Damn, a lot of you guys already seem to know at least as much about Angband as I do. Come on people who don't play Angband, you're the ones who should read this!
Welcome back! This update is going to be unusually large because a lot happens to Gon. Last time, he encountered some nasty monsters but prevailed over all. What will happen on his next adventure into the dungeon?
Gon wakes up from his nap and decides it would be an excellent idea to go and sell some of the things that he brought up from the dungeon. There are still a few potions and scrolls which aren't quite important enough to waste identification on yet, so this will help fill in the few remaining gaps on low-level items.
Gon gets decent prices for his potions, but loses a potion of speed in the process. As you might guess, this is one of the more important potions for the entire game, although they tend to show up mostly around levels 2-4.
Now it's time to restock! Gon needs some more light and arrows, and that's what he gets out of a visit to the general store. He also just happens to need another Word of Recall scroll for emergencies (or if he goes past level 6, at which point travelling back and forth between town becomes a hindrance).
First Gon wanders into the alchemist's shop, and that's one pricy scroll! But the general store happens to sell them too, for just a little bit cheaper - and that's where Gon picks his up. 12 gold isn't a lot, but whatever he can scrimp and save right now is worth it.
Adequately prepared, Gon goes back into the dungeon. It's a boring place, and honestly for him it's no longer worthwhile to explore level 1 unless there's the impression that something extrordinary is there. But this doesn't mean that it'll be useless to not pick some things up.
For example, this flask of oil that Gon runs across. Since he doesn't have a lantern or anything, it might seem kind of silly to pick it up, but Gon - being clever - realizes that he could stick a wick in it and light it on fire before throwing it. Unfortunately he has no wicks or rags. Oops.
Angband has long said that throwing a flask of oil would do fire damage in documentation somewhere, but looking at the source code, it turns out that this is not true.
Little else of interest happens, and Gon's ready to head down to the next floor before too long. It happens to be boring as well, and by "boring" I mean both that little happens here and nothing interesting gets collected. Gon gets to pick up some food and dig out treasure in the first room, netting himself nearly 60 gold in the process, and then begins to explore.
That light-green (k)obold is actually a "large kobold". It's a little tougher than Gon's other relatives that he's encountered, but still goes down fairly easily. It's only worth mentioning, in fact, because Gon's going to keep running into these and it might make him sad one day to have to stab so many of his fellow kobolds in the face.
Running around there are a few more encounters, including one with another (i)cky thing, this time blubbering. While it goes "BLOO A BLOO BLOO BLOO" and tears stream down its horrible, deformed face, Gon smacks it extra hard.
Mechanics time! Let's learn about critical hits in Angband, which will explain the advantages of wielding heavy weapons. If you're not interested, skip to the X (although this is pretty simple).
Critical hits are determined by two calculations, both of which take weapon weight into account. The first one, determining if a critical happens, adds weight to 5 x to-hit, then adds another 3 x player level. A random number is selected, and if it's less than this total, a critical hit occurs.
The actual damage done by the critical hit is computed based on weight alone (along with a random factor, because everything in Angband has a random factor). There are five kinds of hits:
- good, which does 2x damage plus a small fixed bonus
- great, which does 2x damage plus a slightly larger bonus
- superb, which does 3x damage plus an even larger bonus
- *GREAT*, which does 3x plus a larger bonus than that
- *SUPERB*, which does (7 x damage)/2 + bonus - or about 3.5x damage, depending on how the integer math works out.
In order to get a *SUPURB* hit you need to be carrying a weapon which weighs at least 6.5lbs if the random number generator is extremely kind, and a weapon over 13lbs if it's extremely unkind. Past a certain point in the game, it's only worth wielding a heavy weapon if your level and to-hit bonuses are high enough to consistently get supurb or higher hits. This is one of the reasons Gon will be wielding a light weapon, unless he comes across an exceptionally good mid-weight one. We'll talk more about the behavior of light weapons later when it becomes more relevant.
