straight in the.. eye.. and it turns into dust or whatever monsters in Angband do, since they don't leave corpses for you to eat.


Venturing further into the dungeon, Gon meets his distant relatives, jackals (or (C)anines, as their monster class is called). These are the first monsters that come in groups, and even though they're not dangerous, an unprepared adventurer can meet their doom at the hands of any monster group - although in this case, "unprepared" more or less means "Goofus".

All of them go down easily - they're weak monsters, and no match for the mighty Gon! - so our little kobold friend runs over to the $ on the floor and picks up the copper that it signifies. Hooray! Now he can buy some more things back in the town, but first there's even more treasure to be had. The whole time he's been running around, Gon has picked up a few things, and suddenly has a bad feeling about something in his knapsack.


One of the slings he has is cursed! Gon quickly throws it away, because no way is he ever going to use a sling, and he's just too nice a little kobold to try and sell something cursed to a shop owner. If he did, maybe he'd get beaten up, too, and that's just not the way little Gon rolls.

The {cursed} and {average} you see here next to the slings is what's called Pseudo-ID: The warrior-derived classes all get some form of it, and warriors are best, with rogues second-best. Pseudo-ID gives you a general "feeling" about equipment, which is useful for inventory management inside of a dungeon when you don't have the tools you need to identify things (there's a reason warrior-based classes get this ability; they'll never learn an ID spell, or in Gon's case, won't learn one for a long time). There are five different gradations; there's equipment that is worse than cursed, and there is equipment that's better than blessed. Hopefully we'll find some - maybe from both categories.


In the next room, Gon finds out what caused that level feeling earlier - it's a mage! Normally Gon would make friends, but he's heard stories about Goofus, and knows that you should never make friends with other adventurers. (p)eople monsters start spawning in Level 2 or 3, so this is one of those cases where it's a bad monster - not a good item - that told us to explore this floor.


Gon isn't afraid of some dorky old mage, though! He shoots a bunch of arrows and stops the thing before it can even get in range to see him - monsters have vision ranges just like your character does, and as far as the mage was concerned, Gon is in the dark - and gains a level in the process. You might notice that levels, right now, are only raising Gon's HP. That's what levels in Angband do - they raise your HP, SP, and give you the ability to learn new spells on occasion. They don't raise your stats, that's what potions later in the dungeon and special equipment are for.

Gon runs around and murders a few more monsters in a completely senseless and violent fashion, bumping his little @-symbol representation into a myriad of (c)entipedes, (a)nts, snakes (J, hell if I know why), and the occasional (b)at. Suddenly, his foot catches in something and he trips forward, a pit opening up in front of him!


Ouch, that really hurt. Gon ran into a pit trap - and he's lucky that he has poison immunity, otherwise our game would probably be over now. Most pit traps have poisoned spikes on the bottom, and the hit of spikes combined with poison damage will absolutely wreck a low-level player - trapdoors and pits are the two most dangerous traps for any character under level 5.

Fortunately, Gon is a smart little fellow, and can see where all the tripwires are that trigger the trap.


Hooray! Gon manages to fiddle with the wires to get rid of them without triggering the trap, and gains a little bit of experience for being such a clever kobold. Traps can't stop him! He's totally excited by this turn of events, running around the dungeon and not running into a single monster. Until...


Goodness, it's a distant relative! Since it wants to kill Gon, it must be very, very distant as far as relatives go. But (k)obolds of the evil kind pose no real threat, and kobolds of the good kind - like Gon - have no problems smashing their faces in. Which is what Gon does.

Our furry little friend then heads over to the slime mold. Can you tell the difference between the , indicating the slime mold and the , indicating a door? Maybe not so well? What if I told you that there are mushroom items also denoted by the , symbol, and mushroom monsters which are ,s as well?

The only way to tell is by using either monster targeting or the invaluable look command.

Anyway, eating the slime mold makes Gon less hungry, and carries no ill effects. For players running a style of game called "ironman" - which essentially makes Angband play like the traditional Rogue, where you're not allowed to go up stairs or buy anything in town - slime molds are a godsend. Food consumption is a major issue in these games just because of how huge Angband's dungeon maps are. Winning an ironman game is a serious badge of mastery of Angband.


Heading towards an unexplored corner of the map, Gon runs across a pile of rubble (:) that blocks his path. He doesn't have anything useful to remove it with, so instead he starts digging with his cute little doggy hands and prying the occasional boulder loose with the edge of his sword. It sure would be helpful if he had some kind of tool to remove roadblocks like this one! Digging without a tool takes up many more turns than it would otherwise, and means food (and light!) consumption.

After running around the dungeon a little more, Gon decides it's time to check his inventory.


Wow, that's a lot of stuff! Gon isn't too fair away from some stairs leading upwards - there's more than one set of stairs in each direction per level - so he runs up the staircase and back into town to sell some of his things, get some money, and maybe upgrade his equipment and replace some of the arrows he lost.

NEXT TIME: Shopkeepers go ARRGGHH!, Gon meets popular dogs Grip and Fang!

Red Hedgehog
03-02-2009, 01:35 PM
Always fascinating to see a good roguelike playthrough!

03-02-2009, 02:22 PM
Finally! It's time to begin...

The adventures of Gon the Kobold Rogue! Hooray!

Thanks for this Let's Play. Angband has always overwhelmed me with its playstyle; although it's very, very different from Nethack, both are a little bit too large for my mindspace, I think. It'll be wonderful to watch you die^H^H^Hplay through this.

03-02-2009, 05:38 PM
Thanks for this Let's Play. Angband has always overwhelmed me with its playstyle; although it's very, very different from Nethack, both are a little bit too large for my mindspace, I think. It'll be wonderful to watch you die^H^H^Hplay through this.

Gon is actually doing pretty well for himself as we'll maybe not hear in this update, but definitely the one after.

Let the update begin!

Welcome back! This update is going to be a little haphazard because I didn't take good enough notes about what happened in the game when I wasn't taking shots (both of the screen and liquor variety). At the end there's going to be a little poll about "what do you want to see more of," so stay sharp!

Back in the land of the mostly nonlethal, Gon immediately decides that the first thing he has to do is sell a bunch of the crap he picked up down in the dungeon. First stop: The alchemist, to get rid of a bunch of those weird scrolls and unpleasant-smelling potions. He has no idea what any of them are, so why not get rid of some?


In the early levels of the dungeon, there's a great way to ID magical items - the mystical "sell-ID". When you sell something, of course the shopkeeper immediately knows what it is, being a genius in their field (or having a stack of identify scrolls, whatever). Up until about levels 7-10 in the dungeon, most of what you encounter is going to be a mixed bag of low-level good combined with seemingly innocuous objects which will absolutely kill an unprepared player dead.

The money you make from selling the bad stuff helps even out what you lose by selling the good stuff, and gives you valuable ID information in the process.

It's worth noting that even though like all Roguelikes, Angband switches around which potions and scrolls are what every game, with a few exceptions - clear potions are always water, icky green potions are always slime mold juice, and light brown potions are always apple juice. It's not a coincidence that these are the only three potions whose only functions are to serve as food.

Fun historical Angband fact: Sell-ID was recognized as an exploit in earlier versions of the game, and because shops worked so differently in them - you couldn't just buy things at the listed price, you had to haggle for the correct one - shopkeepers would throw you out after selling them too many bad items and refuse to buy or sell to you until a new shopkeeper took up residence (usually in the neighborhood of 10-25k turns). Coincidentally, these were the versions where you didn't have the House in town to store items, so if you got booted from the alchemist shop in the early game you were seriously screwed.

Gon, though, is much luckier to be living in our modern and enlightened age where shopkeepers will suck it and just hope they can pawn the bad goods off on somebody who hasn't heard the legends about Goofus yet. This means he now has enough money to go from Cool Sword to Very Neat Sword, but unfortunately not far enough to get Awesome! Sword or anything ridiculous like that. He hasn't been selling his kidneys on the black market.


The kobold picks out a shiny new sabre, which is not only lighter than his current weapon and will make it easier to hit things with, it can also do a little more damage! It can do 1d7 damage - or for non-D&D players, the damage it does is determined by 1 roll of a 7-sided die. The downside of lighter weapons is that they're less likely to score a critical hit, but for reasons discussed later Gon will probably be wielding light weapons for at least half the game.

Gon also decides that it might be a good idea to go to the general store and pick up a shovel while he's at it, seeing as how his old sword got all bent and gross from prying apart rubble while he was busy leaving the dungeon.

And it's time to go back into the dungeon! This is where things get a little hazier - all I know is that Gon runs through a bunch of the typical level 1 monsters (molds, centipedes, ants, lizards, the occasional snake - you've seen them all by now) before finally encountering this:


It's another shiny glint in the wall! Since this one isn't just in a dark hallway, Gon takes a better look at it and realizes that it's a massive vein of copper running through the wall, and hefts his shovel up to start digging to get at the goods.


True to the status message, Gon has found something! It turns out to be a lump of copper ($), which is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of the mid-twenties in terms of gold (at which point I realize I have never explained: AU is the amount of gold we have, cleverly using the atomic symbol instead of just, say, GOLD).


Heading just south of where the last treasure was dug out of the walls, Gon encounters a massive empty room with strange-looking walls on one side of it. Actually, he's seen walls like that before - both around the treasure that he just dug out, and near what he wasn't able to get at earlier. Our dog-shaped friend also has a scroll of Detect Treasure hanging around in his knapsack, so why not read it? Maybe there's more nearby!


Gon's hunch was right! It's true - those off-colored walls indicate areas where treasure is most likely to be found. They signify either magma veins (much darker than usual) or quartz veins (slightly darker than usual), which is rare minerals and gems are found. Seeing a huge number of them hanging around is a good indicator to use Detect Treasure, if you've both got the means to cast it and the means to get at what it finds. They're also both much easier to dig through than the granite walls that make up most of the dungeon.

Eager to get at the goods, Gon digs through to the westernmost treasure with little hesitation. That eastern one looks like it might be kind of far away, though, so why not travel around the dungeon some more to see if there's a way to get closer to it? This results in a trip North and East.


And Gon finally runs into the first dangerous thing he's encountered on the floor! Green (w)orm masses are dangerous for two reasons: Worm-type monsters can make copies of themselves, and green monsters typically have acid-based melee attacks - and acid eats through armor, lowering the bonuses on it. Yes, bonuses can be below zero and I'm even fairly sure that they can go below the armor's base rating, making it a hindrance rather than a help.

However, worms are slow and stupid and right now Gon doesn't have anything particularly valuable anyway (and is flush with cash!) so he doesn't have any problem running in to kill the worm mass.


Seriously, that other worm wasn't there last turn. This sort of thing can get out of hand very easily, but there are ways to exercise containment and control on monsters like worms as long as it's not too far gone. Now it's just a short trip south to where Gon knows the treasure is - it's just over a hundred feet west of him, and there's a magma vein where he is. But his light's starting to go out, so better combine some torches before digging for that treasure, right?


You may not have believed that I was serious when I said light was a bigger problem than food in Angband. When the digging began, there were just over 1500 turns of light on the torch - after collecting the treasure, that's been almost cut by a third. Turns go by fast, and digging up treasure can take a lot of turns, making it one of the most dangerous activities to do if you might not have adequate light. Some players will even take off their light source (which causes it to stop losing turns) when digging, just to make sure it doesn't burn out.

All of that physical activity doesn't even make a dent in our food needs, by the way.

Gon doesn't care about any of this, though; He's got his treasure and he's eager to keep exploring.


That orange R there is a salamander, a member of the liza(R)d family. An intense battle isn't about to happen at all, and in fact all Gon has to do to take care of a monster like this is shoot a couple of arrows into it. But salamanders are dangerous because they - being an orange-red colored monster - have fire-based melee attacks. Fire burns books and scrolls, but fire immunity (and I believe even fire resistance) will stop this from happening.

You can see why you would never want, say, a mage to confront a salamander or any other monster with fire powers head on. By the end of a successful (and many an unsuccessful) game, mages (or even a lesser spell user, like a rogue) will be carrying 3-5 copies of the beginner's spellbook just in case a few of them get burned up along the way, and crazily enough, the beginner spellbook has some of the most useful spells in the game in it.

But something far more exciting awaits Gon down at the end of that southern hallway.

03-02-2009, 05:46 PM

It's a dog! Under non-dungeon circumstances Gon usually gets on pretty well with dogs, since one of them was probably his great great great great great great great great aunt or something, but this dog is fairly intent on biting off his face, and is also significantly stronger than the other canine-type monsters we've seen so far. Yes, this dog has a name: this dog is Grip, one of Farmer Maggot's two dogs, and it is a unique monster.

Unique monsters are monsters which have two properties in common: They're named, and so they're unique, and once they die they're dead for the rest of the game. Unique monsters are also significantly harder than monsters found at the same depth, usually have special abilities, and more often than not leave extraordinary loot behind. Some of the later uniques aren't so dangerous themselves as they are for the fact that they come with an entourage of tens of (if not a hundred) monsters in their entourage, with the ability to summon more.

By the way, we're going to want to kill as many uniques as we can along the way not just because they give great stuff, but because Gon has heard rumors floating around Adventureville that Morgoth can summon any undefeated unique monster to his side.


Anyway, with his level 4 superpowers, Gon proves to be a mighty foe for Grip the Dog, and stabs him several times before shooting him when he tries to run away. And gets a level out of it! And what a level it is. Gon gets the impression that he finally knows enough about the world to understand some basic magic without just reading it off a scroll, and instead can read it out of a book. So he cracks open that spellbook he's been carrying since he got to town.


Each of these spells are going to be explained in turn as we get them, but for now we're going to focus on Detect Monsters. This does exactly what it says: It detects all non-invisible monsters on the screen, and displays them to the player. This is excellent for finding ambushes when playing cautiously and also for a few other exceptional situations, but for the most part it's useless to Gon. Practically every monster he'd be interested in finding via magical means is invisible.

Despite the fact that he still hasn't gained any mana from all those level ups, Gon dutifully studies the spell and learns it. Now he just has to refer back to the book whenever he wants to cast it.

Seriously. Angband's spell system irks the hell out of me on a practical level but from a gameplay perspective it's absolutely necessary.

But enough of that, there are more twisty little passages (mostly alike) to explore!


Gon doesn't get to explore for too long before he runs into Grip's brother. Unfortunately, while Fang is probably pretty eager to avenge his brother's untimely death and is actually a little stronger than he was, he's no match for a level 5 rogue. Especially Gon.

With that out of the way, Gon follows through the south passage.


And he comes across this ugly situation. Well, not quite - when Gon came into this room there were just two worms, the (i)cky thing, and another monster or two. Thinking that he could handle everything easily by being quiet, Gon went in to do a murder on the nearest monster, but his first footstep must have hit something on the ground because the worms immediately woke up and went into explode mode. By the time the monster was dead, the ugly scene here is what had happened.

Naturally, the only response is to run behind the door and close it. This is the "containment" strategy for dealing with replicating monsters; Close a door (or doors) and hope for the best. It seals off an entire segment of the dungeon though, so you better hope that it's been explored and doesn't contain anything good. It's also worth noting that somewhere along the way Gon picked up some iron spikes, items which you can jam into a door to essentially make it openable only by attacking it with the bash command. Since worms can't open doors, there's no need for that here, but when running from stronger monsters it doesn't hurt to have a little backup.

This is where things get fuzzy again. Gon makes straight for the stairs downwards, since he's explored this floor as much as he needs to (and can, with the worms overrunning everything) and heads into the third level of the dungeon for the first time. The monsters here aren't nasty enough to start showcasing yet; it's just more of the same. However...


Gon runs into this nasty bastard.

Smeagol is the first unique monster that's going to give even a well-equipped player a lot of trouble. He's warm-blooded, so you can see him through infravision, but is invisible (I have a huge problem with this - wouldn't he have to be wearing the One Ring to be invisible?) and even worse, gets two moves for your every one and can steal money from you.

Stealing money is one of the worst things in the very early game. Having a high dexterity can prevent it from happening, but stealing is an attack that takes 10% of your total gold, after which the monster teleports about 10-15 squares away if it succeeds. For uniques, this is really bad - they heal faster than normal monsters, and if they teleport far enough away the pathfinding algorithms don't kick in and they'll wander around for the whole level until you get close enough again. This could be hundreds of turns, more than enough time to heal up. The best place to fight Smeagol is in the middle of a large room, where his teleportation won't be so much of an issue.

Needless to say, Gon isn't prepared to deal with Smeagol yet. He decides to get out of here. Well, not quite yet - after a short battle of attrition which results in nothing, Gon realizes he can pick up a little more loot and probably avoid Smeagol for a while. Need to replace some of that money that was stolen, after all.


Then this happens. Gon unwisely decides to take on an immobile monster heads on, the silver (j)elly. I don't know of any other monster in the game that does this, but the silver jelly drains your light source as part of its attack. Naturally this is really awful, and Gon has to switch over to his last torch, which means it's time to cut his losses and leave the dungeon.


Here's his haul this time, including the torch which can no longer be lit. Not bad! He was running out of arrows too, and running out of arrows is never a good thing.


In order to leave the dungeon safely from this depth, Gon decides to read his Word of Recall scroll. This is a handy little item which, when you read it in the dungeon, waits a few turns and then pulls you up into the town level and when read in town, teleports you down to the deepest level of the dungeon you've been to.

Actually, it's nighttime, and Gon is pretty tired from his fantastic adventures by now. A full day of adventuring means that he needs to get his beauty rest, so he goes home and takes a nap.


NEXT TIME: Gon feels his luck is turning!

POLL TIME: At this point, I think I've got the hang of how to capture the flow of the game pretty reasonably and just need to take better notes. This is where you, the viewers, come in. After all, this is a "Let's Play," and there are a lot of ways to play Angband. By the end of the next update how the dungeon works will almost have been completely covered, and then it's going to boil down to fantastic battles and wicked awesome loot.

So you're going to decide what you want to see. Tell me what you want to know about the game, and I'll find ways to demonstrate it! But there are two ways we can start playing the game for the next couple updates (or a hybrid of the two strategies, if you like):

- Gon can stay around the lower levels of the dungeon, in the range of probably 4-6 for his current level, heading further downwards as it becomes safer. This is by no means a sure way to avoid death, but increases the chances of his survival. The downside is that progress won't be slowed just by grinding, but also because he won't get equipment as fast. This will also give him a chance to get revenge on Smeagol for taking his money.
- Gon can engage in a practice known as "diving". This is where you run as deep as you can, as far as you can, as fast as you can - the only objective is to get items and get out before you die. Needless to say this is extremely dangerous, but there are monsters around floors 7-9 that Gon will be able to take down reasonably safely and gain good amounts of experience from. I've rarely, if ever, dived, so we'd all be going into uncharted waters.
- A hybrid of these two strategies is called "scumming". The name is a little derogatory, but it's valid and widely-used in almost every game. The idea is that you rove around between floors, usually two adjacent ones, until you get a good (non-boring) level feeling and then roam around to pick up all the best items. Gon can probably scum around levels 6-8, where he'll start picking up enough money to begin enchanting his equipment, an important step in a character's progression, but not get anything really cool.

03-02-2009, 08:36 PM
So you're going to decide what you want to see. Tell me what you want to know about the game, and I'll find ways to demonstrate it! But there are two ways we can start playing the game for the next couple updates (or a hybrid of the two strategies, if you like):

Gon, like all good kobolds, is quite leery of water. I suggest staying away from diving. He's all about the vengeance, though. Nasty Smeagol tooks his money! We must have our revenge, precious!

03-02-2009, 09:03 PM
Kill Smeagol and then dive to 8-10. If he drops the same thing in Angband that he does in a certain other roguelike I played, it's worth quite a lot to hunt him down. But then, hunting him down could get really annoying really quickly, so I don't really mind what you do either way.

Reading your post, I just realized this: Detect Monsters probably doesn't show invisible monsters solely because of Smeagol, heh.

Red Hedgehog
03-02-2009, 09:35 PM
Yeah, Gon's first priority is to get strong enought to take down Smeagol. After that, I think kobolds are pretty cowardly, so take the slow and steady strategy.

Octopus Prime
03-03-2009, 03:45 AM
Nasty filthy mutant evil-possessed hobbitses!

Bash him good!

03-03-2009, 03:57 AM
Smeagol can wait until you have better equipment and better detection abilities, and besides he'll give a better drop if he's fought later (afaik, he's one of the few uniques that are guaranteed to drop an "excellent" item in the early game, but this is relative to depth as well).

I'd dive at this point, but that is how I end up losing many of my characters.

03-03-2009, 05:38 PM
If it weren't a LP I'd dive, not much time has been put in despite 60k turns (This is about halfway through a Nethack ascension, btw, if you run fast. Angband can go many many MANY more turns due to infinitely regenerating new floors.). i usually created a bank of half a dozen char's that survive diving a few levels then play them instead of new char's when I have a feel for the Angband variant.

Since it's a LP play it cautious but still scumm.

03-04-2009, 09:19 PM
Damn, a lot of you guys already seem to know at least as much about Angband as I do. Come on people who don't play Angband, you're the ones who should read this!

Welcome back! This update is going to be unusually large because a lot happens to Gon. Last time, he encountered some nasty monsters but prevailed over all. What will happen on his next adventure into the dungeon?


Gon wakes up from his nap and decides it would be an excellent idea to go and sell some of the things that he brought up from the dungeon. There are still a few potions and scrolls which aren't quite important enough to waste identification on yet, so this will help fill in the few remaining gaps on low-level items.


Gon gets decent prices for his potions, but loses a potion of speed in the process. As you might guess, this is one of the more important potions for the entire game, although they tend to show up mostly around levels 2-4.

Now it's time to restock! Gon needs some more light and arrows, and that's what he gets out of a visit to the general store. He also just happens to need another Word of Recall scroll for emergencies (or if he goes past level 6, at which point travelling back and forth between town becomes a hindrance).


First Gon wanders into the alchemist's shop, and that's one pricy scroll! But the general store happens to sell them too, for just a little bit cheaper - and that's where Gon picks his up. 12 gold isn't a lot, but whatever he can scrimp and save right now is worth it.

Adequately prepared, Gon goes back into the dungeon. It's a boring place, and honestly for him it's no longer worthwhile to explore level 1 unless there's the impression that something extrordinary is there. But this doesn't mean that it'll be useless to not pick some things up.


For example, this flask of oil that Gon runs across. Since he doesn't have a lantern or anything, it might seem kind of silly to pick it up, but Gon - being clever - realizes that he could stick a wick in it and light it on fire before throwing it. Unfortunately he has no wicks or rags. Oops.

Angband has long said that throwing a flask of oil would do fire damage in documentation somewhere, but looking at the source code, it turns out that this is not true.

Little else of interest happens, and Gon's ready to head down to the next floor before too long. It happens to be boring as well, and by "boring" I mean both that little happens here and nothing interesting gets collected. Gon gets to pick up some food and dig out treasure in the first room, netting himself nearly 60 gold in the process, and then begins to explore.


That light-green (k)obold is actually a "large kobold". It's a little tougher than Gon's other relatives that he's encountered, but still goes down fairly easily. It's only worth mentioning, in fact, because Gon's going to keep running into these and it might make him sad one day to have to stab so many of his fellow kobolds in the face.

Running around there are a few more encounters, including one with another (i)cky thing, this time blubbering. While it goes "BLOO A BLOO BLOO BLOO" and tears stream down its horrible, deformed face, Gon smacks it extra hard.


Mechanics time! Let's learn about critical hits in Angband, which will explain the advantages of wielding heavy weapons. If you're not interested, skip to the X (although this is pretty simple).

Critical hits are determined by two calculations, both of which take weapon weight into account. The first one, determining if a critical happens, adds weight to 5 x to-hit, then adds another 3 x player level. A random number is selected, and if it's less than this total, a critical hit occurs.

The actual damage done by the critical hit is computed based on weight alone (along with a random factor, because everything in Angband has a random factor). There are five kinds of hits:

- good, which does 2x damage plus a small fixed bonus
- great, which does 2x damage plus a slightly larger bonus
- superb, which does 3x damage plus an even larger bonus
- *GREAT*, which does 3x plus a larger bonus than that
- *SUPERB*, which does (7 x damage)/2 + bonus - or about 3.5x damage, depending on how the integer math works out.

In order to get a *SUPURB* hit you need to be carrying a weapon which weighs at least 6.5lbs if the random number generator is extremely kind, and a weapon over 13lbs if it's extremely unkind. Past a certain point in the game, it's only worth wielding a heavy weapon if your level and to-hit bonuses are high enough to consistently get supurb or higher hits. This is one of the reasons Gon will be wielding a light weapon, unless he comes across an exceptionally good mid-weight one. We'll talk more about the behavior of light weapons later when it becomes more relevant.


Meanwhile, Gon explores some more of the dungeon. He runs across more treasure, digs it out, and lights up a new torch again - then starts thinking that maybe extinguishing his torch while he digs might not be such a bad idea. It's not like he needs to see very well to do it, and his natural sight in the dungeon should be more than enough to see any monsters getting close to him.


Gon comes across another foul monster and destroys it. This nets him a level up, and a chance to learn one of the most useful spells for a rogue - Phase Door. It does just what it says, teleporting him 10-15 squares away (sound familiar?) and at this point isn't actually good for much. Its failure rate is too high to be of use in emergency situations (unless they are really, really bad), and he doesn't have enough mana to take advantage of it tactically yet. He learns it anyway, because he's a dutiful student, like every young man should be.


Traveling further into the dungeon, Gon encounters another novice rogue (blue p). The only real difference between the two of them is that Gon is smarter, has a bow, and is totally way better at kicking ass. Well, and the novice rogue can steal things, like Smeagol can, and unfortunately Gon can't do anything cool like that.

Taking him out with arrows proves to be no problem.


Heading down to the third floor of the dungeon, Gon gets the impression that this trip into the dungeon isn't really going to be worthwhile at all. It's kind of depressing, really - he's just going to keep heading downwards until he reaches some decent treasure, or has to run back to town to take care of non-murdering business.

Wandering around the room, Gon notices a tile that looks like it would trigger a trap! This time he doesn't even have to walk into it - his natural ability to search things out is getting better as he becomes more experienced with travel around the dungeon. Disarming it is a snap.


For some reason, Gon can sympathize with this fellow, even though he had to do a murder on him.

03-04-2009, 09:21 PM
Heading around level 3, Gon picks up some soft studded leather armor, and foolishly thinks that he can sell it back easily. He doesn't seem to realize that the armor he has on now isn't the best unencumbering armor, and that's a little bit of a mistake.


Here, Gon stands on a broken dagger (a 1d1 weapon which is ALWAYS cursed - no player picks these up and shop owners will never buy them, so it's a bit of a mystery to me why they're still in the game) and faces off against a yellow (m)old. Yellow monsters are particularly dangerous at this point in the game - they sap strength, lowering your stat below its max, and you need to buy (very expensive) potions of Restore Strength to take care of it. Fortunately, no matter how many strength points get drained, you still only need one, and your strength isn't lowered permanently. No, there are other monsters for that, if I remember right!

As with all dangerous monsters that can damage stats or inflict bad status effects, Gon takes this one out with arrows. A novice mistake a lot of players make that we didn't see with Goofus, by the way, is non-mage (and non-priest, I suppose) characters not buying a bow and about 20 arrows first thing.


The next interesting thing that Gon encounters is a hallway filled with (l)ice. Lice are another monster class that has explosive growth - and they replicate fast. Gon thnks for a while that he might be able to handle this, but the situation is getting out of hand way faster than it should - he retreats for the door to try and contain the pest invasion, and then runs around the dungeon to try and completely seal off that sector of the map. He makes it to the upper-left door just in time, closing it and containing the lice in a section of the dungeon that he's mostly explored already.

If this were Nethack, he could probably call the Orkin man or something.


In the doorway just south of Gon is a blue (y)eek, which I guess is some kind of humanoid monster that almost always carries money. But that's not the important part - what is important is that Gon learns Find Traps/Doors, which is one of the most useful spells in the game. Even Gon will periodically get stuck when looking for a door, and this is the spell to cast - it's also necessary for some situations he'll get into later, involving traps or monsters which create other traps.

Gon decides it's a good idea to make a run for the 4th floor of the dungeon now, since there's little else to look at here and half of the floor is overrun with lice anyway. Gon, having lots of fur, really doesn't feel all that interested in trying to kill any more of them. What if they decided to take up residence on him?

On the way down he runs into a kobold shaman - like a novice mage, but harder, and also related to Gon - and finally gets hungry for the first time.

Unfortunately, the 4th floor of the dungeon is also quite boring. At least that's what Gon's nose tells him, and he begins to wonder if his luck is ever going to turn around. Isn't the whole point of heading into the dungeon to get neat stuff and sell it for much ducats anyway?


While running around on this floor, Gon feels a chill, like something unearthly is touching him. Next thing he knows, he's deathly afraid, and hears the sound of something nearby wooshing away!

Gon has just encountered the first ghost in the dungon - he can't see it because it's not warm-blooded (being dead) and of course ghosts are invisible. They can touch to put The Fear in you, and this has the effect of preventing Gon from doing any melee attacks; although he can still shoot his bow, and cast magic.


Gon encounters a few more monsters, plowing through another novice mage and large kobold to get to a frosty (j)elly. Gon forgets what his momma told him again, and engages another immobile monster head on, foolishly. The ghost is still nowhere to be found, thankfully. Or felt, at least.

Frost, at least, is significantly less dangerous than fire. It can break potions and flasks of oil, but is otherwise fairly harmless as far as the elemental brands go.


While looking through the dungeon for a few items, Gon runs into the ghost again. At first, he can't tell where it is and swings his sword wildly around, but the next time he encounters it he manages to smack it, somehow - and is rewarded for his trouble with a few pieces of gold. He wonders how a ghost could carry things, but decides that it might be better not to question it.

Hunting through the dungeon for anything interesting, Gon realizes that his knapsack is all full up and he can't carry anything else in it. So he reads his recall scroll and heads back into town to sell off all his awesome loot!

Actually, his loot might not be too awesome, looking it over. Gon realizes he has a bunch of pebbles, some potions that he doesn't know what they are, armor he picked up earlier, some boots, and a dagger.

So he goes ahead and sells off all the potions, not really getting any valuable information about what they are in the process. But he does get enough money to ID the weapons and armor he's carrying!


The boots and the dagger aren't too impressive, but hot damn! Those worthless-looking iron rocks he was hauling around are actually enchanted, and will fetch a pretty good price at the weapon shop.

In fact, they fetch him 210 gold, and sell for six times the unenchanted iron shots. That's enough scratch for Gon to stock up on some arrows and some identify scrolls.


Coming out of the alchemy shop to go and hit up the armory finally, Gon runs into a pack of filthy, homeless children who pull at his clothes and demand money, while trying to sneak their hands into his pocketbook. He's not going to have any of that, seeing as how he just got a boatload of cash from selling all the junk he picked up in the dungeon!

Gon mercilessly slaughters all of the children. He's becoming a real hardened adventurer now!


In the armory, Gon spies something awesome hanging out on the shelf - a pair of heavily enchanted boots! With the money he's made from selling the pebbles along with all that digging he's been doing in the dungeon, he's got enough scratch to pony up for them. The kobold puts them on immediately, and feels much safter than before. Kind of like being wrapped in a warm blanket which can stop teeth.

His shopping finished, Gon decides that it's time to head back down into the dungeon again. This is getting to be an unusually long day for him.

03-04-2009, 09:29 PM
Once again, the floor immediately below town looks pretty boring. At this point Gon only wants to run around it so that he can get a good enough feel for the dungeon that when he starts heading down again, he can figure out what the next level will be like.

As a side note about the "scumming" strategy was mentioned at the end of the last post, Angband has a way to prevent quick scumming - you need to spend at least 100 turns on a level before heading to another one in order to get a level feeling. Otherwise you get the unhelpful message "Looks like any other level."


Looks like this floor might not be so boring after all! Radiation (e)yes usually show up on level 3, and are probably the first monster that teaches a novice player to stay away from stationary monsters. They can drain mana from any distance - like it's doing to Gon here - and in melee combat sap strength like yellow molds do.

Right after this, Gon comes upon a down staircase, and heads for the next floor.


And holy shit does he ever get a good feeling. It's like being hugged by a thousand adorable girls all at once, but with the promise of an awesome sword or something! Plus it smells like mom's rabbit stew, which makes it even better. This is a floor that he's going to have to see every single inch of.


But first, a quick lesson in how Gon knows where to look for doors.

The dungon generation algorithms in Angband are fairly quick and relatively simple, and this means that secret doors usually appear in some very common configurations, one of which is seen here. Wherever there are two doors next to eachother in an apparent T-junction situation like this, 90% of the time there's going to be another door to be found - and usually two of them. If you look over some of the earlier images in this thread, you'll see other common setups, but doors usually come in cross configurations (in all cardinal directions), pairs of two, or connect a dead-end hallway into another room. These are things that players just learn over time, and no amount of spoilers is going to help you get a feel for dungeon generation.

Having found a door that looks promising, Gon heads through and along the twisty passages.


Holy christ what is that green thing (hint: It's an item, all punctuation characters are.)


It's a.. shovel? A Gnomish shovel, sure, and Gnomes are well-known for both populating lawns and living underneath them, so they must be really good at digging things up. Which probably means they have really good shovels, which is what the (+2) indicates - it's a (+2) to digging power. Gon looks at his old, beat up shovel, and immediately decides that it's garbage, shoving it into his bag and taking hold of this one instead. Awesome!

Could this be what caused his good feeling? Even if it was, it's worth exploring the rest of the level, Gon decides.

But it's relatively uneventful. Gon hits a teleport trap on the easternmost side of the dungeon, which throws him back to where he started, and makes him rather cross. The advantage of this is that a few steps later he suddenly gets a deluge of feelings about what's filling his knapsack - almsot all of it is worthless junk, and he throws it away in anticipation of the better treasures that might be lurking on the floor.


Coming into the eastern end of the dungeon again, Gon stumbles into this room containing a wand (-) and a grey mushroom (,). Naturally, mushrooms can't move, so Gon decides that it might be a good idea to pick up that wand and zap the mushroom with it. Unfortunately, this doesn't tell him anything other than that it doesn't work on monsters - this means it's time for an identify scroll.

And Gon finds his second out-of-depth item that generated the level feeling! A wand of door/trap destruction is almost useless for a rogue, but it'll fetch a pretty penny back in the town. In actuality, Gon will be selling almost all of the wands he picks up.

The monsters in the dungeon, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) aren't matching up with the items Gon has found at all though. They're all boring - he does run into a novice (p)riest though, which is like a novice mage but with priestly spells. They're a little more dangerous because they can heal themselves, but it's not worth noting them otherwise.

Gon also tries digging for some treasure and holy hell is that new shovel good - good enough that he reconsiders taking off his light for each digging adventure. It only takes a handful of turns to turn a wall into mush with this thing.

Suddenly, Gon gets another feeling about something in his pack. A good one. This time, it's a small shield he's carrying.


Good lord, that is one awesome shield.

Gon immediately takes off his old, battered shield and puts on this magical one. It produces a warm, fuzzy feeling, and Gon wonders if this is what "being high" is like.

It's at this point where Gon has explored the whole level, and is certain that if anything else awesome was hanging around, it's in his bag now. He decides to head straight back to the town, and since he doesn't have a recall scroll (and it would be a waste to use one) makes for the stairs upwards.

True to form, this level is boring. That's fine, Gon can't carry anything else now anyway!


Gon unlocks a door, and suddenly feels like he's the world's smartest kobold. He's unlocked tens of them without difficulty, but this one just happens to give him a level up and allows him to learn the Light Area spell. Like you'd think, this is only situationally useful - it lights up dark rooms permanently.

Having explored what seems to be all of the level and not having found an up staircase, Gon checks his map.


It looks like the entire southwestern corner of the map hasn't even been explored yet, but there are no obvious doors there! Even though the map is compressed, because of the rules of doors that we learned earlier, there are three obvious places to check - the southwestmost corner he's explored, the little protrusion from the southernmost main hallway, and the circled area. Casting Find Doors in each area, Gon discovers the secret in the circled region. Success!

Exploring this region gives the location of the upwards stairs. Every dungeon floor has at least one set of stairs in each direction.

Getting back into town, Gon realizes how long he's been working to get all this neat stuff, and decides that it's time to take another nap.


NEXT TIME: It's a mystery! The next update will be a little late because I haven't started playing it yet (I was waiting for input), expect it to hit this weekend. But Gon will stay in safe (but boring) places and attempt to take down Smeagol. Frankly, I don't want to take that many chances with him either.

03-04-2009, 10:51 PM
I am beginning to feel like I could play Angband myself, now.

03-04-2009, 10:54 PM
Yeah, this is really helpful for getting a sense of the general mechanics and how to get a character off the ground. In fact, I think I'll download it now and play along.

03-05-2009, 07:44 AM
Yeah, don't worry Stiv, I've never played Angband (just a bit of NetHack), and I'm enjoying this.

03-05-2009, 07:47 AM
Gon's on a roll with this dungeon crawling, isn't he? Hooray!

I wonder how many times people have said hooray since the SuikoLP?

03-05-2009, 10:47 AM
In all of my vanilla angbanding, I never got a bitchin' shovel this early in the game.

Throwing a flask of oil does work (unless there's some bug I'm not aware of), but it requires the throw to connect with the target - which doesn't happen often. The damage is not great, but it has saved my skin a few times.

03-05-2009, 01:51 PM
Could you perhaps, since this is following up the Nethack LP, talk about turns? You're at 160k turns, which is a long ascension run in Nethack that would take many many more hours of /played time. This is mostly from how much bigger the random levels are and the huge time sinks from digging cash from the walls, right?

Honestly, he seems pretty promising with equipment drops. Have you enough cash to stockpile some healing potions and things? I'd explain a bit about them soon. At this point I usually bounce down and up a few levels a couple times. Both for the padding of an extra level and to stock up on some potions from town and torches/food, for a longer dive where you keep only the very best drops. But that might be boring.

