A Dastardly Dilemma of Martial Specialization

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Temple Termagant

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Joined: Friday, 18th March 2011, 23:12

Post Friday, 18th March 2011, 23:31

A Dastardly Dilemma of Martial Specialization

Hello Crawlers,

I am pretty green at this game and not all that experienced with Roguelikes in general either but I got hooked up on DCSS and am having great fun. Learning pretty fast too, since I've been playin em' cRPG's since the early 90ies, if not Roguelikes in particular. DCSS is mos def the most addictive of all the RL's I've tried my hands and brains on.

Without further ado, here's the Dastardly Dilemma™...

Currently playing the latest dev. build, 0.8.0 5780. My level 13th High Elf Crusader casts buffing and disrupting Charms/Hexes/Air/Ice spells, uses Bows to pelt enemies at range and STABS things which are prone to confusion under the cover of Mephitic Cloud while wearing his Amulet of Clarity. The character has been tremendously successful so far, have cleansed eleven levels of the Dungeon, purged the entire Lair and most importantly, utterly destroyed all 4 levels of the new and improved Orcish Mines as his latest achievement. Killing Orcish High Priests, Sorcerers and Knights while genociding ridiculous amounts of Ogres of two-headed and magi varieties accompanied by two uniques was damn satisfying.

The dilemma that occurred was the only thing distracting enough to take a break from my glorious game.

The a**hole that is Okawaru whom I happen to be worshiping, has just gifted me a +10,+5 VORPAL Triple Sword which protects from Negative Energy on top of THAT, and has the "downside" of having a -1 Dex Penalty. Are f***ing kidding me, Okawaru? Just as I have taken up on the path to stabbing things with great success and was hoping for a Quick Blade or an unrandart short blade in the LONG run, you give me THIS in the very beginning of the game? F**ck.

I am currently lvl 14 at short blades. As a High Elf, I'll get a great +4 aptitude bonus in total from cross-training for improving long blades. It'll train up fast for relatively fewer XP, but it'll still eat up precious SP's needed for other things. I am already split between Bows and Blades as a High Elven Hybrid Fighter/Mage type. The sacrifice sure seems great. On the other hand, I won't be able get everyone confused or sneaked up upon to stab the shit out of them and this monster of a blade even comes with a N+ for fighting UNDEAD to tempt me further. There's no guarantees I'll get a really kick-ass short blade mercifully earlier in the game, and this baby is available to me right at the beginning at Lvl 13.

So, what say you, should I "stick" with the Short Blades and dump this monstrosity of a Long Blade? I have a +5, +0 sabre of Venom, +4,+2 Short Blade and an Elven Short Blade of Distortion in my inventory at the moment. My best bow is the one I have taken from Nessos after effortlessly stabbing him to death under noxious clouds, a +2 Bow of Flame. Will poison immunes, Clarity intrinsics and High HD baddies kick my ass pretty bad if I go this way? I'll have much more skill points to spend on my spellcasting skills if I forget about training long blades which just seems right.

Or, should I start training long blades by whacking things with my new toy, alternating between short blades and long blades as befits the situation at hand in the future?

Should I stab AND slash or should I just stab things to death? Is this a sign from Okawaru to lead me to embark on a new martial art and become stronger or a test to see if I will resist the temptation and not be swayed from my chosen path which I have already invested in and seems to be working pretty well for me so far?

He IS going to give me a Vorpal Quick Blade of DOOM just when I've taken long blades to lvl15, isn't he? I really expect that from him at this point...
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Friday, 18th March 2011, 23:39

Re: A Dastardly Dilemma of Martial Specialization

You could train up long swords, but consider this:

Right now you've got 0 long blades. That means your attack speed with that triple sword is very slow (and that's a bad thing). Worse, tipple blades require a whopping 24 in long blades before you get down to minimum delay. And that minimum is still pretty high (7).

In my opinion, I think you should stick with the venom weapon. Poison is more damaging than strait up damage in the early parts of the game. Save your xp for training up fighting and your magical skills, 24 long blades is a long way to go for one weapon.

Edit: and a triple sword is a two handed weapon, so you give up the ability to wear a shield.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Joined: Friday, 28th January 2011, 21:45

Post Friday, 18th March 2011, 23:40

Re: A Dastardly Dilemma of Martial Specialization

With that kind of weapon... I'd be like HECK YES I'M SWAPPING! But that's just me, I've been known to drop my hand axe when I came upon a lajatang. Mephitic Cloud and many other hexes stop working so well later on, so even if you do stick to short blades you'll have to change up your play style a little bit either way. Still possible to shirt-blade stab, just have to do it differently.

But, regardless of what you do, I think you might be a little spread thin on skills as is. I assume you're working on Short Blades, Fighting, Dodging, Bows, possibly Shields, Spellcasting, Charms, Hexes, Ice Magic, Air Magic, Stealth, Stabbing, and Invocations, not counting any other spell schools I didn't mention? If you have all of those on, you'll need to prioritize anyway else you'll be spread way too thin.
The best strategy most frequently overlooked by new players for surviving: not starting a fight to begin with.

