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 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.

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, 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!

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