Welcome to 2010: The Year We Let's Play Angband. This update is brought to you by the extremely awesome (and relevant) Festivus gift I received. You can click --->here<--- to see it. I hope that all of you had very lovely Christmases and New Years as well because mine were actually kind of balls. However: That's going to change this year. This year is going to be awesome. Let's start it off right, guys. Let's start it off by having me stop in the middle of writing this introduction and driving 30 miles to go and get a breakfast that won't suck, because for some reason where I live there is no such thing as a good breakfast place that serves up wicked amounts of chicken fried steak.

Okay, I'm back. Let's get started.

Another of the goofy new items, this actually looks kind of interesting. It would, in fact, be perfect for a character with no other good means of healing in the middle of a vicious brawl where natural HP regeneration is almost useless. That character is not Hieronymus Gaylord.

Meet the first unresistable hound attack! Force is a physical, and not elemental, attack - which means that it only goes up against your ordinary AC, but it also means that you can't resist. And I'm certain that later in the dungeon there are going to be ancient dragons that breathe force, which I'm sure will be a game-ender if I made it that far.

However, this is bad enough. H.G. teleports out of there and rests up to regain his health - this is the first close call that he's had in a very long time. Going to have to start playing a little bit more carefully with monsters like that out there.

Using his Rod of Detection, Hieronymus Gaylord surveys his surroundings to find a room filled with much treasure, which just happened to have a unique with followers spawn into one of the chambers. This is probably the single best place for a monster like that to spawn, because of how the game determines where followers can be placed around any monster that has them: It appears to go through and populate spaces surrounding the monster, and then spaces surrounding those, etc. until either a limit is reached or (more likely) with each space outwards having a decreasing probability of being populated. The limits on this are that as soon as a wall or door are intersected, the monster population stops. This is why there aren't any ogres out in the hallway surrounding these inner chambers.

Hieronymus Gaylord, adventurer that he is, wastes no time in getting down and dirty with some ogre murder.

As always, victory is assured.

A ring of See Invisible is finally acquired and there's a reason this is important: Right now the only thing giving Hieronymus Gaylord the all-important See Invisible is Anduril, and what happens if we have to replace it one day with a better weapon that doesn't have that trait? This gets picked up and will be stashed in the home for a rainy (or sunny, depending on your point of view) day.

Hieronymus Gaylord heads down to 1350' and gains some INT. I think I've gone over the idea of 'stat gain depths' before, but now that we're officially in them, let me explain again (and in a little more detail about why they're good/bad).

There are a strata of floors of the dungeon (around L30-L45 or so) that are colloquially referred to as "stat gain" depth because this is where you're most likely to find the stat gain potions laying around on the dungeon floor. One of the curious things about 3.1.1 is that this (apparently) wasn't rebalanced, because a lot of Angband players play the game where they scum stat depth until their stats are maxed out and then make a bolt for around L70 (3500') where massive awesome vaults and xxxtreme amounts of artifacts are all but guaranteed. This is a shame because apparently the L50-60 stratum is one of the most interesting in the game, with cool and challenging (but not overpowering) monsters. It makes sense that Angband players would skip the only balanced part of the game.

Stat gain is a huge point of contention among Angband players. Resistance gaining is something that happens naturally and fairly quickly, but stat gain can take a very long time for successful games (and yes, most successful games do involve maxed-out stats). This grinds Angband to a halt and makes it a boring, grindy experience (even for a game which is already grindy), which prompts many players to either get bored, careless, give up, or just skip stat gain altogether (which is almost certain to result in death). Stat gain is not exactly optional, and I'd really like to see it tampered with a bit somehow so that it doesn't grind games to a halt.

But as mentioned, H.G. won't be sticking around here forever. Stat gain depth isn't the only place to gain stats - it's just the best.

WIS up!

DEX up! You might notice that it's gone up to 18/45, and not some more obvious, rounded number - once you start getting into the fractional stats, stat gain will add anywhere between 10 and 20 points (which previously just showed up as one or two whole points).

