Post Sunday, 5th November 2017, 23:36

YAVP: BaSu of Sif, 3 runes

1319316 damerell the Demonologist (level 27, 229/235 HPs)
             Began as a Barachi Summoner on Oct 8, 2017.
             Was a High Priest of Sif Muna.
             Escaped with the Orb
             ... and 3 runes on Nov 1, 2017!
             The game lasted 21:40:38 (124836 turns).

damerell the Demonologist (Barachi Summoner)      Turns: 124836, Time: 21:40:39

Health: 229/235    AC: 21    Str: 18    XL:     27
Magic:  56/56      EV: 30    Int: 40    God:    Sif Muna [*****.]
Gold:   1068       SH:  8    Dex: 20    Spells: 2/66 levels left

rFire    . . .     SeeInvis +   b - +9 scimitar (holy)
rCold    + . .     Gourm    .   t - +2 buckler of the Endless Expanse {rCorr SInv Stlth-}
rNeg     + + .     Faith    +   c - +3 leather armour "Winymmepa" {*Slow +Fly MP+9 Str+3}
rPois    +         Spirit   .   M - +2 helmet {Int+3}
rElec    +         Reflect  .   d - +4 dragonskin cloak
rCorr    +         Harm     .   X - +2 pair of gloves
MR       ++...                  l - +0 pair of boots of Hepliaklqana's Favour {rPois, +2 pair when have rPois}
Stlth    +.........             N - amulet of Atau {Faith rN+ Int+4 Dex+2}
Regen    0.5/turn               B - ring of Gesuiniti {rElec AC+3 Str+3 Int+4}
MPRegen  0.4/turn               A - ring of Setipto {Str+2 Int+4 Dex+4}

@: divine energy, slow
A: +LOS, swims, dopey 1, slowness 1, strong legs 2
0: Orb of Zot
}: 3/15 runes: decaying, serpentine, silver
a: Hop, Stop Divine Energy, Channel Magic, Forget Spell, Renounce Religion,
Evoke Flight

You escaped.
You worshipped Sif Muna.
Sif Muna was extremely pleased with you.
You were not hungry.

You visited 11 branches of the dungeon, and saw 53 of its levels.
You also visited: Labyrinth, Ice Cave and Wizlab.

You collected 7627 gold pieces.
You spent 6559 gold pieces at shops.

Alas, it turns out the high point of 3 wins from 7 games was a bit of a false dawn; it took me 14 frogs to get this one home. (Of course, looking at a series of games between two wins does give a false impression of winrate...).

I fancied a go at another character primarily using magic. Summoner seemed like a good match with frogs because of their high aptitude; conversely it seemed like summoning would help overcome their main downside of being slow, since monsters can't chase you down through waves of allies. I'd also tried with Chei, but this proved to be a really good fit with Sif since divine energy means you can cough up your best summon every few turns no matter what. Hopping's obviously also pretty handy as a poor man's cblink.

I went Long Blades only because of what I happened to find, but it proved to be an excellent match with minimal armour and high Dodging - sometimes when stairdancing I'd find everything I'd brought with me was dead by the time I got a move.

At the start I just trained Summoning, then a little Spellcasting (and Ice for ice beasts and Air for lightning spire) - I didn't start to train any non-magic spells until XL 9. This worked very well at first - I learned Summon Ice Beast on D:2 (I don't know exactly when it became generally useful, but I generally don't bother learning a spell until I'm willing to cast it) - but continuing to focus on spell skills would come back to trouble me later.

After I got Summon Ice Beast online it was pretty plain sailing for ages, as you'd expect; pretty much everything went down to ice beasts, perhaps with the aid of a lightning spire and/or guardian golem (both of which of course also make excellent speedbumps when running away).

I scored my first close call (that I remember) in an ice cave in Lair:2 with 2 ice dragons, which of course are inconveniently resistant to being ice beasted to death. I killed one by the skin of my teeth but then managed to draw the other one off, grab the stuff (mostly gold), and get out.

At this point I had a lot of gold and Lair was getting a bit vexing; I'd seen the Orc entrance and thought I'd stick my nose in to see if I could do some shopping. It was mostly pretty easy - orc sorcs and high priests can be easily dealt with by having the lightning spire target them - except that the room of bastards turned out to be the version that's entirely full of ogres, and with its entrance annoyingly close to the stairs down. This definitely got a bit hairy, but I'd found a wand of clouds and a couple of well-timed zaps left the biggest clusters of ogres in poison clouds making them easy prey.

