Originally posted by benjibot
Angband was the only one I'd ever played. I never realized it was the most brutal.

This is how Angband (and Nethack) players are made: They pick one game in their youth and stick with it, and make fun of everybody who plays the other one.

ANYWAY. This is going to be one ultra mega-sized update; by my count it clocks in at 56 images making it almost three times as long as your usual Let's Play Angband update! I'm doing this for a couple reasons: The first one is that there was really no good stopping point in the middle of this update, and the second is because (once again, a reminder) updates are going to be significantly less frequent until later this year (or even early next) and I wanted to give you guys one last really good one.

Let's get started:

Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! This update is brought to you by... let's say, I don't know, the cherry vodka in my cupboard. It's very good, and you've all been such lovely readers, so I think that I'm going to share it with you. Please note that you'll actually have to come over to drink it. We can play some board games and high-five. I think that would be awesome actually. Please bring some chips.

This, by the way, is an extra-special super-sized update because I left you guys hanging for.. what, almost three weeks? A month? Something like that. Let's Play Angband has always prided itself on timeliness, which is next to cleanliness. Let's Play Angband is definitely not clean, though. It's kind of like the Pigpen of Let's Plays.

Does anyone even remember Pigpen these days? Anyway.

Last time we left Gob, he had gone through the ardorous task of leveling up.. a lot! For mages, levels are awesome, but Gob is kind of in that intermediary teenager phase of leveling where he's getting a lot of spells that he can't do a whole hell of a lot with.

Having all those useless spells sitting around waiting to be learned means that Gob is still finding himself in ugly situations like this one from time to time. His SP isn't high enough yet for him to be a real death-dealing machine in any absolute capacity, and instead he's going to have to be content to run away from mobs of monsters like this when his SP gets this low. Fortunately he's got pretty good HP for a mage, and can take a couple hits while he regenerates his SP up to a respectable '6', the cost of Teleport.

For those of you playing along at home, who want to run a mage: Always, always have 6+ SP in reserve so that you can teleport.

I've mentioned potions of Berserk Strength in a previous post, and Gob just happened to be carrying one. This is about the only situation in which you'd ever want to use one; he's unwisely depleted his mana and needs to revert to the mage's least favorite of skills, hand-to-hand combat. Fortunately, Gob survives.

This is one of the worst messages to get as a character without See Invisible. This room is flooded to the gills with Clear Mushrooms, and Gob can't see a thing, which means that he's going to have to high-tail it out of there. Those suckers aren't only invisible, they have explosive growth that moves along at an insane rate, meaning they can fill up most of a room in a handful of turns. Not cool, mushrooms!

Gob encounters yet another wussy unique monster that will be destroyed by the mighty powers of his magic. In this case, since hill orcs are immune to light-based damage, Gob is using LIGHTNING BOLT to take care of the problem. Having a spell which beams 100% of the time is ungodly useful. Thanks, Angband 3.0.x team, for making this mostly-unnecessary change to a spell that was already slightly overpowered.

One can only assume this was the ignoble death of Grishnakh (spoilers: It wasn't). You are welcome.

Here, we come across one of my favorite reasons for keeping reserve spells on a mage: You can learn things when you need them, and not a moment before. In this case, Gob is just about to be ravaged by poison, so why not take two turns to learn Cure Poison and then cast it? Problem... solved!

This is actually useful for attack spells, too. If Gob ever finds himself in a situation without a wand of Slow or Confuse, he can pick up the spell and cast it immediately if necessary (of course, in that situation, it's better for him to teleport out anyway).

Gob also realizes that it's time to pick up Acid Bolt, which is one of the turning points in a mage's life. It's the last of the common elemental bolt attacks, it costs a lot, has a phenomenal fail rate, and deals insane amounts of damage. 11d8 isn't a slouch, but keep in mind that the average value of it is going to be somewhere around 40-50 damage a pop, making it not worth the cost. Again, if Gob has to resort to this spell to kill something, he's better off teleporting away.

The dirty secret to long life as a mage is to use only Magic Missile and teleport spells. And the detection (Monsters, Doors/Traps, Identify) spells. Once Gob hits around 25 or 30 and has a couple axillary books, then we can talk about him being a serious badass. Compare and contrast with Viki, who became an unstoppable tornado of death as soon as she hit player level 9 and got Orb of Draining.

It's a trap! This might be the first one Gob has stepped into that caused monsters to appear all over the damn place, and they're pretty nasty ones.

I think at some point I mentioned 'destroyed' levels, which are like the aftermath of the Earthquake spell, but even worse. Well, this is a destroyed level; the damage segment is usually limited to one ninth of the map (Angband maps are 3x3 big grids of screen-sized chunks), and quite often is loaded with nasty monsters and the occasional nice treasure for people who bother searching through the whole thing.

I am not one of those people. By the way, destroyed segments generate level feeling; and this level has one of the best feelings the game can generate, but I forget which one it was. I only remember that the feeling was good because... well. You'll see.

