Unable to proceed past the early game


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Blades Runner

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 03:30

Unable to proceed past the early game

After hundreds of games (and years of playing other roguelikes) I am finding myself unable to proceed past the early game. My top character to date is:

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup version 0.13.1 (tiles) character file.

Gandalf the Nimble (Ogre Berserker) Turns: 12294, Time: 01:34:42
Spoiler: show
HP 109/109 AC 12 Str 27 XL: 11 Next: 17%
MP 4/10 EV 14 Int 6 God: Trog [*****.]
Gold 703 SH 0 Dex 9 Spells: 0 memorised, 10 levels left

Res.Fire : . . . See Invis. : . D - +0,+7 great mace (protect)
Res.Cold : . . . Warding : . l - +2 robe {MR+}
Life Prot.: . . . Conserve : . (shield restricted)
Res.Poison: . Res.Corr. : . (helmet restricted)
Res.Elec. : . Clarity : . R - +1 orc cloak
Sust.Abil.: . . Spirit.Shd : + (gloves unavailable)
Res.Mut. : . Stasis : . (boots unavailable)
Res.Rott. : . Flight : . S - amulet of guardian spirit
Saprovore : + . . f - ring of regeneration
E - ring of sustenance

@: quite resistant to hostile enchantments, unstealthy
A: unfitting armour, fast metabolism 1, saprovore 1, tough skin 1
a: Burn Spellbooks, Berserk, Trog's Hand, Brothers in Arms, Renounce Religion


You are on level 10 of the Dungeon.
You worship Trog.
Trog is extremely pleased with you.
You are not hungry.

You have visited 1 branch of the dungeon, and seen 10 of its levels.

You have collected 683 gold pieces.

Inventory:

Hand weapons
b - a +5,+3 flail of holy wrath
j - a +0,+0 orcish club
k - a club
m - a +0,+0 giant club
o - a +0,+2 orcish vampiric dagger
q - an orcish club
r - a hand axe
s - a club
t - an orcish club
w - a club
x - a +1,+1 dagger of venom
y - a club
B - a +0,+1 orcish hammer
D - a +0,+7 great mace of protection (weapon)
G - a +2,+0 great mace of distortion
H - an orcish club
M - a +0,+0 giant club
N - an orcish club
U - a hand axe (quivered)
V - a runed orcish hand axe
Armour
l - a +2 robe of magic resistance (worn)
R - a +1 orcish cloak (worn)
Magical devices
e - a wooden wand
u - a wand of flame (11)
Q - a wooden wand
T - a wand of polymorph (10)
Comestibles
c - 2 meat rations
z - 13 sultanas
C - 3 apples
I - 3 bread rations
Scrolls
g - 7 scrolls of teleportation
p - a scroll of fear
Z - a scroll labeled NOIQIO MURIELI {tried on cursed giant club}
Jewellery
a - an uncursed dented peridot amulet {tried}
d - a tubular cabochon ring
f - a ring of regeneration (right hand)
A - an uncursed amulet of stasis
E - a ring of sustenance (left hand)
O - an uncursed ring of protection from magic
S - an amulet of guardian spirit (around neck)
Potions
n - 3 potions of might
F - 2 potions of brilliance
K - 3 potions of berserk rage
L - a potion of speed
P - 2 potions of restore abilities
X - a smoky silvery potion
Miscellaneous
Y - a box of beasts


Skills:
* Level 8.0 Fighting
- Level 9.1 Maces & Flails
+ Level 13.3 Dodging
- Level 2.0 Stealth


My 2nd highest was a DD Artificer

And those were from awhile ago (a couple weeks)
I've tried most of the race/background combinations trying to find viable solutions but it seems I die now very quickly often to my own ghosts and I am thoroughly frustrated and ready to delete DCSS. But I figured I'd come here first, qq a bit and see what comes of that.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 03:56

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I should probably provide a little more info.

I've played a wide variety of roguelikes (yet not Rogue sadly since it seems there isn't a stable copy available for my machine.) I have won only a few but generally I find myself able to get through the beginning at least and while often dying in the middle game I at least get to see a great deal of the content. It is frustrating to me that it seems the game difficulty in DCSS seems to ramp the more you die. I'd like to be able to proceed with confidence that I can deal with most situations but no matter what something OP comes along and does me in, usually despite using all of my scrolls, potions, wands, misc items, missiles etc.

I am sure there are tried and true methods for advancement because any number of people post their yapv tales. Even those that don't seem to post pretty decent levels and items. Ghosts in particular are a scourge because they are typically 2-3x more powerful than they were as pcs and usually hardy enough to deliver death blows to my current pcs. If that isn't enough I run into an inordinate number of named uniques in the low levels (1st - 3rd level) that cause deaths because of their special abilities. I know that given advanced warning any one of them are defeatable but they tend to cluster either with others of their kind or large groups. And if I don't have a teleport scroll and some healing/curing potions I end up dead asap.

Item drops have been terrible. I did pretty well with that Ogre Berserker but even so it was a struggle to find mediocre+ items. Part of the experience has been learning but most of it has been pure frustratingly randomness. Or so it seems to me. I am all eyes if anyone has some constructive advice or better a GOOD guide for beginners. The ones I've googled just give you the most basic vagaries and nothing of detail or real help.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 04:17

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

If player ghosts are giving you trouble, then just play berserkers. Since player ghosts get all of your spells and stuff, it makes them really dangerous, but as a berserker, you wont learn any spells and your ghosts can't actually go berserk or use your badass God abilities. Early Ghosts basically just become free chunks of EXP. Just Zerk and take 'em out. Minotaur and Kobold's both make good berserkers.

As for getting killed by OP monsters, it sounds like you're trying to fight everything. If you aren't already, the moment you spot something dangerous, you should run away.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 04:19

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Delete player ghosts, it will definitely help. This is not cheating, I am still doing it off-line despite having several online wins.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 04:38

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I feel like a douche for linking my own post but maybe it might help you:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9769&p=134472&hilit=tips#p134472

Learning how to bypass things that are too hard for you is essential for surviving the early game. Things with high speed and ranged attacks are always candidates to skip. An easy way to avoid stuff is to go up a staircase and take another downstairs. Skip floors if you need to (it's not essential to get every last bit of XP; you'll only feel it if you completely skip many levels). I find ogres hard to start out with because of their armor restriction... maybe try DD again. DDNe was my first win.

What is your process for IDing your items?

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 05:43

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

moocowmoocow wrote:I feel like a douche for linking my own post but maybe it might help you:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9769&p=134472&hilit=tips#p134472

Learning how to bypass things that are too hard for you is essential for surviving the early game. Things with high speed and ranged attacks are always candidates to skip. An easy way to avoid stuff is to go up a staircase and take another downstairs. Skip floors if you need to (it's not essential to get every last bit of XP; you'll only feel it if you completely skip many levels). I find ogres hard to start out with because of their armor restriction... maybe try DD again. DDNe was my first win.

What is your process for IDing your items?


