Post Saturday, 15th June 2019, 23:12

YAVP: 5-rune HESk^Gozag, two previously untouched Pan runes
This was an interesting game since the Stoat Soup permabuff implementation was developed in conjunction with it; every time I learned a new spell that I wanted to be a permabuff, I went away and coded that up, and changed my mind several times about the overall mechanism, so the whole game wasn't played by the same rules. Indeed, I think I have changed my mind about it _again_ since finishing this game; I think the lack of an MP reservation mechanic would let people unload their full MP quickly and not care about the MP Regen penalty once the fight was won.

Gozag was extremely effective here. I bought no shops, so had plenty of gold to Potion Petition whenever I was in doubt (and as a result finished with 15 heal wounds), to Bribe Branch Pandemonium and get 2 runes, to Bribe Zot twice, and to buy things in shops; in particular I bought both a +1 cloak {rElec Str+3} and +7 acid dragon scales {rPois rCorr Int-2 Dex+2 Slay+2} from antique shops, both of which I'd use all game, and I'd never have chanced dropping a thousand zorkmids on the latter with another god.

I got two Pan runes I've never had before; I've had two of the others before, but Lom Lobon's is still left. (I've touched it before, but died.)

I also got a surprising amount of good out of Riposte, being an unshielded dodger; with my final melee weapon I had over 1/5 as many ripostes as direct attacks, presumably representing a 20% damage bonus. I trained both Long Blades and Bows, which is not normal practice but worked out fine, both because it saved arrows and because I think once I had the Sword of Cerebov it was more effective at melee range than my longbow, especially on targets it made rF- (it certainly mashed up OOFs pretty well, where the longbow was distinctly unimpressive).

I trained a lot of Conjurations to use Orb of Destruction (which especially is effective on OOFs) but then never really had an opportunity to do so; I only saw two OOFs and was able to mash them both up at close range. I had more Armour than I otherwise would because of finding a manual; I also got manuals of Long Blades (after hitting mindelay, but I cashed it anyway), Stealth (which I should have trained some of much earlier in the game), and bought one of Necromancy because I had the cash and to improve Regeneration's spellpower.

I found a Fedhas altar on D:3. Fedhas is one of the gods I haven't won with yet, but I really haven't got a grip on how to play with them yet, and couldn't face another go at it this game. On D:4 I found an amulet with {RegenMP rC+ rN+ Str+4 Stlth+} which I'd use all game, and on D:5 I found the Temple and since I had a bit of food, took Gozag.

I got a shortbow on D:8 and started to train up Bows. I got down to D:11 in search of the Lair, but ran into a seven-headed hydra I had no prospect of killing; I gave up on finding the Lair and went back to Orc. O:1 was pretty bad, and a large pack with an orc knight, sorc, and high priest made me think better of it so I returned to D:11 and found the Lair.

Lair wasn't too bad until I got shafted from Lair:4 to Lair:6 into a pack of death yaks and Nessos. This got a bit hairy, but of course when the fight was over I had Nessos's longbow of flaming, which I'd use all game. I got the vault with a dragon in it, but cleaned that out without any trouble.

With the branded bow I could now easily clear my way into O:1. O:2 had a nasty entrance, but I dug across O:2 to get access to all three stairs and then could move between them to work my way in and clear it.

Snake was my first rune branch, but I nearly got collected by a salamander and decided to go back to Orc and buy some stuff; here I got the acid dragon scales, a massive upgrade in my defences. I returned to Snake:1 and almost immediately found a shop where I'd buy a +8 great sword {flame, +Rage rElec Dex+2 Stlth-} which I'd use up until I took Cerebov's sword off him.

The rest of Snake was fine, and I went to Swamp. Here I got a ring with {MP+9 Str+4 Int+2} which I'd use all game although I didn't really need the MP+9 except once or twice when I went mad with Portal Projectile. I killed the Triceratops on Swamp:4 without too much trouble, a welcome development since I did wonder if I'd made it much too strong.

I cleared out Elf:1 and 2 at this point, but had bad MR and didn't fancy a go at E:3. To the Vaults; got the Roulette of Golubria, which I cleared without difficulty, learning Portal Projectile (and hence doing a bunch of development work). The rest of Vaults down to 4 were fine; Xtahua turned up on V:4 but I killed her without too much trouble.

I went back to Elf and cleared E:3; I learned Passage of Golubria but don't have a sense for how to use it, and would amnesia it out later.

I went to the Depths where I'd learn Deflect Missiles (doing more development). U:5 got a bit exciting with 3 caustic shrikes turning up at once but a Potion Petition sorted them out; Margery and her pack also turned up at an inconvenient moment.

I hatched down to V:5 and got a decent landing spot, clearing back to the stairs then sorting out the rest of the level from there. I had three runes, but fancied trying for a few more; however, I didn't really feel equipped for Slime and last time I did Abyss it was utterly horrible. I went for Crypt, as I usually do, to get a bit more XP and see if anything useful turned up. I learned Cause Fear here, which I'd use a few times, and went to buy everything on my shopping list before going to Pandemonium. (I forgot to leave a little space in my inventory to pick things up, sigh.)

The first couple of levels of Pan were very hairy and I was wondering if I'd made a mistake. After getting my first win, in my next game with multiple runes I succumed to hubris, went to Pan, got Lom Lobon's rune, and got killed; I thought I might be in for a repeat performance. I had to use one of my jealously guarded holy words on a panlord, and flee aother one altogether; I got berserkitis off a cacodemon, but mutrouletted it out knowing I could always buy a potion shop if need be, getting a good mut set. I didn't have so much gold that I wanted to Bribe Branch before reaching a rune level.

I had to go through several levels before hitting Cerebov's. The fight with Cerebov was pretty hairy and I was wondering if I was making the classic mistake of getting killed while trying to polish off something "almost dead" (or killing it but then being unable to cope with something else that turned up during the fight - Illsuiw's got me that way more than once), but I had masses of gold for Potion Petions and the other monsters around kept being bribed away.

I replaced my existing greatsword with the Sword of Cerebov and pressed on; luckily, Gloorx Vloq turned up after only a few levels and was a complete pushover compared with Cerebov; the curse skull in the same room caused me more problems than the panlord did. I escaped Pan soon after and went to Zot.

I had enough gold for two bribes and change, so bribed immediately rather than save it for Z:5. This was quite effective when draconian packs got bribed en masse and took care of everything else for me; with PProj, I could shoot through them easily.

Z:5 was fairly routine; I effectively wasted one Potion Petition when I had a drconian close by and an orb of fire at edge of LOS, the latter of which I ran away from when it was distracted by gold and re-engaged later in a better spot, but I had gold to spare. Other than that I ground my way through it without too much difficulty; when you have a +9 flaming longbow, Orb Guardians find it hard to get close.

The orbrun was surprisingly straightforward; I saw three panlords, one who I could immediately escape and two who I could just beat to death.
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