Post Monday, 11th December 2017, 17:37

YAVP: OPGL^Dith, 3 runes, 9 near-death experiences, 13 OOFs

So after doing a heavy armour monster-whacker, I have to do something trickier, and next on the list was octopode.

1465958 damerell the Slayer (level 27, 195/195 HPs)
             Began as an Octopode Gladiator on Dec 6, 2017.
             Was the Champion of Dithmenos.
             Escaped with the Orb
             ... and 3 runes on Dec 11, 2017!

             The game lasted 16:21:37 (116812 turns).

damerell the Slayer (Octopode Gladiator)          Turns: 116812, Time: 16:21:37

Health: 195/195    AC:  9    Str: 26    XL:     27
Magic:  54/54      EV: 36    Int: 35    God:    Dithmenos [******]
Gold:   4319       SH: 33    Dex: 15    Spells: 0/44 levels left

rFire    + . .     SeeInvis .   a - +9 demon blade (elec)
rCold    + . .     Gourm    .   c - +8 large shield
rNeg     + + .     Faith    .   O - +2 hat {Int+3}
rPois    .         Spirit   .   L - amulet "Qaijulep" {Regen+ MP+9 Str+5 Int+8}
rElec    +         Reflect  .   C - +4 ring of evasion
rCorr    .         Harm     .   D - +6 ring of protection
MR       +++..     Rnd*Rage +   E - ring "Sise" {MP+9 Str+3}
Stlth    +++.......Rnd*Tele +   H - ring of the Traitor {rF+ Stlth+}
Regen    0.9/turn               J - +3 ring of intelligence
MPRegen  0.4/turn               A - ring "Reutiv" {rN+ Int+3}
                                B - ring "Naatyef" {rN+ MR+ Dex+3 Slay+2}
                                F - ring of Waklup {rC+ Slay+2}

@: wreathed by umbra
A: almost no armour, stealthy swim, amphibious, 8 rings, constrict 8, tentacle
spike 1, camouflage 1, berserk 1, blurry vision 1, clumsy 1, frail 1, sense
surroundings 1, electricity resistance, teleportitis 1, gelatinous body 1,
evolution 1, subdued magic 1
0: Orb of Zot
}: 3/15 runes: decaying, silver, gossamer
a: Shadow Step, Shadow Form, Renounce Religion

You escaped.
You worshipped Dithmenos.
Dithmenos was exalted by your worship.
You were not hungry.

You visited 10 branches of the dungeon, and saw 52 of its levels.
You visited the Abyss 2 times.
You also visited: Trove, Sewer, Ossuary and Ice Cave.

You collected 10028 gold pieces.
You spent 5709 gold pieces at shops.

I did not deserve to win this game. I had, as mentioned in the title, 9 near-death experiences, where I thought I was going to lose and where the slightest additional misfortune would have killed me. Since most of them were fairly clearly my fault, this is not so much a triumphant victory as the most astonishing piece of fluke. Particularly, I'll bet the 2 orbs of fire, 2 Orb Guardians, Killer Klown, and death cob who had me surrounded on 11 HP in Zot:5 and couldn't land the final blow are cursing the unfairness of the game.

For much of the game I had no heal wounds, partly down to these constant narrow escapes but also partly down to being too keen to use them over other consumables. I was reduced to drinking curing and crossing my fingers more than once.

That said, it was a bit harsh to get 13 orbs of fire (12 in Zot:5) and 3 potions of mutation. I made a bit of a rod for my own back there by mutrouletting out only moderately ghastly mutation sets, not realising there were another dozen OOFs to come; by the end I was seriously considering backing out and immediately buying full Zin piety, Dithmenos's rage be damned.

Why an octopode gladiator? I'm not super keen on flimsy book starts; once you run dry on MP you've only got to get trapped or run into a fast monster and it's all over. Furthermore, octopodes have almost entirely flat spell skill aptitudes; I was much better positioned to use whatever book turned up than a character with very uneven apts, and even a melee background octopode starts with pretty respectable Int - and you'll never be taking a body armour penalty.

Particularly, I'd tried playing to the aptitudes by going Venom Mage, but if you are bad like me, what happens on a Venom Mage is everything is fine until poison resistant monsters start to show up and then everything is very rapidly not fine.

Why Dithmenos? Dith turned up early, I've never done Dith (and I'm still trying not to repeat gods), and it seemed like it might be a reasonable fit. Shadow Form's a reasonable panic button and they boost both offence and defence. Furthermore, an Op of Dith is really incredibly sneaky; turn a corner and monsters forget about you almost immediately. Luring became a bit tedious at times when monsters would have to be repeatedly reminded I existed in order to get them to come and play.

