Let's Crawl! Mojave Plays DCSS

edited 2014-08-20 18:06:09 in Liveblogs
Hey there! This is gonna be a screencap LP of DungeonCrawl StoneSoup. I'm gonna sort of assume that anyone reading this has no knowledge of the game whatsoever, even though I know some of you do.

DungeonCrawl is one of the major modern roguelikes (here, we mean "straight" roguelikes, as opposed to genre hybrids like The Binding of Isaac or FTL). Another one, probably much better known, is NetHack. Roguelike games are a bit too complex a concept to explain here, but in short, they're RPGs that focus on very heavily strategic, turn-based gameplay. Furthermore, once your character dies, they're gone forever, and short of some very tricky manipulation of the save files, there's no way to get them back. Finally, we're going to be playing in Tiles mode, ie. actual picture graphics instead of ASCII characters, both because it is what I prefer and because it's easier to parse for the readers. We'll also be using the latest stable build (.14.1). There is a newer "Trunk" build I could use, but they include features that may never make it into a stable release, so I generally prefer not to do that.

EDIT: From now on, all old updates will be beneath a spoiler cut, to make the thread more readable.

[spoiler]

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This is Crawl's main menu (there is also a bottom part showing savegames that I've cut off because it's not important). There's a bunch of options here, but we're mostly concerned with two, "Dungeon Crawl", which is the game proper, and the High Scores list at the bottom. There's also a bunch of minigames you can play, and an object-testing arena, but those are not the focus of this let's play. Let's check out my high scores!

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You may notice that I have a penchant for coming up with random, vaguely fantasy-sounding names for my characters ("ooo" excepted, but that's a long story). You may also notice that my best ever character, who I finished playing as just today in fact, died on Level 5 of The Swamp! So you might be saying to yourself "What gives Mo? You're going to play a game that you've never beaten? That's rather lame." And for almost any other game you'd be right, but Crawl, like most roguelikes, is real freakin' hard, and also quite long. I've been playing on and off for about a year and a half and have never beaten it, and my situation is far from unique.

So our overarching goal for this LP is to complete a "standard" run of Crawl! This involves delving through The Dungeon, going to many side-areas and obtaining three runes, and finally entering the realm of Zot, to retrieve the Orb of Zot, and then escaping the dungeon with it. If you're a little confused, don't worry about it. I'll explain things in more detail as we go along.

Now, let's get started with a run proper.

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Here's Crawl's species selection screen. There's a pretty huge variety of species available, ranging widely in difficulty, and also in common-ness in fantasy settings. Some are so standard they're cliche (Humans, Elves, etc.) some are more commonly used as antagonists (Orcs, ogres, trolls, kobolds, vampires....) and some are so out there that they require further explanation (the Formicids, who are ant-men, and Vine Stalkers, who rather remind me of The Flood from Halo, are just two examples). For now, we're going to be picking a Minotaur. Why? Because Minotaurs are one of the easiest and simplest species to play with. Possibly the easiest and simplest species to play with.

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here's our class selection. There are a lot of classes too, but as you can see, most of them are greyed out for the minotaur. Now, this doesn't mean we can't select them, it just means that our particular species' aptitudes aren't necessarily suited for them. We're going to go with a Fighter. Minotaur Fighters are some of the easiest characters to win the game with, and they have a pretty simple playstyle.

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The game will then ask us for our preferred starting weapon, a prompt you get with most melee classes. We're going to go with a trident, a weapon in the polearm category. Polearms generally are slow, and do less damage than weapons of a similar rarity in different categories, but they can all be wielded with a shield (meaning we'll be better off defensively) and can all "reach" to attack enemies an extra space away.

Finally, the game asks us for a name. What I've been doing lately with Minotaurs is opening Wikipedia's "Famous Explorers" list and selecting names I like. Today, "Hanno" catches my eye, so we'll be going with that.

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Let's dive in, shall we?

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Before we do anything, let's take a look around. Crawl operates on a turn-based system, so nothing will happen until we take our first step in the dungeon. Notice our inventory in the bottom right, we've got a potion of might (which temporarily increases our Strength score), a bread ration (food is very important in Crawl), a suit of scale mail, a trident, and a shield, all of which we have equipped.

Being a Minotaur gives us several notable inherent traits as well

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this boils down to us getting an additional attack during combat, and not being able to wear helmets. All in all, a fair trade. This screen actually starts out blank for members of some species, like humans. I say "starts out" because it's possible to gain more abilities, but we'll get to that later.

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And right out of our entrance, we've run into our first two monsters.

For a frail spellcaster, this would be a problem, since Kobolds (the nearer monster) and Goblins (the farther away) can actually be a bit troublesome on the very first floor.

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Luckily, we are not frail. We can (and will) chop up the corpse of that goblin for food. It's grisly, but you do what you must to survive in the Dungeon of Zot. The Kobold has poisonous flesh, and we will thus avoid eating him.

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We also take a moment to set our skill training to "manual". This is very important (moreso on casters than melee fighters, but even still then), mostly because it will prevent the game from deciding that we need to train Throwing because we just tossed a single rock. Having multiple skills training at the same time makes all of them train slower, so having relatively few training at a time is generally advisable.

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Goodness! We run into a rather large throng of monsters not long afterward, the big orange fellow is a hobgoblin, his tile is worse than his Strength score. And yes, that is a newt next to that rat.

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Were we a caster, this would spell almost instant death for us, but for the second time in just a few minutes, Hanno's fighting skills pull him through largely unscathed.

