Monday, March 18, 2024

NetHack [3.1]: Beyond this Place of Wrath and Tears

One of the levels of Gehennom, this version's version of Hell.
I was in pretty good shape when I wrapped up the last NetHack session, having just conquered the Castle level, found the Wand of Wishing, and collected almost everything I needed or wanted for my "ascension kit." Before continuing, though, I spent a couple of hours revisiting earlier levels to accomplish some final things:
  • Commenters suggested that I use my Wand of Wishes for a Bag of Holding. It turns out I didn't need to waste a wish. One of the bags in the shop on Level 25 was a Bag of Holding. I bought it for $150. For the rest of the session, I kept most of my potions and scrolls in it to protect them from traps.
Ha! No regular bag is worth that much gold!
  • I sacrificed some more corpses to my god at the altar on Level 20. Still no artifact weapon.
  • I explored several vaults that I'd left alone on the way down. One of them had a portal to a brand new area called "Fort Ludios." More on that later. On my first visit, I killed a few orcs but otherwise left it alone until I could visit again on the way back down.
  • I returned to the Gnomish Mines again. There were a couple of chaotic unicorns on the way, so I took the time to toss a few gems at them.
  • I couldn't believe how many "junk" scrolls and potions I'd left behind. I took the time to blank the scrolls, dilute the potions to water, and bless the stacks of water.
  • I donated another $8,000 to the priest in the temple in the Gnome town and got -2 to my armor class.
  • I sacrificed a bunch more corpses on that altar. Nothing would give me any artifact weapon.
  • Finally, I decided to wish for it. First, though, I wished for a couple of Scrolls of Charging and used one to recharge my magic marker. I wrote a couple of Scrolls of Enchant Armor, but those took around 12 charges each, and the marker only recharged to 50 in the first place. I got a warning that a Scroll of Genocide would cost even more. 
  • The Wand had come with two wishes. I was persuaded by my commenters' suggestions, and I used the other for the sword Grayswandir. With reluctance, I gave up my +6 longsword. I used the other Scroll of Charging to get 3 charges back on the wand.
At the bottom of the Gnomish mines, I finally found the damned secret door that everyone was saying ought to be there. I kicked it in and found a "gray stone," plus some other gems. It was, of course, a "luckstone," I don't quite understand what luck is doing for me, but if it has anything to do with the ease of the rest of the session, I'm all for it.
On my fifteenth visit . . .
On the way back down to the Castle, I went through the portal in the Level 18 vault and took on Fort Ludios. It took forever--longer than the Castle. There were dozens and dozens of guards, dragons, and monsters.The guards dropped heaps of helms, shields, boots, cloaks, and rations. I piled up some of the rations for later, and put even more in my Bag of Holding, but I didn't have the patience to test every piece of armor again. I also didn't really see the point, as I was unlikely to do better than the items I already had.
But in addition to their standard equipment, many of the guards spawned with wands and potions. I haven't quite gotten used to enemies using items. Every once in a while, one of them beans me in the head with a potion and makes me blind or confused or something. More alarming, the game kept saying things like, "the death ray whizzes by you!," indicating that they had Wands of Death. I had to keep repositioning myself to get out of such enemies' lines of sight. They never hit me, though. I'm not sure what would have happened if they had. My Shield of Reflection seems to send back most spells (and dragon breath), but I don't know if it always works. I'm also not sure whether "Magic Resistance" would save me from it. Best not to find out. I did end up picking up a couple of wands with a couple of charges left. By the end of the session, I had six charges among three wands.
Moments like this make you pause and reconsider what you're doing.
The interior of the castle offered battles with hobgoblins, orcs, and kobolds--trivial enemies at this point--plus a unique character named Croesus. He did the only damage to me on the entire level, and it wasn't much.
The interior of the castle had a room full of gold--tens of thousands of pieces, I'm sure, but I didn't really have any use for it. I left it where it was for now. I looked around but didn't find any other artifacts. The throne gave me +4 maximum hit points the first time I sat in it and disappeared in a "puff of logic" the second time. 
I'd feel even better if I got a wish.
I returned to the main branch, went back to the castle, took a save and a backup (I want to emphasize that I still haven't reloaded from one), and let myself fall down a trap door. I landed in the Valley of the Dead. Immediately, I was swarmed by dozens and dozens of ghosts (which you can't see even with "See Invisibility"), mummies, vampires, vampire lords, wraiths, zombies. I literally screamed as they approached, assuming that their level-draining attacks would be the death of me. My ranged attacks couldn't keep up with their volume and my Teleportitis didn't work on the level. I wedged myself in a corner, but ghosts can pass through walls. I winced the first time a wraith touched me.
But nothing happened. Not a single one of their attacks drained a single level. Nor did they damage me significantly. I just stood there and swung at them with my sword, its silver properties burning the flesh of many of the attackers, killing one after the other without suffering any effects. What is with this game? Did I accidentally download a hacked version? Is there something that resists level draining? If so, it must be new to this version. I couldn't believe I'd ever considered genociding vampire lords; they did nothing
As the bodies fell, I ate the wraith corpses (only one out of three wraith deaths left corpses, alas), rising from Level 16 to Level 21. 
This situation is nowhere near as dire as it looks.
