The Development of a Tank


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Swamp Slogger

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 16:16

The Development of a Tank

I’ve shared the results of a couple runs (after YASDs) with GrFi of Chei builds, and have gotten a bit of advice. While I’m not posting a guide (since I have yet to make this build work), this post is a “guide to how I’m doing it.” Essentially, I’m going to give a background to how I’m creating my character so that others can track my thought-process and give me advice/tips accordingly. The goal of this build is to become a tank – and I don’t mean tank in the typical gaming sense of just shrugging damage…I mean literally a tank. A rolling mass of armor that crushing things and blasts the rest out of existence.

I chose the race of Gargoyle because of the obvious – increased innate AC and GDR give the absolute best mid/late-game durability, and poison immunity, petrification resistance, rot immunity, unbreathing, rNeg, and rTorm are all awesome boosts. The Big Wings are also something I generally run the instant I get them, since it makes navigating lava and water a cinch (and sometimes tactical dream). That said, the -20% HP is quite dangerous early game, and makes attacks that bypass AC my worst nightmare. Last run I was lucky enough to get Robust 2 mutation to cancel that fragility, but that’s more of a fluke than a consistent boon. Still, no one can argue that a well-build gargoyle is the best tank in the game.

Fighter has been my choice class of late because the high Str as well as armor and shield training are quite helpful. Starting with a weapon that is a step up from the baseline is also a good advantage. I’ve tried this build with Monk (one of my favorite generic backgrounds for trying out different races), achieving reasonable success, but generally find the lost armor skill unhelpful, and the inability to find a good shield until deeper into the dungeon a relevant problem.

I generally chose to start with a flail to take advantage of the Gargoyle’s aptitudes. M&F cross-trains with staves and axes, both of which are desirable for me (on some runs I’ve used magical staves to help out will spell-power, and always plan to switch to axes later). After scores of runs, I’ve also noticed you can almost always find good early-game M&F weps (well-enchanted and branded whips are D:1-3 regulars; early orcs regularly carry nice maces, flails, and morningstars; even good dire flails can be found off of two-headed ogres, Edmund, and wights). Good axes, however, are generally pretty hard to find – you’ll usually come across battleaxes once orc warriors and wights show up, but enchanted war-axes and broad-axes (for one-handed weps) are several times more rare, with broad-axes almost never showing up until later. Still, the advantages of axes (and the cross-training with M&F and polearms) has me considering changing this preference.

When I start the game, my first move is to plot my skills. Starting focus with this build I dump stealth (+2 apt makes it doable starting anyway). I’ve managed to hit max-stealth with this tank build when I accidentally trained stealth (coincidence of stealth-boosting gear, really), but the heavy armor still overrides the benefits of that kind of stealth for most creatures (hydra and orcs do seem to sleep deep, though). With stealth dropped, I focus on my wep skill and spellcasting. With a low aptitude for spellcasting I like to train that early since I plan on auxillary casting. Fighting, Armor, and Shields make the cut as well, with dodging being left for auto-training (usually ends up around 2-5%). Now, sometimes I get good EV gear (had one build with dragon armor running 29 EV at nearly 40 AC), but generally speaking I feel dodging for a tank is more of a circumstantial after-thought than a good auxillary skill.

Moving through the early floors is fairly typical (get good gear if possible, stay alive, die and restart, etc). I keep an eye out for Cheibro altars (yes, I know that’s not how it’s spelled, but “Chei” just seems odd to me). That said, since I regularly see TSO or other Holy Trinity altars on D:1-2, I’ll often convert to them (no punishment for converting to the neutral snail god) to get Invocations up and running as well as short-term benefits, since sometimes I haven’t found Cheibro altars until D:7.

At this stage Invocations is a big focus, since hitting skill lvl 5-8 makes Slouch a reliable tool. Now, I’ve been at an impasse with Evocations recently. I usually to train it, but my low-usage of the skill made me feel it was a drag on this build. I dropped it the last run, with little ill-effects (still – phantom mirror, phial of floods, wand of scattershot…). Still, I know I won’t fully drop it next run – most likely I’ll refocus into jacking it up once my other more immediate skills are on good levels.

I usually switch to chain mail once I find it (instead of the starting scale mail). Plate armor I avoid early-game because the encumbrance can occasionally make you lethally inaccurate until you have a moderate armor skill. Often in the early game (as in under D:8) I will use well-enchanted whips/maces in preference to other weapons – I’ve found the increased speed and accuracy to be useful until I pass wep skill lvl 8-10.

Once I find I spellbook, I will generally start training a relevant school of magic. Some books aren’t as useful to me in this build, but my focus typically runs Conjurations (applies to just about every attack spell) and Hexes (not the most reliable, but often life-savers). If I get elemental books I will usually train ONE element (Earth and Fire being my preference, Ice coming in second and air being avoided due to poor aptitudes). For cross-schools conjurations and hexes usually help. Transmutations I have been avoiding largely at this stage, mainly because most of the better spells (petrify, ice-form, etc.) can be cross-trained from other schools, and the rest aren’t useful to this build. Necromancy is something in which I have poor aptitudes (and some inhibitions as “non-living”), so there are only a few useful spells for me (if I have the pack-space in mid-game simulacrum is an option, for example, with enough Ice skills). Translocations are nice but circumstantial, so I’ll usually leave those by the wayside – scrolls are almost always better for emergency usage with this build.

So, by the time I’m around D:10, my skill spread will have Armor, fighting, Shields, and Weps as my highest, with Spellcasting and Invocations second, and specific spell-schools and dodging last. Evocations (if I have decided to do it) will usually be low as well.

Now, Shields – many people don’t like them, but with Cheibro the fact is they are quite useful. Most of the time with Cheibro I’m taking a lot of hits, one way or the other – sometimes in bad situations I’ll waddle towards the best choke-point/fox-hole in spite of my enemies (taking numerous turns of hits in the process), or other times the space is too open to hide/safety is too far and I’m forced to be surrounded by multiple opponents. Looking at my morgue file for this last run, you’ll see that I blocked all the time (32 SH didn’t hurt). When I’m stuck facing down five elephants and a 7-headed hydra at once in a wide-open floor (or a whole herd of death yak at once, like I did last game), blocking above 80% of those attacks is remarkably helpful. I will generally stick with a medium shield unless I find an artefact (had the warlock’s mirrors once…really nice) or until I hit 15-18 shield skill, at which point I’ll switch to a large shield. With Cheibro my Str and Dex are usually so remarkably high that with good wep and shield skill I don’t suffer from using a shield, and having to stick with one-handed weapons is usually a small sacrifice in damage output vs having a ridiculously high blocking-rate. Paired with my shield, of course, is almost always an amulet of reflection – watching ranged enemies self-destruct before I can even totter over and smash them is always fun.

Armor – unenchanted plate armor is not something I particularly like, since it has tons of encumbrance for a nominal boost in AC. Enchanted chain mail with equal AC is usually easy enough to find. Dragon armor is quite useful as well – my previous good run I had Acid Dragon armor for rCorr, which is a decent medium armor with low encumbrance. Early on in the game I have sometimes used Steam Dragon armor if I find it, since 0 encumbrance helps increase my accuracy and decrease my spell-fail rate. These are always temporary, however – once I find a good heavy armor (I have been lucky enough to find artefact plate armor on my last two good runs, as well as crystal plate armor) I will switch over. Other armors I will sometimes hold onto for the purpose of specific qualities if I have dragon/artefact armors (resistances and SInv are the obvious big draws, as are significant boosts of other types). As for my peripheral gear, I always wear the best I find. Period.