I had my first near-death experience on D:3, lethally poisoned by an orc with a trident of venom. This was sheer stupidity since I could just have backed up to the stairs and reset the fight. Saved by potions of desperation at HP 7/42.

In early D I also acquired a ring with {rC+ rN+ EV+2 Str+3 Int-5}, which was handy until I started to use spells. Otherwise I found vexingly few rings; it was around Depths where I started to see much more benefit from being an octopode than not having to swap resistance rings.

In the Lair I got a whip with SInv; I was very short of SInv all game, later using a randart dagger with it. Of course, once I had Throw Icicle it didn't really matter what my SInv weapon was... except that ghost moths nearly polished me off in Spider in conjunction with hornets and emperor scorpions. On Lair:2 I hit an ice cave with a +9 scimitar {slice, rPois rN+ Dex-3 Stlth+}; I'd gone Long Blades anyway because riposte is useful on unarmoured dodgers, and in spite of the Dex malus this was much better than anything else I had. I'd use it for ages until I'd built up enough scrolls to make a +9 demon blade of electrocution.

I had my second near-death experience on Lair:3, also down to stupidity - in this case, turning an 8-headed hydra into 10-headed before noticing and swapping to the rapier of protection I was using on hydras. HP 15/93; I used lignification for the whopping AC (of course, the time to use it is not when all your HP are already gone) and down to 6/139 before the hydra died.

I got a manual of Conjurations on Lair:3 along with Magic Dart; a lucky find since I could get it to max spellpower almost immediately. With my shadow mimicking it, it was useful all game - not just for luring, but to do respectable damage to all kinds of things for almost no MP. Without Sif or Veh giving more MP, this was useful even with two MP+9 items. The rest of Lair was fine - practically everything's just got to plod up to you and Magic Dart might not kill everything but it softens it all up nicely.

Then to Orc, where I managed near-death experiences three, four, and five in rapid succession descending to Orc:2. A bit of stupidity here since I should have at least quaffed agility before descending; none of these was the initial welcoming committee but other groups I kited back to the stairs, so I knew they were there. Number three was a troll and an orc warrior taking me to 18/108; number four, the same orc warrior taking me to 21/108.

Number five, a really close shave, where I descended into an ettin that immediately bashed me to 22/109. Shadow Form; bashed again to 8/109. No heal wounds, but I managed to flee to a defensible spot at the edge of the level and engaged in a desperate struggle to polish things off as they noticed me and before they finished me off; 17/109 after some centaurs and orcs with crossbows, 9/109 after an orc warrior with a trident, read summoning and got a bit ahead but then another centaur took me to 9/109, shadow form, orc knight to 5/109, centaur warrior to 2/109. Fortunately, that proved to be the last enemy. I should probably have dug into the rock to get further away under cover of my smoke, and also made more use of Mephitic Cloud.

I cleared out Dungeon, getting a trove which gave me a bunch more books and scrolls; then to Swamp, since I figured the water would work to my advantage. I learned Throw Icicle and Ozo's Armour here, which made me much more capable, but on Swamp:2 I had near-death experience number six in the form of three spriggan riders who all woke up and once and all clobbered me down to 10/119, with the resulting smoke blocking me from blinking away. I did have a heal wounds, but even then the following turns saw me at 9/119 before I managed to get in a useful blink.

I did Spider next; as mentioned the combination of ghost moths, emperor scorpions, and hornets was pretty horrible, but since the low point there was a whole 22/141 and lethally poisoned I can't honestly call it a near-death experience. The rest of Spider was really extremely easy, with Magic Dart and Throw Icicle taking care of everything.

Then to the Vaults. No prizes for guessing what happened here; near-death experience number seven in the form of a vault guard with a bardiche of flaming taking me from 86 to 6/143 in one whopping 80-point hit. Teleported away, but before I was fully recovered I met another group who got me to 2/150 in a room locked by a vault warden. Then I had near-death experience number eight from some invisible beastie taking me to 12/151; and then, to add insult to injury, a deep elf demonologist Abyssed me.

The Abyss wasn't really a problem - an Op^Dith can just keep walking around corners and everything forgets you're there - but plainly Vaults was not working out. Since the only things I could kill with any reliablity were yaktaurs and deep elves, it seemed like a trip to Elf might be in order. This was an excellent idea - not only was it much more manageable, but I had not really been making best use of Meph Cloud and Ozo's Armour (because I'm bad) and during Elf I built up the right sort of routine.