The rest of the level had a lot of chests, which I painstakingly unlocked and searched, despite the fact that there's not much I want or need anymore. I did find a couple of useful Scrolls of Enchant Weapon and Enchant Armor. Unfortunately, one of the latter--and here was my one major mistake of the session--destroyed my Shield of Reflection. When you use a Scroll of Enchant Armor, the game picks a random armor piece from what you're wearing, but I guess the highest you can normally enchant is to +5, and if you try to go above that, the item is destroyed. The shield was my only +5 item, but I should have taken it off before reading the scroll. I had to use one of the three wishes to get it back (at +2). Enchanting other items made up for the loss.
I was surprised to find stairs going back to the Castle. I thought the trip down was one-way. On the far western side of the map, I encountered a Priest of Moloch, who warned that I had entered a sacred place. There was an "unaligned" altar in the room. I should mention at this point that I have a general idea what I need to do to win the game. I wasn't going to leave that to experimentation. I know that the High Priest of Moloch has the Amulet of Yendor, but I believe he's down further in the dungeon and not this priest. 
A hallway leading away from the altar room led to a stairway. I saved again here and thought about wrapping things up, as this seems to be the real point of no return. When you go down the stairs, the game warns: "You are standing at the gate to Gehennom. Unspeakable cruelty and harm lurk down there. Are you sure you want to enter?" I sucked it up, said "yes," and went down--and was surprised to see a stairway going back up. Is there a point of no return in this version? 
It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehennom.
The next few levels were pure mazes, full of gold and traps, such that I started wearing my Ring of Levitation to avoid the latter and then got annoyed at always having to take it off to pick up the former. I'm not sure why I'm bothering to collect gold anyway. The twisty passages did a good job of disguising one of my most hated foes: the yellow light. I very nearly used my Scroll of Genocide on them. They kept coming around corners and exploding in my face, leaving me blinded for a few dozen turns. Admittedly, this isn't as big a deal as it sounds, since I have "Telepathy."
The demonic enemies on these levels were easy to deal with; most took extra damage from the silver in Grayswandir. There were a lot of minotaurs, and these were the first enemies in a long time to pose even a slight threat. A couple of them got me down to near-50% of my hit points before I killed them. I had plenty of resources to deal with them, of course, if they threatened me any more than that, including just backing away and throwing missiles. Minotaurs all dropped Wands of Digging. Unable to use them all, I got in the habit of blasting random holes in the dungeon walls to facilitate the return trip.
A typical Gehennom level.
I got hungry fast enough in these mazes that even though I brought plenty of rations, I started to wish I'd brought more. Eventually, I stopped exploring the maze levels completely. I just went far enough to find the stairs down. I suppose it's cheating to take screenshots of each level to help you on the way back? I won't use them unless I'm cheating by then anyway.
Level 35 was a special level. There was a regular maze around the edges of the map, but the central part had a fortress with vampires and a demon named Asmodeus. He apparated right next to my character and demanded $4,357. Despite this being the sort of game in which you probably should pay such ransoms, I said no. He teleported away after a couple of hits from my sword.
It would be a stronger request if you were in front of me instead of behind me.
Level 37 was also unique, and it's here that I suffered (maybe) my only near-death of the session. The level was full of water squares--I guess it was supposed to be a kind of swamp--so I immediately put my Ring of Levitation on. Before long, I was attacked by someone named Juiblex, who engulfed me like those vortexes do, trapping me in a small cage of his own flesh. Within a couple of hits, I was down to 50% hit points. Even worse, I got the message that, "you feel very sick." I know from experience that "Sick" leads to death in just a few turns if not cured. I knew that I could cure it with my Potion of Extra Healing, but I guessed it didn't make sense to do so until I had killed or gotten away from Juiblex. I wasn't sure a Wand of Death would work from inside, but I told myself I'd try if he didn't die in a couple of hits. Fortunately, he did (he also responded badly to silver), when I was down to one-quarter of my hit points. I quickly took the Potion of Extra Healing out of the Bag of Holding and quaffed it. I guess maybe the unicorn horn would have worked, too.
The closest I've come to death in a long time.
I continued through the next levels of the maze, cleaving through minotaurs, bone devils, and balrogs. Teleportitis didn't work on some of the levels. Wands of Digging (and pick-axes) didn't work on others. I picked up useful scrolls and potions but mostly didn't bother to even test other things. I meet the occasional cockatrice or rust monster, which I'm always careful to kill at a distance or just avoid, but they do hit me now and then, and I've managed to avoid their effects the same way I avoided level drain. Does it have to do with luck?
The last level I explored before closing this session (Level 41) was another special one. It had a fortress in the center apparently ruled by the demon Baalzebub. Like Asmodeus earlier, he teleported right next to me and demanded almost all my gold. Despite having no reason not to give it to him, I said no. He conjured some fellow demons. He and his friends were capable of stunning me with gaze attacks, so I put on my blindfold as soon as I could. Like Asmodeus, he warped away every time I hit him. Unlike Asmodeus, he came back frequently. I kept waiting for him and swiping at him when he appeared, but after about 10 rounds of that, he hadn't died, and I assumed he wasn't going to. I continued on to Level 42 and quit the game there.
And then the coward teleported away. He's the little & in the southwest.
I have no good answer to the question of why I didn't use one of my Wand of Death charges on Baalzebub or Asmodeus. Certainly, they sounded like the very sorts of enemies I was saving the Wand for. I guess I wanted to wait and see whether they really posed a threat.
So let me ask a question that I'm sure is going to come back to haunt me: if dragons and vampire lords and demon princes don't offer any real danger, what at this point could possibly kill me?
Time so far: 30 hours