I tend to vary between use id and scrolls if I can find them. Rings and the like I leave alone unless I find a scroll or I have a remove curse scroll on hand. Otherwise I tend to use id because I know (so far) its the early dungeon so I wont find any heinous game killers (aside from possible rings/amulets). Potions by quantity with the high numbers first. Scrolls tend to be the same but if I find remove curse/id/tele I usually stop.

I just did another yasd, this time with a Naga Berserker.

Spoiler: show
Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup version 0.13.1 (tiles) character file.

4767 Neptune the Basher (level 10, -14/88 (90) HPs)
Began as a Naga Berserker on Feb 14, 2014.
Was a High Priest of Trog.
Hit by an orcish spear thrown by an orc knight (25 damage)
... on Level 2 of the Orcish Mines on Feb 15, 2014.
The game lasted 01:05:44 (8780 turns).

Neptune the Basher (Naga Berserker) Turns: 8780, Time: 01:05:44

HP -14/88 (90) AC 16 Str 22 XL: 10 Next: 28%
MP 9/9 EV 6 Int 9 God: Trog [*****.]
Gold 614 SH 0 Dex 10 Spells: 0 memorised, 9 levels left

Res.Fire : . . . See Invis. : + A - +0,+2 orc morningstar (freeze)
Res.Cold : . . . Warding : + C - +2 orc chain mail
Life Prot.: + . . Conserve : . (no shield)
Res.Poison: + Res.Corr. : . (no helmet)
Res.Elec. : . Clarity : . (no cloak)
Sust.Abil.: . . Spirit.Shd : . i - +0 pair of gauntlets
Res.Mut. : . Stasis : . (no barding)
Res.Rott. : . Flight : . L - amulet of warding
Saprovore : . . . m - +3 ring of protection
h - ring of invisibility

@: exhausted, slowed, very slow, somewhat resistant to hostile enchantments,
extremely unstealthy
A: spit poison, see invisible, deformed body, poison resistance, slowness 2, AC
+3
a: Spit Poison, Burn Spellbooks, Berserk, Trog's Hand, Brothers in Arms,
Renounce Religion, Evoke Invisibility


You were on level 2 of the Orcish Mines.
You worshipped Trog.
Trog was extremely pleased with you.
You were hungry.

You visited 2 branches of the dungeon, and saw 9 of its levels.

You collected 594 gold pieces.

Inventory:

Hand weapons
c - a +1,+2 bow of evasion
d - a +0,+1 short sword of venom
x - a +1,+1 spear of returning
z - a +2,+1 dagger of freezing
A - a +0,+2 orcish morningstar of freezing (weapon)
I - a +3,+4 orcish whip of electrocution
J - a +2,+3 orcish dagger of draining
K - a +1,+1 orcish dagger of venom
Missiles
e - 5 darts (quivered)
l - 13 exploding darts
w - 7 darts of frost
H - 20 arrows
Armour
i - a +0 pair of gauntlets (worn)
C - a +2 orcish chain mail (worn)
Magical devices
O - a wand of fire (12)
Comestibles
E - a meat ration
M - 2 apples
N - 7 rotting chunks of orc flesh
Q - a rambutan
X - 2 rotting chunks of orc flesh
Scrolls
v - a scroll of fog
y - a scroll of remove curse
G - 2 scrolls of blinking
Jewellery
a - an uncursed amulet of resist corrosion
h - a ring of invisibility (left hand)
m - a +3 ring of protection (right hand)
q - a +1 ring of intelligence
u - a +4 ring of protection
L - an amulet of warding (around neck)
P - an uncursed ring of flight
U - an uncursed ring of invisibility
Potions
b - a potion of brilliance {unknown}
g - 2 potions of confusion {unknown}
j - 2 potions of agility {unknown}
k - 5 potions of heal wounds
n - 5 potions of poison {unknown}
o - 2 potions of degeneration {unknown}
p - a potion of restore abilities {unknown}
r - 2 potions of curing {unknown}
s - a potion of experience {unknown}
t - a potion of cure mutation {unknown}
B - a potion of resistance {unknown}
D - a potion of might {unknown}
F - a potion of speed {unknown}


Skills:
- Level 6.0 Fighting
- Level 10.2 Maces & Flails
* Level 7.6 Armour
- Level 1.5 Dodging
- Level 5.1 Stealth


You had 9 spell levels left.
You didn't know any spells.

Dungeon Overview and Level Annotations

Branches:
Dungeon (7/27) Temple (0/1) D:4 Orc (2/4) D:6

Altars:
Ashenzari
Elyvilon
Trog
the Shining One
Beogh


Innate Abilities, Weirdness & Mutations

You cannot wear boots.
You can spit poison.
Your serpentine skin is tough (AC +3).
You have supernaturally acute eyesight.
Armour fits poorly on your strangely shaped body.
Your system is resistant to poisons.
You cover ground very slowly.


Message History

The orc knight is heavily wounded.
The orc knight hits you with an orcish long sword.
* * * LOW HITPOINT WARNING * * *
You hit the orc knight but do no damage.
The orc knight is heavily wounded.
You are no longer berserk.
You are exhausted.
You feel yourself slow down.
You are feeling hungry.
The orc warrior hits you but does no damage.
The orc hits you but does no damage.
Drink which item? (? for menu, Esc to quit)
You feel much better.
The orc knight roars a battle-cry!
The orcs go into a battle-frenzy!
The orc knight hits you with an orcish long sword!
* * * LOW HITPOINT WARNING * * *
The orc hits you but does no damage. The orc warrior barely misses you.
The orc knight throws an orcish spear. The orcish spear hits you!
You die...

#.......##
##..##.#.##
#...##....#
####.##.....##
##....#.......#
##.............##
##.#....#......#.##
#.......#)....#...###
##.............#.##.##
##....#..............#
#...........<.......## ##
##.........).........## ##.
##.)#.(..)@>o.##.#...# #..
#....#...))oo##.#...## ##.
##..#.....)))....#.## ##..
###.........)..#### ###.#.
##..........#.#### ####.....
##.#..........o)####...)).#.
####...#.....[[).#.........
###........#.))...........
##.........#####...........
######..........# ##..........
##.#.##.....#.#.## #..........#
#..........##.### ##........#.
##.#.##.####...# ##....>..#..


You could see an orc knight, an orc warrior (frenzied) and an orc (frenzied).

Vanquished Creatures
Urug (Orc:2)
The ghost of Method the Cudgeler, an experienced HOFi of Nemelex Xobeh (D:5)
2 trolls
A hungry ghost (D:7)
A necrophage (D:7)
5 orc warriors
A sky beast (D:5)
2 phantoms
3 ogres
Sigmund (D:2)
A giant frog (D:6)
2 centaurs
2 gnoll sergeants
A troll skeleton (D:7)
2 hounds (D:7)
8 orc wizards
8 orc priests
3 worker ants
Ijyb (D:3)
A hound skeleton (D:4)
Terence (D:3)
4 adders
13 gnolls
4 worms
66 orcs
15 bats
A bat skeleton (D:4)
6 giant cockroaches
16 hobgoblins
19 kobolds
An ooze (D:3)
A giant gecko (D:3)
11 giant newts
15 goblins
A goblin skeleton (D:5)
A goblin zombie (D:5)
An orc skeleton (D:4)
4 quokkas
9 rats
236 creatures vanquished.