Weapons – by mid/late game I’ve usually been having troubles the last runs, finding only mediocre weapons. This last run I got a broad-axe of electrocution and enchanted it, but was able to use it very little before I kicked the bucket. That said, a part of this scarcity is that I look for one-handed only. Don’t get me wrong – if I find an enchanted executioner’s axe, I’ll grab it. Still, that’s more for end game (26 wep skill for min delay and all) than immediate usage. Shields are a huge-part of this build, and when I tried running without them my durability dropped drastically once I started getting into swarm environments like Lair (and it’s sub-branches) and Orcish Mines. My ideal weapon with this build is an artefact broad-axe paired up with a good shield. That said, I’m not terribly picky – if I’ve got decent wep skill with it (aka, M&F/axes/staves or polearms) I’ll use it if it’s the best I have available. Last run I was stuck with a +2 Holy Morningstar 90% of the time, and a +3 broad axe of electrocution at the very end (if you hear me, RNGesus, a couple scrolls of acquirement would be awesome!).

Cheibro – honestly, his gameplay with this build is about the same as with any other, I’d guess. Slouch fast, pesky enemies out of existence, use invocations to slow enemies at the head of a line, draw in ranged enemies, etc. In an emergency, step from time and pray your foes wander away.

My thoughts on Build Strengths: Cheibro is Cheibro. Everyone knows the insanity that he gives. Paired up with the best tanky race, you’re essentially unstoppable in melee. You’ll also have enough intelligence to be able to cast spells well and with high power. In open areas you can survive longer than most builds, and in a nice hallway (especially if it has angles for short LOS) you are nearly unbeatable.

The downsides: Being too slow to hide or run, however, belligerent magical attacks (or ones that ignore AC) will always be a problem. Additionally, even with Cheibro, wearing heaviest armors and shields will force you to pour XP into your magical skills to get the spells about spell lvl 4-5 up and running. Slouch trails off in power towards the late-game, particularly when your worst enemies (like many Elven casters) are relatively slow. Step From Time is an awesome panic button, but in tight-floors you’ll probably awake with the enemies still relatively close. While you are possibly the most durable build in the game, remember that there is still a point where an infinity of damage raining down on you each turn is going to beat it’s way through or past your defenses.

Sooo….I think that’s that. This build has a rather weak early phase when you have bleh weapons and Cheibro’s empowerment hasn’t come online (and being a Gargoyle is more fragile than tanky), and then a phase in the later game around lvl 20 when your strength has cleared the “normal” floors is pushing you out of your comfort zone. I think my personal biggest shortcoming with these builds (aside from RNGesus hating weapons) is that I undervalue mid/late-game Evocations, and don’t put enough focus on magical skills to get my powerful spell abilities into full play, leaving me with a pile of books from which I only know mid-level spells.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 20:20

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:Still, no one can argue that a well-build gargoyle is the best tank in the game.

minotaur and hill orc are both better at being tanky than gargoyle because not only do they not have a HP malus like garg, they have boosted HP, and broadly speaking having more HP is more important for survivability than having more AC unless the difference is really extreme.
also the meaning of "tank" classification is not just 'tough', but also about taking aggro off of allies, something which is not really facilitated in a game which only sometimes has allies which are only AI allies and doesn't have abilities that let you control aggro

You should train weapon skill and fighting early on, because fighting skill is really powerful and important both for doing good damage with weapons(the impact is as big as weapon skill but it's not small) and it increases your max HP, which is really important at all points of the game and especially if you're making this kind of character.

Shields are good period, chei or no chei. on a chei character you should probably usually be going for the biggest armor available, and accuracy probably shouldn't be what you're worried about wrt plate.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 20:35

Re: The Development of a Tank

Yeah, crawl isn't a game that really lends itself to 'tanks' in a traditional sense. Pretty much any character with permanent allies will want to 'tank' for them from time to time, but there's not really a character build that gets to just not take damage. Everyone feels Damnation about the same.

I guess about the tankiest thing I can think of is a troll either in GDA or statue form.
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 20:51

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:With a low aptitude for spellcasting I like to train that early since I plan on auxillary casting.


Biggest mistake you are making, this character archetype as nothing to lose and everything to gain from replacing spell casting entirely with invocations evocations. A GrFi should not be opening a book until fighting, maces, armor, dodging, shields, invocations, and evocations are all at least 15.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 21:26

Re: The Development of a Tank

The best tank is Naga in CPA and barding. A few less AC but +50% HP.
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 23:03

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:I’ve shared the results of a couple runs (after YASDs) with GrFi of Chei builds, and have gotten a bit of advice. While I’m not posting a guide (since I have yet to make this build work), this post is a “guide to how I’m doing it.” Essentially, I’m going to give a background to how I’m creating my character so that others can track my thought-process and give me advice/tips accordingly.

I just wanted to say that this is a great attitude!
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Swamp Slogger

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 23:43

Re: The Development of a Tank

Thanks so far for the tips! This is exactly why I've posted this...I play a lot, and know many "facts" without being experienced (been playing for "2 years" but 80% of that time I had forgotten...only got serious recently).

Shard
1) -- True, the low HP is a serious malus. Several runs I've had the benefit of getting Robust mutations to reduce this effect. That said, the difference is extreme -- by lvl 27 this last run I would have been around or over 70 AC with 20 EV and 40-50 SH, all standard. So I think that fits what you're calling an extreme :P. Still, I get your point -- the fragility is a problem, but taking essentially 0 melee or ranged damage is really nice.

2) -- I do place first priority upon Wep Skills and Fighting. That said, I think I need to place more emphasis upon Fighting like you said, largely due to the HP bonus.

Brave
-- Can you explain why I couldn't gain anything from spells? I easily hit 30-40 INT with this build, which means that just about every spell is at top power and low fail rate with only nominal training, despite my armor. I mean, if you can explain how LRD, CBL, or Simulcrum aren't a huge bonus, sure...by my logic, though, that much intel just screams for spells. Besides, with Cheibro you only need 10 Invo for everything to be at 0-1% fail (except for step from time, which will be at 8-9%).

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 23:48

Re: The Development of a Tank

If you're out to build a character that can take a beating without slowing down, you want a deep dwarf. I recommend older versions for this, but it's still the case today that you can't beat the combination of heavy armor, good hp, and damage shaving.
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 00:53

Re: The Development of a Tank

watertreatmentRL wrote:If you're out to build a character that can take a beating without slowing down, you want a deep dwarf. I recommend older versions for this, but it's still the case today that you can't beat the combination of heavy armor, good hp, and damage shaving.


I've repeatedly wanted to try this, but for some reason starting I can't get past early-game due to no regen. Though this thread I'm focused on this build, after my latest death at lvl 20 I'm planning to take a break and try some other builds. Once I'm ready for DD I'll probably toss up a thread asking for advice then :P.

Still, I totally agree with that. DD of Chei seems awesome.

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 01:33

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:you can explain how LRD, CBL, or Simulcrum aren't a huge bonus, sure...

I mean, if you place two identical characters next to each other, one with fancy set of castable spells and one without any, the one with spells going to be a lot stronger. And "opportunity cost" alone against the very long list of cool things spells can do doesn't sound great. But in my experience with the game, outside of the book starts (and even some of those) you will have a much stronger character if you put off spellcasting until every other part of your skill tree is built up.
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 02:08

Re: The Development of a Tank

Right, but you get evo/invo going for less.

However, I think at least half the reason to play a chei character is to cast spells in heavy armor, so imo if you're going chei you're missing out if you don't use spells. Not necessarily in terms of what is best to do(early on anyways), but in terms of what makes the god unique.

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 09:12

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:I generally chose to start with a flail to take advantage of the Gargoyle’s aptitudes.

That's fine, but the aptitude difference is small enough that it doesn't really matter. Without fsim, my suspicion is that waraxe does slightly more dps than flail on a fresh fighter, (because it has incrementally higher base damage).

M&F cross-trains with staves and axes, both of which are desirable for me

Cross-training really only helps for a very short time after switching. Once you get a few levels trained the benefit drops off noticeably. Personally, I mainly ignore it. If I have a great weapon with reasonable aptitude (not less than -2), and some spare XP, I switch. Otherwise not.