  1. > if dragons and vampire lords and demon princes don't offer any real danger, what at this point could possibly kill me?

    Hubris, of course - deadliest foe in any roguelike!

    (I’ve never played NetHack to nearly this depth, sounds like you’re in very good shape tbh).

    1. Tetrapod is 100% correct. Everything will be going well, you are feeling (over)confident, and bam! your game is over. Nethack is a heartbreaker.

      At this point, it's not going to be one thing that kills you, but an unforeseen deadly combo. Your cloak, armor, speed boots, and luckstone are keeping you nigh invulnerable. But some monsters, in particular Arch and Master Liches, can curse your inventory. Suddenly you are paralyzed, your magic resistance is gone, you are slowed and your holy water is now unholy water. Not good. And now your foes start gating in their friends…

      You are underestimating Liches. High level Liches can teleport, curse, steal stuff, and have an instant death spell.

      You can bribe ArchDevils (Lawful), but not Demon Lords (Chaotic). Asmodeus is gone for now, but he’s probably going to harry you on your return journey with the amulet.

      The list of ArchDevils and Demon Lords is from the D&D1e Monster Manual, of course. Juibilex is King of the Slimes.

      The most dangerous foe in the game, imo, is the Lord of all Demons. Asmodeus is a punk, the Wizard hatefully annoying, but Qrzbtbetba terrifies me. Luckily he doesn’t show in every game.

      There’s nothing interesting in the generic Hell levels. No need to fully explore them. I usually tunnel a direct route between the stairs for a speedy departure, but that’s not necessary.

      Congrats, though. You are having a great game. Most players never get this far.

    2. I genocided the lich race shortly after posting this entry. I was pissed at one of them for cursing my things.

    3. Blessed-genocided, I should clarify.

    4. Good call! And not surprising. You have to experience the annoyance of cursing to fully understand.

    5. Another monster with an instant death attack are are krakens. Don't underestimate sea monsters, ";".

    6. I do think that as long as you're wearing the amulet of magical breathing, the kraken/eel attack can't kill you, though it still dunks your inventory.

