Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hilde transcends the rest... in AWESOME!

[Hilde's quest continues...]

Shocking experience
We explore deeper a few levels, and finding no altar, I decide to go just a few more levels down. It was easy going until I ran into a shocking vortex. It caught me at a corner and engulfed me quickly. I hit it with my hammer (which does shock damage, which the shocking vortex was probably immune to), and the shocking vortex shocked the shit out of me for a few turns before I got below half health. Shit! Screw this! I read a cursed scroll of teleport, not caring where I went, so long as it was away from here. I didn't remember that cursed scrolls of teleport, send you to a different level! Luckily, I was only sent two levels up, and made it back to Benny quickly, and dispatched that damn vortex from a distance with my daggers. Geez. Shocking hurts. Mjollnir deals shock damage, so I guess I got a taste of what I've been dishing out. I put "get shock resistance" on my list.

Feeling jumpy
On our way down I find a few boxes, and record their location in my notes, but find little else of interest. Benny is still doing most of my fighting, which is fine with me, and my orc shaman (being in way over his level) is trying to appear as non-threatening as possible. On level 11 I find my Quest magic portal, but don't go in. I think I need to be level 15 before I can start my quest, and for as much as I'm letting Benny fight for me, don't think I'll ever get there :). Further down I eat a few tengu, but still no teleport control. The teleportitis is beginning to wear on my nerves. I really got to find an altar, and get these rings identified.

She turned me into a newt!
Next level down I come across some uncursed plate mail, so I blow my whistle to see if my orc shaman wants it. He appears and greedily takes off his leather armor, and puts it on. Maybe now he'll be tough enough to actually, you know, fight. Later on the same level as soon as I exit a room with my pets in it, I get the message "You hear a thud." Uh oh. Something got dropped. I go back into the room I just left and see some plate mail on the floor that wasn't there before. Great. I think my orc shaman just turned into a newt. I walk over to the plate mail, search repeatedly, and discover a polymorph trap. Lovely. What the hell is it with me and polymorph traps??? I blow my magic whistle and Benny teleports next to me, along with my brand spanking new pet Hill Giant. Sweet! Giants kick ass! I take another step, and my Hill Giant steps on the polymorph trap again, and turns into an imp. Whoa. I thought they wouldn't step on the trap again! Curious if it'll happen again (and wanting something more powerful than an imp) I wait a few more turns, and get the message "The tame imp deliberately jumps into the polymorph trap!" I didn't know they could do that. I guess they know when they suck too :P... My imp turns into my new pet baby yellow dragon. Sweet! Still a baby, but sweet nonetheless! I quickly get far from the polymorph trap, and blow my magic whistle to keep my new baby dragon from turning into something less useful.

Git along, little doggie!
On the same level I find a saddle, something for which I have little use. You can use the saddle to ride a horse or other mountable pet, but I don't have any experience riding, so I decided not to bother with it (also, it's heavy). I leave the room and my baby yellow dragon picks up the saddle and puts it down as I leave. A few twists and turns later my dragon catches up with me and drops the saddle it was carrying. No big deal, pets pickup and put stuff down all the time, they like to bring things to you. I continue through the level and eventually lose my dragon, upon finding the stairs down, I blow my magic whistle and teleport in Benny (who wasn't too far off) and my baby yellow dragon, who... drops the saddle he was carrying. Huh. Ok. I can take a hint. I saddle up my baby dragon (which surprisingly, actually works), and hop on, expecting to fumble and fall off, or be bucked off. I successfully mount the baby dragon, and am now riding a tame baby yellow dragon. Awesome! I picture Hilde, queen of badass, atop a comically small yellow dragon. Who cares, it's still awesome. I go find a monster to attack, and find that when I attack while mounted, I do my regular attack, and then my steed attacks too. This is pretty cool! I discover, though, that I can't pick up objects on the ground, so I dismount frequently to pick stuff up. I get the message You do not have enough riding skill to do that when I try to pick stuff up while mounted, so I guess I'll be able to pick stuff up without dismounting after I ride for a bit. Since you can use an iron hook to pick up stuff on the ground while levitating, I bet you can use it to pick stuff up while riding. I'd remember finding an iron hook though, so I'll just be dismounting frequently. Which kind of bugged me since I was still unskilled at riding, and didn't like dismounting with the thought I might not be able to remount We get to the down stairs, and when I go down I get the message "Your baby yellow dragon flies along the stairs" Sweet! I can fly too! Just keeps getting better and better! On the next level I dismount to pick up some gold, and get the message, "You've been through the dungeon on a baby yellow dragon with no name." Heh. Nethack is full of jokes like this. I decide my baby dragon does need a name, and after a bit of thinking lightning strikes! I name my baby yellow dragon, Old Yeller.

