Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you by the end of hiatus and me not really being sure if Far Cry 2 is a good game or not. I guess that makes it not good? Also Devil Summoner kind of sucks so I don't feel bad skipping out on it during my "game time" for a few days.

Anyway, Viki had all kinds of fantastical adventures to give me at least a handful of updates of material, so let's get started.

Last time Viki had just destroyed her latest pushover foe, Orfax, Son of Boldor. I'm pretty sure that he was a yeek, but was turned into some kind of reddish-brown paste. This time, Viki has some garden-variety adventures to bring us back up to speed and bring me back into practice for the awesome stuff that's going to happen later. That's right: SPOILERS: Something awesome happens later.

With Viki back in town, she's free to peruse through the stores. As always there's a stop in the Black Market, which reveals one of the real reasons to visit this place: They occasionally have stat-gain potions on sale, at absurd prices. If Viki hadn't picked up that new bow a while back she could get a DEX boost right now, but honestly that doesn't matter very much for the time being. Viki needs to boost WIS and STR only for the time being, so that she can cary heavier equipment and blow monsters away with more Orb of Draining.

She also takes the opportunity to boost her armor back up, enchanting her robe and cloak to get a total of +4 more to her AC. At this point in the game her AC is going to start becoming much, much more important, along with resistances.

Back into the dungeon! Viki is immediately faced with a horrible connundrum - how does she deal with this stuck door? With the awesome shovel she's carrying, the obvious answer is to just dig around it. In fact, you can even dig through doors, but I believe it takes longer. Not that it would be any match for her mighty shovel!

Finally, Viki runs into a dangerous opponent who could seriously ruin her day. Giant Salamanders (R) are a garden-variety enemy except that they can breathe fire. In fact, this is the point in the dungeon where most enemies start gaining abilities beyond "hit" - we've already encountered a few of them, but once floor 15 gets hit, all bets are off. Everything is dangerous and can kill you at that point, which is worth noting because Viki's just been sailing along since around floor 5.

Finally! This is around where staves of perception start showing up, which are essentially just a nice Identify scroll stack. Unfortunately, they weigh a LOT - meaning that unless they have a large number of charges on them, it's worthless to carry them around. Unfortunately, stacking staves distributes the charges evenly among them - meaning that the more staves you've piled, if there's even one with a low number of charges, things can get kind of screwed up.

Meet another one of the special rooms! Sometimes there's a door leading into the center chamber, which contains some kind of neat treasure, which is why Viki is seen here casting Find Doors. In the future, though, she doesn't find a single one of these rooms with a center chamber - which I guess means that this clever and kind of fun dungeon feature was removed in these versions of Angband. But I sure hope not, because finding one is always kind of a little treat.

Viki also continues to have terrible luck with dart traps.

There's a brief trip back up to the town at this point to unload some treasure and dump her Perception staves off at home, and then Viki teleports back down into the dungeon to find herself on another boring level.

However, she does get an obligatory level-up and doesn't really gain anything useful from it. Right now she's at a point where the ability to learn more spells is pretty useless, because she doesn't have any of the extra prayer books on hand. Ethereal Openings is sitting back at home until Viki hits level 30 and it's actually worth carrying it around.

Viki also finds a mushroom of Cure Confusion. These are one of the more valuable items in the game to pick up, because, well, it cures confusion. Confusion resistance is ridiculously hard to get and incredibly important, because even the lowliest monster which can confuse you is a problem - because it means that bigger monster right next to it has free rein to totally blow you away.

Down another level, Viki discovers that it's "not bad". That's definitely a ringing endorsement, and so some exploration commences.

You might notice that so far, there hasn't been any combat featured involving Viki. This is because she quite simply crushes everything in her path - absolutely nothing at this level is a match for Orb of Draining combined with her massively enchanted flail. These days she's not even falling back on blessing herself that often, because it's simply not necessary and the bonuses are becoming more and more negligible.

Viki also finds her first useful rod. She'll be holding onto this for a while - it acts like a rod of light, which means that it's situationally useful against large groups of light-sensitive monsters. Like, say, getting a whole group of orcs lined up in a passage. She won't be able to just spam it to kill them all because of its (very short) recharge period, but it will soften them up enough for her to plow through them with regular attacks and the occasional cast of Draining.

