Welcome back! Last time, Gon had explored a dull-looking 4th floor of the dungeon, and resolved to keep going down into it. It seems like the 5th floor is finally interesting enough to make it worthwhile to explore the whole thing.

Finally, there are a few more interesting enemies hanging around here. The gray (k) is a kobold archer, which is one of the first really dangerous monsters which can fight at range, and the white (s) is a skeleton kobold. This is a less dangerous monster, but it's what Gon will look like when he finally meets his untimely demise. Although not really, he'll probably become a spooky ghost!

Just a quick word about ranged monsters who travel at normal speed, in general: The best way to handle them is to move out of their line of sight, usually around a corner, and wait until it's safe to engage them in melee combat. Faster monsters can be handled this way too, but it's a bit more dangerous, since they're also usually uniques (or dragons) and can seriously mess up Gon at close range.

Traveling southward, Gon meets his first really dangerous monster group, which just happens to be a few levels out of depth. This is a line of cave (o)rcs, and at first Gon only sees the first two. Seeing two of the same kind of monster usually means it comes in groups, so Gon casts Detect Monsters and learns that maybe this won't be so tough to handle after all. He's at just about the right level to be able to take this guys down anyway!

This is going to be a bit more dangerous than originally thought, Gon realizes. He's almost killed the first orc, but it took half of his HP, and more importantly, Gon is stunned. This explanation of stunning might be a little incorrect, but it turns out that stunning is caused by a critical hit from a monster - which can either stun or cause a cut, but not both - and causes the player to lose turns until the stun is cleared, and not regenerate HP (but regenerate SP) while stunned.

Meanwhile, Gon doesn't quite take down the first orc, and has sustained a serious beating. It's time to run away, and first he makes a couple of attempts to cast Phase Door before realizing that it's probably better to just read one of the scrolls. But what would have happened if Gon didn't have a scroll to read?

In this sticky, hypothetical situation, Gon could still attempt to cast the spell - but with serious, serious consequences. So serious that Angband gives you a y/n prompt to see if you really want to do it. He could try and cast the spell at a greatly increased failure rate - and even if the spell succeeds, he could:

- Faint and become paralyzed
- Temporarly damage his constitution, meaning it could be restored with a potion of Restore Constitution
- Permanently damage his constitution
- Any combination of these

To cast a spell with low mana, Gon would have to be in serious, serious trouble, and have no other way of getting out.

Fortunately, the orcs are stupid enough (and more importantly, the one at the end of the tunnel Gon has ended up on is asleep) to leave him alone long enough to heal up.

Plus, from his new position, Gon can move into place to shoot his bow a few tiles down to start hitting orcs before they get into melee range! He manages to take out one of them completely this way, and uses a combination of melee and shooting to get the last two.

Success! Hooray! Gon has now gained a ridiculous amount of XP from this little adventure, and will soon approach level 11. Wandering around the dungeon brings him even closer, although there's no interesting encounters to speak of - he does run into a massive cache of treasure, and picks up two 'blunt' weapons - a trident and a warhammer. He has no use for either of them, since he's not a priest, and non-edged weapons are always the heaviest in the game. They'll sell for some good bank, too!

Well, maybe - Gon gets the impression that the hammer is cursed pretty quickly, which means that it's not something he wants to keep lugging around (it's 12 pounds or so).

Instead, Gon picks up this turquoise ring (=). At this depth in the dungeon it's probably not going to be interesting - slow digestion or feather falling are the only uncursed ones likely to be found. If we're lucky, it'll be a teleportation ring.

Teleportation rings are always cursed, and randomly teleport you across the dungeon at a random interval. But if you uncurse the ring, you can take it on and off, and it makes an excellent emergency escape item - as long as you put it on soon enough. Carrying an uncursed teleportation ring is smart for any charcter who can't afford or can't use teleportation staves very well, or for mages who haven't learned teleportation yet.

Shortly after picking up the ring, Gon's last torch goes out and it's time to swap over to using the lantern. At maximum, it can hold 15000 turns of light - meaning with a full lantern it's actually safe to run out of oil to fuel it with, because any player will need to go back to town before 15000 turns in the dungeon if they're careful enough.

Heading north, Gon runs into a staff laying on the ground (_). All that he can tell right now is that it's made of gold, and gold is pretty awesome, so it has to be a good staff, right? He holds onto it until he can get an ID.

Gon slices through a few more boring enemies and gets a level-up, which results in learning Cure Light Wounds. Since he's carrying a bunch of potions already, and this spell costs a lot of his mana and has a ridiculously high fail rate, it's practically useless for him. In fact, this spell is useless for most mages, and I tend not to learn it.

