Monday, July 2, 2012

NetHack: Documentation

Attacked by a pack of jackals.

Thanks to a series of postings on my last NetHack entry, I discovered that there is a guidebook that comes with the game (I overlooked it in the downloaded files). I got three important things from it:

1. A little more backstory. The dungeon is called the Mazes of Menace, and I'm there to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor. "According to legend, the gods will grant immortality to the one who recovers this artifact," and retrieving it will grant me "full guild membership." Wow. I have to navigate a 20-plus-level dungeon and become immortal just for membership? What's the next quest after that?

2. Weapon damages are based on AD&D tables. I was wondering how I could reliably figure out what weapons do the most damage. I'm hoping I can just use the table in the back of Pool of Radiance.

3. "Elbereth." Apparently, this word engraved on the floor will cause monsters to ignore you as long as you're standing on it. I keep meaning to use it when things get tight, but so many of my deaths just pounce on me.

I've had a tough time figuring out how to organize my notes, but I've created a Google document with spreadsheet tabs for monsters, characters, items, miscellaneous notes, and a "record" of my attempts. The record is a little embarrassing--none of my characters have exceeded Level 7, and many have died on Level 1--but keep in mind that I've been experimenting with things rather than simply taking care.

A healer named Cainan had perhaps my most interesting outing. I've generally done well with healers because they start with a bunch of healing potions and spells. It also turns out they have a need tool--a stethoscope--that gives you the stats of the monsters you encounter. The thought of my PC putting the stethoscope up to a goblin's chest in the middle of combat is a bit amusing, but there you have it. With the healers, I've been starting to record hit points and AC on my "monsters" table.

The doctor diagnoses a hostile jackal.

Early on, Cainan unwisely equipped a knife that turned out to be cursed and did very little damage. I could neither drop it nor fight very effectively. But I found a couple of wands that did sleep and lightning damage, and a spellbook with the "fireball" spell in it. These, plus the healing potions, kept him alive until I found a scroll shop and took a bunch of chances buying and reading them until I found one that uncursed my knife. I also found three scrolls of identification for the ridiculously low price of $15 each; as far as I'm concerned, these are the most valuable items in the game.

The best moment in the game so far.

Three scrolls of armor enchanting boosted my splint mail to +4, and I left the shop feeling pretty good about the future. But a couple of bad corpses left me starving and I fainted in front of a Uruk-hai.

My most successful character was my last*: Canaan the Samurai (coincidence in names, I know). On Level 5, he found an Oracle who gave a couple of nonsense hints for gold. He ended up chasing a water nymph all over the level for about 15 minutes, eventually killing her and retrieving all the stuff she stole from him. Then he repeated the exercise with a leprechaun on the next level. Two potions of raise level got him to character Level 8 while he was still on dungeon Level 6. It really hurt when he got swarmed by Mordor orcs on Level 7 and died. I had a ton of gold I was looking forward to spending. That's when I decided to take a Star Saga break.

My knight cursed with a ball and chain.

The game is amusing in all the ways that it can kill you. Twice, I've been cursed with lycanthropy from fighting were-somethings, a condition that repeatedly causes you to shapeshift, shed your armor, and drop half your stuff. Apparently, the advantage is that you can summon and command other monsters of your type, but the frequent shifting is so annoying that I lost my will to live. In another episode, a cursed scroll outfitted me with a ball and chain that slammed into my back when I went down a flight of stairs and killed me instantly (I guess you're supposed to pick them up and carry them). A third character died when a mimic surprised me from within a pile of goods in a shop. A shopkeeper killed another (and gleefully looted my body) when I ignored his "closed" sign.

This is the only game I've played in which NPCs loot your corpse when you die.

Among all the deaths, I've started to discover some of the game's secrets. I'm not saying they're particularly deep secrets--I'm sure there are many more to come--but I know they'll  make the game easier when I start playing it seriously. Here are a few.

  • Many of the starting pieces of equipment are extremely useful. The archaeologist's pick-axe smashes boulders and makes holes in walls. The tourist's credit card unlocks doors, and his camera blinds monsters. I've already talked about the healer's stethoscope. The priest has a magic marker useful for "engraving." The archaeologist also has a "tinning kit," which I assume keeps food from rotting.
  • I haven't found many permanently useful effects from eating corpses yet, with the exception of the "floating eye," which grants telepathy for a time, allowing you to see locations of monsters on the level.
  • If a monster is of your same alignment (I'm guessing, anyway), it is non-hostile, and the game asks you to confirm before attacking. I'm not sure if there's any compelling reason not to, though. Does it upset your god?