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Our first bit of loot! Hooray! Also some statues, but we're more concerned about the loot. Scrolls and potions in Crawl, much like in other roguelikes, do not have immediately apparent effects upon picking them up. We have to either use them to have them ID'd to us, or, we have to use a Scroll of Identify on them. Funnily enough, we don't know what Scrolls of Identify look like either, so we begin use-ID'ing our small treasure.

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Stupidly, I drink the potion before using the scroll. As you can see, it was a Scroll of Identify that I wasted because I had nothing unidentified to use it on. Oh well. The potion was one of Restore Abilities, one we'll hopefully never have to rely on.

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A bit further on, we find some gloves and a Potion of Resistance, which makes us more protected from various elemental energies.

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Another mob of monsters! We lure them into a single-tile hallway and dispatch of them one-by-one, a useful tactic all aspiring dungeon-delvers should learn.

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Off this mob, we hit our third level, having quietly gained our second some time ago. This allows us to gain a specified stat up. It should surprise no one that I choose Strength as our stat of choice.

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We've cleared out the whole first floor by now, and we found this! Altars are rather rare on the first floor, and what they let you do is join a particular religion. This one belongs to Cheibriados, God of Time. Also the God of Taking it Easy, and Being Rather Slow. Chei, like all gods, offers various powers in exchange for your worship. Chei will make you slower while boosting your other stats, and gets offended if you use spells like Haste to speed yourself up. He's an interesting god, and not even a bad choice for us, but we're not going to go with him on this playthrough, I have other plans in mind.[/spoiler]
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Comments

  • I've heard that as well.

    At my relatively low skill level it doesn't make much of a difference though.

    Having some Dex is always good but my personal experience tells me we'll usually get a decent amount from the random stat-ups that some later levels will give us.
  • edited 2014-08-20 18:07:07

    Spoiler:
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    Apparently this is the run where all the potions are either blue or white. I forgot to show it earlier but I quaffed a "milky white" potion that turned out to be a Heal Wounds, and the Resistence potion I drank was dark blue. Curious.

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    The two potions turned out to be Invisibility and Haste. Both quite useful, but we're in a stage of the game where wasting useful things is somewhat expected. The scroll was one of Enchant Armor, which lets us make our scale mail just a bit better, though we'll probably still ditch it eventually.

    That gray "Cont" in the status bar is indicating that we're very lightly contaminated with magical glow. Contamination can be dangerous, but not until we get into higher levels (yellow "Cont" and above), and as we're not a spellcaster, that's pretty unlikely for us.

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    On Dungeon 2 we run into our first adder. Adders are dangerous because they can inflict poison, but thankfully their poison is never lethal by itself, unlike that of some later monsters. Thankfully, adders are small challenge to a skilled and well-armored fighter like Hanno.

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    That's what a Scroll of Identification looks like when you know what it is. They're a boon to have, but you should usually save them for when you have at least three things you want identified. Though it's rather rare, you can sometimes get up to three IDs from the same scroll.

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    Potions of Heal Wounds are a boon as well, this might help us out of a tight spot later on.

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    We hit level 4 off of an adder, and gain another point of strength. Pretty soon our minotaur will be able to bench press half the monsters he's slaying.

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    Another altar! The game really wants me to adopt a god early, but Zin has a very stringent moral code (as one of the "good gods") and is generally just not a good early game deity in the first place, so we press on.

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    We clear the second floor without much difficulty. Dungeon 3 on the next update!

  • edited 2014-08-20 18:07:25

    Spoiler:
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    That weapon over there is a giant spiked club. A formidable weapon, but we couldn't wield it even if we wanted to, it's simply too large. Ogres, and other similarly large creatures, can make better use of such weapons.

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    we pick up our first magical item off of a random goblin. Given that there's an altar (our third in as many floors!) of Vehumet, God of Destructive Magic, right there, I assume it was lying on the ground and the goblin picked it up. He took out almost half of our health in just two zaps!

    We don't have the skills necessary to know how many charges the thing's got left in it, but we do know it's been used twice. Since it was used on us, we know it's a Wand of Magic Darts. Magic Dart is a weak spell, somewhat akin to D&D's Magic Missile, like which it never misses. It could see some use, but we'll probably not run it dry, or if we do, we won't look to recharge it.

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    Orcs are the first real threat you encounter in the dungeon. The fellow in purple is an orc wizard, who is one of two reasons why. The other, green-clad orc priests, are not present here, thankfully.

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    Things go well at first, as we get our orcs all in a row and wail on them in a strategically sound fashion. Even with the enchanted mace the one orc is carrying, this should pose no problem.

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    Unfortunately our wizard friend proves to be a bit more tricky than I'd anticipated. Orc Wizards have surprisingly powerful spell lists when compared to your average wizarding PC on Dungeon 3. Pelting you with puffs of flame and magic darts, hasting themselves, and turning invisible (as seen, or rather, not seen here) are the tricks of their trade, and this one happens to be pretty darn good at what he does.

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    This early on in the game, when you're in a situation like this, it's time to enter "try everything" mode. Thankfully, the unidentified scroll we had was one of Fog, throwing up a thick cloud cover that blocks the wizard's line of sight, and lets us beat a hasty retreat back upstairs, where he can't follow (enemies can only follow you up and down levels if they are directly adjacent to you).

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    where we immediately encounter a hobgoblin itching to throw rocks at us.

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    thankfully we're able to one-shot the hobby gobby, and rest up for a bit.

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    Time for Round 2, you tackily-dressed chump.

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    Did I mention Orc Wizards know Confuse? They do.

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    But before long, our brawn beats his brains in, and his corpse mulches. You can see his dagger and staff on the floor here.

    Next update, the rest of floor three and beyond. Hopefully.

