Finally! It's time to begin...

The adventures of Gon the Kobold Rogue! Hooray!

Say hello to Gon! It sounds like he's of pretty high birth, although this isn't going to do very much for us. Unfortunately he's the runt of the litter and this means that he's probably got some big bulging eyes or something, but we all know he's way cuter than that.

Okay, so let's talk about what each of Gon's stats mean, and how they're going to help him survive the dungeon! Let's single some things out, first.

Originally posted by Attack/defense
Armor [0, +2]
Fight (+4, +2)
Melee (+4, +2)
Shoot (+4, +2)

For Armor, that +2 is the bonus to whatever the number on the left (current armor class, or defense) is. In Angband, unlike in Nethack or D&D, your AC goes up instead of down. For attacks, the number on the left is the to-hit bonus, which just increases your chances of hitting. Heavy weapons and characters with bad fighting ability have less of a chance to hit, so this helps with that. The right number is the damage bonus; this number is applied to whatever damage you do in fisticuffs. One of Fight or Melee covers unarmed combat, which only Goofus would try anyway. I'll cover shooting damage later.

Strength (Str): This is Gon's ability to hit things. As a warrior-like class, it's pretty high; this means he can carry a lot of weight, including wielding heavier weapons and armor, and he gets an immediate bonus to both damage and to-hit: +2 for both.
Intelligence (Int): This determines Gon's spellcasting abilities - how much Mana, or SP, he has, and what the failure rates for spells will be. For mages, I think it has to be at least 12 to even learn spells, and I want Gon to pick some things up. Intelligence also helps when using magic devices like wands, rods, and staves. It influences Saving Throw, which as you D&D nerds know, is magic resistance.
Wisdom (Wis): For Gon, this serves little purpose. When playing a priest, Wisdom acts the same way Intelligence does for a mage, but it also influences your saving throw.
Dexterity (Dex): This is what Gon is best at, being a rogue. Dexterity influences a lot of things: It gives you a starting AC bonus (+2, for Gon), a to-hit bonus (also +2), influences your ability to avoid attacks, determines how good you are at disarming traps and unlocking doors, and also how quiet you are. There's a reason that rogues are the attack-based class most likely to win the game.
Constitution (Con): This determines your hitpoints, how fast poisons are purged from your system, and how quickly cuts heal. Being a kobold, Gon can't take a whole lot of damage, so this is going to become important fast.
Charisma (Chr): The most useless stat of all, Charisma determines what you pay in town for items. Gon is an ugly mother (or so others think), so he has to pay through the nose.. you'd think! But it turns out that CHR 8-12 gives the base value for what you pay, which is usually pretty fair. By the time we can raise charisma, it's going to be practically useless to do so.

The farthest column to the right in the middle row should be mostly self-explanatory. Gon starts off being pretty good at almost everything, but he'll have to be very careful around magic users.

Oh boy! What else. Gon has some infravision - 50ft worth - which means he can spot warm-blooded monsters up to 5 tiles away, even if they're invisible. Kobolds have the best infravision, and also come with Poison immunity, which you can see in the lower-left part of the chart. Those first two columns down there in that table? Those are all the resistances/immunities we'll need. Those other two columns? We're going to want at least half of those filled up. There's a lot of stuff to get in Angband.

Here's the town, with descriptions of what the buildings are! The Church sells items used mostly by priests, and the house is like a bag of holding, but in town. You always spawn on top of the stairs that lead down into the dungeon (>), probably to encourage players to do silly things like immediately run down the steps their first time. As Goofus taught us, this is also a bad idea. Instead, we're going to check our inventory and cruise around town.

Hooray! Gon's actually got what I think is the best mix of starting equipment in the game. Everyone comes with food and torches, but rogues come with a mid-level weapon out of what you can purchase in town, and the best unencumbering armor - this means it'll be easier for him to hit things. The shopkeeper list is here to illustrate a few things: Each store has a different purchasing limit, what they'll pay for your items (far right) and each one of them has a race. In earlier versions of Angband, certain races would hate eachother, and charge more in their shops - an elf would almost always get a raw deal from the half-orc or dwarf running the weapon store. In this version, though, it's just for flavor. There used to be some other fun things about shops that I'll get into later!