I don't think I've ever not wanted to attack a hobgoblin.
 
  • Dipping things into the priest's jars of holy water "blesses" them. I haven't quite figured out what the blessings do, though.
  • I've noticed that multiple monsters share the same icon, but are perhaps differentiated by color. That's going to be annoying, as I can't distinguish between red and green and lots of other variations.
  • As I noted in 2.3e, you can encounter ghosts of your previous characters at the levels where they died. These ghosts seem to be un-hittable, though perhaps I just don't have the right stuff. This sucks when they trap you in a corridor.

Aren't adventurers supposed to have a certain alliance?
 
  • You can break open locked chests by kicking them, although there's a chance of damaging your leg.
  • Fortune cookies actually contain fortunes--which seem to be game hints.

This could be useful, though probably not to a "chaotic" character.
 
I can't say I've warmed to my dog or cat yet. I realize from previous hints that pets have uses, such as not stepping on cursed items and not eating bad corpses. (I'm not really sure how that helps, though. If they do eat the corpse, then I know it was a good corpse, but now it's gone.) I'll try my best to learn how to use and train them, but mostly I find them really annoying. They keep getting in the way. Plus, it's kind of heartbreaking when you accidentally kill them while blind or confused.

Dumb cat gets in the way again. Just like my real cat, always trying to trip me when I go downstairs.

This is going to be a year-long process, probably. I don't think I'll update every time I play a session of NetHack, but I'll try to keep track of the new things that happen.


*Addendum: After I wrote the above ("the most successful character was my last"), I began playing with a valkyrie named Magog. I had some extraordinary luck in the early levels and she is now on Level 14. I'm almost afraid to keep playing. I'll chronicle her adventures next time.

97 comments:

  1. After reading your last post, someone mentioned Slash'em and now I'm back dungeon crawling... I find it very enjoyable in small doses, but after a few annoying deaths I have to leave it for a while.

    My last death involved a cursed helmet of polymorph, resulting in getting killed by goblins of some sort. I did get the rather amusing message "You feel like a new elf!", which I can only assume means that my elf polymorphed into an different elf!

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  2. I don't think this counts as a spoiler, because I don't know for sure myself.

    I think blessing reduces the chance of bad things happening from random chance, or it helps protect items from being destroyed or disenchanted. I think a blessed weapon will do better damage rolls, spell failure will be less likely, armor is less likely to be disenchanted.

    Potentially also a blessed weapon might be useful against unholy things?

    --------------
    If nothing else, pets are independent allies- they can keep attacking if you get incapacitated, or give enough help to take out something too strong to face alone.

    It is possible to tame animals for extra pets. And pets will stay loyal through about anything, as long as you don't end up abandoning them on a previous floor for too long and maybe starvation. I believe there are other ways to end up with pets/allies too.

    And you may be able to find some extra things you can get pets to do for you that is too dangerous for you to attempt yourself.

    ----------
    Have you tried praying yet? That was probably the most crucial thing I didn't know about when I last tried this. I believe it can help save you from starvation or slow death, just don't do it too often.

    Violating alignment is one of the easiest ways to get your god angry at you; there are things you can do to appease them or curry favor (show them some old school religion). Just don't go two-timing with some other deity.

    -------------
    On the ball and chain- there are quite a few items that have fairly realistic behaviors. Stairs can be dangerous when overloaded or otherwise impaired. There are things that would be bad to touch or drop. There are also things that shouldn't be combined or mixed together. Some traditional monsters are bad to even look at.

    ------------
    Elebreth- try placing it somewhere ahead of time, to give you somewhere to run away to if things get dangerous. That may help if it takes too long to write in combat.

    ------------
    Does this version have the special theme levels? You may enjoy a Sokoban distraction.

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    1. Sokoban was introduced much later - I think in 3.3.0 or thereabouts. There is some information on old versions of NetHack at the nethack.wikia.com site. A lot of stuff was added since 3.0.9.