Before too long, I think explaining why people use very light daggers and swords makes sense...you...are close to multiple hits/turn by now, right? I forget the magic numbers to make it work. I don't have a good feel for rogues. Speed mechanics topic is coming sooner or later, and it makes Nethack's three tiers of speed look like nothing.

03-05-2009, 05:39 PM
Could you perhaps, since this is following up the Nethack LP, talk about turns? You're at 160k turns, which is a long ascension run in Nethack that would take many many more hours of /played time. This is mostly from how much bigger the random levels are and the huge time sinks from digging cash from the walls, right?

I'm going to explain Angband's (frankly weird) turn system in detail when I get to how speed bonuses work.

But the short summary, for you Nethack players and others out there, the turn count that shows up on the high score list is how many actions Gon has taken in the game. Tunneling, for example, can take many turns to go through a single block - this is what eats up your light. Some actions are called "repeatable" (such as resting) which means you can take them for as many turns as necessary until the desired end result is achieved. Gon's high turn count is due to exploring a lot of the dungeon, resting after almost every encounter, and digging for treasure. Clearly Angband games, even unsuccessful ones, can go into millions of turns.

The old adage is "Nethack games take days or weeks to play, Angband games take weeks or months to play." A popular challenge for Angband - and Nethack - players is to finish the game in as few turns as possible. For Angband, this usually means no scumming and limited exploration combined with aggressive diving strategies. If I were playing a low-turn game, I imagine that I wouldn't pick up anything on levels 1-5 without an extraordinary level feeling or out of necessity.

Honestly, he seems pretty promising with equipment drops. Have you enough cash to stockpile some healing potions and things? I'd explain a bit about them soon. At this point I usually bounce down and up a few levels a couple times. Both for the padding of an extra level and to stock up on some potions from town and torches/food, for a longer dive where you keep only the very best drops. But that might be boring.

The votes are in, and Gon isn't diving quite yet. But you've described the upcoming strategy pretty well; I'll stock up some healing potions and phase scrolls before heading in next time because the plan is to get revenge on Smeagol. It'll be Gon's first visit to the church!

This is actually one of the games where my characters have gotten less-good drops. Usually by now I have an artifact dagger and the Phial of Galadriel. But I also usually play with autoscum and hang around 1-6 until I get both of these, since these two items alone make it safe to run down to at least level 10.

Before too long, I think explaining why people use very light daggers and swords makes sense...you...are close to multiple hits/turn by now, right? I forget the magic numbers to make it work. I don't have a good feel for rogues. Speed mechanics topic is coming sooner or later, and it makes Nethack's three tiers of speed look like nothing.

Okay, I'm cheating on the spoilers now because I wanted to look up the magic numbers for rogues in the extra attacks table. It turns out that I forgot that blows are calculated based on weapon weight, dexterity, and strength alone. I don't remember if rogues intrinsically get an extra blow as one of their level-ups or not, and I couldn't find a spoiler file for it. But you get that extra blow regardless of weapon weight, if it's a level bonus.

03-06-2009, 12:02 PM
Spoilers on the Angband weapon system can be found here (http://www.juti.nl/hugo/Angband/Spoiler/attack.spo) if you want to look. There's a table early on that spells out the hits/round thing.

I'm going to give a very basic understanding of the speed system here (from a D&D and Nethack-ish point of view) as a preview, mainly to give url's for anyone following along that wants to read up early. Also, to explain why Angband's system gives me such headaches.

In Nethack (http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Speed), you take an action or more per fixed turn. Being enchanted with speed gives you extra actions every N turns, but that's the only benefit. It has three usual tiers of speed, excluding being slowed from carrying too much weight: normal, fast, very fast. This makes life simple.

In Angband (http://www.phial.com/angband/angfaq1.html#5k), there's a much more fine-grained view of turns, and the turns are not fixed. You go when you have enough 'energy' saved up to take an action, period. This is a sliding scale, more complex than the tiered system of Nethack. You can see enemies take many actions per your one, or vice versa, and temporary speed increases are almost mandatory to beat many enemies.

And I have never gotten an intuitive grasp of this system.

03-06-2009, 02:18 PM
Addendum: The latest spoilers are here (http://angband.oook.cz/browse-help.php), for anyone who isn't satisfied with my cursory discussion of Angband mechanics as they come along. Not a lot has changed in them since the 2.9.x line (which is where dwolfe's spoiler file is from).

The speed preview is pretty good, but we're going to get into speed/turns in the next update, it turns out. I don't understand the speed system all that well myself, but that's what allowing "source code spoilers" was for. And yes, I'll talk about the Angband source code (and variants) at the end of the LP, for those of you in the know who are curious when all of that's going to come up.

As a side note, the next update might be a little late. My girlfriend forced me to go see Watchmen last night, so I had to cut my Angband session short.

03-07-2009, 12:37 PM
Turns out I'm on schedule anyway! With the discussion of basic mechanics almost completed, these updates are going to get much less graphics heavy and much more text-heavy (to the point where every single update here is going to break the post character limit, so there might be some odd inter-post transitions), as I switch to writing from my notes from taking 5000 screenshots and sorting through all of them to find what I ID'd and sold. Don't worry, some of that is still going to show up, and this time Gon has a lot of incredible, tense battles to show off.

Last time we left Gon, he had just made it back to town. He decides that now is an excellent time to sell off the useless potions that he's carying, and dumps the slow poison and neutralize poison potions that he's carrying off on the alchemy shop. Who needs those when you have intrinsic poision immunity?

In return, he buys a couple of identify scrolls to figure out what kind of goodies he's carrying.


Nothing really spectacular. That cap is going to sell for a pitance, and those object detection scrolls aren't even worth selling - they might come in handy a little later on too, if Gon is exploring a dangerous area on a floor with a good feeling, so he can determine where a few of the objects are.

Now it's time to get rid of that wand he's carrying.


Since this is Gon's first trip to the magic shop, it's worth showing off the sort of things they sell; the books for mage-derived classes (mages, rangers, and rogues), wands (which affect monsters), staves (which affect the player, or groups of monsters), and rings. Take a look at how expensive those teleportation staves are; that's because these are one of the most useful items in the game. You can't read scrolls while confused, but you can use a staff, although at a penalty to success. You might imagine that while confused in a group of monsters, this can really save your ass.

Enlightenment is almost as good. It acts as a supply of identify scrolls, and although maybe you haven't seen what Gon has been paying for them (72 gold a shot), you might notice this is a bit more pricey - it costs more than twice as much as 10 scrolls. This is because you can get scrolls (and even staves!) of recharging, which refuel some, or most, of a staff's charges. A clever player can turn this 10-charge staff into 20 or even 30+ charges.

Rings of feather falling are situationally useful for mostly low-level characters. They cause any kind of trap which drops you through the floor (pits, spiked pits, trapdoors) to not cause damage.

Gon's not here to buy, though; he's here to sell! That wand of trap/door destruction he picked up gets sold for a pittance of 80 gold. What a ripoff.

Gon then takes a visit to the weapon store to sell off his old shovel (yes, it's technically a weapon), his old shield, and his old cap.

Now, he's holding around 425 gold, and realizes that it's probably time to start enchanting his weapons.


He stops in the alchemy shop and picks up a couple scrolls of Enchant To-Dam, and then uses them on his bow. Since the plan is to go Smeagol-hunting, it's actually smarter to enchant his bow before his melee weapon, for reasons that will be explained pretty soon!

Mechanics time! Wait a minute, aren't there two items involved in shooting? The bow itself, and the arrows? Which one should you enchant? Skip to the big red X if you don't want to know.

The short answer is "It doesn't matter." The longer, more correct answer is "Always the bow."

You might have noticed the (x3) after the name of the bow. This means that for any missile weapon that's appropriate for a bow (any arrow) has whatever damage was rolled for it multiplied by 3. So what if there's a damage bonus on the arrows? Well, like usual, it gets added to the damage the arrow is going to do after the dice are rolled. What if there's a damage bonus on the bow? It gets added to the damage of the arrow before the multipler is applied. This means whatever enchantment is on your bow, it's essentially the bow's multiplier x3 (in this case, the +2 really means +6).

So why enchant the bow instead of the arrows, if both bonuses are added before the multiplier is applied? There are two reasons: First, arrows are only there for as long as you're using them and a bow is forever. And second, the more arrows you have in the stack you're holding (Gon has consistently held 20-30 before heading into the dungeon), the harder it is for the enchantment to succeed - that's right, enchantments can fail, and almost always will after a certain point. Enchanting stacks of arrows larger than about 20 is a fool's errand.

Picking up enchanted arrows is always a nice little bonus, but creating them yourself is almost never a good idea.

History time! I was dreading explaining shooting mechanics for one reason: In older versions of Angband, the multiplier was applied only to bonuses on arrows, and then after that, the enchantment on the bow was added as a flat bonus. This was one of the deep, dark secrets of bow enchanting that made characters who had reasonable skills with magic always carry wands of magic missile (or other magic bolts) instead up until a certain point (when they'd get a really awesome bow).


Okay, enough of that. Gon also picks up a few torches, because he realizes that right before he teleported out of the dungeon he was going to run completely out of light. Oops.

Heading down into the dungeon, Gon realizes that the first floor is perhaps not quite as bad as usual. It's still not the best place to hang around, but while exploring Gon finds a few things - a little bit of treasure, an ID scroll, and a potion of cure light wounds. As requested, we'll talk a little bit about how curing potions work when it's time, which will happen later this update.

Heading further down to level two - which is boring, according to Gon's highly refined sense of what's going on in the dungeon - he picks up quite a lot of treasure, refuels his torch, and gets another ID scroll. So far there hasn't been a single encounter with a monster that's worth mentioning! Gon's just slicing through all this stuff at his current level.

Level 3 of the dungeon also doesn't seem all that interesting. But Gon notices a series of walls that could have treasure behind them, and reads one of his scrolls of treasure detection.


Oh my goodness look at all that fantastic loot! Hooray! And with his brand-new awesome shovel, Gon doesn't have to worry too much about digging it all out - those two buried treasures just to the left of him would take up almost as light as eventually digging it all out now!

In fact, let's take a look at how much light digging is actually going to use now, just for kicks.


Almost exactly 200 turns! Remember back when Gon dug the same distance and it reached almost 1000? This shovel is seriously AWESOME. Now there won't be any problems with getting all of the world's tastiest treasures. In fact, digging up that next treasure to the west only takes another 200 turns.

Dungeon exploration continues! Gon runs across some things that might be kind of neat - some crossbow bolts, a whip, a short bow, and a few potions which he hasn't ID'd yet. It turns out that the whip he's carrying is just your everyday, ordinary whip, and so he dumps it. At this point he shouldn't be carrying anything which will sell less for 60 gold.

Coming into the northernmost part of the dungeon, Gon catches a group of big spiders (S) sleeping. This won't be a problem for him, right?


Well, at least until a few of them wake up. Apparently he's not being quiet enough while trying to beat a couple of them into submission, and this indicates a little bit of danger - Gon might have some good armor going on right now, but he's not going to be a good match for a large group like this, especially surrounded.

In fact, the best strategy for dealing with huge number of monsters, whether they come in a group or not, is to lure them into a hallway and take them out one-by-one so that you can't possibly get surrounded. Some of the game settings I'm using can make this a mistake, but there's only one way for the spiders to get at Gon, so this is safe.


So Gon reads one of his scrolls of Phase Door. His success rate for the spell is still too low right now to make it a reliable way to get out of there, which means that scrolls are the way to go. Gon pushes his way back down the hallway, getting rid of a few spiders in the process, and foolishly stumbles into the room again.


One of the spiders manages to snag Gon with a hideous spider leg, and gives him a light, superficial cut. Gon's taken plenty of hits, but this one is a bit worse than usual.

Even though Gon doesn't use one here, it's time to explain both how cuts and healing potions work, because they're very strongly related. This won't take too long; a cut is essentially blood loss, and drains your HP, but heals naturally over time. Depending on the type of wound, they last different amounts of time - the worst cut, of course, is *MORTAL*, which cannot be healed except through magical means. Think of it as having your stomach cut open.

03-07-2009, 12:42 PM
Healing potions are simple too. Each of them restores a fixed amount of HP (for the curious: One of the few changes I like about 3.1.0b is that healing potions now scale to a percentage of your total HP) and heals a certain amount of cut damage. Internally a cut is represented by a counter that goes down every turn, and healing potions remove points from it.


Out of phasing scrolls, Gon barely manages to escape with his life. He can rest up relatively safely here, and when heading back towards the room he realizes that the bow he's carrying is good. IDing it, he discovers that it's a short bow (x2) (+6, +4).

Gon does some math. If he gets the best possible damage with this bow, he'll get a hit of 12. If he does the least possible damage, he gets 6. With his current bow, which has a bigger multiplier but only a +2 to damage, the least possible damage he can do is 5 and the most possible damage he can do is 14.

On average, the short bow is probably better (especially with its to-hit bonus) but Gon realizes that it'll fetch him MAD cash back in town. So he resolves to sell it.


Using his newfound intelligence and a reminder that he has a bow, Gon picks off the rest of the spiders from a distance, cleaning up those that get close enough to him. Once again, he barely manages to escape, and starts wondering if it's really all that wise of him to keep fighting spiders - even though they're lower-level monsters, they're fast, and they come in big groups. Dangerous combinations.


Heading east and a little bit south, Gon stumbles into a trap. He inadvertently puts one of his little feet on a pressure-sensitive tile, and a dart shoots from the wall and into his neck. All of a sudden, he feels like he wants to go and take a nap.

Mechanics time! It's time to explain speed and turns. I've been dreading this, because Angband's turn system is ridiculous. If you don't want to learn about speed - and I can't blame you - never listen to a Motorhead album and also skip to the big red X.

Welcome to Angband's turn system. It's not overly complicated, and was briefly explained a little earlier in the thread by dwolfe, but here's the nitty-gritty.

In Angband's main event loop, there's a point where the player's speed is checked. The base speed isn't 0; a player's base speed is actually 120 (it seems). The game considers this to be speed + 0. You might notice that Gon has speed -10 right now. Here's what happens. There's a lookup table where speed is mapped to an integer number, which determines what "energy" you get from that speed. Normal speed gives you 10, speed -10 gives you 5 (halving your energy) and speed +10 gives you 20 (doubling your energy).

This energy is added to a counter in the event loop. The same process is done for monsters, and whenever you gain 100 energy, which is how much an "action" (anything which requires physical movement; for example, checking your inventory doesn't take energy) costs, you get to take a turn. The same goes for monsters; this is why the spiders get two turns to your one, they have speed +10.

Some monsters have very odd values for speed. What this does is leave a little "remainder" after each action they get to take, which slowly accumulates to the point where they get a "bonus" turn on you. You might have seen this occur with snakes (J) in some of the earlier screenshots.

There's an interesting side-effect of this: There is no additional penalty for going below speed -50 (but if you reach that, you're going to be dead anyway) and there is no additional bonus for going above speed +70. The fastest monster in the dungeon is speed +30, and it's generally regarded that the ideal speed for a player at the end of the game is speed +35. After this point the bonuses for speed start becoming so minuscule that it's not worth raising it any higher.

You aspiring programmers out there who want to make any kind of strategy game could learn a lot from Angband's speed system. It's an elegant way to deal with tiered speed, where speed isn't always just "I have two turns for your one turn, all the time."


Gon takes a brief rest, and then notices the tile that caused him to feel all gross. He disarms the trap easily.

Heading south, Gon runs into a clear (w)orm mass, which is a monster I couldn't get a good screenshot of unfortunately. But you can probably guess what it is - an invisible monster that has explosive growth. Gon, having very good infravision, isn't going to be too threatened by this (they only have normal melee attacks), but I've had lots of games when playing a human or a race with poor infravision where I got surrounded by clear worms and died.

West of this, Gon encounters one of the most prized items of the early adventurer - the lantern! Now he can start using those flasks of oil, and it used to be that a lantern was one of the first things a player would buy in the general store. Now, they apparently don't show up there anymore, so finding one is a serious bonus. Filling a lantern gives an additional 7000 turns of light, and unlike torches, they always light a 2-square radius around the player. Torches only light a 2-square radius as long as they have more than 1500 turns left.

Picking up the lantern means that it's time for a trip back to the surface, since Gon's inventory is full now. He's going to keep those torches around for a while, since they've still got plenty of light to give, but at the earliest sign that he needs to get rid of them they're getting tossed.

Actually, there are other things to get tossed first - Gon's pseudo-ID goes to work, and he discovers that not only are the two sets of bolts he picked up the same (allowing him to combine them into a single stack in his bag - you can't combine like items until they're guaranteed to have the same bonuses on them), but somewhere along the way he picked up a set of cursed arrows. Those get tossed pretty fast. There's also a set of cursed gloves to get rid of. This allows Gon to pick up a pair of robes on his way up - after all, they could be enchanted!

Finally, Gon reaches the town, and gets to ID the stuff he's carrying.


See, it was smart of him to pick up those worthless-looking robes! The +5 one is even better than his current armor, so he's going to put it on. Light armor doesn't affect to-hit or anything (in most cases), but it will allow Gon to carry some heavier items when picking up treasure, which is its main advantage.


This being Gon's first trip to the temple (or church, whatever), it's time to show what's in it. Naturally, the books for the priest-derived classes (priest, paladin) are available here. So are the more priestly potions and scrolls, used for healing and granting powers usually conferred by priest spells. The temple also sells non-edged weapons; as you can see, a lot of them are heavy. The few times I've played a priest I've been particularly fond of the quarterstaff, because (as you might recall from the critical hit summary) it guarantees the best kind of critical.

Still preparing to take on Smeagol, Gon picks up five Cure Serious Wounds potions. These will heal up around 20hp, which in retrospect, is probably not enough. Those Cure Critical Wounds potions are damn expensive though.

Gon stops in the alchemy shop next, to unload his mystery otions and the slow poison that he doesn't need. It turns out that one of the mystery potions he sells off is something he'll need for Smeagol - a potion of detect invisible. This works like the scrolls, but lasts for several turns instead of just one, meaning that it'll be easy to track him for the strategy that's going to be used to take him down. A few to-hit enchantments are picked up, and he also gets 15 Phase Door scrolls, which are just what they sound like; these are going to be for emergencies and, again, for the strategy used against Smeagol.

Actually, let's talk about that strategy right now, since I've mentioned it so many times already.

Gon's going to engage in a strategy that's useful against fast monsters when fighting in a large room, called "shoot and scoot." It's what it sounds like: Gon takes as many shots with his bow as he can until the monster comes into melee range, and then "scoots" with a Phase Door spell, then repeats. This is intended to prevent Smeagol from doing any damage to Gon, but more importantly, will keep him from stealing and then teleporting. Naturally, he's going to have to be able to see Smeagol to do this effectively, which is what the potion of detect invisible is for.

Shoot and scoot is a great strategy to use against almost any tough, solitary monster which doesn't have ranged attacks.


This time, the enchantments are divided up more or less evenly. Since the bow is still more important right now, it gets the lion's share, but Gon really needs to start doing better damage in melee by now.

Finally Gon sells the bow and the rest of his junk - and selling the bow was the right decision, since it nets him almost 700 gold. Back into the dungeon, courtesy of a recall scroll! This puts him on a boring-looking Level 4.

03-07-2009, 12:43 PM

Finally, an interesting monster. (p)aladins are like novice (p)riests, but they attack like hell and are more likely to put The Fear into Gon. This makes them extremely dangerous opponents - if they're at close enough range when they scare you, it's difficult to get away, and as you might imagine bows don't work very well at close range. Each tile represents 10 feet, and an enemy usually has to be at least one tile away for a missile weapon to work effectively.


Shooting down a blue jelly that destroyed one of his potions, Gon levels up and gains his Detect Treasure spell. This is interesting because Detect Treasure is one of a very small handful of spells in the game that mages and rangers can't learn, but rogues can. Fortunately, it's not his detect invisible potion that was ruined, and he picks up another one on this floor. By now Gon is carrying enough equipment to almost take down an army of Smeagols!


Coming into the northeasternmost part of the map, Gon sees a novice warrior (p) chasing after him. But it's not very far away, and if he moved in, it would be able to hit him before he even had a chance to return the blow - so he waits, and the warrior foolishly rushes towards him.

This is one of the better common strategies in Angband. Monsters will get a free hit on you if you move in next to them, and likewise you get a free hit on them if they move in next to you.


And seeing the blue jelly just around the corner, Gon realizes that he can shoot around the pillar between him and it. This is another common Angband strategy, where a player takes advantage of the sometimes-funky line of sight code to fire a projectile into a monster that shouldn't (physically) be able to get hit with it. For characters with low stealth this can be a godsend, since it may not require much, if any, movement from a current position.

Heading south and coming across a room with a multitude of sleeping monsters, Gon foolishly walks into it.


After he steps in, almost all of them immediately wake up and begin harassing him. Right now the biggest danger is the black (n)aga, but the jackals (C) have Gon surrounded and this causes a problem - he's going to have to hack through them to get to the exit of the room, which will give the naga some free hits. If he tries to take out the naga first, he's going to be completely surrounded and take ridiculous amounts of damage from the yappy dogs. The natural solution is to cut through them first.


Finally, Gon manages to make his way through all of them and get to the door! From here it's a simple task to get rid of the naga and contain all those nasty (r)ats so that they don't get all over the place.

It's been quite a day, but it's also not time for Gon to go back to town yet.

Next time! Gon ventures further into the dungeon, gets himself into more sticky situations, and discovers what it's like to feel true terror.

03-09-2009, 08:32 PM
Welcome back! Last time, Gon had explored a dull-looking 4th floor of the dungeon, and resolved to keep going down into it. It seems like the 5th floor is finally interesting enough to make it worthwhile to explore the whole thing.


Finally, there are a few more interesting enemies hanging around here. The gray (k) is a kobold archer, which is one of the first really dangerous monsters which can fight at range, and the white (s) is a skeleton kobold. This is a less dangerous monster, but it's what Gon will look like when he finally meets his untimely demise. Although not really, he'll probably become a spooky ghost!

Just a quick word about ranged monsters who travel at normal speed, in general: The best way to handle them is to move out of their line of sight, usually around a corner, and wait until it's safe to engage them in melee combat. Faster monsters can be handled this way too, but it's a bit more dangerous, since they're also usually uniques (or dragons) and can seriously mess up Gon at close range.


Traveling southward, Gon meets his first really dangerous monster group, which just happens to be a few levels out of depth. This is a line of cave (o)rcs, and at first Gon only sees the first two. Seeing two of the same kind of monster usually means it comes in groups, so Gon casts Detect Monsters and learns that maybe this won't be so tough to handle after all. He's at just about the right level to be able to take this guys down anyway!


This is going to be a bit more dangerous than originally thought, Gon realizes. He's almost killed the first orc, but it took half of his HP, and more importantly, Gon is stunned. This explanation of stunning might be a little incorrect, but it turns out that stunning is caused by a critical hit from a monster - which can either stun or cause a cut, but not both - and causes the player to lose turns until the stun is cleared, and not regenerate HP (but regenerate SP) while stunned.


Meanwhile, Gon doesn't quite take down the first orc, and has sustained a serious beating. It's time to run away, and first he makes a couple of attempts to cast Phase Door before realizing that it's probably better to just read one of the scrolls. But what would have happened if Gon didn't have a scroll to read?

In this sticky, hypothetical situation, Gon could still attempt to cast the spell - but with serious, serious consequences. So serious that Angband gives you a y/n prompt to see if you really want to do it. He could try and cast the spell at a greatly increased failure rate - and even if the spell succeeds, he could:

- Faint and become paralyzed
- Temporarly damage his constitution, meaning it could be restored with a potion of Restore Constitution
- Permanently damage his constitution
- Any combination of these

To cast a spell with low mana, Gon would have to be in serious, serious trouble, and have no other way of getting out.

Fortunately, the orcs are stupid enough (and more importantly, the one at the end of the tunnel Gon has ended up on is asleep) to leave him alone long enough to heal up.


Plus, from his new position, Gon can move into place to shoot his bow a few tiles down to start hitting orcs before they get into melee range! He manages to take out one of them completely this way, and uses a combination of melee and shooting to get the last two.


Success! Hooray! Gon has now gained a ridiculous amount of XP from this little adventure, and will soon approach level 11. Wandering around the dungeon brings him even closer, although there's no interesting encounters to speak of - he does run into a massive cache of treasure, and picks up two 'blunt' weapons - a trident and a warhammer. He has no use for either of them, since he's not a priest, and non-edged weapons are always the heaviest in the game. They'll sell for some good bank, too!

Well, maybe - Gon gets the impression that the hammer is cursed pretty quickly, which means that it's not something he wants to keep lugging around (it's 12 pounds or so).


Instead, Gon picks up this turquoise ring (=). At this depth in the dungeon it's probably not going to be interesting - slow digestion or feather falling are the only uncursed ones likely to be found. If we're lucky, it'll be a teleportation ring.

Teleportation rings are always cursed, and randomly teleport you across the dungeon at a random interval. But if you uncurse the ring, you can take it on and off, and it makes an excellent emergency escape item - as long as you put it on soon enough. Carrying an uncursed teleportation ring is smart for any charcter who can't afford or can't use teleportation staves very well, or for mages who haven't learned teleportation yet.

Shortly after picking up the ring, Gon's last torch goes out and it's time to swap over to using the lantern. At maximum, it can hold 15000 turns of light - meaning with a full lantern it's actually safe to run out of oil to fuel it with, because any player will need to go back to town before 15000 turns in the dungeon if they're careful enough.


Heading north, Gon runs into a staff laying on the ground (_). All that he can tell right now is that it's made of gold, and gold is pretty awesome, so it has to be a good staff, right? He holds onto it until he can get an ID.


Gon slices through a few more boring enemies and gets a level-up, which results in learning Cure Light Wounds. Since he's carrying a bunch of potions already, and this spell costs a lot of his mana and has a ridiculously high fail rate, it's practically useless for him. In fact, this spell is useless for most mages, and I tend not to learn it.


Heading south, Gon encounters a mage - but he sees another one, too. This isn't a monster that usually travels in groups, right? Well, it turns out that around floor 5 in the dungeon, new versions of those old (p) monsters start showing up - ones with more abilities and who travel in groups. These red (p)s can blind him and cast magic missile more often now. It doesn't help that a paladin is mixed in with the group, who will probably end up putting The Fear into Gon. This is shaping up to be another pitched battle.

03-09-2009, 08:34 PM

Okay, this is even worse than originally imagined. It's bad enough that one of the mages has managed to flank him, but now he's confused and facing a paladin - being confused is one of the worst things that can happen when facing a large group. It's just going to screw with the input directions (moving will move Gon in a random direction) and keep him from reading scrolls and casting spells, but that's bad enough. What if there's an emergency?

And then things get even worse for poor Gon. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a novice warrior (p) shows up and is ready to do a murder on him. A green f(R)og comes with, and even though it's not dangerous, it's another thing to contend with. Gon's finally taken enough of a beating that he decides it's time to get the hell out of there, and reads a phase scroll.


Fortunately, the phase spell put Gon in the hallway north of all the action, and not in the middle of the hallway where all the mages are having their party, probably talking about why it is that they can't just memorize their spells and stop carrying around these heavy books. He makes a mad dash for the northernmost door, and jams a spike through it to turn it into a makeshift barricade.

This was mentioned earlier, but here's a quick review. Occasionally in the dungeon, you'll come across a door which is "stuck". This means it can only be opened with the 'Bash' command or through magical means, and is one of the worst things to encounter when running from a monster. But on the other hand, using an iron spike to 'jam' a door causes it to become stuck - and this means a monster will have to bash against it to get it open, which requires a lot of raw strength. Jamming a door will give a character at least a few precious turns to rest up, or at least read a recall scroll and get the hell out of there in the most dire of emergencies.

Gon chooses the former, resting until his HP and SP are full.


Looping around the floor since he can't get through the jammed door this time, Gon heads back towards where the mages are still hanging out, and manages to put himself in this sweet little position. This guarantees that he can't be surrounded and can see any incoming mages to know if he has to scoot back, and also has an added bonus. Monsters who use missile weapons aren't exactly smart - if they see the player in their line of sight, they shoot. But if there's a monster between the shooter and the player, well, that monster's getting hit instead. So the mage's very own friend helps with Gon's crushing power. A sad fate.

Could this be the end of Gon's mage problem? He doesn't think about it too much, because one of them dropped an ID scroll - that means he can find out if his staff is worthwhile or not. It turns out to be Detect Invisible, which means it's worth holding onto for the (hopeful) battle with Smeagol! He also picks up a short sword laying on the floor, which he swaps out for the average sword he knows he's carrying. After all, maybe it's something better.


Well, of course it's not the end of our episode of mage trouble. In fact, the paladin is still alive, hiding out in the midst of them all - it was in the same room as Gon earlier, remember? There's no way it could have magically teleported all the way to the other side there!

Of course, before any of this happens, Gon makes his way near where he remembers the foes last being, in the room adjacent to the jammed door. This is when a mage decides to go balls-out on him, both blinding and confusing poor Gon. This is about the worst combination of things to happen to him yet, and it's something of a miracle that not only does he manage to survive it, he lives long enough to get off a phase spell that once again takes him into the eastern room once the blindness and confusion are cleared up.

And the rest is history! It's a pitched battle between Gon and the paladin, but then the remaining mage is easily dispatched, leaving behind a light blue potion of some sort. It's difficult to remember exactly what it was.

With that over, Gon takes a breather and then decides to explore the unmapped southern portion of the dungeon.


Now, this scene wasn't always like this. When Gon first came into the room, the lice were just starting to wake up, and so were the worms - he was able to take out a few of them with his bow, but then realized that it might be best to run. This was before he noticed the dagger (|) hanging out here, which almost got lost in all the (l)ice. Sometimes the difference can be difficult to see.

Gon decides to make a run for it, snatching up the dagger and just barely making it back out into the hallway unscathed, latching the door behind him. Finally - safety! The whole floor explored and his knapsack almost full, Gon decides that it's time to head back up to town, and reads one of his recall scrolls.


Up top, it's the usual ID process. This time Gon got a really great haul! It was smart of him to swap out for that short sword, and also make the run on the dagger. Unfortunately the ring is slow digestion, but a ring is a ring, and Gon puts it on. He also keeps that short sword.

You might wonder why Gon bothered to ID that staff when he already knew what kind it was. The answer is simple - you don't know how many charges are on a staff or wand until it's ID'd, and you can't stack staves until you know how many charges there are on them. There's nothing worse than wandering around the dungeon with three or four inventory slots clogged up with the same kind of magical device just because you have no idea how many charges they've got.

Well, okay - there are worse things and some of them are about to happen.

Meanwhile, while selling off his old sword and some of the other dungeon junk, Gon sees a Short Bow (x2) (+6, +3) on the shelf. That's way better than the long bow he's holding now - for those of you playing along at home, min/max the damage on that compared to what Gon's holding now, a (x3) (+2, +2) - especially since it's more accurate and will hit things way more often. Gon's been missing a lot lately. Gon also picks up a bunch of arrows to go with his shiny new bow.

After all that buying power, Gon can only afford one word of recall scroll, so he goes into the dungeon the old-fashioned way: Floor-by-floor. This makes him more likely to encounter Smeagol anyway. The first floor is boring - especially for Gon - but he does find an especially rich vein of treasure and nets quite a lot of money from it.


This is the sight that Gon encounters on his way down into the second floor of the dungeon. When you first enter a floor, before taking any turns, all the monsters are asleep, and Gon takes advantage of this - he creeps around, dispatching each of them one by one. The +5 to-hit on his new sword makes this remarkably easy, when combined with the hit bonuses he naturally gets against a sleeping monster. Spiders are no longer a danger to the mighty, stealthy Gon! He can take down anything.

On his way towards what will turn out to be another decisive encounter, Gon discovers another particularly rich treasure vein. What luck!

03-09-2009, 08:36 PM
Now, Gon wanders around the floor, looking for the stairs downwards. The first place he checks is in the southeast corner of the dungeon, and spies a room full of sleeping spiders - this is going to be easy, right? He just took care of a whole bunch of them moments before, no problem! Besides, his Very Neat Sword has a good chance of plowing through anything he comes across with little effort.

This is where things start going wrong. In order to get at the spiders, Gon has to head into the room where they are, and immediately two of them wake up. There's nothing wrong with handling these few - but then the whole brood decides it's time to mind-meld and activate.


That leads to this ugly situation. Gon's spent a lot of time surrounded by spiders, hacking away at them, and because they're so fast and numerous he's taken a lot of tiny little hits from them - and they add up. Gon attempts to cast Phase Door a few times in an effort to get back into the hallway, but fails on both of them.


Instead he decides to chug down a curative potion and then begin reading his phase scrolls in a hope of teleporting out of the room and into the hallway, where he can start using missile weapons and maybe even get a chance to jam the door shut.


In the midst of this heated battle, Gon manages to take out most of the spiders until there are only two left. By now he's out of healing potions and has sustained a cut, but he still has plenty of phase scrolls left. It should be easy for him to get out of this situation now - all he has to do is teleport a few spaces away from the spiders and then launch arrows into them. That should take care of this - and once this is over, Gon resolves to never fight another spider again unless he absolutely has to. Everything that could go wrong here has.


Unfortunately, Gon doesn't account for the butterfingers of the person at the keyboard controlling him, who instead makes him read a scroll of Recall. Gon wonders why the fuck he's doing that, but doesn't question it too much - I mean, that's going to get him out of the dungeon, right?



No. No no no NO NO NO NO

Gon gasps his last breath, realizing his folly at last. What an ignominious death for a level 11 character - felled on the second floor of the dungeon by a weak monster, while carrying some equipment that should have been able to turn them into paste without fail.

What went wrong: The first thing that I did that was wrong is obvious: I fought a group of monsters I didn't have to. I was foolish enough to think that it would be easy to handle, but here's a dirty secret: I only did it because I wanted to. At this point spiders give almost no experience and don't drop anything; it's just a compulsive urge to murder everything that drove this on.

The next problem is that Gon didn't run immediately as soon as those spiders started waking up. He was only able to dispatch that group earlier with such ease because they were all asleep.

And the final lesson is this: Don't ever, EVER hit the wrong key. It's not just missteps in the dungeon that kill.

Goodbye, Gon. I thought we were going to take you much farther, and that you'd have a blessed, wonderful life. You didn't even get any artifacts, did you, Gon? And you never got to take your revenge on Smeagol, either. Mourn ya 'til I join ya, homie. Respect.



Next.. Next time: Will Gon be avenged by ???, the Kobold Priest? One can only hope.

Poll time: Our next character is going to need a name, and will probably not have too many of his/her earlier adventures chronicled (except for the really good stuff). I'll give you guys a couple days to come up with a name for them but I have a sneaking suspicion that I know what everyone is going to pick anyway. Kobold Priest was next on the list of requested characters, so that's what's happening!

As a result the new character gets their first post sometime this weekend, and then it's back to the regular 2-3 day cycle. Hooray?

03-10-2009, 07:32 AM
Gon! N-NOOOOO!! Why must the good die young? :(

I'd like to suggest that Kuromimi go up to bat next to avenge his fallen friend. Revenge!!

Red Hedgehog
03-10-2009, 08:43 AM
What an awesome story. This is why I love roguelikes.

03-10-2009, 10:25 AM
Viki (http://scibbe.com/stash/suiko/suiko025.html) is the only logical choice.

03-10-2009, 10:27 AM
Viki (http://scibbe.com/stash/suiko/suiko025.html) is the only logical choice.

Might as well make her a Human Priest then. Viki ain't no Kobold!

03-10-2009, 11:18 AM

Next.. Next time: Will Gon be avenged by ???, the Kobold Priest? One can only hope.

Sadness. Gon, you will be remembered for your frolicsome spirit and zest for life. Also, your poor judgment in picking your battles properly.

I, too, believe that Gon's spiritual brother Kuromimi should pick up the furry mantle and quest onward! Hooray!

03-10-2009, 09:43 PM
You seriously died in the one turn it took to retry the phase door scroll? :(

when monsters are sleeping, i just shoot with my bow. Can I ask why you actually wade in there, ever?

Unless there's tons of breeders that make me think I cant' hit that loot, and so I want to risk waking them up and dying, why do you take those kinds of risks? Just shoot from behind the door.

03-11-2009, 12:35 AM
Thrilling interim post!

You seriously died in the one turn it took to retry the phase door scroll? :(

when monsters are sleeping, i just shoot with my bow. Can I ask why you actually wade in there, ever?

Unless there's tons of breeders that make me think I cant' hit that loot, and so I want to risk waking them up and dying, why do you take those kinds of risks? Just shoot from behind the door.

The answers are, in turn: Yes (those fuckers are fast), stupidity, and stupidity. It's one of those "in retrospect it was a bad idea to.." things, and I've ended far too many games this way (THIS ONE). Gon's successor will not be taking such idiotic chances, even though priests are extreme ass with a bow.

Meanwhile, back at the Let's Play! ranch, there are a few things that I wanted to talk about when Gon got to do them, but he never did, and it's unlikely his successor(s) will get the chance.

Why Gon would use light weapons: For once, I'm going to leave the in-depth mechanics to the attack spoilers (http://angband.oook.cz/d/spo/attack.spo). There was a very brief conversation about this earlier in the thread, but here's an explanation which should satisfy you, the average viewer.

Essentially, light weapons can give multiple blows per turn when a character has high enough strength and dexterity. Think of multiple blows as (at least!) doubling the number of hit dice that get rolled for each attack. You can see why this would be useful - even just getting two blows per turn is almost guaranteed to be as good as a lower-level critical hit, and that doesn't take into account actually getting critical hits on any of the blows you land.

The number of blows is determined by weapon weight, strength, dexterity, and some class factors. In fact, right from the very start, if Gon had been wielding a weapon of 3 pounds or less, he would have been getting two hits per turn. This sort of thing is why spoiler files are useful. This leads to:

What are artifacts? I've mentioned artifacts a few times but was waiting on explaining them until Gon found one, but now he never will.