In the meantime, you are welcome. [ED: Do not ever, ever, EVER click that link if your speakers are turned up beyond the "off" and "very very quiet" interval.]

Welcome to one of the worst situations in the game (I realize I say that a lot, but by now you might have figured out that every time there is a "situation" in Angband, it's the worst); a monster with violently aggressive explosive growth in the middle of a space where it has no limitations to how much it can fill up of the level. If there was ever anything worth seeing to the north, east, or south of this screen, it's not getting found.

Hey, it's our old friend Orfax! Hi, Orfax! This is actually going to be a really fun fight here - I'm not being sarcastic, I'm serious. Orfax is a perfect match for Gob, with his teleportation powers and the fact that Gob doesn't have a massive death-dealing area of effect attack. This will take some strategy and careful planning.

Even more interesting, with that block of spiders keeping Gob from having direct access to his foes. This is going to be a situation where LIGHTNING BOLT will come in handy, and also maybe even Spear of Light - not because it'll deal damage, but because it permanently lights up all the squares in a line, meaning that Gob can see much farther than he could normally, which is crucial in this deadly situation.

Gob deals out some damage to the monsters surrounding Orfax, and then teleports away to rest up, when this fellow comes wandering along. Hi, Brodda! That means it's time to teleport again.

Sumbitch! Coming across Orfax again, he decides to summon some piddly little monsters that will just serve to get in Gob's way as he pursues his ultimate goal of destroying Orfax for good (or until the next character is rolled).

Gob downs a potion of speed to give himself a proper leg up on Orfax, and just in time to begin blowing him away proper. How will this thrilling battle end?

Like you're even surprised. Next up, Gob just needs to take care of Brodda, and then this floor will probably be cleared of nasties and he can go searching for that treasure that's got to be just around the corner.

Actually, Gob decides that he's risked his neck enough for the awesome treasure he's already picked up, and heads back to town. Coming back to the dungeon, though, he gets another good feeling!

This guy really just can't leave Gob alone, can he? Closer examination reveals that Brodda is carrying some kind of pamphlets, and he launches into a horrible monotone voice that only the most perfect of door-to-door salesmen can manage: "sir would you perhaps be interested in our 20-volume set of"

The monologue is cut short. Take that, Encyclopedia Brittanica!

... Again?

... and again! This must be what generated the level feeling. I've never actually seen a level this decimated before.

Gob never was fond of his brothers.

Sweet! This little ego item has a (permanent) light radius of +1, which means that Gob's in good shape even if he ever runs out of oil. A light radius of 3 means that he can hold off on finding the Phial of Galadriel, since he has magic to do the whole "light up a room" thing.

Blake wasn't around, but I need to keep by my word. I will instead only kind of keep my word, because this at least fits into the 'bad' category (even though I love it). I will be the captain, but you can draw the chart.

I seem to remember mentioning back when Viki was still alive that Wormtongue is the first really challenging unique monster, at which point I demonstrated this by killing him in three turns. Gob will have a much harder time of this; Wormtongue doesn't have generic magic resistence, but he does resist all elements, which means that it's Magic Missile all day every day, baby.

Needless to say, this isn't a fight Gob wants to get into right now.

I swear to god this is the most times I have ever seen a character get hit with a trap. This is just stupid. And more importantly, Wormtongue is gaining on Gob, so he teleports away and reads a Recall to get the hell out of the dungeon. His DEX stat is so sapped now that he's on the verge of losing all the bonuses he gets from it.

Once again, the town's apothecary proves his usefulness by the fact that he has everything in stock except for what Gob needs.

There's some good news, though; there's a Potion of Strength hanging out in the black market and Gob's only 3000 Pet Rocks away from being able to afford it. That's one additional trip into the dungeon, plus a fire sale on his wands. So he makes an additional trip into Angband where nothing interesting happens, comes back with the cash, and bumps his strength up to a whopping 9! But that means that he can wield the Small Sword of Acid that he picked up a while ago, greatly increasing his powers of being able to kill a dude by the crudest means necessary. He's almost at inventory capacity from just his equipment, but honestly, that's the way every mage game works; if you're not almost overloaded, you're not doing it right.

I wonder what happens when a character without infravision puts this on.

Well, fuck me sideways, why don't you. PS: Trap! [ED: Probably not worksafe. But what in this thread is?]

Gob has some slightly better luck down the corridor, picking up a piece of armor that bumps his elementary resistances up to "everything but cold". He's doing pretty well for a character on floor 11, although he's lacking See Invisible, which is getting to be kind of a bother. There are a lot of spooky ghosts around.

Did you know that Tim Rogers looks like a girl?

This guy just will not go away, will he? Gob's going to have to finally engage in some murder, which will be facilitated by phasing to the hallway just east of this room and casting Stone to Mud on the wall in that T-junction, making a pathway into the room where Wormtongue is partying.

The plan works pretty well, to the point where it looks like Gob's going to win this with having hardly broken a sweat.

