Welcome back to Let's Play Angband! This update is brought to you by how fucking drunk I am. I only had three beers. I'm out of practice. I blame it on skipping Let's Play for like three months, because Let's Play is the best time to drink. Actually I'll also blame it on the Belgian strong I had. That stuff is so tasty.

Wait a minute! A new challenger approaches!

So the consensus seemed to be a stout paladin and I'm sorry Clive, but you have to wait your turn. Instead we have here Hieronymus Gaylord, which is the best fantasy novel name that I could think of on the spot since none of you guys suggested anything. I would have named him after a forum member but that's somebody else's thing.? J. Parish of the Internet, be glad.

Actually I've already decided right now: Our next character is going to be named Eight Point Five. I don't care what you say. I control the horizontal and the vertical and the character names.

Okay wait. So Hieronymus Gaylord is pretty good at hitting shit, but is otherwise kind of a terrible-seeming character. We will see that this is not true later on (the part about being terrible). Check out those disarming and searching stats. Yow. On the other hand, check out those STR, WIS, and CON stats and that wicked good saving throw. Hooray!

Okay, so what do you need to know about dwarves and paladins. As mentioned in the last update, paladins are a little bit like rangers; trade bow skills for generic 'hit things' skills and magic for praying and you've got a paladin. They even have the same (+35%) experience modifier. Dwarves are a little sketchier - I hate playing them because they have almost zero stealth which means monsters will be all up in your grill constantly, but they also have an intrinsic resistance to blindness which means that Light and Dark hounds will pose the same amount of threat as an adorable puppy once we get there. Dwarves also hit shit real good which means they're A+ for any class that's going to be primarily running into letters for a while.

Check this out! Paladins begin with nothing. Prayer books are all well and good because they're useful for, you know, learning prayers, but that scroll of Protection from Evil is going to be worthless until we hit around dungeon level 10 (500') or so, when demons and orcs start coming out in force. As with all new characters, paladins also come with a recall scroll.

Paladins also learn prayers much more slowly than their counterparts (big surprise). This is actually not as big a disadvantage as you think; you might notice that there are only one or two prayers per level, max, meaning that it's much easier to get what you want as a paladin than it is as a priest! In particular, because of Gaylord's awesome WIS stat, this will never be an issue - he's going to get +3 prayers to learn every few levels, and will be able to keep ahead of the curve.

Paladins also get sucky starting equipment, including my favorite armor, No Armor. We'll buy some cheap stuff and then get going for some hot murder action.

In a shocking display of just how bad I am at remembering what's happened over the last nine months - probably due to alcoholism - I can't figure out if I've mentioned Farmer Maggot or not before and I'm too lazy to go back and check. The laziness is not due to alcoholism, that's just an inherent character flaw. Sorry, readers. Anyway, Farmer Maggot is a "unique" monster which appears in the town and his only purpose is to be brutally murdered. This is a good starting point for a paladin: Killing an innocent hobbit whose only crime is enjoying talking just a little too much.

Having plunged his broad sword into a poor small(er) man's chest, Hieronymus Gaylord receives a reward. The nice thing about Farmer Maggot is that he always, always leaves behind either a very nice magical item or the occasional ego item. That means it's safe to put it on without IDing it. One thing that I did a lot in this game, so far, was play recklessly by traditional angband standards to see how loosened up the previously very strict ID rules are. The answer: Very.

Curiously enough as Hieronymus Gaylord shops around town, he notices that being an ugly dwarf is a serious detriment. Things are actually more expensive! As a result it can be deduced that charisma actually has a noticeable effect on prices in town, and it may be worth bringing it above 'average' levels.

Into the dungeon!

Level 2 is swiftly obtained. Level 3 is as well, but I didn't get a screencap of that.

Hieronymus Gaylord continues his vengenace against all things Maggot-related and is blessed with level 4 for his efforts.