Just like there are named monsters in the dungeon which only appear once, there are named items which can appear in the dungeon. These are artifacts, and they always have some kind of mystical power which makes them kick ass - but there are also cursed ones which can really mess you up. There are even some cursed artifacts which are "secretly" blessed - if you can remove the curses from them, they become some of the best weapons in the game. The Bastard Sword 'Calris' is considered to be one of the best, if not the very best, artifact in the game - but it comes with serious curses on it that almost every player will want to remove.

Artifacts have the property that once they're found and in your inventory, they're "gone" - they can't be generated again, and if you sell them, then you really better have never wanted one. Playing a game in a vicious and formerly-default setting called "no preserve" caused artifacts to be lost if you didn't pick them up. To counteract this, there was an extra level feeling: If an artifact was on a floor when it was generated, the level would be "special". If a monster dropped an artifact and you didn't pick it up, well, you lose out on it. To add insult to injury, missed artifacts were immediately and fully identified as soon as you left the floor, to let you know just what you lost.

In a perfect world, Gon would have gotten two artifacts that tend to show up on floors 5-10: The Phial of Galadriel, a light source which never goes out and has a 3-tile radius, and which can be used to cast Light Area. The other artifact is actually one of three artifacts the line of 'thanc' daggers. They come in fire-, frost-, and elec-branded varieties, and can be used to cast a magical bolt of that kind. They also have the extremely awesome property of weighing 1.2lbs like a normal dagger, but being (2d4) weapons as opposed to the usual (1d4) daggers.

Combining an artifact dagger like that with a fast and strong rogue like Gon is lethal for a good portion of the early game with the extra blow he'd get. The fact that he'd probably almost never land a critical hit due to the weapon's weight is completely mitigated by the natural damage multipliers branded weapons get - but that's a discussion for another day.

The rest: Somebody needs to provide a tiebreaker on the name vote! It also looks like there's now a tossup between human/kobold, so let's have a bonus vote on that too.

Kobolds suit the way I play the game in general much better and have all those neat intrinsic abilities, but a human will have way better stats and go up in levels much faster. To help with your decision, can get a spell fairly early on which allows them to see invisible monsters, meaning humans can track Smeagol without infravision (although infravision is still very, very useful). I assume all of you still want revenge, after all.

03-11-2009, 01:50 AM
The rest: Somebody needs to provide a tiebreaker on the name vote! It also looks like there's now a tossup between human/kobold, so let's have a bonus vote on that too.

Go with Viki.


03-11-2009, 05:15 AM
I am in favor of seeing a good deal of variety in the characters showcased.

Isn't there a variant of Angband that takes the humble Yeek and makes it into a playable class, with terrible stats?

03-11-2009, 07:05 AM
Alas, poor Gon, we barely knew ye.

I'm totally up for a magical Viki. (She heard how great this dungeon-crawling gig is from her distant cousin Dez?)

Red Hedgehog
03-11-2009, 12:41 PM
I don't care about the name, but want to see a puny hooman.

03-11-2009, 01:02 PM
Another digression: you can play along at home as a screensaver (http://www.thangorodrim.net/). Please note it's not updated for the 3.0.10b version that's being LP'ed.

You see, I wasn't criticizing at all when I asked about wading into a sleeping monster room, it's just a matter of the style you play. I'm usually extremely reckless at the start of a character's life. Make one fast dive hoping for an excellent item or two to wield or sell to kit my character out. If this pays off somehow, I switch to extremely conservative in my play style (e.g. never walk into a room if I can pull into a corridor, even at full health vs weak enemies).

The ultimate realization of conservative play is the Angband Borg (http://www.itctel.com/~apwhite/andrew.html), which comes in vanilla Angband and Zangband (Zelazny-themed) flavours.

Just reading the .txt documentation explaining how the borg plays is extremely informative, but it can take 100's of times longer for the borg to win the game than a human. It's extremely conservative in its play and survival is the only thing it cares about; losing most of your items or stats won't make it frustrated, it'd just go grind it all back.

I'm so sorry, I keep jumping in here to talk, and it's not my LP!

03-11-2009, 06:09 PM

03-11-2009, 08:15 PM
The votes are in, and this weekend we'll be adventuring with Viki the human priest. Color me surprised! I didn't think you guys would go for it, especially since humans are boring. But it'll make the early game significantly more interesting, because poison resistance and infravision are super duper nice on floors 1-5. Especially now that spooky ghosts start showing up earlier!

DOIN' THANGS (http://api.ning.com/files/gCy4Z6bghS9PWku7MDarJASp1V3RRfW5GXMdINhjR9u26v41Ql 9CeIRv8fUVfOIIKQ3g6EbtXDR-NKxii9zbSeHeP3FURy47/Big_Bear_Doin_Thangs_Album_Cover.jpg)

I'm actually still playing 3.0.9b. I've been mentioning the changes to 3.1.0b occasionally, usually in the context of "WHY???" because some of those changes are just seriously unpleasant to a long-time vet for me, like how I was surprised when I found out that preserve mode is the default now.

But for those of you who are just beginning to play, start with 3.1.0b. It has a lot of friendly changes which make the game easier in the 1-10 floor range which is where most new players are going to eat their first 20-30 games away, and more importantly, you won't have to revise how you play the game until there's another major update. Which, given Angband's development history, will be about 10-15 years from now.

Plus totally do not be ashamed of chiming in here - this is almost more of a "how to play" than a "let's play" and hearing from people who play the game differently than I do isn't a bad thing. In fact, I encourage color commentary about how Viki is going to be living her life, especially since...

I have never managed to play a priest for a longer game than around player level 7 before. Can I break that record with some of your input? Maybe!

Okay, that's not entirely true - I ran two 'practice' games this week where I reacquainted myself with the basic mechanics of playing a priest, wasn't careful at all, and actually got to plev 9.

03-12-2009, 09:17 AM
Plus totally do not be ashamed of chiming in here - this is almost more of a "how to play" than a "let's play" and hearing from people who play the game differently than I do isn't a bad thing. In fact, I encourage color commentary about how Viki is going to be living her life, especially since...

I have never managed to play a priest for a longer game than around player level 7 before. Can I break that record with some of your input? Maybe!

Okay, that's not entirely true - remember that time I had tea with the prophet Mohammed?

Spam orb of draining as soon as you get it. Before then, it's similar to playing a really weak warrior with limited equipment and crappy bow skill.

Priests become ridiculously easy after stat gain, once their good abilities and anti-undead spells come into play, and blessed artifacts/non crappy priest weapons become available. Granted, I never got below dlvl 45 with one...

03-14-2009, 02:55 PM
Welcome back! Last time, Gon met an untimely end at the hands/claws/feet/legs/etc. of a group of dangerous spiders. There's only one response to this: Roll up a new character and take revenge on some arachnids. Well, maybe not too much revenge, we don't want that unfortunate accident to be repeated. Yes, it's time for:

The Adventures of Viki the Human Priest!


Our new friend Viki (http://kharisma.deviantart.com/art/Viki-suikoden-fan-art-93447927) (PS: Do not ever, EVER do a google image search for Viki) is just what it says: A human priest. Humans are boring - they have no intrinsic abilities. Priests are less boring, and play somewhere between a mage and a rogue in terms of how they handle. It's not worth showing off Viki's inherent resistances, because she has none. Humans are traditionally very hard to play in the early game because of this, and their lack of infravision.

Let's see what priests start with.


All told, it's not bad. They get a mace, one of the less powerful hafted (blunt) weapons, a potion of healing which cures any kind of cut and restores all HP, and the priest's first spellbook. Let's take a look at that!


That's an awful lot of spells to choose from, isn't it? Since I know what each of these do, Viki is going to learn Bless first. You'll see why when the spell description comes up - you normal people who play regular-person RPGs can think of it as a buff spell that's going to last long enough to take out a single enemy, or a small group.


What the hell is this bullshit.

Okay, I sort of lied! Viki actually doesn't get to choose what spells (or since she's a priest, they're technically called 'prayers') she learns. Being a priest and straight up asking the man upstairs for assistance rather than going through the usual magical incantations means that instead of getting to choose herself what she learns, God points one of his massive fingers down from the heavens to a passage in her book and says "YOU'RE GOING TO LEARN THIS ONE."

This can really screw you. Once Viki reaches level 3, for example, there's no guarantee she won't waste her next two chances to learn a prayer on the remaining l1 spells - and there are a lot of frankly bad spells for a Priest. If it weren't for Detect Doors/Stairs, the first priest book becomes completely obsolete around player level 7 with a little bit of luck with regards to what God whispers.

Actually, Cure is the second-most useful spell for an early-level priest and is a significantly better haul than, say, Detect Evil. It's cheap and better than potions of Cure Light Wounds, which removes both of the problems that magic-using classes have with this spell.

Viki picks up the requisite armor, and a bow and some arrows. Her skill with a bow is absolutely awful, but it's going to be necessary until she hits a much later level and gains a few ranged attacks. It's time to go down into the dungeon.


Welcome to one of the worst possible situations to be in in the dungon. Viki decides to (wo)man it up, though, and runs around the walls of the room until she finds a doorway. It would most likely be centered in one of the walls anyway, right?


Now that's luck. This is another time when knowing something about dungeon generation can help - most frequently doors appear in the "middle" of walls in square rooms, although there can be exceptions.


Viki goes through the usual slaughter and gets a level-up fairly quickly. One of the advantages of playing humans is that they're the "base" class with regards to experience - every other race requires a certian percentage of experience above what it takes to raise a human a level (for kobolds, it's 30% more). Classes have this condition too, where warrior is the base class.

Anyway she also learns Bless, which is ridiculously useful at this point in the game. 13-24 turns is even enough to take out Grip or Fang at this point. Viki's also finding a lot of treasure on this level, meaning that she probably should have bought a shovel to bring with.


Here's a boring levelup. The only thing notable is that at level 3, Viki got a chance to learn two spells instead of the regular one - this is a quirk of her wisdom stat being a fractional. In theory, the "highest" stat is 18 in any category, but it can be raised by percentiles. If I understand my D&D history correctly, 18/20 counts as something like "you are among the 20th percentile of the wisest mothers on the planet." This is ridiculous, of course, because stats can be augmented over 18/100, and I'm pretty sure there's not an Adventureville chapter of Mensa. Acutally, doesn't being wise mean that you don't bother with Mensa? Anyway, Viki fights some white (w)orms and gets poisoned (p.s.: White creatures usually poison, but Gon never had to worry about this so I forgot to mention it) and soon runs into a teleport trap and gets sent all the way back across the level.


But that's not going to stop her from getting her revenge, and a level-up in the process. Is there even anything worthwhile left in that prayer book she's holding?


Not really! Detect Doors/Stairs is the last useful one, but she has only a 1/4 chance of learning it and the rest of those are poo. But starting at level 5, she can begin learning some spells which actually don't suck and will probably continue to save her bacon for the rest of the game. She decides to go back to town and check it out. It probably helps that she's holding a lot of junk to get rid of.

03-14-2009, 02:59 PM
There's absolutely nothing worthwhile to say about what Viki picked up in the dungeon, by the way. It's all the usual floor 1 garbage. Viki does pick up the second prayer book for priests, though, and takes a look inside.


Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout. All of these (except maybe Sanctuary) are solid gold. We'll discuss further when Viki gets to learn them! There's no rule that says you have to spend a prayer to learn something right when you get it - later on in life Viki is actually going to pass up the chance to learn a lot of the awesome things in this book for a guaranteed shot at something even more awesome in the next book.

Anyway, she decides to make a shot at that Detect Doors/Stairs against any kind of better judgement.


Nice work, God. This spell will become obsolete with almost 100% certainty when Viki goes for the best spell in Book 3, by the way. At least she's got enough HP to actually use it before dying now from most of the means which poison you early in the dungeon.

While in town, she also decides to pick up a shovel before heading back into the dangerous depths of Angband. Absolutely nothing is happenin' on the first floor, so Viki decides that it might be a good time to head down to the next one. While exploring the floor, she spies some obviously-visible treasure, and...


Viki is accosted by an unseemly character. Having just taken hold of her shovel, she realizes that it would be extremely stupid to fight, and instead reads a phase scroll she picked up earlier to teleport herself a short distance away. Once safe, she readies her mace and also bundles one of her unlit torches with the one she's currently holding, giving her enough light to see if that asshole is going to try and creep up on her again.


Guess she still wasn't able to see it coming. But at least he pulled a vanishing act and won't be trying to hit on Viki again. Hopefully.


Well, maybe not. But at least Viki gets the chance to Bless herself and bust his skull in, which is a novel way of dealing with creepy adventurer guys who try and hit on her. In fact, it's a new enough experience to net her a level and a chance to learn Chant.


Some other uncouth barbarian thinks that he has a chance with the only woman that he's seen that wasn't covered with boils in something like 30 years. Viki blesses up and prepares to deal with him in the same way that she handled the rogue earlier.


Well, fuck. Without any more phase scrolls or other teleportation ability - why couldn't she have learned a teleportation spell like Portal instead? - she just has to keep slamming her mace into the face of the warrior in front of her. (Jokes rejected for being too awful even for me: Viki stars in her own remake of Last House on the Left, "Viki sandwich")


With predictable results. This is what happens when you get caught in a pincer without any good way out, and I can't say that I'm really to blame for this one. Viki, we hardly knew ye. You should have had a longer, more productive life. Wait.. what's this?


Huh? Radio?


What the hell? Isn't she dead?

Next time: What the hell? And no, I didn't savescum or cheat death.

03-14-2009, 03:12 PM
What the hell!?

Also, Googling Viki was disappointing. I expect horrors when someone tells me not to do a Google image search of something, but that was just boring!

03-14-2009, 05:46 PM
What the hell!?

Also, Googling Viki was disappointing. I expect horrors when someone tells me not to do a Google image search of something, but that was just boring!

Oh? (http://img.alibaba.com/photo/11293687/Mayonnaise_Viki.jpg)

Octopus Prime
03-14-2009, 06:03 PM
Nothing to add, I just wanted to restate just awesome "It Breathes, You Died, Lets Play" is for a title.

A title for anything, really.

03-14-2009, 07:25 PM
Oh? (http://img.alibaba.com/photo/11293687/Mayonnaise_Viki.jpg)

Disgusting, but not horrifying.

On the other hand, it turns out somehow SafeSearch had been turned on. Turning it back off did change my results somewhat, but still not much in the way of horrors.

03-15-2009, 03:51 AM


03-17-2009, 08:37 PM
Welcome back!

Last time, a horrible fate befell Viki (http://www.anifics.com/hosted/ladycosmos/fanart/suik.jpg). Or.. did it? Actually, it did. But then this happened:


Apparently, being in good favor with the main dude upstairs, Viki gets to have a second chance at life and does, in fact, rise from her grave. But not really, I just rolled a new (but otherwise identical) character. Don't tell her that.


Rising from her grave - which conveniently doubles as the entrance to the dungeons of Angband - Viki spies a curious (h)obbit all the way across town. This is particular curious since usually the only hobbits are hiding out in stores trying to cut her a raw deal on a shovel or something. Her rotting, shambling corpse decides to investigate.


He immediately begins talking her ear off about mushrooms and dogs, the whole time making :( faces at her. Viki is less than pleased by this turn of events, and having been reanimated as a horrible ghoul, decides to beat some sense into him the only way she knows how: Through actual beating.

Folks, meet Farmer Maggot, every player's favorite unique monster and probably the reason that the option to use any key to clear -more- prompts was invented. Farmer Maggot exists for two reasons: To annoy the hell out of you, and to give any player lucky enough to encounter him early on an awesome early-game item drop. He also has obscene amounts of HP.


Of course, Farmer Maggot's degrading name and horrible sobbing (and also his delicate face) are no match for Viki's mace. He leaves behind a beautiful pointy instrument, and maybe if he'd done some stabbing instead of whining he'd still be alive. For now, Viki drops off the dagger at home (for hot IDing action later) and picks up the requisite leather armors, a short bow, and some arrows. She also learns Cure Light Wounds, proving some continutiy with her former life.

Let's skip over the first few levels she gains, because it's nothing new. Instead, let's take a look at a peculiar scenario Viki finds herself in.


Namely, in the middle of a WORM EXPLOSION. This is only worth mentioning because this is actually a tactic some players willingly engage in at low levels, known as "farming". The idea is to get a relatively harmless monster with explosive growth trapped in a small area, and then let it fill up as much of the area as you're comfortable with - and then slaughter everything until it's no longer practical to do so. Needless to say this can be quite dangerous, and explosive monster growth was slowed somewhere late in the 2.9.x line to try and discourage this behavior (and also make these monsters less of a pain to deal with in ordinary combat).

Viki has no such designs, of course. Instead she kills them and gains another level shortly afterward, at which point it's time to head back to town and sell a bunch of stuff. She drops some unID'd armor in her house on the way, because that's actually what it's good for at this point in the game - if you can't afford to ID it, don't. She does pick up the dagger and ID that, though, and it turns out to have some pretty decent bonuses on it. I didn't get a shot of it and didn't write it in my notes for some reason, but that sucker gets sold fast because Viki's not touching it.

Flush with cash - or so she thinks - Viki decides that it's time to check out the last remaining shop in town, the Black Market. She's also learned Detect Doors/Stairs so now the first prayer book is useless and she begins saving up her chance to learn new ones for the next book at level 5.


At this point, there's not actually any real reason to go there - you need to be holding at least 5k in cash to make a trip to the Market worthwhile - but here's what it holds. It's kind of a catchall shop which sells everything you can't (and sometimes can) get in town at ridiculous prices. Check out that 35k shield. Needless to say, this place becomes the only area where it's worth spending money after a certain point in the game, but we're nowhere near close to that yet.

This is also as good a chance as any to explain what an ego item is. You might see the 'Pike of Slay Evil' and the 'Shield of Deflection' there. These are ego items - a piece of equipment with a special property. They're not artifacts, because they're not named, but they have properties above and beyond mere enchantments. Don't ask me what Deflection does because hell if I know (it probably has a chance to reflect an attack) but Slay Evil does just what it says - it's a weapon that deals triple damage against 'evil' creatures. I am also fairly certain that priests can weild any bladed weapon with a Slay Evil ego on it, but it might need to be its bigger and more emphatic brother, *Slay Evil*.

This side trip out of the way, Viki goes back to dungeon-crawling and encounters a mysterious invisible foe who picks her pocket at the first opportunity. We all know who that is, but now's not the time to go chasing after him. More dungeon-diving ensues, and Viki ends up on level 2, prepared for a fight which will teach us something suspicious about group monster behavior in Angband.


With the montage that took me way too long to put together over with, Viki realizes two things about this fight - why did she only see those three spiders at first? And why didn't they rush her when she retreated into the doorway to bless herself?

The answer appears to lie in the new monster group behavior algorithms. I'm unsure if some monsters are more intelligent than others in groups, but these spiders wanted to stay out of Viki's line of sight when she was in the doorway - meaning that they wouldn't gang up on her when she stood there, allowing her to heal and buff up to her heart's content. This behavior means Gon's death was extra super stupid, because he could have just run into the doorway and rested to heal up and probably never would have been touched. Ouch.


Viki levels up shortly afterward and takes the opportunity to learn a few new spells. Scare Monster is a lot more useful than it sounds - when in serious danger from a single foe (or even two of them) this spell, combined with the priest's teleportion spell Portal, will get her out of all kinds of trouble. Of course, most monsters later in the dungeon will resist fear, eventually making it useless.

Speaking of Portal (http://mcgibs.deviantart.com/art/Portal-67117417?moodonly=123), Viki learns it next. I didn't get a cap of the spell's description, but it teleports her 21 squares away in the dungeon. This makes it better than phase door, but not as good as a real teleport spell, and I have no clue if a priest learns one of those. The rest of her trip is uneventful aside from having to use her potion of Healing due to being put in a dumb predicament. She also slays Grip and Fang, but only gains one more level (putting her at level 7) before deciding that it's time to head topside. Also, her inventory is full.

Up top, she picks up the third prayer book and takes a look inside. She hasn't learned her newly obtainable prayer yet, and there's a reason why:


These spells look good, but there's one in particular that Viki really wants. She's heard that it will allow her to blow away pretty much any monster in the dungeon right now, and that's more or less right - which means that between now and level 9, she's going to save up all her spells to learn as many of those level-9 spells as it takes to ensure she gets Orb of Draining. What you need to know about this spell right now is that it's the first attack spell that priests get, it's got an area of effect, and, no shit, it hits something like 50% of the dungeon's monsters in their weak point for massive damage.

Going through all the trash she picked up in the dungeon, Viki IDs a +5 cloak, and immediately puts it on. So warm. So soft. So.. safe.

And we reach the end of this short update. With most of the early game covered, updates are going to be a bit slower and probably shorter until new, more exciting things start happening to Viki.

Next time: Thrilling adventures! Excitement! Unique rooms! The final battle with Smeagol - who will survive this decisive encounter?

03-17-2009, 08:56 PM
Shields of Deflection aren't an ego type - it's just another kind of shield, with nothing special aside from a high AC rating. It's possible (and likely) to find an ego SoD at some point, which isn't as impressive as it sounds.

03-18-2009, 09:25 PM
Welcome back!

When we last left Viki, she had nothing but dull tales to tell and provided us with a hideous-looking and ill-conceived montage. Hopefully things will change this update, but life will still be slow for our reanimated heroine as she slowly works up the nerve to dive down deep into the dungeon and mess up some dudes. At that point things will get more exciting! Maybe!

For now though, things are not so exciting for Viki. The first floor of the dungeon is boring as hell, and although Viki reaches level 8 (and gains a chance to learn two more spells for it), she's not taking advantage of that fact until she hits level 9 and can learn Orb of Draining.


The first genuinely interesting thing Viki encounters in the dungeon is a room that looks different from all the others. So far they've just been these square affairs or filled with columns, but this one looks both much bigger than usual and to have a different structure. Viki goes straight for the rogue (p) hanging out in what appears to be a doorway, and is then almost immediately accosted by a (k)obold archer. She gets beat up pretty bad and teleports away.


Healing up and preparing to take down the kobold, Viki has a much better idea of what the room looks like now - a four-chambered room. These rooms (and others like them) will show up with more frequency as Viki dives deeper into the dungeon, but I couldn't find a source which shows what all of the different varieties are. Some of them will come packed with extra bad nasties, but this one contains merely average ones.


Running back into danger, Viki dispatches a magic-using (k)obold shaman, which is relatively indistinguishable from the novice mages she's been beating into a bloody paste for who knows how long now. Opening the door in the northwest corner of the room, she discovers a bunch of red (w)orms breeding. For her, these are particularly dangerous - red means fire, and fire means her books are going to get burnt and she'll be totally screwed. Assuming the worst, Viki closes the door but doesn't jam it, and this leads to the unlikely scenario in which a worm actually breaks down a door.


Running into the thick of it to try and get the treasure on the other end of the room, Viki gets a wicked reminder that fire burns things by having one of her torches and another one of her scrolls destroyed. She makes a hasty retreat back through the door and to the south, exploring the rest of the chambers before running south into a room that leads nowhere interesting. Unable to exercise containment, Viki teleports away into into safety, and thankfully, not into the middle of a million worms.


Heading east along this corridor leads Viki to some monsters which she's able to crush with her mighty undead strength (along the with the blessings of the almighty) that lead her to level 9. It's time to learn some magic, and here are three of the four spells Viki learns. Neutralize Potion will obsolete Slow Poison, Satisfy Hunger will obsolete all food items, and Cure Critical Wounds will become crucial in near-emergency situations. Casting it in a genuine emergency might be kind of dangerous, due to its failure rate.

Viki also learns...


Orb of Draining. Welcome to the priest's first attack spell and their main crushing staple for what I believe is the entire game. It covers a radius of two squares from the target square, does between 16-31 damage to start, which will go up as Viki gains more levels, and does double damage against evil monsters. By the way, did you know that almost all of the game's toughest monsters and uniques are evil? Orb of Draining turns Viki from a lowly self-buffing priest into a powerhouse of absolute death.

Too bad she can only cast it twice before having to rest right now. But let's skip ahead into her future to see the kind of devastation this spell can cause:


This all happens in the space of a single turn. A dangerous group of enemies which could have easily surrounded Viki if she'd made the wrong move are all dispatched with careful targeting of an area of effect spell. This thing is dangerous and Orb of Draining is just about the only reason anyone likes playing a priest. The only thing you have to be careful to do with it is make sure you don't cast it on top of items - when it says it destroys cursed items it's serious. I believe it can destroy unique cursed items, some of which, like Calris, are worth going through the effort to uncurse. But before hitting the point in the dungeon where you start finding these, it actually acts as an effective means of IDing cursed equipment that you're carrying around, through removal.


Casting all four spells she's learned in succession actually nets Viki her next level up, and she picks up Remove Curse. Now THIS is the right way to ID cursed equipment when it's "not dangerous" - for example, when it's a ring. Viki puts something on, at which point she gets the message about the equipment being cursed. Remove Curse is cast, and the item is either dropped (if it's armor or a weapon) or ID'd (if it's a ring and Teleportation hasn't been found yet). Of course, IDing this way is still technically use-IDing and should be considered always dangerous at best and stupid at worst.


Something icky touches Viki and steals money from her again while she's busy exploring the dungeon. But it's not time to go chasing after it quite yet, especially since Viki is slowed by the huge burden she's carrying. Gon never had this problem because he was a strapping young fellow, but Viki is a frail corpse of a girl and has difficulty carrying over 90lbs of equipment. With this dangerous-seeming invisible monster lurking the floor, and her pack full up, it's time for Viki to head back home.


Since I haven't explained the home very much yet, here's what it is - an area for you to safely dump all the stuff you don't want to carry around in the dungeon or sell. Right now it's a repository for equipment and magic items Viki doesn't have the cash to ID at the moment, which is what it's really good for in the early-to-mid game. Later on it'll hopefully become stocked with artifacts that Viki will probably be swapping out depending on the situations she's going to encounter on specific floors and duplicate copies of the basic prayerbooks. This will also give you a good idea of all the trash Viki has been collecting in hopes of selling it off - only the one robe looks like it might be any good.

Identifying that equipment, Viki discovers that the mithril wands are Wands of Light, which will become incredibly useful around floor 6 or so, and a +4 robe. This is slightly better than the armor she has on now, but more importantly, robes weigh practically nothing. Putting it on allows her to carry more neat loot up to the town, and is also reminiscent of her childhood blanket.

03-18-2009, 09:27 PM
Reminiscing finished, Viki jumps back down to floor 3 courtesy of a recall scroll. She almost immediately finds a 'good' leather cap and, even with it unID'd, swaps it onto her head because it's better than any plain ol' cap any day of the week. She picks up an ID scroll shortly afterward and discovers that it's got a +5 AC enchantment, which gives her a healthy defense boost. A good cloak is also picked up on the way, but the real prize is something a naga drops:


Good gravy, that is armor that is seriously, seriously out of depth. That is the sort of armor that usually shows up on floors 15-20. That is the kind of armor that weighs almost 30 pounds. That is exactly the sort of armor that Viki is going to pick up and run straight back to town to sell because no way is she ever wearing it. It slows her down significantly, and it's a good thing she's carrying another recall scroll to get back to town.

IDing the cloak shows its charming, but not superb, +3 enchantment. Viki's wearing something better right now so this goes straight onto the 'sell' pile, along with:


The merchant offers to buy it at a high price (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3205/2523836802_1dc42aacdf.jpg?v=0) (editor's note: Might be considered 'NSFW'), and this gives Viki enough cash to upgrade from her Mace (2d4) to a Flail (2d6) for extra melee damage. Her mana isn't high enough yet to rely mostly on Orb of Draining, although so far it's making an excellent support spell and has almost completely replaced her usage of arrows.


Jumping back down to floor 3, Viki learns another staple spell for priests. Protection from Evil is more useful than it sounds, but it honestly doesn't appear that there's an easy way for you to figure out what level a monster is. Experiments will be conducted later to see if this is the depth that a monster traditionally appears at, but the answer to this appears to be 'yes'. Since there's a cap of 50 for player levels, this means the spell will become progressively less useful as time goes on - but right now it could be a lifesaver, especially against groups.


Exploring the level, Viki runs into a corridor where suddenly there are a bunch of invisible things trying to crawl all over her. They feel different from the usual clammy hand grabbing for her wallet, and are also pretty easy to run through - and there are a lot of them. As a precaution Viki closes the door behind her, and starts plowing through what's there.

These are the clear worms that Gon once encountered, and they're much more dangerous for a human without infravision - if they were anywhere but in a hallway, she'd have no choice but to try and teleport around the whole lot because she might not even know they were there until the room was almost full. Containment is also much harder to practice when you can't see where anything is, and Viki isn't about to waste her potions of See Invisible or Infravision needlessly. She needs those for the upcoming fight with Smeagol.

Viki finally becomes brave enough to decend to floor 4 as well.


She attains level 12 after dispatching a large group of her fellow priests (p) and learns one of my favorite, and as far as I can tell, mostly useless, spells - Earthquake! This spell essentially allows Viki to terraform the dungeon around her, which can remove some nasty obstacles (like getting stuck in a corner during a fight where teleportation may be unsafe for some reason) and also earthquake spells are always just really cool. Here's what it does:


See? Cool!

Unamazed by the absolute awesome that she's now packing, Viki keeps exploring until she's snatched up some more treasure floating around the dungeon. She nabs a whole bunch of equipment that she gets a good feeling about, and loaded down, teleports back to the town.

Of course, all that good stuff turns out to be things she can't really use, and so Viki goes to pick up the fourth - and last available in town - "how to pray" manual.


Oh god. Don't even ask me what most of these do, because I have no idea - but I'm willing to guess that 'dispel' prayers are instant-kill affairs for anything at a lower level than you and I know that Glyph of Warding is just a means of keeping monsters away. You'll also notice that these are more spaced out in terms of levels, and that's because there are bonus books to pick up in the dungeon which Viki will be more interested in. One of them better contain an identify spell.

Viki drops the book off at home - she's not going to need it for a while - and sallies forth again. This makes it seem like this is as good a time as any to end today's chapter in The Adventures of Viki: Redux, both because I haven't got the next update lined up yet and because the battle with Smeagol deserves its own entry.

Speaking of which!

Next time: The final showdown with Smeagol! Who will survive?

03-18-2009, 10:09 PM
I would like more montages.

Especially of the Smeagol fight!


Who, me?

03-20-2009, 10:58 PM
Welcome back! Last time, Viki did some ordinary, boring stuff. But not today! Today we have the matchup of the millennium, kids:


Let's cut straight to the chase. After she sells off everything in town that she can safely get rid of, Viki reads one of her ever-useful recall scrolls to jump back down to level 3 of the dungeon. Everything is going along swimmingly, until something invisible reaches for her money pouch.


Something that's trying to grab her must certainly have a corporeal form and therefore be visible to the slightly-augmented eye. So Viki downs one of her potions of infravision and the culprit is revealed! Some sort of hobbit-ish thing wearing the most hideous clothing Viki has ever seen. The makeup isn't helping things.


Naturally, her first response is to blast it with as much Orb of Draining as possible. This takes away almost a full half of its health, and since the thing is so much faster than she is, she reads a phase scroll to teleport around it and into the hallway, where arrows can safely be launched. This can only last so long before Smeagol catches up with her again, reaching to pull at her robe. "OH GOD I'VE BEEN SO LONELY," he says, realizing that somebody can finally see him. Unfortunately all those years of isolation have - not unlike continuous exposure to the internet - made him completely ignorant of how to deal with women. Disgusted, Viki phases again and drinks a potion of speed to keep pace with the monster, shooting arrows at him all the while.


Backing up whenever Smeagol gets too close to her eventually puts Viki towards the end of a hallway. Normally, this is the sort of scenario where Earthquake would save her ass, but she's already spent all of her mana on melting the hideous beast. "PLEASE, I JUST WANT A HUG," the non-canonical Smeagol demands, getting dangerously close to Viki and making horrible kissy-faces at her.


Just about ready to toss her lunch - or whatever the last meal she ate was - Viki phases into an adjacent room and checks out the passage to the south of it when she hears a door open somewhere. That must mean Smeagol is still hot on her trail, despite ending up on the other side of him - this is good, because it means she'll get to kill him faster. Obviously the best way to acquaint this horrible creature with the word of God is presumably by killing him, sending him to the Pearly Gates, and having St. Peter use much cusses at him.


So Viki makes a dash for the room, getting there just in time to be able to plonk a few arrows into Smeagol's twisted body before he catches up with her again, at which point she has to take down her next to last potion of speed in order to keep up with him. At this point, things aren't going very well at all for her, and she has to at last resort to melee combat without the benefits of any buffing spells. Normally this might not be so bad since he could always just take her money and run, but now more than ever she's ready to crush the bug-eyed hobbit-thing.


The hand-to-hand, or rather inappropriate-grabbing-at-women-to-mace, combat doesn't last very long before Viki lands a good hit on Smeagol, causing him to start crying about how she's just like his last girlfriend and he's going to go cut his wrists and then she'll be totally sorry when he ends up dead and there's a suicide note blaming her and then she'll want to kill herself too. At this point, even more than providing salvation/damnation, Viki wants this thing to shut the fuck up. She can't think 'hell' in a cuss context because that's too blasphemous. Cusses aside, she moves to a convenient location in the room and keeps shooting arrows at Smeagol, although she's so bad with a bow she might as well be throwing gummi bears at him.


"OH GOD I'M SO SORRY BABY, TAKE ME BACK, I LOVE YOU." Like many in an abusive non-relationship, Smeagol is unable to stay away from Viki and is rewarded for his diligence by being hit in the face. He's just about to run crying again when he grabs hold of her wallet and teleports away. In the first time she's had dialog since the montage, Viki screams "DAMNIT" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk69V270JyM) without regard to her filthy, filthy mouth. Surely God will forgive such foul language in light of the fact that this is kind of a messed up situation. Especially since if Smeagol teleported beyond the rubble (:) in the south passage, she might not get to him in time to be able to finish him off easily.


Fortunately, Viki makes the right choice and checks the north passage first, finding Smeagol fast enough that he's still hurt badly from their last encounter. Bleeding to death, he no longer has smarmy dialog, thinking that it must be enough to merely look up at Viki with his huge, hideous, fish-like eyes.


Which are promptly crushed straight out of his skull.

03-20-2009, 10:59 PM

Victorious over her rather nonthreatening - in the violence sense, at least - foe, Viki makes an entry in her notebook. Wait, he might carry an exceptional object? All he left behind that Viki could see was a shovel, so she picks it up and continues on her way through the dungeon, ready to kill some more normal monsters that probably don't wish they had enough hair for an emover (http://media.photobucket.com/image/emover/Braxicus/101_1385.jpg). Some spiders, or icky blobs or something. Anything. But only a few steps away from the rapidly cooling corpse, Viki gets an abnormally good feeling about this particular shovel.


Oh daaaaaaammmnnnnn yes.

Gon got a pretty good shovel - +2 to digging is no slouch, as we found - but +5 to digging makes Viki a tunneling machine and in some cases might actually make digging her way out of a room faster and safer than using Earthquake. This is one awesome shovel, and if she ever no longer needs to dig for treasure - which would be silly - selling it will net her much bucks. In fact, this is a way better drop for Viki than a weapon, because there's a huge percentage chance that it would be edged and would be nearly useless for her to wield.

"of Digging," of course, indicates that this is one of those fabulous ego items. The reason why I was confused about the Shield of Deflection is because ego-items are always titled "X of Y" - where Y is the particular ego effect of the item. Digging, of course, gives a massive bonus to.. digging. It only appears on instruments which are usually used for - what else? - digging.

Her feat in the dungeon completed, Viki heads back towards the surface. On the way she stops to dig out some treasure from the walls, and it takes her respectively:

- 1 turn to tunnel through the softest material, a magma wall
- 17 turns to tunnel through the hardest material, granite


Here's an artist's depiction of Viki's new goal in life, except she doesn't have clubfoot.

Safely back in town, Viki is flush with so much cash from her dungeon adventuring and the subsequent digging that she was able to pull off that she's finally able to take an important step in the life of an Angband character: She's able to enchant her weapons.


So far, we've only found enchanted items in the dungeon. But there are scrolls of Enchantment - and later on, even spells of Enchantment - which can be used to buff up armor and weapons, a particular scroll for each type of enchantment (+ to-hit, + damage, + AC). Enchantment scrolls run for around 170 a pop, and it's usually cheaper to buy pre-enchanted equipment - but Viki has enough to snap some up, and the result is what you see above.

For the curious: The '{@w0}' after the weapon name is a magical inscription. Angband has an inscribe command which can be put on wands, staves, etc. so that players can name them, although this is pretty much never used in practice. Instead, most players use the magic inscriptions: any inscription leading with an @, followed by a letter which invokes a command, followed by a digit, means that digit can be used to refer to the item (which might move around in inventory nilly-willy). This is best used in macros; in fact, the game comes with a predefined macro, 'X', which stops wielding the current weapon in favor of weapon 0. So Viki has two weapons with this inscription - her shovel, and her main weapon. Hitting X allows her to swap between the two at any time with no fuss. There are other magical inscriptions, but I've never used them or even heard about anyone else using them.


It's been a big day for Viki, and it's finally time to rest.

Next time: Level-ups! Traps that weaken! More enchantments! Gon's kinsmen try and do a murder on Viki! Cusses! Longer posts!

03-20-2009, 11:12 PM


03-20-2009, 11:46 PM
Smeagol, YOU are smalltime.

This was amazing. All of it.

Viki is great.

03-21-2009, 10:19 AM
Man, that's a sweet shovel; you can't enchant digging speed afaik. I fear to ask where you found a picture of gollum in makeup...

For your talk of being in melee range = bad, your health never dropped. Were you chugging health potions, or always able to phase away without getting hit?

On finding him in time: does Smeagol have unusually fast health regen, or is it you had no real DPS left after the orbs of draining, when you talked about 'finding him in time'. Is there in combat vs out of combat regen or is it all just per turn (I forget this one)?

Red Hedgehog
03-21-2009, 10:53 AM
Roguelike stories are the best stories.

03-21-2009, 08:55 PM
I fear to ask where you found a picture of gollum in makeup...

For your talk of being in melee range = bad, your health never dropped. Were you chugging health potions, or always able to phase away without getting hit?

