Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you buy Dogfish Head Fort. Do you like slightly bitter, overly fruity raspberry beers? Like the really sour kind of lambics? Perhaps you will enjoy this beer. I did not really enjoy it very much and also it fucked my shit up. Half a glass and I was ready to take a nap, I'm serious.

Last time on Let's Play Angband, we got back into the swing of things. There's nothing wrong with that, but it means that Viki's life is a bore and she should have better times ahead. She hasn't had good luck in a while, actually.

Things start off swimmingly with a "not bad" feeling. This means the floor will be worth trawling around, checking out what's going on, that sort of thing. Maybe Viki will find a nice item or two to sell back in town, start building up her cash reserves so that next time there's a stat-gain potion on the shelf in the black market, she can pick it up.

Things, however, quickly go sour. This happened in less than 100 turns on the floor, which is where the generic level feeling comes from, and more importantly, it happened within about 10 turns on the floor; Viki literally moved three tiles to the east, opened a door, and fell into the trap. This is not an auspicious start to the day, because now she needs to travel the whole floor to find shit all, I bet.

The group of Manes (u) that are in front of Viki are no problem. (u)s are minor demons, which of course mean they're evil, which of course mean that it's drainin' time. I'm now positive that there's a reason most winners in Angband are priests.

Viki destroys a group of wolves and other unsavory beasts for this level up. She can now learn a fantastic 4 prayers, but I'm fairly sure that she can't get another one out of the books she's holding onto right now yet. The things she's got left aren't worth learning until she's got plenty of learnin' to burn.

Meet the illusionist, the older brother of the novice mage. He's kind of an asshole, with the same fantastical magic powers that will cause no end of trouble for poor Viki, being that he's just kind of a buffed-up version of this lower-level monster. Don't worry, the game will get more creative with its weird beasts soon enough when it introduces some with truly interesting abilities.

Upon defeating him, he appears to drop a perfectly ordinary-looking mace. Fortunately, Viki is dragging around a stack of identify scrolls and is in her "id everything" phase of young adulthood.

Because:

'''HELL

YES'''

Welcome to pain, population: monsters. Not only does Viki finally get an artifact, but because it's a blunt weapon, it's actually one she can wield. Let's take a closer look at what this magical item is capable of:

Well, that's not very helpful. What exactly does "it might have hidden powers" mean? Well, it means that this object has properties beyond the power of a mere Identify spell - you need *Identify*, which tells you everything about an object. There are a couple things that we can guess at though, from its name and the fact that it's an artifact:

- [+2] is an AC bonus from wielding the item.
- Firestar means it's fire-branded, and should do 3x damage to any monster which does not resist fire.
- It's an artifact, and artifacts have the special property that they can be 'A'ctivated - they're a special kind of magical item, like a rod, that has an effect similar to a wand and has a recharge period. Since this is a fire weapon we can guess it either shoots fire bolts (a fire-branded missile weapon) or a fireball (area of effect with fixed damage).

Let's check the spoilers!

Originally posted by Artifact spoilers
The Morning Star 'Firestar' (2d6) (+5,+7) [+2]
It is branded with fire. It provides resistance to fire. It activates for fire ball (72 [damage]) every 20 turns. It cannot be harmed by the elements.
Level 20, Rarity 15, 15.0 lbs, 35000 AU (Angband 3.0.6)

Hey, those were pretty good guesses. The resistance to fire is a huge bonus, and I'm not sure if it shows up on the resistance chart until the item is "properly" identified. Viki's wearing a ring of Resist Fire right now, so when she gets back to town that's going to get swapped off for something a little more useful (in her case, a ring of Resist Cold).

Needless to say she starts using it immediately.

Here's another example of why I hate Master Yeeks and why they're going to be the bane of Viki's existence until hounds start showing up, at which point they'll be replaced: They can blind and poison. If this happens while, say, they're also summoning some monsters, this can be a real problem - because summoning can - and will! - bring in unique monsters (complete with their followers) or just a group of monsters in general.

In fact I think there was a game where I was killed by a group of out-of-depth hounds that were summoned by a unique monster in this way.

Take a look at how awesome that artifact Viki picked up is. Against monsters which don't resist, this is essentially an additional cast of draining for her.

Okay, there was obviously an intervening turn in there while the rangers scattered out a bit, but you get the idea.

Finally, Viki comes back to town, loaded with treasure and an awesome new weapon. The first order of business, of course, is to sell the old junk and cruise around to pick up anything else that's going to turn her into a superstar of monster genocide.

What, that's all she's going to get for this? Do you even know how much money Viki dumped into that thing? Maybe if she weren't a priest or were a half-orc or a troll or something she'd just crush in the shopkeeper's crotch with that fancy new mace or something.

Meanwhile, in the Black Market, there are a couple of cool items that Viki might have picked up if she were really rolling in dough. Especially the Staff of Probing; that's a useful item to have around when going up against large groups of monsters, as you might imagine. I initially thought the potion of Enlightenment would reveal the hidden properties of everything Viki's wearing, but that's actually a potion of Self Knowledge.

Viki also browses through the spellbook sitting at home. There's still not any good reason to take it with - it's a few extra pounds, takes up an inventory slot, and doesn't offer anything really useful yet. But she'll probably want to come back and take it soon, in exchange for dumping some wands she doesn't use or something. After all, Teleport Monster works on uniques and Sleep and Slow don't - not that Viki is having a problem with this.

Back in the dungeon, it looks like Viki's going to have a good time running around and finding things to pick up. Unless she falls through a trapdoor again.

Viki also collects some treasure that's worth more than most items she could sell. At this point in the game it's starting to become worthwhile to go treasure-hunting again on occasion; maybe Viki should drop some other useless things she carries around in favor of a Detect Treasure staff, and just not pick up so much crap to sell back at the shops. It's something to think about.

Coming down a hallway, Viki is touched by a spooky monster that makes her want to run all over everything and trip straight on her face. Obviously it's a ghost of some sort, and so she makes with the Detect Invisible, hopefully to beat up the monster that's all up in her face. Presumably, it could be behind her.

This is a Moaning Spirit (G), and is by far not one of the worst invisible monsters Viki's encountering. In fact, even before coming down to this depth, she should have a permanent source of See Invsible; that, and Free Action (which prevents some kinds of paralysis and slowing) are the two most important things to get before even any resistances. Obviously, dealing with monsters like this is going to be a pain in the ass.

It takes some work and a few casts of See Invsible, but Viki's able to finally defeat the monster after losing 4 points of dexterity. At least she's not at a level of it where she's going to start getting penalized yet.

Meet the druid (light-green p). He's the Illusionist with different clothes; in this case, clothes that let him cast fire bolts, slow, or paralyze, with the standard limited teleportation ability that all mages have. This means he's another monster that can destroy Viki's most precious items, and it finally happens here - ruining her most expensive spellbook, which fortunately, she never uses. Maybe it's time to start carrying some duplicates around.

In addition she loses a scroll of identify and an arrow, so being hit with fire is really dangerous - maybe paralysis increases the chance of having some of your stuff destroyed?

Here's a big downside of Viki's new weapon; against monsters like the manes (u), it's not going to do as much damage as her old weapon, because they resist fire. However, monsters like these can just be taken out with a few choice casts of Draining.

NEXT TIME: Viki puts on a tie-dye headband and thinks it would be an awesome idea to stick some flowers in some guns or go down to the Haight and crash at the pad of a rock and roll group. Because the groups all live together.

There is also another unique monster, but who even cares by now? Sometimes they're even easier than the regular monsters Viki runs into.

< Part 20 | Main | Part 22 >