Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you by sunny weather, which allows me to go outside and not play Angband. And when I should be playing Angband I'm writing this up or I'm playing Godhand instead. This is what happens when you do an LP, ladies and gentlemen. This update is also brought to you by my birthday. I get to eat at the restaurant run by the guy who won Top Chef last season. Take that.

Last time on Let's Play Angband, Viki was left in a precarious situation that may have involved.. hounds? We can't be sure, because whatever it was, it breathed darkness and made her blind.

Viki's first objective is to get away from whatever it was that was hitting her. She runs down the nearby corridor and closes a door, because that'll stop whatever it is for at least a little while - long enough for her to regain her sight - if necessary.

Viki foolishly opens the door and gets a faceful of darkness for her trouble. But the message about the Clear hound means that there's at least one pack of hounds in there, and the game has a nasty, nasty habit of spawning multiple hound groups next to one another. There's a good chance that what Viki's up against is...

The Dark Hound. This is one of the three worst hounds for Viki at this point, because they can blind, and that means she can't use spells. Blinding from a hound usually only lasts 3-5 turns, but that's if Viki can get away long enough to recover. Being blind means you can get surrounded easily as well, and not know it. A lot of games end on floors 16-18 when these monsters come out in force.

Fighting the hounds is something that will be discussed in great(er) detail later, because Viki's going to be fighting a lot of them, and there are a few reliable strategies - although with the weird new pack monster AI - which I hate - pulling off some of them might be kind of tricky.

Viki cruises the dungeon and finds an item that may have caused the feeling; a ring of +1 Dexterity. Completely useless for her, and in fact the bonus isn't really enough for any character unless extraordinarily desperate.

Going down a floor, Viki is immediately confronted by both a good feeling and a group of Light Hounds, another of the three most dangerous hounds. They're the fraternal brothers of Dark Hounds, since they breathe Light, which can also blind. The best thing about Light and Dark? They're two separate resistances, and each has to be earned on their own. I can't think of an item that gives resistance to both offhand, but I bet there's an artifact that does it.

Because of her positioning, there's not much Viki can do; she gets off a shot of draining into the middle of the group and hopes for the best. There's a passage to the west that she uses for refuge in between being able to get shots off.

Meet trolls (T)! The common Forest Troll is the lowliest of trolls, and from now on Trolls will mostly be taking up the role formerly occupied by orcs; evil monster that spawns in mobs. Trolls, though, are significantly hardier and have fast regeneration properties, which means they can be kind of a bitch to take down unless handled quickly and in as brutal a fashion as possible. Fortunately Viki has both Draining and a Slay Evil branded weapon at her disposal.

Hey, this might have caused the feeling! It's another orc pit - this time I can show you the jam-packed rainbow because Viki picked up Detect Evil. To be honest, this is one of the only reasons I got it; it's fun to show these kinds of things off, and with the wisdom bonus she's toting around, there's no disadvantage to it.

Needless to say Viki decimates the orcs without any trouble, although she does have to lead them out from the pit into an adjacent room to really lay down the hurt. In fact, she even digs a short diagonal tunnel connecting the room to the main route directly, just to facilitate faster death action.

With the pit half-gone, Viki's able to easily inject herself into the middle of it and just unleash casts of Draining until all of the orcs are turned into a sticky grey mass of bones and other gross orc stuff.

From the big pile of orc mess though, Viki picks up a few enchanted (but nothing special) weapons, and completely loaded down with gunk, decides that it would be a smart idea to head back into town to unload all of it. Her journey nets her just under 1000 ron paul dollars, including expenses for the return trip.

I wonder how anyone could like the look of a dungeon as uniformally-colored as Angband.

Viki also finds one of these on the dungeon floor. They're good for emergencies, and sell for a ridiculous price in the magic shop, which is mostly what she's going to be using them for. But that "20% chance to beam" means that instead of shooting a bolt, there's a 1/5 chance that it will "beam" instead, which is like a bolt that moves through monsters and does extra damage, with something like a range of half a screen's width. Beam weapons are extremely dangerous, but I don't think there's ever an object that's guaranteed to produce a beam.