On finding him in time: does Smeagol have unusually fast health regen, or is it you had no real DPS left after the orbs of draining, when you talked about 'finding him in time'. Is there in combat vs out of combat regen or is it all just per turn (I forget this one)?

I did a google image search for "Smeagol". It's one of the first results, and if you click on the link you might divine my original intention for this epic post. Safe Search might have to be turned off, but at home it always should be anyway because this gives the most hilarious results.

Viki got hit a few times towards the end of the fight, but the rest of the time she was firmly in 'healthy' territory. No health potions were consumed over the course of this battle - it only took this long because Viki is terrible with a bow and Smeagol absolutely has to be taken out at range to avoid stealing/teleporting and ruining the fight. His melee attacks are unbelievably weak and only pose a threat to really low-level characters encountering him for the first time.

As for regen, all unique monsters have unusually fast regen. Most monsters regen slower than you (trolls are one of the few exceptions, unless you're playing a half-troll) but all uniques have regen equal to and usually faster than yours. HP/SP Regen is done on a per-turn basis regardless of what actions you take, so if it takes a long time to find a unique monster that teleports away, all that sweet damage you did will have been undone and you get to start the fight over less whatever expendable items you used the first time.

03-25-2009, 12:38 AM
Welcome back! This update is brought to you by alcohol, insomnia, and the letter 'k'.

Last time on Let's Play Angband: The Adventures of Viki: Redux, our heroine obtained a shovel truly worthy of a devout reanimated corpse, and also turned Smeagol into dust. This week, she's going to do some more dust-turning and more treasure-adventuring. I think. This is what happens when I wait a week between playing and preparing an update.


Regardless of my bad Let's Play habbits, after waking up in the town, Viki makes an immediate and mostly uneventful run on the dungeon - she only has one recall scroll, and it's better to use it to go up than to go down. Her trips through the first three floors are uneventful, except for this level up, where Viki learns two spells that will prove to be of marginal use: When you can detect doors 'sense surroundings' (AKA 'magic mapping') is almost completely useless, and Sanctuary isn't likely to get Viki out of situations where she's really going to be in serious trouble. Plus it costs too much to be used as an emergency prayer.

My real problem with priests is that they get a handful of completely overpowered spells, and the rest of their abilities are absolute junk, become obsolete quickly, or are situational at best. Mages have a more sensible progression, if only because they're so terrible at melee that every minor upgrade they get in the spell realm is a serious boon that allows them to travel a floor or two deeper. Mages are difficult to run because balancing their abilities to their current level to how deep in the dungeon they can go is a tricky game to learn.

My ideal Angband variant would find some way to balance out the priest class to make it more manageable to play. But we'll talk about variants (hopefully much, much) later.

Griping aside, Viki keeps going down deeper into the dungeon, and on level 4 finds a "good" cap which will immediately supplant her own +0 leather cap she's wearing. Who knows what the bonus on it is - and it actually won't show up in the AC calculation in Viki's status bar until it's been ID'd - but it's better than nothing, even if it's just +1. Picking up an identify scroll a short while later, Viki discovers that it's a +6 cap, which is a phenomenal bonus.


Heading down to floor 5 - deep, as far as we're concerned so far, even though it's just a drop in the bucket - Viki discovers a Wand of Stinking Cloud. This is a wand that fires an area of effect spell which covers a 2-square radius and deals a fixed amount of poison damage, something like 13 I think. For any any non-mage and non-priest character this would be a great item, but mages get this spell at level 3 and priests have Orb of Draining, which will do like three or four times that amount of damage regularly with no chance for resistance.

But it'll fetch some good cash, so she keeps it. One of the dirty secrets of Angband is that unless you know a piece of equipment is 'good', it's almost never worth hauling it back to the surface in favor of a magical item, unless it's equipment that's generated very deep in the dungeon usually (like the Metal Brigandine Armor that Viki picked up several updates back). You have to ID magic items to get their true value out of them, but wands and staves which will be useless in most scenarios make excellent salable items.


Viki eventually comes across a ring. It's time to break the rules of Angband in a specific way, and for a specific reason: She's going to use-ID this ring in order to see if it will cause her to teleport wildly around the world.


Putting it on, Viki feels like she's being touched by a thousand ghosts. Okay, maybe it's not that bad, because this is a pretty mild curse. In fact, it's so mild that Viki is able to cast Remove Curse and the ring slips right off her finger. She'll be holding onto it until it can get "for real" ID'd, but when putting it on she didn't feel any stupider, weaker, uglier, less wise, clumsier, or like she was in danger of contracting consumption. That means, with almost absolute certainty, this is a ring of teleportation - since that's the only other kind of cursed ring that shows up at this depth.

Non-priest characters, of course, can't do this. Hopefully this is the only time in the whole game that Remove Curse will be used, because it's useful for exactly one other thing: Getting a stupid player out of trouble. Well, maybe if we're lucky it'll be used to remove some mild curses from artifacts, but most of those have curses that can't be removed by this spell alone.


Viki also happens upon some stale-looking rations (http://ashmatadeen.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/calorie%20mate.jpg) in the middle of a dungeon floor. Of course, since this sort of thing is safe to eat, she immediately does so and feels all bloated and disgusting. Unlike in Nethack (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showpost.php?p=375935&postcount=172), overeating in Angband doesn't kill you. Unless you're stupid and do it in the middle of a room filled with monsters, because it does cause a massive speed penalty.

Having been taught never to binge and purge, Viki instead casts Satisfy Hunger. One of the curious effects of this prayer is that if you are overfull, it brings you back to "satiated" - the highest level of food which doesn't cause any ill effects.

At this point, Viki decides to take a vacation back to the surface.


I guess this wasn't strictly necessary, but Viki confirms that the cursed ring is, in fact, a ring of teleportation. Rooting through her pack she also finds that she was carrying a pair of +5 leather boots and puts those suckers on, and some magic items are sold, which brings her the ability to purchase some more scrolls of enchantment. Let's watch what happens!


Viki is now a death machine. If only her mace would actually hit more often; once again the store was out of to-hit enchantment scrolls. That's going to be it for enchanting it as far as damage goes - this is going to be Viki's weapon until she picks up an artifact she can wield, almost for certain.

Well, back into the dungeon! Viki picked up some recall scrolls, and reads one to jump herself back down to floor 5, where she immediately discovers a wand of Sleep Monster. This is something that gets stuck into her pack, because this is (a) not only more reliable than Sanctuary, it (b) costs nothing to use and (c) works at a distance. Naturally, she's going to forget that she's carrying it when she needs it most.


Viki gains another level and learns Resist Heat and Cold. This is actually an important spell for her - magical resistance to these elements will keep her spellbooks from burning, her scrolls and staves from going up in flames, and her potions from freezing and breaking their beakers.

There is another reason it's important. This reason is that Angband is a game of resistances, and there are two sources you can get it from - equipment, and magical means such as a spell or potion. Some monsters will hit you with elemental attacks so hard that unless in possession of both resistance sources, you will die no matter how much HP you have. This is because resistances don't stack - if one piece of armor gives you Resist Heat, it's useless to wear another that gives you the same. Essentially each 'resistance' cuts damage by 1/3rd - I forgot which monster it is, but I believe there's one later on that can breathe for 700+HP of unresisted damage.

As we learned back from Goofus' experience with the Potion of Death, the maximum character HP is 500. This is one of the few instances in which monster spoilers for Angband are necessary - if you had no idea such creatures existed, you'd just keep running down into the dungeon regardless of what resistances you were holding, when, and of what varieties.


Heading down deeper into the horrifying, inescapable pit, Viki discovers her first rod. Rods are sort of like the big brother of wands - they never run out of charges, but have a 'recharge' period during which they can't be used. Some of them, like a Rod of Sleep Monster, are among the most useful objects in the game. Some of them, like the one Viki just picked up (a Rod of Trap Detection) are completely useless.


Before long, Viki stumbles upon a trap tile that causes a little dart to shoot into her leg. Who knows exactly what it does, but she feels significantly weaker, and all that junk she's carrying starts to weigh her down even more heavily. She's just been hit by one of the more vile traps at this stage of the game, one which weakens a stat - the only way to regain them is to buy expensive (~400 gold) potions of stat restoration. But drinking one restores all lost points in that one particular stat - the problem is stumbling through several of these in succession. It can get pricey.

Naturally, the only appropriate response is to go back to town and buy one.

03-25-2009, 12:39 AM

Recalling herself back into the dungeon, Viki gets a good feeling about the floor she's on. This is one of the best level feelings possible, and could actually indicate and artifact is hanging around at this depth. Such a thing would almost certainly be useless, and there would have to be actual number-crunching to determine if it would be worthwhile for Viki to wield a bladed artifact. Spoilers: There's no artifact.

But this is the first floor in quite some time that Viki's going to have to cover all of.


For a moment, she thinks that the whole feeling might have been caused by this one monster. Snagas (o) are (o)rc monsters which usually travel in large groups... but for whatever reason, this one is alone. They're easily dealt with, and are one of the monsters vulnerable to light.

This means that it's awesome fun to line up a whole bunch of them in a tunnel and zap that wand of light until they're all turned into mush. In fact, this is the only reason Viki is carrying one.


But no. It wasn't that monster that caused that good level feeling. Oh no, no. It was Viki's second ego item, a Spear of Acid. Unfortunately, this weapon is edged and Viki won't wield it properly, but this would be a damn great find for just about any other character at this point in the game - almost as good as an artifact.

For any monster that doesn't resist acid, this does triple - triple! - damage before bonuses are added. The problem is that her combat skill is so low that she'd never land a hit with this weapon right now. That's how all brandings work, actually - they act as a multiplier on the base damage dice, sort of like how a bow works with arrows.

Viki still has space in her pack and hasn't been slowed down yet, so she decides to dive deeper.


At this point, if you'd like, you can imagine 'hallelujah' playing in the background. This is Viki's lucky day! Maybe there will be an artifact here. Spoiler: There's not!


Actually, it could very well be this that caused the level feeling. Chests are special items - they're always trapped and so you have to search for, and disarm, traps on them before opening. But they usually contain out-of-depth items or ridiculous amounts of treasure, and in fact a chest is already out-of-depth at this point in the game if I'm not mistaken. I forget exactly what was in the chest, but Viki had no problem disarming and opening it.

It's not much later than this that Viki hits a teleport trap and flies across the dungeon. Those things really can be a pain when you've explored a whole floor, but at this point it doesn't really matter much which part she's exploring, does it? Anyway, Viki heads west and south, and...


Oh my. This looks like it might be kind of dangerous. It's time for:

Viki's epic battle vs: Mughash the Kobold Lord

Now, back when I first mentioned that some uniques came with an escort, this is what I meant. That huge crowd of kobolds is going to be much more dangerous to Viki than any single unique monster could be at this point in the game. And what we're about to see is a textbook example of how to not handle this situation. But through some miracle, Viki doesn't die, so don't worry!

Actually, this is a very good situation for a unique monster to appear in. His entourage is blocked in by the yellow mold, meaning that they're just going to sit there - and even better, he has kobold archers (k) protecting him. Thinking back to the ancient past, I believe I mentioned that ranged monsters, once they have you in their sights, absolutely do not care about anything between you and them. That's why something is already screaming in pain in this screenshot.

Viki's strategy is simple. She's going to sit in this hallway and wait until the mold is dead (from having arrows shot into it) so that some of the archers can pick off the other monsters back there. Then, once the mold is gone, she's going to blast Orb of Draining straight into the middle of those monsters - and kobolds are "evil" creatures (despite Gon) so they'll take double damage from it.


But first, Viki's going to take a short detour and set up a little stash of heavy items which she doesn't need to be carrying around for the battle. There's no point in being slowed when fighting a large group of monsters like this, and none of them are going to steal this stuff, are they? Unless the level becomes overwhelmed with explosive growth monsters, she's not going to have a problem getting back here, either - and nothing important has been left behind, so if there's an emergency and she has to get her ass to Mars, nothing gets lost.


Viki goes back to her position at the end of the hallway and waits until this happens. It turns out that she could have been spamming Orb of Draining all over those monsters this whole time - I'd forgotten that you can target particular floor squares instead of particular monsters - but that would have been bad anyway.

Monsters only drop items when they're not surrounded by other things, and the less available squares they have around them, the less likely they are to drop something. This is why you always want to take out unique monsters in the middle of large rooms, where they're not surrounded by anything - to get the maximum amount of possible droppage.

So if Viki were blasting away at all these kobolds, if the unique got caught in the middle and destroyed with a bunch of gunk around him, it wouldn't have been worth it. She'd get decent experience, but the real lure of unique monsters is always their item drops.


And here's the aftermath of a couple Orb of Draining spells. Somewhere in the middle of it, Viki gained a level, but she doesn't have any time to learn spells right now - it's a matter of life and death!


It's time for Viki to start making her first few mistakes. For starters, she's still packing some SP when she puts on the teleportation ring, and should have buffed up as soon as the kobolds started heading straight for her. The reason she didn't fire off that last draining spell was in fact because she needed reserves for that exact kind of thing.

Teleportation rings make great emergency devices, but that's what they are - emergency devices, and this isn't an emergency yet. But they also have to be put on before the emergency happens, and you just hope they trigger at the right time. It's much smarter to use phase spells or scrolls.

03-25-2009, 12:40 AM

But it turns out that Viki's ring triggers fairly quickly in this situation, 'this situation' being 'her running away from kobolds'. This is going to define her experience for this entire battle, actually. It consists of the following steps, repeated over and over:


(1) Full frontal assault without bothering to buff.


(2) Panic, which results in putting on the teleportation ring.


(3) Getting the hell out of there and resting until it's time to go kick some ass again.

Please imagine those three steps being repeated for about 1000 more lazy image pastiches and you've got the idea of what the fight to smush down the unique's posse was like.


In one of the rare instances where she waprs around of her own free will, Viki runs into the Big Bad (comparatively) himself and immediately gets the heck out of there. The cycle of violence repeats for a while.


Viki, however, has a chance to take a breather at this point. She's killed almost all of the kobolds surrounding Mughsh, and is now just in search of a place to stage the final battle. Having encountered a lot of dark rooms lately - and the number of evil monsters is growing larger - she decides to crack open the first prayerbook and roll the dice on getting a semi-useful support spell.

Of course, she gets Slow Poison instead. Thanks God!


The kobolds are still in hot pursuit though, so it's not too long before Viki has to run back out into the hallway and then begin phasing about like mad. She finally ends up in this room - a nice, big staging area for a final battle, except that it's loaded down with a bunch of vermin. Easily taken care of with some handy magic, and before you know it, the room is cleared up and ready to have a bunch of kobold splattered all over it.


After waiting for a time, the vile foe finally bursts into the room where Viki is, with the very last of his minions in tow. Thinking that this is going to be a difficult, hard-fought battle, Viki drinks the last of her speed potions in order to gain a slight competitive advantage over her opponent.


A mere two shots of Orb of Draining later, this appears to have been quite a waste.


Yep. A mighty foe, felled by three casts of Orb of Draining. How anticlimactic.

Next time! Thrills! Adventure! Treasure! Excitement! Exclamation points!

03-25-2009, 01:18 AM
I think he meant that resistances from one of the two sources don't stack, i.e., a fire-resistant hat and a fire-resistant robe are both equipment, so you only get one level of resistance from them.

03-25-2009, 05:33 AM
Does Angband have any gainable intrinsic resistances like NetHack does, by any chance, or do you have to rely on solely equipment and magic for it instead?

03-25-2009, 07:43 AM
Does Angband have any gainable intrinsic resistances like NetHack does, by any chance, or do you have to rely on solely equipment and magic for it instead?

It's all equipment/magic, unless you play a race that starts with an intrinsic resistance.

This is actually one of the reasons why people really don't like the game past a certain point. It becomes a bunch of min/maxing not just about how heavy your weapon should be and the like, you also have to juggle equipment to make sure that you have every possible resistance. To make this a little easier the game is divided up into fairly discrete sections about where you need to start having exactly what - but knowing that takes spoilers or a handful of very unfortunate encounters with hound-type monsters.

Plus: To answer Nich's question, multiple resistances from equipment don't stack, but a resistance from equipment and a resistance from magical means do. This isn't to say that magical resistances stack, because I can't remember if the game counts resistance from magic proper (spells) the same as resistance from potions. So I'm going to be playing the rest of the game under the assumption that they're functionally the same.

03-25-2009, 09:49 AM
And this is why I've played through the first (basic) set of resistance levels (think fire/cold/maybe elec??) and never past. It gets kinda boring if you can't find the resistances that are absolutely required to not get one shotted past certain levels.

Plus if one of those monsters is generated out of depth, while you're farming for those resistances...death again.

It's a discouraging mechanic. I appreciate having the town to go back to, but the infinitely regenerating dungeon floors enables this annoying 'must have XYZ resists' mechanic.

I wonder if any version of Angband has had shopkeepers selling items you'd need for the next stage (at an inflated price, or you can only buy one item before he closes shop; or maybe the first item is normal price and its an exponential price for each additional item in his shop?)?

;tldr I hate the resistance/depth mechanic of Angband.

03-28-2009, 04:07 PM
I agree that resistance/depth is kind of ridiculous; there needs to be some way for the game to track this and make it more manageable. That would actually be change in the 3.1.x line that I could get behind, making the rare equipment that does appear in town more useful for the depth you're currently playing at (or just about to head into).

Anyway! Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! Last time, we had a severely anticlimactic battle to the death between Viki (dead, but reanimated) and Mughash the Kobold (currently being eaten by worms). Along the way we learned valuable lessons about overestimating unique monsters when carrying around the murderously deadly Orb of Draining. In fact, this spell is so murderously deadly, that the base damage it deals when Viki's level 15 is twice as much as it was doing when she first learned it. For those playing along at home, this means that Draining now causes between roughly 50 and 85 points of damage to an evil creature per hit. There's a word for this: Ridiculous.


However, leaving behind all the treasure to go and start making the world's biggest pile of possibly-useful trash, Viki accidentally runs into a rot (j)elly. Before she has time to act, the weird-looking gelatinous goo touches her and her skin starts to bubble and melt. Not that this is any different from how a reanimated corpse would look anyway, so it has very little affect on her appearance at all. This little incident definitely isn't going to change how people perceive her already semi-hideous visage.

Undaunted, Viki runs through the hallways where she slew all those kobolds in the last update, picking up all of the garbage they left behind. She has a plan.


This is, ridiculously enough, the plan. So much stuff having been dropped by all of the monsters, Viki decides that the best way to sort through it is to make a massive pile, pick things up to either ID or Pseudo-ID them to get an impression of what they're like, and then bring all the best stuff back to the surface.


The first step is to cast Orb of Draining on the pile. This blows away the cursed items in the group, of which there's apparently only one. That doesn't help matters much, so Viki is going to rotate through some of the rest of the weapons and armor hanging around on the floor - as much as possible - while she explores the rest of the level. To help with this, she uses her awesome shovel to dig a passage through the western wall of the room to connect it to another tunnel in the dungeon. This will save her some time, since she'll be exploring some of the eastern half of the map now. It looks like there's still an unexplored patch of dungeon out there.

The rest of her trip around the dungeon, however, is very uneventful, and she doesn't get any particular impression of the items she's dragging around. At this point I haven't yet realized how powerful the priest's Pseudo-ID powers are, and instead Viki tries the following:


She grabs up all of the equipment sitting on the floor that she knows is at least decent, and then decides to spend 1000 turns contemplating the nature of the universe to hope that she gets an impression of what's hanging around in her bag. This is actually a common strategy for classes with good PID when you run out of identification means - if you do it in a safe place, you can even take off your lamp, because the game automatically "wakes up" your character when a monster comes near.

Needless to say, Viki doesn't learn anything besides the meaning of life itself - not so useful for somebody that is, technically, already dead - and I briefly wonder if they've fixed this particular exploit lately. The answer turns out to be "who knows?" because all of this unidentified non-good (which is what Mughash dropped) equipment turns out to be nothing special. But Viki decides to take a brief stroll to see if that will help with the understanding of the contents of her bag.


She's discovered a door to the east, and upon reaching the end of the hallway, discovers that a whole bunch of rats have taken over the place. Needless to say she tries to contain the problem, but her load is so heavy that she's moving almost half as fast as she usually does, which causes a bit of a problem. Instead she kills what she can, getting a level in the process, and decides that it might be a good idea to just get out because she's explored the whole level and can't determine what, exactly, caused the good feeling.

In retrospect, it was almost definitely one of the magical items on the floor. Maybe even a staff of Perception, which she could have used to identify all that junk. Oh well.


Ultimately, this is what Viki decides to bring back with her to the surface. It should net her a few thousand dollars, enough to effectively max out the bonuses on the weapon she's carrying.

Unfortunately, as soon as she's back in town, a rogue who just happens to be right next to her wakes up and decides that it would be a brilliant ideal to steal her spellbook that contains Orb of Draining. A brief chase (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ-bS6vw7F8) ensues, and Viki gets her book back. Monsters apparently can steal items as well, which means she'll have to be extra careful in the dungeon in a little while, when more vicious rogues with even fewer morals start showing up.

That unpleasant business finished, Viki buys a boatload of ID scrolls and gets to work.


This turns out to be the best stuff in her pack. The arrows she'll keep, but the rest of it is totally salable - and by the end of it all she's absolutely flush with cash, holding over 6000 in whatever the gold-related currency of Adventureville is.

Actually, the only reason I can think of anyone to build a town on top of a dungeon like Angband is that they were part of the Ron Paul Revolution and thought that his concepts behind reinstating the gold standard were the best thing ever, come to think of it. It must be some kind of terrible gated community.

Anyway, the alchemist's shop actually has some scrolls to enchant to-hit finally, so Viki picks up 10 of them. +10 bonuses are usually recognized as the practical maximum when enchanting weapons on your own - anything past that and the enchantment is almost guaranteed to fail, putting you out 170 Ron Paul Dollars.


Here's what she ends up with. As you can tell, some of those 10 enchantment scrolls fail - I believe to-hit enchantments are less likely to succeed on heavier weapons, and to-damage enchantments are less likely to succeed on lighter weapons. The ring of Feather Falling is something Viki picked up at some point and just sort of put on; it's not a bad thing to have, and it'll keep her from getting hurt if she stumbles upon one of the meaner traps in the dungeon, the dreaded trap door. The only other thing of note is the Ring of Protection, which is a very good item for Viki right now, but is recognized as universally useless later. You can't enchant them, and they take up a valuable ring slot that could be filled with something like a ring of See Invisible, or even better, a ring of Speed.

Oh yeah! Viki has a spell she can learn, doesn't she?


This one takes some debate. Viki can finally start learning prayers in her last easily-available book, but it's just Prayer, an upgraded version of Chant. Right now she doesn't need that, and could use some more support prayers - instead of taking another shot at getting Light Area, which she will eventually need, she goes for Sense Invisible instead and is rewarded for her wisdom by a sensible result, for once. This will allow her to avoid getting that ring of See Invisible for a while, which is great, because she's coming up on the depth of the dungeon where ghost monsters start appearing with more frequency.

Equipment finalized and magic ready, Viki heads back into the dungeon!


It's a fairly boring floor, but Viki immediately encounters one of the most loathed items in the game - a ring of Aggravate Monster. Aggravate Monster is dangerous because it causes all monsters within a certain radius of you to wake up and begin chasing your exact position, meaning you can never get the drop on anything and it's also much, much, much harder to run away from dangerous situations. These start showing up around floor 5, and any character dumb enough to put one on by accident at that point is going to be screwed until they can remove the curse and take the ring off - cursed equipment can't be removed, which is why Viki had to uncurse her teleportation ring. Curses don't affect an object's actual functionality, besides cursed weapons and armor having massive negative 'bonuses' on them.

And it's not just rings that will aggravate a monster, either. Some weapons - such as the otherwise-beloved Calris - do so as well.

03-28-2009, 04:13 PM
Her trip around the floor is otherwise very uneventful for a while. She runs into some Wood (S)piders, the big brothers of those nasties who killed Gon, and which are functionally equivalent aside from the ability to cause terrible amounts of poison. There are some orcs as well, who are going to become a constant staple of Viki's murder diet for quite some time.

She also steps in an acid trap (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXkX96asiUM), which damages her cap. Acid traps aren't as dangerous as ones which drain stats, but they're obnoxious because they take bonuses off of armor and weapons in addition to the ability to destroy any item (although, thankfully, they tend to damage equipment).

She also finds a rather excellent bow, a Short Bow (x2) (+1, +4) and starts shooting with that. She almost never has to use arrows anymore, but this is one of those things that's good to have in a jam.

Actually, the rest of her trip around the floor is uneventful. Let's take a look at what happens when she hits floor 8, shall we?


Fuck yeah! Maybe this time Viki can pick up an artifact! SPOILER: She doesn't!


Actually, this is a very boring floor so far. When is something interesting going to happen to Viki today? She just gets this level up, which leads to her not learning a prayer yet. Right now she has to pick them very carefully, because it's getting longer and longer between times when she'll be able to learn new ones.


She also finds this Wand of Wonder. Wonder magic is kind of awesome, but also kind of terrible - casting a spell of Wonder doesn't have any set effect, it chooses from any of the available spells which can be placed on a wand which has an effect on a monster, and then casts that. This means the effect can vary from casting a powerful elemental bolt to speeding up a monster, and it's for this reason that wonder wands are almost never used; they're just too dangerous, since as you might guess, the bad effects are much more common than the good ones. They do, however, sell for a fairly reasonable price.


Traveling around the dungeon, Viki encounters practically nothing else of interest until this fellow comes along. It's some squat, awful man who likes to flip people off and insult their mothers (seriously!) and is also rather fond of stealing Viki's money. Well, or attempting to steal it; he tries this time, and fails.

Viki has just encountered the first unique monster who has access to an array of dangerous magical spells - in addition to a resistance to all of the elements! - Wormtongue. Those of you who enjoy fantasy novels about elves or watched the Lord of the Rings movies because you think that Dead Alive is the best movie ever and dream about high-fiving Peter Jackson will probably remember him as that dude who was spying on the Dunedain for Sauron. Something like that, anyway.

For mages, Wormtongue is an especially dangerous opponent - since he resists elemental damage, all of their attack spells except for Magic Missile are useless, and he'll have to be attacked at range. But he has magic as well, which means that mages are going to get their shit tore straight up.

Viki, however, is going to have no such problem. Wormtongue is obviously evil, and she has Orb of Draining. So she continues to explore the level, just waiting to run into him again so that she can blast his ass into a pile of bones.


Said ass-blasting is going to take place in this lovely staging area. Viki's already scored a hit or two on him which is why he's taken damage, but the fun is really about to begin. Viki drinks down a potion of speed in order to make sure she can stay on top of him - Wormtongue is still a dangerous foe and she'll have to be able to move around if he does manage to get too close - and immediately begins the standard procedure of slamming him with Orb of Draining.


Four turns and one hit with a poison spell later, my opinion of the priest class has done a complete 180 from the beginning of this thread. Since I tend to play mages and rogues, Wormtongue is always a difficult if not impossible fight, and Viki absolutely just blew him away.


Just for giggles, Viki writes down some information about him in her little notebook. Clearly he can't have been what caused this level feeling, as awesome as taking him out was - but he definitely gave her a lot of experience. Maybe it was being hit by that poison ball.


He also drops this. Extra Attacks weapons are just what they say they are - they give an extra attack whenever they're swung. This means that if she were to wield it, Viki would get two attacks per turn; and if a character who naturally got two attacks per turn wielded it, well... I have no idea if it would turn into 3 attacks or 4. We'll probably never know.

The Return of Mechanics Time: This would be an excellent time to discuss why Viki shouldn't ever wield this weapon, by doing some min-maxing and finally discussing what the penalties priests take on using edged weapons are. Right now, she's holding a (2d6) weapon with a +9 bonus to damage, meaning that she's going to do between 11-21 damage per hit. With this extra attacks weapon, however, she'd be doing 4 damage at worst (one hit lands with minimal damage) or 20 at best (both hits land with maximum damage). So it wouldn't be worth using this anyway right now, except for the fact that a cutlass is about half as heavy as her current weapon.

The real disadvantage comes in when she puts it on. A priest using an edged weapon is an immediate (-2, -2) penalty to all combat - meaning that it's also going to affect her bow skill, and drop that maximum damage down to 16 and the minimum down to a mere 2. And that's if she can land a hit; a cutlass with +3 to-hit (which is what this weapon would be after the penalty) is no slouch, but significantly less good than +5. This is to say nothing of the fact that she would be at a -1 to-hit "advantage" with the bow she's wielding right now and she's already bad enough at hitting things with it. Forget it.

There's just one place left on the level to check for that good feeling: The northeasternmost corner of the dungeon.


Oh yes.

This is one of the books which only appear in the dungeon, which are "theme" books - usually they all contain spells of a particular variety. This book is devoted to prayers involving teleportation, which makes it not the most useful thing on the planet, but still something special and worth carrying around. Even better, these books aren't able to be destroyed by any means, so once Viki is holding on to this one, it's not going anywhere.


Here are the spells in it. They're of varying degrees of usefulness, but since Portal is now teleporting Viki a solid 42 squares away from her starting point now, neither Blink (10 square radius) or Teleport Self (random point in the dungeon) are going to be particularly useful. However, we should look forward to nabbing Teleport Other, Word of Recall, and Alter Reality - Teleport Other sends a monster away to some remote corner of the dungeon and is one of the few ways to safely get away from the later unique monsters. Alter Reality completely regenerates the current dungeon floor, meaning that if Viki is ever surrounded by a gaggle of beasts that she could never possibly escape from with normal means, she can escape from them by simply changing the whole dungeon.

Her prize collected, Viki heads back up to the town.

Next time: More unique monsters than you can shake a stick at! Can Viki defeat each of them in four turns or less? Stay tuned to find out!

03-28-2009, 04:37 PM
Somehow, the idea of Viki having the power to alter the entire floor around her at her whim with the spells she's going to get feels... right. Terrifying, but right.

By the way, have I mentioned that I'm really enjoying this LP so far? Because I am.

03-28-2009, 06:43 PM
I've been kind of quiet, but I've been following along and enjoying this LP a lot. Makes me want to try Priest a bit in Nethack after I ascend or (more likely) get sick of playing Valkyrie.

03-28-2009, 10:32 PM
Yeah, I haven't had much to contribute to the thread, but this is both fascinating and highly amusing (particularly the montages). Keep it up!

04-02-2009, 09:00 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! This entry is brought to you by the black russian I'm drinking and the strawberry-vanilla vodka that's currently brewing in my cupboard. I'll share some with you in 3-6 months, since all of you are such lovely readers.

First up, Viki drops off Ethereal Openings at home - again, it's not going to be useful for a while - along with Exorcism and Dispelling, oft-referred to now as "the 4th book". Prayer books are going to start getting named from this point whenever they're mentioned, now that one of the bonus ones has been picked up.

Anyway, Viki unloads her stack of useless equipment, and the Extra Attacks weapon nets her a cool 8400 Ron Paul Dollars. That's a lot of bank, pushing her over the 10k mark for the first time and giving her good reason to visit the Black Market again.


There's something that's relatively cheap here that catches her eye - a chance to enchant her armor much times. In retrospect, it would be almost as expensive to just buy five Enchant Armor scrolls and go with that, but right how she's got so much money that it doesn't even matter.

The end result is that her leather gloves go from [1,+1] to [1,+5] and that's not a bad haul in the least. These are going to stay on her until she gets an ego item to cover her hands with.

It's time to head back to level 8 of the dungeon. Viki's making some good progress in this area now, and wanders around through the area with little event for quite a long time. She's been saving up the spell she got from her last level for a while now, and decides to take another gamble with it on a prayer from one of her earlier books.


This time things work out much better for her. Dark rooms in the dungeon are seriously obnoxious, causing Viki lots of trouble with finding the treasure in them and spotting monsters before she gets too close. This is probably her second-most useful support spell, after Detect Doors.


Heading around to explore the southern portion of the dungeon, Viki runs into some snagas. She lines them up in a hallway and unleashes a Wand of Light, which causes all of them to freak out and start melting, to the point where one of them totally vanishes. That last message there is among one of my favorite in the game, just because it sounds so awesome for some reason.


In the middle of the group of wussy monsters who are afraid of light, their leader appears! He's bigger and uglier, and for whatever reason isn't hurt by the little beams of light Viki is shooting from her wand which make those awesome "bew bew" sounds when fired off. This is Lagduf the Snaga, and he's going to be easy to destroy. God bless you and Orb of Draining's ridiculous overpowered nature, Viki!


Viki battles her way through some orcs and phases around a couple of times, and then meets Lagduf head-on in the middle of this staging area. Can she defeat him?


In three turns, he's turned into ash. Thanks, Orb of Draining! You're making all of these fights with unique monsters and large groups - the only really exciting parts of Angband - incredibly easy and boring to talk about. No wonder the readership of this LP dropped in half as soon as Smeagol was defeated. That's right, I'm watching you, number of people who are reading this thread.


Then Viki steps into another trap (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnVKqlyjz7s), which results in monsters appearing around her. In this case she got extremely lucky - she's killed all the unique monsters that show up with large groups around this depth, and actually got monsters that usually show up much earlier in the dungeon. But these are dangerous traps, since if they do summon a unique monster with an entourage, you're usually screwed.


Viki gains a nice little level up, but is going to conserve these prayers she has a chance to learn until she's made a decision about where they should go. She'll be making a decision around level 20, which is just around the corner - I'm pretty sure that she gets some kind of bonus then, because I know that other classes get some kind of bonus at levels 20 and 40, but I can't remember what other than that Rangers get one extra shot with a bow at each.


Touched by something invisible and yucky, Viki decides that it's time to use Detect Invisible for the first time, and spots a spooky ghost! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ty9gzS-iBM) Ghosts aren't dangerous foes, but are extremely obnoxious without a way to see them, and being dead, they can't be spotted with infravision. This one goes down easily and drops a nice pile of treasure, which is the other thing about ghosts - even when you can't see them, you can always tell when you've defeated one because a pile of treasure appears.


An excellent haul in hand, it's time for Viki to head back to town. She's taken some stat loss in the dungeon this time - strength only, her constitution loss was fixed by finding a potion of Restore Constitution in the dungeon - and needs to get it back. Unfortunately no such thing is happening, and so she just decides to offload all of the junk that she's carrying around on her back.

Her unloading in the town complete, it's back into the dungeon for another snoozer of a level. Your intrepid guide also decides this is an excellent place to break to go and have sushi, the best of which was the bluefin tuna. Although the mackerel was also very nice this evening. Sorry you couldn't join me.

04-02-2009, 09:01 PM
But what a snoozer of a level it is; Viki finds a scroll of Recharging early on, which adds charges to a wand or staff, but isn't particularly useful under most circumstances. Buying a stack of recharges that'll work well enough to keep a single wand or staff full up is just as expensive (if not more than) buying a new item altogether. She applies it to her wands of light, because those have been extremely useful lately, and gets a measly three charges out of it.


Coming down the pike to the northern part of the dungeon, Viki encounters Bullroarer the Hobbit, the first unique to have an interesting trait: He's not evil, and won't be taken down by Orb of Draining so easily! Or... will he? The only way to find out is to try and get into a good position to deal with him, which will be difficult since he's a fast character, and so Viki phases out to get away from him. She ends up in the room to the southeast, and when running through the hallway, encounters him and phases again.


She ends up in the room visible to the northeast here, and coming down the hallway runs into the hobbit fellow again. This time she just says screw it and blasts him with Orb of Draining, which is significantly more effective than one might imagine. It does enough damage to get him running away and crying.


He goes down with one more hit, and the reason is discovered quickly - he normally spawns in a much earlier part of the dungeon! Depending on how you look at it, this fight took many turns (including movement) four turns (actions actually taken when Bullroarer was in range) or two turns (how fast he died). Let's split the difference and say four because that keeps Viki's winning streak against unique monsters pretty good.

Having defeated her unique monster for the day and having picked up a number of other treasures from exploring the remainder of the floor, Viki heads back to town again. This time she's lucky enough to get a potion of Restore Strength and takes care of that little problem, meaning that she can now pack five more pounds on before slowing down from an equipment burden.

And back down to floor 8, which is once again a dull little place to hang out. Viki runs into her first Bandit, the upgraded version of our friend the novice rogue, which does the exact same things as his younger brother but gets an extra attack and has more HP.


After taking out a bevy of hill orcs, Viki gives us this obligatory level-up moment. Those three prayers will be put to good use soon, I promise - once Viki's got enough money to pick up some useful equipment and she doesn't have to go searching for treasure as often, we can actually shuffle the books she's carrying around a little bit if necessary in order to hold on to all the good stuff she needs.

The rest of this floor finished up, Viki descends to level 9. She's almost a tenth of the way through Angband now, although that's definitely not a tenth of the length of the game. When she hits the low-30s, if she lives that long, Viki is going to spend a lot of time - and I mean a LOT of time - hanging around there to buff up. These floors are where the stat gain potions and mushrooms show up, and Viki's going to need her wisdom maxed out and her other non-charisma stats hanging out in the 18/50+ range.


Meet the first regular enemy who's able to fuck Viki's shit up to the point where it's almost certain that she'll die. The little (d) is our friend the Dragon type, which are among the most dangerous enemies in the game due to their breath attacks - essentially magic attacks which hit a 2-tile radius and cause various effects. This particular (bronze) dragon breathes confusion. That's right - not some wussy typical element, this monster has a ranged attack that confuses you, and will keep doing it as long as you are at range. For priests (and mages) confusion is especially bad since you cannot read when confused, which means no spells or prayers.


Viki, however, is fortunate enough to have a high saving throw and be facing a (relatively) weak opponent. She moves from her original position down this hallway, trying to get around the corner to rest and clear her head - because once she's out of the monster's line of sight, he can't breathe on her anymore. Unfortunately, due to the fact that she keeps running into walls, the monster catches up and with one of her wild, dazed swings she manages to take it down with little fuss.