Here's a feature I didn't quite expect: Something that I'm going to call wield-ID. After wielding an item for a certain amount of time and using it against certain things (or in the case of armor, getting hit a bunch) its bonuses and other information is revealed! While there's still more to glean, {wielded} is tagged to the item, and once that's all squared away it just shows up as garden-variety equipment.

In this case, Hieronymus Gaylord has figured out that the cap he plucked from Farmer Maggot's decapitated head has a +5 enchantment. Not bad!

Our Hero travels down a flight of stairs to the next floor of the dungeon and is rewarded with another level for his triumphs. He also gets a chance to pick up some bonus prayers to catch up on his studies. Thanks, level up!

Levels 6 and 7 follow swiftly, and are joined in short time by a trip to 150' and:

Level 8!

At this point, having never learned his lessons, Hieronymus Gaylord begins experimenting with reading all of his unidentified scrolls and drinking his unknown potions in order to shore up some inventory space. It turns out that use-IDing is no longer super dangerous but rather only kinda dangerous. In particular, Summon Monster has been scaled down to summon more depth-appropriate monsters and in much smaller numbers. Moral of the story: At low levels, use-ID (and wield-ID!) is a safe alternative to sell-ID when in a pickle.

Here's another neat "feature", and by "feature" I mean "bug". This is something I'm going to call stack-ID. When you pick up two identical items, they stack - and it turns out that they stack even if you haven't ID'd them. In this particular instance it means that there are probably two 'average' daggers in this sack and they can be junked.

There are even more inventory bugs that we'll get into later, all of which a clever player can use to pseudo-ID items on their own.

Here's an equipment update. But the most important thing is that Hieronymus Gaylord has traded in his broad sword (2d5 +0+0) for a dagger (1d4 +5+5). With his current stats (and his strength has been drained!) he gets two attacks with the dagger to one with the sword. So with a little min-maxing:

  • With the sword, he does between 2-10 damage a strike.
  • With the dagger, he does 6-9 damage a strike. With two strikes this means that he'll land somewhere between 12-18 points a turn! Not to mention that the dagger has a pretty good to-hit bonus, and lighter weapons are always more likely to hit.

This is why it's better to have strong and fast characters wield light weapons than heavy ones, despite what you might think. I don't know how the crit tables have been rebalanced, but I can almost guarantee that lighter weapons are still better than heavy ones.

Gaylord detects treasure far outside his range of vision! This means that detection spells of all kinds (not just trap and door) have been changed so that they operate on a radius around the player instead of over the currently viewable quadrant (what's the term for 1/9th of something? Nonagant?)

Oh yeah, and he gets to level 9, too. And then level 10. At some point he also heads down to 250', meaning that now I am officially engaging in a "diving" strategy.

This is why burning is bad. Not pictured: Jason Alexander with hair.

To add insult to injury, shortly afterward Hieronymus Gaylord falls through a trap door. He cruises around 300' for a while and then decides to go back to town, and which point a potion of Restore Strength is purchased and he is now capable of three attacks per turn. Landing three hits now means: 18-27 damage max. Of course the spread is still wider (6-27) but if that first hit lands I can almost guarantee that one of the other two will.

Another neat new item, found in the black market. Neat, but useless to Hieronymus Gaylord and his Magic Eyes.

Things are going quite swimmingly for Hieronymus Gaylord. First he hits level 11 at some unspecified point, and now aiming a wand of light at a tunnel full of orcs brings up straight up to level 12! Radical! Level 13 follows quite swiftly, by the way, as Hieronymus Gaylord descends to 350'. This is like going off the tall diving board, he's diving so fast.

This is where he runs into our favorite unique monster, Smeagol. Not pictured in this screenshot: Smeagol.

Asshole stole his money! That can only mean one thing to Hieronymus Gaylord, Warrior of God: REVENGE.

It turns out that revenge is a dish best served with a side of god.

NEXT TIME: What fantastic treasure did Smeagol drop? Will Hieronymus Gaylord bite the dust? How many beers will I have before writing? Stay tuned to find out!

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