  • Not a hybrid rabbit-skink spirit
    RE: DEX vs STR

    The long and short of is that there isn't a super huge difference in damage increase between STR vs DEX, and DEX offers you a whole bunch of evasion bonuses

    STR is really only better for decreasing your encumbrance rating, and seeing as how you have 22 STR it won't help there much
  • edited 2014-08-18 01:24:54
    Not a hybrid rabbit-skink spirit
    So assuming your strength is 22, your armor skill is 4 (just guessing), and you're wearing scale mail, you have a penalty of 1.89, which is laughably small

    By the way, that means you lose a grand total of 2 EV and suffer no accuracy penalty in combat
  • edited 2014-08-20 18:07:40

    Spoiler:
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    We now have three unidentified items!

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    Unfortunately it only gives us one ID, and it's a Potion of Magic, something melee characters like ourselves gain little benefit from. Oh well.

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    We hit level six and go for a Dex Up this time around.

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    More orcs. Morcs even. I should point out that this is literally the same hallway we almost died in earlier.

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    Scorpions are basically more dangerous adders, and encountering one this early on is rather bad luck (though not unheard of).

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    note that the Poison status the scorpion inflicts us with is red. Red Pois can be lethal on its own, though thankfully it's not this time around. We clear out the rest of the floor without much of interest going on.

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    I will quote Dark Souls 1 now, because it is pertinent to rings in this game as well

    Rings grant powers large and small. Their discovery, and effective use, can make one's journey easier.

    Needless to say we immediately put it on. Unfortunately, that doesn't ID it for us right away (it sometimes does, but not here). So we take it off on the off chance it's something negative, and put it on our "to identify" list.

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    Another wand! This is going to be a generous floor, I can tell. We could ID it right now by using it, but there's no point in wasting a charge. We'll wait for a time when using it would give us at least a small benefit.

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    An ogre! Mixed luck is the name of the game today. Ogres are another enemy that's extremely dangerous to run into this early. Thankfully, we have the strength to stand up to him.

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    Another scorpion provides a great opportunity to test out our new wand.

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    Ah.

    We'll have to deal with him later, but it's good to know we have a Wand of Teleportation. Teleportation is probably the #1 escape plan in Crawl for when things suddenly get a bit too hectic to handle. It's excellent to have one of these so early on.

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    Oh my.

    Rods are a bit different than wands. Unlike wands, rods recharge over time and can do so without the use of a scroll. Also unlike wands, rods can do more than one thing.

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    Excellent.

    We're not currently training Evocations (the art of using magical items, probably the only magical skill other than praying that Minotaurs aren't awful at), but we immediately start. This is an extremely useful tool, even if we can't control what kind of bolt comes out of it, every bolt is a powerful, piercing offensive spell. Funnily enough, this rod also provides a bit of coincidental foreshadowing.

    Next update, I put my long smoking rod into our foes. Repeatedly.

  • Bunny said:

    So assuming your strength is 22, your armor skill is 4 (just guessing), and you're wearing scale mail, you have a penalty of 1.89, which is laughably small


    By the way, that means you lose a grand total of 2 EV and suffer no accuracy penalty in combat
    I didn't know that actually. I'll keep it in mind.
  • Not a hybrid rabbit-skink spirit
    A rod of destruction? Seriously?

    Man, you're lucking out. Expect the game to start throwing hydras at you or something
  • edited 2014-08-18 01:31:36
    Not a hybrid rabbit-skink spirit
    The official formula is 2 × (body armour encumbrance rating)2 × (45 - Armour skill) / (5 × (STR + 3) × 45)

    And shit, I was wrong on the accuracy. Looks like 3*armor encumbrance rating on STR is the value you're looking for, not 2*.
  • edited 2014-08-20 18:07:59

    Spoiler:
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    an iguana is volunteered to be our guinea pig.

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    two Bolts of Cold from the rod make short work of him. This thing's gonna be a good friend of ours, I can tell.

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    this is a Giant Eyeball. There's only a couple Eyeball monsters in the game, and most of them are harmless unless there are other monsters nearby. The Giant Eyeball, for instance, can paralyze you, but has no attacks of its own.

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    the first Scroll of Identify we find tells us that our ring is a Ring of Sustain Abilities. In the early game, this is not a super useful effect since ability drain is rare until later on, but if we make it to the end game, we'll be thankful we have this.

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    another scorpion means another target for our Rod of Destruction. We clear the rest of Dungeon 4 without any hassle.

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    considering a poisonous ant and an ogre on Dungeon 5 to be easy isn't normal

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    but with a Rod of Destruction it is

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    this is a kobold skeleton. Skeletons, zombies, etc. are what's known as "derived undead". Most are somewhat weaker than the monsters they come from, so you might see for example, hydra skeletons, before you ever see hydras.

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    Grinder here is a unique enemy. As you can see, he has the ability to paralyze you, among several other nasty tricks. Normally, we'd book it, as taking Grinder on when you first encounter him is generally suicide.

    However

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    Our Rod of Destruction makes that a moot point.

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    This here's a sky beast. These things are pretty cool, they're a fantasy version of an urban legend (google "atmospheric beast") and I think they deserve to be in fiction more often. Their meat is also mutagenic, meaning we can potentially mutate by eating it. Despite the name, that's not a bad thing necessarily. Some mutations are incredibly useful. Others are run-wrecking.

    However, it's a moot point. His corpse mulches, and we get no meat we can eat.

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    we use another ID scroll to show us that we've got scrolls of remove curse. These will probably be handy later when we inevitably find a cursed spear ("cursed" in Crawl just means it sticks to you and won't come off, but cursed equipment is often also awful).

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    We randomly find....another Ring of Sustain Abilities. OK.