Viki also encounters some other hatchlings on this floor; a green dragon (poison), a white dragon (ice), a gold dragon (?) and blue dragon (lightning). These monsters are the game's first hints that you're coming up on a point where it's worthwhile to be able to resist at least the four basic elements and maybe posion as well, if you're lucky enough to get it. Confusion resistance, unfortunately, won't show up until much later and is fairly rare. But it's an absolute necessity to survive against full-grown or ancient bronze dragons.

Viki makes a quick trip back to town and then returns to the 9th floor, where she's immediately bitten by a red frog and becomes weak. She's having kind of a bad day with regards to monsters weakening her like that.


Viki also runs into this charming fellow, Brodda the Easterling. I have absolutely no idea who he is or what he's doing in the dungeons of Angband, so let's say that he's a crazy old man who would really enjoy a nice can of beans. What crazy old man wouldn't? Has there ever been a character in a work of fiction who really enjoyed beans and wasn't an old coot?

I thought not.


He's also much tougher than Viki's other foes lately - she gets off a couple rounds of Orb of Draining and then has to teleport away, her opponent comparatively barely scratched. Only half of his health was taken off by four casts of the spell, which makes him significantly more different and, more importantly, breaks her lucky streak of being able to take these monsters down with no problem.


Another three or four rounds of Orb of Draining though, and he goes down for the count. Viki makes some notes in her book, and wonders why a man that picks on women and children wouldn't be considered evil, but some poor transvestite hobbit who wants hugs is. The answer is obviously that the latter one thinks that attending midnight showings of Rocky Horror is an excellent idea, while Viki herself has regularly been beating defenseless women and children down in the town level for weeks now and is still considered good.


By now Viki has also killed enough Snagas that she feels compelled to update her notebook with all kinds of information about them, especially how many HPs they seem to have on average. The answer is "not much", and they should all be able to be taken down with a single cast of Orb now.

04-02-2009, 09:02 PM

Meet one of the foes that Viki's going to have some trouble with when they start showing up regularly. Master (y)eeks - yeeks being, apparently, little humanoid creatures - are the first ordinary monster to have a full set of magical attacks that are likely to do damage, and not only that, will occasionally come with a little mini-minion set of their own if my memory isn't failing me. Mostly it's the magic that's going to be a problem, though.

Her trip through the dungeon finished, Viki decides that it's time for another trip back to town to unload her stuff. She also hit level 20 at some point, but appeared to gain neither special powers from it nor did I get a screenshot.


When she comes into the weapon shop, though, Viki spots this.

Extra Shots, as you might image, are the version of Extra Attacks for bows. In a single turn, Viki can fire two arrows instead of just one and - much more importantly - this bow has bonuses beyond the usual +10 on it. Ego items and artifacts, in fact, are the only objects which will usually have bonuses this high, and to be honest, it's that +13 to-hit that's most interesting and will actually make up quite a bit for Viki's shitty bow skill. This will allow her to conserve mana in scenarios where she can take out a monster with a bow instead, such as when some terrified little creature is running away from her.

Viki checks the Black Market to make sure that there's nothing excellent there that she'd rather pick up, and comes back to snatch this thing up before some dunderheaded warrior or rogue or something does. She is now an unstoppable bow-using machine.


A full day of slaughter since her last rest, Viki heads home to take a nap. She's also finally topped a million turns, and is perhaps one-twentieth of her way through a winning game for a conservative player like myself.

Next time! The first of many theme entries to keep things interesting for me - and for you! - it's the return of the montage. A whole update of nothing but montages. Actually there will be three updates, because I got a little too ambitious, but I'll space them closer together than my usual posting schedule. This means a glimpse into the dull, everyday life of Viki, and another two encounters with unique monsters. Will they also die in four turns or less? SPOILER: Yes.

This update might take me a little longer than usual to put together as a result. You're welcome.

04-02-2009, 10:39 PM
I must say, Viki's having some pretty good luck with shop items.

Also, I can't wait for the montages. :)

04-02-2009, 11:13 PM
ohhh that bow is sexy.

04-03-2009, 08:24 AM
The rest of this floor finished up, Viki descends to level 9. She's almost a tenth of the way through Angband now, although that's definitely not a tenth of the length of the game. When she hits the low-30s, if she lives that long, Viki is going to spend a lot of time - and I mean a LOT of time - hanging around there to buff up. These floors are where the stat gain potions and mushrooms show up, and Viki's going to need her wisdom maxed out and her other non-charisma stats hanging out in the 18/50+ range.


She's also finally topped a million turns, and is perhaps one-twentieth of her way through a winning game for a conservative player like myself.

Oh gods, the humanity. Seriously, I love the game mechanics of Angband but 20 million turns playing a game?

Looking forward to more montages.

04-03-2009, 08:29 AM
Holy geez, Angband is LONG. D: But that's only playing conservatively, right? How long would it take if you were to play recklessly and dive as far as you could each time and miraculously survive?

(Not that you should, mind you, especially since Viki's doing so well so far, but I'm just curious.)

04-03-2009, 09:06 AM
Holy geez, Angband is LONG. D: But that's only playing conservatively, right? How long would it take if you were to play recklessly and dive as far as you could each time and miraculously survive?

That's an excellent question, and I can't answer it since I've never finished a game (20M is a very rough estimate based on how far I've gotten in 1M turns). Some players don't explore most floors, dash through floors 40-80, or would even be in the mid-teens of the dungeon at Viki's point in life - engaging in slightly more dangerous behavior means games go much, much faster. We'll have a better idea of how far off I was once Viki finally dies (or, even beter, wins).

04-03-2009, 07:13 PM
Problem is, to make this an interesting LP getting far into the dungeon, you have to play conservative. Angband is far far less forgiving than Nethack when it comes to diving deep into the dungeon quickly.

Again, I highly recommend getting the Angband borg screensaver. It's the ultimate conservative player, with infinite patience and little risk taking, and it still doesn't always win.

04-07-2009, 09:08 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! This update's theme is "montages". Queue up your favorite montage-appropriate music or, if you'd rather, the concept album of your choice. I'm personally going to suggest the B-side of Caress of Steel because it is just so obviously about a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Did you know that Neil Peart thought that it was a good idea to wear leather chaps and leggings for one of the photos that ended up on the inside of that album cover? I'm actually pretty terrified of the prospect of a dude with an enormous mustache who dresses like he's going to the reinfaire and thinks that Ayn Rand is "the shit," no matter how good a drummer he is.

Actually I'm going to suggest that you put on the B-side of Caress of Steel whenever you're reading this. I think I'm going to start putting it on when I write it. Asides aside, let's get ready to montage!


04-07-2009, 09:09 PM

Next time: More montage! Three whole days of MONTAGE in all. That's right, you asked for it and you are going to get it. Montage!

(The real reason is because these are so huge, and I don't want you to get overwhelmed, dear readers.)

04-07-2009, 10:11 PM

04-07-2009, 11:53 PM


Soiled Pants!

This update was all that, and more!

04-08-2009, 09:54 AM
Even Rocky had a montage.

By the way, this playthrough has inspired me to start a new game of (vanilla) angband.

04-08-2009, 01:12 PM
(vanilla) angband.

A wonderful but rather large image of how Angband variants interrelate (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_RBHwwI35ca4/SV3hpS4D4KI/AAAAAAAABOU/EYoXDeM1sMc/s1600-h/graph.png).

04-09-2009, 07:11 AM
These montages are a really awesome and entertaining way of conveying dungeon runs where nothing really out of the ordinary goes down. Mad props and all that rot.

04-09-2009, 08:34 AM
I am excited for montage times.

04-09-2009, 04:42 PM
Welcome back! It's montage week here on Let's Play Angband. So get ready to enjoy more montages!


04-09-2009, 04:43 PM

Next time: The thrilling finale!

04-09-2009, 05:55 PM
He can hit to attack, hit to attack, hit to attack, and hit to attack.
This is the sort of diverse moveset that I really go for.

04-10-2009, 10:39 AM
Wait, do you seriously find wands with 0 charges in this game? That's just mean. Is there a way to recharge them?

04-10-2009, 08:23 PM
Wait, do you seriously find wands with 0 charges in this game? That's just mean. Is there a way to recharge them?

That's actually an artifact of looking up information in the item index. It also says that the item you're looking at isn't identified.


Tonight, on Let's Play Angband: The thrilling montage conclusion. How will it all end? SPOILERS: Agent Cooper gets possessed by Bob. Sorry, that was an actual spoiler. Also Bruce Willis is also a ghost, and Rosebud is a sled.


Next time: ??? But I can already tell you I'm not planning on doing any more of these (at least not huge updates of them), hot damn that took FOREVER. The next update might also be a little late, because I'm switching to a new windows machine so that I can actually play Left 4 Dead after everyone else is finally sick of it. Don't worry, Viki's save file will be backed up to be extra-safe.

I do, however, like those multi-screen pastiches and I think I might actually post an entry somewhere down the line that's just a map of a whole dungeon. That would be most interesting when I get a vault (serious, horrible monsters and unique rooms) or a destroyed level (think Earthquake, but for the entire floor instead of just a 15-tile radius).

04-10-2009, 10:37 PM
I love yeek vaults and orc vaults, with like a half dozen shades in the (and no multiplying monsters in there).

04-14-2009, 07:23 AM
Just popping in once again to say that these montage updates have been great. Though I understand they're a bit labor intensive for doing all the time.

04-16-2009, 08:17 PM
Let's Play Angband! is officially on hiatus until May. This hiatus is brought to you by Colorado Whiskey, Far Cry 2, Valkyria Chronicles DLC, and rejection letters from PhD programs. Depending on how fast I finish Far Cry 2 it may also be brought to you by Dawn of War 2.

Seriously though, I've got a lot of shit to take care of in the next two weeks (and "real" video games I want to play) and then things will settle down enough for me to keep updating.


04-17-2009, 02:17 AM


I'm just joking around. Here's hoping this thread continues soon!

04-30-2009, 10:32 PM

Welcome back to Let's Play Angabnd. This update is brought to you by the end of hiatus and me not really being sure if Far Cry 2 is a good game or not. I guess that makes it not good? Also Devil Summoner kind of sucks so I don't feel bad skipping out on it during my "game time" for a few days.

Anyway, Viki had all kinds of fantastical adventures to give me at least a handful of updates of material, so let's get started.

Last time Viki had just destroyed her latest pushover foe, Orfax, Son of Boldor. I'm pretty sure that he was a yeek, but was turned into some kind of reddish-brown paste. This time, Viki has some garden-variety adventures to bring us back up to speed and bring me back into practice for the awesome stuff that's going to happen later. That's right: SPOILERS: Something awesome happens later.


With Viki back in town, she's free to peruse through the stores. As always there's a stop in the Black Market, which reveals one of the real reasons to visit this place: They occasionally have stat-gain potions on sale, at absurd prices. If Viki hadn't picked up that new bow a while back she could get a DEX boost right now, but honestly that doesn't matter very much for the time being. Viki needs to boost WIS and STR only for the time being, so that she can cary heavier equipment and blow monsters away with more Orb of Draining.

She also takes the opportunity to boost her armor back up, enchanting her robe and cloak to get a total of +4 more to her AC. At this point in the game her AC is going to start becoming much, much more important, along with resistances.


Back into the dungeon! Viki is immediately faced with a horrible connundrum - how does she deal with this stuck door? With the awesome shovel she's carrying, the obvious answer is to just dig around it. In fact, you can even dig through doors, but I believe it takes longer. Not that it would be any match for her mighty shovel!


Finally, Viki runs into a dangerous opponent who could seriously ruin her day. Giant Salamanders (R) are a garden-variety enemy except that they can breathe fire. In fact, this is the point in the dungeon where most enemies start gaining abilities beyond "hit" - we've already encountered a few of them, but once floor 15 gets hit, all bets are off. Everything is dangerous and can kill you at that point, which is worth noting because Viki's just been sailing along since around floor 5.


Finally! This is around where staves of perception start showing up, which are essentially just a nice Identify scroll stack. Unfortunately, they weigh a LOT - meaning that unless they have a large number of charges on them, it's worthless to carry them around. Unfortunately, stacking staves distributes the charges evenly among them - meaning that the more staves you've piled, if there's even one with a low number of charges, things can get kind of screwed up.


Meet another one of the special rooms! Sometimes there's a door leading into the center chamber, which contains some kind of neat treasure, which is why Viki is seen here casting Find Doors. In the future, though, she doesn't find a single one of these rooms with a center chamber - which I guess means that this clever and kind of fun dungeon feature was removed in these versions of Angband. But I sure hope not, because finding one is always kind of a little treat.


Viki also continues to have terrible luck with dart traps.

There's a brief trip back up to the town at this point to unload some treasure and dump her Perception staves off at home, and then Viki teleports back down into the dungeon to find herself on another boring level.


However, she does get an obligatory level-up and doesn't really gain anything useful from it. Right now she's at a point where the ability to learn more spells is pretty useless, because she doesn't have any of the extra prayer books on hand. Ethereal Openings is sitting back at home until Viki hits level 30 and it's actually worth carrying it around.


Viki also finds a mushroom of Cure Confusion. These are one of the more valuable items in the game to pick up, because, well, it cures confusion. Confusion resistance is ridiculously hard to get and incredibly important, because even the lowliest monster which can confuse you is a problem - because it means that bigger monster right next to it has free rein to totally blow you away.

04-30-2009, 10:33 PM
Down another level, Viki discovers that it's "not bad". That's definitely a ringing endorsement, and so some exploration commences.

You might notice that so far, there hasn't been any combat featured involving Viki. This is because she quite simply crushes everything in her path - absolutely nothing at this level is a match for Orb of Draining combined with her massively enchanted flail. These days she's not even falling back on blessing herself that often, because it's simply not necessary and the bonuses are becoming more and more negligible.


Viki also finds her first useful rod. She'll be holding onto this for a while - it acts like a rod of light, which means that it's situationally useful against large groups of light-sensitive monsters. Like, say, getting a whole group of orcs lined up in a passage. She won't be able to just spam it to kill them all because of its (very short) recharge period, but it will soften them up enough for her to plow through them with regular attacks and the occasional cast of Draining.


Oh, thank god. These things are impossible to find in town these days and Viki could use that extra point of speed back.


Finally, some action. Viki runs across a pseudo-dragon, which isn't as dangerous as a real dragon, but is still pretty bad - it can breathe to confuse. But since it's asleep, Viki destroys it easily by casting Draining on it twice - all dragon-type creatures she's run across so far are evil.

Viki also comes across a mushroom of Cure Blindness, which isn't as important as Cure Confusion is, but will become useful very, very soon. She's going to start running into a lot of monsters which can breathe Light and Dark, both of which blind, and she needs to be able to see to use her books.


Throughout the dungeon there have also been these moving stacks of copper, silver, and gold that periodically like to attack Viki. These are all great monsters - they're easily defeated and predictably leave huge piles of cash behind. Creeping mythril coins are great in particular because it's easy to pull a 1000-gold haul off of fighting a single one. Right now no other monster has that kind of profit margin.

There are other mimics too, which are all dangerous. Angband keeps up the fine RPG tradition of mimic monsters being the monsters you absolutely do not want to fuck around with.

Viki takes a brief sojourn back to town to unload some of the junk she's carrying - that staff of Perception nets her almost 350 gold, even with no charges at all no it, making it a bargain to carry around instead of a weapon of almost any kind - and then immediately heads back down to the dungeon. In fact, this floor 11 is so boring that Viki makes a beeline straight for some downward stairs, only to end up on a floor just as dull.


Since this room is custom-made for it, now is as good a time as any to discuss a technique for dealing with monsters that Viki will probably not need to use for some time - but which comes in handy. This technique is called "pillardancing".

The basic principle is pretty simple - you need to be twice as fast as your opponent (or close to it) so that you get two moves to their every one. The idea is that you stand on a square adjacent to this block with wide open space around it, and move on the diagonal every other action you can take - you hit a monster, move to the adjacent side of the pillar, and so on. This works because you smack the monster and then (sneakily) move out of its line of sight before it can move, meaning that it has to waste a turn getting next to you instead of hitting or - worse - using a magic spell.

Once Viki finds some boots of speed or a ring of speed, this is going to be something she'll probably do a lot of, because she has a shovel that's practically tailor-made for setting up the geography necessary to pillardance.


Meet nether-type monsters. These ugly black worms have the ability to drain experience from you - which, if you're not careful, can actually drop you down a whole level. You can gain the experience you lost back in two ways; grinding through monsters like is traditional, or by going to drink a potion of Restore Life Levels. Right now it's more expedient to just crush a bunch of monsters, but later in the game nether can suck away huge chunks of your experience that you quite simply won't want to waste time getting back. Most players carry a potion or two of Restore Life Levels until they get nether resistance, which is another resistance that's hard to obtain.


Finally, Viki runs across a worthy foe. No, not the master yeek, but the horrible monsters that it summons, in this case the Water (v)ortex. This is an acid-type creature which shows up about 10 floors beneath this one usually, which means that it's going to be a bitch to defeat and will also dump a boatload of experience on Viki. You'll also notice that she ground back up to her previous experience level pretty fast after getting smacked around by the worms.


The vortex is actually strong enough that Viki has to teleport away for the first time in a long time, and wait out her recovery. This could have gone very badly if I'd been paying just a little less attention to Viki's mana.


Multi-hued dragons are real assholes. They're like every dragon rolled into one - meaning that they can breathe fire, ice, lightning, poison, confusion, poison, and probably some other things later on. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that even the little baby ones are capable of more than that, even though they're just as much of a pushover as the other dragons. You just have to be way more careful when fighting them.


Victory! Viki dumps a whole boatload of Draining on both the multi-hued dragon and the vortex, and it's finally an arrow that slays the beast. By now Viki's only got a reserve of about 10 arrows on her, to use in emergencies - most monsters show up in groups and it's simply easier to cast Draining. As you can see, this was one hell of a tough monster to show up on this level - this is why any monster that can summon is beyond dangerous. If a Master Yeek had summoned one of these, or another higher-level monster when Viki was just starting out exploring floor 10, she'd be dead now.

NEXT TIME: Viki's boring life gets exciting. Possibly more than once!

05-01-2009, 09:50 AM
You know, with all of the shit Viki has to deal with in her climb up the dungeon (like resistances and out-of-depth monsters), I'm surprised anyone at all has managed to ascend in this game. It's a little ridiculous.

05-01-2009, 03:11 PM
That's nothing. When playing Rogue, sometimes it would generate things for you that made it mathematically impossible to survive to ascension.

05-01-2009, 11:48 PM
That's nothing. When playing Rogue, sometimes it would generate things for you that made it mathematically impossible to survive to ascension.

Wait, seriously? How does that happen?

05-02-2009, 12:03 AM
Basically, by a gap in the monsters' strength levels. Or by not generating a useful tool you need. Basically, something that forces you to take too much damage fighting monsters just a bit too strong for you. Take too much damage and you will need to spend time recovering rather than forging ahead, and there's not enough food in the dungeon for you to stop and explore even in a plentiful game.

05-02-2009, 01:25 PM
Man, if this game had NetHack's pet system, I would so be all over getting a baby multi-hued dragon pet for Viki. She could name it Gon.

05-02-2009, 02:41 PM
(obligatory) Hooray!

05-05-2009, 09:04 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you buy Dogfish Head Fort. Do you like slightly bitter, overly fruity raspberry beers? Like the really sour kind of lambics? Perhaps you will enjoy this beer. I did not really enjoy it very much and also it fucked my shit up. Half a glass and I was ready to take a nap, I'm serious.

Last time on Let's Play Angband, we got back into the swing of things. There's nothing wrong with that, but it means that Viki's life is a bore and she should have better times ahead. She hasn't had good luck in a while, actually.


Things start off swimmingly with a "not bad" feeling. This means the floor will be worth trawling around, checking out what's going on, that sort of thing. Maybe Viki will find a nice item or two to sell back in town, start building up her cash reserves so that next time there's a stat-gain potion on the shelf in the black market, she can pick it up.


Things, however, quickly go sour. This happened in less than 100 turns on the floor, which is where the generic level feeling comes from, and more importantly, it happened within about 10 turns on the floor; Viki literally moved three tiles to the east, opened a door, and fell into the trap. This is not an auspicious start to the day, because now she needs to travel the whole floor to find shit all, I bet.

The group of Manes (u) that are in front of Viki are no problem. (u)s are minor demons, which of course mean they're evil, which of course mean that it's drainin' time. I'm now positive that there's a reason most winners in Angband are priests.


Viki destroys a group of wolves and other unsavory beasts for this level up. She can now learn a fantastic 4 prayers, but I'm fairly sure that she can't get another one out of the books she's holding onto right now yet. The things she's got left aren't worth learning until she's got plenty of learnin' to burn.


Meet the illusionist, the older brother of the novice mage. He's kind of an asshole, with the same fantastical magic powers that will cause no end of trouble for poor Viki, being that he's just kind of a buffed-up version of this lower-level monster. Don't worry, the game will get more creative with its weird beasts soon enough when it introduces some with truly interesting abilities.

Upon defeating him, he appears to drop a perfectly ordinary-looking mace. Fortunately, Viki is dragging around a stack of identify scrolls and is in her "id everything" phase of young adulthood.





Welcome to pain, population: monsters. Not only does Viki finally get an artifact, but because it's a blunt weapon, it's actually one she can wield. Let's take a closer look at what this magical item is capable of:


Well, that's not very helpful. What exactly does "it might have hidden powers" mean? Well, it means that this object has properties beyond the power of a mere Identify spell - you need *Identify*, which tells you everything about an object. There are a couple things that we can guess at though, from its name and the fact that it's an artifact:

- [+2] is an AC bonus from wielding the item.
- Firestar means it's fire-branded, and should do 3x damage to any monster which does not resist fire.
- It's an artifact, and artifacts have the special property that they can be 'A'ctivated - they're a special kind of magical item, like a rod, that has an effect similar to a wand and has a recharge period. Since this is a fire weapon we can guess it either shoots fire bolts (a fire-branded missile weapon) or a fireball (area of effect with fixed damage).

Let's check the spoilers!

The Morning Star 'Firestar' (2d6) (+5,+7) [+2]
It is branded with fire. It provides resistance to fire. It activates for fire ball (72 [damage]) every 20 turns. It cannot be harmed by the elements.
Level 20, Rarity 15, 15.0 lbs, 35000 AU (Angband 3.0.6)

Hey, those were pretty good guesses. The resistance to fire is a huge bonus, and I'm not sure if it shows up on the resistance chart until the item is "properly" identified. Viki's wearing a ring of Resist Fire right now, so when she gets back to town that's going to get swapped off for something a little more useful (in her case, a ring of Resist Cold).

Needless to say she starts using it immediately.


Here's another example of why I hate Master Yeeks and why they're going to be the bane of Viki's existence until hounds start showing up, at which point they'll be replaced: They can blind and poison. If this happens while, say, they're also summoning some monsters, this can be a real problem - because summoning can - and will! - bring in unique monsters (complete with their followers) or just a group of monsters in general.

In fact I think there was a game where I was killed by a group of out-of-depth hounds that were summoned by a unique monster in this way.


Take a look at how awesome that artifact Viki picked up is. Against monsters which don't resist, this is essentially an additional cast of draining for her.

Okay, there was obviously an intervening turn in there while the rangers scattered out a bit, but you get the idea.


Finally, Viki comes back to town, loaded with treasure and an awesome new weapon. The first order of business, of course, is to sell the old junk and cruise around to pick up anything else that's going to turn her into a superstar of monster genocide.


What, that's all she's going to get for this? Do you even know how much money Viki dumped into that thing? Maybe if she weren't a priest or were a half-orc or a troll or something she'd just crush in the shopkeeper's crotch with that fancy new mace or something.

05-05-2009, 09:05 PM

Meanwhile, in the Black Market, there are a couple of cool items that Viki might have picked up if she were really rolling in dough. Especially the Staff of Probing; that's a useful item to have around when going up against large groups of monsters, as you might imagine. I initially thought the potion of Enlightenment would reveal the hidden properties of everything Viki's wearing, but that's actually a potion of Self Knowledge.


Viki also browses through the spellbook sitting at home. There's still not any good reason to take it with - it's a few extra pounds, takes up an inventory slot, and doesn't offer anything really useful yet. But she'll probably want to come back and take it soon, in exchange for dumping some wands she doesn't use or something. After all, Teleport Monster works on uniques and Sleep and Slow don't - not that Viki is having a problem with this.


Back in the dungeon, it looks like Viki's going to have a good time running around and finding things to pick up. Unless she falls through a trapdoor again.


Viki also collects some treasure that's worth more than most items she could sell. At this point in the game it's starting to become worthwhile to go treasure-hunting again on occasion; maybe Viki should drop some other useless things she carries around in favor of a Detect Treasure staff, and just not pick up so much crap to sell back at the shops. It's something to think about.


Coming down a hallway, Viki is touched by a spooky monster that makes her want to run all over everything and trip straight on her face. Obviously it's a ghost of some sort, and so she makes with the Detect Invisible, hopefully to beat up the monster that's all up in her face. Presumably, it could be behind her.


This is a Moaning Spirit (G), and is by far not one of the worst invisible monsters Viki's encountering. In fact, even before coming down to this depth, she should have a permanent source of See Invsible; that, and Free Action (which prevents some kinds of paralysis and slowing) are the two most important things to get before even any resistances. Obviously, dealing with monsters like this is going to be a pain in the ass.


It takes some work and a few casts of See Invsible, but Viki's able to finally defeat the monster after losing 4 points of dexterity. At least she's not at a level of it where she's going to start getting penalized yet.


Meet the druid (light-green p). He's the Illusionist with different clothes; in this case, clothes that let him cast fire bolts, slow, or paralyze, with the standard limited teleportation ability that all mages have. This means he's another monster that can destroy Viki's most precious items, and it finally happens here - ruining her most expensive spellbook, which fortunately, she never uses. Maybe it's time to start carrying some duplicates around.

In addition she loses a scroll of identify and an arrow, so being hit with fire is really dangerous - maybe paralysis increases the chance of having some of your stuff destroyed?


Here's a big downside of Viki's new weapon; against monsters like the manes (u), it's not going to do as much damage as her old weapon, because they resist fire. However, monsters like these can just be taken out with a few choice casts of Draining.

NEXT TIME: Viki puts on a tie-dye headband and thinks it would be an awesome idea to stick some flowers in some guns or go down to the Haight and crash at the pad of a rock and roll group. Because the groups all live together.

There is also another unique monster, but who even cares by now? Sometimes they're even easier than the regular monsters Viki runs into.

05-06-2009, 02:26 PM
So what do you need to progress to deeper levels now? It doesn't really seem like it's an issue of your character level at this point. Are you trying to farm money to buy expensive stuff from the black market, or are you trying to get together resistances for the coming resistance check dungeon levels?

Hmm, I guess those could be the same thing now that I think about it. Resistances are from a combination of spells, equipable items, and potions, right?

05-06-2009, 07:51 PM
So what do you need to progress to deeper levels now? It doesn't really seem like it's an issue of your character level at this point. Are you trying to farm money to buy expensive stuff from the black market, or are you trying to get together resistances for the coming resistance check dungeon levels?

It is sort of a combination. I've played several more times since the material that made this last update, and Viki is going to keep scumming around the 18-22 range until she's gathered up the four basic resistences (fire, frost, lightning, acid). Resistances are the sort of thing you get by hook or by crook, which means if it's in the Black Market, you take it if you can get it. If the game is extra kind, it'll give up a mid-weight ego armor of Resistance, which immediately provides the four basics and will allow Viki to make a dash straight for the 30-35 range.

For the record, right now she's running Acid, Fire, and Cold - three of four! - but that's going to change significantly in the coming updates, in part because Firestar is going to get put on a shelf but can be grabbed if necessary.

Hitting Level 30 is also going to be a major milestone, which is the other thing Viki is shooting for. But honestly that probably won't happen until she's able to run through small groups of hound monsters without difficulty, and we'll be meeting the hounds very soon so you can see why they're going to be such a massive problem for Viki.

05-08-2009, 09:19 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you by me having just immediately posted the last update and not having anything clever to put here yet. Actually this update is brought to you by the fact that I am currently on vicodin because of the bike accident I had earlier in the week.

Last time, Viki had delved down into the dungeon with her fancy new artifact to go and light some dudes on fire, except for the dudes who were already on fire or have all kinds of callouses which render them resistant to fire.


Snagas? At this level? That can only mean one of two things - either there's a unique orc monster nearby who's still slumming it with monsters from a tenth of the dungeon ago, or there's an orc pit.

Pits are special rooms which are just loaded with one particular type of monster, usually containing a unique and many out-of-depth creatures. They're awesome places to farm for experience and don't contain any special treasure, but usually contain monsters which do drop a lot of awesome loot - and they're (almost?) always contained within one of those special rooms where a corridor circles an inner chamber.


Yeah, this looks like a pit. The Uruk isn't a seriously out of depth monster - he comes from level 16 - but that's a good indicator that we're looking at a pit, in addition to the structure of the room that these orcs are flowing out of. If Viki had bothered to learn Detect Evil, she could cast it right now and you'd see a big block of the map filled with a rainbow of 'o's.

That rainbow (http://www.environmentdirectory.com.au/companies/images/rpc.jpg) of orcs eventually overwhelms Viki and she teleports away.


Viki encounters a bronze dragon around a corner. This leads to an interesting little exploit in Angband's line of sight algorithm - the dragon is around the corner and can see, but won't breathe at, Viki - however, Viki has no problem exploiting the situation. From this vantage point she might be able to target the dragon directly with a Draining spell, but since it's an area of effect spell, it works just as well to cast it on the tile immediately to the left of where the dragon is - it'll still get hit, and in this case, Viki gets the added bonus of either damaging it enough to kill it or get it to run in fear.

This strategy of taking advantage of corners will figure heavily in Viki's fights against hounds. You're going to be hearing a lot about hounds for something like the next 50000 updates, so get ready for it!

Meanwhile, she heads back to where all the orcs are having their bar-b-q (http://images.blockbuster.com/is/amg/dvd/cov150/drt000/t077/t07757que9l.jpg) and slices through a few of them to get some items floating around.


This is my favorite item in the game. We'll be coming back to it later.


Yeah, it's a pit! Orc pits are the most boring because as far as I know, most orcs are low-level monsters and easy to kill. Troll pits and - god help us - dragon pits are the worst. I think there are dragon pits anyway, I can't remember; maybe dragons only show up in vaults. For those of you who have played Shiren, a vault is like one of those floors that's nothing but super-powerful monsters and a bunch of treasure - except in Angband, a vault is a single (possibly very large) room absolutely crammed with dangerous monsters and usually at least one artifact. Usually two or three.

Viki mops up the last of the orcs with draining and careful application of her flaming mace. Finally, peace and quiet in the dungeon, which means it's time for some recreational drug usage.


Eating the mushroom, Viki is assaulted with strange images from beyond space and time. She tries to look at some of them, but all she can do is wonder why her appendix is crawling out of her nose. Then her mace starts talking to her about life insurance; something is going terribly wrong. Why couldn't she have just stayed home today? Her mom is a giant frog. That is kind of awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Viki can hear the colors of the dungeon, which is kind of a bringdown, because it's all brown and gray. Maybe if there were some monsters she could talk to them and their backwards faces.

Viki sits there in the dungeon, contemplating why her hands are growing a beard, and then everything stops all of a sudden. Viki has learned a valuable lesson: Kids, don't do drugs.


Viki's awesome trip over, she decides that the best thing to do to get rid of those horrifying images is to go and smack monsters until all their bones break and blood flies all over her face. At least that's an ordinary day, unlike having your ear fall off in your hand and start talking to you.


Oh, and look! There's not only a pit on this level, there's a unique monster as well. This is Viki's lucky day - she's going to totally plow through these monsters. Watch. Well, don't watch, exactly - just keep scrolling down. It will help with the suspense if you scroll down slower. In fact, I'll even put a post break here to make it easier on you.

Spoiler: Viki wins.

05-08-2009, 09:21 PM

Sorry about spoiling that for you! I bet you thought she was totally going to die. I also apologize for having to grab the unique death screen again, after Viki had gained four fabulous levels! Consider it a preview of things to come.


Viki inches closer to the all-important level 30. If you remember, that's when Orb of Draining gains an extra tile of radius, which means it will be even better for hot crushing action. Viki's probably going to scum around in the <20 floor area until she hits it, because hounds will come out in full force just a little bit after that and I'm playing this one extremely cautiously.

Cruising around the floor until it's completely explored and no corner is unturned, Viki heads back to town.


And is immediately pickpocketed by a horrible brat. If her dexterity hadn't been drained, he never would've gotten away with that! Children should neither be seen nor heard, unless the sound is from them being turned into sort of a reddish goo. Maybe all of this violence is having an adverse effect on Viki?

Meanwhile the Black Market has a Scroll of Acquirement for a cool 336000, and this is a scroll which creates a "good" item - "good" being kind of an understatement, because it usually generates an ego item or an artifact, when read at a sufficient depth. Needless to say it would kind of be pointless to buy this right now, in part because Viki won't have that much money practically forever.

She also discovers that it's possible to enchant artifacts, bringing up the to-hit of Firestar to +7 - a nice little bonus for a heavy weapon like that. Later on she'll come back and bring it up to the (+10,+10) that most weapons need to be at.


Back into the dungeon, Viki gets another good level feeling. Could this be another artifact? Will she finally get something that I've been pining for since the early floors of the dungeon, a magical light source? God, I hope so.


Finding a scroll of trap creation, Viki decides that it would be a good idea to read it. Now, this might SOUND dumb; but because it creates traps in all 8 squares around a character, you know exactly where they are - and can disarm them, which gives decent (but not necessarily great) experience. However, Viki's lacking in the Detect Traps spell (oops!) and so just teleports out of the death circle she's hanging around in. She could stand there and search for a while, but that's for chumps!

Later on there are monsters which have 'create traps' as an ability, and they're really annoying. One of them is a unique monster who will absolutely trash Viki if she runs into him right now, but that will hopefully be a little ways away.

At some point, Viki fights a perfectly ordinary monster who drops a Tulwar, which is a shitty weapon. Viki though, knowing that she got her artifact by IDing a dropped weapon, decides to have a go at it.



Now, I'm not going to complain about this. Too much. Holy Avengers are probably the single best ego item for a priest to pick up - first, they're blessed by god, so a priest can actually use them. Second, they're branded with all kinds of "slay" attributes, which deal damage multipliers to specific monsters (and which, I believe, stack). And third, and most importantly.. that (+4) there? That's a wisdom bonus. Here's what happens when Viki puts on the weapon:


Those are more prayers than she has access to right now. You'll also notice the huge jump in mana; 14 points is enough for another two casts of draining.

And there are even more bonuses. MORE, MORE, MORE.


Now you can see why there's a problem with Viki getting this weapon when she has her Firestar. This weapon is amazingly fucking good in every single way except for one: It deals shit damage, and will always deal shit damage. The 'slay evil' brand is only a 2x multiplier, although the others are 3x; and 2x damage with the tulwar is, honestly, not going to be that great. On the other hand, an extra 14 points of mana, +4 wisdom, see invisible, and a sustain (which keeps a stat from being drained) - maybe it's strength. Maybe Viki will never be afraid of darts again. Maybe the fact that she can cast draining twice more makes up for the lack of ability to shoot a huge fireball and crush everything under her heels.

Actually it turns out that at this level, Draining only does (36+3d6) damage still, which is less than the fireball on a good day (in fact, on any day). But against evil monsters, it's better, and Viki does encounter a lot of evil monsters. Plus when the hounds show up, she's going to need to take them out from a distance, and some of them will resist fire, so that extra cast or two will be a lifesaver.

There's actually going to be some debate about this, so Viki keeps using Firestar for now. But that could very easily change.


Viki heads back to town to get some rest. It's been a long day and she has a lot to think about.

NEXT TIME: Dangerous yeeks! Boring levels that I'm going to skip most of!

POLL(?) TIME: It's getting to that point where I'd like to know what you, the viewer, want to see. And I don't mean in the game - I mean in the format of "super special updates" like the massive MONTAGE. So far I have plans to (eventually) do a video LP segment which will be the most goddamn boring thing anyone has ever watched but promise to make as entertaining as possible, and may write an entry entirely in haiku. I want to keep this interesting for all of us, as there becomes progressively less to say aside from "Today Viki picked up a +5 Sandwich of Eating."

I want more horrible, gimmicky ideas. You are going to give them to me, and I'll pick the best ones to show up here later on; there's still a lot of material in my backlog - another two or three updates' worth - to go through.

05-08-2009, 09:49 PM
Horrible, gimicky ideas, eh? You could do an update from the perspective of the dungeon overlord as he sends minions to attack Viki. More montages and randomly out-of-context images are always welcome too. Basically, I've enjoyed all the updates so far, so just keep it up, comment on anything that looks interesting, and fast-forward through the stuff that isn't.

05-09-2009, 06:11 AM
Agreed. Been following this, would like to see more updates (even boring ones).

Also, I'd pawn off the holy avenger, unless I had more spellbooks. Amulets/stuff of Wisdom are common enough (speaking of which, what does she have on her? I've lost track)

05-09-2009, 02:59 PM
Videotape yourself acting out the next installment of Angband with interpretive dance.

Alternatively, make the next montage one of Viki's diary, written out and scanned on lined paper with little doodles to go along with them. Let's see how this dungeon crawling stuff is going by in Viki's point of view, eh?

Red Hedgehog
05-09-2009, 04:12 PM
Do whatever helps keep up your interest in this awesome LP.

05-11-2009, 09:02 PM
Thanks for the input guys! I originally thought about doing every writeup as a journal entry but that was too hard for my addled brain, although I bet I can do one or two in that vein. I'm mostly asking because this is a let's play and honestly this is the only kind of input I can get from you guys.

By the way, I am seriously considering the interpretive dance.

Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you buy Guinness, the beer that people think is good until they drink other beers. That's right, Guinness - I'm onto you. You only survive in the US because of underage drinking. In fact I'm pretty sure that's how most terrible foreign beers thrive in the US market. I'm looking at you, Sapporo. Fosters, you're on notice.

Anyway, where was I? Last time on Let's Play Angband, Viki discovered a fantastic new weapon that will allow her to learn more prayers at the cost of actually being able to kill things. Naturally, she would rather have a higher wisdom rating, being a priest - she can always swap back. Firestar is dropped off in her home and she goes straight for wielding the tulwar. Awesome?

