Thursday, June 30, 2005

What's Left?
I was looking things over, and I was a little surprised about something - of the 13 classes in the current brand of Nethack, I've won with 8. That means I've only got a handful left - Caveman (and I lost one of these guys on the Plane of Air), Archeologist, Healer, Priest and Tourist.

I have faith in the first two. Cavemen are winable, and sooner or later I'll get a buff Arch with Greyswandir and silver dragon scale mail. The last three will be a bit harder. If I can get a healer past the quest, then maybe... Their quest toy is a staff that does megadamage. Priests... They give flexabilty (can be a spell dude or a fighter), but aren't good enough at either to really be good. If cavemen are the poorman's barbarians, then perhaps priests are the poorman's knights. Knights minus Excalibur & riding = not as much fun.

Tourists - man, if I could ever get one of these past the quest it would be awesome. Unlimited charging via the quest toy.

I think I need to concentrate on my remaining five classes. I'd love to complete the set before the next revision.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A New Valkyrie
I decided to start a cycle of characters, the first being a valkyrie. Hence Juneval. I'll play every other character this month. I walked my way down to the shop level in the mines, but no magic lamps. Also no good armor. OK, go to the Sokoban. I pick up a bag and it is holding. Yes! OK, at the Oracle I dip my longsword and get Excalibur. Sooner or later I'll replace it with Mjollnor. I work my way through the Sokoban and get an amulet of reflection. Next step is to get the luckstone at the bottom of the mines. On the way down I turn into a baby purple worm, destroying the armor I have. I'll need to work on that. I kill a tengu, and get all jumpy. Well, that's the risk of eating tengus. None of my rings are teleport control. But I do have conflict, heh heh heh. I make it all the way to the bottom, and get the luckstone. And I find another tengu. I feel in control of myself.

OK, this isn't a bad start. I could use some speed boots and some very good body armor. Sooner or later I'll replace Excalibur with the only better weapon. I should get a magic whistle. On the other hand, a Valkyrie with teleport control should be able to kick some major ass. Any valkyrie past the luckstone has at least a 33% chance of winning. Let's see if I can pull this one off.

Well, I've continued down the dungeon. Still no speed boots. But I've made a decision. After over 20 years of playing this game I think I need to win the hard way at least once. How do you win the hard way? No wishes. No genociding. No polymorphing crap into cool toys. I guess after winning with a monk (never hit with a wielded weapon) made me want to really challenge myself.

So let's think about what this means. No wishing isn't that big a deal. Sooner or later I will run into a dragon and I'll get good armor, and sooner or later I'll get a set of speed boots. I already have a ring of conflict, a way of levitating, and teleport control. And a rocking weapon. No polymorph means no chemistry for mega-hitpoints. It also means no easy scrolls of enchant armor or enchant weapon. On the other hand, it also means I'll be playing with lots of Holy Water. Finally, no genociding is going to be the tough one. It means mindflayers, giant eels and liches galore. I think I've played long enough where I can pull this off - the death here will either be a true learning experience or something really stupid.

I've passed Medusa (no shield of reflection) but haven't made it to the castle yet. Not yet level 14 so I cannot try out the quest.

Cleared the castle, haven't seen Hell. Well, I guess I haven't really cleared the castle as I haven't dealt with the dragons in the back rooms. Did the quest. I went up the dungeon to an altar, but was polymorphed into a cockatrice. An elf lord took this opportunity to steal all of the stuff I left on the altar, and he burned a lot of my good magic. Bastard! Well, I can now throw the hammer. What else? I guess I still need good magic protection, as well as speed boots.

Never found the speed boots. Here's how I died. I hit a polymorph trap and turned into a blue dragon (I made some blue dragon scale mail in the castle. Too bad I didn't have a wand of undead turning, no scales from the grey). OK, not so bad, except I got hungry in Hell. No problem, I've got food in my bag. Dragons have no hands, can't get food. I can't pray either I'm in Hell (crap, should have used the Orb of Fate to level teleport to where I could pray). I faint and I am killed. Damn.

Well, there's going to be one Hell of a bones file waiting for somebody...

Friday, June 17, 2005

A Monk Wins - Finally!

So I've become interested in two different classes recently - monks and tourists. They are evil twins, as monks start out kicking ass and then have real problems past the mid-game (can't generate damage at a high enough clip, armor crappy) while tourists start out sucky but become world-beaters post quest (infinite recharges).

Mon55 started out with the sleep spell, which is underrated. He very quickly found forcebolt, which was a big help. Went down to the shop level in the mines, no magic lamp, but there was a +5 iron helm!

So I completed the Sokoban and got reflection. Down to the bottom of the mines and got the luckstone. I've been very careful in this game with wands of teleport and digging to zap my way out of messes. Two big finds in the dungeon - spellbook of ID (YES!) and a bag of holding. No speedboots though.

Haven't done the quest yet. First of all I'm not level 14, second, the Monk quest is the worst in the game. I'm going to want to have a wand of death for Master Kaen.