Notes
Turn | Place | Note
--------------------------------------------------------------
0 | D:1 | Neptune, the Naga Berserker, began the quest for the Orb.
0 | D:1 | Reached XP level 1. HP: 21/21 MP: 0/0
394 | D:1 | Reached XP level 2. HP: 24/28 MP: 1/1
448 | D:1 | Reached skill level 1 in Stealth
735 | D:1 | Reached XP level 3. HP: 16/36 MP: 2/2
739 | D:1 | Acquired Trog's second power
1408 | D:1 | Reached skill level 4 in Maces & Flails
1677 | D:2 | Noticed Sigmund
1691 | D:2 | Killed Sigmund
1691 | D:2 | Reached XP level 4. HP: 43/43 MP: 3/3
2062 | D:2 | Reached XP level 5. HP: 44/49 MP: 4/4
2514 | D:2 | Found a glowing golden altar of the Shining One.
2873 | D:3 | Noticed Ijyb
2879 | D:3 | Killed Ijyb
3363 | D:3 | Noticed Terence
3370 | D:3 | Killed Terence
3370 | D:3 | Reached XP level 6. HP: 58/58 MP: 5/5
3840 | D:4 | Reached skill level 5 in Fighting
3974 | D:4 | Reached skill level 6 in Fighting
4004 | D:4 | Found a staircase to the Ecumenical Temple.
4015 | D:4 | Reached XP level 7. HP: 65/67 MP: 6/6
4240 | D:4 | Reached skill level 5 in Maces & Flails
4801 | D:5 | Entered Level 5 of the Dungeon
4892 | D:5 | Found a shattered altar of Ashenzari.
4899 | D:5 | Found a white marble altar of Elyvilon.
5100 | D:5 | Noticed Method's ghost (experienced HOFi)
5110 | D:5 | Killed Method's ghost
5110 | D:5 | Reached skill level 7 in Maces & Flails
5110 | D:5 | Reached XP level 8. HP: 75/75 MP: 7/7
5201 | D:5 | Reached skill level 8 in Maces & Flails
5342 | D:5 | Acquired Trog's third power
5553 | D:5 | Reached skill level 9 in Maces & Flails
5848 | D:6 | Reached XP level 9. HP: 30/81 MP: 8/8
5850 | D:6 | Reached skill level 10 in Maces & Flails
5870 | D:6 | Found a staircase to the Orcish Mines.
6112 | D:6 | Found a roughly hewn altar of Beogh.
6848 | D:7 | Reached skill level 5 in Stealth
7850 | Orc:1 | Entered Level 1 of the Orcish Mines
7863 | Orc:1 | Reached skill level 5 in Armour
8326 | Orc:2 | Reached XP level 10. HP: 88/88 MP: 9/9
8430 | Orc:2 | Found a bloodstained altar of Trog.
8544 | Orc:2 | Noticed Urug
8558 | Orc:2 | Killed Urug
8751 | Orc:2 | Noticed an orc knight
8780 | Orc:2 | Hit by an orcish spear thrown by an orc knight


Action | 1- 3 | 4- 6 | 7- 9 | 10-12 || total
-------------------------+-------+-------+-------+-------++-------
Melee: Mace | 14 | 192 | | || 206
Whip | 107 | 22 | 362 | || 491
Morningstar | | | 2 | 60 || 62
Throw: Dart | 6 | 12 | 24 | || 42
Invok: Berserk | 4 | 7 | 11 | 2 || 24
Evoke: Wand | | | 3 | || 3
Use: Scroll | 7 | 5 | 14 | || 26
Potion | | 1 | | 1 || 2
Stab: Sleeping | 1 | | | || 1

I made a couple mistakes in the end. One was not seeing that I was fighting an Orc Knight until I was already committed to the battle and the other is not using the BiA ability (mainly because I've never gotten it off). I got him to about 25% of his hits and then unberserked, drank a heal potion tried to escape and died. The biggest problem I have is discerning things that are "too hard" for me BEFORE its too late to avoid them. (ie:99% of the time). If I can find scrolls of tele I try to keep a couple for such a situation but in the heat of battle occasionally I forget to use them.

As for Zerking ghosts that can't be the only good answer. Berserker is just one of tons of backgrounds and I have no real desire to play them all the time. The fact that they start with Trog as a God makes them highly undesirable to me. (I want to be able to hybrid later as I understand it, dcss .13 kills you for leaving him and also I am finding his abilities not that awesome vs the higher level early monsters.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 06:08

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Try not to ever think you're "committed to the battle". Naga is hard because it takes away the option of simply walking away. For abilities like BiA and other buffs, they should be activated before the monster is in range to hit you. If you realize mid fight that you've engaged something too hard, it's time for escape consumables.

When you find ID scrolls, always use them to identify unknown potions. Potions of speed and invisibility will often save you more surely than heal wounds. Read ID scrolls on cleared levels; none should be dangerous to you. Scrolls of blinking and fear can almost ensure survival. Teleport is less appropriate for high danger due to its delay. Perhaps play a centaur or spriggan to feel the power of kiting and running. This will show why potions of speed and the haste spell are so valued. Above all, make a conscious effort to identify enemies and gauge their strength before you move towards them. Without that it is hard to go far.

Oh and also do you make use of items like blowguns and slings? Poison needles can turn dangerous monsters like ogres into harmless bags of XP. Also if you find wands of fire/cold/draining/disintegration, they are going to be way more powerful than your character's offense in the early game.
Last edited by moocowmoocow on Saturday, 15th February 2014, 06:43, edited 4 times in total.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 06:26

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Some of the starting backgrounds really require a good knowledge of the game to do well, you are probably best off picking a single, strong-early background and just sticking with it.

If you prefer Melee types, the most common suggestion at start is a Berserker (Be). I think that this is because Trog doesn't require any extra skill investment to use his powers (just Piety) and rewards you for what you do anyway (killing dudes). He grants panic buttons (Berserk, Trog's Hand, Brothers in Arms) that let you get out of trouble (and in the case of Berserk, can get you deep in trouble if you misuse it) and bridge to the mid-game very well. As far as race goes, my suggestion is to (at first) avoid races with downsides like Naga (slow movement is a HUGE penalty) - stick with something that has good synergy with Trog. Minotaur has very good aptitudes in the melee skills, and so they have a good power curve. Gargoyle's poison immunity and high armor help with the early game and flight can make some of the Lair branches a breeze. There's no shame in just focusing on Gargoyle Berserker until you get that first three-rune win.

I don't know much about the spellcaster types, but I see people suggesting Dark Elf Fire Elementalist, Wizard, or Conjurer as good starts.

Another thing you might try is playing online via putty or webtiles - the ability to watch other players solve problems can be really useful.

