Draconians general thread


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

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Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 13th December 2011, 11:47

Draconians general thread

...so, let's start with this: is there a point in training elemental magic that is inhibited by an opposing one or is it a waste of XP? I mean, I really love Draconians, so I go with DrCj, but my tactics so far were to abstain from training elemental magic other than Air (for obvious reasons) until I get to XL 7 and go from there with Vehumet providing different elemental destructive spells. But that's two birds in the bush, since Vehumet piety gaining is quite time-consuming, while Book of Conjurations provides Freezing Cloud which I've found quite useful - that'd be a bird in the hand. The dilemma is that my character may well become a red-scaled one, which would make the Fire aptitude obsolete. Or would it?

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Post Tuesday, 13th December 2011, 12:02

Re: Draconians general thread

I'd say Freezing Cloud is worth it even if you end up turning red as it's so powerful, and you don't need much ice magic to cast it if you focus on conjurations/air, though Poisonous Cloud is probably even better in most pre-endgame branches.

For a red draconian, it's probably only worth focusing on fire magic if you find the right book early enough, as Vehumet does not give much in the way of fire spells.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 13th December 2011, 12:04

Re: Draconians general thread

Jeremiah wrote: Vehumet does not give much in the way of fire spells.

So Fire Storm and Bolt of Magma are not worth it?
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Post Tuesday, 13th December 2011, 12:17

Re: Draconians general thread

That depends, a lot.

Bolt of Magma is OK, and Fire Storm is brilliant. The former is good when you have a lot of investment in Fire or Earth already and need a mid-level blaster but don't have much else; the latter needs a lot of focus. And to focus, it has to be worth investing in Conjurations and Fire magic all the time before that! There's a pattern there, which is: on their own, they're not something to base a strategy around.

Just my opinion this, I'm not a super-experienced player with hundreds of wins, but I've been playing conjurators a bit lately and have won a few.
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Post Tuesday, 13th December 2011, 12:21

Re: Draconians general thread

The aptitude hit for red or white draconians is not all that severe. Your L4 and L6 spells will only come online a level or so slower, particularly since you can just lean on conjurations instead. You can also equip rings of fire or ice relatively safely because you have the resistance required to patch the weakness they give, and spell enhancers are very powerful.

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Post Tuesday, 13th December 2011, 14:51

Re: Draconians general thread

As KoboldLord said, a -2 aptitude is not bad at all. Mummies, for example, get to train almost everything at -2 apts. It just takes a bit of patience. In one memorable game of mine, I found two manuals of ice magic on a mummy fire elementalist and ended the game with both fire storm and ice storm castable. :D

(in other words, yes, they're still worth training)

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Post Tuesday, 13th December 2011, 15:56

Re: Draconians general thread

Blade wrote:I found two manuals of ice magic on a mummy fire elementalist and ended the game with both fire storm and ice storm castable. :D


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Post Wednesday, 14th December 2011, 19:09

Re: Draconians general thread

Draconians are basically one of the most versatile races out there. I agree, -2 aptitude isnt a big deal especially wen Conjirations is never affected. Your breath weapon provides a powerful and reliable backup, the best ones being Red breath (flame cloud abuse), Mottled breath (massive damage), and Pale breath (high damage over time, never misses, fast recharge time, lowest food cost).
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Post Sunday, 18th December 2011, 13:36

Re: Draconians general thread

As far as I've understood, Dragon Form is a waste of Transmutation levels, unless one is a draconian? So, is it worth for a DrCj to branch (we're speaking of rooting here, though) into Transmutation?
'Sides, how many skills switched on at a time is optimal? I'm more of a trunk person, by the way, so the skill system is different a bit there and I am at a loss.

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Post Sunday, 18th December 2011, 14:24

Re: Draconians general thread

One.

Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 18th December 2011, 15:18

Re: Draconians general thread

PerverseSuffering wrote:As far as I've understood, Dragon Form is a waste of Transmutation levels, unless one is a draconian? So, is it worth for a DrCj to branch (we're speaking of rooting here, though) into Transmutation?

I doubt it would be worth it to be honest. The melee is immensely powerful and I'm having great fun with it on a DrTm in 0.9. But unless something major has changed between there and trunk then it will take a lot of transmutations, probably have a high hunger cost (I'm using a staff of energy to be quite stupid with it otherwise I think my hunger would be ration) and a Cj should have plenty of safer ways to kill everything.