    7. Drowning attacks are delayed instadeath - when you see the msg "swings itself around you!" you have at least one turn to act.

      You can use this turn to zap the monster with a wand of teleport to send it somewhere else, or teleport yourself, or drop an scroll of scare monster, or some other such emergency measure.

      If you are afraid of missing the message you can put

      MSGTYPE=stop "The * swings itself around you!"

      in your config file and that will prompt you for -more- and it will stop all your actions until you press enter.

    8. Two cautionary notes, though:
      A lot of the levels on which you might encounter drowning attacks are no-teleport levels. (Jvmneq'f gbjre, Whvoyrk'f fjnzc, Cynar bs Jngre.)
      There's apparently a monster with a different message ("The * grabs you!")--this is a python, which unlike sea monsters doesn't tend to generate near water, but apparently it can drown you if it does.

    9. Fortunately zapping wands of teleports at monsters still takes them away even in no-teleport levels.

    10. Sure, an Amulet of Water Breathing will save you from Krakens, but this is Nethack! You and I both know that the moment that you get grabbed by a sea monster is also the moment you realize that your Amulet of Water Breathing has been cursed, or disenchanted, or you temporarily swapped it with something else and forgot to put it back on or....

    11. @Broken25: yep, just don't try teleporting yourself!

      @Joshwitz: I believe the amulet of magical breathing still works even if it's cursed (you just can't take it off). But you do have to remember to wear it.

    12. Cursed worn equipment in Nethack still works properly, in those cases the curse manifests by preventing its removal.

  2. Bless your luckstone - A blessed luckstone prevents good luck from decaying to neutral.

    (An uncursed stone freezes both good and bad luck, and a cursed stone, of course, only keeps bad luck).

    As for what luck itself does, well quite a lot of things, although the benefits are subtle:

    vg tvirf n obahf gb uvg engr - jvgu znk yhpx, lbh onfvpnyyl arire zvff, nygubhtu gung'f zber abgvprnoyr ng ybj yriry.

    Vg pna nyfb znxr purfg gencf svmmyr, juvpu vf abg n gevivny orarsvg fvapr fbzr bs gubfr pna qrfgebl evatf naq jnaqf.

    Vg vzcebirf gur rssrpgvivgl bs oyrffrq vqragvsl fpebyyf.

    Naq n ubfg bs bgure zvabe orarsvgf urer naq gurer.

    Avoiding bad luck is a bit more important, since that can cause some very not-subtle bad effects:

    Jnaqf bs jvfuvat znl snvy naq ershfr gb tvir n jvfu vs lbhe yhpx vf artngvir, juvpu vf boivbhfyl njshy - cenlvat jvgu artngvir yhpx jvgu nyfb snvy.

    1. Since you received some four-leaf clovers, you are officially Lucky, and the luckstone will keep you so. In case you fucked it up, you could then just put it away for a while.

  3. > and I've managed to avoid their effects the same way I avoided level drain. Does it have to do with luck?

    Nah, that is thanks to your cloak.

    Cloaks have a property (Magic Cancellation, or MC) that protects against special attacks like life draining and a few other such things - MC3 in particular gives a 90% chance to avoid them.

    Now in the version you are playing, ALL cloaks give MC3, thus making those attacks a complete joke - in the far future of 3.6 most cloaks will give only MC1 (40% protect) with only Cloaks of Protection giving MC3.

    1. Wow. I'm pretty sure that wasn't true in 3.0. Thanks for the clarification.

    2. Magic cancellation is one of the least understood topics in Nethack even among veteran players. Here is how it worked up through 3.4.3:

      Cloaks with MC3 actually give a 98% chance of avoiding special attacks. See link above.

  4. Juiblex is a demon lord of slimes and madness in D&D, basically an intelligent, acidic, evil green slime

    1. Somehow I got logged out when I posted above

    2. Man, 1:07 am, even if I'd read the post as soon as I saw it, instead of watching 80s anime with friends, I wouldn't have been fast enough to be the one to tell Chet he slew a powerful demonlord, who was once much more powerful but cursed his followers into slimes, and only then realized that meant most of them were now mindless and unable to worship and thus lost most of his power.