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    and another altar to yukkuri god.

    Weird.

    Next update I'll cover any interesting stuff I find between now and The Ecumenical Temple, and the Temple itself. 

  • edited 2014-08-20 18:08:11

    Spoiler:
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    Game, you need to calm down with the altars. The Shining One is actually not a bad choice of deity for our Minotaur, but he's less good (especially in the early game) than the one I plan on picking. Maybe another run, Shine-O.

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    OK seriously, enough with the altars! This one's to Dithmenos, the god of darkness. Despite the sinister title, that's literal darkness. Dithmenos likes it when you stay in the shadows and will get pissed if you use fire magic. The glowwy blue guy is a phantom, he's not too much of a problem.

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    hilariously, we find not one but two spellbooks on D5. The idea of making our beefy fighter also able to hurl fireballs and summon hydras is appealing, but sadly it's not really practical with a Minotaur. So we leave the books behind.

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    This is a quasit. It's the first demon we've run into. Normally you run into imps (who come in Crimson, White, Shadow, and Iron flavors) first, so it's weird to encounter one of these guys now. He's hardy, but not much of a threat.

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    Well now.

    Dungeon 7 is promising to be interesting. Steam Dragons are the weakest of the true dragons, but they're still a threat, and they breathe clouds of scalding steam that also blocks our line of sight.

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    Again, our rod makes a potentially difficult fight near-trivial.

    We get a steam dragon hide for our troubles. You can enchant dragon hides to make armor, but we'll probably prefer something a bit sturdier over steam dragon armor, which is mostly for casters.

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    stop this.

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    These are gnolls. They roll in packs much like orcs, but they don't have as many spellcasting members of society.

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    A komodo dragon. I'm really not sure why the game is throwing these enemies at me, you don't normally encounter komodos until The Lair (a large side area we'll be exploring later). I can't help but wonder if the Rod has something to do with it.

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    The komodo bumps us up to Level 9. We dex up again.

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    that amulet we found turned out to be one of resist corrosion. Another thing we don't really need right now that might help us a lot later.

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    this is the Ecumenical Temple we've been searching for. Here, we'll join the cult of the mighty Makhleb The Destroyer, a powerful demon god who will grant us destructive abilities and the power to conjure fiends from the pit of hate itself.

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    Or perhaps we will not. I have never seen Makhleb's altar not be present in the Ecumenical Temple, and I'm fairly sure I didn't miss it earlier. Very curious.

    So, with that in mind, I've decided to leave the issue to a vote. Do I continue searching for an altar of Makhleb, or do I go a different route and join another religion?

  • Not a hybrid rabbit-skink spirit
    Well, unless they've changed it recently, all altars will spawn by Dungeon Level 9 except for Beogh, Lugonu, and Jiva

    So if you're comfortable diving down a few more levels for his altar, then go for it

    Otherwise, a god like Okawaru or Trog would be excellent backup choices
  • I kind of don't like Trog, personally.

    Ofc if he wins out I will have no choice. I just don't really care for berserking that much, it's a little too aggressive for how I normally play melee characters.
  • Not a hybrid rabbit-skink spirit
    I can understand that. He's good at what he does, but he does force you to go exclusively down that path.

    Trog's not my favorite either, as I usually prefer more versatility, but from the Kobold Berserkers I've played, I can't deny he's extremely effective.

    Anywho, my vote will be for finding the Makhleb altar. He's an interesting enough god. Powerful, too.
  • more like Lolbolds.

    Anyway I wish they'd hurry up and add that storm god into the game, then we'd have a few more viable options here.
  • also apparently the weird luck is like an instance thing because I'm running an entirely different run as a Draconian caster parallel to this and I found both Sigmund and a Staff of Power on the second floor.
  • and now an early Kiku altar.

    what even
  • edited 2014-08-18 08:37:58
    image Wee yea erra chs hymmnos mea.
    Due to armour reworks, strength actually ended up significantly buffed as a matter of course. General rule of thumb nowadays is: Are you going to be wearing heavy armour? Raise STR. Are you going to be a caster? Raise INT. Are you going to dodge? Raise DEX. STR did use to be pretty much useless in like, 0.12 though.

    Oh, and one other thing: You shouldn't quaff id except in emergencies, due to the risk of being mutated/poisoned/rotted. Use your id scrolls on potions. Scrolls are always safe to read id if you've cleared the floor.
  • I have heard differing opinions on that. I know another Crawl LPer is of the mind that you should quaff-ID everything you have in the Ecumenical Temple, because at that point your character is still essentially expendable but there's no risk of getting paralyzed and then slowly beat to death by an unarmed goblin, but I don't really have strong opinions on the subject and my strategy tends to boil down to "whatever I feel like at the time".
  • edited 2014-08-20 18:08:49

    Spoiler:
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    Hanno spurns the weak gods of the Ecumenical Temple. We press on, in search of an altar of Maklheb. The remainder of Dungeon 7 is of no particular interest.

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    This is a Big Kobold, they are exactly as their name would imply. Larger kobolds.

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    it seems he and his friend own a subterranean sheep ranch. Let's kill them and take their stuff!

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    There were yaks hiding in there too. It may sound stupid, but yaks are a mighty opponent in early game Crawl. They hit hard and come in herds, luckily our Rod of Destruction was there to

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    Ah. We zap ourselves with our wand of teleport and book it. We'll come back for our hydra friend later.

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    This is a Hungry Ghost, the spirit of a person who died of starvation. Fittingly, their attacks drain your nutrition, and you can get to "Near Starving" pretty quickly if you don't deal with them in a timely manner. Luckily, this one's not much of a match for us, nor is his friend later on the floor.