Heading south, Gon encounters a mage - but he sees another one, too. This isn't a monster that usually travels in groups, right? Well, it turns out that around floor 5 in the dungeon, new versions of those old (p) monsters start showing up - ones with more abilities and who travel in groups. These red (p)s can blind him and cast magic missile more often now. It doesn't help that a paladin is mixed in with the group, who will probably end up putting The Fear into Gon. This is shaping up to be another pitched battle.

Okay, this is even worse than originally imagined. It's bad enough that one of the mages has managed to flank him, but now he's confused and facing a paladin - being confused is one of the worst things that can happen when facing a large group. It's just going to screw with the input directions (moving will move Gon in a random direction) and keep him from reading scrolls and casting spells, but that's bad enough. What if there's an emergency?

And then things get even worse for poor Gon. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a novice warrior (p) shows up and is ready to do a murder on him. A green f(R)og comes with, and even though it's not dangerous, it's another thing to contend with. Gon's finally taken enough of a beating that he decides it's time to get the hell out of there, and reads a phase scroll.

Fortunately, the phase spell put Gon in the hallway north of all the action, and not in the middle of the hallway where all the mages are having their party, probably talking about why it is that they can't just memorize their spells and stop carrying around these heavy books. He makes a mad dash for the northernmost door, and jams a spike through it to turn it into a makeshift barricade.

This was mentioned earlier, but here's a quick review. Occasionally in the dungeon, you'll come across a door which is "stuck". This means it can only be opened with the 'Bash' command or through magical means, and is one of the worst things to encounter when running from a monster. But on the other hand, using an iron spike to 'jam' a door causes it to become stuck - and this means a monster will have to bash against it to get it open, which requires a lot of raw strength. Jamming a door will give a character at least a few precious turns to rest up, or at least read a recall scroll and get the hell out of there in the most dire of emergencies.

Gon chooses the former, resting until his HP and SP are full.

Looping around the floor since he can't get through the jammed door this time, Gon heads back towards where the mages are still hanging out, and manages to put himself in this sweet little position. This guarantees that he can't be surrounded and can see any incoming mages to know if he has to scoot back, and also has an added bonus. Monsters who use missile weapons aren't exactly smart - if they see the player in their line of sight, they shoot. But if there's a monster between the shooter and the player, well, that monster's getting hit instead. So the mage's very own friend helps with Gon's crushing power. A sad fate.

Could this be the end of Gon's mage problem? He doesn't think about it too much, because one of them dropped an ID scroll - that means he can find out if his staff is worthwhile or not. It turns out to be Detect Invisible, which means it's worth holding onto for the (hopeful) battle with Smeagol! He also picks up a short sword laying on the floor, which he swaps out for the average sword he knows he's carrying. After all, maybe it's something better.

Well, of course it's not the end of our episode of mage trouble. In fact, the paladin is still alive, hiding out in the midst of them all - it was in the same room as Gon earlier, remember? There's no way it could have magically teleported all the way to the other side there!

Of course, before any of this happens, Gon makes his way near where he remembers the foes last being, in the room adjacent to the jammed door. This is when a mage decides to go balls-out on him, both blinding and confusing poor Gon. This is about the worst combination of things to happen to him yet, and it's something of a miracle that not only does he manage to survive it, he lives long enough to get off a phase spell that once again takes him into the eastern room once the blindness and confusion are cleared up.

And the rest is history! It's a pitched battle between Gon and the paladin, but then the remaining mage is easily dispatched, leaving behind a light blue potion of some sort. It's difficult to remember exactly what it was.

With that over, Gon takes a breather and then decides to explore the unmapped southern portion of the dungeon.

Now, this scene wasn't always like this. When Gon first came into the room, the lice were just starting to wake up, and so were the worms - he was able to take out a few of them with his bow, but then realized that it might be best to run. This was before he noticed the dagger (|) hanging out here, which almost got lost in all the (l)ice. Sometimes the difference can be difficult to see.

Gon decides to make a run for it, snatching up the dagger and just barely making it back out into the hallway unscathed, latching the door behind him. Finally - safety! The whole floor explored and his knapsack almost full, Gon decides that it's time to head back up to town, and reads one of his recall scrolls.

Up top, it's the usual ID process. This time Gon got a really great haul! It was smart of him to swap out for that short sword, and also make the run on the dagger. Unfortunately the ring is slow digestion, but a ring is a ring, and Gon puts it on. He also keeps that short sword.

You might wonder why Gon bothered to ID that staff when he already knew what kind it was. The answer is simple - you don't know how many charges are on a staff or wand until it's ID'd, and you can't stack staves until you know how many charges there are on them. There's nothing worse than wandering around the dungeon with three or four inventory slots clogged up with the same kind of magical device just because you have no idea how many charges they've got.

