|Ellasar's predictable fate.|
Well, probably no one thought that I was going to ascend after my last posting, but at least I got killed by the Wizard of Yendor himself.
If you'll recall from my last posting, Ellasar had reached Level 30, the first level of Hell, in pretty good shape in terms of equipment and intrinsics. I had recently genocided the entire lich class, and I still had another Blessed Scroll of Genocide to use. I had recently obtained a Ring of Teleport Control. The next major step was to get to Level 50 and work my way up to find the Wizard of Yendor and the Amulet of Yendor (for those of you confused, in this version, 3.0.9, the Wizard himself has the amulet).
I ended up finding a Scroll of Teleportation in a hidden area on a previous level. Normally, these work by teleporting you to another location on the current level. But a cursed scroll teleports you to a different level enitrely. Usually, this is bad, but when you have a Ring of Teleport Control, you get to decide where you go. To curse the scroll, I dipped it into a Potion of Unholy Water I happened to be carrying.
|NetHack is the only game I know where it's advantageous to deliberately curse things.|
Before I had found the scroll, I had killed a leprechaun, consumed him, and got "teleportitis," a condition that causes you to randomly teleport every few dozen moves (on average). Again, this is usually bad, but combined with Teleport Control, it's a nice bonus. If it comes upon you at the right time, you can escape bad combats and more easily navigate to stairs.
|Teleportitis comes upon Ellasar just as a minotaur knocks down half his hit points.|
Commenter Dave had clued me in that polymorphing a dead dragon produces dragon scale mail. I did that, too. It was on AC worse than what I'd been wearing (banded mail +4), but it was much lighter and by this point I was sick of over-encumbrance messages.
At this point, I made my biggest mistake of the game: I was so excited to have the ability to teleport to Level 50 and start looking for the Wizard that I read the scroll immediately. I should have waited around to finish my ascension kit first. Two items I critically lacked were anything involving magic resistance and a Wand of Death.
The moment I got to Level 50, I put on my blindfold and as surprised to see the Wizard of Yendor there. I had this idea that he appeared in a random level between 30 and 50, not on 50 itself.
|Either there aren't many places where you can get "more info" or I've been completely overlooking this feature.|
There were three major flaws in my plan:
1. The game doesn't let you teleport into the Wizard's little chamber. So when I tried, it I ended up in a random place and had to walk there (carefully putting on my Boots of Water Walking to cross the moat).
2. The Wand of Cancellation doesn't actually do anything against the Wizard of Yendor. I had this idea that it would blank his spells or something.
3. The Wizard of Yendor has a "Touch of Death" attack that means instant death if you don't have any protection (or can't kill him first).
I suppose there was a fourth, for that matter.
4. Even if I killed him and got the Amulet, I still had to fight my way back up 20 levels of Hell.
To even get into the Wizard's little chamber, I had to use a Wand of Digging on the wall. That wasn't much of a problem. But the moment I got up to him, I only landed two hits before he killed me.
|To be fair, he did warn me.|
Let's do a little post-adventure analysis. I feel like I came really close. At some point, Ellasar was over a hump, with enough intrinsics and equipment that he could defeat almost any monster. Now that I know I can get to such a state, the game doesn't seem quite so intimidating. These are the things I did right with Ellasar:
- Made ESP and finding a blindfold a priority. This helps an incredible amount with collecting intelligence on enemy positions.
- Teleport Control and teleportitis. I'd venture a character that can get these early in the game has a much easier game.
- Keeping a list of intrinsics and equipment and checking things off as I found them.
- Spending a lot of time sorting through the equipment recovered from the barracks full of soldiers. When I had found a Ring of Protection +3, that might have been enough, but I couldn't stand the thought that there might be a Ring of Protection +5 unclaimed in the pile. I slowly went through everything, testing for curses and noting effects, until I had a great suit of stuff.
I feel like I needed three things to ensure victory:
- A Wand of Death to kill the Wizard instantly (or at least have a chance)
- Anything with magic resistance, so his "Touch of Death" (plus a host of enemy attacks) wouldn't kill me
- A second Cursed Scroll of Teleportation, so I could fly back up to an earlier level (1, I guess) the moment I obtained the ring.
The thing is, there was nothing stopping me from lurking around earlier levels until I got these things. I had a pile of more than 50 C-rations and K-rations on one level, and I was absolutely dominating most monsters. All I really needed to find was a Scroll of Charging, which would have allowed me another wish or two from my Wand of Wishes. If only I hadn't jumped the gun getting to Level 50.
When I last posted, I was feeling depressed at the possibility of losing Ellasar, but some time between then and now, something turned in my mind, and I feel like I "get" the game now. I have another moth before my first anniversary of NetHack 3.0 arrives. There's still time.