After a series of promising, but ultimately dead characters, I started reading some ascension posts (posts about winning), and saw that these players were playing kind of fast and loose with their characters. It was risky to dive to sokoban for reflection or all the way to the castle for the wand of wishing, but both of those things exponentially increase your chances of surviving to mid-game. So was it more dangerous to go straight down to sokoban as soon as possible for reflection, or was it more dangerous to meander about, trying to stay alive long enough for the Random Nethack God to figure out a complex set of circumstances that ends in my death? I'd been playing each character like I wanted to keep it alive, but they're all very notably dead. Could being more risky be technically less risky? Only one way to find out. I switch back to the class I have the most experience with, and roll new Valk.
Eira the neutral human Valkyrie enters the Mazes of Menace...
I started out pretty well, found a shop with two cloaks of displacement for only 66 zorkmids. I couldn't buy one fast enough. I then, rather uneventfully, rushed down to sokoban, and solved it with little trouble. The amulet of reflection was mine, and at level 5 I was protected from a good portion of the insta-deaths Nethack can issue. Maybe there's something to this new strategy... Should I make a run for the castle? Why the fuck not?
I continue down, and find a few rings I can't check for cursed status with a pet because they've all died due to somesuch Nethackery, so I just hold on to them in the hopes of finding an altar. A kitten attacks, and I toss it some tripe for a cheap cursed item ID, and abandon it. Don't look at me like that. You knew what this was. I test out the uncursed rings, and find they are conflict and warning! Quite a find. Warning will show me where nearby monsters are, and how nasty they are. Very useful. Conflict will cause all the monsters on the level to fight each other. Extremely useful in certain situations. Later I happen across an uncommon find; a grey stone. It could be a few things, only one is bad, so I test it to make sure it's not a loadstone, and pick it up. Hey, could be a luckstone... Yeah, and a djinni could fly out of my ass and grant me three wishes! It's probably flint. Maybe even a touchstone. I'll check it later, but there's no harm in bringing it along. Despite the unlikeliness, I carry it in my immediate inventory as if it were a luckstone. Just wishful thinking, I suppose.
Further down I enter a new level, and begin searching for the downstairs when I suddenly stop. I furrow my brow and stare. Why the fuck is my ring of warning telling me there is a 5th level dangerous monster around the corner??? The ring of warning uses numbers to show how dangerous the monsters nearby are. If you can't see them, but are near enough, they show up on your map as the number. 5 is the highest I've ever seen warning go, and now I was seeing it extremely early in the game. This can't be right. Its gotta be a chameleon. Just be cool, back away from whatever it is until it changes into something easier to kill... I take two cautious steps toward the upstairs, and think I might have just dodged a bullet. I take another step, and it teleports into the room with me! It's a fucking Arch Lich! It casts a spell, and I'm surrounded on all sides by serious monsters! Among them an ettin zombie, two hill giants, and a goddamn green dragon!
okokok, don't freak out. Check your inventory for something to get out of this. I've got two scrolls of teleport, one cursed, one not. The cursed one will change what level I'm on, and the uncursed one will just move me around on this level. I'd rather deal with the chameleon now, so lets try the uncursed one first, and keep the cursed one in reserve. I read the uncursed scroll of teleport, and wind up two rooms away. I quickly put on my ring of conflict, and make a run for a corridor so I can deal with the monsters one at a time when they show up.
I hear noises from elsewhere, hopefully that ring of conflict is doing something. As I stand in the corridor, two "2"s show up in the room in front of me, but out of my visual range. I poke my head into the room, and see a cockatrice and a scorpion. I didn't know a scorpion was a 2... I back into the corridor and ready the few daggers I have for that cockatrice, when the 2 changes into a 1. I poke my head out, and see a small kobold where the cockatrice once was. It's the chameleon! Kill it while it's still weak! I rush over and kill it, then make my way the scorpion. On the way I see a 2 and a 3 making their way over to this room, so I dispatch the scorpion quickly, and fall back into the corridor. The corridor is at a bit of an angle, so I might be able to see what it is before it has a straight shot at me, so I back into the next room, which turns out to be a leprechaun hall! They're still asleep, so they won't bother us, but if things get hairy I can wake them all up, and with the ring of conflict, they should make for a good distraction. But this room is still a dead end. I hide around the corner, double check my inventory, and wait for the 2 and 3 to make their way to me.