Old Yeller gets put down
I blind myself with with my towel to focus on my ESP and get an idea of what's on the level, and spot a priestess! Hopefully she's in charge of a temple with an altar! I rush over there and find the temple to be cross-aligned with me. Damn Loki. Well, Benny has taken priests before, after he's done with this one, I'll just convert it for Tyr. Benny begins the beat down, and the priestess of Loki bashes him back with her mace. I wait a few turns, and the priestess is still standing. Wow. Tough girl. I wait a few more turns of fighting, and Benny disappears. What? He's not dead, is he? I wrap the towel around my head again, and spot Benny, back by the stairs we just came down. He retreated? Is she really that tough? Without a stethoscope, I can only guess how hurt the priestess is, but after a few turns she casts a spell, and heals herself. Shortly afterward, Benny teleports back and they start round two, but it ends the same as last time. Benny retreats and heals, and the priestess heals, then they go at it again! I guess they're pretty evenly matched. Whether the priestess stays or goes, this is going to be my new outpost. I head back upstairs and bring a box down to the temple, and put it in the corner. Old Yeller follows me in, and decides to pick a fight with the priestess. Uhh... She's pretty tough, be careful. I figured he'd take a few swipes at her, get konked on the head a few times, and run away. He's just a baby dragon, after all. He hits her a few times, and takes a few hits, and I'm surprised he hasn't run off yet. Priestess of Loki swings her mace. Old Yeller is killed! O_O shit! No! Old Yeller! Why didn't you run away! Fuck! My girlfriend hears my lament, and asks if I can bring him back to life. I stop. I never though of being able to bring something back to life. The only thing I can think would do something similar is a wand of undead turning, but I always though that was more like a "turn something into a zombie" type wand. I guess it would make sense that it could bring something back to life. I have a wand of undead turning, but it's way back in the mine town. There's no way I'd be able to get it back here in time. Poor Old Yeller. I dig a grave for the poor guy, and engrave the floor above him with a wand of digging, Here Lies Old Yeller. I place his saddle in the box, and start testing some uncursed rings. My teleportitis flares up, but this time, I'm asked where I want to teleport. I name the ring I was trying on at the time "Teleport Control," and happy with that find, begin my storage consolidation with Benny in tow.

Moving, wishes, and holy water
We back track to the nearest storage closet, chest, or box, and carry everything back to my new outpost at the temple. Being burdened with all that stuff makes me hungry faster, so I realize that I should just wait for my teleportitis hit, and teleport directly to the down stairs, blow my magic whistle for Benny, and go down. It doesn't take long before I've gotten all my storage areas, and all possibly useful items down to my new outpost, which I've now begun to call Loki-land. The next and final equipment gathering trip is to the mine town's haunted temple of Tyr, and my last storage closet. I'll be making some holy water for my equipment processing, so I have to carry all the useless potions down with me for watering down. All of this would be a HELL of a lot easier if I had a freaking bag of holding. Or even just a regular bag, so I wouldn't have my knapsack full! I finally make it to the mines, and pick up another potion I can do without. Diluting potions twice turns them into water, and I need water to make holy water. The difficulty comes from how to dilute your potions safely. You can't dilute them in a lake unless you are actually IN the lake (with all the armor, you sink right to the bottom, not to mention water damage on other equipment), or have boots of water walking. I don't even have access to a lake, which means I need to use fountains, which are dangerous for lower level characters. Messing with fountains is usually bad news, they have quite a number of effects, most of which are negative or dangerous. There is a tiny chance that you'll get a luck increase, and a tiny chance you'll free a peaceful water demon, and an even smaller chance that he'll grant you a wish, but the dangers of the fountain FAR outweigh the benefits. But I didn't have a choice (plus Hilde was pretty tough), so I set about diluting my four useless potions in the fountain. I'm guessing my extreme luck helped me avoid most of the dangerous consequences because for 5 turns the fountain didn't retaliate at all. The sixth time, it unleashed a water demon, who shouldn't offer too much resistance. Before I can attack I get the message "Grateful for his release, he grants you a wish!" No shit! It's good to be lucky! After considering my options, and my current equipment, I wish for a blessed greased fireproof +2 cloak of displacement. I prefer displacement to invisibility, because some of the higher level monsters can see invisible, and displacement works on all monsters. Plus I already had a ring of invisibility. As I finish diluting my last potion, the fountain dries up. I enter the haunted temple, (luckily no ghosts appeared) and place the four potions of water on the alter of Tyr, and prayed. The voice of Tyr booms: "Thou art arrogant, mortal!" Tyr knocks me down a level! Tyr apparently thinks I'm taking him for granted. Actually, it was probably all those peaceful tengu I attacked in a very un-lawful-character-like manner. Sorry! Geez. Have some sacrifices. I pick up an old wand of create monster, and a few sacrifices later I get the message Tyr seems mollified. Thanks, now can you help me out here? I pray on the altar, and am surrounded by a shimmering light. I glance down at my feet and see my 4 potions of water glow blue. Nice. I pack up everything of use, and as I'm leaving, I remember I wanted to try the wand of undead turning. I zap a nearby gecko corpse, and it comes back to life! Well, it may be too late for Old Yeller, but at least I won't lose any more pets. I head back to Loki-land without incident (wasn't even burdened).