      Pets can be very important in the early game, especially for characters who start out weak like Tourists or Wizards. Strong melee types like Valkyries don't need to use them that much, although they can still benefit in many situations.

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    2. Can Blessed weapons hit ghosts?

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    3. I have successfully prayed a couple of times to cure starvation, but never more than once with a single character.

      A higher level character was able to kill a ghost with a +2 weapon (not blessed), so I assume that they're just really difficult to hit. Fortunately, they're not so hard to flee.

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    4. Please don't go the old wiki at Wikia. It has been abandoned by the community but Wikia doesn't allow its content to be deleted.

      The new location of the NetHack wiki is http://nethackwiki.com/

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  3. As for the differently-coloured monsters, remember that you can use the ';' (semicolon) command to have a closer look at them.

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    1. Ah, thanks. That's true. I had forgotten about that.

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  4. Does dipping cursed items in holy water uncurse them?

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    1. Yes, it appears that it does.

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    2. Whoa, that's a whole new way to provide a spoiler! Very creative! Let me try: Does engraving with a wand do anything unusual?

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    3. Hehehehehe. I'd forgotten about that.

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  5. I'm trying to be vague here to give hints without being outright spoilers...

    Valkyries are generally thought to be one of the less difficult classes to play in NetHack, at least in the more recent versions (not sure how many of those aspects show up in 3.0).

    Your character has a (mostly invisible) luck score, which is used as a modifier for all kinds of randomly-generated stuff. Having a high luck score is pretty important to having a successful game, and certain actions can have the effect of changing your luck score, IIRC, attacking peaceful monsters is one of the many things that can negatively influence your luck.

    Blessing items can have all kinds of useful effects, it can increase the power of one-use items, and it can protect armor and weapons from things that might otherwise negatively affect them. Building and managing a supply of potions of holy water is also pretty important to ascending.

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    1. Also, the more direct way of discovering why not to piss off peaceful monsters. Walk into the Gnomish Mines as a gnome or dwarf. Walk up to the first peaceful monster you see and punch him in the face. Compare how long you survive to how long you do if you don't attack a peaceful monster.

      In case you are unsure, try this again in Minetown.

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    2. I love punching gnomes in the face.

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  6. I tried playing Slash'Em, but my Knight died on the third turn while trying to mount his pony. Very embarrassing.

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    1. The "top types of death" list on the nethack.alt.org server shows that it is the 136th most common cause of death in NetHack characters, ending about 1 game in 1600, so it is not that rare. For knights, it would be even more common. The whole list is an interesting (if a bit spoily) read. For example, 'ascended' is the 11th most common ending, in about 1 game out of 150.

      In vanilla NetHack, so probably in Slash'Em too, dying on the very first turn (zapping oneself with a wand, for example) gives a special message.

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    2. #275 - choked on a tin of spinach

      What a totally uncool way to die.

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    3. Isn't that what got Popeye in the end? You can only suck Spinach through a pipe so many times...

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    4. A soldier ant is #1, huh? I guess I should have used my scroll of genocide on those instead of rust monsters.

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    5. And what the hell is a "mumak" that kills so many people at the bottom of the list?

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    6. A mumak is one of those big elephant thingies from Lord of the Rings. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Mumakil

      Best not to think about what they are doing wandering around a dungeon like that...

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    7. I like using mine on those damn water moccasins. Makes fountains useful again.

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    8. Oh, if you do the 'more information' option on them you get a quote about the object or monster.

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    9. The list is heavily biased towards early game threats, as this is where most games end ;-) Soldier ants being number one is no surprize; they are fast, tough, and come in packs, but by the time you find a scroll of genocide, there may be better candidates: the monsters you expect to be dangerous later on.

      Also, the list gives the direct cause of death; sometimes a monster species that merely assists may be more worthy target.

      If you identify such a scroll before reading, it can be kept as a last-ditch option against whatever would kill you next turn. Very rewarding: "3 HP left? OK, leocrotta, enough being nice to you ... and all of your kind!". Of course, such drastic measures may have associated risks...

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    10. Canageek, I think that must be in a later version. Doesn't work for me, in any event. It would be really cool if you could type your own notes about a monster, and those would show up at "More."

      I know treasures are randomized in the game. Has anyone ever acquired so many scrolls of genocide that they've been able to eliminate almost all serious threats?