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    A shop! You can't sell to shops in Crawl, but you can buy, and they're the only common use for gold pieces.

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    Unfortunately this fellow doesn't have much we'd want. A cloak'd be nice, but it's not enchanted and it's not worth what they're asking. So we move on.

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    The game continues to taunt us with altars to every god but the one we're looking for.

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    Round 2 against the hydra leaves it a blood splatter on the floor. We leave Dungeon 8 without any further trouble, but concerned that we've still not found an altar of Makhleb.

  • edited 2014-08-20 18:09:04

    Spoiler:
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    Dungeon 9 greets us with one hell of a welcoming party. Erolcha is one of the most dangerous uniques in the early game. She can hurl various elemental magics at you and potentially banish you to The Abyss, a fate we would not survive at this low a level. We quickly book it back upstairs and she pegs us with a lightning bolt as we leave, knocking out a full third of our health bar.

    We'll have to find another route. (Also, Parable cameo)

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    The staircase to The Lair! The Lair is one of the larger side-areas off the Dungeon, and it's mandatory. It's filled to the brim with natural beasts possessed of an unnatural urge to kill. Rampaging yaks, elephants, snakes of all stripes, hydras, insects, and even the odd drake can be found within it. It's also much easier than going too much further in the Dungeon just yet, so we'll be going there very soon.

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    I've seen this vault before, and it's a very good sign. That many blood splatters can mean only one thing....

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    Yes! The altar of Makhleb!

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    We quickly kneel down and devote ourselves to the cleansing hellfire, thanking her for her gift of our Rod of Destruction. We can now sacrifice corpses to her, further spreading her glory.

    (As a side note, the gods in Crawl a strictly genderless. I tend to interpret Makhleb as female-ish, for whatever reason)

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    We run into another unique. Blork is one of four unique orcs, and the least dangerous by far. When we kill him, I take up his weapon and

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    ohhhhh yes. Dragon Slaying is a relatively rare brand, and it's absolutely excellent in certain situations. Even when it's not, the +6/+2 makes this hard to resist. However, the halberd makes an ass of me as it proves to be unwieldable with a shield. I think I'll have to ask for community input here. Is the loss of our shield worth the extra damage we get from wielding such a mighty weapon?

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    Slugs! We'll be seeing plenty of these in the Lair, but they're usually solitary. It's odd to see so many at once.

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    In the industry we call this a "fuck corridor".

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    Normally I'd clear the whole floor before descending, but this floor is just too dangerous, and we're not equipped to take on Erolcha if we run into her again. When we are more advanced in our devotion to Maklheb, she'll be a much easier target.

    For now, the Lair awaits.

  • In the interest of not holding up the LP, more updates will be forthcoming while I wait for input on the halberd. I'll be using it until then, if only for a change of pace.
  • edited 2014-08-20 18:09:21

    Spoiler:
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    Our Lair entrance is in an enclosed room, something I've never seen before.

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    I've never seen a forest in autumn in the dungeon before either. This is part of some vault that takes up most of the floor, evidently. Also, since I didn't explain it earlier, vaults are just premade areas that sometimes are generated into the dungeon. The Vaults, with a capital V and in the plural, are a different thing altogether.

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    There's a lot of nice utility loot (gold, food, potions, etc.) just lying around on the floor here. One of the more generous Lair 1s I've run across. Also, butterflies. Butterflies are harmless and it's very rare to just see one naturally. We kill it of course, because when you're worshiping a demon god no villainy is too large or too small for you to commit.

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    moar food. We use that Scroll of Identify to make it known that one of our rings is one of See Invisible. This is pretty handy, takes a lot of the bite out of certain monsters and it's better than having two Rings of Sustain Ability, which I'm pretty sure don't stack in any meaningful way.

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    Green Rats! These are like regular rats, except green. Also poisonous. They are not terribly threatening.

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    We establish our stash near the Lair entrance. Our stash is exactly what it says on the box, and The Lair is generally a great place to put it, because it's almost impossible for anything to come down here and steal your stuff. Frogs and slugs can't really make use of scrolls and wands can they?

    We drop some situational scrolls and about half of our permafood (that's the technical term for stuff that's not meat chunks from a corpse, folks) here.

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    Rest of the floor's pretty uneventful. Also rather small, oddly.

  • image Wee yea erra chs hymmnos mea.

    We establish our stash near the Lair entrance. Our stash is exactly
    what it says on the box, and The Lair is generally a great place to put
    it, because it's almost impossible for anything to come down here and
    steal your stuff. Frogs and slugs can't really make use of scrolls and
    wands can they?

    We drop some situational scrolls and about half
    of our permafood (that's the technical term for stuff that's not meat
    chunks from a corpse, folks) here.
    Oh right, 0.14 still has item weight. I forgot about that.
  • Even when they do away with it I'm going to still be making stashes just because like, it's a hassle to carry all of this stuff, and the resizing in windowed mode makes it hard to have a large inventory.

    I'm very rarely gonna need scrolls of noise, you know?
  • edited 2014-08-18 19:48:21
    image Wee yea erra chs hymmnos mea.
    They have done away with it. It's gone in 0.15 (which is coming out really soon), as is item destro.

    (Also, scrolls of noise break mes, so.)
  • Break what?

    It's going to be interesting having to adjust to .15 mid-LP.

    I'm sad they're doing away with some of the sillier enemies (eg. Giant Goldfish) even if I understand why they are.
  • image Wee yea erra chs hymmnos mea.
    Mesmerisation. AKA that thing Sirens do to you that make Shoals even worse than normal.
  • I actually didn't know that.

