Thursday, January 11, 2007

Farvel Velma the Valkyrie...

I'd been playing my Valkyrie very carefully for a couple of weeks, and my caution had paid off with a fairly complete kit for going deeper into the dungeon. There had only been one near-death experience wherein I was saved by my faithful Red Dragon, Trogdor. I was doing better than I'd done before, and I owe that mainly to changing playing style. Once I stopped playing Nethack like a game, and more like real life, I started to do MUCH better.

My kit for continuing lower into the dungeon was almost complete, and I figured now would be a good time to complete my side quest, and hope to find the stuff I was missing among the goodies.

As I entered the final level of my quest, Lord Surtur's stronghold, I saw something I'd never seen before. It was one of the more dangerous things in the Nethack's dungeon; a lowered drawbridge. The funny thing was that I didn't know why it was dangerous.

I had read in a few places that one should always be careful of drawbridges. When I started reading the messages, I couldn't help but laugh at the idea of a player standing in the way of a drawbridge, and lowering it onto themselves. I couldn't imagine any other way they could be dangerous, but I still wondered why so many felt the need to mention being careful around drawbridges. This question rolled around in my head for some time; how many spaces would the drawbridge take up? Would you be able to lower it from a safe distance or at an angle? What about these drawbridges was tripping people up? I just couldn't figure out why drawbridges were so insidious.

So, I approached the stronghold (and drawbridge) carefully. I had no problem taking care of the monsters on this level, and felt brave. I stepped onto the drawbridge... I stepped further... And stepped off of it, into the stronghold. Ooooookay... I fought my way to Lord Surtur, who teleported away. I followed him outside (across the drawbridge), and dealt with him easily. Now my thoughts turned to the booty. I gathered most of the goodies from the level and left to complete my quest by returning the artifact, and resume my mission in the dungeon. After I got through identifying all my booty, I realized that I had somehow managed to leave 10 blessed +3 daggers on one of the quest levels! I was careful not to throw them in a direction where they could wind up in lava, so I figured I could find them easily.

I returned to the quest levels, and easily fought my way through to the lower levels with the help of Trogdor (who, by now, had been polymorphed from a Red Dragon into a Golden Naga by one of the dungeon's more malicious traps) and my Stone Giant. Both were quite strong, and very reliable. We made short work of the monsters who spawned more frequently here than in the dungeon. Easy experience, good chance of items; good times. We made our way to the bottom level with Lord Surtur's stronghold (and the drawbridge), and I spied what looked like my daggers inside the stronghold, next to two Fire Giants, who would be dispatched easily.

I stepped onto the draw bridge and looked through the opening into the stronghold, the fire giant was right in front of me, but with lava in front and behind him, I didn't want to risk losing any of my daggers. I took another step forward onto the base of the drawbridge within striking distance of another fire giant. "Come get a facefull of the Hammer of Thor!"

The fire giant zaps a wand of striking! --more--

"Go ahead." I say, "I'm magic resistant." and I hit the space bar for the rest of the messages.

The wand hits the drawbridge! --more--


You are blown apart by flying debris. --more--

Now on that last message, I got a little confused. You are blown apart??? Not, "Your shield is blown apart" or "Your bag is blown apart" It just says that I... was blown apart. What does that mean? How much damage does that do? That sounds dangerously final. If I land in the lava I can still teleport to safety... Will I get a chance to ask my god for help? Will my god help me automatically?
Slightly perplexed, I press the space bar.

Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq] (n)
(the message you get when you die)

*insert mild aneurysm here*

I stare at the message with furrowed eyebrows. I'm not mad or angry, just confused. It happened too fast. Surely my best character didn't just suffer an unknown insta-death. I stare at the screen for what must have been a few minutes. I'm in disbelief. I'm not sure what to think. I stare at the message for a bit longer, thinking that I must be misreading it, or it must be some kind of mistake. The cursor blinks back at me, waiting for my reply to the dreaded question.

Then, for some reason, I open up a text editor, and start saving my position, attributes, and score on the computer for future reference. I feel a bit numb as I record the dying qualities of my best character. I'd learned so much. I'd gotten so attached. Trogdor is masterless. Oh man. I can't believe it. Just like that. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200... Just dead.

I rifle through my accomplishments. Velma was a seriously tough bitch!... Obviously not tough enough. After 63371 turns... Brought down by an exploding drawbridge. Unbelievable.

I post the stats to my google notebook so I can pull them up later.

I don't think I'll be playing for a while...

/ \
/ REST \
/ IN \
/ \
| Velma |
| 0 Au |
| crushed to death |
| by an exploding |
| drawbridge |
| |
| 2007 |
*| * * * | *

Farvel Velma the Valkyrie...

You were crushed in The Quest on dungeon level 6 with 362800 points,
and 0 pieces of gold, after 63371 moves.
You were level 14 with a maximum of 124 hit points when you were crushed.

Final Attributes:

You were the Hand of Elbereth.
You were piously aligned.
You were fire resistant.
You were cold resistant.
You were sleep resistant.
You were shock resistant.
You were poison resistant.
You were magic-protected.
You saw invisible.
You were telepathic.
You were warned.
You were displaced.
You were stealthy.
You could teleport.
You had teleport control.
You had slower digestion.
You were protected.
You were fast.
You had reflection.
You were extremely lucky.
You had extra luck.
Good luck did not time out for you.
You are dead.

1796 creatures vanquished.

The scene etched into my brain.


Anonymous said...

You've been pwned.

Trogdor should have burninated the bridge when he had the chance. Now maybe you can join the GUI world of games again...WoW is releasing their expansion...hmmmm....

Fletch said...

Bah! Kids these days... With their computers... And their graphical user interfaces...

(Actually, I think SR's older than me...)