(on some runs I’ve used magical staves to help out will spell-power,

That's fine, but you don't need cross-training for that. Weapon skill does not have any effect on spell-power from staves and magical staves are usually worse than ordinary weapons for doing melee damage.

and always plan to switch to axes later).

Why? M&F has great weapon options. If I was to invest extra XP in a second weapon skill on a Gr, I'd get a bow or crossbow instead.

I always wondered if axes are really a beginner-trap. Generally speaking, fighting multiple enemies at a time is dangerous and should be avoided. Of course axes do help in some bad situations, but that's a bit like installing an airbag instead of learning to drive...

After scores of runs, I’ve also noticed you can almost always find good early-game M&F weps (well-enchanted and branded whips are D:1-3 regulars; early orcs regularly carry nice maces, flails, and morningstars; even good dire flails can be found off of two-headed ogres, Edmund, and wights). Good axes, however, are generally pretty hard to find – you’ll usually come across battleaxes once orc warriors and wights show up, but enchanted war-axes and broad-axes (for one-handed weps) are several times more rare, with broad-axes almost never showing up until later. Still, the advantages of axes (and the cross-training with M&F and polearms) has me considering changing this preference.

As above, the benefit of axes is probably a trap. Most of the time axes just cost more XP and do less damage than M&F. (I like polearms because reaching is powerful and I often play with allies, but others find them annoying.)

I suspect your view of the rarity of weapons is based on the simple fact that there are more M&F types than axes. Handaxes, waraxes, maces and flails are all pretty poor basetypes. Whips are only good with brands. So you are basically left with broad axes vs maces (+demon whips and evening stars, but rarer) and battle axes vs dire flails and great maces. (Exec axes are rare and quite XP hungry.)
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 09:48

Re: The Development of a Tank

4Hooves2Appendages wrote:I always wondered if axes are really a beginner-trap. Generally speaking, fighting multiple enemies at a time is dangerous and should be avoided. Of course axes do help in some bad situations, but that's a bit like installing an airbag instead of learning to drive...

You seem to overlook that OP runs, sorry, crawls with Chei, and then axes are very useful. You will end up being surrounded when playing Chei, no matter how well you play it.
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 09:59

Re: The Development of a Tank

In my view it is not inevitable to be surrounded when slow. Corridors, digging, noise-management, doors, allies, translocations, consumables and powerful ranged attacks still exist.

It's a different story in places like Pan, Hell and Zigs admittedly. At that point, yeah, just get an axe.

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 12:33

Re: The Development of a Tank

4Hooves

You make a good case for either starting with an axe, or sticking with M&F. I usually have no problem finding great Exec Axes, oddly, despite the fact I can't get anywhere near their min-delay for them to be useful.

Just curious how valuable you'd place a ranged weapon. Last run I found everything -- enchanted bows/arbalests, gloves of archery, even a Triple Crossbow. I tend to avoid playing around with ranged weps because I have a (admittedly stupid) fear of dumping XP into those skills only to have myself run out of ammo at some point.

Typically, I try to place emphasis on spells over ranged weps, because at least mana recharges and can do more.

Getting surrounded is something I TRY to avoid. However, when wearing +10 plate armor, helmet, boots, large shield, etc....you make noise. I mean, the one run I had essentially max stealth I STILL woke up most stuff in LOS, just not past it.

While I'm taking a break from this build for now, I'm gonna switch to a casting-primary build with Chei to see if I can get spells up faster.

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 12:36

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:I'm gonna switch to a casting-primary build with Chei to see if I can get spells up faster.


That will be much harder because you will run out of MP often and will be unable to retreat without consumables. Chei encourages early hybridization when started as book background.
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 13:02

Re: The Development of a Tank

OH, definitely. I mean, on D:2 I'm already using a mace and armor more than anything else. Still, Gargoyles start with rather good innate strength (11, if I remember correctly) which makes melee fine for their build, and have the innate AC and GDR which gives a bit of durability.

Starting with a book (Earth, ofc) gives me a great advantage, though, because now I can have my spell/magic skills boosted immediately from the start, as well as permanently on training. With Earth as one of the most powerful attack schools (Iron Shot, LRD, LCS, etc), it (and Conjurations) will serve as my core school. I'll probably branch off into others like hexes too.

EDIT: presuming I get past three runs in a row where I hit a shaft that drops me straight to D:4 with no stairs in sight while lvl 2.

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 13:06

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:You make a good case for either starting with an axe, or sticking with M&F.

The point I would like to make is that I wouldn't switch (maybe switch isn't a good word anyway, it's much more like an addition) just to change from M&F to Axes (or from swords to axes, or from axes to polearms, or whatever). However, if I found a very good axe, and I don't have any decent M&F option, then I would consider switching.

For example, if I was on D:5 with a plain flail, say 6-10 skill in M&F, and I come across a +8 elec broadaxe, I would instantly switch, and likely never look back all game.

If I was already in lair branches, with a +6 flaming great mace near min delay, and I find a +8 battle axe of freezing, I would probably not switch. I might carry the axe around though. Perhaps later I'll have some spare XP. Perhaps I'll be too busy training for spells, evo or ranged.

The point is, only switch (i.e. spend XP) if you get something better. Axes are not automatically better than M&F.

I usually have no problem finding great Exec Axes, oddly, despite the fact I can't get anywhere near their min-delay for them to be useful.

A lot of people strongly recommend min delay, but in reality many weapons are better than others before min delay is reached. It's not easy to tell just by looking. Fsim can help with that. All other factors being equal (enchantment level, brand, etc.), I expect that exec axes overtake battle axes somewhere around 22-24 axe skill. In terms of experience cost, that's well short of min delay. Given the huge cost to train levels 25 and 26, I rarely do it on any skill, until the point is reached where XP stops mattering.

Just curious how valuable you'd place a ranged weapon. Last run I found everything -- enchanted bows/arbalests, gloves of archery, even a Triple Crossbow. I tend to avoid playing around with ranged weps because I have a (admittedly stupid) fear of dumping XP into those skills only to have myself run out of ammo at some point.

Quite simply, ranged weapons are far superior to melee weapons. The ability to do damage at range is extremely strong. Enemies die faster (total aut in view) so they get fewer turns to cause trouble. Melee enemies don't do any damage at all until they reach you. It's much easier to reset fights if the first few attacks miss.

In practice there are usually enough arrows and bolts around to kill any real threat with ranged weapons. Some harmless enemies (most are) may need to be killed with melee.

Unlike casters, you don't spend MP on ranged attacks. So that MP is there for emergencies when you need it, for blinking, swiftness, butterflies, or whatever.

Nothing stops you from shooting enemies at point blank range either, if that's your best damage option.

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 13:13

Re: The Development of a Tank

It does not take much to have both battleaxe and great mace at min delay, at least as Chei guy without spells.
I remember a game where I had demon whip at min delay with 0.0 skills in M&F.
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Post Saturday, 23rd September 2017, 18:40

Re: The Development of a Tank

Crosstraining into a weapon swap should never* be a plan on a melee focused character. Sometimes its a good choice as a result of a floor god (extreme example: a vamp/speed laj shows up), or a late game swap into holy wrath at a point when this amount of xp is irrelevant. But starting a character in one type with a plan to swap into another is planning to waste skill points.

*A plan of Short Blades into Long Blades is a thing, but this specialized to take advantage of short blades and stabs through the midgame and then gets the option to swap into demon blade around depths when shortblades fall off too severely. You still carry a dagger to make use of stabs regardless, and this plan is much more flexible:

1) A decent find of a rare quick blade may make the swap unnecessary.
2) A good staff/magic kit also may prompt such a character to forgo further development of melee.
3) Short blades are functional at enough +slay, so if a couple good slaying items drop you can just stick with a rapier or quickblade through the end.