    Still, that makes them useless outside that specific sub-branch.
  • edited 2014-08-20 18:10:02

    Spoiler:
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    Lair 2 introduces us to blink frogs. They can teleport around and are annoying, but not super dangerous.

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    We also find a Lantern of Shadows. Artefacts like the lantern are odd finds, and I never really know what to do with them. I often end up just not using them at all.

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    We reach Level 11, and simultaneously, we go up a piety rank with Makhleb.

    Higher levels of piety (denotated by those asterisks under our name in the top right) give us access to new abilities depending on our religion.

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    Here, Makhleb has infused us with the ability to fire bolts of random elemental energy at our foes. If this sounds a lot like our Rod of Destruction, it is, just weaker. It also costs some hunger and a single hit point to use. For now, we'll use this sparingly, but later on we'll be able to spam it pretty well. We should also train up Invocations, so it doesn't fail very often (spells and abilities alike have a failure chance that goes down as the relevant skill goes up).

    Other than this development, Lair 2 is boring. On to the next!

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    The Komodo makes a good test target for our ability, but unfortunately it doesn't do much and we end up having to take him down the old fashioned way.

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    Snorg is another pretty dangerous unique. He's a classed troll, a Berserker to be specific.

    However, I'm getting tired of having to run past uniques. We fight!

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    We quaff our potion of haste, if we can rip him up with the Rod of Destruction he shouldn't stand much of a chance.

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    Our Rod's not enough to kill him! Snorg berserks and starts absolutely wailing on us, I quaff a Heal Wounds potion and move to book it back upstairs.

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    unfortunately, it's not quite enough. Snorg catches up with us and lands a couple claw strikes, bringing our adventure as Hanno to an abrupt end with a moo of agony.

    It's sad, but it happens. This one was totally my fault. I shouldn't have tried to fight Snorg in the first place, and even when I did, should've used one of our Blink scrolls to retreat rather than just trying to run. Couple other things here could've saved us too (like that Scroll of Summoning).

    Thus ends our first Crawl run! It was a decent one. And an extremely lucky one at that, but that's how the cookie crumbles, careless play will never net you a victory.

    Next up: more bashy stuff, with a slightly different approach this time.

  • edited 2014-08-20 18:10:16

    Spoiler:
    Let's start back up, shall we? No reason to miss a beat.

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    This is Thrall. Thrall is a Hill Orc (much more civilized than those stupid cave orcs we run into in the dungeon), and is a Death Knight.

    What's a Death Knight, you ask? Well, remember how we spent much of our last run trying to find an altar to join a religion? Here, we don't have to do that. Death Knights are a zealot class, and start with one rank of piety in their particular religion, that of Yredelemnul, god of Undeath.

    Yredelemnul is not quite as offensively-minded as Makhleb, but he grants us a useful power right off the bat.

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    We can raise the dead.

    It costs some MP (which we don't have a lot of) and hunger, but it's an extremely useful ability. We'll still largely be bashing things, but having an army of zombies following us around much of the time will provide an escape route when things get rough. Having another body between you and the OOD Hydra you just ran into can be the difference between life and death.

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    We can raise skeletons too, if we happen to find heavily decayed corpses at any point, or if we butcher the corpse first. This has the benefit of letting us potentially get meat and a servant off the same corpse, but zombies are strictly better than skeletons, statswise, so we shouldn't aim for it.

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    Notice how this kobold died on the same tile that a short sword was on?

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    His zombie, when raised, wields the weapon. This doesn't always happen, and I think the chance for it to occur may be related to the skills you're using to raise the dead, but it's handy when it does. You can even carry around extra weapons and drop them over corpses before you raise them, giving your servants a little extra killing power.

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    We found a Scroll of Random Uselessness on this floor. It summoned butterflies, and funnily enough that's actually the most useful thing said scroll can do. How pretty, right?

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    You may notice that Thrall is now on Dungeon 2. You may also notice that Thrall does not currently have any minions. What gives, you might ask? Well, while you can pick up and transfer inert corpses between floors, your undead minions cannot actually follow you. Unfortunate, but it's not a huge problem.

    I'm going to be glossing over much of the early game because it's likely not going to be dissimilar to what we saw last time. Next update will cover interesting stuff between now and the Lair.

  • image Wee yea erra chs hymmnos mea.
    Well, while you can pick up and transfer inert corpses between floors,
    More 0.15 changes! :P (Exactly because of this, actually.)
  • Huh. I never actually did that much anyway, but that's interesting.
  • edited 2014-08-20 18:10:34

    Spoiler:
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    On D2, we hit a new piety rank and gain a pair of new abilities (the Injury Mirror is quite powerful, but also very expensive).

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    Terrence is an early game unique. He's not really any trouble most of the time, and that's true here as well.

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    We take his flail (enchanted with the Crushing brand, which makes it do extra damage) and revive him. Fun fact, unique zombies, skeletons, etc. retain their names upon their revival.

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    Ijyb, a bland goblin unique with a funny name, soon joins Terence in the "zombies with names" club.

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    We run into our first mimic here too. Mimics are rare monsters that mimic some object or another, they're not super dangerous, but some later, more advanced mimics can be.

    image

    Orc Priests I mentioned last run, but we didn't actually encounter any. They're annoying monsters with the ability to use an attack called Smite, which lets them damage you (for quite a lot, early on) as long as they can see you. It's been the death of many an early character.

    As a Hill Orc, you can also actually convert to the religion of the Orc God Beogh. We'll not be doing that, but it's something we may cover in a future run.

    Accordingly, we toss our minions at the priests and book it back upstairs.

  • That's all for today, folks. Some people have been saying I've been putting out too many updates in too short a time, so I think for now what I'll start doing is instead doing one or two large updates per day instead of many short ones.