      Really, you put him out of his misery.

  5. > I wasn't sure a Wand of Death would work from inside, but I told myself I'd try if he didn't die in a couple of hits.

    All demons and undead are immune to death rays, so rather fortunate that you didn't tried this!

    (WoD will however be highly useful soon).

    > I guess maybe the unicorn horn would have worked, too.

    It may have worked, it has like a 30% chance of curing each time you use it - but it's perfectly possible for it to fail a bunch of turns in a row and then you die, so it's generally better to heal with potions and not gamble with your life.

    > So let me ask a question that I'm sure is going to come back to haunt me: if dragons and vampire lords and demon princes don't offer any real danger, what at this point could possibly kill me?

    Aside of carelessness - not many things.
    But there are still some notable threats ahead, like (big spoilers) nve ryrzragnyf va gur cynar bs nve, gubfr uvg vaperqvoyl uneq.

    And of course, gur tvnag pyhfgreshpx gung vf gur Nfgeny Cynar.

    1. About Juiblex, there is a comment I left about the energy vortex a ways back that applies here:

      Vs n fbyvq zbafgre rathysf lbh, lbh pna uvg vg sebz vafvqr jvgu n jnaq bs *qvttvat* naq guvf jvyy frg vg gb bar uvg cbvag. Ibegvprf naq, fnqyl, nve ryrzragnyf ner abg fbyvq, ohg Whvoyrk vf. (Sbe n yvggyr ovg guvf vf jung V gubhtug Oebxra zrnag nobhg gur JbQ!)

      Also, when I was saying earlier that you should get your armor class and HP up, I was mostly thinking of minotaurs--as you found out, they're another level of danger, and a character who has plowed through all the monsters up till then could easily die at their hands without overpreparing.

    2. Not even NetHack is immune to the video game trope that any really nice-sounding ability isn't going to work on whatever you'd want to save it for.

    3. Oh, another Juiblex note, which may be helpful down the line:
      If you're already sick and you get hit by another sickness attack, it halves the death timer. So you usually want to get that taken care of ASAP, even if you're still fighting. (I think blessed unicorn horns work more like 70% of the time than 30% of the time, but don't quote me on that, especially in this version!)

  6. > I know that the High Priest of Moloch has the Amulet of Yendor, but I believe he's down further in the dungeon and not this priest.

    The way to reach the High Priest is, uh, a bit obscure (to say it midly), so you may need some hints for that.

    If you want to do it "legit" here is the ingame clue the Oracle would give if you pester her enough:

    Vg vf fnvq gung gubh znlfg tnva ragel gb Zbybpu'f fnapghnel, vs gubh qnerfg, sebz n cynpr jurer gur tebhaq ivoengrgu va gur qrrcrfg qrcguf bs Truraabz. Gubh arrqf zhfg unir gur nvq bs guerr zntvpny vgrzf. Gur cher fbhaq bs n fvyire oryy funyy naabhapr gurr. Gur greevoyr eharf, ernq sebz Zbybpu'f obbx, funyy pnhfr gur rnegu gb gerzoyr zvtugvyl. Gur yvtug bs na rapunagrq pnaqrynoehz funyy fubj gurr gur jnl.

    And if you don't care about spoilers, this is what said clue means explained plainly:

    Va gur irel qrrcrfg yriry bs Trurabz (erpbtavmnoyr ol gur ynpx bs qbjafgnvef) lbh zhfg frnepu sbe gur Ivoengvat fdhner. (Znexrq ol n "Lbh srry n fgenatr ivoengvba haqre lbhe srrg." zrffntr). Gurer lbh zhfg hfr gur Pnaqrynoehz, gur Oryy bs Bcravat naq ernq gur obbx bs gur qrnq va frphrapr.

    Gur oryy, bs pbhefr, lbh unir nyernql sbhaq - gur bgure gjb vgrzf fubhyqa'g or gbb uneq gb svaq rvgure.

  7. >. . . a unique character named Croesus . . . The interior of the castle had a room full of gold--tens of thousands of pieces, I'm sure . . .

    It's nice to see a video game making nods to Herodotus alongside the usual nods to Tolkien. Alas, poor Croesus. Call no man happy until he is dead.