I got Abyssed again by a halberd of distortion but got out in no time. On Elf:3 I found an amulet with {Regen+ MP+9 Str+5 Int+8}, a gereat improvement on +3 reflection, and between that and the extra XP, I returned to Vaults much better able to cope - there's a long gap between near-death experience eight and number nine. That said, I did have one sticky moment where I decided things were bad enough to take a downstairs sight-unseen only to remember - too late - I was on V:4 at the time. V:4 also yielded a +2 hat of intelligence (sorry, Omostruy the shopkeeper, I was cursing you for having yet another useless armour shop, and I misjudged you) and is where I got the demon blade and large shield enchanted up and in service.

Depths was mostly OK albeit with some slightly hairy moments in a spriggan forest; I picked up Animate Dead which, well, it's good, I used it, but the zombies don't half like to stand in the way of Icicle-throwing.

Here I was considering the third rune question - but not for very long; at this point I had found no potions of mutation at all and figured Abyss and Slime were right out. I thought I'd clear out Crypt first; this was basically OK except that C:1 had the gammafunk_its_a_trap transporter vault, where loot lures you into an area full of Zot traps and hostiles to tread on them. I took the bait, reckoning with my superb stealth they wouldn't all make a beeline for me at once, and got away with it; the loot was mostly randart rings so this paid off very nicely, and from here on being an octopode was definitely doing me some good.

I took an escape hatch to Vaults:5. Here I had a decent go at sabotaging myself; I landed in a loot pile with no monsters in sight and started trying things on, specifically an amulet of guardian spirit. Almost immediately I was spotted by some monsters and so had to fight them starting from no mana.

I cleared Zot - I tend to favour that these days. This worked out nicely finding a ring with {rN+ MR+ Dex+3 Slay+2}, but not so nicely in getting "You do not regenerate when monsters are visible" on Z:4 from an orb of fire. On Z:5 I then got blurry vision 1 from another orb of fire. Here I made another mistake - yes, that's a bad set, but not disastrously so, and with only 3 potions of mutation I should have lived with it. I rolled once; strong, frail, clarity (hooray), shoutitis - and made the same mistake again, only even worse because clarity is probably worth living with shoutitis and as it turned out almost immediately another OOF gave me shoutitis back again.

I started to clear a side lobe (and while OOFs were a pain, Orb Guardians and ancient liches were easy) but then made a really egregious mistake. Two OOFs came out of the side lobe at once; not ideal, but I was at nearly full HP and should have toughed it out with consumable spam. Instead, I hit on the cunning wheeze of teleporting to try and get somewhere safe and tackle them later one at a time. Thing is, of course, if you've only just started clearing one side lobe, most of the places you might land are even worse than just looking at two OOFs.

I landed in that partly clear side lobe looking at 2 Orb Guardians and an obsidian statue. Some more chaff turned up, but then an OOF when I was almost dry on mana... giving me teleportitis. So I teleported again - I'm not sure what I was thinking, because one OOF was pretty manageable. I think I was hoping to get off the level and regroup somehow, and knew the previous two OOFs were blocking the direct route out.

Before the teleport kicked in, it gave me berserkitis. This was kind of a mixed blessing; by good fortune, I only went berserk when I had plenty of HP and then could mash up these poxy OOFs with ease, which is exactly what I did here. It could easily have killed me by kicking in an an inopportune moment, of course.

I landed in the central area between the two lobes looking at one OOF, -Berserk, Fast+Slow, 119/194 HP. So I teleported again! I seem to have been a very slow learner. Now complete comedy ensued in the form of a series of teleports each of which went somewhere worse with lower HP so surely, I thought, the next time must be better... but no.

Next landing; next to the orb chamber, with two more OOFs and 5 Orb Guardians. So, I teleported again, which I think was (finally) the right decision, the spot I'd landed in being so bad I couldn't sensibly dig in and win. They got me down to 72/194; drank my last heal wounds, and then finally teleported.

Teleported into the uncleared lobe, looking at all kinds of beasties although, thankfully, no orbs of fire. I started a run for the exit; of course the first thing I met coming the other way was... an orb of fire. Kicked off another teleport; desperately held out to wait for enough MP for Shadow Form (why did I not drink one of my many potions of magic? Stupidity), picking up another couple of minor malmutations.