I didn't want to get into too many screenshots, so I didn't run around taking snaps of everything that Gon bought - but he got some cheap armor (a cloak, leather shield, leather cap, and boots) and a long bow from the armories. He also picked up an extra torch with 3000 turns of light, because 4500 turns of light is not going to be enough.

Wait! Before going into the dungeon, there's one more thing to cover -

While running around town, Gon killed a cat. Maybe to eat it, who knows? This little box is the monster recall - Angband keeps track of what you kill, and how many times you've killed it. This box fills out as monsters attack you (giving information about their attacks) and as you kill them (giving information about their defenses). This almost completely eliminates the need to look at outside information about the game's monsters - or as Roguelike players like to call them, "spoilers." That might even be where the term originates from, since I think it dates back to the 1980s.

You'll also notice that killing a cat is worth no experience. In fact, this is true of everything in town, even the things that are more interested in beating you to death than an adorable kitten.

Finally! The meat of Angband, the dungeon. That text in the upper-left is the level feeling - it gives players a general impression of how worthwhile it is to run around this floor and find everything. In lower levels it's easier to get a "good" feeling - they're not always good. Good level feelings can indicate monsters which spawned way higher up in the dungeon than they should have. In the lower levels, up until about Level 7, they don't mean much and we'll mostly be ignoring them.

I'll be putting what each monster and item is on the side of the screen on occasion, but it's not too hard to pick up: !s are potions, }s are ranged weapons, and letters are.. monsters. Different kinds of monsters, but usually the letters make sense for them, like the mold over there.

Molds! Molds don't move, so they're not too dangerous - unless you get close to them. Most, but not all, molds have additional effects that go along with their attack, indicated by the monster color. Grey monsters usually cause confusion, which is one of the worst things to have in Angband: You can't read scrolls, cast magic, and all your movement input comes out goofy. Nethack lets you have some fun with confusion, but Angband doesn't care. It wants to kill you.

Needless to say, Gon runs around the room and picks up everything. He shoots some arrows at the mold to kill it, because momma always told him to be careful around monsters that don't move. We'll see different types of them later, and they're bad.

It's not long before Gon gets stuck, though. It would be kind of cruel of the game to put us in a situation where there was nothing to do about it, right?

Secret doors! Gon feels around the wall, and because he's such a smart young lad, finds the hidden latch that will open up the wall. Classes which have a very poor searching ability - like warriors - are going to have to suck it and go back to town when they encounter a situation like this, because they're so bad at searching they may literally never find that door.

Feeling confident in himself, Gon trundles through the door and finds...

A slew of monsters! I've put the symbol that signifies that monster type in parenthesis, along with the 'flavor' of monster after that. For good measure, there's some indication of what all those other symbols are - only brown 's are doors, other colors indicate food. Or maybe they're ,s. Who knows, with the mystery monospace font?

The mighty Gon swings his cute little sword around a whole bunch, and cuts up the bat and ant. When he gets to work on the lizard, he delivers a few choice blows before the thing gets scared, and starts running away - this is when Gon will either have to chase it, rest, or fire a few arrows to finish it off. In this case, since it'll be easy to corner the monster and it poses no threat, he chases.

Turning the corner, Gon walks past a glint in one of the walls. Since it's so shiny, he turns back around and joyously runs to look at what it is - it looks like copper or gold in the wall, something that he could use to buy more things back in town. He tries to pry out a few pieces with his little sword, but it's not going to take. It's a shame that he doesn't have anything to dig it out with!

Back down the hallway, Gon sees a mysterious floating eye! (e)ye monsters are immobile, like molds, but are even nastier - they get bad effects sooner rather than later, and it's safest to take them out from long distances. Gon notches is bow and shoots the eye straight in the.. eye.. and it turns into dust or whatever monsters in Angband do, since they don't leave corpses for you to eat.

Venturing further into the dungeon, Gon meets his distant relatives, jackals (or (C)anines, as their monster class is called). These are the first monsters that come in groups, and even though they're not dangerous, an unprepared adventurer can meet their doom at the hands of any monster group - although in this case, "unprepared" more or less means "Goofus".

All of them go down easily - they're weak monsters, and no match for the mighty Gon! - so our little kobold friend runs over to the $ on the floor and picks up the copper that it signifies. Hooray! Now he can buy some more things back in the town, but first there's even more treasure to be had. The whole time he's been running around, Gon has picked up a few things, and suddenly has a bad feeling about something in his knapsack.