So yes it is a plan, but the plan is flexible and the character is in no real hurry to complete the transition that usually happens in late vaults or depths where XP is plentiful for this kind of an investment. This is in contrast to a melee focused character that is in a hurry to hit weapon delay min ASAP. Having a crosstrain built into such a character's plan is just flushing skill points down the drain.

For this message the author edgefigaro has received thanks:
duvessa

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3927

Joined: Friday, 8th May 2015, 17:51

Post Sunday, 24th September 2017, 04:26

Re: The Development of a Tank

Obvious example is NaBe. You can start with M&F as it deals highest damage vs single target and does not mind about hydra, planning to use an axe later also for crowds. As Be you will have enough XP for both and Trog will gift you enchanted weapons in both category.
Underestimated: cleaving, Deep Elf, Formicid, Vehumet, EV
Overestimated: AC, GDS
Twin account of Sandman25

Swamp Slogger

Posts: 174

Joined: Saturday, 16th September 2017, 21:17

Post Monday, 25th September 2017, 03:03

Re: The Development of a Tank

UPDATE:

  Code:
 Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup version 0.20.1-1-g8b1a95d (webtiles) character file.

190694 Alphaeus the Peltast (level 18, -6/123 HPs)
             Began as a Gargoyle Fighter on Sept 25, 2017.
             Was a High Priest of Cheibriados.
             Mangled by a tentacled starspawn (23 damage)
             ... on level 2 of the Abyss.
             The game lasted 01:26:06 (27054 turns).

Alphaeus the Peltast (Gargoyle Fighter)            Turns: 27054, Time: 01:26:06

Health: -6/123     AC: 34    Str: 42    XL:     18   Next: 17%
Magic:  52/52      EV: 14    Int: 25    God:    Cheibriados [*****.]
Gold:   1799       SH:  0    Dex: 25    Spells: 7/35 levels left

rFire    + . .     SeeInvis +   W - +2 sacred scourge (holy)
rCold    + . .     Gourm    .   c - +2 shield {rC+}
rNeg     + . .     Faith    .   b - +3 chain mail
rPois    ∞         Spirit   .   e - +0 hat {SInv}
rElec    +         Reflect  +   P - +1 cloak "Gejiawi" {rCorr Str+3 Dex+3}
rCorr    +         Harm     .   A - +0 pair of gloves of the Devil {Str+3}
MR       +....     Rnd*Tele +   h - +1 pair of boots
Stlth    ..........             u - +3 amulet of reflection
Regen    0.3/turn               n - ring of magical power
MPRegen  0.4/turn               w - ring of magical power

@: confused, flying, very slow
A: big wings, fangs 1, hooves 1, thin metallic scales 2, [blurry vision 2],
[deformed body], fire resistance 1, high mp 1, negative energy resistance 1,
robust 1, electricity resistance, [teleportitis 2], weak 1, unbreathing,
petrification resistance, [no potion heal 1], rot immunity, [subdued magic 1],
[MP-powered wands], AC +13
}: 1/15 runes: barnacled
a: Stop Flying, Bend Time, Temporal Distortion, Slouch, Step From Time, Renounce
Religion


You were on level 2 of the Abyss.
You worshipped Cheibriados.
Cheibriados was extremely pleased with you.
You were hungry.

You visited 5 branches of the dungeon, and saw 27 of its levels.
You visited the Abyss 1 time.

You collected 2112 gold pieces.
You spent 313 gold pieces at shops.

Inventory:

Hand Weapons
 m - a +3 demon whip of electrocution
 z - a +1 war axe of electrocution
 W - a +2 sacred scourge of holy wrath (weapon)
Armour
 b - a +3 chain mail (worn)
 c - a +2 shield of cold resistance (worn)
 e - a +0 hat of see invisible (worn)
 h - a +1 pair of boots (worn)
 A - the +0 pair of gloves of the Devil (worn) {Str+3}
   (You bought it in a shop on level 14 of the Dungeon)   
   
   It affects your strength (+3).
 P - the +1 cloak "Gejiawi" (worn) {rCorr Str+3 Dex+3}
   (You found it on level 3 of the Shoals)   
   
   It affects your strength (+3).
   It affects your dexterity (+3).
   It protects you from acid and corrosion.
Magical Staves
 B - an uncursed staff of earth
Jewellery
 n - a ring of magical power (left hand)
 s - a +4 ring of intelligence
 u - a +3 amulet of reflection (around neck)
 w - a ring of magical power (right hand)
 V - an uncursed amulet of regeneration
Wands
 C - a wand of scattershot (5/9)
Scrolls
 l - 10 scrolls of identify
 p - 6 scrolls of fog
 r - 11 scrolls of teleportation
 x - 4 scrolls of amnesia
 H - a scroll of magic mapping
 K - 2 scrolls of recharging
 L - 4 scrolls of immolation
 M - 5 scrolls of enchant armour
 N - a scroll of blinking
 O - 5 scrolls of fear
 R - 8 scrolls of remove curse
 T - 3 scrolls of enchant weapon
Potions
 d - 6 potions of brilliance
 g - 3 potions of magic
 o - 4 potions of agility
 q - 5 potions of lignification
 v - 9 potions of mutation
 F - a potion of cancellation
 J - a potion of resistance
 X - a potion of invisibility
 Y - 2 potions of might
Books
 t - a book of Flames   
   
    Spells                             Type                      Level
    a - Flame Tongue                 Conjuration/Fire              1
    b - Throw Flame                  Conjuration/Fire              2
    c - Conjure Flame                Conjuration/Fire              3
    d - Inner Flame                  Hexes/Fire                    3
    e - Sticky Flame                 Conjuration/Fire              4
    f - Fireball                     Conjuration/Fire              5
 y - a book of Callings   
   
    Spells                             Type                      Level
    a - Summon Small Mammal          Summoning                     1
    b - Call Imp                     Summoning                     2
    c - Call Canine Familiar         Summoning                     3
    d - Summon Guardian Golem        Hexes/Summoning               3
    e - Summon Lightning Spire       Summoning/Air                 4
    f - Summon Ice Beast             Ice/Summoning                 4
 E - a book of Dreams   
   
    Spells                             Type                      Level
    a - Ensorcelled Hibernation      Hexes/Ice                     2
    b - Silence                      Hexes/Air                     5
    c - Darkness                     Hexes                         6
    d - Shadow Creatures             Summoning                     6
 I - a book of Misfortune   
   
    Spells                             Type                      Level
    a - Confusing Touch              Hexes                         1
    b - Confuse                      Hexes                         3
    c - Gell's Gravitas              Translocation                 3
    d - Petrify                      Transmutation/Earth           4
    e - Metabolic Englaciation       Hexes/Ice                     5
    f - Yara's Violent Unravelling   Hexes/Transmutation           5
 U - a book of Maledictions   
   
    Spells                             Type                      Level
    a - Corona                       Hexes                         1
    b - Ensorcelled Hibernation      Hexes/Ice                     2
    c - Confuse                      Hexes                         3
    d - Tukima's Dance               Hexes                         3
    e - Dazzling Spray               Conjuration/Hexes             3
Miscellaneous
 a - a crystal ball of energy
 Q - a box of beasts
 S - a sack of spiders
 Z - a lightning rod (4/4)
Comestibles
 f - 16 bread rations
 j - 11 royal jellies
 k - 12 meat rations
 G - 13 fruits


   Skills:
 * Level 11.8 Fighting
 * Level 14.9 Maces & Flails
 * Level 12.0 Armour
 + Level 5.1 Dodging
 - Level 1.4 Stealth
 * Level 17.3 Shields
 * Level 9.4 Spellcasting
 + Level 4.6 Conjurations
 * Level 8.0 Hexes
 + Level 4.4 Fire Magic
 + Level 0.4 Air Magic
 * Level 10.9 Invocations


You had 7 spell levels left.
You knew the following spells:

