Friday, March 01, 2013

The Return

Alright folks, I have it on good authority that many of you really like these posts, and the at sign on my book shelf has been calling to me, so put on your Blessed +2 Spectacles of Dealing With It, because it's time for a Nethack Quest.

In preparation of this event, I had been installing Nethack on multiple devices so I could try out the experience on each platform. Sadly, none held the speed and versatility of a full keyboard. So Nethack lead me to the android keyboard project, which lead me to this bluetooth keyboard I'm now using to pen this post. From here, I'll be able to flip between the game and writing very easily, so this one might be more detailed than the other quests because they were written after the fact off of notes. Speaking of notes, I will be using dropbox's live text editor to keep notes. With this setup, I should be able to play, take notes, and publish from wherever I have an internet connection.

As to the software, I couldn't get past the convenience of a telnet connection to If I got sick of the bluetooth keyboard, I could connect to the same game from any one of my android devices, my ipad (shudder), or my full computer... Suddenly I imagine playing nethack on the lappy connected directly to the large LCD teevee... It's glorious... So that will have to happen. Anyway, aside from some minor lag spiking, was the obvious winner. Also it allows spectators, and let's them send me messages while I'm playing, so you can tune in and heckle me when I log on. (Need to make a login indicator for the blahg so people can see when I'm online and tune in.) (And yes, this keyboard is very conducive to putting ALL my thoughts down, thanks for asking.) Oh look, a player list! Check here for user Aemaeth until I get that php going. ANYWAY... EDIT: Holy crap, I already did this! There's an annoying iframe under my email address on the right that shows if I'm online or not! Why is it so annoying? Because izf I'm online it has a blink tag because the gif animation I made is flagged as a virus by my hosting service! When that gets fixed it'll be slightly less annoying. Now back to your regularly scheduled post, already in progress!

To be honest, the true benefit of this tandem play/publishing will be found in me never again failing to update the quest because I died and am still sore about it.

Yesterday was a full moon, and a great day to start some Nethack, so I rolled a lawful human Valkyrie named Camilla.

The luck of the full moon rewarded me with a co-aligned alter on the first level, and a couple liquor shops a couple levels down. I didn't have much money, so I only bought the cheap potions of water so I could make holy water later.

I started pushing down to sokoban (per the New Strategem) until a Gnome threw a dagger at me and I remembered I needed daggers to make awesome Blessed Deadly Daggers (BIG hat tip to Ellora), and I hadn't had any daggers to speak of on the last few levels. It made sense to go into the mines for daggers and general shop goodies.

Delving into the mines was pretty easy going, I happened upon a lamp which I rubbed greedily, and a djinn popped out! "Thank you for freeing me! I'm all out of wishes." Oh... Well... Wanna hang out instead? The djinn stuck with me for some time, but he started to slow me down, and I needed to move fast more than a needed a pet (with apologies to the dog I started out with... or was it a cat...?).

By the time I was in the mine town I had a decent stack of daggers and a decent armor class. I also seemed to happen upon tons of rings that didn't have any obvious properties, so I had stacks of unidentified rings and scrolls. I was in no rush to test things out. I was playing fast, but I wasn't playing loose.
The mine temple was counter-aligned, and there was no damn way I was going to try to convert it or kill the priestess. Priests are tough and even if I won the fight, I've already been killed by a haunted temple... So I just set up shop in the temple with a modest stack of extras.

After getting annoyed with the stacks of scrolls, I blessed/cursed identified them, then I price identified them, and read the most expensive ones. The first was a blessed genocide scroll, and I greedily killed all the rust monsters and disenchanters because fuck those guys. Normally the first choice is liches or mindflayers, but they won't be along for quite a while yet, while I'll be dealing with rust monsters much sooner. Also fuck rust monsters. Seriously. The second most expensive scroll didn't seem to do anything, which was confusing to me, because I haven't played in a while, and couldn't really guess at its purpose. Maybe taming?

With my equipment in better shape, I set off for sokoban rather uneventfully. Picking up rings and wands and food on the way, I made it down to the last level. Spotting a ring on the edge of one of the holes, I put on autopickup and jumped in. My knapsack was full so I didn't pick it up, but I still brushed the ring and sent it tumbling down to the level below with me. Ruby ring. Same as the other one I have, but at least with doubles, I can drop one in a sink and see what it does. As I write this I check my ring stash and realize I have THREE sets of double rings. No idea how that happened, but I'll be hitting the sink soon.

As I made my way back to the stairs I caught a glimpse of a Yeti, which was odd for my level, but it seemed to vanish. I wasn't in any hurry to face it anyway, busy with my sokoban prize. As I continued on, a pony came around the corner where the Yeti was. Maybe they fought it out, I thought. (But if I would have thought about that a little bit more, I would have realized I didn't "hear noises in the distance" and put two and two together.) As I entered the long corridor to the room with the stairs the pony trailing behind me suddenly changed into a green dragon! Crap! It's a chameleon! I should have figured that out! What do green dragons breathe? A gust of poison gas shoots past me, bounces off the wall, and barely misses me. Poison? I'm poison resistant! I'll just get behind the door, lock it, and wait until it changes into something less lethal (and hope it doesn't turn into one of the liches I purposely didn't genocide!). As I write this, I realize that dragon scales are more useful to me than something else... I'm pretty tough. I'm going to fight it.

