Herath the Orcish Ranger enters the mazes of menace, with his trusty dog Sirius in tow...
I check Herath's kit and see he started with a cloak of displacement (I forgot Rangers start with this!), and the usual; a dagger, and bow and arrows. A bunch of blessed +0 arrows, and even more blessed +2 arrows. I ready the regular arrows so I can save the +2s for an emergency, then switch to my alternate weapon, a +1 orcish dagger, and begin my descent.
I find a pair of riding boots that Sirius doesn't seem too bothered by, so I try them on and start levitating! Sweet! Boots of Levitation! These aren't too helpful now, but they can be useful later. I contemplate wearing them regularly to take advantage of the recoil of firing arrows, but I'm going to be trying to get my dagger skill up, so I figure they'll be more trouble than help.
Sirius is happy to take on anything he gets close enough to, and I'm happy to let him. It was especially easy to distract the monsters while Sirius attacked with my cloak of displacement. I'd prefer he toughen up before I start doing the same. I avoid direct combat quite well for a while, and we enter the mines so we can check out the town. We actually get two levels into the mines without me leveling up at all, and after I take a few poorly thrown weapons, and almost die, I realize that I need to get above level 1 if I expect to stay alive long enough to level up slowly. I start fighting, and get to level 3 almost instantly.
As we continue to fight, I realize I keep falling into the Valkyrie playing style (specifically, attack the thing until it dies), but this Ranger isn't as strong or hearty as a Valk. I actually get near death a few times before I realize I can't go melee with a dagger until I level up a bit. I switch to my bow and +0 arrows for now, and hope to find more daggers so I can start throwing them instead of shooting arrows. Arrows can break when used, but daggers don't break with normal use. One level before the town, Sirius takes out a dwarf, and I lug it all down to the town for cursed status identifying.
I get lucky with a coaligned altar in town. First time that has happened in a long time! I drop all my kit on the altar, and determine what's safe to use, and what's not. There's no chest or box here, so I just pile the useless stuff in the corner. After testing, I try on the armor I've found, and finally get my armor class to something acceptable. Whew! Hopefully that will keep me from getting my ass kicked so badly.
I checked the shops, but didn't find much more than a few apples, so I pack up for exploration before continuing deeper into the mines. I wanted to get the luckstone before I leveled up and was facing nastier monsters. The next level put me against some pretty easy monsters, so I had high hopes.
Next level down was kind of open around the staircase, and though it was dark, I could see with my orcish infravision (heat vision) that some weak gnomes were closing in. Sirius and I took them on, and I managed to pick up a few daggers that were thrown at me to add to my throwing pile, so things were going well. Then a freakin' gargoyle appeared right next to me, and attacked my displaced image! Shit! I couldn't see it because it doesn't give off body heat! I hate gargoyles! I dodged as best I could, trying to get a shot on him without getting hit by its heavy stone claws, but without a light source, I couldn't see it until it was right next to me! At least I've got some room to move around in, if this were in a small area, I'd probably be dead by now! I threw all my daggers at it, and hit it with +2 arrows whenever I could, but it just kept coming! Sirius jumped into the fray, and was struck down! Fuck! I gotta get out of here! I try to circle around the area, hoping to lose the gargoyle in the dark, but he surprises me from a side I wasn't expecting him! He's faster than I thought! I take a few good hits, and things look bleak, I try to rush for a corner, hoping to get a space away from him, and he gets me down to 8 health. Lucky he got me so low without killing me, my god will probably save me. I pray, and Mars heals my wounds. Time for an exit strategy.
I look at the area, the walls, and the location of myself and the gargoyle. I decide to try for the daggers I threw earlier before I escape. I need those daggers. Without them I'll be burning through arrows or going toe-to-toe without Sirius's backup. I move so that a newt I had been ignoring would get between the gargoyle and me, and was pretty sure I put a few spaces between us. I still couldn't see a damn thing, but I somehow managed to find the daggers and pick them up with the gargoyle finding an hitting me only a few times. I escaped upstairs plus a few daggers, but minus a faithful dog. I'm alone. I need to be more careful. I immediately go to the lighting shop, and buy a lantern. I don't want to end up running for my life in the dark again.
I type "goddamn gargoyle" into my notes for that level, and leave the mines to continue exploring the regular dungeon in the hopes of getting stronger, or a good item to help kill that goddamn gargoyle. I run into a kitten, and I give it one of the few food rations I have. I'd rather take my chances with hunger than lacking some backup. The kitten joins me, but I blank on a name for it. No names just yet. Don't want to get too attached.
We run into a damn Golden Naga hatchling Why does the RNG hate me?, but I'm in a good position to take it on. I threw 8 daggers and shot 6 +2 arrows to take it down. If that thing took me in another location, I probably would have eaten it. Lucky... I guess...
We found a hardware store full of good finds. I moved the kit around so my kitten would be more likely to steal the things I wanted first, and found a magic whistle! I bought it immediately, and used it to... facilitate... kitty's thieving. He's actually a better thief than most of my pets.
After a bit of shopkeep distracting, we've made off with a bag of tricks (good for sacrificing monsters to Mars), a skeleton key (good for locked doors and chests), and a freakin' magic marker! One hell of a good haul for a single shop.
The next level down I find a few more potions, and decide to do some testing. I find a room with only one entrance, and get my cat next to me. I quaff one of the questionable potions, and fall asleep. Oh well, that's why I have my pet next to me. I wake up with a weak zombie having beaten me down to 16 health! Where the fuck is my cat?! The zombie should be pretty slow, so I run for the far side of the room, and send send some daggers its way, destroying it. I start picking up my daggers, and my cat wanders in, oblivious to the fact that it almost killed me with its idle wandering. I walk past it angrily to pick up my last dagger, and a housecat rounds the corner, and starts attacking me. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but I'm already dangerously low on health! I try to put some distance between us, but I'm only barely outrunning it. Once I get a few spaces away, I've backed myself into a blind corridor, and don't know if it's a dead end, or leads to more room to run, so I fight. Since the housecat enters the corridor, and I throw a few daggers its way. I hit it a few times as it takes another step closer to me. Beyond the menacing housecat, my cat wanders dumbly into the line of fire, directly behind my target. I'm too weak, and too trapped, I need to kill this thing on this turn. I throw a salvo of three daggers. The first dagger kills the housecat, and the other two fly past its corpse, and into my poor, oblivious cat, killing it. Fuck... Poor little guy. Didn't even have a name. Alone again, I move on.
I enter a room, and spot a ring on the floor. Sweet! Free ring! I rush over the snatch it up, and-- KABOOM! The ring was on a landmine, and now I'm at half health, and in the hole made by the explosion. Well, it could have been worse. At this point, a horse appears at the edge of the hole I'm in, and starts attacking me, then ANOTHER horse appears, and starts attacking me! Shit! I'm in a really bad position! Horses are fast, and their both blocking my escape from this hole! I contemplate using a scroll of teleport, and check my inventory, but then I find the perfect solutions to both of these problems! I pull out the two apples I bought back in the mine town, and feed the two wild horses, who happily join me as my pets. I struggle out of the hole, and admire my new pets for a moment before moving on.
[Herath's quest continues]