 Your Spells              Type           Power        Failure   Level  Hunger
a - Confuse               Hex            #####...     1%          3    None
b - Throw Flame           Conj/Fire      ####..       2%          2    None
c - Conjure Flame         Conj/Fire      ####....     4%          3    None
d - Inner Flame           Hex/Fire       ####....     2%          3    None
e - Poisonous Vapours     Pois/Air       #.....       16%         2    None
f - Mephitic Cloud        Conj/Pois/Air  ###.....     17%         3    None
g - Freezing Cloud        Conj/Ice/Air   ###.......   100%        6    ######.
h - Dazzling Spray        Conj/Hex       ####..       1%          3    None
i - Tukima's Dance        Hex            #####...     1%          3    None


Dungeon Overview and Level Annotations

Branches:
Dungeon (15/15)            Temple (1/1) D:5            Lair (6/6) D:9
 Shoals (4/4) Lair:4       Spider (1/4) Lair:3        Slime (0/5) Lair:5
    Orc (0/2) D:11         Vaults (0/5) D:13         Depths (0/5) D:15

Skill      XL: |  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 |
---------------+-------------------------------------------------------+-----
Shields        |        4        5     6  7  8  9 10 11 12 14 15 17    | 17.3
Maces & Flails |           3     4  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14          | 14.9
Armour         |           4           5     6  7  8  9 10    11 12    | 12.0
Spellcasting   |           1        2  3  4     5  6     7  8     9    |  9.4
Fighting       |                 4     5     6  7     8  9 10 11       | 11.8
Dodging        |                    1        2  3     4           5    |  5.1
Invocations    |                       1  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10       | 10.9
Hexes          |                          2        3  4  5  6  7     8 |  8.0
Conjurations   |                             2  3  4                   |  4.6
Fire Magic     |                             2  3  4                   |  4.4
Stealth        |                                   1                   |  1.4
Air Magic      |                                                       |  0.4


Soo, here's my latest run. It was technically going to be wonderful, but a poor trip to Abyss 2 via banishment ended that early. Still, I've tuned the build a bit.

So, in light of the advice, I didn't switch weapons, although I did carry the best one-handed axe available just in case.

I also did cut back some on skill spreads. I started out training Fighting, M&F, Armor, Shields, and Spellcasting. (Stealth and dodging I left on auto, so it occasionally tossed a few percents that way. I cut off stealth once I had committed to a heavy build. These both remained under 5%, so their effect was negligible.)

Once I got a good book set, I tossed enough XP into Hexes to get my core spells up, then switched to fire and Conj. Cut those off and went back to Hexes a bit later after I got another Hex book.

This run what really did me in was poor armor. While my AC was fine, the GDR % was still kinda bleh. In hind-sight I should have bought a set of Plate Armor. Only found one in a store, planned to buy it after clearing Spider. Obviously I didn't get to that point.

Not switching weapons turned out to be a good plan, as I ended up getting end-game quality M&F primary weapons (at least a +3 demon whip of elec is an end-game wep in my opinion). For a long time I used a +4 mace {elec, rElec Str+6} since the only alternative was an axe of a basic Morningstar.

Overall I'd say this build was going as planned. Focusing a bit more helped, as the spell-casting was actually a life-saver in a few instances. Conjure Flame + Mephitic Cloud/Dazzling Spray + Poisonous Vapors is one of my favorite combos, tbh, and I certainly spammed that a few times. Throw Flame was my primary ranged attack, useful a few times when I just couldn't close a distance.

Projected to if I had managed to continue without banishment (which was, honestly, just a lucky hit --- I was invisible when Louise banished me, so the fact that she hit me...and her first attack was banishment...was just RNGesus hate), this build would have been right where I wanted it, more or less, esp on a good spellcasting base, something I failed with on my last good run.

Now, most people would question why I kept shields going past lvl 15. I did drop it down, but left it on auto (which added the next 2 lvls). The reason being is that despite my spellcasting, at that point I was still melee focused, and by end-game wanted to get a large-shield up and running without penalty. I may/may not do this again next run, and put that XP elsewhere (Fighting most likely).

So....Thoughts here? Open to CnC and whatnot as usual, still trying to learn.
User avatar

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1718

Joined: Monday, 14th October 2013, 01:05

Post Monday, 25th September 2017, 04:07

Re: The Development of a Tank

It's not what killed you here, but for what it's worth at the start of the game I train only one or two skills at once. For a character like this, weapon skill and fighting, until both are at least 10.

Did you have MR to wear vs Louise? If not, could you have blocked line of fire to her with summons? (Lightning spire is good to do this quickly because you place it.) If not, could you have hexed her to prevent her casting spells? If not, could you have just avoided her?

Swamp Slogger

Posts: 174

Joined: Saturday, 16th September 2017, 21:17

Post Monday, 25th September 2017, 04:40

Re: The Development of a Tank

^^I could have avoided her, but I had gone invisible to keep out of LOS.

I didn't have any MR, I believe -- the only MR I had was some ring mail I found early on and gotten rid of. No way to block line of fire. That said, I could have Hexed her easily -- I had Meph Cloud, ofc, to confuse, and also dazzling spray to blind her. Bad choices there.

Crypt Cleanser

Posts: 766

Joined: Tuesday, 25th November 2014, 02:47

Post Monday, 25th September 2017, 09:32

Re: The Development of a Tank

  Code:
Skill      XL: |  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 |
---------------+-------------------------------------------------------+-----
Shields        |        4        5     6  7  8  9 10 11 12 14 15 17    | 17.3
Maces & Flails |           3     4  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14          | 14.9
Armour         |           4           5     6  7  8  9 10    11 12    | 12.0
Spellcasting   |           1        2  3  4     5  6     7  8     9    |  9.4
Fighting       |                 4     5     6  7     8  9 10 11       | 11.8
Dodging        |                    1        2  3     4           5    |  5.1
Invocations    |                       1  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10       | 10.9
Hexes          |                          2        3  4  5  6  7     8 |  8.0
Conjurations   |                             2  3  4                   |  4.6
Fire Magic     |                             2  3  4                   |  4.4
Stealth        |                                   1                   |  1.4
Air Magic      |                                                       |  0.4

Action                   |  1- 3 |  4- 6 |  7- 9 | 10-12 | 13-15 | 16-18 || total
-------------------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------++-------
Melee: Flail             |   100 |   210 |   262 |       |       |       ||   572
       Morningstar       |       |       |   158 |   551 |       |       ||   709
       Unarmed           |       |       |       |     8 |       |       ||     8
       Kick              |       |       |       |   207 |   582 |       ||   789
       Mace              |       |       |       |   216 |  1181 |  1064 ||  2461
       Bite              |       |       |       |       |    49 |   290 ||   339
       Demon whip        |       |       |       |       |       |    65 ||    65
       Sacred scourge    |       |       |       |       |       |    47 ||    47
 Cast: Throw Flame       |       |       |       |       |       |    19 ||    19
       Conjure Flame     |       |       |       |       |       |     6 ||     6
       Mephitic Cloud    |       |       |       |       |       |     5 ||     5
Invok: Slouch            |       |       |       |     1 |     6 |     6 ||    13
       Step From Time    |       |       |       |       |       |     4 ||     4
 Abil: Fly               |       |       |       |       |     1 |       ||     1
  Use: Potion            |       |     1 |     5 |     5 |     2 |    17 ||    30
       Scroll            |       |       |    10 |     5 |     5 |     7 ||    27
 Stab: Distracted        |       |       |       |     1 |       |       ||     1
       Confused          |       |       |       |     1 |       |       ||     1
       Sleeping          |       |       |       |     1 |       |       ||     1
       Petrified         |       |       |       |       |     3 |       ||     3
       Invisible         |       |       |       |       |       |     1 ||     1
  Eat: Chunk             |       |     6 |     4 |    16 |    19 |    11 ||    56
       Meat ration       |       |       |     1 |     1 |     1 |     1 ||     4
       Bread ration      |       |       |       |       |       |     1 ||     1
Armor: Scale mail        |    74 |    47 |       |       |       |       ||   121
       Ring mail         |       |    55 |   245 |   365 |    60 |       ||   725
       Chain mail        |       |       |       |       |   380 |   576 ||   956
       Skin              |       |       |       |       |       |     7 ||     7
Dodge: Dodged            |    46 |    59 |   135 |   318 |   385 |   560 ||  1503
Block: Shield            |    59 |   135 |   233 |   587 |   843 |  1578 ||  3435
       Reflection        |       |       |       |       |       |    46 ||    46


You got your first level of spellcasting at lvl 4. You got your first level of a spell skill, hexes, at level 9. At the conclusion of level 15 , you had 8 levels in spellcasting, 6 in hexes, 4 in conjuration and fire. A total of 22 skill levels.

