So I'm going to get to another Special Update as soon as I finish this backlog that I'm working through right now. It's almost done - probably another massive update or two and then you guys will get to see something special.

Anyway! Welcome back to Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you buy some beer I'm drinking from Hawaii that's brewed with passionfruit. It's pretty good, you should buy some. It's from Kahona brewery or something? I bet you can get it if you live along the west coast somewhere. It is also brought to you by this amazing breakfast sandwich I made.

Anyway, Viki's completed her non-shopping in town by now, fed her cats, adjusted her swanky tortoiseshell glasses and gone back down into the horrifingly boring depths of Angband, Floor 18.

Here we see a wand of Clone Monster. This is pretty much exactly what you think it is; it creates a duplicate of a monster. But the thing is that it creates an exact duplicate, right down to how much health the monster has - this means that if you spot a good (non-unique) monster and wear it down to the point where it's almost dead, you can clone it to your heart's content and pop up a gaggle of experience. Viki won't be doing this, because it's even the slightest bit dangerous.

The Orc Captain is the first ordinary monster that comes with an entourage of beasts, but is a relative pushover. He's only interesting because he's one of the few non-unique foes that comes surrounded by a group of monsters from the same genus but not the exact same type.

Viki already has a rod of LIGHTNING BOLT, so she won't be needing this. But it'll fetch a good price back in town, so it goes into her pockets which are mysteriously sized such that a ring and a full suit of plate mail take up the same amount of space.

Meanwhile, in an alternate dimension of Floor 18, one that doesn't suck so much, Viki finds this. Rings of Protection are almost never worth keeping on a character for long, but Viki can't wear heavy armor yet and needs those few extra points that outclass the ring of Protection she's wearing right now anyway.

Weapons of Slay Dragon are better than you might think, because dragons start showing up a LOT later and won't use their breath attacks if they're in an adjacent square, meaning that if you want to get your melee on with them, you better be packing something like this. Although it's almost as dangerous to melee them anyway, and that's something Viki will hopefully never ever be doing.

And not because she dies before she reaches the point of the game with really powerful dragons, either. The lance fetches 3600 Zeny back in town, by the way.

Man, that floor that Viki explored turned up some pretty good stuff, actually. Slay Troll is in the same boat as Slay Dragon, except that meleeing trolls is much more common and less dangerous - but any attack bonus against a troll is good because of their massive regenerative properties. This one fetches approximately 280 Benjamins.

Meanwhile, selling all this junk gives Viki a chance to pick up a Potion of Dexterity at the Black Market. She's really getting going with this stuff now, and that's awesome - the more she can buy now the less time she has to spend in the 28-33 range gobbling down potions in an attempt to min/max to an absurd degree. This potion actually bumps her dexterity 2 points, giving her a very respectable 15 and a free point of AC from her dexterity rating.

By the way, I'm not going to max all of Viki's stats. Unless I really really feel like it.

Apparently Druids can summon natural monsters. Natural monsters are usually just your garden-variety animal, but they include the canine set and hounds, which means that any monster that can summon natural monsters almost guarantees that you'll be surrounded and have to have some means of escape. Fortunately Viki zaps out of there before the hounds have a chance to breathe all over her and result in a very serious game over. You can see how the difficulty curve of this game has drastically changed for Viki all of a sudden; she was sailing through 7-15, and now it's like she's hitting a brick wall.

Here's another favorite item of those who like to play around with dangerous things. A popular combination is to use the staff of Summon Monster and wear down the whole group, then clone it. This is only for serious XP farmers though, and most players will never do something this crazy. I certainly never would.

Alright, it's time for a heartbreaking moment that I'm sure some of you have been suspecting, but there's little buildup to it. Something bad finally happens to Viki. Are you ready?

She finds this.

It's a bladed weapon, so wielding it would incur such severe combat penalties that, along with its weight, would make Viki even worse at melee than she is now with her wuss weapon.

That sound you heard is me screaming in horrible pain because Defenders are a super-rare ego item that fill the void of "I must have this before floor 30" perfectly. At least it fetches Viki almost 13000 of whatever today's currency is back at the shop.

Viki's just getting a boatload of these kinds of things today, isn't she? This is a "less good" item simply because it's a dagger, but it'll still fetch over 2k because it's a weapon designed to slay stuff. Those are unbelievably popular with the kids these days.