Meanwhile, Gon explores some more of the dungeon. He runs across more treasure, digs it out, and lights up a new torch again - then starts thinking that maybe extinguishing his torch while he digs might not be such a bad idea. It's not like he needs to see very well to do it, and his natural sight in the dungeon should be more than enough to see any monsters getting close to him.
Gon comes across another foul monster and destroys it. This nets him a level up, and a chance to learn one of the most useful spells for a rogue - Phase Door. It does just what it says, teleporting him 10-15 squares away (sound familiar?) and at this point isn't actually good for much. Its failure rate is too high to be of use in emergency situations (unless they are really, really bad), and he doesn't have enough mana to take advantage of it tactically yet. He learns it anyway, because he's a dutiful student, like every young man should be.
Traveling further into the dungeon, Gon encounters another novice rogue (blue p). The only real difference between the two of them is that Gon is smarter, has a bow, and is totally way better at kicking ass. Well, and the novice rogue can steal things, like Smeagol can, and unfortunately Gon can't do anything cool like that.
Taking him out with arrows proves to be no problem.
Heading down to the third floor of the dungeon, Gon gets the impression that this trip into the dungeon isn't really going to be worthwhile at all. It's kind of depressing, really - he's just going to keep heading downwards until he reaches some decent treasure, or has to run back to town to take care of non-murdering business.
Wandering around the room, Gon notices a tile that looks like it would trigger a trap! This time he doesn't even have to walk into it - his natural ability to search things out is getting better as he becomes more experienced with travel around the dungeon. Disarming it is a snap.
For some reason, Gon can sympathize with this fellow, even though he had to do a murder on him.
Heading around level 3, Gon picks up some soft studded leather armor, and foolishly thinks that he can sell it back easily. He doesn't seem to realize that the armor he has on now isn't the best unencumbering armor, and that's a little bit of a mistake.
Here, Gon stands on a broken dagger (a 1d1 weapon which is ALWAYS cursed - no player picks these up and shop owners will never buy them, so it's a bit of a mystery to me why they're still in the game) and faces off against a yellow (m)old. Yellow monsters are particularly dangerous at this point in the game - they sap strength, lowering your stat below its max, and you need to buy (very expensive) potions of Restore Strength to take care of it. Fortunately, no matter how many strength points get drained, you still only need one, and your strength isn't lowered permanently. No, there are other monsters for that, if I remember right!
As with all dangerous monsters that can damage stats or inflict bad status effects, Gon takes this one out with arrows. A novice mistake a lot of players make that we didn't see with Goofus, by the way, is non-mage (and non-priest, I suppose) characters not buying a bow and about 20 arrows first thing.
The next interesting thing that Gon encounters is a hallway filled with (l)ice. Lice are another monster class that has explosive growth - and they replicate fast. Gon thnks for a while that he might be able to handle this, but the situation is getting out of hand way faster than it should - he retreats for the door to try and contain the pest invasion, and then runs around the dungeon to try and completely seal off that sector of the map. He makes it to the upper-left door just in time, closing it and containing the lice in a section of the dungeon that he's mostly explored already.
If this were Nethack, he could probably call the Orkin man or something.
In the doorway just south of Gon is a blue (y)eek, which I guess is some kind of humanoid monster that almost always carries money. But that's not the important part - what is important is that Gon learns Find Traps/Doors, which is one of the most useful spells in the game. Even Gon will periodically get stuck when looking for a door, and this is the spell to cast - it's also necessary for some situations he'll get into later, involving traps or monsters which create other traps.
Gon decides it's a good idea to make a run for the 4th floor of the dungeon now, since there's little else to look at here and half of the floor is overrun with lice anyway. Gon, having lots of fur, really doesn't feel all that interested in trying to kill any more of them. What if they decided to take up residence on him?
On the way down he runs into a kobold shaman - like a novice mage, but harder, and also related to Gon - and finally gets hungry for the first time.
Unfortunately, the 4th floor of the dungeon is also quite boring. At least that's what Gon's nose tells him, and he begins to wonder if his luck is ever going to turn around. Isn't the whole point of heading into the dungeon to get neat stuff and sell it for much ducats anyway?