Good luck, don't give up! Each game of Crawl is its own unique puzzle to solve.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 07:26

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

moocowmoocow wrote:Try not to ever think you're "committed to the battle". Naga is hard because it takes away the option of simply walking away. For abilities like BiA and other buffs, they should be activated before the monster is in range to hit you. If you realize mid fight that you've engaged something too hard, it's time for escape consumables.

When you find ID scrolls, always use them to identify unknown potions. Potions of speed and invisibility will often save you more surely than heal wounds. Read ID scrolls on cleared levels; none should be dangerous to you. Scrolls of blinking and fear can almost ensure survival. Teleport is less appropriate for high danger due to its delay. Perhaps play a centaur or spriggan to feel the power of kiting and running. This will show why potions of speed and the haste spell are so valued. Above all, make a conscious effort to identify enemies and gauge their strength before you move towards them. Without that it is hard to go far.

Oh and also do you make use of items like blowguns and slings? Poison needles can turn dangerous monsters like ogres into harmless bags of XP. Also if you find wands of fire/cold/draining/disintegration, they are going to be way more powerful than your character's offense in the early game.


Perhaps you misunderstood what I said. Committed doesn't mean emotionally or mentally committed but as in...fighting for my life. Yes I know about running away (I think I mentioned the tele scrolls, didn't I?) I didn't try to BiA. I mentioned it because I didn't ever use it for fear of it failing before the encounter became close quarters in the cases where I expected to need something like it, using Berserk was typically effective enough even if I had to escape after. I do use darts, slings or blowguns but more the thrown projectiles than slings because I don't like giving up my melee weapon and I really hate the damned message "are you sure you want to swing with your sling?" (or however its worded). Man that pisses me off. I would expect that if you aren't able to equip both a melee and missile thrower that you could at least use the Unarmed attack that comes without equipping a weapon, instead of the horrible (Yes or No, no lower case letters will do) prompt that repeats and repeats.

Yeah I used the wand of fire I found to great effect on several lines of monsters. And if I had seen what was approaching before it got there (I was resting on a stair case (ugh why can't (r)est be a command that stops automatically when monsters come in view like movement???) using '5' and they were there next to me. I assumed wrongly that the knight was a warrior because the tiles look the same to me.) I would have fled upstairs and tried a different stairs (there were two on that level of the mines.) I don't want to sound like I am blaming the UI because I know that these older UI type games are inherently flawed and that part of the game is to work around and get used to the flaws. Clearly I need to be more patient with controls.

I may try another Centaur but I didn't like the one I did try and it was not something I wanted to repeat. Spriggan seems like a willful suicide mission unless you know what you are doing (which clearly after hundreds of deaths I still don't.) The food benefit has yet to be a factor. I think I've starved maybe twice altogether and both times were in the beginning.

To be fair though I think advising players to use wands is a bad idea in general. Because you need a pretty decent evoke (it seems) to get a good chance of a decent effect out of them usually. I have no idea by the way what you mean by the term "kiting" if that is some tactical term it escapes me and I am pretty good with lingo usually.

@Zogre no shame but definitely not much fun either. Particularly that combination of Gargoyle Berserker seems horrible to me. Mino Berserker was fun but hard ...I did get one to a similar level as the two characters I've posted here. (But boy that Ghost is/was nasty.) Your last suggestion seems interesting. As far as not playing with Naga I think I did fairly well with that one considering I'd not used them before. It did fairly well with the beserk ability (except for the end where the berserk ran out before I could finish off the threat.)

Thanks for your input both. I think the main problem is that I just will always find a way to screw up what I am doing because I will run into something OP early on. This has happened every single game. A few times I have overcome the difficulty but not because it wasn't insane but because I was conversely lucky and or had the wit to try the one out that had a chance to work. The unforgiving nature of this game is really harsh.

I've played Angband (vanilla and others), Tales of Middle Earth, Tales of Maj Eyal, Portalis, Elona (and+), Nethack (and variants), Adom, and dozens of other similar games in each of the major roguelike categories (not to mention the many roguelike lites) and I have never encountered anything quite so randomly harsh as the RNG in DCSS. In fact if anything it reminds of the old Warlords game in that aspect. That's why I've had moments of wanting to just delete and forget. (Although come to think of it it does remind me a little of the pink molds from the old TOME. Kill one and suddenly a godlike monster comes and eats you.)

Watching others may help, though I will note that I am typically fumble fingered so unavoidable accidents become disasters when I am otherwise doing fine, this won't be remedied by seeing just how someone used their wand of digging (why is there no tunneling in this game btw??) to set up the perfect place to fight off a hoard, etc.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 07:45

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Sounds like you are pretty strongly committed to not improving; you are dismissing all the advice you get and blaming all your losses on bad luck instead.

That said:
Hopeless wrote:To be fair though I think advising players to use wands is a bad idea in general. Because you need a pretty decent evoke (it seems) to get a good chance of a decent effect out of them usually.
This is very wrong. Except for magic dart, the attack spell wands usually do much more damage than 0 skill missile weapons, confusion/paralysis are very nearly instant kills if they succeed, enslavement is better than an instant kill if it succeeds, and wands of hasting/heal wounds are among the best items in the entire game (and evocations is basically irrelevant for them). I never train evocations for wands, by the way.

Hopeless wrote:(ugh why can't (r)est be a command that stops automatically when monsters come in view like movement???)
I recommend playing the tutorial, or at least looking at the controls (type ?? in-game). Because that command already exists. It is bound to '5' by default; if your numpad '5' waits one turn then try toggling numlock and using the numrow '5'.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 09:12

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

duvessa wrote:Sounds like you are pretty strongly committed to not improving; you are dismissing all the advice you get and blaming all your losses on bad luck instead.


No. I would not be here asking for advice if I didn't think it was possible to improve. In fact I expect if I don't quit in total exasperation, eventually I will grind out an improvement here and there. What is frustrating to me is that it is opaquely (hard to see why) difficult to adjust to the various different pitfalls I keep running into. It might be that practicing with just one boring and thus dreadfully unfun combo will eventually teach me what I need to know but I was hoping there were things I was missing about the game that other players could supply in the way of information without delving deep into the spoilers for it.

As for bad luck, the game consistently producing OP monsters in low level dungeons is not luck. Randomness is random both for good and ill. Tis the nature of the game and its ilk. But I feel that it is much more random in a heartless and harsh way than even the other infamously heartless and harsh roguelikes I've played. Well OK I guess it is somewhat on par with playing a Lost Soul in old Tome. That was randomly sad-making and very fun when you found something insane that favored you.

And I recognize I have issues to overcome. I listed some of them (Fumble fingered, not being attentive at the right times, and others.) The problem I have with some of the suggestions given is that I have utilized them already to no or small avail. I do appreciate the proffered advice even while noting that it doesn't always hit the nail on the proverbial head. Giving a trite response isn't necessarily a bad thing either (in fact several such suggestions are bound to be helpful if only as reminders) but it can lead to situations where someone says "yes I know" or "I tried that and it doesn't work."