Well, okay - there are worse things and some of them are about to happen.

Meanwhile, while selling off his old sword and some of the other dungeon junk, Gon sees a Short Bow (x2) (+6, +3) on the shelf. That's way better than the long bow he's holding now - for those of you playing along at home, min/max the damage on that compared to what Gon's holding now, a (x3) (+2, +2) - especially since it's more accurate and will hit things way more often. Gon's been missing a lot lately. Gon also picks up a bunch of arrows to go with his shiny new bow.

After all that buying power, Gon can only afford one word of recall scroll, so he goes into the dungeon the old-fashioned way: Floor-by-floor. This makes him more likely to encounter Smeagol anyway. The first floor is boring - especially for Gon - but he does find an especially rich vein of treasure and nets quite a lot of money from it.

This is the sight that Gon encounters on his way down into the second floor of the dungeon. When you first enter a floor, before taking any turns, all the monsters are asleep, and Gon takes advantage of this - he creeps around, dispatching each of them one by one. The +5 to-hit on his new sword makes this remarkably easy, when combined with the hit bonuses he naturally gets against a sleeping monster. Spiders are no longer a danger to the mighty, stealthy Gon! He can take down anything.

On his way towards what will turn out to be another decisive encounter, Gon discovers another particularly rich treasure vein. What luck!

Now, Gon wanders around the floor, looking for the stairs downwards. The first place he checks is in the southeast corner of the dungeon, and spies a room full of sleeping spiders - this is going to be easy, right? He just took care of a whole bunch of them moments before, no problem! Besides, his Very Neat Sword has a good chance of plowing through anything he comes across with little effort.

This is where things start going wrong. In order to get at the spiders, Gon has to head into the room where they are, and immediately two of them wake up. There's nothing wrong with handling these few - but then the whole brood decides it's time to mind-meld and activate.

That leads to this ugly situation. Gon's spent a lot of time surrounded by spiders, hacking away at them, and because they're so fast and numerous he's taken a lot of tiny little hits from them - and they add up. Gon attempts to cast Phase Door a few times in an effort to get back into the hallway, but fails on both of them.

Instead he decides to chug down a curative potion and then begin reading his phase scrolls in a hope of teleporting out of the room and into the hallway, where he can start using missile weapons and maybe even get a chance to jam the door shut.

In the midst of this heated battle, Gon manages to take out most of the spiders until there are only two left. By now he's out of healing potions and has sustained a cut, but he still has plenty of phase scrolls left. It should be easy for him to get out of this situation now - all he has to do is teleport a few spaces away from the spiders and then launch arrows into them. That should take care of this - and once this is over, Gon resolves to never fight another spider again unless he absolutely has to. Everything that could go wrong here has.

Unfortunately, Gon doesn't account for the butterfingers of the person at the keyboard controlling him, who instead makes him read a scroll of Recall. Gon wonders why the fuck he's doing that, but doesn't question it too much - I mean, that's going to get him out of the dungeon, right?


No. No no no NO NO NO NO

Gon gasps his last breath, realizing his folly at last. What an ignominious death for a level 11 character - felled on the second floor of the dungeon by a weak monster, while carrying some equipment that should have been able to turn them into paste without fail.

What went wrong: The first thing that I did that was wrong is obvious: I fought a group of monsters I didn't have to. I was foolish enough to think that it would be easy to handle, but here's a dirty secret: I only did it because I wanted to. At this point spiders give almost no experience and don't drop anything; it's just a compulsive urge to murder everything that drove this on.

The next problem is that Gon didn't run immediately as soon as those spiders started waking up. He was only able to dispatch that group earlier with such ease because they were all asleep.

And the final lesson is this: Don't ever, EVER hit the wrong key. It's not just missteps in the dungeon that kill.

Goodbye, Gon. I thought we were going to take you much farther, and that you'd have a blessed, wonderful life. You didn't even get any artifacts, did you, Gon? And you never got to take your revenge on Smeagol, either. Mourn ya 'til I join ya, homie. Respect.

Next.. Next time: Will Gon be avenged by ???, the Kobold Priest? One can only hope.

Poll time: Our next character is going to need a name, and will probably not have too many of his/her earlier adventures chronicled (except for the really good stuff). I'll give you guys a couple days to come up with a name for them but I have a sneaking suspicion that I know what everyone is going to pick anyway. Kobold Priest was next on the list of requested characters, so that's what's happening!

As a result the new character gets their first post sometime this weekend, and then it's back to the regular 2-3 day cycle. Hooray?

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