DEX up! again. I've got to say that I'm really happy about the constant stream of DEX gains because Hieronymus Gaylord's DEX has been fairly lacking in comparison to his other super-useful stats.

Looking at his stat sheet makes it obvious why. Hieronymus Gaylord suffers from a penalty to DEX because of his race, and has a fairly low equip bonus for it. This makes it his lowest combat stat, even though it's his highest base stat value!

Anyway, this jerk shows up with a dragon behind him, and also starts picking up all the treasure on the floor that's rightfully Hieronymus Gaylord's. He put in a lot of hard work killing those monsters, mister.

Uldor has no problem summoning his foul beasts from the depths of Angband to do battle with Hieronymus Gaylord, however. Foul beasts like rogues and priests. If he's able to summon higher-level human monsters, though, there could end up being a Druid or something (which will then summon hound monsters (which will then kill Hieronymus Gaylord)). Better take care of this guy fast.

So, Hieronymus Gaylord perhaps unwisely runs into a large room where Uldor can summon to his hearts' content. This has a big advantage, though: It puts a wall of monsters between him and the dragon. Dragons, of course, can still breathe over the mob, but it'll be easier to manipulate line of sight (and also get in more effective hits of Orb of Draining) from this vantage point.

Plus, now there are a bunch of rangers to kill.

See? Nothing to worry about.

And? Humans have a high probability of doing treasure drops. That's the other reason for letting him spawn so many of them. There might be something really good hiding out in that pile.

However there wasn't, because there are no screenshots indicating that there was something good there.

To make up for the lack of awesome treasure, Hieronymus Gaylord invests in an all-important scroll of *Remove Curse*. This is all important because he could (a) be an idiot and accidentally put on a weapon of Morgoth or (b) find a heavily-cursed normal artifact that rules the school (like Calris).

This will also go back home and get stashed away for a rainy day.

Hieronymus Gaylord also buys a potion of Wisdom back in the town and gets a little bit more wiser.

You know what, I took a couple weeks off because I had to do things like drive across the entire state of Arizona in a terrible car, so let's keep going with this update. Protip: The Pontiac G6 and the Saturn Aura are both (essentially) the same model of car, and do not ever, ever drive either of them. It's like a boat that hates you.

Well, hi there! Where've you been all my life, DEX-modifying gloves? Hieronymus Gaylord puts them on and

Five attacks a turn? I think I'm in love!

Another Scroll of Acquirement is read, and another mediocre item is gained. However, it's (slightly) better than using the current long bow being used, so it gets swapped into the ranged weapon slot. Bolts do more damage than arrows (1d5 vs. 1d4) and also have less of a chance to break. Otherwise the weapons are pretty comparable in terms of power.

Well, how about that. An extra +1 AC, but with the same DEX bonus! Today's my lucky day.

Here's the current equipment set, for those of you playing along at home.

Here's something sneaky you can do, which is more useful in the slightly-earlier game, but which is still valuable if you're like me and are an enormous mieser.

Staves of Identify are incredibly valuable. They cost a lot in the magic shop, but they're better to cart around than paper scrolls (for one, 10 scrolls weigh the same as one staff, staves can be recharged, and etc. etc.) but the problem is that if you sell them back to the magic shop when they're empty, they get 'merged' onto the stack of Identify staves already in the shop, and the number of charges per-staff goes down (and sometimes the price goes up!).

Solution? Sell them at the Black Market. You won't get full price, of course, but you'll get something back - usually enough to invest in another fully-charged staff. This is an excellent thing to do if you're playing a character with no way to recharge staves.

Back in the dungeon, another useless artifact is obtained. This sucker gettin' sold!

WIS up! Hieronymus Gaylord is fast becoming the wisest of all the dwarves.

CON up! 8 HP come with it, and I guess that building up CON will become more important as levels go up. I've completely forgotten the HP calculation formula (which is based on CON and PLev) but I guess that it eventually levels out at 1HP per PLev. Thanks, dtsund!

Let's finish this update off by having Hieronymus Gaylord find some awesome ammunition for his crossbow.

NEXT TIME: You feel very smart! You feel very dexterous!

< Part 52 | Main | Part 54 >