One of the slings he has is cursed! Gon quickly throws it away, because no way is he ever going to use a sling, and he's just too nice a little kobold to try and sell something cursed to a shop owner. If he did, maybe he'd get beaten up, too, and that's just not the way little Gon rolls.

The {cursed} and {average} you see here next to the slings is what's called Pseudo-ID: The warrior-derived classes all get some form of it, and warriors are best, with rogues second-best. Pseudo-ID gives you a general "feeling" about equipment, which is useful for inventory management inside of a dungeon when you don't have the tools you need to identify things (there's a reason warrior-based classes get this ability; they'll never learn an ID spell, or in Gon's case, won't learn one for a long time). There are five different gradations; there's equipment that is worse than cursed, and there is equipment that's better than blessed. Hopefully we'll find some - maybe from both categories.

In the next room, Gon finds out what caused that level feeling earlier - it's a mage! Normally Gon would make friends, but he's heard stories about Goofus, and knows that you should never make friends with other adventurers. (p)eople monsters start spawning in Level 2 or 3, so this is one of those cases where it's a bad monster - not a good item - that told us to explore this floor.

Gon isn't afraid of some dorky old mage, though! He shoots a bunch of arrows and stops the thing before it can even get in range to see him - monsters have vision ranges just like your character does, and as far as the mage was concerned, Gon is in the dark - and gains a level in the process. You might notice that levels, right now, are only raising Gon's HP. That's what levels in Angband do - they raise your HP, SP, and give you the ability to learn new spells on occasion. They don't raise your stats, that's what potions later in the dungeon and special equipment are for.

Gon runs around and murders a few more monsters in a completely senseless and violent fashion, bumping his little @-symbol representation into a myriad of (c)entipedes, (a)nts, snakes (J, hell if I know why), and the occasional (b)at. Suddenly, his foot catches in something and he trips forward, a pit opening up in front of him!

Ouch, that really hurt. Gon ran into a pit trap - and he's lucky that he has poison immunity, otherwise our game would probably be over now. Most pit traps have poisoned spikes on the bottom, and the hit of spikes combined with poison damage will absolutely wreck a low-level player - trapdoors and pits are the two most dangerous traps for any character under level 5.

Fortunately, Gon is a smart little fellow, and can see where all the tripwires are that trigger the trap.

Hooray! Gon manages to fiddle with the wires to get rid of them without triggering the trap, and gains a little bit of experience for being such a clever kobold. Traps can't stop him! He's totally excited by this turn of events, running around the dungeon and not running into a single monster. Until...

Goodness, it's a distant relative! Since it wants to kill Gon, it must be very, very distant as far as relatives go. But (k)obolds of the evil kind pose no real threat, and kobolds of the good kind - like Gon - have no problems smashing their faces in. Which is what Gon does.

Our furry little friend then heads over to the slime mold. Can you tell the difference between the , indicating the slime mold and the , indicating a door? Maybe not so well? What if I told you that there are mushroom items also denoted by the , symbol, and mushroom monsters which are ,s as well?

The only way to tell is by using either monster targeting or the invaluable look command.

Anyway, eating the slime mold makes Gon less hungry, and carries no ill effects. For players running a style of game called "ironman" - which essentially makes Angband play like the traditional Rogue, where you're not allowed to go up stairs or buy anything in town - slime molds are a godsend. Food consumption is a major issue in these games just because of how huge Angband's dungeon maps are. Winning an ironman game is a serious badge of mastery of Angband.

Heading towards an unexplored corner of the map, Gon runs across a pile of rubble (:) that blocks his path. He doesn't have anything useful to remove it with, so instead he starts digging with his cute little doggy hands and prying the occasional boulder loose with the edge of his sword. It sure would be helpful if he had some kind of tool to remove roadblocks like this one! Digging without a tool takes up many more turns than it would otherwise, and means food (and light!) consumption.

After running around the dungeon a little more, Gon decides it's time to check his inventory.

Wow, that's a lot of stuff! Gon isn't too fair away from some stairs leading upwards - there's more than one set of stairs in each direction per level - so he runs up the staircase and back into town to sell some of his things, get some money, and maybe upgrade his equipment and replace some of the arrows he lost.

NEXT TIME: Shopkeepers go ARRGGHH!, Gon meets popular dogs Grip and Fang!

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