    1. IIRC puff of logic is from hitchhiker's guide, isn't it?

    2. That's correct. Originally god vanished in a puff of logic after receiving an explanation about the Babel Fish. Given that Chet was lucky that only the throne vanished. :-D

    3. NetHack has a very kitchen sink approach with mythology and references to nerd culture. Chet has said that this sort of thing annoys him in e.g. Wizardry because it means the dev isn't taking the game seriously, but I tolerate it OK in NetHack because the mythology is really flavor on top of the gameplay. The Tourist class is a joke but also a challenge.

    4. You definitely play most roguelikes for the mechanics, not the worldbuilding. Omega was a bit of an exception, I seem to recall.

    5. The Tourist class is also another Terry Pratchett reference (i.e. Twoflower from TCOM).

    6. My favorite real world reference in a roguelike was in Omega.

      The final encounter is a duel with Death, complete with Grim Reaper scythe and hood. I finally whittled his health to 0, had a second of relief, when he popped back up to life at full health and shouted "A hit! A palpable hit!"

    7. There are a lot of references to Sir Terry's writings in Nethack; enough they put out a special version following his death that added more as a tribute to his life and works.

    8. There are joke aspects to the Tourist class beyond the pterry references--their starting equipment includes a camera, a Hawaiian shirt, darts, and a bunch of maps. Which I just realized all played important roles when I played as a tourist.

      Nf hfhny, gur pnzren fpnerq njnl zbafgref gung V pbhyqa'g unaqyr (juvpu vf zbfg zbafgref va gur rneyl Gbhevfg tnzr), naq gur fuveg jnf nabgure cvrpr bs nezbe gung pbhyq trg rapunagrq gb cyhf svir ng gur raq. Gur fpebyyf bs zntvp znccvat tbg zr guebhtu na rneyl yriry jurer V jnf pbzcyrgryl hanoyr gb svaq n frperg qbbe ol frnepuvat. Naq va gur dhrfg, V jrag gb jnxr hc gur arzrfvf ol puhpxvat n cbvfba qneg ng vg... naq gur cbvfba jnf sngny. Bar-fubg xvyy. (Gubhtu gung'f abg n uhtr qrny, fvapr gur Gbhevfg arzrfvf vf fhccbfrq gb or n chfubire.) Gur Gbhevfg dhrfg erjneq vf nabgure wbxr vgrz (abg sebz Cengpurgg) gung'f uhtryl hfrshy.

    9. The shirt can be worn in addition to armor over it?

    10. Yes, shirts are a free armor slot and extremely light, as well as incredibly low-cost in a store.

      (Shopkeepers will charge you more if you have a visible shirt, but that is not a problem for you in multiple ways. Tourists get charged more anyway, but they start with a lot of money and high Charisma. My 17 Charisma Tourist got discounts even after the Tourist surcharge, so naturally there were no shops on the first ten levels.)

  8. About the wands of death--yeah, those bounce off a shield of reflection if they hit you. However, there are (and you may have encountered them) monsters which have a non-ray death attack, which is not affected by reflection. Those get blocked by magic resistance. This is why your first wish was for gray dragon scale mail.

    As for what can kill you, I'm going to vaguepost this a bit:
    Gurer vf n znaqngbel rarzl lbh svtug (abg gur Jvmneq) jub vf hfhnyyl gnxra pner bs jvgu n jnaq bs qrngu--ohg bppnfvbanyyl ur trarengrf jvgu n pybnx bs zntvp erfvfgnapr, juvpu jvyy fnir uvz gur jnl vg fnirf lbh. Naq ur uvgf uneq jvgu fbzr irel anfgl fcryyf. Va gung pnfr, gurer vf n jnl bs gnxvat pner bs uvz juvpu vf fbzrgvzrf qrfpevorq nf "uvggvat uvz jvgu n ehoore puvpxra," juvpu V pna rkcynva zber vs lbh yvxr.

    Also there are some enemies that summon, and sometimes they summon enemies that summon, and it can get to be a big mess. Probably a survivable mess but you have to be careful when that happens. Also toward the end there will be another couple of big messes that Broken25 mentioned.

    HOWEVER I do think that this stage of the game is often sort of a reward--after doing what you need to assemble the ascension kit, you get to steamroller things for a while.