    Hopefully this will give those people some time to catch up.
  • From a lore perspective, it may be because they are unnatural creatures of some kind.

    From a practical perspective, because fuck ya.
  • So I said I was done with updates for the day, and I am, but guess who I just ran into?

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  • TreTre
    DISRUPT THE SYSTEM ⌘
    Shadowy Figures in Blue would be a rad song title.

    I'm using it.
  • edited 2014-08-20 18:11:12

    Spoiler:
    And we're back!

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    Not long after taking care of that Orc Priest from earlier, we rank up in piety, and our Animate Dead ability gets an upgrade. Now, instead of merely raising one zombie or skeleton at a time, we can raise all of them in our line of sight at the same time. The utility here is twofold, for one, it saves us some time, but more importantly, it makes Animate Dead a much better combat option. It's not long before we'll be annihilating waves of enemies by throwing their own dead soldiers back at them.

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    These corpses decomposed before we could make zombies of them, but they'll still serve us as skeletons. Observe.

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    This lets us greatly increase our offensive output. Why tackle the dungeon alone when we could do it with a horde of the undead by our side?

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    Note the message ticker.

    Sewers are one of a couple optional mini-areas, their entrances collapse if you don't get to them fast enough, so we'll be making getting there a top priority.

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    Before then though, this happens. Yredelemnul can decide that you're doing just a fine job of being a harbinger of death, despair, and doom, and grant you undead servants as a sort of reward. Flying Skulls are probably the weakest thing he can give to you, but they're still excellent for this early on in the game, and they'll easily pull their weight.

    Flying Skulls (and for that matter, any servant Yredelemnul grants you) are notably not derived undead, they cannot be made by spells, and instead exist as wholly original monsters within the various areas of the Dungeon. Yred will continue to grant us servants from time to time as the game goes along.

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    The Sewer! We were lucky to find it so quickly.

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    Much like moving to a new floor, moving into a minibranch prevents you from taking your undead servants with you (curiously, even our flying skulls, who can accompany us from floor to floor), but I brought a pair of corpses along to serve as meat shields in case things get dire.

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    Well now, there's a form of undead I didn't ever expect to encounter here. Vaenken here is a player ghost, as in, one of my old characters brought back as a phantom. I don't remember playing as Vaenken (and it's news to me that I ever died in the Sewer), so it must have been a long time ago.

    Some ghosts are quite chatty, but we don't give Vaenken the chance.

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    We are only interested in undead we can control.

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    If you were curious, you absolutely can animate the remains of dead aquatic creatures like this fish. It can even be a smart idea sometimes, as they can move into deep water whereas you (unless you're a merfolk) and most of your other servants can't.

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    Sewer, post-cleanout. Not sure why there's an altar to Evylion, goddess of healing, down here.

    Our loot is some potions, which later turn out to be Heal Wounds. A five stack of those is a nice get, for certain.

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    I don't know if they recently made it possible for butterflies to spawn randomly in the dungeon but I have been running into them a lot lately. They don't seem to have come from any vault either.

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    Natasha is a Felid, that is to say, a sapient housecat with multiple lives. Popular interpretation of her backstory says she's the former familiar of Boris, another uniqe, and a wizard-turned-lich that we will probably not be encountering today. If true, it makes for one of the game's odder references, and one that I'm sure Anonus would appreciate.

    We have no time for pop culture jokes nor sob stories. We kill her several times on the floor before she finally dies for good.

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    Another player ghost? Goodness.

    Skrikkitz I just played as today in fact. I've been trying to improve my skills with the assassin class, and the kobold's natural bonuses to stealth and the shortblade skill seemed like a good fit. I was proved wrong when she died on Dungeon 4, but again, we have no time for sob stories and unruly undead. Much of the bite of the assassin class (mainly the stab ability and high stealth) are rather neutered by death. We lay her to rest in short order too.

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    Ogres are good targets for zombification, because their main advantages (being large brutes with good attack and a lot of hit points) are not as blunted by undeath as many creatures' are.

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    We rank up in piety again and gain a life drain attack. It's a nice get out of jail free card, especially when combined with Injury Mirror, but both cost piety to use, and ranking down in piety is never something you want to do. So we'll be using it sparingly.

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    Leaving money all around your shop seems like an odd business decision to me, but I'm not an entrepreneur, so I don't know, maybe he makes more than he loses.

    In any case, we buy a fire-resistant chainmail there. rF is a good brand, and it's nice to have this early on so we don't have to worry about it as much later.

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    Menkaure is a mummy. Like most mummies, he has a repetoire of dangerous spells but is rather fragile. He goes down in exactly two swings of our flail.

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    He tries to inflict a death curse on us and fails. Cute. If he'd succeeded a random item in our inventory would've become cursed. Whoop de doo.

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    Were we flying solo the elf twins would be super dangerous. Duvessa is a berserker and her brother Dowan is a mage. Common wisdom is to take out Dowan first, as each sibling gets more powerful when the other dies. So Dowan goes down, and Duvessa follows a bit later.

    We raise only Duvessa as a zombie as Dowan's corpse mulched. Yredelemnul cares not for petty sentimentality.

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    Another rod! It sounds terrible, and it's true that a rod of inaccuracy is situational, but it's still a boon to have. Bolt of Inaccuracy (the spell it fires) does a ton of damage but is really hard to hit anything with. Nonetheless, it can take down some otherwise quite dangerous low-EV foes in just one or two shots.

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    Crazy Yiuf is a rather nonthreatening, but funny, unique who possesses a quarterstaff of chaos, which inflicts random effects when it hits us. He only gets a single swing in before we dispose of him.