You hadn't cast a single spell yet, you didn't cast anything until level 16.

Yes, you have to train magic for a while before you are able to cast a first spell, but you were investing into these skills for over 12 levels, presumably beginning at D2 or D3, and you would not see any return on this investment until your first rune branch.

Abyss Ambulator

Posts: 1191

Joined: Wednesday, 23rd April 2014, 21:57

Post Monday, 25th September 2017, 09:55

Re: The Development of a Tank

Conjure Flame is a great spell and is a useful addition to almost every character. As a fighter (low Int) in heavy armour it can take a fair bit of XP to get castable. The most efficient way is usually just to train fire and conjurations.

Looking at the above, most, if not all your experience spent on spellcasting was essentially wasted.

I'm not sure what your plans were for hexes, but there are not many hexes that would work well for a fighter in heavy armour. Perhaps Spectral Weapon or Tukima's? The problem is that most Hexes need spellpower to be reasonably effective.

You have an elec DWhip and a Sacred Scourge, so training magic for doing damage isn't necessary. If you want ranged attacks, just get throwing. Or more Evo.

Get Evo anyways really.

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Post Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 13:27

Re: The Development of a Tank

Yes, I will get Evo going sooner, I think.

That said, if I had focused on Hexes for even a single level (I was considering stopping shields anyway, which would have left more free XP), I would have easily gotten to full power as I have on previous (although less successful) runs. This type of choice is ONLY workable with Cheibro, do note -- I would not usually do this. If I was going with a different god, I would choose between heavy spells or heavy armor, not both.

The point of this build is that I want to get EVERYTHING at maximum potency possible...which is a fine balancing act, to say the least. Spells will trail for a long time, but if I can clear the upper dungeon most XP will go into Fighting and Spell casting, since my wep, shields, and armor will be around the point where I want them to be.

Generally speaking, I'm going to keep running this build.

Skilling will still be Fighting, Wep, Armor, and Shields, with Spellcasting and dodging tossed in early. Around D:9-10 I'll pour XP into getting specific spell schools and Invo up and running, then switch back to melee primarily. As I tick off melee skills (next time, I'm stopping shields at lvl 15), their XP will be swapped over to fighting.

Then, around the Vaults/Elven Halls/Depths areas I'll go back to jacking up spellcasting to the next plateau (probably around lvl 14 on relevant skills). After that, Evocations will come into play. Then I'll go back to Melee, getting top-tier wep skills at min-delay, but primarily focusing on fighting.

I tend to stray away from throwing/ranged merely because of inventory constraints. Between Food, Scrolls, and Potions I have almost no inventory space left, and what IS left I typically save for alternate gear to get needed resistances/boosts.
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Post Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 13:31

Re: The Development of a Tank

Just don't train spell skills (either spellcasting or spell schools) until you actually want to cast spells.
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Post Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 13:36

Re: The Development of a Tank

I think it is a bad idea to plan in advance what and when you are going to do. You might be unlucky to have no useful spells after Orc, you might be lucky to find an awesome weapon in different weapon category and would need to train for it, you might be lucky to find storm bow or damnation and forget about spells completely, you might be lucky to find dozen of wands etc.
Get a spell book, estimate its usefulness, estimate if you are strong enough to survive while investing in it (it is unlikely to give you any benefit immediately unless it is something like Blink or Animate Skeleton in light armour).
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Post Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 19:04

Re: The Development of a Tank

^I do adjust my plans.

For example, my last good run today I switched from M&F because on D:3 I found a +10 trident (piercing, Str +4). I ended up focusing on combat because by D:11 I had only found one spellbook, and while I liked having Mehp and Conjure flame in the same book, it wasn't worth the XP investment at that point. (Said run included some great gear, but ended after an early trip to the Abyss without finding any exits).

I have, however, noticed the efficiency difference now that I'm fine-tuning my skill composition, and really like it.

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Post Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 20:26

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:This type of choice is ONLY workable with Cheibro, do note -- I would not usually do this. If I was going with a different god, I would choose between heavy spells or heavy armor, not both.


I think you are overestimating the amount of XP that is in the game outside of zig/pan.

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Post Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 21:30

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:For example, my last good run today I switched from M&F because on D:3 I found a +10 trident (piercing, Str +4).

Nice weapon, certainly extremely good for D:3. Good choice.

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 00:43

Re: The Development of a Tank

edgefigaro wrote:
Alphaeus wrote:This type of choice is ONLY workable with Cheibro, do note -- I would not usually do this. If I was going with a different god, I would choose between heavy spells or heavy armor, not both.


I think you are overestimating the amount of XP that is in the game outside of zig/pan.


I'm not sure if I follow your line of thought. Before even entering Vaults/Depths, If I clear the upper dungeon I can reach around XL 21, get shields to my desired max, a weapon skill to min-delay for one-handed weapons, get invocations to the necessary skill (Chei is kinda light, so you can stop between Skill lvl 7 and 10 without issues), get Spellcasting and 1-2 spell schools up to a level where most mid-level utility spells are castable at good power. This is while also training armor and fighting constantly as well.

Following that line of thought, clearing the Vaults and delving into the Depths would land me with more than enough XP to polish off my skills, with primary focus re-routing into fighting and spell-skills, with dodging and secondary skills tagging along.

The benefit of Chei is that you become a bit less skill-dependent, because extremely high INT compensates lower spell-skills, armor encumbrance is combated by your STR and DEX, etc.

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 13:56

Re: The Development of a Tank

Dude, you just lost a game with a +3 demon whip of electrocution and 3 enchant weapons in inventory, xl 18, 25 dex, and 5.1 dodging, but 9.4 (!!!!!!) spellcasting. Looks like you were putting points in int too for some reason.

An experienced player can win in spite of wasting resources like this. It is best to get a few wins under your belt before spending a lot of time trying to build fancy characters though. If you really like Chei, try something more straightforwardly melee oriented and pick up spells that support that style of play (think summons, translocations, charms, and necromancy) after you've picked up 2 runes. Skill dodging, it's good. When you've won that way, you'll be in a better position to judge "the benefit of Chei" and "extremely high INT."
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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 16:26

Re: The Development of a Tank

^Unfortunately, the "low and slow" way of learning isn't how I do things. I set sights high, and fail repeatedly until I figure out how to succeed :P. Not efficient, but it will be effective.

The whip and scourge were both found just before my fatal encounter with a lucky hit from a banishment spell while invisible.

I will, however, be taking your advice with dodging and choosing spells a bit more wisely. With that build I'm still trying to find the sweet spot of spellcasting-X-meleepower. Part of the inherent problem is the Gargoyles aren't the greatest at spells period (except for earth) which forces a bit more investment. The type of spells I'm going for right now are 1) ranged damage, since I don't want to train throwing/ranged atm; 2) AoE damage/debuffs to handle hordes stacking damage/casting spells too fast; 3) defensive/help me escape spells. In that order of importance, more or less.

I'm going to still keep trudging away on this build, but I do take time off (like for an OpTm of Chei, HOMo of Beogh, VpAs of Dith, etc).