As for '5' healing I understand that exists. I was issuing a gripe that it does not auto-stop (I believe there is even a thread about that very issue in this forum.). I don't think it is a huge deal but it is what gets me in the most trouble. I stop to rest and over-zealously press the 5 until a monster eats part of my life because I didn't get to stop in time to prevent it. (If there is some auto-stop feature in the commands list I didn't find it (using ?? which is something common sense tells most players to hit if they have controls questions.)

I probably overstated the problem with Wands but it does exist. I have had wands fail at crucial turns where if they fired or did something effective the game would have differed greatly. Enslavement is great if you can find it. (Love that Artificers start with one. My DDAr used that one more than heal.) Never found a wand of haste. Heal wounds is also an extremely rare one.

I did have an interesting moment when I was really screwed except for the unided wand in my inventory that turned out to be a wand of confusion. Turned that battle around as the unique (I think it was Sigmund) ended up hitting itself to death. I healed up from 1hp and vowed to be careful where I pointed that wand.)

In a conversely bad moment I used a wand of lightning in a narrow hall and ended up killing myself with the ricochets. The monster didn't even get singed. I have had wands fail on numerous occasions or give the message "nothing happens." No reason why, just didn't do anything. Hence my remarks. As I said perhaps a bit overstated but still a concern. If Evoke not being the problem then I don't understand the fail rate.
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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 09:14

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

So instead of giving you lots of advice and overwhelming you with information, I will provide instead this single, not-as-simple-as-it-sounds piece of information I use to tell apart good players from not-good players: You should almost never move toward an enemy that is in your line-of-sight. Once you understand this you will improve.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 09:17

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

crate wrote:So instead of giving you lots of advice and overwhelming you with information, I will provide instead this single, not-as-simple-as-it-sounds piece of information I use to tell apart good players from not-good players: You should almost never move toward an enemy that is in your line-of-sight. Once you understand this you will improve.

That's definitely something to remind myself of on the occasion that my fingers get overly zealous.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 09:27

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Hopeless wrote:As for '5' healing I understand that exists. I was issuing a gripe that it does not auto-stop

Maybe you are confusing 5 on the numpad with the 5 on the left side?..

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 09:51

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Amnesiac wrote:
Hopeless wrote:As for '5' healing I understand that exists. I was issuing a gripe that it does not auto-stop

Maybe you are confusing 5 on the numpad with the 5 on the left side?..


Huh I've never used the numbers across the top of the keyboard for any roguelike ever (well I guess there are some RPGs that qualify as such sort of). And pressing 5 in the number pad rests while you hold it down. Unfortunately that leads to monsters eat you whilst you rest.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 09:58

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

^ don't ever hold down any key in any roguelike, ever. Seriously. Catastrophically bad idea. If you really have to, use 0 <number of repetitions> <command> instead (for example '020ef' if slot f in your inventory is a stack of 20 sultanas that you want to eat all of ;). It automatically handles disturbance, etc.

I think you are pressing 5 on its own (ie. KP_Begin). You want Shift+KP_Begin (ie. 5 actually).

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 10:21

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

savageorange wrote:^ don't ever hold down any key in any roguelike, ever. Seriously. Catastrophically bad idea. If you really have to, use 0 <number of repetitions> <command> instead (for example if you have a stack of 20 sultanas that you want to eat all of ;). It automatically handles disturbance, etc.

I think you are pressing 5 on its own (ie. KP_Begin). You want Shift+KP_Begin (ie. 5 actually).

Not holding down any key ever is always good advice however one finds it tiresome to hit '5' 100 times so one ends up holding it down sporadically. Not a great idea I admit (and I think I said so before) but since there is no (r)est until ... command it suffices at times. 0 <#> <5> sounds better but as I understood it there was no disturbance option for it. I guess I misread/misunderstood that then.

(Btw where are you getting 'KP_Begin' from? That looks slightly like a C constant. Is there a list of constants used by the game that somehow fit into a macro language? (I remember Tome and Angband had some macroing but I think it was pretty rudimentary.))

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 10:34

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

since there is no (r)est until ... command

Listen: There is a rest until.. command, it's documented in the help, and everyone uses it. A few people in this thread have tried to explain this to you.

KP_Begin is what X11 calls that key. Begin is its official, if old and poorly-known-now name (Much as PageUp used to be known as Prior, except that nobody ever gave a 'new name' to the keypad centre key, so it's still Begin.). The numbering on the key is 5.

Don't use 0 # 5 when you can just shift+begin. There is a reason that this key exists, it's because people need to use it a lot. 0 # 5 just makes things harder on you, requires you to choose a number of turns to wait, and will not rest until the next significant event (HP restored, monster enters LOS, poison effects, MP restored, 100 turns have passed, etc), unlike shift+begin (or just plain '5' on the numrow, which is what shift+begin produces). The disturbance-detection used by 0 is more simple than that -- it does what you tell it to until the number of repetitions is completed, or until the player is disturbed, that's all.

tl;dr : RTFM!

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 10:45

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

savageorange wrote:
since there is no (r)est until ... command

Listen: There is a rest until.. command, it's documented in the help, and everyone uses it. A few people in this thread have tried to explain this to you.

KP_Begin is what X11 calls that key. Begin is its official, if old and poorly-known-now name (Much as PageUp used to be known as Prior, except that nobody ever gave a 'new name' to the keypad centre key, so it's still Begin.). The numbering on the key is 5.

Don't use 0 # 5 when you can just shift+begin. There is a reason that this key exists, it's because people need to use it a lot. 0 # 5 just makes things harder on you, requires you to choose a number of turns to wait, and will not rest until the next significant event (HP restored, monster enters LOS, poison effects, MP restored, 100 turns have passed, etc), unlike shift+begin (or just plain '5' on the numrow, which is what shift+begin produces). The disturbance-detection used by 0 is more simple than that -- it does what you tell it to until the number of repetitions is completed, or until the player is disturbed, that's all.

tl;dr : RTFM!


I was going to thank you for that explanation except for that last snark. Seriously? RTFM? Expletives deleted. Also I did read the inline help but apparently that wasn't sufficient despite the game's motto of attempting to be clear. There are no buttons called "begin" on my keyboard (therefore I assumed you were talking about some macroing language or C constant.) Probably because I am not and have never been a mac user...But thank you for mentioning x11 so I understood finally.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 10:56

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

press "?", then "?" there is a list of commands. and 5 and num5 are not the same button. I don't think it's a snark, rather it's an expression that invites you directly to the manual, since reading it is actually faster and simpler, than asking about every single thing and complaining without even trying to learn all the basic functions of the game.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 11:08

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Amnesiac wrote:press "?", then "?" there is a list of commands. and 5 and num5 are not the same button. I don't think it's a snark, rather it's an expression that invites you directly to the manual, since reading it is actually faster and simpler, than asking about every single thing and complaining without even trying to learn all the basic functions of the game.