What the hell was I thinking? I went back to face the chameleon and found it had changed into a winter wolf. Disappointed, I stayed there, behind the locked door, and waited for it to turn into something more useful to me. Eventually it turned into a baby white dragon, which was unlikely to leave scales, but I'd give it a shot. I burn up a few turns unlocking the door, opening it, and entering the hallway, ready my daggers and square up with... a minotaur... I don't think I've fought a minotaur before... I don't like this. I'm going to run. I back through the door, close it, lock it, and wrap my towel around my head to focus on my clairvoyance. The minotaur approaches the door and I back away wondering if minotaurs can break down doors, then it changes into something simple, and I hop out to kill it, but then it changes into a wraith which leaves a useful corpse (as I write this, I realize chameleons only leave chameleon corpses so what the hell am I doing?), and I make a move for it, and it changes into a useless gecko. Damn...

So for a while, I'm sitting there in the hallway, waiting while the chameleon changes into different monsters for something useful and I suddenly realized the dangerously stupid thing I was doing and said aloud, "What the hell am I doing?!" That chameleon could have, at any turn, changed into a tricky, nasty, or gnarly monster that I would not have been prepared to deal with, and I was just sitting there, waiting for it to happen. The possibilities for horrible out comes were almost endless.

I do the same thing i was doing before, waiting one turn at a time, but this time with much more apprehension. When it turns into a newt I loose some daggers and drop it. It leaves no corpse, and I move on, still shocked by my stupidity.

As I approach the treasure zoo at the end of sokoban, I run into two dogs and a cat, who gladly join me after I feed them. Don't get all mushy just yet, I'm going to use them to soften up the room full of monsters at the end. The cat wisely stays away, but the two dogs do an alright job of taking out the monsters they can handle, and at least waking up the ones they can't handle so I can deal with them in the hallway instead of inside the zoo where an errant dagger may wake up something I don't want to bother fighting. Both dogs are lost, but the cat lives on.

I finish the last level of sokoban stealthily, and get to pick and choose my monsters. I did use a lightning wand charge on an acid blob I couldn't get around and didn't want to wake up and let corrode my stack of blessed daggers. I get the amulet of reflection, and pick up all the useful equipment lying around, burdening myself.

I check my inventory and see I've still got those cursed low boots that are probably useful aside from being cursed. I found them who-knows-where, and held on to them even though they were cursed. The idea was to throw them at a monster that picks up armor, and see if I could get someone to try them on before I kill them and take the boots back. Specialty boots are like specialty cloaks, very useful, and worth identifying. But I had forgotten to throw them at the monsters that could have worn them, so now they were just taking up weight where I could be carrying more daggers or something.

I pull the scrolls out of my bag (where I had quickly hidden them when I spotted a pyrolisk), and see I have a remove curse scroll. Well, time to take a chance... I put on the boots and find them to be -1 boots of levitation! Great find, and definitely a necessity for later in the game! I read my helpingyou scroll and remove my now uncursed boots. I'm definitely dropping something else to keep these.

I sort my kit for a bit and do some experimenting with some unidentified potions, scrolls, and wands, and generally tighten up my knapsack. Get a cursed wand of create monster, which is either my ticket to Mjollnir or an untimely death. Guess I'll have to find out at the altar to Tyr. But first; next stop, the sink on level 2...

Alright, the sink says I've got rings of regeneration, free action, and MF'ing polymorph control! Can't wait to find myself a polymorph trap, and now that I think of it, I've got an amulet of unchanging that I can put on to keep myself from changing back from whatever form I choose! Vampire Lord, here I come!

Ok, I'm not going to count my chickatrices before they hatch, I have no way of easily finding a polymorph trap (aren't there usually some on the bottom of the mines?), so I need to continue on as if I'm not yet a Vampire Lord... Because I'm not. So let's head to the altar and sacrifice some monsters with my scrolls of create monster, and maybe, if I'm feeling dangerous, that cursed wand of create monster... The more I encounter random monster generation the more I worry I made a mistake by not genociding Liches... Well, let's head to the altar and get to work...

That large cat has been following me around since sokoban. Normally I don't tolerate pets very long unless I have a magic whistle or a really powerful pet I'm afraid of letting go feral if I leave it too long, but this cat has been doing an alright job of keeping up, and I've been giving him some slack for some reason. Getting attached I guess. I might even have to name her.
On the way to the temple, I remember a large box, and drag it with me so I can make the temple more of less of a base. It burdens me to carry it, but I trundle to my destination without incident.

The temple was in shambles. A peaceful dwarf was there, mining away the walls for gems or gold or something, but he made a huge mess of what was a very solid, defensible area. I haven't got a pick axe yet, and I'd love to just drop him where he stands, but attacking peaceful creatures is not what Tyr stands for, and he wouldn't much care for it at a time when I'm getting ready to ask him for a present. So the dwarf lives... For now...

While I prepare my inventory for the horror of the cursed wand of create monster (get rid of everything burnable, everything I don't want cursed, everything I don't want rotted to nothingness) my large cat starts giving the dwarf the side-eye... She lunges at the dwarf and takes him down! Sweet! I check his inventory and see he had a good helm and dwarvish mithril! This banded mail was been weighing me down long enough! Hey... He left a corpse... Well, I didn't kill him... sooo... *my sacrifice is consumed in a flash of light* The voice of Tyr booms: [oh crap] use my gift wisely, mortal! [Sweeeet!] I just got Mjollnir on a random ass sacrifice! So lucky I don't have to mess with those create monster items! Awesome!

This seems like as good a place to stop as any.

These posts are easy to put together one piece at a time, and Nethack is turn based so I can just walk away in the middle of the game without worry. Both of these elements are conducive to life with a newborn, so I'll do my best to keep these coming.

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