    As for points of no return--there isn't one really, till the very end! And don't worry about screenshotting the levels, unless I'm very much mistaken, you remember your automaps when you reenter. Unless you do something very silly jvgu na havqragvsvrq fpebyy be n zvaq synlre.

    1. Ah, that vaguepost was unnecessary: I'm talking about the High Priest of Moloch there.

    2. > after doing what you need to assemble the ascension kit, you get to steamroller things for a while.

      Yeah pretty much.

      I will say than Nethack endgame is generally considered pretty boring due to this, and quite a contrast with more modern roguelikes like dcss that retain a lot of tactical complexity in endgame. (Despite the fact than by endgame you are pretty much a demigod, just like in Nethack).

    3. Unlike most people, I enjoyed exploring the Gehennom mazes, but I would have enjoyed it more if there were about half as many.

    4. > but I would have enjoyed it more if there were about half as many.

      Eventually you learn to just use Magic Mapping to Rush through the levels.

      A few scrolls of MM can go a long way if you use them efficiently - dig down, use mm, go upstairs, that way you can basically map two levels with a single scroll.

      Between that and knowing the shape of the fixed demon lord levels, you can map all of gehennom with 8-10 scrolls, which makes the whole thing much more bearable.

      (Or if you are a caster, you can just cast the mm spell each and every level).

      Of course rushing in that way means leaving potential loot behind, but at this point you probably don't need It.

    5. I ended up wishing for a spellbook of magic mapping. Any reason scrolls would be better?

    6. Well, anybody can use scrolls, magic mapping is a fairly hard spell that a lot of classes just can't cast.

      Like a level 30 Valkirie with 18 wisdom and a robe still has a 77% failure rate, and her energy reserves are so abismal she can only cast it once before she needs to rest for a whole bunch of turns before trying again.

      Elves shouldn't have problems casting it, they can #enhance divination skill - i think?

      Aside of that, you don't always find the MM spell but you almost certainly find at least a few mm scrolls as you explore, and even a few mm scrolls can go a long way if used smartly.

  9. After your recent posts I excepted a bit more drama.

    1. From commenters or from within the game?

    2. I think he is refering to your comment about how rings of levitation don't help if you forget to put them on?

      I was expecting for that to come up at some point.

    3. Yes, that together with the enchart armor comment made it sound like things went south fast. Glad it didn't. Not that I don't enjoy the odd bit of Schadenfreude now and then :)

    4. @Buck: :)

      Reading this post's title, I expected some wrath and tears due to some unlucky death. But I guess Chet was expressing the feeling of being Invictus instead.

      I agree with the opinion that after such a long game, permadeath starts to become a little dire. Especially if the game was too easy for a long time, I think this makes a YASD even more annoying than if the game was consistently dangerous.

    5. I talked above about how I destroyed my Shield of Reflection by accident and had to wish for a new one. The ring wasn't a big deal. I fell into some water and ruined a couple of things. None of my stuff got rusty, fortunately--I guess because it's not made of iron?

  10. Oh, possibly important note, Chet: You can't pray in Gehennom. Or you can, but Moloch is the god who will hear your prayer, and he's not interested in helping.

    1. And your actual deity will not be entertained by your infidelity.

    2. "Feel free to pray to your God, but spoilers, I won't be listening."

  11. So here's a question: I get to Vlad the Impaler and hit him twice. He reads a Scroll of Teleportation and completely disappears. Where did he go? I need something he carries, right?

    1. You do. His scroll was probably cursed. I forget exactly how level teleport happens in upward branches; work your way back down his tower carefully, then start looking for him in the rest of Gehennom (starting with the level his tower is attached to).

    2. Oh boy. That's one of the most annoying things than can happen.

      A levelporting monster can land either a max of three levels down.... or any level up, including up to the very first level of the dungeon. So yeah he can be almost anywhere.

      Nothing to do but start using telepathy to look for him.

  12. By the way Chet, you are so far beyond where I've ever gotten to, it is amazing. I did find Nethack MUCH easier to pay attention to and focus on in grad school, but even when sitting at a spectrometer for hours on end swapping samples every 2 minutes, I found once I got to the build an ascension kit stage, I lost interest.

  13. I've never managed to get very far on Nethack. I'll fire it up and play a bit and then lose interest, the ASCII graphics are just too basic for me.

    Having said that, Chet's Nethack posts are something I look forward to. Always very entertaining and interesting.


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