If it were simply "RTM" Id agree. RTFM is old as the hills as snark goes. :)

I also don't believe I did ask about every single thing (hyperbole much?) and mostly my complaints were directed at things that the manual does not cover. I did have some mistaken assumptions such as when I read the part about '5' I assumed the number pad 5 and I thank all of you for disabusing me of this notion. It is not clear even after reading the section in the manual txt file (again). Admittedly when I read the file it was more than a couple weeks ago and I didn't remember everything written within (such as some of the item type descriptions) but most of it is fairly obvious through trial and error.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 11:12

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I have played all of the roguelikes you've mentioned except for Portalis, and one clear difference is that crawl is much more tactical and enclosed and therefore more difficult. There are not really infinite sources of anything - i.e., of whatever items you find, that is it for that game. This means that virtually every decision you make can have a permanent consequence on your game. So I suggest thinking of crawl not as a serious of fights with different monsters or whatever but as individual turns that you are spending. You might benefit from practicing getting the first hit on some fast monsters (giant gecko and adder especially). Eventually you could use this mindset to take less damage from basically everything throughout the game.

A good intermediate step beyond that is to learn how to strengthen your character. Mostly this means making a strong, deliberate decision every time you find an item (most of these decisions should be instantaneous and should be to not even pick the item up). Also, I actually recommend using automatic skill training while you are focusing on these other aspects of the game to learn. I know you probably have your reasons, but the skills in that dump are much worse than you would have gotten from automatic. Good luck.
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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 11:17

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I didn't imply that you ask about every thing. I just said that before you do, you should rtm. Well, whatever. There are a lot of kind people wanting to give you directions spiced with some causticity.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 11:40

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

@Hopeless:
The 'F' stands for 'seriously'* ;) Maybe it should stand for 'patiently', though.. My impression is generally that you are rushing through things looking for your specific idea of exactly what you want rather than examining them and figuring out what's actually going on. (both ingame and in this thread).

*
Spoiler: show
Actually, it stands for frustration.
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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 11:46

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I don't read manuals, tbh, since a lot of manuals are idiotic. Who could blame me if they say "attack monsters to reduce their hp, if hp is reduced to 0 - monster dies". But DCSS and it's devs are special! I guess.. Since I haven't read the manual this time either. I still looked at the commands list, though. And the table of aptitudes.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 14:51

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

For a newer player to Crawl, playing wth every species and background and God back and forth probably isn't the best idea, even if it's fun to say 'mummy sucks, hey this troll guy isn't so bad.'
It ends up throwing a bunch of different strategies and things to learn your way before you learn to get far on your own.

Minotaur Berserkers would be my recommendation, using maces & flails. Right click enemies along the way. If they're -extremely- dangerous, try running away. If it's 1-on-1 or so, sure you might be able to berserk and kill them, but that leads to overconfidence(I can beat anything!!!) which is very harmful. Multiple 'dangerous' enemies may be run-away material as well. Their danger level changes as you get stronger though.

Use Trog's hand before fighting casters(duck around a corner, get out of their sight, use the ability just before they reach you, then wait until they pop out.)
If you feel stuck, Brothers in Arms can be helpful, but your goal is to never get stuck.

And watch some videos on youtube of 'let's play dungeon crawl stone soup!' You may learn some things.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 16:56

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I would recommend KoBe, don't worry about skills or food and piety comes through nicely. Instead concentrate on tactical aspects like positioning, using walls/corners/corridors, luring (throw stones), fighting in known safe territory, when to use items to retreat (half health is better safe than sorry), or potions (might/agility are good for offence, speed is also good for escape), weapon enchantments (+4 is good for early mid game), know your enemy (right click for description, ?/m to describe something that is no longer around/seen).

I'm not sure what issue your having with resting but you may want to put "force_more_message += comes into view" in your RC or init file. This will alert you when new monsters enter your LOS.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 17:12

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I don't know about KoBe, but positioning is really one of the most important things. Basiaclly, you souldn't let more than one monster attack you. Or don't let them attack you at all if you can't fight back.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 17:21

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I wonder if berserker is maybe not a good background for a beginner? The berserk skill is rather "all-in". If you don't kill your opponent, it's going to be rough getting away while slowed. Knowing when and how to run seems like a vital and hard to learn skill... using berserk too much gives the impression that one needs to charge the enemy and fight or die. Just idle speculation, ultimately one has to recognize orc knights and not hold down 5 on the numpad first. :)

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 17:46

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

I think it's ok, because berserking gives you free might+haste at will, which is incredibly strong and also teaches you to bite what you can chew.

But the only good trait of Ko(for berserking) is goumand, which doesn't teach you anything. Ha is tougher and Sp can deal with slowing but has some limits(not that strict).

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 18:29

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Much good advice here. My $0.02:

First, don't fight everything. You will meet many foes that are too tough for you at the time you meet them. I fight Sigmund/Grinder < 10% of the time that I see them. Running away is a key skill in Crawl.

Second, use stairs. Many deaths to player ghosts suggests poor use of stairs. In most cases you will have 3 stairs up and 3 stairs down, as well as one-way hatches up and down. It should be a routine and common tactic to run to upstairs (pursued by something you can't beat), and take a different set of stairs down. If the monster is right next to you it will follow you up the stairs (and get an extra attack into the bargain) so you always want a space between you and your pursuer. However, player ghosts and zombies never follow you to a new level, even if adjacent.

Every time you start a new level you should be thinking about running back to the stairs if it's too hot. It is not uncommon for me to try all 3 stairs down before I find an entry point that I like, and sometimes (rarely, admittedly) I end up taking a hatch down and trying my luck that way.

As escape routes, stairs or hatches down to an unexplored level are obviously more dangerous than stairs back up to a cleared level, but they're a better option than facing off with something that will surely kill you.
Last edited by Mattchew on Saturday, 15th February 2014, 18:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 18:36

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Mattchew wrote:and take a different set of stairs up

ftfy :) You did mentioned that later in the post, but still. Also, taking all the stairs down is really not very optimal, since there is always a chance of being OHK'ed by an adjacent hydra or a giant. (JK. It is possible but it's a 1/10000 chance or lower, I think. happened to me, though...)

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 19:00

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Amnesiac wrote:But the only good trait of Ko(for berserking) is goumand, which doesn't teach you anything

That's the point, with gourmand you don't learn much about food usage, because the point was to concentrate on tactical issues. Gourmand is also very valuable for a troglodyte for two reasons a)berserk becomes more available since you shouldn't ever be hungry, b) you're more efficient in eating corpses, leaving more for piety.

Halflings are better in some respects but I think Ko is better for starters. I would not suggest SpBe (SpAs of trog but that's not for the berserk).

Berserker are a fine class for new players to learn from. They quickly learn that post berserk is best spent alone.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 19:08

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

perhaps play a centaur or spriggan to feel the power of kiting and running.


This is what I was going to suggest.

Try a few CeGl. Choose polearms for the kiting. Kite everything. Never fight a monster adjacent to you unless it is faster than you. Don't fight more than one monster at a time. Run away whenever you have 50% HP, or sooner, or if you get a bad feeling, or if you don't feel like fighting a particular monster. Healing is free, just go up to the previous level and hit numpad "5" (it might be a different key on your computer).