This allows her to learn two previously useless spells from the first book; Detect Evil will show all non-invisible evil monsters, and Find Traps... finds traps. That's an excellent spell to have in a pinch, when those monsters that create traps show up.

Hey! It's time for some dungeon crawling!


That is, some dungeon crawling you're not going to see. Because it's so boring. Viki gets bored too, and heads down for level 14.


Well, I guess this is a little better. The two monsters there are a (p)riest and a tengu (u); the Priest is just an upgraded version of our old buddy the Novice Priest, and goes down easily. The tengu is a more interesting monster - it can teleport you away, and also teleport you to a square adjacent to it.


Viki also steps on a trap (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCPL3DJ72tM), which unleashes a gaggle of monsters! One of these days I'd love to see a trap (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgW1bxrzYLY) of Create Monster that summons a monster that creates traps (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5NSVsgl2S4). One of which is a trap (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj5K5czu0O8) of Create Monster.

However, it's not like any of these are going to be a big problem for her. The Dark Elf (h) and the White Harpy (H) are both susceptible to Draining as is the (G)host up there. Everything else is going to get taken out in the splash damage.

Awesome. But honestly, that's as awesome as the level gets, and Viki makes a trip back to town and then into the dungeon again.


How unexpected!


Shockingly, another unique monster appears, and this one isn't in a room of any kind. The purple (y) is Boldor, King of Yeeks! and he's a total pushover - like all the other uniques Viki has been running into. He's got a little entourage of yeekly creatures, which means there are Master Yeeks hiding in there somewhere, so Viki's just going to say to hell with the treasure and spam draining all over this little dungeon nook.


Although she'll have to keep up with his summoning of other yeeks. Things could definitely be worse. In fact, things don't get worse, even though Boldor summons more yeeks a couple of times.


And here's what you've all been waiting for: After a heavy dose of draining, Viki finally puts Boldor down for the count. Now it's just mopup of the monsters that he summoned that are clogging this little artery of tunnels.

It would have been kind of nice to drag him out into a larger room, but any monster that can summon is dangerous - especially if it can summon Master Yeeks, which will summon other monsters. Of course, a monster can't summon if it's surrounded, which makes fighting Boldor in a tight space a pretty good idea.

Perusing the loot, Viki finds some gauntlets [2,+5], which will be great for filling up the slot taken previously by her paltry [1,+whatever] gloves. Nothing special, but more armor is more armor, and 42 is probably a dangerously low AC for this point in the dungeon. Viki should be pushing at least 55 by now.

Little else of real note happens on this floor; Viki gets her life drained again right as she's about to hit level 25, and has to smash through a few more monsters than she'd like.

So it's back to the town to drop off her fabulous loot, and then into the dungeon again! Time for more thrilling (?) adventures!


Man, the RNG (Random Number God) is being very unkind today. Any more boring and somebody here is going to fall asleep, and it'll probably be me, because I'm still on vicodin.

Also I just noticed that at some point between the last screenshot and this one, Viki hit level 25. You go, girl!


Viki runs into a room filled with traps! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0UfnZmcBB8) An interesting feature of rooms structured like this one - a corridor encircling a room filled with pillars - is that they're almost always filled with traps and a dangerous monster or two. This is where Detect Traps comes in handy, because otherwise Viki would only find traps in here when it was too late and she'd already been hit by like 20 darts.

That, in fact, is the most interesting thing that happens on this floor. So interesting that the screenshots I threw away were quite literally all of empty rooms. Not kidding.


Back in town, there still aren't any Restore Dexterity potions at the alchemy shop, and so Viki makes a run on the Black Market only to find this. Mushrooms of Restoring are awesome - they do just what it says, in the description, and can be a little pricey at the market, in a couple of thousand. Viki's getting desperate, but not quite this desperate yet.

05-11-2009, 09:05 PM
It's back to the dungeon!


Okay guys, you can stop playing this joke on me. It's getting really... boring.

The only reason I'm showing you guys these, by the way, is so that you can get an impression of how many trips Viki is taking back and forth through the dungeon. Otherwise this update would also be a hell of a lot smaller and I'd burn up my whole backlog, and that just can't happen!

Well, this is dull enough that Viki makes a beeline for level 15, and...


Great. Now Viki's fallen through a trap (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NOXa1CXNsxg/SRWGa8XbxuI/AAAAAAAACa0/9LqeZgrQLnQ/s400/Bear+Trap.jpg), so that means that the entire thing needs to be explored - because if it isn't, of course there's going to have been an awesome artifact or something there. That's just how this game works.

Maybe I shouldn't have wished for it to stop being boring. It's like that Chinese curse, which I could swear I got once in a fortune cookie: YOU WILL HAVE AN INTERESTING LIFE. (Learn Chinese: "Totally screwed")


Now we're talking! The (X) there is an Umber Hulk - this is a monster that is fairly unremarkable, but you might notice that it's in kind of a weird location on the map. This is because it eats walls! That's so awesome. The Umber Hulk is one of those monsters with a really great unique ability, which makes it fun to fight them, even though they're easy. It's best when they get scared and start running away, because they always move on a diagonal away from the player, chewing through walls as they go.


Here we go. See, it's always worth exploring these floors! Viki will never use this - she's already toting a great bow and crossbows are ridiculously heavy - but it should fetch a pretty penny back in town.


A couple posts ago I mentioned mimic monsters, and here's the first "real" one. Scroll Mimics use magic to try and blow you away (ign.com) It's got access to a pretty good set of spells, and here we see it poisoning the hell out of Viki before being turned into mush by Draining.

Back to town! It turns out the crossbow only fetches a paltry 1456 gold - what's up with that? This sort of weapon would easily fetch in the 5k range in earlier versions of Angband, so they must have done some serious, serious shop adjusting for the one I'm playing now. That's so lame.

She does, however, finally net a potion of Restore Dexterity from the alchemist. Score!


Now here's a classy item to be selling - it can hurt, or even kill you if you use it the wrong way. But if you use it the right way, then it can deal a lot of damage - which makes it the first of many interesting items with this property. Another, I presume, is the Potion of Death that we're all acquainted with so well by now.

Also visible in this list is a Staff of Starlight, which is a neat little staff that shoots light in the cardinal directions around Viki, and does massive damage to any light-sensitive monster in its path. It's also situationally useful at best and costs way too much for what it is.


Finally! Some action. Maybe there will be something worth picking up on this floor, and by "worth picking up" I mean "providing valuable resources relative to its cost of carrying around." Unlike that dumb crossbow.


Finally! It's time for Viki's first encounter with Angband's most-loathed monster group, the hound. Hounds are, for some reason, represented by (Z), and I've already told you a lot about them - except for Clear Hounds. Clear Hounds are like any ordinary mob monster, except they're invisible and lack a breath attack. This makes Viki glad she's using the Holy Avenger instead of Firestar, and also allows her to plow through them with no difficulty. It's just like a pack of wolves.


I.. what's this?

What's happening?



NEXT TIME! Our cliffhanger (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ2HO_u8nf8) is resolved! Until then, please enjoy this youtube link, and if you enjoy it enough, start with Chapter 1 and work your way through all of the episodes with commentary because R. Kelly is truly a genius of our modern age.

As a special note the updates might come a little faster for the next few weeks as I try and burn up that backlog to get to some setup for some more "special" updates since I think it's almost time for us to hit one of those again. I don't feel any shame in saying that I made a major fuckup which will eventually be condensed into a single uberupdate (spoilers: Viki doesn't die. Or hasn't yet.).

05-11-2009, 09:44 PM
So what happens if you learn all the prayers you can with that wisdom buff then switch weapons again? Do you just have a bunch of extra prayers, do they disappear, do they count against future prayer gains, or something else?

05-11-2009, 10:59 PM
So what happens if you learn all the prayers you can with that wisdom buff then switch weapons again? Do you just have a bunch of extra prayers, do they disappear, do they count against future prayer gains, or something else?

This is an excellent question.

I forget the exact mechanic, but since it does lower your wisdom, Viki can suddenly no longer learn 14 spells, but rather 4, and her mana also drops 14 points immediately. This can be a problem because it happens whenever she whips out her shovel and gets to digging; if a monster sneaks up on her she's going to be at a slight disadvantage from usual because of the mana drop.

But if your wisdom gets drained to the point where you have spells you shouldn't have been able to learn at that stat level, you "forget" them, meaning they're inaccessible until you get the right level of wisdom back. I'm going to try and demonstrate this later if I can, but first Viki needs to pick up another book or two.

05-12-2009, 12:23 AM
Blargh, darkness hounds. :(

05-12-2009, 02:35 PM
Does being blinded by darkness prevent Viki from casting her magic? Something tells me this situation's going to turn ugly. :(

05-12-2009, 04:27 PM
Except that most things that are darkness are light sensitive and Viki has some mighty powerful light items/spells laying around. Viki will manage just fine.

05-12-2009, 09:58 PM
I'm going to try and make another update tonight (!) because I might miss the usual Friday update since it's my birthday this week and I plan to spend the entire week being as drunk as possible.

Does being blinded by darkness prevent Viki from casting her magic? Something tells me this situation's going to turn ugly. :(

Absolutely. Viki needs books, and you can't read if you're blind!

Except that most things that are darkness are light sensitive and Viki has some mighty powerful light items/spells laying around. Viki will manage just fine.

Not so true! The problem is that light magic does minimal damage unless you're shooting a wand of light, and it's more advantageous for Viki to just position herself correctly and use Draining. I'll go more into tactics against hounds in the next several updates, since they're going to be the main monster group until around floor 30.

05-13-2009, 04:14 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you by sunny weather, which allows me to go outside and not play Angband. And when I should be playing Angband I'm writing this up or I'm playing Godhand instead. This is what happens when you do an LP, ladies and gentlemen. This update is also brought to you by my birthday. I get to eat at the restaurant run by the guy who won Top Chef last season. Take that.

Last time on Let's Play Angband, Viki was left in a precarious situation that may have involved.. hounds? We can't be sure, because whatever it was, it breathed darkness and made her blind.


Viki's first objective is to get away from whatever it was that was hitting her. She runs down the nearby corridor and closes a door, because that'll stop whatever it is for at least a little while - long enough for her to regain her sight - if necessary.


Viki foolishly opens the door and gets a faceful of darkness for her trouble. But the message about the Clear hound means that there's at least one pack of hounds in there, and the game has a nasty, nasty habit of spawning multiple hound groups next to one another. There's a good chance that what Viki's up against is...


The Dark Hound. This is one of the three worst hounds for Viki at this point, because they can blind, and that means she can't use spells. Blinding from a hound usually only lasts 3-5 turns, but that's if Viki can get away long enough to recover. Being blind means you can get surrounded easily as well, and not know it. A lot of games end on floors 16-18 when these monsters come out in force.

Fighting the hounds is something that will be discussed in great(er) detail later, because Viki's going to be fighting a lot of them, and there are a few reliable strategies - although with the weird new pack monster AI - which I hate - pulling off some of them might be kind of tricky.

Viki cruises the dungeon and finds an item that may have caused the feeling; a ring of +1 Dexterity. Completely useless for her, and in fact the bonus isn't really enough for any character unless extraordinarily desperate.


Going down a floor, Viki is immediately confronted by both a good feeling and a group of Light Hounds, another of the three most dangerous hounds. They're the fraternal brothers of Dark Hounds, since they breathe Light, which can also blind. The best thing about Light and Dark? They're two separate resistances, and each has to be earned on their own. I can't think of an item that gives resistance to both offhand, but I bet there's an artifact that does it.

Because of her positioning, there's not much Viki can do; she gets off a shot of draining into the middle of the group and hopes for the best. There's a passage to the west that she uses for refuge in between being able to get shots off.


Meet trolls (T)! The common Forest Troll is the lowliest of trolls, and from now on Trolls will mostly be taking up the role formerly occupied by orcs; evil monster that spawns in mobs. Trolls, though, are significantly hardier and have fast regeneration properties, which means they can be kind of a bitch to take down unless handled quickly and in as brutal a fashion as possible. Fortunately Viki has both Draining and a Slay Evil branded weapon at her disposal.


Hey, this might have caused the feeling! It's another orc pit - this time I can show you the jam-packed rainbow (http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/voracious/readingrainbow.jpg) because Viki picked up Detect Evil. To be honest, this is one of the only reasons I got it; it's fun to show these kinds of things off, and with the wisdom bonus she's toting around, there's no disadvantage to it.


Needless to say Viki decimates the orcs without any trouble, although she does have to lead them out from the pit into an adjacent room to really lay down the hurt. In fact, she even digs a short diagonal tunnel connecting the room to the main route directly, just to facilitate faster death action.


With the pit half-gone, Viki's able to easily inject herself into the middle of it and just unleash casts of Draining until all of the orcs are turned into a sticky grey mass of bones and other gross orc stuff.

From the big pile of orc mess though, Viki picks up a few enchanted (but nothing special) weapons, and completely loaded down with gunk, decides that it would be a smart idea to head back into town to unload all of it. Her journey nets her just under 1000 ron paul dollars, including expenses for the return trip.


I wonder how anyone could like the look of a dungeon as uniformally-colored as Angband.


Viki also finds one of these on the dungeon floor. They're good for emergencies, and sell for a ridiculous price in the magic shop, which is mostly what she's going to be using them for. But that "20% chance to beam" means that instead of shooting a bolt, there's a 1/5 chance that it will "beam" instead, which is like a bolt that moves through monsters and does extra damage, with something like a range of half a screen's width. Beam weapons are extremely dangerous, but I don't think there's ever an object that's guaranteed to produce a beam.

This is a good point for Viki to go back to town and restock. The black market isn't hosting much in the way of good items right now, except for a whole stack of potions of Speed; Viki picks up all 14 of them and socks them away in her home. Potions of speed, even though they're so incredibly useful, only show up on floors 1-5 with regularity; this means that having a stash on hand is necessary. Viki will carry 3-5 of these on her person at all times, for emergencies. An extra turn means an extra chance to teleport, if it comes to that.

05-13-2009, 04:15 PM
Viki heads back into the dungeon!


Have I mentioned chests yet? If I haven't, they're items which you can open and contain usually two or three other items, or some treasure; but they always come with a trap on them. You need to search the chest and disarm the trap before opening it, otherwise some really nasty things can happen. And in this case, disarming the chest pushes Viki up to level 26! Getting closer to level 30, keep reaching for that rainbow!


Awesome. As you might expect, Beauty ego items enhance your charisma, so this one gives Viki +4. It's better than her current armor too, so she puts it on, and feels like a pretty pretty princess (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_cgM7I2wexio/SeN45JxcaeI/AAAAAAAAA4g/m_uNWRFhGGM/s320/princess+pix+004.jpg). This bonus is really only going to be useful in town, and it's not much, but it's better than nothing. A charisma of 16 pushes her right up to the point where she'll actually start getting bonuses from having a reasonable charasma score.


The Energy Hound is the electric variety of hound, and they breathe lightning. Lightning is the least dangerous to Viki; it will destroy rods and wands, but honestly, she's not using any of them. They're just a garden-variety monster that happens to have a breath attack, and so she can take them out however she pleases.

That brown Z, by the way, is actually a clear hound! Clear monsters change color based on the color of the tile under them, which is a cool little touch. Earlier versions didn't have this.


Potions of Berserk Strength are sort of the mirror image of Prayer-type enchantments. They increase your to-damage but lower your AC and to-hit; prayer increases your to-hit and your AC, but not damage. They're very useful on earlier floors in conjunction with Prayer, but at this floor they're nearly useless. Or at least not useful enough to take up an inventory slot.


Viki also picks up some new armor, upgrading from her old [2,+5] robe to something a little more.. robust. This is good for her, even with the to-hit penalty the armor has (the (-1)) and the extra weight. She can handle it for now.


Plus, the Black Market has a potion of constitution on sale - and it's almost within her reach. Viki sells off the rest of her junk and is able to barely afford it, with enough left over to get some Recall scrolls for a trip back to the dungeon. This is really excellent; Viki hasn't even hit plev 30 yet and is already gaining some stats. Usually it takes a bit longer, but there's also no reason for her to be buying expensive equipment now that she's nailed the bow from several updates ago.

Viki heads back into another dungeon that's "boring" and finds...


Hot damn. These are the lamest ego-item footwear there ever was, but that bonus is stellar and these are going on right now. As Viki puts on her fancy new boots, she feels like she's floating a little bit. Kind of like Raul Julia in Street Fighter, when he flies towards Jean-Claude and gets (his stunt double) roundhoused in the face. Which is shown from three different angles.

That movie is fucking awesome.


Hey, it's a been a while since Viki picked up a spell! But she just checked one of her books, and she's able to learn this one. It sounds pretty good; every evil monster in the line of sight? That's pretty awesome, especially since this deals just as much damage as a good cast of Draining (right now) but it's so situational that I doubt it's getting used for a while, especially since it costs a boatload. But it's another tool in the toolbox.


Back to town shortly later, Viki spies these lovelies. She's not even close to hitting that amount of cash though, so it'll be a little while before she can pick them up - but she does at some point (either by selling things now or pawning off some stuff a little later, I forget - one of the disadvantages of doing a writeup three weeks after you played) and they give a nice little combat bonus in addition to being decent armor.


Oh my! Could it be.. another artifact?

NEXT TIME: Is it another artifact?

05-13-2009, 10:26 PM
For the record, what's the third of the most dangerous hounds for Viki? I'm guessing its fire since it can burn up her books and such, but, as I said, I don't really know much about this game going in.

And when I should be playing Angband I'm writing this up or I'm playing Godhand instead. This is what happens when you do an LP, ladies and gentlemen.

Your style is impetuous.

05-15-2009, 10:26 PM
I'm guessing its fire since it can burn up her books and such, but, as I said, I don't really know much about this game going in.

Way to completely cockblock my reveal, dude. But it's good to know that I've been explaining things well enough that you guys can connect the dots! I'd recommend everyone play one or two of their own games by now if you haven't already.


Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This entry is brought to you by the recommendation to not pay much for a good meal. Let's just say that I was luckier than my friend who ordered the scallops. Next week we're taking him to another, better seafood restaurant in order to make up for my mistake. This other place also makes better martinis.

We also drew this (http://hellosailor.org/proto/lj/thisreich/thisreich-medium.jpg) on the table [Editor's note: Possibly NSFW]. That was the best part of the evening, and I hope our server enjoyed it!

Okay, so where were we? Oh yeah, Viki had just gotten an EXCELLENT! level feeling. That usually means there's an artifact around, and she's been having a good run lately, so why not? Maybe she'll get lucky again!


Well, this is a good start. Maybe. This is another monster pit, but this one is fully of delightfully (mostly) sedentary monsters; (j)ellies and (m)ounds. All Viki has to do is stand back and reap the benefits of spamming Orb of Draining. Needless to say, it's a very boring fight; Viki closes the door and rests to restore mana, spams draining all over the room, closes door, repeat. It takes a few thousand turns to finish all of these guys off, probably. I wasn't counting.


I've teased it for a while, but now I'm going to talk about how Viki is going to fight hounds, at least in some situations. Right now it looks like she's in a pretty bad place, and she kind of is, all out in the open and exposed. But Angband has an interesting property; walls don't always block splash damage from area of effect spells, and Viki can shoot around them in highly improbable ways. Viki could target any of the circled tiles (or monsters) for desirable effect.

Right now hounds are weak enough, and Draining is strong enough, to actually take out a good portion of a group or at least leave them weakened enough to make them easy to pick off. This will change later on but for now Viki's not in any real danger.

But she will always be taking advantage of these corners, because monsters won't take advantage of them in the same way Viki does, for whatever reason. In particular they can only target her directly, and not open squares.

Hounds defeated, Viki picks up a few more rods of LIGHTNING BOLTS and cruises around the dungeon until she sees this:


Looks like there's a unique monster afoot. She's not up for fighting one right now, even if it would be easy, because "excellent" feelings can very often indicate a seriously out of depth (5+ floors) unique creature.


This is one of the cutest little monsters you've ever seen. It's truly invisible, and is mostly a pain in the ass because it will block you from escaping down what looks like a perfectly ordinary tunnel. It gives decent experience for Viki's level, too.


Viki loops around to the northwest corner of the dungeon and meets up with the theorized unique monster, who probably won't be as bad as all that. The usual 3-5 shots of Draining ensue, and I'm sure that you can guess the result.


See? Not so bad. Now it's time to mop up all of the remnants of his forces of darkness, which are really not all that hot. Honestly, these unique monsters are really, really boring to fight as a priest. But that's better than them being brutal and deadly.


Having gone through mopup, Viki has a load of treasure to choose from, and identifies a super-choice item! This thing will fetch much bucks back in the town, especially with her new beauty queen cap.


Ufthak was also kind enough to drop this for Viki. She's going to hold onto this bad boy forever, or at least until there's a serious mana emergency. This is going to be a great tool for getting out of sticky situations; if Viki fires off one too many Draining spells, she can always drink this for a quick teleport, or can use it if there's nowhere to run to rest and she needs to carve a hole through a mob.

Alright, that's enough treasure! Back to town!

Viki sells off the sword of Slay Giant for a cool 3000 Gold Standard, and drops off the wands of LIGHTNING BOLT for nearly 2/3rds of that. This gives her a chance to pick up a potion of restore strength (her strength was sapped somewhere along the way, it looks like) and pick up those Gauntlets of Slaying mentioned in the last update. These are just armor that will augment Viki's attack, and she needs every little extra bit of it she can get.

Unfortunately, they're not weapons, so you can't enchant extra bonuses on top of them. (+2, +3) is weak, but Viki will take what she can get.

By the way, at this point, Viki has just broken two million turns! Go Viki!


For those keeping score, this is a good time to brush up on which resistances Viki is running right now. Acid and cold are actually the two least useful for her, which is kind of sad, but plenty of time to pick up the other ones. And Viki has a free source of fire resist sitting at home, just in case.

Back to the dungeon! And it's a boring dungeon floor, so there's not really a whole hell of a lot that happens.


Viki's terrible luck with darts continues, though.

05-15-2009, 10:28 PM

This is about the most beautiful situation Viki could ever wish for. She can scoot straight across into the west gap in this room and shoot Draining to her heart's content into the right chamber where all the Trolls are, and since they have to come out single-file, they're not going to be able to move fast enough to escape her vicious wrath.


Viki also finally finds one of those center chambers with a door on it, delighting me to no end. Alright, it's back to town for her!


Here's what Viki's inventory (but not equipment) looks like at this point. She's not carrying around an extra copy of the book with Draining in it (Chants and Blessings), so she goes to pick up another edition. Potions of Healing, by the way, restore around 300 HP and cure all cut damage, stunning, and poison. It's similar to the spell of the same name Viki can cast, but it won't cost 10+ mana to drink one.

She offloads a couple Rods of Light as well, she doesn't need to be carrying that many around. Also, with her weapon picked up, it's time to go ahead and learn some more spells - but not in the books she's holding right now. That's right! It's time for Viki to finally start toting around Ethereal Openings.


Blink, believe it or not, is actually a useful spell with that short range. Viki will use it for the "shoot and scoot" discussed back when Gon was fighting Smeagol, for those of us who can think back to March-ish.

So equipped, Viki heads back down into the dungeon with an intrinsic (-1) Slow penalty from all the junk she's carrying. Balancing her items around in town is going to become a fun little game for her from now on, to make sure that she unloads what she's not using and keeps emergency supplies.


Meet Earth Hounds. These are also not very dangerous; their attacks can't break anything, but they can give Viki lots of nasty cuts that will cause her to leak HP and will require a little bit of magic to heal. Otherwise they're very similar to the Electric Hounds - Viki will try and stay in a safe location from their breath attacks but otherwise just unload Draining into the middle of them. No strategy really required here!


Okay, now this is a bad situation for Viki. There are light hounds down that tunnel and there's nothing she can really do to fight them in cramped quarters like this; as soon as she could get a bead on one for Draining, it would just breathe all over her. Theoretically, yes, she could go in and get her melee combat on, but as you might imagine, being blinded will lower her (already bad) to-hit significantly.

So for now, she runs.

She also runs out of ID scrolls, and starts relying on pseudo-id again, grabbing items and toting them around for a few hundred turns before dropping them if no feeling crops up. Anything "good" gets carried back up; after all, this is a level with a good feeling, and no way is Viki going to pass up an artifact or ego item.

Carrying around enough junk to load her down even more, Viki warps back up to town. It looks like in the dungeon she picked up a wand of Fire Bolts, the fraternal twin of LIGHTNING BOLT, and some otherwise ordinary junk.

The Black Market is also carrying a Potion of Wisdom today. Too bad it's 20000 Federal Reserves out of Viki's range. So it's back to the (boring) dungeon, where Viki gets bitten by a monster and made into a real klutz and then almost gets the dreaded "-more- You have died." message. Quick thinking is all that saves her, along with a nearby room.


Here's another strategy Viki's going to be using to fight hounds a lot. She'll try and lure them through a tunnel into a (hopefully unconnected) room, and then wait until they start funneling in to fight her. Because the new pack monster AI, this doesn't work the other way around; Viki will actually have to use a different tactic if the monsters are hanging out in the closed room and she's in a hallway.

But as they drift in, Viki can shoot them with ranged attacks of any kind before they ever have a chance to get close to her and use breath attacks, because, again, of the really great line of sight hacks that the game uses. She can even target the opening to the room and just shoot Draining there, and hope for the best - this works more often than you'd think.


Viki also almost dies for the first time in a very long time after an encounter with another group of hounds. I'm going to have to start playing more carefully; if she'd gotten blinded just one more time, this run would be over.

In fact, this indicates that it's a good time to leave the dungeon. This time the Black Market is hosting potions of Intelligence and Constitution, neither of which Viki can afford, of course. This is getting a bit frustrating; if she missed a potion of Strength I'd have so many frowns. With little else to do other than balance her inventory out in minor ways, it's back down into boring, dank places for Viki.


Viki gets covered in fire and immediately teleports the fuck out of there. She's not ready to face off against the dreaded Fire Hound yet; those are monsters best dealt with one at a time, because if fire gets spammed all over her, she will lose her spellbooks, scrolls, staves, and everything else. Fire hounds are the most dangerous creature for Viki to fight right now, because their melee attacks are also branded with fire; engaging them at any range means she might lose her scrolls of Recall or any number of books. Having to waste a turn lighting a room gives them that much more chance.

Viki does, however, find an Amulet of Wisdom (+1) and swaps her amulet of Resist Acid for it. She's not going to need acid resistance until the early 20s, actually, and the extra points of mana that come with it are going to be useful for fighting hounds. For now.


Viki also picks these up, and heads back to town to sell all of this junk off. For the record, Boots of Stealth are the lamest ego item yet, netting Viki only a paltry 1000 dolla bill dolla bill.

What a great place to stop!

NEXT TIME: A unique monster that isn't evil? Say it ain't so! Also, Viki shoots LIGHTNING BOLTs.

05-15-2009, 11:55 PM

Whenever I see this I just close that door right the fuck back up again. ~jelly pits ain't worth my time~

05-18-2009, 11:18 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you by my life suddenly turning into Dilbert. I'm not happy about it either, but at least my hair still looks good and I don't have to add a '-bert' suffix to everything. I think that's the next stage of the disease. Unfortunately another part of the disease at this stage is that I make updates that are half again as long so enjoy! In return for enjoying, you may not get another installment this week.

Anyway, where were we? Last time on Let's Play Angband, Viki did some shit. Don't ask me to elaborate on it too much right now, I'm kind of drunk (PS: the "theme" of this update is that I am kind of drunk). I do remember that she'd just gone back to town to unload some junk, so let's start there.


Perhaps the most disheartening thing for a poor priest to see. Viki could really use more of all three of these, and doesn't even have a third of the money for one of them. Fat lot of good the Helmet of Prettifying (+4) is doing her. Viki also goes through a quick inventory shuffle, and finally drops the Ring of Teleportation she's been carrying around all this time - it's not going to do her any good at this point because it activates so slowly and with Viki's fantastic level of wisdom, there's only a 5% failure rate on Portal, not to mention the other teleportation spells she's holding onto now with Ethereal Openings.


Judging from Viki's taste in decor, I'm going to assume from now on that she's wearing tortiseshell glasses and her house has like 12 cats in it. There's no other explanation for this.


In a shocking reversal of fate, Viki spams an area of attack spell into a group of hounds she can't even see, and comes out the victor. She's going to be doing a lot of this for a while; attacking hounds when you know they're there but don't have them on a lit tile or in line-of-sight is something that will save Viki's bacon more than once.



For a rogue, this is one of the most treasured items in the early/mid-game, because it's a ranged elemental magic attack. For a warrior, not really, because they're going to fuck up something like 80% of the time when trying to use a rod.

This essentially gives Viki an extra missile attack for free, and has a relatively fast recharge time of 10-20 turns, meaning that she can use it pretty much at her leisure as long as she's not in a complete pickle (in which case Draining or teleporting out is a better option anyway). Right now she's only really using arrows to pick off errant monsters that're running away and not worth the 7 mana of Draining, so this is going to be taking care of a lot of that for her.


Here's a monster I've wanted to talk about for a while, but couldn't get a shot of until here for some reason. The (G)reen (G)lutton (G)host is a regular ghostly monster that's invisible and spooky, but has the additional power of being able to take anything edible from your inventory and snack on it. For Viki this isn't much of a problem (she's only carrying mushrooms of Cure Confusion and Cure Blindness, which while nice, aren't necessary) but in floors 5-10 when they're more common, players who need to carry rations and don't have See Invisible can get really screwed.


Viki mops up a few hounds and some other assorted nasties, and comes into the middle of this. Hummerhorns are an (I)nsect monster, which means that they have explosive growth and are generally a nuisance; these monsters are never worth any real amount of XP, and mostly serve to clog the dungeon and make life a chore for Viki. The time for farming them has long past and now any player is going to find them nothing more than an obstacle.

Viki, fortunately, has an area of attack spell. Any other player, including a mage (well, a mage without some of the special books), would be completely boned here and unable to explore the rest of the dungeon without a magical item to cast area of effect spells. I think I still like priests.

Unfortunately, there's nothing else interesting on this floor in the least. It must have been a dirty, filthy lie to say that it was nice-looking, so it's straight up and back to town for Viki, and then immediately back into the dungeon! Unfortunately I forgot to get a screencap of this one's level feeling, so let's assume that it's "Boring" because most of these dungeons are.


Meet Nar, the Dwarf! He's the first non-evil unique monster Viki's encountered in quite some time, and normally this would be a bit of a problem for her - but she's packing Draining, arrows, and her new rod of LIGHTNING BOLT along with Ethereal Openings, so this is a perfect time for her to engage in shoot and scoot. For extra style points, once he's weakened down and running away like a little girl, Viki gives a flourish of her rod of LIGHTNING BOLT and zaps him in the ass, which is enough to turn him into dust.

Which I didn't get any images of, but here's the predictable result:


That's an awful lot of backstory there. So much so that it gives Viki a problem to write it all down and her hand cramps, plus she has to go home and feed her cats. She comes back to a good-feeling dungeon, which is a massive improvement over the old one and its boring old dwarf, but what probably caused the feeling is a Ring of Constitution (+2) that Viki pockets only to sell later.


By the way, here's the equipment that Viki's toting around right now. She still needs armor, cloak, and shield ego-items, and only the first two are harder to come by. Then she'll have a complete set - collect them all! If she's really lucky there will be an Armor of Resistance around somewhere, which provides all the four basics at the low cost of whatever the armor's weight and encumbrance (the little (-1) to-hit penalty of Viki's current armor) it has.


For a moment it looks like Viki might repeat Gon's mistakes of the past - you know, the ones that got him killed - but judicious applications of Draining, Cure Poison, and even teleportation spells save her for another day. If only poor Gon had these skills, or was just a little bit smarter about mobs.

Kids, don't fight mobs unless you have to.

05-18-2009, 11:19 PM
Explosive growth monster clog up the entire eastern half of the level after Viki lets a few of them go unchecked, and not even Draining can clear out whole hallways packed with the things; that's a losing battle. So instead Viki goes back to down and runs an ID on the stuff in her bag:


Capital! The enchantment bonus on this shield is a little weak, but it resists fire so we'll take it. Viki can chalk up another resistance in her little book, which brings her to a total of two; fire and cold. She's got a little bit more work to finish up, doesn't she?

Anyway there's another awesome item in the Black Market but Viki passes it up, so I'm not going to talk about it.

Just kidding! It's a rod of Drain Life, which does 150 unresisted damage to non-undead, non-demon, non-golem, non-vortex, and non-elemental enemies. Hounds don't count as elementals, so this would be useful for picking off exactly one of them before going into what I imagine would be an unbelievably long recharge time. No thanks, not for 12000 Sovereigns.

So, back to the dungeon. This one feels "lucky", not unlike that guy who Dirty Harry shot. Or did he shoot him? I can't remember, because whenever I think about Dirty Harry I just remember the car chase from The Dead Pool. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ-bS6vw7F8) Seriously, take seven minutes and watch the thing all the way through.

I'll wait.

So, wasn't that awesome? I really love the soundtrack to it. Okay, let's get back to Viki. She fights some monsters and stuff, and finds this excellent item to sell:


Gonna fetch her some sweet cash down the line! Just over 3000 Gil. That would probably be enough to buy some RC cars and an even more miniature RC car and reenact the chase from The Dead Pool. She also grabs a wand of Cold Balls, which is like Acid Balls but kinder to the ladies. And also significantly weaker; it does only 96 damage per hit, with a radius of 2 instead of 3. This is another emergency item, just in case.


Time for another unique monster! This one's going to be a lot more dangerous, because he's surrounded by hounds, just by chance. So Viki teleports away to try and get into a better position and


Well, that didn't really help very much, did it.


Much better! Time for some Draining, because once again, this monster is evil. No more of that pansy shit where Viki can't deal double damage on a unique.


And just in time for Viki to almost run out of mana, he goes down for the count. That was kind of a close one, but at least none of the hounds interfered; that could have been a really bad scene and Viki would've had to flee again before getting off that final shot, probably having to fight Ulfast all over again.

Meanwhile, I feel bad for this guy. Nar gets all that backstory, but he's merely swarthy? I guess that means he's from New Jersey. That's what that word means, right?


Viki levels up! Radical! Only two more levels to go, which is something like 45000 experience points. Maybe not that radical, but it is closer than she was a few minutes ago.

This, by the way, is where Viki runs back up to town to sell that axe and other assorted loot, and then back down into the boring ol' dungeon. She's going to have to start heading down again soon, because at level 28 she should really be hitting the early 20s in the dungeon and not scumming around floor 17. I'm being unusually cautious in this game.


Awesome! Viki finds a Potion of Strength hanging out in the Black Market, and snaps it up. She could use some extra carrying capacity, and this will add 5lbs to it, I believe. That's the weight of a staff, or a stack of 10 scrolls of Identify. Anyway, this bumps Viki's strength to a very respectable 14.


You know, I really could end this right here. It's a cliffhanger. Because you don't know what's gonna happen next, and if you pay attention, you might notice that there's rhymin' throughout.

I hope you all watched Trapped in the Closet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nN8Nlretuo), because I'm going to keep making jokes about it until this LP is over. In fact, I hope that you watched it enough that I'm linking to the first episode this time instead of the third one. It's already been three months, by the way, and the game is just finally picking up steam. Well, more like two months, if you subtract the hiautus and take into account there's some time left in May. But let's not split hairs.


Maybe Viki should have casting Detect Traps (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvRR5MTBBQI) whenever she changed screens. Nice work, Viki.

05-18-2009, 11:20 PM

Things on this new floor get crazy quickly as Viki runs into the king of the Uruk-Hai, who would probably be a seriously tough bastard if he weren't, you know, evil. And susceptible to Draining. This is going to be a piece of cake!


Well, maybe not. Viki wasn't getting hurt, but she did almost run out of mana and it's not going to be good for her to stay there if she does run out.


Viki engages in some unwise hand-to-hand combat against Azog, and it results in another teleport away from him and a chance to rest up. Thank god that she got a turn exactly when she did, otherwise this game would be over. She's caught so many lucky breaks when she should have died that I'm starting to think this game is just setting me up for some super-spectacular failure later on.


The Gelatinous Cube is a monster that is only remarkable because it holds so much crap; it dumps this (usually worthless) stuff over the dungeon. It's also a tough monster, resisting magic to a fault and also attacking with an acid-brand whenever it gets close enough. Fortunately it's easy to avoid and Viki has no problems dealing with it. It serves as a nice little break from her Azog adventures.


The Blink Dog is a (C)anine creature with the ability to teleport itself and poor Viki around, and like all dogs, it shows up in a pack. This can lead to the sometimes hilarious result of every single monster in the pack performing a teleport on Viki all in the same turn, so she ends up floating around the whole room before the deal is done. But they're not a problem because like all non-hound dogs, they're easy to put down.


Viki finally runs into Azog again, and takes advantage of the speed potions she's toting around to keep pace with him - he's a fast monster, and that means Viki's been at a serious speed disadvantage this whole time. Able to scoot back through the hallways, Viki finally gets Azog positioned just right so that she can wear him down and herd him into a room to drop all of his (undoubtedly fantastic) loot in a wide-open spot.


Hot damn that is a lot of experience. This is another monster Viki finished off with LIGHTNING BOLT and arrows, and.. what's that weird yellow squiggle there? Usually squiggle is reserved for "tools" like lights and doorjams, so what the hell is a unique monster doing dropping one?


It's about fucking time.

The Phial is one of two artifacts in the game that's a light source, and usually shows up on floors 1-4, especially with how long Viki hung around there. In fact, in most games I've played in the past, I scum 1-4 until the Phial shows up because it's so useful; it has a wider light radius than either a lantern or torch, and can be activated to light a room.


Azog is also kind enough to leave these behind.


Unfortunately, he's not kind enough to leave behind something salable enough to buy another strength potion, which would push Viki into the threshold of actually getting to-dam bonuses from strength!

