Originally posted by nimling
randarts or no randarts?

Randarts still doesn't work very well, and is (even after all this time) considered an alpha feature. Plus I'm seriously going to need artifact spoilers for this one and randarts ruins that. So no.

No more walls of text! Let's get started!

PART 0: What can we learn from Goofus?

Goofus is going to teach us some of the most basic things about Angband! These are things new players find out on their own, usually very very fast. I'm going to save you some time, and have a little fun warming up in the process. I'll skip over a few things that I'll cover at the start of my first real game, like what each of the buildings are.

Goofus is a half-orc who has been kind of blessed by the gods. He's an absolute idiot, but has managed to live a pretty decent life - born as the son of the handsomest orc and the most hideous human, he was raised in a loving environment where the sharp corners were filed off of everything after he almost lost both his eyes. In fact, just about the only thing Goofus has ever been good at is hitting things. So when he reached the orc-equivalent age of 18 - I'm not a big enough dork to read Tolkien, maybe somebody else can fill us in on exactly when that is - he decided to head to whatever town it is that's built on top of Angband, which is probably the worst place to put a town except in a floodplain which is only dry because it's surrounded on all sides by leaking dams. Because this town doesn't have a name as far as I know, we're going to call it Adventureville, home of Adventure!

Welcome to Adventureville, Goofus! For a half-orc that was raised far away from every kind of possible civilization, this is a real town of action, even though it only has eight buildings. "GOOFUS NEED TO FIND FRIEND" is the first thing Goofus says to himself upon entering the town, in typical orc fashion. He's heard of these "friend" things before and thinks that maybe talking to somebody will help him out. Right now Goofus is carrying a whole bunch of things in his backpack, but doesn't care about any of them - he just wants to find somebody who isn't completely repelled by his hideous face.

Don't worry about what all those numbers are just yet. Goofus isn't smart enough to visit any buildings, and they'd probably all lock the doors just from looking at him anyway.

Finally! After wandering around the town for a while, Goofus stumbles upon a battle-scarred veteran t. He looks pretty messed up, and Goofus thinks that he's found his friend, and goes to say hello! "HELLO UGLY MAN, GOOFUS SAYS HELLO" Well, he wasn't exactly raised with the best social graces. He fumbles with the mysterious 'T' and 't' keys for a while, trying to find an analogue for 'talk', and gives up, instead just running into the guy.

That doesn't turn out so well. Now Goofus is crying, punching and kicking at the mean old man who he thought might share some useful tips for dungeon survival, or maybe even give him a comforting hug. He's a little homesick, after all. In fact, it turns out that the battle-scarred veteran doesn't take kindly to strangers.

LESSON 1: Everything in Angband is out to kill you. There is no 'talk' action. There are no friendly characters. Everything wants to kill you - except for a few characters in town, who mostly exist to bother the hell out of you or steal all of your money before you can buy anything. Angband lacks Nethack's nuances of alignment and friendly characters and shops in dungeons and all of that: It's all monsters, all combat, all the time.

The battle rages onward! Finally, Goofus chases down the veteran, ready to deliver the killing blow, when he realizes that maybe if he was holding a sword or something he might have a better chance. While he's busy thinking, he gets hit in the head with a rock and dies.

The gods see this, and after a moment of conference, decide to give Goofus another chance.

LESSON 2: Check your equipment! Every RPG since the beginning of time has told you this, but in Angband, you might not even realize you start carrying a bunch of great stuff. Warriors like Goofus get a good sword and some armor, magic- and prayer-using classes get their first book, and so on. Forgetting to equip your character before a quick run into the first dungeon floor is a common cause of death for new players.

This time around, Goofus is smart enough to check what he's got in his knapsack. In addition to some sandwiches and dead rabbits that his mom put in there, he's carrying a few torches, armor, and a sword. "SWORD LOOK AWESOME" bellows Goofus, probably because he's been sheltered from them for his whole life because he'd probably cut off his own damn arm or something. Now he finally gets to have one! Fortunately, he's sensible enough to realize that putting on the armor might be a good idea too.

Remembering his past life, Goofus decides not to wander around town, and instead goes straight into the dungeon.

Goofus ends up in a nice, spacious, well-lit room. "DUNGEON NOT SEEM SO DANGEROUS TO GOOFUS", he says, and for right now that's true. Goofus decides to take a few steps into the dark hallway - this will totally show his dad that he's not afraid of the bogeyman, either!

After stumbling around for a while in the dark, touching walls to feel where they are and generally getting lost and disoriented, Goofus starts to cry. I mean, what else could he do? Maybe those of you looking at the inventory screen have actually figured out what Goofus needs to do next:

LESSON 3: Always have a light. Some characters can get "around" this problem because all non-human races have a limited ability to see warm-blooded monsters from a certain distance away in the dark, but this is no substitute for a torch. A common problem new players have, instead of running out of food, is running out of light - hunger in Angband is very slow, but your starting supply of torches will only last for about 5000-7000 turns. That sounds like a lot, but believe me: you go through turns fast in this game.