Oh, thank god. These things are impossible to find in town these days and Viki could use that extra point of speed back.

Finally, some action. Viki runs across a pseudo-dragon, which isn't as dangerous as a real dragon, but is still pretty bad - it can breathe to confuse. But since it's asleep, Viki destroys it easily by casting Draining on it twice - all dragon-type creatures she's run across so far are evil.

Viki also comes across a mushroom of Cure Blindness, which isn't as important as Cure Confusion is, but will become useful very, very soon. She's going to start running into a lot of monsters which can breathe Light and Dark, both of which blind, and she needs to be able to see to use her books.

Throughout the dungeon there have also been these moving stacks of copper, silver, and gold that periodically like to attack Viki. These are all great monsters - they're easily defeated and predictably leave huge piles of cash behind. Creeping mythril coins are great in particular because it's easy to pull a 1000-gold haul off of fighting a single one. Right now no other monster has that kind of profit margin.

There are other mimics too, which are all dangerous. Angband keeps up the fine RPG tradition of mimic monsters being the monsters you absolutely do not want to fuck around with.

Viki takes a brief sojourn back to town to unload some of the junk she's carrying - that staff of Perception nets her almost 350 gold, even with no charges at all no it, making it a bargain to carry around instead of a weapon of almost any kind - and then immediately heads back down to the dungeon. In fact, this floor 11 is so boring that Viki makes a beeline straight for some downward stairs, only to end up on a floor just as dull.

Since this room is custom-made for it, now is as good a time as any to discuss a technique for dealing with monsters that Viki will probably not need to use for some time - but which comes in handy. This technique is called "pillardancing".

The basic principle is pretty simple - you need to be twice as fast as your opponent (or close to it) so that you get two moves to their every one. The idea is that you stand on a square adjacent to this block with wide open space around it, and move on the diagonal every other action you can take - you hit a monster, move to the adjacent side of the pillar, and so on. This works because you smack the monster and then (sneakily) move out of its line of sight before it can move, meaning that it has to waste a turn getting next to you instead of hitting or - worse - using a magic spell.

Once Viki finds some boots of speed or a ring of speed, this is going to be something she'll probably do a lot of, because she has a shovel that's practically tailor-made for setting up the geography necessary to pillardance.

Meet nether-type monsters. These ugly black worms have the ability to drain experience from you - which, if you're not careful, can actually drop you down a whole level. You can gain the experience you lost back in two ways; grinding through monsters like is traditional, or by going to drink a potion of Restore Life Levels. Right now it's more expedient to just crush a bunch of monsters, but later in the game nether can suck away huge chunks of your experience that you quite simply won't want to waste time getting back. Most players carry a potion or two of Restore Life Levels until they get nether resistance, which is another resistance that's hard to obtain.

Finally, Viki runs across a worthy foe. No, not the master yeek, but the horrible monsters that it summons, in this case the Water (v)ortex. This is an acid-type creature which shows up about 10 floors beneath this one usually, which means that it's going to be a bitch to defeat and will also dump a boatload of experience on Viki. You'll also notice that she ground back up to her previous experience level pretty fast after getting smacked around by the worms.

The vortex is actually strong enough that Viki has to teleport away for the first time in a long time, and wait out her recovery. This could have gone very badly if I'd been paying just a little less attention to Viki's mana.

Multi-hued dragons are real assholes. They're like every dragon rolled into one - meaning that they can breathe fire, ice, lightning, poison, confusion, poison, and probably some other things later on. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that even the little baby ones are capable of more than that, even though they're just as much of a pushover as the other dragons. You just have to be way more careful when fighting them.

Victory! Viki dumps a whole boatload of Draining on both the multi-hued dragon and the vortex, and it's finally an arrow that slays the beast. By now Viki's only got a reserve of about 10 arrows on her, to use in emergencies - most monsters show up in groups and it's simply easier to cast Draining. As you can see, this was one hell of a tough monster to show up on this level - this is why any monster that can summon is beyond dangerous. If a Master Yeek had summoned one of these, or another higher-level monster when Viki was just starting out exploring floor 10, she'd be dead now.

NEXT TIME: Viki's boring life gets exciting. Possibly more than once!

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