NEXT TIME: Viki is given a great weapon she can't use effectively enough to ever wield, and an almost-as-good weapon she almost certainly never will.

05-19-2009, 12:21 AM
NEXT TIME: Viki is given a great weapon she can't use effectively enough to ever wield, and an almost-as-good weapon she almost certainly never will.

SPOILERS: And also dies.

And shit, I wish Azog dropped stuff that awesome consistently. :(

05-19-2009, 08:44 AM
SPOILERS: And also dies.

You lie.


05-23-2009, 11:56 AM
So I'm going to get to another Special Update as soon as I finish this backlog that I'm working through right now. It's almost done - probably another massive update or two and then you guys will get to see something special.

Anyway! Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you buy some beer I'm drinking from Hawaii that's brewed with passionfruit. It's pretty good, you should buy some. It's from Kahona brewery or something? I bet you can get it if you live along the west coast somewhere. It is also brought to you by this amazing breakfast sandwich I made.

Anyway, Viki's completed her non-shopping in town by now, fed her cats, adjusted her swanky tortoiseshell glasses and gone back down into the horrifingly boring depths of Angband, Floor 18.


Here we see a wand of Clone Monster. This is pretty much exactly what you think it is; it creates a duplicate of a monster. But the thing is that it creates an exact duplicate, right down to how much health the monster has - this means that if you spot a good (non-unique) monster and wear it down to the point where it's almost dead, you can clone it to your heart's content and pop up a gaggle of experience. Viki won't be doing this, because it's even the slightest bit dangerous.


The Orc Captain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSh2XeLY7YE) is the first ordinary monster that comes with an entourage of beasts, but is a relative pushover. He's only interesting because he's one of the few non-unique foes that comes surrounded by a group of monsters from the same genus but not the exact same type.


Viki already has a rod of LIGHTNING BOLT, so she won't be needing this. But it'll fetch a good price back in town, so it goes into her pockets which are mysteriously sized such that a ring and a full suit of plate mail take up the same amount of space.


Meanwhile, in an alternate dimension of Floor 18, one that doesn't suck so much, Viki finds this. Rings of Protection are almost never worth keeping on a character for long, but Viki can't wear heavy armor yet and needs those few extra points that outclass the ring of Protection she's wearing right now anyway.


Weapons of Slay Dragon are better than you might think, because dragons start showing up a LOT later and won't use their breath attacks if they're in an adjacent square, meaning that if you want to get your melee on with them, you better be packing something like this. Although it's almost as dangerous to melee them anyway, and that's something Viki will hopefully never ever be doing.

And not because she dies before she reaches the point of the game with really powerful dragons, either. The lance fetches 3600 Zeny back in town, by the way.


Man, that floor that Viki explored turned up some pretty good stuff, actually. Slay Troll is in the same boat as Slay Dragon, except that meleeing trolls is much more common and less dangerous - but any attack bonus against a troll is good because of their massive regenerative properties. This one fetches approximately 280 Benjamins.

Meanwhile, selling all this junk gives Viki a chance to pick up a Potion of Dexterity at the Black Market. She's really getting going with this stuff now, and that's awesome - the more she can buy now the less time she has to spend in the 28-33 range gobbling down potions in an attempt to min/max to an absurd degree. This potion actually bumps her dexterity 2 points, giving her a very respectable 15 and a free point of AC from her dexterity rating.

By the way, I'm not going to max all of Viki's stats. Unless I really really feel like it.


Apparently Druids can summon natural monsters. Natural monsters are usually just your garden-variety animal, but they include the canine set and hounds, which means that any monster that can summon natural monsters almost guarantees that you'll be surrounded and have to have some means of escape. Fortunately Viki zaps out of there before the hounds have a chance to breathe all over her and result in a very serious game over. You can see how the difficulty curve of this game has drastically changed for Viki all of a sudden; she was sailing through 7-15, and now it's like she's hitting a brick wall.


Here's another favorite item of those who like to play around with dangerous things. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jPthOae67w) A popular combination is to use the staff of Summon Monster and wear down the whole group, then clone it. This is only for serious XP farmers though, and most players will never do something this crazy. I certainly never would.

Alright, it's time for a heartbreaking moment that I'm sure some of you have been suspecting, but there's little buildup to it. Something bad finally happens to Viki. Are you ready?


She finds this.


It's a bladed weapon, so wielding it would incur such severe combat penalties that, along with its weight, would make Viki even worse at melee than she is now with her wuss weapon.

That sound you heard is me screaming in horrible pain because Defenders are a super-rare ego item that fill the void of "I must have this before floor 30" perfectly. At least it fetches Viki almost 13000 of whatever today's currency is back at the shop.

05-23-2009, 11:57 AM

Viki's just getting a boatload of these kinds of things today, isn't she? This is a "less good" item simply because it's a dagger, but it'll still fetch over 2k because it's a weapon designed to slay stuff. Those are unbelievably popular with the kids these days.

Are you ready for something else terrible to happen to Viki? It's not quite as bad as the last one, but it's still pretty awful.


Oh what the hell. This is the first game - ever - where I've picked up so many ego items, let alone TWO artifact weapons. Let alone one that gives a speed bonus. It doesn't look like Nimloth is too useful otherwise, but it seems to Slay Undead and be Frost-branded. I assume it also activates for some kind of magical attack, but let's check the artifact spoilers just to make sure!

The Spear 'Nimloth' (1d6) (+11,+13)
It increases your stealth and speed by 3. It slays undead. It is branded with frost. It provides resistance to cold. It is blessed by the gods. It grants you the ability to see invisible things. It cannot be harmed by the elements.
Level 15, Rarity 12, 5.0 lbs, 30000 AU (Angband 3.0.6)

Even worse: Viki can wield it. Maybe that's not worse, because it's something that she can, you know, try out. Maybe just a little. To see how it works. The only difference between Nimloth and the weapon Viki has right now, in practical terms, is that she does shit damage with her current weapon and would rock the fuck out of everything that doesn't resist frost with Nimloth. And she'd get a speed bonus from it! This might be a "situation" weapon for floors where Viki is more likely to engage in melee.


Here's what happens when Viki puts it on - keep in mind that she was at a -1 speed penalty from the load she's carrying. She loses 16 mana and the ability to learn a whole boatload of spells, but right now the spells aren't of any concern; and actually, a spear is light enough that she might actually just be able to carry it with her and swap it in and out. Now there's something you don't see very often; a secondary weapon that isn't a shovel. Hell, Viki could carry this AND her shovel! Now that would be cool, but would also take up an extra inventory slot. She's not quite ready for that level of commitment yet.


Another day, another orc pit. Honestly, these are only worth scraping through now because otherwise the monsters would clog the dungeon and become a problem; orcs are a pittance of XP for the likes of Mighty Viki, the Level 28 Priest.

It does give her a chance to try out Nimloth in actual combat though, and it performs very admirably. Especially since she clocks an extra turn every now and then.

Loaded down with loot, Viki hits the town and very reluctantly departs with her Defender. But! This puts her just 3000 short of another Potion of Strength, so she pawns off some more useless junk hanging around in her house that smells like cat pee. Surprisingly, there are no complaints from any of the shopkeepers.

This potion bumps Viki's strength to 16, giving her some bonuses and another 5lbs of carrying capacity! That's the weight of Nimloth, I think. But that's a subject for another day, I'm pretty sure of it.


Venom weapons are poison-branded. Unfortunately I don't believe they have a chance to inflict posion, and probably just do the standard 3x multiplier to monsters which don't resist poison.

I played this game on Mother's Day, by the way. I guess the RNG was being extra kind to me because I called my mom and my grandma, just like a good kid would. That's honestly the only way I can explain getting something like six ego items and an artifact over a couple hours of play.

You'll also notice that Viki hit level 29 in the space between this screenshot and the last one. Almost over the hump, at which point experience levels become gravy and nothing else.


Of course, sometimes things don't go as well as planned. There could've been another artifact on that floor!

Viki, by the way, has broken 2.5 million turns now. Keep in mind that resting is a turn, and Viki has to rest a lot. Turn counters for mages and priests are always significantly higher than turn counters for any other character by the end of the game, simply because they need to constantly be regenerating their mana to survive.


Looting the newly-discovered Level 19, Viki runs into Gorbag, the Orc Captain. Viki decides to take a little bit of a different approach to this one; she casts Repel Evil and prays up because it's time to have some head-to-head action. Oh yeah!


Of course, that's not going to stop her from using Draining to finish him off and get the resulting death.


I wish Gon had gotten some ego items. I liked him. But the enchantment on this piece of armor is absolutely absurd and so Viki puts it on her head right away. She feels less like a beauty queen, but more like breaking the necks of people who wonder why an upside-down cardboard box is sitting in the middle of a hallway.



NEXT TIME: Will this madness ever end? Will Viki stop getting ego items? Can she even survive a deluge of such great equipment that would be wildly impractical for her to use? Why couldn't Gon get a break? Why did he have to die and turn into a Blingee?

05-23-2009, 10:14 PM
Seriously?! +17?

Is...that even possible in normal game mechanics? I know Nethack's soft and hard-caps on enchants (where gear explodes if you over enchant) but isn't Angband's soft-cap 10?


05-24-2009, 12:31 AM
Seriously?! +17?

Is...that even possible in normal game mechanics? I know Nethack's soft and hard-caps on enchants (where gear explodes if you over enchant) but isn't Angband's soft-cap 10?


The soft cap is around 10 (sometimes if you're lucky you can push an enchantment to +11 or +12). But because of how the generation code works, it's possible to get some really ridiculous items; for example, when the game generates a Ring of Speed, there's a very tiny number separating a ring of Speed +52 (seriously! Players have gotten these) from a ring with a speed penalty.

Maybe for a future update when I've got more time I'll actually look into how the game generates ego-items and other enchantment bonus equipment to see how the RNG plays with this stuff.

05-24-2009, 02:49 AM
I know this goes back a bit in the updates but the Lurker reminds me of the 1ed Trapper monster...


05-27-2009, 11:15 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! This update is brought to you buy something that I haven't written in here yet. I think I'm actually going to leave that in, I like it.

Last time, Viki just would not stop getting ego items. To the point where it was actually making me kind of angry, because in any other game, I would have been pissing myself with joy. Well, not if I was playing a mage, who couldn't even hold most of that crap.

So it's back to town to blah blah blah sell buy blah blah. The rules of the game are known by now!


Here's something interesting hanging out in the Black Market. This isn't quite Angband's answer to monster genocide that other roguelikes have (which completely removes a monster type from the game forever), but it's close. This can be an excellent way for dealing with Vaults that are filled with dragons or for unique monsters which come surrounded by lots of nasties. But Viki doesn't buy it, because really now. She's hopefully never going to need it, and she's got better things to save her money for.


Like this hot little number! If Viki got this, she could actually drop her earliest spellbook off at home and never, ever carry it again; she has Resist Fear from the Holy Avenger so she doesn't need spells to remove it, the Phial can light areas, and this item would take care of finding doors and traps. And it finds monsters to boot! This thing would be a boon to Viki, and the best part is that it weighs way, way less than a book. She's only a few thousand gold shy of it, so time to pawn off some more junk sitting in her house.


This, by the way, is what Viki's house looks like. Minus the cats. She keeps the Cap of Beauty around in order to swap it on and off when she's in town and get slightly better deals on items, but it'll have to go someday because it's taking up a valuable slot at home.

Back to Floor 19, and boredom!


Viki uses her detection rod first thing, and this thing is already clearly going to be a godsend. For one, it's going to tell her where all the hound packs are in the dungeon before she runs into them, and secondly it takes care of detect doors/traps/stairs/treasure in one fell swoop - and it's been a long time since that shovel's gotten any use, so treasure detection is an extra sweet bonus.

Meanwhile, something burns up Viki's most costly spellbook, which is not something to be thrilled about, but at least she never really uses it. Instead she makes a dash away, not ready to confront the Fire Hounds that must be lurking ahead right now.


Yeah, those are fire hounds alright. The mix of light hounds with them is not very pleasing, because Viki really needs area of effect spells to take out fire hounds like this. Instead she'll have to approach carefully and use corners as much as possible.


The game really does seem to enjoy mixing up Blink dogs with Fire and Light hounds. That's the most annoying possible combination; getting yanked around by a Blink dog while blind is really dangerous, because you could get pulled straight into the middle of a group of monsters.

The large Os up there, by the way, are (O)gres, the big brothers of orcs. They have many of the same properties, but just hit harder and have more HP.


On this particular floor, Viki also does a lot of digging to get at some goodies.


Here's an item which is useful only in games where you're not using artifact spoilers, or if you happen to pick up a whole lot of ego items which have a "random" effect on them. Self Knowledge simply tells you everything about your character's current state: What resistances they have, what stat sustains they have, what bonuses they're getting, if the weapon they're using is branded, and so on. Viki will take this and save it for later when she's got a whole boatload of equipment to fully ID at once.



Here's something that I haven't mentioned in the past - scrolls of Word of Recall can cancel each other out. So when Viki went down to the floor and got a good feeling, that meant I wanted to explore the whole thing. But then I accidentally pushed the wrong button and Viki read a Recall scroll, which means that she had to read another one to cancel the effect and stay in the dungeon.

Unfortunately, this is the only time in several trips where she's gone into the dungeon with just two recall scrolls. That means there's only one way out for Viki now: A mad dash to the surface.

And that usually means death. But first, she better finish exploring the rest of this floor.


Here's the Potion Mimic, which is a lot like the Scroll Mimic. But a potion! Destroying it is small consolation for the long trip that Viki knows she has ahead of her. She finally finishes exploring the area, and gets ready to go back to the surface.

05-27-2009, 11:16 PM
Viki makes a break straight for floor 18. Her goal right now is to not explore any floors beyond what she needs to do to find stairs; she'll ID items only if absolutely necessary based on the level feeling, because she's carrying around just a handful of ID scrolls and also no way is she going to be able to tote everything back up.


Here's a prized item! *Slay* weapons are like Slay weapons, only moreso. In this case, *Slay Animal* does 3.5x (or 5x, I forget) damage to natural-type monsters, where Slay Animal does a measly 2x. Most adventurers love *Slay Evil* weapons, because they work on most dragons and demons, the most dangerous enemies that you're going to encounter on the floors of the dungeon that are further down.


Viki also decides that it might be kind of fun to try and dig her way out. But no such luck; the construction of Angband is such that even if the dungeon is changing constantly, it has hard boundaries. In this case, quite literally hard. This is the game's way of keeping you from digging past the boundary of the map, although sometimes you'll see permanent rock elsewhere.

Viki rushes up through floors 17-12 with no incident, getting her past the point of danger. It should be a boring cakewalk out of the dugneon from this point on.


Then Viki IDs this. This is actually the first item she's ID'd in many, many floors, and holy shit. Telepathy is a very useful skill - it allows you to detect all "mindful" monsters within a certain radius. This means Viki won't be seeing things like mushrooms, worms, or undead, but it does mean she'll be seeing hounds, trolls, orcs, demons, and other large groups of nasties well before they're in her range of vision.

This is a great find, but the enchantment on it is shit, especially compared to her current hat. But she's going to put it on anyway. It kind of makes her want to go onto a daytime talk show.

Viki, by the way, finds nothing else on her way back to town. But she made it, and that's what counts! The whole trip was actually quite boring, which is another thing to be thankful for. She's had a run of incredible luck for me doing such stupid things.


This is what Viki's holding before she takes a trip into the dungeon again. Nimloth is going to be the order of the day, just for kicks; I want to see how it works out. If it turns out that it's good enough to supplement those extra casts of Draining Viki would be getting, then this will become her primary weapon.


The order of the day turns out to include this charming fellow, who would honestly be better served by having Viki dish up some hot magic action from the other side of the room rather than getting cozy with him. In fact, Viki's mana depletes fast enough that she has to teleport away to another part of the dungeon before she gets beat up too hard. This was probably the wrong day to bring Nimloth.


Even though this game is now taking place four days after Mother's Day, the RNG is still giving Viki way too many ego items.


This may actually be the most anticlimactic screenshot I've posted in this thread yet. I'm not even sure exactly what happened here, besides that Viki must have cast Draining and was about to teleport away again. She gets some reasonable experience from the deal, though.


And this.. amazing? drop.

Potions of Life are obviously pretty fantastic, but the problem is that you have to carry them to use them, and they take up an inventory slot. This is going in Viki's house until the very end of the game. If she makes it that far. If not, I'll probably wish that she was holding it.

You'll notice it doesn't restore mana, however. This makes it useful, but not as useful as a potion of Restore Mana, believe it or not.

Viki goes back to town to drop off her phat loot and swap that Holy Avenger back in. It's still bullshit in melee but she needs those ranged attacks anyway, doggone it!


I swear to god, in all the tens of games of Angband I have ever played, I have not, in all of them combined, gotten as many ego items as I've gotten over the course of this one game. There had to have been something changed in v3.0.6. There had to have been.


Let's leave on a positive note. You'll notice that even though Viki's blind, she can still see all these monsters. That's the magic of telepathy! She can't read her books, but she can at least position herself out of the way of these nasty beasties or, if she's bold enough, rush in and beat them down the old-fashioned way.

NEXT TIME: Ego items that the game shouldn't even generate. I'm not kidding. Well, it wouldn't generate them in the 2.9.x versions anyway, but I guess that changed. Also, Viki discovers cursed ego items and a prayer book she's been wishing for!

05-28-2009, 07:57 AM
IHNJ, IJWTS this is still awesome.

05-29-2009, 12:42 AM
Also, Viki discovers cursed ego items and a prayer book she's been wishing for!

What a waste of a wish.

05-29-2009, 02:52 AM
I'm madly in love with this LP. I came home from an outstanding dinner at Yakitori Toto in the city, then sat down to do some work. I figured I'd read just to the end of page 2 of the LP, you know, let my food digest, etc. Then I read this and scanned all of the linked docs.

My only rogue-like to date has been Shiren, which I loved to death. I think I have to try out a more traditional flavor...

05-29-2009, 01:19 PM
Wow, that telepathy cap is incredible. I remember how amazingly useful the Armband of Sight was in Shiren, and can only imagine how Angband's bigger dungeons would make it even better.

My only rogue-like to date has been Shiren, which I loved to death. I think I have to try out a more traditional flavor...

Yes . . . join us. As someone who also got into the genre through the DS (first Izuna, then Shiren), I can attest that the transition to PC roguelikes is jarring, but worthwhile. You might want to actually start with Rogue itself (http://rogueclone.sourceforge.net/), as getting used to the ASCII graphics and arcane keyboard command interface is tough enough without the layers of additional tactical complexity, items, and magic that later games brought. Or you could go for my personal game of choice, Dungeon Crawl Stone Sou (http://crawl-ref.sourceforge.net/)p, which includes a very helpful tutorial to get you started, nice-looking tiled graphics, and an optional mouse interface to ease the transition. And if you like reading about them, then you can't go wrong with the long-running @Play column. (http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/@_Play)

The Dread Cthulhu
05-30-2009, 03:11 AM
This is good. Very, very good.

I mean the LP.

05-30-2009, 02:15 PM
Apropos of nothing, I actually know one of the people working on Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. I should check it out one of these days.

06-02-2009, 09:13 PM
If you like tactical wargames or just awesome clickyfests like Diablo, then Angband might be the one to start with. I haven't played this "Stone Soup" thing but I hear it probably has a gentler learning curve. The latest version of Angband also happens to have one, and is significantly less nasty.

But we're all about the nastiness here at Let's Play Angband. So.

Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! This update is brought to you by Drag Me To Hell, which has both convinced me that Sam Raimi is wasting his time making more fucking Spider-Man movies and that there is no need for an Evil Dead 4. This update is also brought to you by me making an extra large super-sized update [ED: May not be as super-sized as advertised] because I want to get rid of this damn backlog. Also, it might be a while before I can complete the next one because it will involve actual work besides me drinking two or three beers and then trying to remember what I did in the game two weeks ago.


Let's start off with something delightful. Viki finds another one of the deep-dungeon spellbooks, and this is the one that she probably needs most besides Ethereal Openings. Let's check out what's in it!


Viki collects them all, including Probing, which I forget what that does. Probably nothing important. What we're really interested in is Detection and Perception; Detection will replace her Rod of Detection and Perception will replace every identify item she could ever carry. That is awesome. It's an expensive spell and fails frequently right now, but it's not like she's going to be using it in the heat of battle, you know?

By the way, Clairvoyance? That spell lights and maps the entire level. It costs a lot and will have a ridiculous fail rate, but Viki only needs to cast it once per floor. There's something to look forward to again.


This is the most useless ego item ever, I swear. The shop won't even buy it, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that if you equipped it then you'd discover that it's cursed. That is, quite honestly, one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen Angband generate.

I don't believe that the 2.9.x line did this. Somebody messed with ego item generation, and I like it. Kind of.


And here's another kind of ego item. The kind you don't want.

Weapons of Morgul are one of the worst things that a player can find and unwittingly equip. As you can see, it does a lot of nasty stuff, and is heavily cursed to boot. This means that Viki's regular Remove Curse spell won't do a damn thing to it - she needs a scroll of *Remove Curse*, and those are hard to come by. The interesting thing is that sometimes a player will actually willingly use a weapon of Morgul for part of the dungeon, because of the poison brand and resistance to life draining - these weapons exist for a reason other than to just punish you for being a doofus and wielding it without checking first.


Not only has Viki almost hit level 30 (about damn time) but that cap of Telepathy is really paying off. Forewarned is forearmed, and Viki has a premonition of her first encounter with Air Hounds. These are the poison-branded hounds, which means that they're (shockingly) some of the least dangerous around. All they can do is poison Viki, and she can take care of that with her prayer of Cure Poison, natch. They also happen to give excellent experience.


Viki is happy to use the mold here as a buffer from the hounds. She can cast Draining straight on top of them due to her magical telepathic abilities, and there's not very much they can do about it. That is so rad.

Viki also hits level 30 around here! Just a reminder - level 30 is where Draining goes from a radius-2 spell to a radius-3 spell, which will make Viki able to take out a small room of evil monsters in one blow.


Weapons of Morgul aren't the only cursed ego items, either. These, however, probably only have a light curse on them. It's too bad that the RNG wasn't just a little kinder, because these could have been Gauntlets of Dexterity.

Viki, by the way, has now broken three million turns. She's also pressed downwards to floor 21.


Okay, this is not a good situation to be in. Viki has enough mana left to teleport somewhere and


Okay, it's going to take some kind of fucking miracle to get out of this one. Viki makes a mad dash for the hallway in the north, because she can at least hopefully get around a bend and keep the hounds from breathing on her. These, by the way, are Earth Hounds - they breathe shards, which can break potions and give Viki nasty cuts.


Like so.

06-02-2009, 09:14 PM

Okay, I bet you thought Viki was going to die, didn't you? Well, so did I for a while, but then remembered that she's toting around potions of Healing and those suckers will patch her right up. With her current position, she can easily snake around that corner and fend off the hounds until she regenerates enough SP to phase out of there again.


Water Hounds are the worst. They're the acid-branded hound, which means they can melt and blow up and burn whatever they want, and also do damage to Viki's armor. She'll want to keep her distance and use corners to her best possible advantage to take care of these guys.


Viki also foolishly engages a group of fire hounds in the middle of a long hallway and pays for it. She's carrying more than just one of these and it's not that important anyway, but still!


Floor 22 brings another salable ego item that Viki herself would never need or use.


It also serves as an excellent reminder that she should be checking for traps at every single opportunity. Come on Viki, you're holding both a rod and a prayer which can take care of this for you! Don't be so lazy!

Well, having fallen down, Viki might as well pick herself back up and go into town.


An embarrassment of riches! Viki should have enough for the potions of Dexterity and Constitution once she sells a few things from her house, like her stereo and all her Rush albums. You'll notice how much cheaper the potion of Charisma is, because it's worthless.

Viki's never wearing her beauty cap any more so she pawns that, and somewhat reluctantly parts with that highly-enchanted cap of infravision she found as well. The Rod of Detection is next to go because honestly it's taking up an inventory slot and Viki has a spell for that now.

Those alone push her to enough cash to be able to get both potions, and she experiences a delightful stat upgrade! Upgrade potions also have the bonus of getting rid of sapped stats, so her DEX goes back up to maximum.


Now that's one hell of a good find. It bumps Viki's mana up 8 more points.


And something Viki can't see summons two groups of hounds, which immediately blind her and keep her from seeing what it actually is. It really is a bad idea to rely too heavily on telepathy, because there are bad things that it won't detect.


Like this thing, which is what summoned the hounds. The fact that it summons isn't listed in the monster recall because Viki didn't actually see it do that, but I can guarantee you that since nothing else was in the room, this fellow(?) is our culprit.


Oh yeah, this is nice. Viki won't really need shard resistance for a while, but this will help keep her from getting nasty cuts from those earth hounds, and also comes with a really good enchantment bonus. She'll be keeping this on until a Cloak of Speed or an artifact shows up.

06-02-2009, 09:15 PM

Telepathy also gives Viki a chance to see the next unique monster she's going to be blasting the hell out of.


Who is a total pushover. No wonder Saurman or that one wizard dude with a name I can't remember or whoever gets their shit all fucked up by a bunch of midgets with hairy feet - he put some real doofuses in charge of something that sounds important.


Another unique monster already? Viki prepares for another non-epic fight to the death, by which I mean that she prepares to spend a couple of minutes on the far side of a room yawning while some dude melts.


Okay, this is going to be a little more difficult than she thought. First of all, Khim is the first non-evil unique Viki's encountered in quite some time, and secondly, that status message up there means that he has healing magic. Which means that he's going to be healing a lot, and she needs some means of dealing enormous amounts of damage to him in one blow. Like, for example, from her Wand of Acid Balls, which she isn't carrying at this exact moment.


In her haste to escape from the villain, she picks up another Rod of Lightning Bolts and that means she can shoot twice as many LIGHTNING BOLTs right now. That's always a good thing - if she were carrying around five of these then she wouldn't need arrows hardly ever.

But that means it's time to go back to town! And here's everything you'd want to know about Viki's life right now:


NEXT TIME: Get ready for a surprise! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dK4mNYiges) By which I mean you might be waiting for quite a while for the next update. But hopefully not too long!

PS: While you're waiting, why not watch this charming Let's Play? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6r8ImVYc5A) Please note that watching it may actually make you feel painfully uncomfortable.

06-04-2009, 06:24 PM
Hey man, thanks for all your effort. Great LP. Between this thread and the nethack run I'm dipping my toe in the rougelike waters (with Rouge on the iphone (not the shitty one, the good pay version)). Rock on, Viki.

06-04-2009, 07:45 PM
It's so good to watch Viki make some progress. Also, to watch her draino the hell out of some fools.

06-08-2009, 06:20 PM

While we're marking time between updates, I have a technical/tactical question...I noticed you have a staff of slow monster....are you using it vs the fast uniques? Does it even work on them? Can it be resisted?

Or is it just a I'm-in-over-my-head-but-not-dying-this-turn sort of item? I imagine it could be good vs regenerating T's, if it'd slow their regen rate? Which might not happen....time passes normally, and I'm not sure if regen is on a move counter or a clock (probably the latter)?


06-08-2009, 09:31 PM
This gives me an excellent chance to tell you that the next update will be posted sometime before the end of the month. Well, half of it, at least. It's going to be sort of a one-update-in-two kind of deal. It is also heavily dependent on my girlfriend's co-operation and she might call me a nerd so hard that I cry and also then you get your updates in the form of blurry pictures instead of crisp, sexy scans.

While we're marking time between updates, I have a technical/tactical question...I noticed you have a staff of slow monster....are you using it vs the fast uniques? Does it even work on them? Can it be resisted?

Or is it just a I'm-in-over-my-head-but-not-dying-this-turn sort of item? I imagine it could be good vs regenerating T's, if it'd slow their regen rate? Which might not happen....time passes normally, and I'm not sure if regen is on a move counter or a clock (probably the latter)?

Oh yes it can. Items which slow, sleep, polymorph, or otherwise cause status effects to monsters do not work on uniques, and in fact later in the game, these items will become totally useless. But for now the staff of slow monster has been invaluable in a few fights against hounds, because it gives Viki the ability to scoot back and forth between corners while getting off ranged attacks.

Regen is actually a per-turn; whenever you get to take a turn you recuperate some HP/SP. So slowing can help against monsters which have quick regeneration properties, but mostly because it gives you that bonus turn to get extra damage in.

06-09-2009, 01:57 AM
she might call me a nerd
I know she is, but what are you?

Or, it takes one to know one.

06-09-2009, 03:49 AM
Does this mean Aeris dies? Say it isn't so. ;_;

06-09-2009, 09:51 PM
I know she is, but what are you?

Or, it takes one to know one.

Save the pillow talk for in private!

06-12-2009, 06:10 PM
You might want to watch this before the next update. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWawc5wOdtY) As a special bonus, it's hilarious.

Which will happen sometime next week! THRILLING!

Sorry for making so many posts that aren't actual updates, guys.

06-15-2009, 09:02 PM
"Instead of getting disintegrated, Sonic got transported into the future. The dark future. Of what's become."

06-19-2009, 06:41 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angabnd! This update is brought to you by my girlfriend's scanner. It is in fact quite literally brought to you by that device as it was instrumental in the update, which is why some of the margins are a little chopped. But everything should still be readable.

Without explanation (click on the images for much, much larger ones):

http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page01t.jpg (http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page01.jpg)
http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page02t.jpg (http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page02.jpg)
http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page03t.jpg (http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page03.jpg)
http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page04t.jpg (http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page04.jpg)
http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page05t.jpg (http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page05.jpg)
http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page06t.jpg (http://hatsex.magicweasel.net/img/lp/angband/viki/s18/page06.jpg)

NEXT TIME: I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

The next update will come a lot sooner than this one did, I promise.

06-19-2009, 06:56 PM
I regret that I can only give this LP five stars.

Red Hedgehog
06-19-2009, 07:18 PM
That was great.

06-19-2009, 08:25 PM
I regret that I can only give this LP five stars.

What he said. I am finding this more compelling than the Nethack LP.

06-20-2009, 11:42 AM
NEXT TIME: I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

Colon, hyphen, right parenthesis.

06-20-2009, 12:51 PM
Oh Viki, why are you so awesome? You melt faces like you melt our hearts.

06-21-2009, 05:56 PM
The awesome of the thread has filled gamespite's strategic reserves of awesome for years to come. I love the creative LP posts.

06-22-2009, 09:58 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angabnd. First off, this is a very off-the-cuff post, and won't go through my usual editing process because it's going to be very short. Secondly, the next time tag had nothing to do with this, while appropriate.

You can guess what this update is. But the next update will proceed as planned, believe it or not. It's kind of a spinoff, like Kramer, except good.

Let's get started! First, let me set the scene for you; Viki has just wandered into what appears to be a room containing only a lowly druid (p). Now, as you might remember from an earlier post, druids can summon, but this won't be much of a problem.

Unfortunately there is a bronze dragonfly (F) in the room - these monsters are not detected by telepathy. They also breathe confusion.

So Viki stumbles around for a while.

Then the druid decides to summon some monsters, and paralyzes her to boot. This is where things get bad. Viki eventually wakes up and tries using her Staff of Teleportation to escape, but...


The result is predictable.

WHAT WENT WRONG: First of all, I'm an idiot. Secondly, Viki was carrying mushrooms of Cure Confusion, and those should have been eaten immediately, on the spot. Thirdly, before taking any other action, a healing potion should've been drunk.

Those two actions would have saved Viki. I'm sorry, Viki. I failed you.


(That text on the bottom is supposed to read NEVA 4 GET, by the way, but Blingee fucked it all up. Fuck you, Blingee.)

Let's Play Angabnd is now at a crossroads. The first page of the thread tells me that you guys wanted to see a paladin, but fuck that - if I'm playing another game I'm going to go back to my old standby, Gnome Mage. Now, here's the problem: I love doing Let's Play Angband, but I hate keeping the queue blocked up if new LPs can't start because it's still running. I'm also going to have drastically reduced free time starting in August, which would mean I'd have to go from the standard 3-4 entries a month and scale back to just one or two. But this LP could, theoretically, run until I actually win a game. That might be a while.

Therefore it's time for you to vote! Do you want to see more Let's Play Angband? If you do, then say YES and if you're tired of obscure pop culture references and links to youtube clips of Night Trap, then say NO. If you vote YES, updates will continue as regular and this time I get to name my character. If you vote NO, then, well - I'll probably post in the YASD (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=7247) thread from time to time. You guys have plenty of time to decide, and I'll tally the votes after the next entry is made.

NEXT TIME: Tomorrow's recipe is chicken, my love. And also a continuation of the previous entry, in a way.

06-22-2009, 10:32 PM
I wanna see more. Nethack went until an ascension, so can this.

Also, as I understand it, you aren't holding up any other LPs. The God-Emperor of the sub-forum just slowed down the LP queue in general, not like new guys only get to go once one of us finishes.

(Oh god, I'm supposed to be doing my own LP, aren't I?)

06-22-2009, 10:33 PM
Yeah, continue. I never really put a lot of time into Angband, which I might change sooner or later, or at least try one of the variants instead of Vanilla.

06-22-2009, 11:38 PM
nooooo viki! </3

I would personally love it if you continued (although you could maybe skip the intro and fast-forward to where things get interesting), but if you don't have the time to devote to it, this would be a good stopping point or time to place it in hiatus.

It's up to you, I think.

06-23-2009, 12:00 AM
NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tim5nU3DwIE&feature=related)

Viki, we hardly knew ye. :( :( :(

In any case, keep going! This is one of my favourite LPs running and, as sad as it is seeing yet another brave soul die ( :( ), I'd like to see the game to the end if at all possible.

06-23-2009, 02:20 AM

Such a tragic end.


06-23-2009, 07:11 AM
Oh noooooooooes. *sniffle*

Personally, I'd almost advocate cheating to back out of stupid "forgot to use my item" deaths like that because I'm that kind of scum. But I guess that's not an option.

Still, this LP is aces. I am not averse to MOAR in any variety. But, you know, don't burn yourself out horribly and leave us with a bitter husk of an LP-er or something..

06-23-2009, 07:58 AM
Continue, please.

(Oh god, I'm supposed to be doing my own LP, aren't I?)

Yes, and I would appreciate it if you got back to it. Poor Aloysius, adrift in space. No rush, of course.

Red Hedgehog
06-23-2009, 09:35 AM
If you are up for continuing writing for our entertainment, then I am more than excited to read that.

06-23-2009, 10:08 AM
Yes, more Angband please.

06-23-2009, 10:15 AM
Viki and Gon would want you to keep going.

Keep going!


06-23-2009, 11:02 AM
Poor Aloysius, adrift in space.

He's not adrift in space, he's right there in my icon!

06-23-2009, 11:13 AM
NOOO! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psc7eimMtv0) I mean, YES! I mean no (Viki's dead) and yes (you should continue the LP). You must press on, or poor Viki will have died in vain.

And you're not keeping other people from starting LPs, there's just a limit of four per month. I think there's even room for two roguelike LPs here, so I'm going to go ahead and start DCSS in August, which happens to be when you're cutting back on the posting frequency, so should work out OK.

And go ahead and play whatever character you want, and think gives you the best odds of getting through. I want to see as much of the game as possible.

Son of Sinistar
06-23-2009, 02:50 PM
NO!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3slnSih-WQ&feature=related) I thought Vicki would make it.

I'd be interested in seeing more Angband though, so YES on that question.

06-23-2009, 06:22 PM
Yes, damn you, yes!

But I don't mind if you fast forward through the early game. ONWARD HO

06-23-2009, 09:17 PM
On the bright side, now you'll be able to see if the drop rate of all those ego items actually has increased in this build, or if it was just Viki's phenomenal luck.

Er, I guess I hope it's the former.

06-23-2009, 09:29 PM
I just hope this time he gets ego items he can actually use.

The Dread Cthulhu
06-24-2009, 02:13 AM
Yes. Forever yes.

06-24-2009, 08:59 PM
NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tim5nU3DwIE&feature=related)

Viki, we hardly knew ye. :( :( :(

In any case, keep going! This is one of my favourite LPs running and, as sad as it is seeing yet another brave soul die ( :( ), I'd like to see the game to the end if at all possible.

GOD DAMN IT SPOILER THAT SHIT PapR. I always go to last page :(

PS: YES moAr

PPS: Please, sir, can I have some more LP?

The Dread Cthulhu
06-27-2009, 02:05 AM
So I started up a game on this, and Arni the Half-Troll Warrior has been doing pretty well. The problem is that he's stuck on Level 1 without any light and can't find an up staircase. He's got 7 rations and a fair few mushrooms (identified, so there won't be any nasty side-effects). Is it worth it to keep looking down there, or should I regard that one as unwinnable?

The main problem is that I don't know whether stairs are even visible here.

06-27-2009, 11:10 AM
So I started up a game on this, and Arni the Half-Troll Warrior has been doing pretty well. The problem is that he's stuck on Level 1 without any light and can't find an up staircase. He's got 7 rations and a fair few mushrooms (identified, so there won't be any nasty side-effects). Is it worth it to keep looking down there, or should I regard that one as unwinnable?

The main problem is that I don't know whether stairs are even visible here.

Most large rooms on level 1 will be pre-lit, and one of them might contain an up staircase or contain a light source. I'm not sure if vanilla tracks whether you've been on a staircase, but even without a lite it should be noticable if you've walked over a staircase directly.

You are likely SOL, though.

The Dread Cthulhu
06-27-2009, 11:16 AM
Thanks. SOL?

06-27-2009, 11:37 AM
Shit Out of Luck.

06-27-2009, 12:08 PM
stuck on Level 1 without any light

Will the lessons of Goofus never be learned (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showpost.php?p=413851&postcount=28) (even by me, clearly)? But yes, you're probably out of luck, or it'll take you a stupid number of turns to find a staircase. Suicide that character and start a new one, unless you're carrying a bunch of artifacts!

PS: Update tomorrow or Monday.

The Dread Cthulhu
06-27-2009, 12:14 PM
The irony is that I gave it a go and got out, and killed Smeagol on the way.

That said, my problem was that I used the one WoR scroll I could afford going down. So I took the light lesson very well, but messed up on that one.