The 2 enters the corridor, and I poke my head around the corner, and see that it's an ettin mummy. I should be able to take him... them?.. It. I position myself so I can hit it as soon as it sees me, and wait for the 2 to round the corner. As soon as its heads appear, I attack. It was tougher than I thought, but I killed it. The 3 suddenly makes a bee-line for me, I'm still at 2/3 health, so I need to know what it is. I wait until the 3 is in the corridor in a position where I can look safely, and peek around the corner. Green Dragon! Ok, it's kind of early for me to try to take one on. I know I have poison resistance... Fuck it. I've got a potion of full healing and a wand of digging in case it gets to be too much. No guts no Glory. I wait for the Green Dragon to get in range, and bash it with my long sword. It takes quite a beating, and gets my hitpoints down to the teens, but I drink the full heal potion, and finish it off in a few more turns. Sweet! Now I have green dragon scales that I might be able to turn into dragon scale mail!
I continue clearing out the rest of the level, and pick up a large cat as a pet. I open the door on the last room in the map, and it's full of chickatrices! I check my inventory and confirm I have a lizard corpse, but no gloves... I try to close to the door, but a chickatrice hops into the doorway! I have no reason to fuck around with these things, so I'm out. I back out of the corridor, slam the door behind it, and lock it. I'll deal with those guys later. Or never. At least my large cat was far enough away to keep from getting locked in with them...
On the way to the stairs down, I run into a gargoyle. I hate gargoyles. I check my inventory and zap it with a wand of lightning, killing it on the first hit. It drops a potion, which I quaff greedily. It was a potion of self knowledge!
You are piously aligned.
You are cold resistant.
You are warned.
You are displaced.
You are stealthy.
You are fast.
You have reflection.
You are lucky.
You have extra luck.
Bad luck does not time out for you.
Good luck does not time out for you.
You can safely pray.
That's odd... Why all the luck? Oh well, I won't complain.
The next level down is the Big Room, and I've got a ring of conflict! I slip it on and put some distance between me and my large cat. The monsters start fighting amongst themselves, most notably a pack of chickatrices, but the overall flow of monsters is still closing in on me, so I carefully made my way to the down stairs so I'd have an easy escape if it got hairy.
The chickatrices have been making tons of statues out of monsters, but they weren't making it close enough to keep me clear. Or do I want them to stay away? I fight as much as I can, and flee downstairs once surrounded, knowing that some monsters would follow me down.
Sure enough a zombie and a tengu follow me down, it'll be good not to have them around me when I go back up. As I fight them off, a hill giant appears in the doorway, but is far enough away that I'll have these guys out of the way before he gets to me. Suddenly the hill giant zaps a wand of lightning while I'm at half health! Shit! If this doesn't kill me, he's still far enough away to zap me multiple times before I can get to him, and my daggers are all upstairs! Should I escape upstairs? The bolt of lightning streaks toward me, bounces off my amulet of reflection, blinding me, and returns to the hill giant, killing him. Ok, that was close. Or did it just seem close? Whatever. Hill giants usually travel in packs, and the monsters that had surrounded me upstairs didn't seem too tough if I recall correctly, I think I'll hang out upstairs until the blindness wears off.
Back upstairs, I blindly fight off some minor monsters, but one bites me and I feel feverish. Crap! A werewolf! Ok, my god will cure my lycanthropy, but I don't want to use up the godly heal if I'm not near death, because I'm still low on health. I keep fighting, but the monsters seem too resilient. Fuck this, I'm leaving. I escape downstairs.
Eira's quest continues here...