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    11. There was someone who genocided all monster types that were genocidable. but not in a normal game; he went way out of his way to achieve things other than to win. He was playing an "extinctionist".

      On notes: I gave some items in my inventory names like "stash9" or "soldierants6"; it was useful in games played with long breaks between sessions.

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    12. I keep a text file with notes about the character and the dungeon they are on, for this very reason.

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  7. Re: Identify Scrolls - Sometimes the best things in life are valued at the lowest, always.

    Magic Markers work better on paper, especially if you 'know' what you want to write.

    Leprechauns cannot take from you what you do not have (at the moment)

    Shopkeepers only get angry if you destroy their property, if you can 'open' the shop by other means, go ahead.

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    1. Forgot, shopkeepers also tend not to notice your pet... so whatever they do in the shop is fair game.

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    2. Ah. Hence the use of blank scrolls. Thanks.

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  8. One of my least favorite deaths in Nethack was by cancer when the chemo drug I tried killed me instead of healing me. I was not amused.

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    1. Wait, WHAT? Chemo....drug.... o.0 Never saw that one.

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    2. During the time period when I was an active alcoholic and I was drinking at the time (I was drinking ALL the time) so this is actually a memory of a memory, but it seems pretty vivid. I'd gotten cancer from a scroll and an identified potion came up as chemo medicine. I drank it, it killed me, I vowed, again, to never bother playing. That didn't work, of course, I've played off and on since 1989 when I first went online (with my Amiga!).

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    3. Are you sure that was Nethack and not Slash'em?

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    4. That would make sense... it sounded like william was workshopping some weird Nethack Tweet. Makes more sense, I remember in slash 'em healers get pills that can have a huge variety of effects.

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  9. With regard to telling monsters apart, maybe there is a version with tiles and mouse-over ID.

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    1. Ah, that is what the / command is for.

      /
      Tell what a symbol represents. You may choose to specify a location or type a symbol (or even a whole word) to define. If the help option is on, and NetHack has some special information about an object or monster that you looked at, you’ll be asked if you want “More info?”. If help is off, then you’ll only get the special information if
      you explicitly ask for it by typing in the name of the monster or object.

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    2. Someone above pointed out ; for this/, I can't remember which is which, to be honest. Usually the ASCII is easier, since they are colour coded in ASCII. But yes, there are several tile and iso versions, and many tilesets to go with them.

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  10. So, this will only be tangentially related and off-topic, I know. On the posting titled 'Nethack: From the Beginning ' CA revealed that he was going through the Bible using names he came across for each of his characters. I was wondering if anyone would be interested in a blog that reads throughthe entire King James version. I have searched 'blogging the Bible' and found a couple that while certainly interesting inserted far too much author bias.

    My blog would differ in that I would try to just convey my own common understanding without rationalizations for events, calling for praise, author snarkiness, and condemnation or admiration. After so many posts (in some situations I may provide information within a reading post) I will have posts concerning Biblical study of the previous readings currently sourced from The Illustrated Companion to the Bible by J. R. Porter and what I can find online, at my local library, or from ebooks (probably limited by budget to free books). I will also attempt to make notes of trends I notice for special postings. Anything else including reader knowledge and experiences and if my personal beliefs are inqueried (though honestly I would prefer to keep the focus off of 'well what context does the author attach to this post?' and attempt to remain a neutral documenter) can be addressed in the comments.

    If this proposal does come to fruition (I will be indisposed for the most part until July 16, 2012), I do fully expect to draw some controversial comments and flamming due to the divisiveness of the subject. However, I would like to get an end to end reading of my Bible and have a body of work to make available to anyone with even a passing interest.

    If anyone here might give me a look, an "I'll see" would be appreciated.

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    1. For whatever reason, your comment got marked as spam, so I just approved it.

      It could be interesting, but I think it would depend a lot on the perspective. As an agnostic, I wouldn't be particularly interested in reading such a blog from either a strong Christian perspective nor from a strong atheist perspective. I'd want the author to be insightful and critical when necessary, and to explore the history and traditions behind certain passages.

      Now, what I'd be interested in reading is probably a lot different from what would interest others. You're likely to get criticisms and hate mail no matter what perspective you take.

