Surviving without shields

Ask fellow adventurers how to stay alive in the deep, dark, dangerous dungeon below, or share your own accumulated wisdom.

Abyss Ambulator

Posts: 1221

Joined: Thursday, 10th March 2011, 19:45

Post Saturday, 21st May 2011, 12:27

Surviving without shields

So we all know that a shield greatly increases a character's survivability, and so far all my successful characters have been buckler-totin' missile deflectin' hybrids.

But sometimes I want to try something different, like going berserk with a big axe. :roll:

These characters do OK thanks to the high damage, until I get to Vaults depth when I start running into yaktaurs on every other level and find it hard to avoid being turned into a pincushion.

I've also run into similar problems with draconian casters who can use a standard shield (if they can find one - they seem to be excessively rare) but have difficulty getting enough skill to negate the casting penalties.

Spider Stomper

Posts: 216

Joined: Saturday, 25th December 2010, 20:02

Post Saturday, 21st May 2011, 17:16

Re: Surviving without shields

I agree, it's been rare for me to have a caster that does well with a shield. I don't know if the TSO ability also trains shields, but at least it increases your shield ability when used, so maybe that's a possibility for you.

You could also stick with a buckler instead of a standard shield and just work to get it enhanced really well. I don't know what the max enhancement is on those off the top of my head, but at least you would have some shield score that way.
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Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1850

Joined: Monday, 20th December 2010, 04:22

Location: Surabaya, Indonesia

Post Saturday, 21st May 2011, 17:49

Re: Surviving without shields

Assuming you have Deflect Missiles, a buckler is usually enough for your spellcaster :)

Vestibule Violator

Posts: 1567

Joined: Friday, 21st January 2011, 22:56

Post Saturday, 21st May 2011, 17:54

Re: Surviving without shields

Learn RMsl, Mephitic Cloud, Distill/Evap or Butterflies. They are easy enough to cast and help quite a lot. Semicontrolled blinks are also helpful for quickly closing with ranged enemies (or for running away). Of course you cant do that as a berserker, but it should help with your DrTm trouble and non-Trog 2h chars. Casting in dragon armor works fairly well with some investment. Generally you will have to focus more on your other physical defenses (AC, EV, HP, buffs) or crowd control when not using a shield, especially if you are playing a melee char. Being a bit more careful cant hurt either. Also consuming some consumables usually helps in tough situations. Got a Wand of Haste and some recharge scrolls? Use that to kill all those yaktaurs! Maybe pick up that stack of fog scrolls you never used, those should let you close with them without massive pain. Etc.

There aren't that many places with many blockable ranged attacks (mostly just vaults, vestibule, elf, some baileys and at least one Orc ending), so you have to prepare well, use consumables and tough it out, skip or postpone these areas, or be really careful. Same for some caster uniques (Boris and Frederick come to mind). Giants are everywhere, but usually not in groups, so just killing them quickly but carefully should be enough.

IronJelly: he's not having trouble with regular casters, it's just that Draconians cant equip a buckler for some reason, so training shield skill to reduce the casting penalty is hard for them. Also their shield apt really sucks IIRC.

Abyss Ambulator

Posts: 1221

Joined: Thursday, 10th March 2011, 19:45

Post Saturday, 21st May 2011, 17:57

Re: Surviving without shields

The original post was partly about trying to survive as a berserker/fighter etc with a 2-handed weapon. Good point about TSO, I think shields skill helps with divine shield, so you would have to train it up at some point.

I only brought up spellcasters specifically to mention draconians who for some reason can't use bucklers. (This is possibly one of the great mysteries of Crawl, along with "why do kenku get +1 aptitude in every weapon except slings" and "what exactly is the Orb for anyway.")

So, a draconian caster can use a standard shield, but they are rare enough that you can't guarantee finding one before the endgame, and even if you do it may be too late to start training shields skill in Zot or a branch end.
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Swamp Slogger

Posts: 155

Joined: Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 18:24

Post Sunday, 22nd May 2011, 01:52

Re: Surviving without shields

Vampiric exec axe/GSC.
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Halls Hopper

Posts: 56

Joined: Monday, 2nd May 2011, 04:21

Post Sunday, 22nd May 2011, 02:53

Re: Surviving without shields

i can just say you should be careful and have high ev or ac. you should use corners, hide behind other monsters etc, nothing special. also yaktaurs cannot see invisible, it helped my febe in the vestibule of hell

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