This is a good point for Viki to go back to town and restock. The black market isn't hosting much in the way of good items right now, except for a whole stack of potions of Speed; Viki picks up all 14 of them and socks them away in her home. Potions of speed, even though they're so incredibly useful, only show up on floors 1-5 with regularity; this means that having a stash on hand is necessary. Viki will carry 3-5 of these on her person at all times, for emergencies. An extra turn means an extra chance to teleport, if it comes to that.

Viki heads back into the dungeon!

Have I mentioned chests yet? If I haven't, they're items which you can open and contain usually two or three other items, or some treasure; but they always come with a trap on them. You need to search the chest and disarm the trap before opening it, otherwise some really nasty things can happen. And in this case, disarming the chest pushes Viki up to level 26! Getting closer to level 30, keep reaching for that rainbow!

Awesome. As you might expect, Beauty ego items enhance your charisma, so this one gives Viki +4. It's better than her current armor too, so she puts it on, and feels like a pretty pretty princess. This bonus is really only going to be useful in town, and it's not much, but it's better than nothing. A charisma of 16 pushes her right up to the point where she'll actually start getting bonuses from having a reasonable charasma score.

The Energy Hound is the electric variety of hound, and they breathe lightning. Lightning is the least dangerous to Viki; it will destroy rods and wands, but honestly, she's not using any of them. They're just a garden-variety monster that happens to have a breath attack, and so she can take them out however she pleases.

That brown Z, by the way, is actually a clear hound! Clear monsters change color based on the color of the tile under them, which is a cool little touch. Earlier versions didn't have this.

Potions of Berserk Strength are sort of the mirror image of Prayer-type enchantments. They increase your to-damage but lower your AC and to-hit; prayer increases your to-hit and your AC, but not damage. They're very useful on earlier floors in conjunction with Prayer, but at this floor they're nearly useless. Or at least not useful enough to take up an inventory slot.

Viki also picks up some new armor, upgrading from her old [2,+5] robe to something a little more.. robust. This is good for her, even with the to-hit penalty the armor has (the (-1)) and the extra weight. She can handle it for now.

Plus, the Black Market has a potion of constitution on sale - and it's almost within her reach. Viki sells off the rest of her junk and is able to barely afford it, with enough left over to get some Recall scrolls for a trip back to the dungeon. This is really excellent; Viki hasn't even hit plev 30 yet and is already gaining some stats. Usually it takes a bit longer, but there's also no reason for her to be buying expensive equipment now that she's nailed the bow from several updates ago.

Viki heads back into another dungeon that's "boring" and finds...

Hot damn. These are the lamest ego-item footwear there ever was, but that bonus is stellar and these are going on right now. As Viki puts on her fancy new boots, she feels like she's floating a little bit. Kind of like Raul Julia in Street Fighter, when he flies towards Jean-Claude and gets (his stunt double) roundhoused in the face. Which is shown from three different angles.

That movie is fucking awesome.

Hey, it's a been a while since Viki picked up a spell! But she just checked one of her books, and she's able to learn this one. It sounds pretty good; every evil monster in the line of sight? That's pretty awesome, especially since this deals just as much damage as a good cast of Draining (right now) but it's so situational that I doubt it's getting used for a while, especially since it costs a boatload. But it's another tool in the toolbox.

Back to town shortly later, Viki spies these lovelies. She's not even close to hitting that amount of cash though, so it'll be a little while before she can pick them up - but she does at some point (either by selling things now or pawning off some stuff a little later, I forget - one of the disadvantages of doing a writeup three weeks after you played) and they give a nice little combat bonus in addition to being decent armor.

Oh my! Could it be.. another artifact?

NEXT TIME: Is it another artifact?

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