      This was already done by David Plotz on Slate in 2006/2007, but his entries were very short, and not very insightful. He also only did the Old Testament (he's Jewish).

      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/blogging_the_bible/2006/09/the_complete_blogging_the_bible.html

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    2. Sorry--should have said "strong religious perspective," not "strong Christian perspective."

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    3. As another Agnostic, but with friends in both the United Church of Canada, and with Religious Studies degrees: The King James Bible was not a great translation, and you'd get a much more interesting read if you used a scholarly translation with footnotes. I have one at home on my shelf from when I was Christian, which is, as I recall The New International Version, and has some very interesting footnotes comparing different versions of the text that have been found (For example, Goliath grows by about a foot in each later translation, as people got taller and the writer wanted to make him more of a giant; a 6 foot tall giant isn't very impressive today, but back when most men were only 5 feet tall?)

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    4. Well, the King James is what I have on hand (oh just remembered I have a pretty old family one that is of a different translation- if I remember right the copyright is around the 1820s and there's a news clipping of Custer having just been killed) plus a nice thick reference book that's pretty comprehensive. The Internet, libraries and readers can fill in any blanks. Also, from what I can tell most sources agree that most translations including the KJV have around 2% difference in what they functionally say.

      This had been an experiment I have been kicking around for awhile: to read through the entire Bible and draw my own understanding. With readers along I hopefully won't botch it too badly. I hope to adopt a neutral but thourough tone to get the most out of what the text says to me in modern USA English and grammar and continue to keep interpretation in the readers' hands. Thanks for the replies!

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  11. Very amusing post, which highlights the greatness of Nethack pretty damn well. Reading it I remember the good times I've had with the game, the amusing incidents and stories that emerge from gameplay. The lycanthrophy thing also reminds me of the bad: killing you with tedium (which, it occurs to me, feels pretty prevalent in roguelikes).

    I had no idea Elbereth was in the guidebook. I guess I really didn't pay attention to the documentation when I played it. I thought it was an obscure spoiler. It's another pretty tedious mechanic.

    --Eino

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    1. Have a look at the pretty guidebook I compiled for Chet: http://www.scribd.com/doc/98607948/The-Nethack-Guidebook-for-version-3-0-10

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    2. Oh, hey, Canageek. I meant to write to you about that but I must have gotten side-tracked on that thread.

      I find scribd to be torturously slow. Is that in a PDF or other format that you can just e-mail me? I'll host it on my Google account and link to it from my blog.

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  12. The more money you give the oracle, the more likely it is that she'll tell you something worth hearing.

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    1. My favourite part of the oracle level was the...decorations. Provided I had a pickaxe or was playing a wizard, anyway.

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    2. I don't think this version offers the ability to vary the amount. All the oracles I've met just ask for a fixed amount.

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  13. Have you got a top twenty not-having-to-do-with-starting-character survival tips, yet?

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    1. I'm not sure if I'm parsing your phrase right, but I've certainly developed a list of things to avoid. Don't go charging down the hallways; don't drink from fountains; THROW things at fungi instead of attacking them in melee.

      The lessons are starting to get more complicated, though. Today I learned, when inflicted with the teleportation curse, make sure you pay for stuff as soon as you pick it up in shops.

      That's a good title for my next entry, though: "Dos and Don'ts"

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    2. Sorry I meant general tips not based on what character you choose to play at PC generation.

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    3. To avoid movement related deaths (e.g. running into a floating eye in a dark hallway) use the movement commands. The underscore "_" key lets you identify any level feature, like up/down stairs, and the game moves you there until you run into something. Plus, if you are using the number keys to move around, tap the 5 key then a direction (I thing "g" works for this too) and your character will move in that direction until it hits a wall or sees a creature. This is great to avoid stupid deaths as holding down movement keys or waiting causes major problems. (use "nx" and then the command to count how many turns you want to do something with x being the amount of turns. for example "n20s" means "search this square for 20 turns or "n10." means wait here for 10 turns)

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    4. I think that the "_" travel command was added in a later version, probably 3.4.0. Running with g-direction (or, if using vi keys, ctrl-direction) may be available in 3.0.9 - it was in 3.2.2, the first version I played - and it is a good practice to use it.