Go Oka once you find his altar. You should find a bow by DL7 at the latest. Now you can kite things 8 squares away. Advance Bows to 9.0 immediately, but keep killing most guys with your polearm to build up ammo reserves. Eventually you will have enough ammo to use your bow 100% of the time. Keep kiting everything.

Also try playing online so people can watch and advise you.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 19:13

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

1010011010 wrote: I would not suggest SpBe

Why is that? You just need to remember that you can use one loaf of bread for berserking 6-8 times. And there is NO better race for escaping when you are exhausted after berserking.
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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 21:03

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Lots of advice here, thanks all. I will have to ponder on it.
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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 21:18

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Had to look up what "kiting" meant. I guess I've done that all along. Trying to find narrow passages to fend off mobs and what not. Of course sometimes there is nothing suitable within range but I have also fled up in order to limit who can attack me at once. That point about Berserk encouraging bad habits is interesting. I do think that at times I have taken more risks because I knew I could berserk and kill everything around me where that was actually not true in at least a few instances.

Mikee said:
" I know you probably have your reasons, but the skills in that dump are much worse than you would have gotten from automatic. Good luck."


I doubt my reasons were sound enough. This is something that has been tough to figure out. Exactly what numbers are good for what areas and which are mandatory. That OGRE dump was from a while ago so I didn't realize the synergies between armor worn for example and the skills of Dodge vs Armor. I've learned a little bit since then but I guess the things I've read on skills so far haven't been correct/accurate? But I went with manual because everyone writes in various places when they talk about auto vs manual to never use the auto and to select skills manually. Which makes sense to me. After all .1 in everything seems like a horrible waste of xp. So rather than rely on the (reputedly poor) automatic selection system, I'd like to actually learn how to allocate them appropriately.

@Everyone: Thanks again for all your advice.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 21:44

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Amnesiac wrote:Why is that? You just need to remember that you can use one loaf of bread for berserking 6-8 times. And there is NO better race for escaping when you are exhausted after berserking.

Berserk, as the major tool of the berserker class, is underwhelming with spriggans IMO. A pure berserker also doesn't gel well with spriggans, so you end up relying on blowguns or evokables. Pick assassin, curare with fare you better than berserk, then pick trog rack up piety easy, gifted needles and short blades, throw berseking stone giants when your having trouble. Spriggan of Trog isn't bad, but you might as well pick better starting equipment.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 21:49

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

All races get the same bonus for berserking and there is no reason why Sp would be worse than Ko. Be it Ha, Ko or Sp, they get 5 attacks with +1d10 dmg per turn with a quickblade and what you get from 5str, which is not much, also +50% hp. Sp also has 9 speed of movement when exhausted ;)
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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 21:55

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

1010011010 wrote:Berserk, as the major tool of the berserker class, is underwhelming with spriggans IMO.

I have played a lot of berserkers lately and I don't think "Berserk" should be considered as the major tool for any follower of Trog. It is good in the early game, but once you're done with lair there is usually always a better option available than to go berserk.

Here are 3 examples on how I actually used berserk over the course of a game:
  Code:
       Action                   |  1- 3 |  4- 6 |  7- 9 | 10-12 | 13-15 | 16-18 | 19-21 | 22-24 | 25-27 || total
       -------------------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------++-------
(MiBe) Invok: Berserk           |     2 |     4 |    10 |    11 |     1 |       |       |       |       ||    28
(KoBe) Invok: Berserk           |     1 |     8 |    13 |    17 |     7 |     1 |     1 |       |       ||    48
(HuBe) Invok: Berserk           |     4 |     8 |     9 |     8 |     5 |     3 |       |       |       ||    37

Blades Runner

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 22:19

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Kiting is basically abusing superior speed to damage something yet keep it from damaging you. A centaur with reaching polearms, especially if you find a venom brand, is particularly apt for this. The classic Spriggan Enchanter combo also uses this tactic... basically you can fail your sleep spell over and over yet take no damage (against melee enemies). Then once you land it, stab autokill. The early game becomes a sleepwalk.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 22:29

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Tedronai wrote:I have played a lot of berserkers lately and I don't think "Berserk" should be considered as the major tool for any follower of Trog. It is good in the early game, but once you're done with lair there is usually always a better option available than to go berserk.


I agree, I should have made it clearer I'm talking about picking the berserker class rather than Trog in general, so naturally I'm speaking of early game advantages.

Amnesiac wrote:All races get the same bonus for berserking and there is no reason why Sp would be worse than Ko. Be it Ha, Ko or Sp, they get 5 attacks with +1d10 dmg per turn with a quickblade and what you get from 5str, which is not much, also +50% hp. Sp also has 9 speed of movement when exhausted ;)


I can't argue too much on this point since I'm drawing from personal experience, so I'll concede on this point. Also this might be veering off topic slightly.

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 23:11

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Spriggan Be and Kobold Be are both very good but for different reasons, arguably Ko are better for someone still very fresh to the game but Spriggan anything is better in the hands of an experienced player than almost anything else.

When someone is really just starting out, probably minotaur Be or something is a great pick; you can make some mistakes without dying which is good when you are still in a stage where you are learning what keys do what and how LOS works in Crawl and how to use consumables. If someone is still at that stage then worrying that they will pick up bad habits or something is misplaced, more likely they will just be extremely frustrated if they keep dying early with less straightforward backgrounds and/or species.

Centaurs are very strong but abusing their speed is not very fun; maybe that's just my own experience and preferences, but I think "hardy race + Berserker" is a better mix of power, flexibility, and enjoyment. Centaurs are at least worth trying though, for sure. There's a reason they are one of the tutorial picks. :)

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Post Saturday, 15th February 2014, 23:31

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Maybe MiBe is better for learning the game(idk, since I only played DEWz in the beginning), but for a change I think it might be fun to play blasty mages and blow everything up with orbs of destruction and such, once in a while.

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Post Sunday, 16th February 2014, 01:41

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

This thread has more badforum candidates than you can shake a stick at.

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Post Sunday, 16th February 2014, 05:04

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Hopeless wrote:Mikee said:
" I know you probably have your reasons, but the skills in that dump are much worse than you would have gotten from automatic. Good luck."


I doubt my reasons were sound enough. This is something that has been tough to figure out. Exactly what numbers are good for what areas and which are mandatory. That OGRE dump was from a while ago so I didn't realize the synergies between armor worn for example and the skills of Dodge vs Armor. I've learned a little bit since then but I guess the things I've read on skills so far haven't been correct/accurate? But I went with manual because everyone writes in various places when they talk about auto vs manual to never use the auto and to select skills manually. Which makes sense to me. After all .1 in everything seems like a horrible waste of xp. So rather than rely on the (reputedly poor) automatic selection system, I'd like to actually learn how to allocate them appropriately.