Pimp my kit
With an altar, the protection of a strong pet, holy water, nearby fountains, blank scrolls and a magic marker; I was now in a position to do some experimenting with my mostly unidentified equipment. I started with scrolls, and grabbed some uncursed armor and an uncursed weapon that I wouldn't mind turning to dust on accident. I strip down, put away all my burnable stuff, put on the crappy armor, wield my crappy weapon, and read the first uncursed unidentified scroll. Scroll of gold detection. Useful if I read while confused for trap detection. Next blessed unidentified scroll. Blessed scroll of genocide! Sweet! Oh wait... The first thing you do with a blessed scroll of genocide is kill the entire race of Liches. Which would include Benny. I don't really want to do it. I decide I can always make more blessed scrolls of genocide if I have to, and instead take out all water monsters (jellyfish, paranahs, sharks, giant eels, electric eels, and krackens) who become very bothersome later in the game. (and fucking krackens grab you off land, and drown you!) Unsure I made the right decision, I read the next uncursed scroll. Punishment. Damn. A heavy iron ball and chain materialize on my leg, not too difficult to remove, just a bit bothersome. That was all the unidentified scrolls, now to get all this other stuff identified. I had two cursed scrolls of identify, one uncursed scroll of identify, two blessed blank scrolls, and two uncursed blank scrolls. I wanted as many blessed scrolls of identify as possible, since each one has a chance of identifying your entire inventory, instead of just 2-4 items. I dip the two cursed scrolls of identify into one potion of holy water, causing them to become uncursed. I then drop the two newly uncursed scrolls of identify, and drop the other uncursed scroll of identify, causing them to stack into one item; 3 uncursed scrolls of identify. Since the three were stacked now, it only takes one more potion of holy water to make all three blessed. With my three blessed scrolls of identify, I rummage around in my box, and pull out everything I could possibly want identified, and read the three scrolls. Each one only identifies a few. Damn. I've got a lot more stuff that I really need identified. I pull out my magic marker, and write an identify scroll on a blessed blank scroll, and read it. Yes! It identifies all my stuff, including all my wands with various numbers of charges left. Among the identified stuff, I see a ring of polymorph control! Sweet! Now I can do like I did with Olga, and make some awesome pets, and eat some rings for intrinsics! Just gotta find a scroll of charging for my polymorph wand. I store the stuff that's not immediately necessary, and set about bettering my equipment. I pull out two blessed scrolls of enchant weapon, some potions of confusion, and my 20 throwing daggers. I wield the daggers, and read the two blessed scrolls of enchant weapon, making my daggers +4. I then use my magic marker to write another scroll of enchant weapon, and drink the potion of confusion. Being confused can have positive effects when doing certain things. While confused, I read the scroll of enchant weapon, and mispronounce the words, causing my 20 +4 daggers to become rustproof. I then dip the 20 rustproof +4 daggers into one potion of holy water, causing them to become blessed. Then I name my new kick ass daggers, Deadly Daggers, and set them for throwing. I use my magic marker again to write a scroll of enchant armor, but in my haste, write a scroll of enchant weapon. Whoops. I wanted to repair and protect my damaged +4 small shield, but I guess that'll have to wait. I re-equip for exploration, choose a potent set of wands that still have enough charges to be useful, and set off with Benny.

The most awesomest evar
Next level down, we find a large dog, and being very prepared to add pets to polymorph, I have a bit of tripe for him. He devours it, and cheerily follows me back up two levels to the polymorph trap. I leave Benny one level down so he doesn't get in the way, then repeatedly blow my magic whistle while standing next to the trap, and after a few weak transformations, my new pet dog turns into a black dragon! Fucking sweet! This is just what I wanted! But it's not complete yet! I hurry down stairs and grab the saddle, being sure to keep my new dragon away from that dragon-killing priestess, and saddle up.