      One very general survival tip that I found useful in all roguelikes: Always be prepared to liberate your inner Rincewind. NetHack is actually quite liberal in providing means to do it, compared to, for example, Crawl.

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    5. If g move isn't in that version that that is severely crippling. Moving using the numpad or vi keys is extremely dangerous.

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  14. Glad to see finding the manual was useful. I tried to compile nethack 3.0.10 for you, but no dice so far; It is hard, as I don't exactly have the same compiler as the compile instructions were written for, and it assumes you don't have enough memory to compile all the standard libraries, so wrote its own, conflicting, libraries.

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    1. I appreciate the effort. From what I read, though, 3.0.10 isn't all that much different from 3.0.9. I'm sure this one will be fine.

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  15. Bloody hell. Almost everything you eat in this game gives you something associated with that character. Eat a leprechaun, get inflicted with teleportitis. Eat a floating eye, get telepathy. I figured eating a cockatrice would do something cool, like make me IMMUNE to stone, or allow ME to turn people to stone. SHE WAS ON LEVEL 16!!!

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    1. Ah yes, the first cockatrice death is always such a tragedy! After reading this comment, it turns out that I still remember mine... I was carrying a cockatrice corpse and a nymph stole my gloves. My resentment towards nymphs lingers to this day. If only you could women IRL to get your stuff back. (Kidding...mostly)

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    2. I laughed out loud. Sorry. You can actually use a dead cockatrice slightly differently. If you could only make sure it doesn't touch your skin..

      --Eino

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    3. I can think of at least seven ways to die from a cockatrice corpse just off the bat. It's definitely one of the most dangerous and, at the same time, the most useful things in the game. ALWAYS be aware of where any "rubber chicken" corpses are and what happens to them.

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    4. Yeah, just stay away from death-chickens.

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    5. Oh, and since she was so far down, there is a decent chance she left a bones-file, so you might be able to get her gear back on a future character.

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    6. Huh. Now you've made me curious. I assume that I need to throw the cockatrice corpse at enemies for it to work. The "gloves" Dave refers to must be something that protects you from their skin. I'm almost afraid to experiment with this, but thanks for the tips.

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    7. You're so close to a revelation that it's killing me. Using is not restricted to the 'apply' command. Try others. Just don't eat it again.

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    8. *Slaps BacklogKiller upside the head with a rubber chicken* Hey, no giving more hints, he can figure it out on his own.

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    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    10. In an aside of silliness (half-remembered from a The Developers Think of Everything thread)-

      If your character is currently female, and you get polymorphed into a cockatrice, I believe you can lay eggs somehow. Those eggs can hatch into baby cockatrices that will follow you around like pets and fight for you. Unhatched eggs can be thrown as missile weapons to stone enemies at range- with the same caveats as handling a cockatrice corpse.

      Also, be careful throwing around a cockatrice corpse- if you accidentally throw it straight up instead of in a direction, it can land on your head and stone you.
      -----
      I believe there is an item that lets you control teleportitis, or at least turn it to at-will instead of random.

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    11. Good god. I've nowhere near scratched the surface of this game, have I?

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    12. There is a reason that Nethack fans invented the phrase The Dev Team Thinks of Everything.

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  16. Chet, I see a critical strategic error depicted in the first picture on this posting. Why are you fighting 5 jackals at once?
    In a hallway, only two creatures can attack you at once...and often only one can if they are all coming from the same direction. In a corner, only 3 can.
    When fighting creatures of the same speed as you, you can usually move to a strategically advantageous position.
    But when fighting creatures faster than you (e.g. the notorious soldier ant) then you must often stand and fight or be torn to shreds as you attempt to flee.

    And perhaps most importantly...
    Gather knowledge on methods of escaping, and gradually learn to recognize losing situations BEFORE you are down to your last swing.

    In this way, Nethack is like chess: Don't ever put yourself in a losing situation AND, if you are put in one, recognize it immediately and respond appropriately. Of course, there's knowledge required to do so, but when you look back from the far side, you will see that the journey is where the fun happens.

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    1. They suddenly spawned around me, I think when a werejackal called them. I didn't deliberately wander into a room with that many extant monsters.

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    2. But your comments are generally valuable, so thanks. I do wish fleeing was a little easier. I've learned to really cherish potions of speed.