Landed again between the obsidian statue and... an orb of fire. Got out of the statue's area and got another conveniently-timed berserk; Shadow Form + berserk doesn't do all that much damage, but I polished it off. Hooray! However, about halfway through the fight _another_ orb of fire had turned up, and just as I killed the first one berserk ran out with Shadow Form a few turns behind it, leaving me at 87/195 HP next to the undamaged second OOF (and, as it turned out, an Orb Guardian. It promptly gave me rElec, which was nice of it, but I thought I was winning the fight so I teleported again. The OOF had clearly had enough of this nonsense so it gave me a fresh dose of blurry vision.

Vexingly, it was "almost destroyed" when the teleport kicked in - maybe I should have stuck with it. I landed back in the other lobe with all the enemies from there just waiting for me to come back, out in open ground and almost immediately surrounded with a second orb of fire coming into view only a few turns after arriving. Blurry vision or no, time to teleport again - at this point this lobe had to be the single worst spot on the level. Took a blink in the meantime to get unsurrounded, but everything here was fast and I was slow, so I promptly got resurrounded. This took me down to the low mentioned above, 11/195 HP next to 2 OOFs, 2 Orb Guardians, death cob, Killer Klown with a bunch more monsters just closing in. I was reduced to drinking curing and desperately hoping everything missed me - with 40 EV/32 SH this wasn't an entirely forlorn hope unless one of the OOFs coughed up a fireball. This was the peak of near-death experience number nine.

Teleport kicked in... to leave me near the OOF I just fled (thankfully not healed up) and well inside the obsidian statue's radius with a princely 29 HP. The OOF was wandering so I tried to get out of LOS, but to no avail; my next plan was a desperate charge to take it down, but the statue mesmerised me. Fortunately the OOF came to me rather than just blowing me to bits, and much to my surprise I survived the fight. The statue started to spit out demons, but it also proved pretty fragile and another bout of desperate melee destroyed it.

Finally I had made a significant clear area in one of the lobes and could spam Regeneration to try and get up to full HP. At this point I had berserkitis, teleportitis, shoutitis, blurry vision, frail, and a bunch of trivial malmutations; I thought this was finally time to drink my last potion of mutation - I wasn't going to make the mistake of using one on a merely slightly bad set for the third time, but things were bad enough to justify it. Of course, it cleared a bunch of the trivial malmuts and shoutitis, but left me teleportitis, berserkitis, blurry vision, and frail.

However, I had genuinely made a clear area and did get up to full HP. I started to back out towards the exit, but came to wonder if I had actually polished off all the orbs of fire outside the uncleared lobe - and also, short of Zin conversion, if getting out of Z:5 would let me meaningfully improve my situation. Checking the log I saw that 13 OOFs had been noticed but I had killed 9; I knew there were two in the uncleared lobe, perhaps three, so I decided to go for it.

As a pleasant surprise, there was nothing around but Orb Guardians. I'd started now (as I should have done before) to just chew through my potions of magic in order to keep moving before hostiles from the other lobe could wander over and interfere, so I didn't have to rest between Orb Guardians, although I did a bit after an otherwise timely berserk. The Orb was mine, something I would not have bet tuppence on a few hundred turns beforehand.

Now I was using up magic potions I could just keep moving and casting; if anything looked like blocking my way I nuked it with Throw Icicle - a lot of demons don't like cold attacks. At the exit from the orb vault I found - sigh - another orb of fire and a curse toe; however, they hadn't spotted me and I ran around them for the nearby stairs. The OOF did spot me and was then on my tail, but this is why I like the fan of gales; once per orbrun (maybe more, if you get an unavoidable fight), free use of stairs without hostiles following.

I hit a panlord on D:10 - holy worded it and ran for the stairs. Another on D:3; same approach, but it inconsiderately stayed between me and the stairs. A lich turned up, so I headed for the next nearest stairs down a 1-wide corridor; with the lich and its own summoned butterflies getting in the way, the panlord couldn't get next to me before I escaped upstairs, where I could have polished off the lich - it didn't follow, presumably because it was a summon.

D:2, however, had a third panlord, with me out of holy words. I tried to stealth it away and dig around to the stairs, but stupidly failed to notice a diagonal opening between the area dug to and that I'd come from, so got spotted. Then it summoned another panlord (along with an alich, lich, balrug, etc) and things were looking a bit hairy. I read teleport on the basis that almost anywhere was better, and killed the summoned panlord (which didn't have colossal AC/EV) while waiting; it didn't take me a long way away but far enough for them to forget I existed and for me to make my escape. To D:1 and the surface!

This one was definitely a learning experience, with some mistakes that are very obvious in retrospect.

For this message the author damerell has received thanks: 2
Fingolfin, Krag