Goofus isn't as smart as we are, though, and keeps stumbling along the hallway until he finally comes into another room. On the floor there's a green potion with little flecks in it ! - it looks just like the stew that mom used to make back home, so naturally Goofus runs over and immediately drinks it. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

(A brief aside: The [-=WIZARD=-] text there is because I was playing Goofus in Wizard Mode, which allows access to the debug commands that can do fun things like create items. Wizard mode is occasionally useful for the novice player, in that it teaches you a lot about what the game has to offer and a little bit about combat mechanics from looking at the status messages it, and the cheat options, can generate.)

Oops. Mom's stew probably isn't the healthiest thing to eat either, but at least it's not poison. For orcs, at least.

LESSON 4: Never, ever, ever use-ID. Use-ID is just what it sounds like: Identify what an item is by using it. This is especially dangerous on early floors - drinking a potion of poison or reading a scroll of summon monster will kill you, immediately, unless you're a very lucky fellow (or lady). Unlike Nethack, where there are multiple ways to use an item, Angband usually only has one. And that one use will result in death.

Goofus crawls his way down the corridor, crying and heaving, trying to get all the poison out of his system. Have you ever seen a half-orc vomit? It's pretty gross. Like, even grosser than regular vomiting. It doesn't matter much, because he dies anyway.

This time the gods actually argue a little about bringing Goofus back, but they put it to a vote and he gets to teach us a few more lessons.

When we last left Goofus, he had just been brought back to life by the benevolent gods. Actually, given how poorly Goofus is making out, maybe they're not that benevolent and just enjoy watching him suffer. But for whatever reason, this time he goes in prepared: Goofus won't drink any potions, puts on his armor and takes his sword, and even decides that it might be smart to light one of those torches so he doesn't have to touch a bunch of slimy bugs on the walls. Those just make him hungry.

So Goofus ventures down into the horrifying depths of Angband again! This time, he happens into a room where there are two monsters - a centipede ('a') and a snake ('J'). "NO PROBLEM FOR SUPER-STRONG ORC GOOFUS" he bellows, and then proceeds to immediately go and bash his sword into the snake. After all, snakes can bite you and poison you (although this one can't) and centipedes are just tasty snacks.

And finally - a battle where Goofus is victorious! Not only does he crush the snake under the heel of his massive orc foot, he also eats the centipede (but not really - you can't eat monsters in Angband). He's all bloody and angry, but managed to gain a mysterious skill increase known as a 'level' out of it. This doesn't really do much but make him able to take more damage. "GOOFUS TOTALLY RULES" he shouts, running down the hallway without giving a second thought to the fact that he's bleeding all over and should probably take a bit of a breather.

And then there's another snake in front of him! Goofus is still all battered from his last fight, but is still "totally pumped", and so has no problem deciding that he should stick the pointed end of his sword (the end that dad always told him not to play with) straight into the snake. Unfortunately, he has a very hard time of this, and...

Well, maybe if he'd done a little bit to take care of his earlier wounds, all those times his sword missed the snake wouldn't have mattered quite as much. Goofus dies again.

LESSON 5: Always rest! Whenever in a clear room or empty hallway and not at full HP or Mana, rest. There is no reason to run around below full strength, unless you're cornered by a large group of monsters. Another mistake that novices make is not abusing the 'r' (rest) command. It's there to make sure you survive. Mages who don't use the rest command die almost instantly.

This time, the gods are way angrier. How the hell could anyone be so stupid? they wonder, and finally, there's a vote. This time they're going to bring Goofus back - but play a cruel, cruel trick on him, and if he can live through it, then he's worthy enough to deserve this third chance. If not, well, tough titty - he should be dead anyway.

As with all his deaths, Goofus is now back in town, standing on top of the stairwell that leads to the dungeon below. He doesn't really think much of the fact that he's been getting murdered left and right and then manages to come back to the town as good as new.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a potion appears! High in the clouds above, the gods are snickering and punching each other in the shoulder like a bunch of drunken college students who are finding out about "All Your Base" for the first time.

Goofus, naturally, is suspicious.

A cloudy potion? "SEEMS ALMOST LIKE MILK", says Goofus, who really just happens to love milk. Especially when it's spoiled, which is exactly what this potion smells like it is! Down the hatch!

Goofus, of course, never learned Lesson 4.

It's just like it says: A feeling of death flows through Goofus' body, and he knows exactly what that's like by now. Sort of like when you stick your feet into a bucket of ice and they almost fall off, like what happened to him when he was the orc-equivalent of 8. His entire life flashes before his eyes. Well, his lives.

I mean, that's the only possible explanation for this, right?

LESSON 6: Even veteran players forget the rules sometimes, and do stupid things. My most ignomious death was from a Potion of Death. They start showing up in the high-20s in the dungeon, and I was playing a mage - who had an identify spell - at the time. But! There was this awesome new potion, I'd already IDed the potions I thought were 'bad', and I was out of mana. Surely, this had to be one of the fabled stat gain potions which, coincidentally, start showing up around that floor as well!

You can guess what happened. I stopped playing for two years after that.

And so the story of Goofus, the half-orc, comes to an end.

NEXT TIME: Will Gon the kobold rogue fare any better? Stay tuned to find out the shocking answer sometime early next week!

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