Server Admin

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Post Saturday, 19th March 2011, 00:59

Re: A Dastardly Dilemma of Martial Specialization

Hi and welcome to the game and the forum :)

I'd stick with short blades and would keep looking for one with electrocution, one with holy wrath, one with flaming, etc.. which probably weigh as much as that one single triple sword. And the speed/delay of short blades rules! But sticking to venom only is to too dangerous/weak later & distortion is too cumbersome for my taste ;)

On the other hand.. did you maybe also find other nice long blades already?
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Snake Sneak

Posts: 111

Joined: Tuesday, 18th January 2011, 17:51

Post Saturday, 19th March 2011, 02:21

Re: A Dastardly Dilemma of Martial Specialization

I would slowly switch to long blades, but I like adapting to whatever the RNG throws me. Even if not for that sword, I'd do it just for the higher damage in general.

IIRC long blades get the second highest stabbing bonus, but you can still carry around a short blade solely for stabbing things--it only takes .5 turns to switch weapons.

Temple Termagant

Posts: 8

Joined: Friday, 18th March 2011, 23:12

Post Saturday, 19th March 2011, 15:07

Re: A Dastardly Dilemma of Martial Specialization

Hey guys, thanks a lot for all the advice and I think I'll be stabbing and sticking with Short Blades from now on. Goddammit it's hard to dump the "Vorpal Tri-Sword of Doom" and I've had more than my share of a "Gollum syndrome" of not letting it go but right now I am leaning more heavily towards Short Blades. Still thinking of slowly training Long blades, though. Can't let go of *my precious* that easily...

I also suspect that the reason I have been killing things like Death Yaks with frightening efficiency with short blades outside of confusion-stabbing and Venom brand was that I've been wearing a robe and a ring that gives me the "it affects your damage dealing abilities" bonus of a total of +7. This, coupled with the attack speed with SB's is a pretty powerful combination to go with imho.

Casting Flight + Swiftness coupled with high stealth to close in on summoners&hexers&uniques and stab them to death before they can do much and fleeing from any possible minions with lightning speed has already been an alternative way for utilizing stabbing without even resorting to MephCloud so I think stabbing will still remain viable after MephCloud loses efficiency. Killed a lot of summoners this way already without throwing the cloud. Killing tough sh*t like Hydras and nasty poison/disease/rotting gribblies by machine-gunning em' with bows. Works just fine.

Okawaru's Finesse and Haste, which I both have access at this point and am training to become able to cast at greater success will allow me to strike with even more amazing attack speed in the future.

Found really good magic res. items, am "very resistant" right now. After upgrading from Repel to Deflect Missiles (I have the book), I'll be heading to the Elven Halls and genociding the Deep Elf cousins for looting a Quick Blade off of some Blademaster after confuse-stabbing the bastard to death and then Vorpalizing it with a scroll later. I know it ain't guaranteed but hey...


@ mageykun

Thats a heck of a lot of experience to raise it to 24, true. It WILL raise to lvl 15 pretty fast with the +4 aptitude from cross-training and High Elf bonus though. Now that Okawaru has the cheap-ass "Heroism" giving all combat skills a +5 instead of "Might" just boosting Strength, wouldn't I be using it at 20, if not at 24 quite sooner than later? I would be training LB's by whacking weakiocre stuff since I'm still early in the game of course and switching to my short blades in cases of emergency while having the Short Blades skill closed to train Fighting only.

@ TwilightPhoenix

Yeah I've been either training or have been planning to train in almost all of these except I have Shields and Invocations at 0 right now because I haven't even needed to use them up to this point where I've been wtfpwning everything so effortlessly with roughly Bows/Buffs/Blades/Hexes/Stealth. Made the possible mistake of training Conjurations to level 6 and closed up the skill later because I wanted to cast Meph Cloud more reliably faster by victory dancing with SHOCK. Ice is only at level 1, am hoping for a book with Ozo's armour, already have Ensc.Hibernation. Air is at lvl 8 which I'll be training further. I have all the best Air Books atm and have +2 att. bonus. Shields have been too cumbersome to fight&cast with, dumped a god gift +1 Shield which gives +3 Dex in my stash, should I take it back and start using it? I've found 0 bucklers btw... Robe+Helm+Rings+Mutations I have = Awesome. 0 EV penalty. I'm running with 20 AC, 24 EV right now.

@ Napkin

The speed/delay of short blades rules alright, been killing things like mad with em' already. I use the Freezing Aura with the +4,+2 short blade as an alternative brand to deal with poison resistant cold-blooded things if I get caught too close to them where I can't shoot them to death. Does the "of ice" enchantment increase the potency of Freezing Aura in any noticeable way? Also, nah, haven't found any other LB's worth a damn other than crappy falchions spawning everywhere. The only REALLY nice weapon I've ever found was the tri-blade in question. The second place, if not a LB, goes to the god-gift Venom Sabre I guess because it has been pretty bitching so far. I know it won't last, though.

@ seth

It would have been a no-brainer for me if I had short blades at 7 or 8. So many skills waiting to be fed, so little XP to spare etc. etc. I still haven't decided yet though. Gave a break to this one and have been advancing the char in my work laptop who is a DEIE who's got 45 AC with IceForm + Ozo'sArmour + items + mutations without hindering spellcasting. Wouldn't damage potential with multiple attacks become also awesome with a short blade of awesomeness I might stumble upon in the future? A vorpal quick blade, maybe? I too have been in the "daggers are for homos" camp while playing 0.7 a few weeks ago but now I'm having doubts, mang.

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