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  17. Oh GREAT.
    My interest in Nethack has been re-awakened by your discussions. I have too many other distractions! I don't need yet another...

    Addict, where do you find binaries for the older editions? All I found are source code tgz files (which I could probably compile in Linux but...I'd prefer not to).

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    1. I tired compiling it for PC, but made a hash of it, as I started with the wrong Make instructions. I'm going to retry with a clean source download, and use the Unix instructions all along. I am worried I'll introduce bugs by hacking with the header files though.

      If you want to sit down on an instant messenger or skype and work through it with me, I'm trying to use Cygwin/gcc so our make files should be the same.

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    2. It wasn't easy, let me tell you. It was an hour or more of Googling and following links (most of them broken) in old discussion threads. Unfortunately, once I got the version, I was happy enough that I didn't bother to write down its location for posterity.

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  18. Whenever you talk about Nethack and other Roguelikes, it makes me want to play some more Dungeons of Dredmor, which is like a graphical Roguelike with a lot of the bothersome bits of complexity taken out, and should probably be on your list for... 2050.

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    1. Also, it's a shame how few game designers have any consideration for color blind people.

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    2. You can play Nethack colourblind, it just is a bit slower. 3.4.3 actually has a mode designed for a braille terminal as I recall, so even blind people can play it.

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    3. There are other games that do it much worse, with key puzzles dependent upon ability to tell red and green. I'll rail about them plenty in future postings.

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  19. There sure is an awful lot of 'light hints' in these comments >:(

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    1. The good news is that half the time I don't even understand.

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  20. Your travails in Nethack have inspired me to play a little more Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, which is my favorite roguelike. It's a bit more forgiving than Nethack, so you usually can get to know a character for a while before death strikes. I just took a Centaur Hunter to dungeon level 9!

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    1. Curiously, that wasn't on my list until now. Thanks.

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    2. DCSS is more forgiving in the early levels, and far more brutal afterwards.

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    3. I'm glad my mention of the game could help out! You could always check RogueBasin (roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/) for the full list of known RLs out there, but then you might be playing a ton more RLs than you are currently anticipating.

      Perhaps simply the exemplars from a given RL family should be included in your list?

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    4. One more little idea... I don't think it will work with the Nethack you're playing now since it's probably not a Windows binary, but in the future, for fun, you could play the occasional RL character using NotEye (http://www.roguetemple.com/z/noteye.php). It parses the console/text output of the RL and can display it as is, or with tiles in overhead, isometric, or even first-person mode. First-person perspective is kind of fun sometimes. :^)

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    5. That looks like a cool application. I don't understand all of the technological variables, but if it worked with NetHack at all, wouldn't he have listed it on this page along with the others?

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    6. On the list of roguelikes...holy...I can't even begin to know what to do here. Clearly, I'm including the genre among CRPGs, but there's no way I can add this many to my list. I might need to get some advice.

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    7. It's not as bad as it seems.
      Many were made after 2005, when the roguelike community started running the contests. Seven Day Roguelike Challenge, etc. Simple games that can be safely skipped...or finished quickly, if you decide to play them.

      I think all the older RL are already on the master list.

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    8. We discussed this last time, if you'll recall. We decided that you didn't need to include every 7 day roguelike, just the major ones that people actually play a loot (Angaband, TOME, DCSS, Nethack, Slash'em, DoomRL, and so on) I think we even started on a list of early, important Roguelikes.

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    9. There is a roguebasin page for "major roguelikes". It currently lists 11 games: 1st generation: Hack, Larn, Omega, Moria, Rogue; 2nd: ADOM, Angband, NetHack; 3rd: Crawl, ToME, Dwarf Fortress.

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    10. I had forgotten the previous discussion. In any event, all fo the "major roguelikes" (I keep typing "rougelikes," which would be a very different genre) seem to be on my list.

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    11. There is a wonderful roguelike called POWDER which got its name because so many people misspell "roguelike" as "rougelike".

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  21. You reached the 99th place on the top 100 list.

    99 1950 Chet-Wiz-Orc-Mal-Cha died in The Dungeons of Doom on level 4 [max 5]. Killed by a giant mimic. - [35]

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  22. This comic totally made me think of Nethack.

    http://poindexterjacksonclaude.com/2012/08/17/hi-res-heroes-96/

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