Yeah, I ended up going between 1 and 2 in the hope of the game giving me an up staircase within sight on Level 1. Never making that mistake again!

06-28-2009, 03:41 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. Due to the sudden pressure of having people actually read this thing and also the fact that I feel bad about no longer keeping the twice-a-week update schedule, this entry is presented unedited. It is brought to you by my Underwood Sunshine.

Again, presented without comment or explanation. Unlike last time this is the only readable size, sorry.


NEXT TIME: Intermission: Does vanilla, but likes rocky road.

06-29-2009, 09:23 AM
Please don't feel bad about the updating only weekly. I'm continually amazed at your creativity and humor in the updates of late.

If you need a break to talk about game mechanics, I think now's the time to talk about Angband magic systems again/more.

Specifically, in contrast to the single anti-evil bomb Viki used. Are there any elements (fire/ice/non-elemental) that are useful in early/late game, or problematic due to resists? Do spells ever stop at a single creature when low level? Do you need to level up a spell or your character to change the radius of impact?

In Nethack, afaik, you had some straight-line spells that could turn into a cone AoE when you advanced your skill in spells; how's that compare to Angband?

06-29-2009, 04:05 PM
Please don't feel bad about the updating only weekly. I'm continually amazed at your creativity and humor in the updates of late.

Don't worry! I'm mostly joking about the pressure, I had planned for that update to be both unscripted, unedited, and completely inappropriate (it ended up with about 80% less cusses than I thought it would, and about 70% more appropriate). The next update will be more in line with what you've been expecting from LPA, and then there will be a more regular schedule until the end of August, at which point it'll probably end up occurring a quarter as often (twice a month). Compared to some of the other LPs on the board though, that's like a deluge.

Sorry other LPs, I realize that you take a lot of work. That was kind of a mean thing to say. Let's be friends. I still have some of that strawberry vodka left if you want it.

Okay, mechanics questions!

Specifically, in contrast to the single anti-evil bomb Viki used. Are there any elements (fire/ice/non-elemental) that are useful in early/late game, or problematic due to resists? Do spells ever stop at a single creature when low level? Do you need to level up a spell or your character to change the radius of impact?

This is an interesting question, and I can't fully answer it. More monsters show up with elemental resistances the further you go - which makes playing a mage a serious, serious problem until you bump your strength up to 16+ and find some of the special spellbooks - but the farthest I've ever gotten in a game is Floor 32. However, Orb of Draining is unresistable, as is the mage's base attack spell Magic Missile, but there does appear to be a generic 'resists magic', which is frequently found on jellies (j), some types of demons (u/U), and uniques (SAURMAN or SAURON or whatever that bad wizard from Lord of the Rings is; despite my love of Angband, I continue to not care about Tolkien and his gay* elves).

There are, however, support spells which become useless over time. In particular spells which cause sleep/paralysis, confusion, or resist evil. Status ailments, as you might imagine, appear to succeed based on a percentage chance combined with some kind of ratio of plev/monster level, although I haven't checked the source. A player can only level up to 50; monsters can level up to 100 (or maybe more! I don't know what happens past floor 100), and most of them resist these effects. Resist evil only resists monster attacks for monsters at a lower level than the player, making it completely useless after floor 50. Glyph of Warding - which Viki didn't get - functions on a similar principle where it keeps evil monsters from crossing a certain tile for a period of time.

Spells in Angband don't actually 'level up' in any real sense; Draining is the game's only exception. Mages' attack spells will do more damage as they level and gain INT, and gain a higher chance to beam - at level 25, something like 3/4 of all Magic Missile attacks will beam with an INT of 18+, which makes this cheapie spell a staple of mage attacks. Although if you pay attention, there is a very specific attack spell you can min/max to get high damage for low cost. Stay tuned to find out which one, I can't give away all the mage mechanics yet.

While you wait for the next update, why not read Brent Spiner's twitter? (http://twitter.com/brentspiner) I hate twitter, but I love the contents of it.

* Gay in the 'two shirtless dudes riding a dragon'** sense, or perhaps 'wizard airbrushed on the side of a van'. Not to be confused with sexual orientation.

** Next time you're in a bookstore, look at the fantasy novel covers. Approximately 95% of them will have this image as the cover. If you like, you may replace 'two shirtless dudes' with 'girl in chainmail bikini'. The number then becomes about 99%, with the remaining 1% taken up by Mercedes Lackey books with a gryphon on the cover.

06-29-2009, 08:55 PM
Beam means it'll go through a single monster, or go a set number of spaces through infinite bad guys?

Also, does fire/ice attacks burn/break potions/scrolls/books on the dungeon floor like in Nethack? That alone might make you choose your attack spells carefully when clearing a monster pit.

06-30-2009, 07:41 AM
Sorry other LPs, I realize that you take a lot of work. That was kind of a mean thing to say. Let's be friends. I still have some of that strawberry vodka left if you want it.

Works for me, apology accepted.

Also, I just really wanted to chime in noting that I love this. The loss of Viki is a loss to everyone, but it'll be interesting seeing how other classes play. I'm looking forward to the future.

07-01-2009, 04:54 PM
Beam means it'll go through a single monster, or go a set number of spaces through infinite bad guys?

Also, does fire/ice attacks burn/break potions/scrolls/books on the dungeon floor like in Nethack? That alone might make you choose your attack spells carefully when clearing a monster pit.

Beams go through an infinite number of monsters up to a set distance, and I believe that branded attacks can destroy items on the floor; this is a good reason to never fight Hounds next to piles of treasure. Items that monsters leave aren't actually determined until the drop time, meaning you can't destroy anything they're carrying.

As a side note and because it will further encourage you to read Brent Spiner's twitter - which is still hilarious, by the way - my girlfriend and I watched ID4 last night because of Brent Spiner complaining that nobody ever shows it on cable anymore. That movie is actually worse than I remember it - thanks for adding in a bunch of stupid shit about a kid dying of cancer or something, "Special Edition" of ID4.

07-02-2009, 10:47 PM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angabnd! This update is brought to you by my newly returned PC Duo. Do you have any idea how awesome a PC Duo with a region switch on it is? I didn't think so. The answer is: awesome. My new name for my PC Duo is "R-Type machine." I may also play Ys III on it. Are there even any other good games for the Turbografix/PC Engine/etc? Games endorsed by Johnny Turbo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Turbo) don't count. For more on Johnny Turbo, including delicious scans of all the Johnny Turbo comics, Sardius has got you covered. (http://sardoose.rustedlogic.net/reviews/jturbo/index.htm) Thank you, Sardius.

This entry of Let's Play Angabnd is kind of special! Disheartened by the recent death of the beloved Viki, I decided the best thing to do was not play more Angband. No, I decided that it was time to play an Angabnd variant. With every new notable character death, I will play a new one.

What's a variant? Angband is sort-of open source. It's a complicated story because it was developed under a proprietary license (probably some kind of BSD) due to the fact that the oldest known Angband, 2.4-Frog Knows (that is the actual version number) was developed at a university. This is the reason why Angband isn't included in the games distributed with Linux; it's not a GPL-licensed product and can't be distributed with them.


Angband's source is freely available to anyone and everyone, and is not only a great source of spoilers, it's great for making games! Variants of Angband are any game that started off based on the Angband source - and many of them evolved to the point where they look nothing like Angabnd, and end up looking like Nethack. I hope that I win the game before I have to play one of those. Straight-up regular Angband is often referred to as "vanilla" because it is the plainest possible flavor of Angband, but I happen to think it's delicious.

Which variant are we playing today? Today you'll be regaled by tales from the variant known as Sangband. Sangband has been around for ages and ages and appears to have reached a "final" release sometime last year.

What is Sangband? Sangband has, on the surface, one very simple change from Angband: You don't have levels. Instead, you invest experience in 'skills' that dictate your abilities with weapons, magic, evasion, stealth, and essentially every other factor that was previously governed by class. This makes it very, very difficult to do certain things in Sangband, which we'll learn about as I play the game - and I played a lot of games of Sangband - at least 15 - to get to the point where I could have a character survive beyond the first floor.

It has other interesting features that we'll be looking at as well. Because character creation in Sangband is particularly boring - you don't get to allocate your own stats, it's all up to chance, and the races are your standard Angabnd variety - let's start off with the town.


The tutorial this screenshot mentions, by the way, is a bunch of filthy lies. I'll explain why in a moment.

1-6 are the same as in Angband, with a few minor differences. For example, the mages' shop no longer sells spellbooks and the church no longer sells prayer books. Instead, every magical tome is sold in (7), the bookstore. There is no black market in Sangband.

What's that mysterious + symbol, though?


Why, you get quests there, of course! A popular feature of variants is to add in a quest system, because everyone loves being assigned the task of Kill X of Y Monsters. Of note in Sangband is that it doesn't actually tell you what your quest is until you accept it, and you can never back out of one.

Alright, let's take a look at the meat of Sangband, the skill system.


That is a hell of a lot of skills. Okay, let's do this thing, easy ones first.

Swordsmanship, Clubbing, and Jousting influence your skills with edged, blunt, and hafted weapons, respectively. Archery skills increase your shooting ability with the appropriate weapon, and throwing is the ability to throw items. Spellcasting determines what levels of spells you can cast, magical power is how much SP you have. Magical device determines how good you are at using wands, etc. and spell resistance determines your saving throw. Dodging influences your AC and how often attacks miss. Perception helps you find doors and gives you better pseudo-ID (which in this game is almost useless; explanation to come) and disarming determines your abilities to disarm traps.

The game also has something called 'talents'. These are non-magic abilities your character gains when a skill levels up to certain points; for example, Stealth of 10% gives you the 'sneaking' talent, which puts you at a (-5) speed penalty but makes it less likely for monsters to wake up.

There are four realms of spells; Wizardry (standard Mage spells), Holy Alliance (priest), Nature Lore (druidic spells) and Blood Dominion (necromancy). Nature Lore and Blood Dominion are unique to Sangband, although another popular feature of variants is to add Druid and Necromancer classes. In my game I tried to shoot for playing a Druid at all times, which means I didn't get to try out any of the others. It should also be noted that once you put a single point into either Holy Alliance or Blood Dominion, the other becomes unavailable.

Burglary is a curious one. It allows you to set traps and perform other burglar-like activities, and raising it past a certain point lowers your charisma by 2.

Weaponsmithing, Bowmaking, Armor Forging, Alchemy, and Magical Infusion are all skills that allow your character to create items, given the right raw materials. This is, believe it or not, another popular feature of Angband variants, and I have never found a use for these abilities in any of them. Why not just find an ego item or an artifact?

Karate and Wrestling are the two hand-to-hand combat forms. Wait - why are there two? Well, it turns out that you can 'switch' between them; karate can stun, confuse, and inflict other status penalties on foes, but is not as powerful as wrestling. Neither can be used while you're holding a weapon, although both can be used when you have a shield. You always get two attacks when fighting hand-to-hand, but can never hit any etherial creature (ghosts, vortexes, etc.) and have a severe penalty for hitting certain types of creatures (like, say, acid hounds).

Is that not confusing enough? Well, you can also enter into one of what the game calls 'Oaths' when you reach a certain level in some skills, which increase your attack power but make you a dunce at magic (Oath of Iron), make you a mage but a dunce at fighting (any of the Oaths for the magic disciplines), or kind of put your character as a middle-of-the-road sort of fellow with a few extra bonuses and another charisma penalty (whatever the Oath for burglary is).

Anyway; I first put a point into Karate, Throwing, and Dodging. The game recommends Slings instead of Throwing, but I will never use a fucking sling in an Angband game unless it's like Extra Attacks (+3) or something. Slings suck.


Here's a cute feature; you can't fight monsters in the town that don't want to kill you, you just push through them. Note that monsters can now push through each other too, which means you can't have a weak monster in front of a stronger monster to hold them at bay anymore, necessarily.

Time to venture into the dungeon!


That is one crazy-looking dungeon. Because I'm playing the Windows version, there's a hell of an interface to Sangband; all the tiles are extra huge (as you might have guessed) and there are even a few non-ASCII graphics to be found, like doors. Personally, I like straight-up ASCII better, but Sangband is missing a number of interface options that I love which I won't bore you with.


There's also dangerous-looking water (blue squiggles) in the dungeon now. You can't cross it if you're over 50% of your total burden, which the game helpfully tracks for you in the inventory screen. Thanks, inventory screen!


This is the first item native to the game that I find; throwing knives. I'm unsure of the multiplier that I get for throwing them with my level of Throwing skill because the game - very helpfully - doesn't tell me anything about my hand-to-hand damage dice OR throwing multipliers on the status screen. No thanks to you, character status screen.


Some karate is unleashed on a jackal, which "hinders" it. I have absolutely no idea what this means, but it's an example of something karate can do to a monster; I also confused one for a single turn, once. And by a single turn I mean that in the same turn that I hit the monster, the confusion was cured.


Because defeating monsters continuously gives you XP, put it into skills as soon as you can. This is one of the first lessons you learn in Sangband, because your HP is determined by your Dodging skill, how many points you've put in total, and your Oath. Taking the Burglar or one of the magic discipline Oaths apparently slows your HP growth, but you can take them at any time - you just function at a diminished capacity as a burglar/magic user until you do. Min/maxing a character in Sangband is possible but probably very, very hard.


A good place to end this first post is on the death of my first character. Dr. Rock, we'll miss you.

07-02-2009, 10:48 PM
This is as good a place to mention as any that the game starts you off with the following equipment: A random amount of money, food rations, and light. You do not get armor. You do not get weapons.


This is why taking a hand-to-hand as your primary combat skill at the start of the game is a stupid idea. If you can remember from the previous post, hand-to-hand can't hurt ethereal monsters, and Sangband is kind enough to add a monster of this type to the very first floor. Players with karate and no ranged skills or no items to throw/shoot are completely screwed at this point.

Players like me. I didn't learn this lesson until another five or six games in, mind you.


I die a few more times, and then decide to try a different approach: Ranged-only combat. You'll notice the 'in quiver' slot; that's the default for shooting, so that when I go to fire an arrow, it uses the quiver in the same way as @f1 (fire object 1) would work.


However, it turns out that firing arrows in Sangband is.. less than accurate at any distance. With a low bow skill I could literally be standing two tiles away from that monster and still miss. In fact, this is what happens, and death results.


In a desperate situation, I decide that it's time to use-id, because I'm going to lose the game anyway, and discover this interesting quirk; every time I use an unidentified magical-ish item, I gain experience (careful readers will remember this is a feature also in Angband, but it's made much less explicit - and is much less useful - there). In a later game I'll abuse this by drinking and reading everything I find on the first floor in town, which is enough to bump my character up a respectable amount.


Sangband also contains rubble, which takes extra turns to cross and may have an item hiding underneath it. I came across a couple rooms filled with it in my adventures through this mysterious, alien dungeon.


In the final game I play, I finally figure something out. The game has very ambiguously titled scrolls of 'Learn Magic' - they don't actually TEACH you magic, but rather pseudo-identify an item, making them a cheap alternative to scrolls of Identify, which are ungodly expensive in this game. Learn Magic scrolls run at around 16 gold a pop, making them very, very affordable.


And of course, some monsters in the town will still want to kill you for looking at them funny.


No word yet on the cats and dogs living together, but this is a great plan! I'm excited to be a part of it!


The game also has an interesting feature where monsters on the periphery of your vision show up as little white stars, so you know something's there, but not exactly what it is. It's a nice touch.


There are also trees in the dungeon, which act like walls you can move through. I wonder if there are problems in the forest, perhaps some trouble with the trees.

07-02-2009, 10:49 PM

Apparently some doors are unopenable without the appropriate level of Burglary.


It's difficult to tell from the image, but I've been on this dungeon floor for around 100-200 turns, and just gotten the level feeling. This is how Sangband approaches scumming; instead of having to spend a certain amount of time on the previous floor before getting an immediate feeling, you have to spend time on the current floor to get a feeling. Now, there's just one big problem with this: In Angband, if you get a high-level feeling that indicates something dangerous is going to happen, you can immediately run back up the stairs. In Sangband, you might get boned by an out-of-depth monster before you even get a feeling to indicate it's there.


One of the first talents you pick up from Nature Lore is Detect Weather. Like all weathermen it's not always accurate and this screenshot only captures part of the report, but weather can effect elemental magic, which means druids need to pay special attention to it.


Finally I manage to grind up a mage in my very last game, and get a chance to check out the game's magic system. Here's a sampling of what the druid spells are; youc an probably guess what some of them are from the names. Unfortunately, in this game, you can't browse a spell you can't cast. 'Level' indicates the level that your spellcasting (NOT your skill in the dicipline you're casting from) needs to be at.


You may remember from a previous update that I mentioned earlier versions of Angband had a haggling system, where you had to bargain with shopkeepers. Well, Sangband has that system - but only when selling an item that's not currently stocked in the store. I didn't have a shopkeeper kick me out from trying to get a raw deal out of them, but I'm sure that you can be. It's even mentioned in the documentation!

It turns out that I don't miss haggling as much as I thought I did.


Here's an example of taking an Oath (in this case, for Nature Lore). It lets you know the benefits and drawbacks up front, and there's even more (there is always more) in the documentation. I believe your skill in the chosen dicipline has to be at least 10 to take the oath.


There is also a mechanic that allows you to invest money in a store, so that they can buy more and better items and cut you better deals when buying/selling. I didn't try it out.


And with that, we leave the world of Sangband.

Is it any good? Maybe. I have a fond place in my heart for games that let you customize a character to a stupid degree, and I really loved earlier versions of Sangband (which were literally just Angband with the skill system grafted onto it; none of this other stuff) but this one is kind of overbearing. The reason I chose it as the first variant to play was because I thought that it would be easy to explain and get into ("Angband... with skill points!") but I had no idea it had changed so much... in the last 10 years.

Who should play it? Veterans of floors 1-10 only. I'm serious about this one; if you're a new player who's thinking of picking up Angband, always start with vanilla and then move on if it doesn't quite suit your tastes. But Sangband is a very brutal, unforgiving game until you've got 10 points invested in your primary weapon skills, a magic discipline, and a decent dodge skill. It also encourages - to the point of almost demanding - that you dive, and you dive fast. I learned a lot in the games I played, and I'd be happy to play the game again sometime in my spare time, but it has a very steep learning curve. Even steeper than Angband, and that's saying something.

NEXT TIME: Was that your magic trick? No... that was my illusion.

07-02-2009, 11:23 PM
I do like Let's Plays that go into deep technical detail. What variant will we see next?!

The Dread Cthulhu
07-06-2009, 12:13 PM
I have a dozen or so variants sitting on my PC waiting for me to try them once I've got more used to vanilla. It's great to see you looking at some of them.

Also, I just picked up a cloak called Colannon on Level 1. With my limited knowledge, I have the feeling this is awesome.

07-06-2009, 12:32 PM
Yeah, that's a really out of depth item, but it does have strings attached. That jerk you in random directions.

07-06-2009, 11:34 PM
Colannon doesn't teleport randomly - it can be activated manually for teleport self, which makes it incredibly awesome for that depth.

The Dread Cthulhu
07-07-2009, 12:37 AM
Yep. What does nexus protect me against, and when will that bit of the cloak start coming in handy, along with the massive armor bonus, the speed, the stealth, the teleporting and the resistance to the four main elements?

07-07-2009, 08:21 AM
Criminy, that sounds like God's own cloak.

07-07-2009, 11:49 PM
Yep. What does nexus protect me against, and when will that bit of the cloak start coming in handy, along with the massive armor bonus, the speed, the stealth, the teleporting and the resistance to the four main elements?

How the did you get this on floor 1. Monsters which have Nexus attacks don't even start showing up until the mid-20s or later! That thing is a treasure especially since there are only two or three artifact cloaks.

Anyway the next update is going to take longer than I expected. I forgot how often mage games end in the first 10 minutes (almost always). Three of them so far were from traps. Strangely, the one game where I stepped on a trap of Summon Monster was the best one I played, because everything that came out of the trap was easily defeated and I got bumped to level 6 within minutes of starting the game. Unfortunately, it did not end as well as it began.

07-17-2009, 12:58 AM
Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! This update is brought to you by being late because my car fucking exploded. Alright, it didn't explode. But it would have if my girlfriend hadn't said "There is smoke coming out of the engine. Stop the car now." This is not a lie; this really happend. She almost didn't make her flight to New York. I suppose this update is also brought to you by the cherry vodka that's currently going in my cupboard. That strawberry stuff was just too good! This time I really will save some for all of you. I promise.

Since this is going to be the "mage playthrough," first I think I will acquaint you will all of the fun ways in which a mage's game can end in the first 5-10 minutes.


You'll notice that for two of them, I didn't even get screenshots because the -more- prompts cleared so quickly. Mages get a Detect Traps/Doors spell very early on, and they're expected to use it every time the screen changes until they hit at least level 10. Mages have very slow HP growth.

What else can we learn about mages, really quick? Well, Mages take +30% of base experience to level, making them the second most-expensive class to level (Rangers are more expensive, at +35%) which means that if you combine them with a race that makes good mages, you should expect at least a +50% increase over the base exp. For comparison, Viki was a human priest, which was a total of +20% above base experience. This means that the mage will be diving much faster than Viki did, in part because he'll have excellent ranged attacks from the get-go.

Our mage will be a Gnome, because Gnomes have two very great properties: They make excellent mages because they have a high INT bonus during character creation, and they get Free Action. Free Action is a little weird, because it's not exactly clear to the casual player what it does. It prevents some kinds of stunning and some kinds of paralysis, but not all. Even I haven't figured out exactly what it affects after all this time.

Mages themselves have a very weird game. Player levels 1-5 are almost impossible to complete, no matter what depth you're playing at, but it's smooth sailing then until around dungeon level 9/10, when dragons start showing up. Unique monsters are almost always a pain in the ass, because many of them resist elemental brands, which means that mages are reduced to the good ol' Magic Missile, which will barely put in a dent in most of them - and on top of this, some of them have generic magic resistance.

No, where mages really shine is when they start picking up their theme books in the dungeon. Eventually our gnomish friend (who, in a strange turn of events, I did not name David - sorry, Nick Jr. fans) will be able to cast Earthquake and an absolutely ridiculous number of high-damage area of effect spells. Remember the Wand of Acid Bolts that Viki had which she used to take down one of those non-Evil unique monsters? Wands are always less powerful than their corresponding spell - and mages get Acid Ball later on. This makes floors 35+ a total cinch for well-prepared mages. My longest-running game was as a mage, and that's not a coincidence.

Anyway, when we last left Angband proper, the Mages' Guild had sworn revenge on Morgoth for (a) offering a sweet job to some bitch who was tight with God instead of the forces of darkness and (b) obviously screwing them out of all kinds of magical power back when they made that creepy blood-oath a million years ago.

There's only man (gnome) brave enough - and stupid enough - to try and solve this problem.

That man (gnome) is:


GEORGE OSCAR BLUTH. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhnYPecc1YE) Or as we'll probably end up calling him a lot, Gob.


The first thing that happens in a mage's life is always, always, always to learn Magic Missile. You do not browse the book to see what else there is. You do not check your inventory, or equip anything. No: You go straight for that sweet 3d4 magic missile. That makes it approximately as strong as a long bow with conventional arrows, and it will only get better. This is going to be the only thing a mage attacks with until they learn LIGHTNING BOLT (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_ekugPKqFw) except under the absolute direst of emergencies. For 90% of the game, a mage should never be hitting anything with a weapon. Weapons are for chumps.


Mages start with shit all for items, too. They get a dagger, their starting spellbook, and a Word of Recall scroll - which is good for emergencies. But you'll notice they've been screwed out of something super-important that every character needs to have: Armor. Armor is super-important for mages because there's a very limited range of it that they can wear without it affecting their magical abilities. Your goal in every second of a mage game is to keep enemies as far away from you as possible: If they ever come into melee range, you are almost certainly dead. See the screenshots above for details.


Welcome to the worst possible armor-purchasing situation for a new character, let alone a mage. You'll notice that Gob only has a strength of 8, which makes him a pretty hard-hitting mage, but there are exactly two piece of armor here that he can equip: Small shield and Leather Boots, for a whopping AC of 5! With a cloak from the General Store that will bump him up to a very respectable 6, which is not bad for a mage, to be honest. A robe (the usual mage wear) only offers +2, so the small shield is essentially acting in that capacity right now.

Let's diverge slightly into what armor a mage can't wear. Anything with encumbrance affects SP, I believe, meaning that any armor with a (-x) after the name is right out. Anything that goes on the 'hand' slot is out too, because it cuts your SP by 1/4 or 1/3rd (I forget) when you put it on, unless it's an ego item of Free Action.

It will be a miracle if Gob survives his very first encounter with a monster.


But not only does Gob survive it, it nets him an instant level-up. Score! He gets 2 new spells out of the deal, which will end up being Phase Door (teleport ~10 squares) and Light Area. These are the two most useful support abilities at this point in the game; Phase Door isn't a perfect means of escape, but it's better than nothing, and will at least give Gob the time to read his recall scroll.


A few screens later, Gob nets his second level-up, along with Find Hidden Traps/Doors. This is a spell that needs to be cast every time the screen scrolls as previously mentioned; if Gob runs down a hallway that has a trap in it, he will die (hard). Not unlike Hans Gruber, which might be the best name a villain has had, ever. Unfortunately now I can't watch Die Hard without thinking of Snape. Can you?


Somewhere along the way Gob reaches level 4 but doesn't learn any new spells, and espies Farmer Maggot in town. The old (?) codger (???) drops a very nice dagger for the trouble of whittling down his health in tiny tiny increments. God bless the automatically clear -more-, because otherwise this would have taken me like 15 minutes to do. Mages are not designed to hit things, and do teeny tiny amounts of damage.

I suppose now is the right time to talk about how useful/less the spells in the first book are. The only three critical ones Gob already has; Magic Missile, Light Area, and Find Traps/Doors. There is one at the very end of the book that is super-tempting for new players, but experienced ones will always skip it - Stinking Cloud. This is a radius-2 spell which does poison damage, around 30-35, and is great at low levels for clearing out explosive growth monsters that are a little out of control. Unfortunately, almost everything resists poison and the damage it does is piddly compared to some of the crowd-control techniques that Gob will learn later on.

Other than that there's Detect Monsters - which will eventually be learned - and a bunch of dross. Having an extra spell to learn around is extremely useful as a mage, too - if I get into a situation where suddenly poison needs to be immediately removed, Gob can learn Neutralize Poison (in the second book) and take care of his problem.

Hey! Speaking of that second book, Gob can start learning spells in it at level 5! Let's check it out.


Here's what Gob needs to learn out of this book, 100% for sure: LIGHTNING BOLT, Teleport, Spear of Light, and Frost Bolt. Wonder can be safely skipped, because it acts like a Wand of Wonder and will have a terrible effect most of the time. Confuse/sleep are useful, but Gob will be packing so many wands with these charges on them that he won't be wasting time learning spells that use valuable mana that could be converted to straight-up pain. Spear of Light is an attack that always beams and does light damage, which makes it essential against the orcs living on floors 6-14 and kind of useless afterward, and LIGHTNING BOLT has been changed from what it originally was to a 100% beam lightning-elemental attack.

Now, you'll notice that LIGHTNING BOLT costs 4SP. Magic Missile costs 1, and Frost Bolt costs 6. So which of these spells should Gob be using most often? The answer might surprise you: In earlier versions of the game, it was always LIGHTNING BOLT because it gained damage dice the fastest, and quickly outpaced magic missile, and costs less than Frost Bolt. I'm not sure how it behaves in this version, because LIGHTNING BOLT was very easy to exploit for min/maxing a mage. We'll see when Gob hits around level 20, at which point there should have been enough spell growth to tell me a little bit about what's most useful to cast.

Anyway, with all the PHAT LOOT obtained, Gob is able to buy some leather armor for +4 to AC. Fantastic! Almost reached 10, Gob! Keep on reaching for that rainbow.


And Gob shows no signs of stopping his ongoing rainbow-obtainment, quickly leveling up to 5 (where he can get LIGHTNING BOLT, and does) and 6 (where he wisely saves his spell).

07-17-2009, 01:01 AM

Level 7, Teleport Self, and Frost Bolt aren't far behind. Making good progress!

At this point, you might wonder why Gob needs so many bolt spells when they're all (roughly) equivalent, and firing off a single bolt of Frost Bolt costs 6x the amount of magic missile, yet it doesn't even do close to 6x damage (usually). Well, this is where elemental resistances come into play; when LIGHTNING BOLT becomes the main damage dealer (if it ever does) there will always be monsters resistant to it that need to be turned to mush. Other elemental bolts will do the job for marginally more cost, and each one is incrementally more powerful: If Gob really needs to take out a monster fast and is willing to spend the mana to do it, then these higher-level spells can be a godsend. It's a turns/SP tradeoff, and mastering it can be very difficult. This is where Detect Monsters comes in; it costs 1 SP, so casting it to check for surrounding baddies that might swarm a low-mana character before unleashing uberdeath on a particular monster is fairly harmless.


And level 8! This means that it's time to invest in the third spellbook, because Gob can start learning those at level 9.


This is the first really super spellbook, just like it is with priests. Gob's going to want Satisfy Hunger (rations are heavy), eventually Recharging, Turn Stone to Mud (his low strength means he can't afford to carry a shovel for digging, and it's extremely useful against some monsters later in the dungeon), Fire Bolt, Acid Bolt, and the godlike IDENTIFY. Slow Monster can be skipped for the same reasons as Sleep and Confuse - especially when Lesser Recharging enters the mix.

At this point I should mention that mages have no - that's right, no! - pseudo-ID because they get an identify spell at level 11. In addition to Magic Missile, this is the only other 100% essential spell for a mage.


Gob, by the way, has apparently inherited Viki's terrible luck with traps. This is an unfortunate instance in which he forgot to cast Detect Traps before running down a hallway. Not to be a Sally Spoilers or anything, but Gob is currently at level 15 and still has not recovered from this stat drain. Fuck you, alchemy shop!

Kids, always cast Detect Traps.


Gob hits level 9, and collects Satisfy Hunger and Turn Stone to Mud for his troubles. Stone to Mud will only be useful for getting treasure that's immediately obvious at first - but later in the game there are extremely powerful monsters made of rock, and Stone to Mud will destroy them. Not outright, but it does ridiculous damage to monsters that naturally resist almost everything else.


Gob satiates his hunger with an untried spell from the last level up, and hits level 10. Only one away from identify!

By the way, the reason you're seeing only levelup shots this update is because nothing is happening. Gob's life does go beyond garden-variety a little later, but for now he's taking it slow because the experience modifier hasn't really kicked in yet. It doesn't start hurting bad until around level 12, at which point Gob's going to have to start diving a lot faster in order to get reasonable exp growth.

He takes the chance to learn Fire Bolt, as well.


Level 11! A big turning point for mages, because now Gob can identify everything and immediately determine if it's worth carting back up to the surface. He will never have to use- or sell-ID ever again, and won't have to waste his income on petty things like scrolls of Identify. Later on he'll even be able to forgo Word of Recall scrolls, making him a lean magic machine!


Smeagol has apparently done his penance and is done being touched by elves. Regardless, at this point Smeagol is way too hard a fight for a mage - he has tons of HP and Magic Missile will barely make dents in him - so Gob does the smart thing and runs away.

At this point Gob finds his first useful piece of Dungeon Armor, a ring of Resist Fire. It immediately gets put on because again, fire is the most dangerous element to a mage, but even worse than a priest - if any of his books get destroyed, Gob is immediately screwed out of his primary offensive abilities and will have to escape the dungeon. Fire Hounds are death incarnate for mages.


Gob has heard that reading these can be hazardous to your health. And continued membership in the mages' guild.


Gob is swimming in money, so although he doesn't need it yet, why not buy the last book for mages that's available in town?

Probably the most important thing here are the area of effect spells - note that Gob gets the first one at level 19, around the time he should start encountering Hounds if everything is timed correctly - and Haste Self. Haste is just what it sounds like, granting an immediate +10 speed bonus. In conjunction with a decent pair of Boots of Speed and maybe a Cloak of Speed, Gob can be faster than everything in the dungeon except Morgoth. Awesome.

NEXT TIME: I go on vacation to England. Actually that's not what happens in Angband, that's what happens to me. So I have no idea what's going to happen next time, but it will be in early August, most likely. I think that Smeagol gets killed again, but don't hold me to that one.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this endorsement of Calris. (http://www.theonion.com/content/columnists/im_not_questing_with_you)

07-20-2009, 09:58 PM
I decided you guys deserved another update before I leave. You are welcome.

Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! This update is brought to you by the Volvo I test-drove today (today being Saturday, the day this update was written). This is a car that is almost my age. If I buy it I am going to put my "Sam & Max: Freelance Police" sticker on the door. Sorry that I can't save you for when I can actually buy a DeSoto Adventurer, Sam and Max sticker. Maybe I will just get it spraypained on when I can actually afford one. Like if I had a van, and wanted a wizard (http://cdn.shacknews.com/public/podcast/idlethumbs/songs/chrisremo_thewizard.mp3) (the wizard is shooting lighting from his crystal ball at a dragon) to adorn it, or maybe "FREE CANDY."

Enough about the car that I don't even own yet. By by the time you (yes, you) are reading this... I might! (As of today, I don't.)


Armed with an ID spell, Gob checks out all the shit he's carted up from the foul depths of Angband that haven't been checked out yet, and he was a smart man to not sell them. There's a total boost of +9 to his AC going on here, which is fantastic! That doesn't even count the other awesome shit he picked up and can sell.


From now on, whenever Gob levels up, I think that I'm going to link you to a youtube video of some horrible powernoise that's provided to me by my friend Blake. Here's how this is going to work:

Stiv: REQUESTING: link to youtube video feat. horrible powernoise.
Blake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpP60z1mqDU
Blake: I own that album.
Stiv: Perfect.

You are welcome. If you're too lazy to click up there, click ---->here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpP60z1mqDU)<----. By the way, all of these links should be considered relatively "unsafe for work" and definitely "unsafe for ears."


This is notable because it's the first time Gob has been in any real danger the whole game, which is honestly kind of startling for a mage. Fortunately the weird new pack monster AI makes it possible for him to hide out in this little tunnel in the south and rest up.


The orcs, of course, get what's coming to them. The spiders do too, but that's not pictured. By the way, you are welcome. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9C7Mq9j_8M) That one's actually pretty good (and safe for ears).


Gob also gets his first good feeling. Could he maybe... find an artifact? SPOILERS: No.


Some of the mages in the guild are apparently very bad about checking their Middle Earth equivalent of email. I believe that it is delivered by a shirtless man who rides around on a unicorn. That flies.


Just in case you didn't swipe that spoiler text that is probably still on your screen, it's okay to go ahead and do it now. I ID'd this on a lark, because I thought it would be hilarious if the level feeling was generated by a broken item - and guess what! I totally love the ego item changes made in the 3.0.x line. I love them.


Gob takes down his first real unique monster (Grip and Fang don't count) in what must be a battle so amazing that I forgot to take screenshots of it in my undoubtedly drunken haze. There's not really a whole lot to say about it; it's not like he killed Smeagol or anything. Killing Smeagol is a big deal.

For his trouble, Gob gets a potion of Healing, a sword he'll use even less than the broken ego-item, and a shield that's good enough to replace what he's toting around right now.


Why did this not happen last game.


This levelup nets Gob another spell he's not using, so he decides to learn Detect Monsters. By the way, you are welcome. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGNKgah948s)

07-20-2009, 10:00 PM

I am introducing the gun in Act 1 so that it can be used in Act 3. I think it was Nabokov who told me to do this.


Gob's had some pretty good luck today! These will fetch him enough that he can start slowly working his way up the food chain in town to get a potion of Strength or something. He very badly needs some of that.


Alright, so let's go back to being serious and actually discussing the game for a moment. Gob is stuck in a situation here where he doesn't have enough mana to teleport a safe distance away or attack, and is obviously too much of a wuss to rush three monsters head on. So what does he do?


He puts them all to sleep and takes a nap. That's just the kind of dude Gob is. Nothing gets him down. Doing this nets him enough SP back before they wake up that he can teleport to safety. Now, if he'd teleported into a room filled with more monsters, there'd be a second part to this story and I don't think any of us would like it.


Instead, you'll like this. Our old friend Smeagol is back, but this time he's far too traumatized from being touched by elves to do anything other than stumble around, lonely and scared.


This is the problem that most uniques are going to give Gob; he'll run out of mana long before they run out of health. Instead, what he's going to have to do is rely on secondary attack items that he's picked up along the way.

Like.. say.. a wand. That might involve lightning.


Some wand zapping occurs, and Smeagol turns into dust once again, presumably sentenced to be touched by elves for all eternity now. Or at least until a new character is rolled. Either way, you are welcome. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91EEjZOwlGs)


Man, that's a good sword. Gob's going to stash it at home until he gains another point of strength and can comfortably carry a weapon that heavy without getting loaded down too much between that, his armor, and his magical doodads.


Gob steps on a trap (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vswd0fEaEUk&NR=1) and becomes confused. Fortunately, the "smart" monster AI saves him when he gets a lucky command input and steps back into the hallway.


You are welcome. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJl8yzkBpxc)

NEXT TIME: I eat eel pie.

The Dread Cthulhu
07-20-2009, 11:37 PM
This is still very very good so thanks.

Since my Warrior with two artifacts and a weapon so good I sold Forasgil to buy it died, I've been experimenting as a human rogue. I think it was when the first one died to Fang that I realized that this may be harder than I was expecting.

08-10-2009, 04:30 PM
This is an update to tell you guys there is an update coming this week. Only on Let's Play Angabnd could such an update occur - I hope that you enjoy it. You are welcome. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L18uD7h87w) [ED's note: Video is SFW but the audio content is perhaps the most unsafe for work ]]

[b]NEXT TIME: Shit! Oh shit, oh fuck! What do I do! Shit! Fuck! (insert more cusses here)

PS: I did not eat eel pie.

08-10-2009, 06:16 PM
PS: I did not eat eel pie.

You were eaten by the eel pie instead?
Man, if anyone gets that reference I'll be shocked.