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Post Friday, 29th September 2017, 14:45

Re: The Development of a Tank

Why not Naga? Naga of Chei's Slouch is strong and piety gain is fast.
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Post Friday, 29th September 2017, 20:11

Re: The Development of a Tank

Naga is indeed a viable choice (as is Barachim, ofc). They have some early-game gimps, though, in that until you find Chei your slowness is just an irritation and the lower AC won't be compensated by your innate AC yet.

Overall, I think that IF I can get Gargoyle up and running, the sheer incredible power of 64% GDR in max armor and upwards of 70 AC (plus lovely resistances/immunities and permanent flight) are the key points of this build. The weakness I keep seeing with Chei is that if things go south, you can't run. So, I want to make sure that if I can't run, I can outlast anything. The downside is the low HP, which is why I almost always mutation-gamble to get Robust mutations to get back to "normal".

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Post Monday, 9th October 2017, 20:19

Re: The Development of a Tank

I have a lot of practice building gargoyle "tanks". Here's what I'd suggest, based on experience:

Take mace/flails over axes initially. If/when you find a good axe, go ahead and train axes up some. If you find an eveningstar, put more into M&F. You're not trying to decide which to use, ideally you want M&F for taking down bosses and tough single targets, holding choke points, and swap to your axe when you're surrounded. There are many cases where it makes sense to use axes even if the skill is lower than M&F such as you're attacking a strong target, but surrounded by zombies and you're worshipping TSO. There are cases where you have a good mace and a good axe and it's worth it to train both. The cross-training going two directions isn't meaningless or worthless as some have suggested. Using them both in the right situations can be very effective and it's not a waste of XP to invest in both.

Time and time again, I find that taking Okawaru for his gear gifts and heroism+finesse is the best route, then switching into TSO as soon as the only places left to clear are crypt/tomb/abyss/hells/pan. Ditch Okawaru just before doing abyss and have blink spell loaded with some teleport scrolls, it's not that big of a deal. It's a tough call what to make your holy weapon but I'd say broad axe is the best overall choice.

You generally don't want to bother with spellcasting until your Armour skill is up there a ways. Some people say melee, fighting, armour, etc. but in actually it's the armour skill which is the most relevant. On a gargoyle the best choices are earth magic for iron shot/LRD/Shatter, or fire for conjure flame/sticky flame/fireball/ignite/fire storm, or air for shock/tornado. I would lean towards increasing STR over INT because you may find good +Int items and then start spellcasting, but you might also not find what you need to cast, ever.

The best armours are: Pearl dragon if you're casting, Quicksilver if you're casting and still searching for more enchant armour scrolls or better armour, Gold Dragon if you have ample strength, Crystal Plate if you have ample resists in crystal and lots of strength, fire/ice dragon if you have artifacts which offset the fire/cold resists and you're casting. The ultimate armour is Orange Crystal Plate if you have tons of STR and INT. If you can't find good dragon or crystal armour, stick to plate with rF+ or rC+ to get to one pip. Beware of being tempted to wear artifact armour that looks good but has lower base protection. Beware of wearing lower base protection armours such as acid. Dumping much into evasion is a waste unless you happen to also find extremely good gear with tons of supplemental DEX in addition to what you already want.

You don't need to bother switching to a two-hander. One-handed weapons do enough damage and the loss of a shield for it's protection and possible artifact properties isn't worth it. For whatever damage they lack, they have increased accuracy. Reliability and Durability = Survival. Durability also allows you to more effectively deliver damage. I've run gargs with exec axes that have had awesome armour and gear, and overall they just don't feel as solid.

Don't dump too much into evocations, if at all. A few points is ok, and getting the skill up to 10 helps it greatly. The trouble is that if you keep the gear options you want, plus all the scrolls and potions in inventory, evocables take up too much room in inventory. The time to increase evocations is much later in the game when you want to channel mana with a staff of energy, and/or when you have saved up a big pile of bags of spiders and boxes of beasts. Those are useful in Tar and generally against most all big endgame bosses and as oh-sht buttons. Waste charges and throw wands away early on. Iceblasts on hydras, etc. The only ones worth considering keeping long term and using ID and recharge scrolls on are Digging, Acid and Clouds. You would be better off putting points into throwing over evocations.

Don't pump invocations very high (past 10) until you've switched to TSO and you're going to be using it for holy blasts.

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Post Monday, 29th January 2018, 15:59

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:Still, I totally agree with that. DD of Chei seems awesome.

DD of Chei is pain in the ass until you find an vamp weapon.

Heres my DDNe^Chei, looks like I've found vamp hand axe early in the game:

  Code:
Action                   |  1- 3 |  4- 6 |  7- 9 | 10-12 | 13-15 | 16-18 | 19-21 | 22-24 | 25-27 || total
-------------------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------++-------
Melee: Whip              |    50 |   143 |    20 |       |       |       |       |       |       ||   213
       Hand axe          |       |    12 |   253 |   819 |  2401 |  2334 |       |       |       ||  5819
       Broad axe         |       |       |       |       |    15 |   554 |  1788 |  1743 |  1608 ||  5708

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Post Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 02:11

Re: The Development of a Tank

Agreed that nagas of Chei are really, really painful to start in the early game, but if you do manage to get one to a decent level, they're far better tanks than gargoyles are. There's a reason I played a naga when I wanted to do megazigs - they're arguably the best race for megazigs, or at least in the top 3. Gargoyles are much, much easier to start.

To get around being really hard in the early game, picking a strong background like hunter with slings can be useful. Slings have plenty of ammo early on, and are quite powerful even with only 4-6 skill. You could take the starting sling to min delay (I think that's 12 skill? Been a while, check in game) or branch into melee weapons before that. But not walking towards things for the first 5-6 floors is a great idea.

Eventually I tend to recommend super heavy armor (CPA) and blade hands, plus whatever super powerful AOE magic you can find. Freezing cloud is a favorite and much cheaper than level 9 spells. Only mix level 9 spells and heavy armor if you're doing megazigs, which you shouldn't do until you've won the game a few times first.

Sample tanks:

NaMo^Chei, 15 runes, 64 AC 36 EV 30 SH (lich form).
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Tason ... 130922.txt

NaMo^Chei, 3 runes, 70AC 39EV 22SH. (used agility/phasing) Fought with blade hands and CPA.
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/tasonir/mor ... 040128.txt

Another one similar to the above: (58/23/24)
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/tasonir/mor ... 121810.txt

Starting as a hunter, and only in FDA: (I assume I just never found good CPA) (42/29/17 defenses)
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/tasonir/mor ... 191717.txt

And finally the mega zig naga - not the best one to start out with.
NaWz^Chei -> Mahkleb, 15 runes, 4 megazigs, 72AC 25EV 33SH (no form).
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/tasonir/mor ... 213819.txt

Characters 2 and 3 on this list are probably the simple ones you'd want to emulate - take the heaviest armor you can find (that you can manage to enchant) and use blade hands to murder everything. Train magic with your 0 aptitudes (0 is a good aptitude) and high int. Damage over time spells are particularly strong when you're tanky and can also deal damage in melee, since you only have to cast them once they're very mana efficient. Freezing cloud is the best example of this, but conjure flame also wrecks anything that will walk into it. Once you can deal enough damage to kill things efficiently, invest heavily in defenses (which includes fighting).

All of the above paragraph applies just as easily to gargoyles, or basically any race (except the part about 0 aptitudes, if they don't have 0 aptitudes). Also, don't neglect regeneration. You want at least one source of it, either equipment or the spell. And stacking multiple sources is better, if you can.

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Post Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 14:33

Re: The Development of a Tank

Noticed that people have dug up this old thread, lol.

I'm curious why people say Nagas make better tanks than gargoyles. The wiki suggests otherwise (although I've also learned not to trust the advice of the wiki all the time).