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Post Monday, 19th December 2011, 18:29

Re: Draconians general thread

cerebovssquire wrote:One.

Sorry to derail the thread here.
cerebovssquire, you are by far a better player than I and I can't definitely see this is optimal in many situations, but do you really think it's optimal in all situations?

For example, I just lost a Fire Elementalist that had the following skills:
  Code:
Skills:
- Level 1 Fighting
- Level 1 Short Blades
- Level 5 Staves
- Level 1 Throwing
- Level 8 Dodging
- Level 10 Stealth
- Level 1 Stabbing
+ Level 8 Traps & Doors
- Level 1 Unarmed Combat
+ Level 11 Spellcasting
- Level 10 Conjurations
- Level 7 Hexes
+ Level 7 Charms
+ Level 4 Translocations
- Level 10 Fire Magic
+ Level 6 Earth Magic
+ Level 8 Evocations


Everything memorized was castable at excellent except control teleport at great. I was training earth and evocations for the staff of earth that I had found as well as for Iron Shot that I had in a book. Tloc was on to get control tele up to excellent. Spc was on to funnel any excesses into getting things like Magma to no hunger, but the honeycomb wasn't keeping me from casting it that often. I admit that charms probably should have been off, though.

Even so, would I have been that much better off my funneling all the XP into one skill? I wasn't waiting for anything in particular.

What about when you have a multi-school spell, like sticky flame? When I wanted that excellent, I had only fire and cj on. Is it really better to just dump all into one and then all into another?
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Post Monday, 19th December 2011, 18:54

Re: Draconians general thread

rebthor wrote:What about when you have a multi-school spell, like sticky flame? When I wanted that excellent, I had only fire and cj on. Is it really better to just dump all into one and then all into another?


Henzell says success rates use the average of the involved skills, as well as Spellcasting.

So it comes down to: Are your aptitudes the same for both? Are you planning to go on primarily in Cj or Fire? (This is probably more of an issue for Ice, which has lots and lots of useful non-conjurations.) Do you have access to Bolt of Fire or IMB or Iron Shot?

If you're playing optimally, there's probably always one skill you want more than any other; the optimal solution would be to focus that and disable everything else. The game may throw things at you that change that equation; but... that's the game :)

That strategy is for smarter people than I am.
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Post Monday, 19th December 2011, 19:08

Re: Draconians general thread

njvack wrote:
rebthor wrote:What about when you have a multi-school spell, like sticky flame? When I wanted that excellent, I had only fire and cj on. Is it really better to just dump all into one and then all into another?


Henzell says success rates use the average of the involved skills, as well as Spellcasting.

So it comes down to: Are your aptitudes the same for both? Are you planning to go on primarily in Cj or Fire? (This is probably more of an issue for Ice, which has lots and lots of useful non-conjurations.) Do you have access to Bolt of Fire or IMB or Iron Shot?

If you're playing optimally, there's probably always one skill you want more than any other; the optimal solution would be to focus that and disable everything else. The game may throw things at you that change that equation; but... that's the game :)

That strategy is for smarter people than I am.

True, but it's easier to raise a skill from 3-4 than it is from 6-7. That is to say, having 4/4 in Cj/Fire is the same calculation as 7/1 in either. However, I'm not sure if the total needed EXP is lower which would mean that it really is the optimal strategy.

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Post Monday, 19th December 2011, 19:21

Re: Draconians general thread

I actually disagree with that specialization idea, even with Ice - once you get to ~11 Ice, you've pretty much gotten everything you want out of the school unless you're going for Ice Stom. I don't know that I'd rather have a more powerful Bolt of Cold & Ozocubu's Armour than adding Haste & Phase Shift, for instance. The same is true around that amount for lots of schools - most only need to go to around 11 to get you to the best 6th level spells, and you only need 7th - 9th if you're doing the extended game.

My latest character is a 19th level Black Draconian right now. My skills are around the following: 12 fighting, 16 long blade, 6 dodging, 6 traps, 16 spellcasting, 12 conjuration, 12 ice, 10 charms, 9 translocation, 10 air, 10 invocation (makhleb). I think I'll be best served next by branching into a little stealth while I keep pumping spellcasting. I'd be much worse off with all that spread out experience in Ice Magic.