    We're closing in on the Lair, I can feel it. Next update for tonight should include us getting to it bare minimum. Hopefully some other surprises, if I have my way.

  • edited 2014-08-20 18:11:27

    Spoiler:
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    On D7, Yred gives us another buddy. This one's a Wight, an undead warrior with a cursed weapon. I know "wild" Wights have the draining brand on all of their attacks, but I'm not sure if that holds true for ours.

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    Gathering up an impressive horde is, at this point, trivial for us.

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    This is a cool Vault. It contains an altar to Ashenzari, god of seering and also bondage. Ashenzari lets us preview the two Lair sub-branches we have this game, The Swamp and The Spider Nest.

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    No comment.

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    Another player ghost! Vsun was actually the run I completed immediately prior to resuming this one, funnily enough. I'll talk about Vine Stalkers more when I actually show them off for the LP, but Vsun is largely harmless aside from his venom-branded dagger.

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    Aha! The staircase to The Lair. We clear D9 with no particular trouble and delve down.

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    Joseph is an asshole. Also a dangerous unique. Luckily, he's alone and we've got two Wight bodyguards so

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    Aw heck.

    A Scroll of Blink later, we book it downstairs.

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    Aw heck.

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    It took a few Healing Potions, lots of luck, and a single use of our Energy Drain, but we manage to pull out ahead here.

    The real problem is going to be getting back upstairs and dealing with Joseph and Ooo. We're stranded two floors deep in an entirely unexplored branch, our Wights are trapped upstairs with no way to get to us, and things are just looking generally grim.

    I opt to delve deeper into the Lair until we can find a way to take out Joseph and the deceased conjurer.

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    This is an altar of the nature god Fedhas. See those red Xs? That's a travel-excluded zone. The game's way of saying "stay the fuck away". That thing in the corner is an Oklob plant, an acid-spitting thing that we are in no shape to deal with.

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    Elephants? Elephants. Elephants are extremely dangerous creatures, moreso because they come in packs. They also make great undead, because they retain their trampling attack (which does extra damage and pushes the foe back) even as zombies and skeletons.

    You surely see where my mind is going here.

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    It takes a while and some complex manuvering, but we down the elephants and collect their bones.

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    They live! This will help us out quite a bit against these two troublesome foes.

    Let's take a closer look at Ooo, shall we?

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    Dazzling Spray, Mystic Blast, and Animate Dead. Not a pleasant spell list, but it could be far worse. The most troublesome of these is Dazzling Spray, as it can confuse us (which it does, several times).

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    Of course, Joe wants to get in on the party too.

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    But it proves to be a bit too much for him to handle. Ooo falls not long after, but not after draining me with his breath weapon about a half dozen times. Draining essentially makes your skills worse, and we'll be vulnerable until they get back up to par. All Draconian player ghosts that had a breath weapon of any sort in life, have a draining bolt as their breath weapon as a ghost. It's real annoying.

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    Oho, Joe left a corpse.

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    Revenge is sweet.

    I think that'll be all for today folks. Tomorrow, I plan to show off the best thing about being a Death Knight, and maybe some other stuff as well.

    See you then!

  • image

    With the two uniques that were giving us trouble gone, we can now return to exploring Lair 1.

    Electric Eels are annoying, they pelt you with lightning bolts from pools of water, but thankfully, they can't leave those.

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    shafts are holes in the floor that drop you to floors farther down. I have never seen this many in one place.

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    We get a Wraith buddy a floor later. Wraiths are flying undead that are quite powerful.

    He dies not a floor after this, but the quality of our servants is increasing, which is good.

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    Something truly beautiful happens on Lair 3.

    Enslave Soul is one of the best abilities for a standard 3 rune run, full stop. If you're familiar with the Diablo II Necromancer's Revive spell, you've got the general idea, but the specifics are a bit different. Enslave Soul essentially curses a monster, and if you can kill them in a certain time frame, they're brought back as a friendly spectral thing, the most powerful form of derived undead. Spectral Things retain most of their abilities, which means that you can potentially get seriously powerful spellcasters under your command. Notably, you can even enslave uniques.

    It's tempting to show it off as soon as possible, but the ability costs a fair chunk of piety and you can only have one Spectral Thing at a time. So we'll be waiting for the right person to come along. Like a romantic comedy! Except instead of laughs and romance, it's death and the twisted  subjugation of the immortal soul itself.

    Unfortunately, we're not going to get to show it off this run.

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    I'm quite upset with myself.

    Black Mambas are nothing to mess with, certainly. Their poison stacks a couple times and can rapidly drain you.

    Buuuut, you may notice I had six Scrolls of Teleportation. I just sort of forgot they were there.

    That's two disappointing deaths in The Lair down.

    I'd like to solicit advice as to what to play for the next run, was thinking a Draconian Conjurer.
  • I'd suggest something stupid and hard to play, but it'd be better if I keep that to my thread. 

    Maybe Centaur Hunter? To round out the Fighter/Mage/Rogue thing you have going on right now?
  • I have a plan for a rogue character and it's not a Centaur Hunter.

    I don't really like Hunter characters anyway, I don't really know how to play them.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Oooh, Draconian Conjurer is my favorite class.

    The Battlesphere is great.
  • I guess I'll go with the Conjurer then.

    Next time I will be doing the rogue class thing, but I wanted to get a wizard out of the way first (The Death Knight is more of like a cleric or something, albeit one for a not-very-nice god).
  • image Wee yea erra chs hymmnos mea.
    Yeah, all the zealot classes except Healer are basically "HIT THINGS, NOW WITH ADDED GOD."
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