My last several runs have taught me the power of ranged, too. I'd generally underestimated it, but put javelins of returning to extensive use and found them surprisingly powerful at mid skill levels, so I might try a hunter.

You also mention blade-hands, but ofc there is no guarantee of getting that early game. It's a fairly standard Transmutation spell, though, so I'd assume by mid-game you can usually get ahold of it (only gotten to lategame once, and that was on the downloaded version in v.16 by accident :P).

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Post Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 14:34

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:I'm curious why people say Nagas make better tanks than gargoyles.


Because they have comparable defenses while Nagas have 50% more HP in normal form. Also Gr cannot use Statue Form so they have 199 HP in extended and Naga can have about 450 HP in Statue Form.
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Post Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 16:35

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:You also mention blade-hands, but ofc there is no guarantee of getting that early game.

If you start as an Transmuter you will have Blade Hands in the Book of Changes. With Chei you can have it online just before the Lair. Without Chei, you should put more exp into the trasmutations and pick Int stat on lvlups.
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Post Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 21:18

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:Noticed that people have dug up this old thread, lol.

I'm curious why people say Nagas make better tanks than gargoyles.

I didn't dig it up myself, but once dug, I'm sure as hell going to pile on! :)

In short, hit points. Think of it this way, pretend every turn you face 25 points of incoming damage, your defenses mitigate a certain percent, and the rest hit your hp pool. How many turns does it take to die?

Gargoyle:
70% damage reduction, 7.5 damage per turn, 100 hp = 13.3 turns.

Naga:
60% damage reduction, 10 damage per turn, 150 hp = 15 turns.

This is before regeneration, which is also based on your max hp (and then any regen items). Gargoyle regenerates .26 and the Naga regenerates .35. In the above 25 damage per turn that doesn't add very much, but if we used a model where the defenses were even higher, and thus you are taking less damage, regeneration becomes one of the MOST important "tank" stats.

Theoretical awesome tank of awesomeness:
25 pre-mitigation damage per turn
90% reduction, 250 hp
2.5 damage taken, 100 turns to die (before regeneration).
With no regeneration items, base regen = .51, 125.6 turns to die.
Now let's add just the regeneration spell (assume it's up for the entire fight; recast when it's expiring): 1.51 regeneration, 252.5 turns to die.
With regen spell, and a regen item? 423 turns to die.
For humorous purposes, if you had the regen mutation, regen amulet, troll leather armor, and the regen spell you'd no longer take damage and live forever.

Honestly, it's probably an oversight that I didn't recommend you try either troll or vine stalker - they're both incredibly durable races if you can raise their defenses. Trolls have a bit of an issue getting AC early on, but once you either find dragon armor, or cast statue form, they're nearly indestructible. VS are similiar - they don't get any bonus AC, but once you manage to raise theirs (and they can use metal armors) it's very hard to keep their hp + mana pool empty.

Look at my recent .21 tournament 15 rune VS: http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Tason ... 072324.txt

I didn't escape while in statue form, but in statue form I had ~50AC, 39 EV, 22SH. With an always on 1.61 regeneration rate, and 2.61 if I have regeneration active. Furthermore because of the VS racial abilities, a portion of damage is redirected to mana, which is then restored frequently when attacking. 190 hp + 30% when in statue form is about 245hp (and 48 mana), which is more than a gargoyle will have. Now that is a tank.

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Post Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 22:05

Re: The Development of a Tank

All of the wonderful knowledge above


Well then.

Guess it looks like I was going at that from the wrong angle. Aside from a successful "freak" run, my first moderately promising runs were with gargoyles starting out. After looking at what you said it makes sense that gargoyles are more early-game bait for new players than true tanks. I'm sure they have their strengths (I'd love to play a gargoyle of Kiku and then laugh in the face of any negative energy effects), but generally speaking I can see why they aren't the best choice for a build like this.

I've been weighing trying a troll of Chei, going UC primarily. That leads me to another question -- if a Troll takes statue form, would the troll retain the claws with transmuted?

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Post Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 23:54

Re: The Development of a Tank

Alphaeus wrote:
All of the wonderful knowledge above


Well then.

Guess it looks like I was going at that from the wrong angle. Aside from a successful "freak" run, my first moderately promising runs were with gargoyles starting out. After looking at what you said it makes sense that gargoyles are more early-game bait for new players than true tanks. I'm sure they have their strengths (I'd love to play a gargoyle of Kiku and then laugh in the face of any negative energy effects), but generally speaking I can see why they aren't the best choice for a build like this.

I've been weighing trying a troll of Chei, going UC primarily. That leads me to another question -- if a Troll takes statue form, would the troll retain the claws with transmuted?


Don't get the wrong idea, Gargoyles are not bad by any means, it's just that Nagas are better.

And yes, Statue form trolls do get statue claws.
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Post Thursday, 1st February 2018, 01:12

Re: The Development of a Tank

Yeah, as Seigurt said, gargoyles aren't bad; they're probably still an 'above average' crawl race, but the low hp is a significant drawback.

Trolls do get stone claws, and they even have relatively decent aptitudes for statue form - earth magic is a surprisingly high -1 aptitude for them. Transmutations is still -3. Spellcasting is -5, but you don't actually need spellcasting to cast spells. You should train a few cheap levels of spellcasting, but don't take it too high. Here's an example statue troll morgue: http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Tason ... 231010.txt

Note that I didn't actually get statue form online until roughly 2 runes in. The time you spend training magic skills but can't yet cast statue form is time you're actively devoting skill experience to something which currently has no impact, and then when you suddenly turn on statue form it's a huge leap in power. But it's quite easy to die on the way to statue form.

For funsies here's an old (.17) troll earth elementalist (back when stone skin was in game) who managed to get the robust 2 mutation for 503 hp in statue form: http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/tasonir/mor ... 064252.txt

Take note of how little spellcasting you need: I have 27 fighting, 27 unarmed combat, 27 dodging, 16 transmutations, 18 earth...and left spellcasting at 12.6. Early on when you're first casting statue form I'd probably take spellcasting to around 5 and leave it there. Spell hunger isn't an issue when you can eat until engorged.

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Post Friday, 2nd February 2018, 01:11

Re: The Development of a Tank

Siegurt wrote:Don't get the wrong idea, Gargoyles are not bad by any means, it's just that Nagas are better.
I've been trying to ignore this thread, but this post finally made me snap and ask what are you people smoking

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Post Friday, 2nd February 2018, 01:52

Re: The Development of a Tank

duvessa wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Don't get the wrong idea, Gargoyles are not bad by any means, it's just that Nagas are better.
I've been trying to ignore this thread, but this post finally made me snap and ask what are you people smoking

In the context of becoming highly durable in the mid or late game, on a character that is assumed to be worshipping chei. So the gargoyle also loses "walking away" as a defense. The naga will survive things better than the gargoyle, on average.

This is not taking into account the early game, where it's been mentioned that starting out a naga is much more vulnerable than a gargoyle.

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Post Friday, 2nd February 2018, 02:13

Re: The Development of a Tank

duvessa wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Don't get the wrong idea, Gargoyles are not bad by any means, it's just that Nagas are better.
I've been trying to ignore this thread, but this post finally made me snap and ask what are you people smoking

I wasn't saying gargoyles are *generally* better but *for this specific purpose* aka "high ability to withstand damage with limited mobility, because you're worshipping chei and/or are using statue form" in other words what I was saying was "when you take movement (mostly) out of the equation, Nagas can survive (a little) more punishment than Gargoyles, given similar levels of equipment"

Movement is such a large and important factor that the additional benefits conferred by position oneself tactically (given that it's possible to do so) outweigh the additional "punishment taking" abilities that Naga's have at their disposal.

I don't think the goal of "eventually becoming able to withstand lots and lots of damage" is a good or useful goal in terms of winning, but if that's literally your only goal, Nagas are slightly better than Gargoyles.
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