It was at this point that I realized that Hilde was the most awesome nethack character I'd ever created. She was decked out with awesome armor (-14), wearing her cloak of displacement, wielding Mjollnir, capable of throwing three blessed rustproof +4 deadly daggers in one turn, with a pet Arch-Lich, and RIDING A MOTHERFUCKING BLACK DRAGON!


Hilde is awesome.

Too awesome to last
We go back downstairs, and continue deeper. After the first dismount I get the message, You've been through the dungeon on a black dragon with no name again, and ask my girlfriend what I should name him. Murderface. Perfect! With a breath attack of disintegration, it seemed like the perfect fit. After two more levels, we run into a warhorse, and after tossing an apple at it, it was happy to be my pet. I was getting a little pet-happy, with a convenient polymorph trap, and a series of awesome pets. We encountered a few ogres, and I began to get that sinking feeling when my new warhorse kept coming back for more. He died after only a few turns as my pet. Damn! Wait. Lets see if that wand of undead turning will keep it my pet! I zap my wand of undead turning at the corpse of my former warhorse, who quickly pops right back up like nothing ever happened! Sweet. We head back to the polymorph trap, and I leave Benny on the level below to keep him out of the way (Note that I have done this twice, not a good thing to do with a powerful pet) After a few turns, my warhorse has turned into the SECOND nastiest monster in the dungeon; a mind flayer. Known for their area psychic attacks, and the most hated attack in nethack, the mind suck. Mind flayers will attempt to eat your brain, and cause your character to forget things, like what ring does what, what wand does what, weapon experience, previously explored levels, and more. It's terrible. It's like you're starting over. And now, one was my pet. Cool? I attack a few more monsters, and dismount to pick up the loot, but when I try to get back on, I slip. I try again, and slip again. I try again, and fail. Shit. Murderface probably isn't liking this. I try one more time, and get the message, I think Murderface would mind. What? Why would Murderface mind? I then realize that Murderface is no longer my pet, and is instead, a peaceful, saddled, black dragon. Damnit! I guess he really wasn't liking the constant up and down. I wonder how I'm going to get the saddle off of him, and realize I might have a scroll of tame monster in my box at Loki-land. I head down with my mind flayer and Benny to check the box. No scroll of tame monster, and my mind flayer seems disinterested in trying to suck the brains out of the Priestess, even while she's preoccupied with Benny. I get an idea that will require Benny be elsewhere, and leave him upstairs. I enter a closed corridor off of the temple, lock the door behind me, leaving my mind flayer and the priestess in the temple, and put on my ring of conflict. I wait a bit as they dance around in the temple, but cant hear or see any sounds of attacking. I wait a bit longer, and see nothing happening. Maybe my mind flayer needs to level up. (Holy shit! I just realized! All that sparring with Benny, probably maxed out the Priestess's level! She's probably tougher than me! I'd better watch out for her!) I give up on my mind flayer, and head back up to meet Benny.

Mr Benedict... We meet again.
I head up the stairs and jump out of my chair as I see Benny standing next to me, but this time he has no text highlight. Benny is no longer my pet. Benedict has gone feral. Mister Benedict... We meet again. I expected this was how our relationship would end. Don't think I didn't learn from when we last fought, and don't think I've forgotten the amulet of reflection you're wearing. I was unprepared before... Now we end this. And just as I prepare to unleash a salvo of Blessed Deadly Daggers, and go invisible, I remember Murderface went peaceful, and check his status to find that Benedict the Arch-Lich, is in fact, Benny the peaceful Arch-Lich. Whew! One wrong hit would have turned him hostile! Glad I checked first!

I quit now so I could collect my thoughts, and plan my next moves. A lot had just happened. At first I really wanted Benny and Murderface back, and hoped I could find some scrolls of taming. But then I realized that beating the game without genociding Liches is EXTREMELY difficult for someone who's never even beat the game once. I've decided I'll just have to do it. I can't polymorph Benny into anything else because he's magic resistant. Well, I'll finally get my amulet of reflection back! (heh, heh... awww.) As for Murderface, I think I can still tame him, so long as I don't hit him on accident. Writing this reminded me that I don't need more charges for my polymorph wand because I can use the polymorph trap if I take off my magic resistant armor. I'm planning on doing what I did with Olga, and laying some dragon and cockatrice eggs for some awesome pets, and possibly a ridable dragon in the near future.

[Hilde's quest ends]

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