These aren't really the right questions to ask about skills; there is no magic or mandatory number that you should have. Rather, it is ideal to know what each skill will do for you and to have a rough idea of how much xp it will cost you to get it. This is a really common question so you may like some kind of example, even though I think you should not focus on it:

Every two points of weapon skill will on average, give you +1 accuracy (whatever that means for your character), +4% effective base damage, and will make your weapon take .1 turn less to swing. This means that for an ogbe with a +0 mace, if you raise maces to 10 you're probably doing like 1d12 damage instead of 1d8, you're missing slightly less often, and it's taking you .9 instead of 1.4 turns to swing it. Probably you can get maces this high after clearing the first few levels of the game. But is 10 a magic number? What if you got 8 maces and a few points more in something else? What if you get 12 maces and a few points less in something else? Eventually you can judge a lot better for yourself.

The people who tell you, as a new and frustrated player, to use manual skilling no matter what are illustrative of how poor crawl advice generally is. Automatic skill training is similar to what skill training was like for all players prior to 0.9 - the more often you use a skill, the more it gets trained. This is actually really good for new players, as the skills you use the most are generally the most important for you anyway, so you do not suffer to not knowing about skills. Having .1 of a skill is not a waste, as skills in crawl were 'smoothed' a while ago - it means something like: 10% of the time, the skill is treated as 1 level higher and 90% of the time not.
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Post Sunday, 16th February 2014, 05:12

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

WalkerBoh wrote:This thread has more badforum candidates than you can shake a stick at.


So the first thing to do to beat the early game is to skip the early game entirely and work your way back through it.

Dive straight down from D1 to to Lair:2, dodging and picking up items along the way, to establish your stash at the bottom of the L2 stairs. This long-term early-game stash is the most important thing to have at the beginning because inventory management is key. Then kill everything on L2 and make your way back up to the Ecumenical Temple (which you should find by D4 the latest) to pick a god. By then, you'll easily trounce the early D levels.
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Post Sunday, 16th February 2014, 23:27

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

XuaXua wrote:
WalkerBoh wrote:This thread has more badforum candidates than you can shake a stick at.


So the first thing to do to beat the early game is to skip the early game entirely and work your way back through it.

Dive straight down from D1 to to Lair:2, dodging and picking up items along the way, to establish your stash at the bottom of the L2 stairs. This long-term early-game stash is the most important thing to have at the beginning because inventory management is key. Then kill everything on L2 and make your way back up to the Ecumenical Temple (which you should find by D4 the latest) to pick a god. By then, you'll easily trounce the early D levels.

Hah that sounds exactly like the Lost Souls in old Tome. :) I expect getting to L2 from D1 would be quite the adventure, even if you could outrun all dangerous encounters on the way. Sounds like a "Challenge" like pacifism.

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Post Monday, 17th February 2014, 09:19

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Kiting: Attacking a creature you move faster than with a ranged attack, continuing to move away from them as you do so, a really effective (if moderately tedious) tactic particularly when playing a race that moves faster than most monsters.
Tactics:
  • The first and (relatively) obvious "Fight one thing at a time, draw them back into corridors so you can avoid being attacked by more than one thing"
  • DCSS has something most of the other games you mentioned do *not* and that is noise. If you fight right next to an unexplored area, things which are in that unexplored area will come investigate, join the fray and make it generally much harder on you, therefore it's best to draw things back to a "cleared" area and beat them up there.
  • If you see a group of things and none of them have noticed you yet, a good trick is to throw a rock/dart at one, then move away and let it follow you.
  • Creatures in DCSS move at rate which is *mostly* set, but has a minor random variation added, this means that a creature which moves the same speed as you will occasionally get an extra move in (And sometimes lose a movement relative to you). This means that the best way to consistantly get the first hit on something that doesn't have a ranged weapon and moves the same average speed as you, is to get one square away and move away from them until they are next to you. This is also the best way to fight things that are faster than you.
  • You heal while walking around, but it's not very advisable to let something adjacent to you follow you forever, sometimes this will let you heal up enough to beat up the thing you're working on, sometimes they'll get an extra move in and get a free turn to hit you, even if they are the same speed as you. A better tactic is to find something that *can't* do damage to you (Like a bat) and get it between the nasty critter and you.
  • Staircases and doors are *very* powerful, use them to keep things away from you.
  • Sometimes things come up (or down) staircases, it's rare but it can be a nasty surprise.
  • DCSS kind of "pushes" you deeper into the dungeon, if you spend too long on a given floor, the odds of getting a nasty overpowered creature spawning increase dramatically. Killing everything on a floor, or indeed exploring every nook and cranny of each level actually lowers your chance of survival (Which is very different from many games where "missing something" can result in you being underpowered, and running around trying to kill as many things as possible in an area before moving on is par for the course, don't do either of these things in DCSS)

Playing a berserker
Since a number of people have suggested Berserkers as a good introduction, I'll put some points about them here:
  • Berserk is good, but don't rely on it to get you out of trouble, rather, use it as a way to enhance your offense against "regular but strong" enemies, so you can train more defensive skills.
  • Trog's hand's is most useful in three areas:
    1. You are a deep dwarf and don't heal normally
    2. You need magic resistance to avoid being enchanted by something
    3. You would like to regenerate while fleeing
    Use it liberally in those situations, and not the rest of the time.
  • Don't take trog for the weapon gifts, by all means use the good ones that pop up, but don't stress about it.
  • BiA is excellent, the best way to use it is when you encounter something nasty, summon a Brother, if it's something you can tank, do so and let your BiA just massively increase your damage, if not, draw the nasty beast *around and past* your brother, your BiA will kill the nasty beast while you draw it towards you. Try not to get your BiA in it's path, as most of the Brothers aren't really excellent tanks, they do a ton of damage though.
  • Don't stress about hunger, eat stuff when you get to 'very hungry' and when you have a spare corpse and are hungry, but the rest of the time it's just not that big of a deal.
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Post Monday, 17th February 2014, 13:50

Re: Unable to proceed past the early game

Crate's advice about not moving towards monsters is good. Here are a couple of other heuristics to consider:
* If you notice your health decreasing, take your hands off the keyboard, look at your current health level, and assess the level of danger. If you aren't 100% certain that continuing to fight is safe, start planning to escape. If your health is below 60% and you aren't about to defeat all monsters in sight in the next action or so, it's probably time to leave.
* Once you realize you are in trouble or will be soon, stop taking any actions. Review your inventory, your spells, and your abilities, and try to come up with a list of your options to resolve the trouble. Don't make another move until you know what you're going to do next.
* A lot of actions make noise: fighting (especially with heavy weapons), spells (especially certain conjurations like Mephitic Cloud, Fireball, and Lightning Bolt), and wands (esp. wand of lightning). If you make a loud noise and are near unexplored territory, retreat ASAP to avoid the monsters that will be drawn to the noise. Noise brings monsters to an area, but they won't follow you unless they notice you specifically. Their odds of noticing you and tracking you are based on your stealth rating. Another way to decrease the impact of noise is to only fight in explored territory.
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