There wasn't as much to buy as I'd hoped but I did pick up the +3 leather armour "Winymmepa" {*Slow +Fly MP+9 Str+3} which I'd wear for the rest of the game - just light enough to use with Ozo's Armour and the extra MP is always handy even with Sif, especially once I got Dragon's Call which can basically use as many MP as you have.

Cleared out the rest of the Lair; on Lair:6 I got a scroll of acquirement. I usually acquire jewellery, and I didn't regret it here - I got the amulet of Atau {Faith rN+ Int+4 Dex+2} which I'd wear all game. Of course later on Sif gifts become pretty pointless but as we'll see at this point increasing the Sif gift rate probably saved me from death - and later on the added ability to use Channel Magic was a great aid with Dragon's Call.

I got shafted to D:15 from D:12 but managed to make it back without too much difficulty. However, I'd seen some bad stuff down there - a rock-hard HoFi ghost my ice beasts couldn't scratch and some hogs strongly suggestive of Kirke - so I decided it was time to do the Lair branches.

Here I was starting to have a bit of a problem. While I had been training up combat skills - about level 12 each in Long Blades, Dodging, and Fighting - ice beasts weren't really getting the job done and because I'd been continuing to train Summoning like crazy (well past the point any of the spells I knew needed) I didn't really have anything else to rely on except my limited melee ability. I met a nagaraja on Snake:2 which I was barely able to kill at all; this didn't seem to bode well given that generally Snake:4 has bucketloads of the things.

However, my faith was redeemed; just about the time I was wondering what to do about this, having killed two more nagarajas after a desperate struggle, and Sif promptly spat up a book with Aura of Abjuration, Summon Demon, Shadow Creatures, Summon Greater Demon, Summon Hydra, and Summon Horrible Things. I'm not saying that overtraining Summoning was a good idea, but it happened to work out.

I took Summon Demon, Abjuration, and Shadow Creatures immediately. Summon Demon became my default summon for much of the rest of the game; the occasional hostile demon could easily be abjured away, and at least at this point the demons were often much stronger than the average level-appropriate creature that Shadow Creatures would spit up. I never used Shadow Creatures very much because I nearly always had some other summon that would produce something stronger at any given stage, but I kept it all game just as a means to get some additional allies on the field in tough fights. With my overtrained Summoning I cared much less about its spellpower-independence than other characters might.

However, all these goodies caused our old friend overconfidence to kick in, and I nearly (4 HP / 122) got polished off by a single invisible naga warrior. I got away, but during the escape upstairs I got caught by a freshly spawned naga ritualist and some black mambas who also nearly polished me off. I was pretty tired of being filled with poison by naga ritualists and thought I'd have a go at Swamp, for all that I also hate doing Swamp without rPois because of swamp drakes and the like.

Swamp was not nearly so bad, partly because I was getting used to using my new summons. I picked up Summon Hydra here, which again I didn't make much use of compared to Summon Demon - they do a lot of damage but they also seem to die quite easily. On Swamp:3 I found a pair of boots with rPois, a welcome find. The Swamp:4 room of bastards had quite a lot of dragons in but wasn't really a problem, and that was one rune down - the first time I'd got a rune on a summoner (or a froggo) at all.

Snake:4 had Vashnia, who was a real problem with her sharpshooters Portal Projectiling directly into me and blinking away from my summons. I stairdanced like crazy and eventually managed to catch and mug them one at a time.

However, it did turn out to be just the place to go shopping, with two jewellery shops; I still had a huge pile of gold to spend, so picked up rings with {Str+2 Int+4 Dex+4}, {rElec rN+ Int+3 Dex+2}, and {Wiz rF+ Dex+6}. I had consistently good luck with stat items this game - I'd replace the second of those with {rElec AC+3 Str+3 Int+4} and of course also had stats on the amulet of faith.

Another way of looking at this is that I had no slaying and my resistances were lousy short of using swaps; I didn't really need them much because it's hard for things to banish you or cast non-bolt spells at you with summons blocking their line of fire.

The rest of Snake:4 was fine by comparison. At this point Sif was spitting up books fairly regularly, and by the late game I could have taken pretty well any well I wanted to. After clearing out Snake I took Summon Horrible Things, which became my backup for serious fights where Summon Demon wasn't cutting it; this pretty well relegated hydras and shadow creatures to obscurity and I'd eventually forget Summon Hydra. The Int drain isn't really a problem if you're only using it in very serious fights.

