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.

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 (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?

< Part 11 | Main | Part 13 >