While running around on this floor, Gon feels a chill, like something unearthly is touching him. Next thing he knows, he's deathly afraid, and hears the sound of something nearby wooshing away!
Gon has just encountered the first ghost in the dungon - he can't see it because it's not warm-blooded (being dead) and of course ghosts are invisible. They can touch to put The Fear in you, and this has the effect of preventing Gon from doing any melee attacks; although he can still shoot his bow, and cast magic.
Gon encounters a few more monsters, plowing through another novice mage and large kobold to get to a frosty (j)elly. Gon forgets what his momma told him again, and engages another immobile monster head on, foolishly. The ghost is still nowhere to be found, thankfully. Or felt, at least.
Frost, at least, is significantly less dangerous than fire. It can break potions and flasks of oil, but is otherwise fairly harmless as far as the elemental brands go.
While looking through the dungeon for a few items, Gon runs into the ghost again. At first, he can't tell where it is and swings his sword wildly around, but the next time he encounters it he manages to smack it, somehow - and is rewarded for his trouble with a few pieces of gold. He wonders how a ghost could carry things, but decides that it might be better not to question it.
Hunting through the dungeon for anything interesting, Gon realizes that his knapsack is all full up and he can't carry anything else in it. So he reads his recall scroll and heads back into town to sell off all his awesome loot!
Actually, his loot might not be too awesome, looking it over. Gon realizes he has a bunch of pebbles, some potions that he doesn't know what they are, armor he picked up earlier, some boots, and a dagger.
So he goes ahead and sells off all the potions, not really getting any valuable information about what they are in the process. But he does get enough money to ID the weapons and armor he's carrying!
The boots and the dagger aren't too impressive, but hot damn! Those worthless-looking iron rocks he was hauling around are actually enchanted, and will fetch a pretty good price at the weapon shop.
In fact, they fetch him 210 gold, and sell for six times the unenchanted iron shots. That's enough scratch for Gon to stock up on some arrows and some identify scrolls.
Coming out of the alchemy shop to go and hit up the armory finally, Gon runs into a pack of filthy, homeless children who pull at his clothes and demand money, while trying to sneak their hands into his pocketbook. He's not going to have any of that, seeing as how he just got a boatload of cash from selling all the junk he picked up in the dungeon!
Gon mercilessly slaughters all of the children. He's becoming a real hardened adventurer now!
In the armory, Gon spies something awesome hanging out on the shelf - a pair of heavily enchanted boots! With the money he's made from selling the pebbles along with all that digging he's been doing in the dungeon, he's got enough scratch to pony up for them. The kobold puts them on immediately, and feels much safter than before. Kind of like being wrapped in a warm blanket which can stop teeth.
His shopping finished, Gon decides that it's time to head back down into the dungeon again. This is getting to be an unusually long day for him.
Once again, the floor immediately below town looks pretty boring. At this point Gon only wants to run around it so that he can get a good enough feel for the dungeon that when he starts heading down again, he can figure out what the next level will be like.
As a side note about the "scumming" strategy was mentioned at the end of the last post, Angband has a way to prevent quick scumming - you need to spend at least 100 turns on a level before heading to another one in order to get a level feeling. Otherwise you get the unhelpful message "Looks like any other level."
Looks like this floor might not be so boring after all! Radiation (e)yes usually show up on level 3, and are probably the first monster that teaches a novice player to stay away from stationary monsters. They can drain mana from any distance - like it's doing to Gon here - and in melee combat sap strength like yellow molds do.
Right after this, Gon comes upon a down staircase, and heads for the next floor.
And holy shit does he ever get a good feeling. It's like being hugged by a thousand adorable girls all at once, but with the promise of an awesome sword or something! Plus it smells like mom's rabbit stew, which makes it even better. This is a floor that he's going to have to see every single inch of.
But first, a quick lesson in how Gon knows where to look for doors.