I cleared out the rest of the Dungeon, getting my other swap ring with {rC+ MR+ MP+9}. I stuck my nose into Vaults but it seemed a bit sticky, so decided to give Elf a go. Elf was mostly fine - deep elf annihilators are largely beaten by interposing allies, and sorcerors and high priests a bit helpless against high-power Abjuration - with perhaps one or two sticky moments. Besides the XP, I did also get a useful ring here, and picked up Swiftness (hop then Swiftness was very useful for escapes) and Ozocubu's Armour - I had some Ice already, took some Charms for these two and later Regeneration, and so with my high Spellcasting got vry good spellpower on this, especially later.

I went back to Vaults, but then decided to amnesia out some spells I wasn't using to change my spell set a bit; I took Regeneration, Blink (which IIRC I never used but was nice to know was there), and Dragon's Call.

Ah, Dragon's Call. If the only tool you have is covering everything in dragons - actually, it turns out even if you have lots of other tools, every problem still looks like something to cover in dragons. Admittedly, it's noisy, so more things turn up, but then they get covered in dragons. Zonguldrok? Cover him in dragons. Bai Suzhen? Tiamat? Orbs of fire? Panlords? Cover them in dragons. Mara turned up; normally he's a pain but - two duplicates and a doppelganger of me? Who cares, just cover them all in dragons. Khufu was about the only unique who gave me any trouble after this.

Early on I had to use a staff of wizardry and worry about running out of mana, and thought of it as something for special occasions; but later on with better failure chance and more MP (and plenty of piety to channel more) I started using it on everything. It's phenomenally effective not least because you cast it once and then it keeps doing its thing (this made it especially good on Mennas, who kindly even stops the noise for you); you can then back up, reposition yourself, pop Ozo's and/or Regeneration, do a bit of melee around the edges. With other summons you might be able to get an equal weight of allies on the map, but you'd have to spend many turns casting spells to get them out. I'd occasionally use a Horrible Things to get some summons in close to me if all the dragons were popping up somewhere inconvenient, but basically it was dragons all the way down.

As such, most of the rest of the game was very straightforward. I got Zonguldrok's Shrine, but decided not to use the sword - on the occasions I was in melee, I wanted my enemy to die quickly, not to get an ally afterwards. Later I'd get Animate Dead, anyway, for more controlled undead production. I picked up Malign Gateway in Depths - I didn't use it much but it was extremely useful when I did because of the way it works after retreating away out of LOS.

I cleared out Crypt before going for a 3rd rune. This was basically fine - again, most of the major threats there are neutralised with Abjuration - but Khufu gave me a reasonable run for my money by tormenting me three times in a row, with the usual inconvenient problem that when you teleport away on low HP a level you would have sworn was mostly empty is suddenly crawling with monsters.

Vaults:5 seemed like the easiest 3rd rune, and it was pretty straightforward - arrived ready to teleport, dropped a Malign Gateway to give the guards something to think about, magic mapped, teleported to a decent spot (conveniently enough), and started on the dragons.

I cleared Zot 1-4 this game. I haven't for a while, but I've got tired of orbruns where trouble develops, I go up a hatch or a set of stairs I didn't plan to use, and now there's a bunch of draconians breathing down my neck. I was pretty sure nothing in Zot was going to be immune to dragons, anyway. I did get dopey through carelessness with an orb of fire on Zot:3, but going from 42 Int to 40 wasn't really the end of the world.

I got the dragonskin cloak from Tiamat. This was a bit of a headscratcher since I already had the cloak of the Thief - I hadn't used the +Fog much but I knew I might really want it later. On the other hand I could do without the slaying malus, and getting the extra AC and half-pip of resistances would be nice. Eventually I decided with half a dozen scrolls of fog I'd just use them if I wanted fog, and so I wore the dragonskin cloak.

Zot:5 had the usual vexing sensation that monsters are being generated faster than you can kill them; I know they're not, but there are just so many firm monsters in the orb vault lobes that it takes forever to chew through them all. At least it was easy to do this time, with careful backing up and the occasional Malign Gateway + hopping away.

I saw 5 panlords on the orbrun. One of them I got rid of with a fan of gales on the upstairs - I really like the fan of gales for this - but the others were easily avoided, sometimes with the help of piles of dragons to get in the way. I had a lot of other consumables and misc evokables to hand for dealing with orbrun nuisances (nine scrolls of holy word!) but the combination of being able to drop summons as speedbumps and hopping to the stairs meant none of that was really necessary. Nice to have it, though.

I think after getting this out the way I'm allowed to do another heavy armour monster-whacker. I'm running low on gods I haven't won yet, though.