Of course, "looks like" in Angband always means "something is going to go terribly fucking wrong." In this case, it's the underlined message here in the game's log, which I forgot meant "Wormtongue has just made a bunch of fucking traps and you're going to walk into all of them." I thought it might also be kind of fun to show off the fact that yes, Wormtongue has a 'moon' attack, which merely results in this hilarious status message. I wish I could have gotten a screenshot of Orfax's "flips you off" attack.

But Gob, of course, just happens to walk into the one trap that's a trapdoor.

Things start off bad. Really bad.

Things get worse before they get better; Gob has to drink his coveted potion of Healing in order to bring his HPs back up and cure blindness (I never knew that healing potions could cure blindness and confusion before, but now I do!) and takes advantage of the incredibly small one-turn window that he has before his eyes are covered with inky goo again to teleport away.

Resting for a moment before going ahead and doing some exploration, Gob finds out that he's put himself into another pickle. This level is clearly not safe, but he's going to have to stick it out for a while and find something valuable, right?

Gob teleports away again. He doesn't have time for this shit!

He does, however, have time to get his strength sapped by a red scorpion. With the weight of his new lightning-resisting armor combined with the weight of his sword, he's going to be at a permanent speed disadvantage until he gets back to town now, unless he drops a lot of shit.

This should be Gob's cue to go back to the surface, but, well.

Gob didn't teleport far enough away last time, it looks like, so he's going to have to have an ultimate showdown against Grishnakh. I wonder how it's going to turn out?

Yeah, you knew it. He leaves behind some decent treasure which will be good for hot sellin' action, but Gob's not smart enough to just pick it up and run. No, he has to keep exploring this floor! There's got to be something great here, he knows it!

Why won't this guy go away. It doesn't help that he's got Gob in a pincer here, and so there's going to be more teleporting. At this point Gob almost reads a recall scroll, but decides to zap around to another location and see how it goes.

This, of course, is a monumentally stupid idea, since there are Dark Hounds all over the level.

This serves as an excellent demonstration of why it was stupid.

This serves as an excellent demonstration of how lucky Gob is, and most importantly, how badly he needs to leave the fucking level right now.

Gob, of course, is having none of it. He's going to explore this level even if it kills him! He comes across this little room holding a number of orcs and Lagduf (the Snaga) who is going to be a total pushover. Surely, one more unique monster couldn't hurt!

Gob absolutely steamrolls Lagduf and his hangers-on. He steamrolls them so hard that there aren't even any intervening screenshots here to show you, it went so smoothly. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to stick around and get rid of Wormtongue once and for all.

Alright, this is a pretty manageable situation. Gob's going to be able to just shoot Spear of Light straight through all these cave orcs and into the dark hounds that are going to inevitably gang up on him, and everything will be taken care of, no sweat.

Unfortunately, I forget that the game developers were idiots and forgot to make it so that Dark Hounds could be damaged by light. As a result, Gob has to round the corner there and make for the northern chamber, somewhere he can hang out and take advantage of the "group" AI to heal up.

It does not behave quite as expected, and so Gob has to teleport out of there to

You've got to be kidding me. Okay, Gob's teleporting to a safe location and getting the fuck out of here right now.

Of course, Gob ends up in an even more dangerous situation!

Alright, this might actually be one of the last basic mechanics I haven't explained yet - casting magic when you don't have enough mana for it. The game does give you a way out - you can still cast the spell, but at a very serious disadvantage. For one, the failure rate is phenomenally high. Then, even if you don't manage to get the spell off, you have a chance of fainting (paralysis), and damaging your health (either a temporary, or even permanent, CON reduction).

Gob is one lucky son of a bitch today, to not only have had the spell work, but end up in a safe place with a non-permanent constitution reduction.

Yet, despite all this, for some reason he doesn't just go back to town and take care of all of those reduced stats he's collecting like so many beanie babies.

This is his reward! We've only encountered Small Wooden chests before; Steel is a step up, and these chests will house more of (and more valuable) items. In this case, Gob picks up a scroll of *Identify* for all his ego-item identifying needs, a ring of Free Action (which he doesn't need because he's got it intrinsically) and a mushroom of... Restore Constitution!

But there's got to be more. More more more MORE MORE

Golfimbul! Today's just some kind of day for exterminating the lower-level uniques, isn't it? Gob's going to have fun with this one, too.

Unfortunately, "fun" here means that Wormtongue also shows up and starts his own series of dangerous attacks (which of course I didn't get any screenshots of, due to panic) and that results in another teleport. Gob's going to leave this time, really! For real!

You've got to be fucking kidding me. After all that?

And thus, Gob meets an ignoble end. Due to the relative lameness of his existence up until its final moments, I don't believe that he's deserving of our standard send-off to much-beloved characters. Gob, instead, you earned this.

And also this.

NEXT TIME: I have much less respect for Jefferey Combs after learning he was in FEAR DOT COM, perhaps the worst movie ever made about the internet.

IMMEDIATELY NOW: I think I'll play Peggle.

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