The dungon generation algorithms in Angband are fairly quick and relatively simple, and this means that secret doors usually appear in some very common configurations, one of which is seen here. Wherever there are two doors next to eachother in an apparent T-junction situation like this, 90% of the time there's going to be another door to be found - and usually two of them. If you look over some of the earlier images in this thread, you'll see other common setups, but doors usually come in cross configurations (in all cardinal directions), pairs of two, or connect a dead-end hallway into another room. These are things that players just learn over time, and no amount of spoilers is going to help you get a feel for dungeon generation.
Having found a door that looks promising, Gon heads through and along the twisty passages.
Holy christ what is that green thing (hint: It's an item, all punctuation characters are.)
It's a.. shovel? A Gnomish shovel, sure, and Gnomes are well-known for both populating lawns and living underneath them, so they must be really good at digging things up. Which probably means they have really good shovels, which is what the (+2) indicates - it's a (+2) to digging power. Gon looks at his old, beat up shovel, and immediately decides that it's garbage, shoving it into his bag and taking hold of this one instead. Awesome!
Could this be what caused his good feeling? Even if it was, it's worth exploring the rest of the level, Gon decides.
But it's relatively uneventful. Gon hits a teleport trap on the easternmost side of the dungeon, which throws him back to where he started, and makes him rather cross. The advantage of this is that a few steps later he suddenly gets a deluge of feelings about what's filling his knapsack - almsot all of it is worthless junk, and he throws it away in anticipation of the better treasures that might be lurking on the floor.
Coming into the eastern end of the dungeon again, Gon stumbles into this room containing a wand (-) and a grey mushroom (,). Naturally, mushrooms can't move, so Gon decides that it might be a good idea to pick up that wand and zap the mushroom with it. Unfortunately, this doesn't tell him anything other than that it doesn't work on monsters - this means it's time for an identify scroll.
And Gon finds his second out-of-depth item that generated the level feeling! A wand of door/trap destruction is almost useless for a rogue, but it'll fetch a pretty penny back in the town. In actuality, Gon will be selling almost all of the wands he picks up.
The monsters in the dungeon, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) aren't matching up with the items Gon has found at all though. They're all boring - he does run into a novice (p)riest though, which is like a novice mage but with priestly spells. They're a little more dangerous because they can heal themselves, but it's not worth noting them otherwise.
Gon also tries digging for some treasure and holy hell is that new shovel good - good enough that he reconsiders taking off his light for each digging adventure. It only takes a handful of turns to turn a wall into mush with this thing.
Suddenly, Gon gets another feeling about something in his pack. A good one. This time, it's a small shield he's carrying.
Good lord, that is one awesome shield.
Gon immediately takes off his old, battered shield and puts on this magical one. It produces a warm, fuzzy feeling, and Gon wonders if this is what "being high" is like.
It's at this point where Gon has explored the whole level, and is certain that if anything else awesome was hanging around, it's in his bag now. He decides to head straight back to the town, and since he doesn't have a recall scroll (and it would be a waste to use one) makes for the stairs upwards.
True to form, this level is boring. That's fine, Gon can't carry anything else now anyway!
Gon unlocks a door, and suddenly feels like he's the world's smartest kobold. He's unlocked tens of them without difficulty, but this one just happens to give him a level up and allows him to learn the Light Area spell. Like you'd think, this is only situationally useful - it lights up dark rooms permanently.
Having explored what seems to be all of the level and not having found an up staircase, Gon checks his map.
It looks like the entire southwestern corner of the map hasn't even been explored yet, but there are no obvious doors there! Even though the map is compressed, because of the rules of doors that we learned earlier, there are three obvious places to check - the southwestmost corner he's explored, the little protrusion from the southernmost main hallway, and the circled area. Casting Find Doors in each area, Gon discovers the secret in the circled region. Success!
Exploring this region gives the location of the upwards stairs. Every dungeon floor has at least one set of stairs in each direction.
Getting back into town, Gon realizes how long he's been working to get all this neat stuff, and decides that it's time to take another nap.
NEXT TIME: It's a mystery! The next update will be a little late because I haven't started playing it yet (I was waiting for input), expect it to hit this weekend. But Gon will stay in safe (but boring) places and attempt to take down Smeagol. Frankly, I don't want to take that many chances with him either.