Are you ready for something else terrible to happen to Viki? It's not quite as bad as the last one, but it's still pretty awful.

Oh what the hell. This is the first game - ever - where I've picked up so many ego items, let alone TWO artifact weapons. Let alone one that gives a speed bonus. It doesn't look like Nimloth is too useful otherwise, but it seems to Slay Undead and be Frost-branded. I assume it also activates for some kind of magical attack, but let's check the artifact spoilers just to make sure!

[quote="Artifact spoilers"] The Spear 'Nimloth' (1d6) (+11,+13) It increases your stealth and speed by 3. It slays undead. It is branded with frost. It provides resistance to cold. It is blessed by the gods. It grants you the ability to see invisible things. It cannot be harmed by the elements. Level 15, Rarity 12, 5.0 lbs, 30000 AU (Angband 3.0.6) [/quote]

Even worse: Viki can wield it. Maybe that's not worse, because it's something that she can, you know, try out. Maybe just a little. To see how it works. The only difference between Nimloth and the weapon Viki has right now, in practical terms, is that she does shit damage with her current weapon and would rock the fuck out of everything that doesn't resist frost with Nimloth. And she'd get a speed bonus from it! This might be a "situation" weapon for floors where Viki is more likely to engage in melee.

Here's what happens when Viki puts it on - keep in mind that she was at a -1 speed penalty from the load she's carrying. She loses 16 mana and the ability to learn a whole boatload of spells, but right now the spells aren't of any concern; and actually, a spear is light enough that she might actually just be able to carry it with her and swap it in and out. Now there's something you don't see very often; a secondary weapon that isn't a shovel. Hell, Viki could carry this AND her shovel! Now that would be cool, but would also take up an extra inventory slot. She's not quite ready for that level of commitment yet.

Another day, another orc pit. Honestly, these are only worth scraping through now because otherwise the monsters would clog the dungeon and become a problem; orcs are a pittance of XP for the likes of Mighty Viki, the Level 28 Priest.

It does give her a chance to try out Nimloth in actual combat though, and it performs very admirably. Especially since she clocks an extra turn every now and then.

Loaded down with loot, Viki hits the town and very reluctantly departs with her Defender. But! This puts her just 3000 short of another Potion of Strength, so she pawns off some more useless junk hanging around in her house that smells like cat pee. Surprisingly, there are no complaints from any of the shopkeepers.

This potion bumps Viki's strength to 16, giving her some bonuses and another 5lbs of carrying capacity! That's the weight of Nimloth, I think. But that's a subject for another day, I'm pretty sure of it.

Venom weapons are poison-branded. Unfortunately I don't believe they have a chance to inflict posion, and probably just do the standard 3x multiplier to monsters which don't resist poison.

I played this game on Mother's Day, by the way. I guess the RNG was being extra kind to me because I called my mom and my grandma, just like a good kid would. That's honestly the only way I can explain getting something like six ego items and an artifact over a couple hours of play.

You'll also notice that Viki hit level 29 in the space between this screenshot and the last one. Almost over the hump, at which point experience levels become gravy and nothing else.

Of course, sometimes things don't go as well as planned. There could've been another artifact on that floor!

Viki, by the way, has broken 2.5 million turns now. Keep in mind that resting is a turn, and Viki has to rest a lot. Turn counters for mages and priests are always significantly higher than turn counters for any other character by the end of the game, simply because they need to constantly be regenerating their mana to survive.

Looting the newly-discovered Level 19, Viki runs into Gorbag, the Orc Captain. Viki decides to take a little bit of a different approach to this one; she casts Repel Evil and prays up because it's time to have some head-to-head action. Oh yeah!

Of course, that's not going to stop her from using Draining to finish him off and get the resulting death.

I wish Gon had gotten some ego items. I liked him. But the enchantment on this piece of armor is absolutely absurd and so Viki puts it on her head right away. She feels less like a beauty queen, but more like breaking the necks of people who wonder why an upside-down cardboard box is sitting in the middle of a hallway.


NEXT TIME: Will this madness ever end? Will Viki stop getting ego items? Can she even survive a deluge of such great equipment that would be wildly impractical for her to use? Why couldn't Gon get a break? Why did he have to die and turn into a Blingee?

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