I'm currently in the process of assualting the castle. I really screwed this one up. I played the passtune and a disenchanter showed up. I should have replayed the passtune and crushed him, but instead I backed off. Now I'm being swamped by monsters. Even worse, a naga melted my robe, so now none of my spells work.

Assuming I live through this I'm going to have to use the following wishes:
1 - A new robe
2 - Speed boots
3 - Ring of levitation
4 - I don't deal out enough damage, so a blessed figurine of an Archon
5 - Good old wand of polymorph

With all of that and some luck, I should be able to take down Master Kaen and make progress to winning with a monk. (Just watch, the next post will say that I died in the castle).

Well, I didn't die in the castle. I cleared it and wished for a new robe and speed boots. I decided against a ring of levitation and just went for the wand of polymorph. I wasn't able to get a ring of levitation from that though. Damn. Cleared out the first level of Hell and got up to level 20. I did some potion mixing and got up to 300 hit points. I pondered getting a wand of death, but screw it, let's rock-and-roll Master Kaen. I wielded a potion of paralysis and had a ring of free action. I smacked Master Kaen upside the head and while he was frozen I kicked the crap out of him! Yes! That's the first time I ever killed Master Kaen.

Once I did that I felt it was time to shift gears. Implement the blessed figurine of the archon. Me and him are going to take a walk in Hell.

OK, so I kill Baalzebub and Juiblex and keep going down in Hell. I come upon a level that has some dug out walls. That's kind of weird, you don't see too many bones files this deep in the dungeon. I eventually stumble upon the bones of a character, and am chilled when I find that there are several amulets of life savings in the bones pile. This means that whatever killed the character did it so fast that he couldn't put on an additional amulet of life saving. Only one monster can do that - Demogorgon.

Crap. After killing Master Kaen I thought it would be easy, but if there's one dude tougher than Kaen it's Demogorgon. I immediately saved the game so I can go off and think. I don't have a plan right now, but death is lurking around the corner. Monks don't have the firepower to fight Demogorgon. There is a wand of wishing in the bones pile, I might wish for a cockatrice corpse. I don't know.

The dead character I found is this one - I've got my work cut out for me. :(

...Or maybe not. I've done a quick search of the level and haven't found Demogorgon (or, more importantly, he hasn't found me). Interestingly, the bones pile was on the down staircase. I suspect what happened is that my poor valkyrie encountered Demogorgon and immediately teleported to the upstaircase to fight and possibly escape if needed. She was getting pummelled, lost an amulet of life savings, got poisoned, ran up the staircase, and then died before she could apply another amulet of life savings. I think I would have written that in my blog posting, but perhaps I didn't. In any case, I got a lot of cool stuff. Gauntlets of Power really help with damage for a monk. I'm a high enough level that they don't mess with my spells. On the other hand, I can only stare at the Grey Dragon Scale Mail and the Orb of Fate... both unusable to me (I guess if I had been neutral I could use the Orb of Fate, but its main benefit - half damage, is granted by the Master Key, which is lighter). What I have to do now is divide up my booty into a bag that is useful and a bag that is simply fodder for a wand of polymorph. Carry the first bag and leave the second at a protected location. I like to do a round of polymorphing after clearing the castle and the first level of Hell, and a second round in the big room in the Wizard's tower. I sometimes do a third round just before I leave the dungeon for the elemental planes. In any case, right now I've got about 340 hitpoints. With a little alchemy I could do better. I should also improve my armor...

I'm at the point where I'm starting to believe that I can win this one...

OK, I stuck the useless potions/wands/scrolls in a bag and left in on the down staircase of a level, and continued to explore with "the good stuff". Killed Vlad and got the candlethingy. A few levels down was Orcus's level. I go to hit a shade - and nothing. Crap, you need a silver weapon or an artifact weapon to hurt shades, and I'm going weaponless. Put on a silver ring. Nope, still no good. Good thing I still have that pet Archon... Used a cockatrice corpse to kill Orcus. Next step is to make it to the bottom of the mazes and find the vibrating square.

I found the square. I then went up and cleaned out the Wizard's Tower (lost my Archon though - damn). Then I spent a long time polymorphing stuff into more useful stuff. When I ran out of charges on my wand I simply left the useless stuff behind to conserve weight - normally I carry all kinds of shit with me, but the key to monks is speed. OK, kill wizard, get book. Open Moloch's Sanctum, steal Amulet of Yendor, run up dungeon. Kill wizard a few more times. Make it to the Planes. With proper tools (scrolls of gold detection) the Planes are easy.

I make it to the Astral Plane and go left. Shit, wrong altar. OK, go middle. Shit, wrong again. At this point I turned off the game to think. I decided that I didn't have enough firepower and used another wish on a blessed figurine of an Archon. He didn't last too long, but he did clear a path for me most of the way to the third altar. Sacrifice Amulet, win game.

Monks are an interesting challenge. I ate all kinds of meat, but never did wield a weapon. I did wish for the Master Key of Thievery, and wishing for another class's quest toy is generally frowned upon. I don't think I'll play monks again soon, but it is cool to say that you won without wielding. Looking back, if you can kill Master Kaen, you should win.

I think I'm going to do another tournament...

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