Going into combat I cast Ozocubu + Phase Shift (and sometimes Deflect Misiles) for +8 to EV & AC, toss down a freezing cloud as necessary, throw a few icicles, then chop people to death (or cast swiftness & activate racial flight to get away).

In my opinion, this versatility is exactly why I love draconians!

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Post Monday, 19th December 2011, 19:42

Re: Draconians general thread

Everything memorized was castable at excellent except control teleport at great. I was training earth and evocations for the staff of earth that I had found as well as for Iron Shot that I had in a book. Tloc was on to get control tele up to excellent. Spc was on to funnel any excesses into getting things like Magma to no hunger, but the honeycomb wasn't keeping me from casting it that often. I admit that charms probably should have been off, though.

Even so, would I have been that much better off my funneling all the XP into one skill? I wasn't waiting for anything in particular.


Optimal play would be "get the staff of earth up" > "get Iron Shot" > get your Spellcasting up" > "get control teleport" in that or another order. Iron Shot at Good and Control Teleport at Great and then both at Excellent will help much less than first Iron Shot at Excellent, and then Control Teleport at Excellent, for instance. When you run into MP or spellhunger problems, raise Spellcasting.
It's important to note that this is not blindly training up skills to the highest level you want them at eventually, but training them to skill levels useful now. Probably the periods of training single skills would have been very short in this case, maybe Earth for a couple thousand turns, Translocations for a couple thousand, etc. Optimally you should always train one at a time. I, myself, find micromanagement tedious at times and have two or three on at some times, especially on melee characters.

Pendantically optimal play includes "get Fire 1, get Conjurations 1, get Fire 2, get Conjurations 2, get Fire 3, get (...)" till you have Sticky Flame castable. I don't think anyone with some mental self-preservation instinct does this though. ;)

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Post Tuesday, 20th December 2011, 03:52

Re: Draconians general thread

Haven't spell levels been turned from discrete to continuous (So fire at 1.1 gives more spell power than does fire at 1.0)?

If so, then getting sticky flame powered up would involve keeping conjurations and fire on.

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Post Tuesday, 20th December 2011, 13:06

Re: Draconians general thread

You don't need to train skills one at a time like that anymore, yeah. (Not that you needed to before, it was just technically "optimal", for some value of optimal).

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Post Tuesday, 20th December 2011, 13:42

Re: Draconians general thread

Can't you cram ice magic up to as high a level as possible just in case? Even if you do stage red you still have a decent head start and can switch to conjurations with little problem and just switch to ice when you are ready to focus on it if you do decide to go for ice storm.

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Post Tuesday, 20th December 2011, 15:48

Re: Draconians general thread

Konebred, unless there is some other non-ice conjuration you want to use, that does seem to make sense as long as you don't exceed the point at which skill raising becomes more difficult.

At what skill levels does that occur, again?

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Post Saturday, 4th February 2012, 20:12

Re: Draconians general thread

Am I the only one that gets depressed whenever they draw grey? What they gain does not make up for the lack of a breath weapon and resistance. I'd prefer grey to be reworked as a necro-related breed with rN+ or rRot, or something.
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Post Saturday, 4th February 2012, 22:45

Re: Draconians general thread

eeviac wrote:Am I the only one that gets depressed whenever they draw grey? What they gain does not make up for the lack of a breath weapon and resistance. I'd prefer grey to be reworked as a necro-related breed with rN+ or rRot, or something.



Yes, they are really boring and could do with something else imo too.
I also groan when I get white, cos the breath is so boring and meh. :?

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Post Saturday, 4th February 2012, 23:15

Re: Draconians general thread

I like white - I like 'em all, except for grey, which feels like a dud. I used to rag on mottled and pale, but have learned to love them too.

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 00:07

Re: Draconians general thread

I think I actually preferred grey draconians how they were in 0.7 - no aptitude bonuses and no breath weapon, but they got more HP, and AFAIK better stats and more innate AC, as well as a more powerful auxiliary unarmed attack.
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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 01:33

Re: Draconians general thread

Greys are pretty awkward at the moment, I think. I mean, stealth is ok. Unbreathing allows you to walk through deep water but you receive penalties to movement and attacks that way. Stabbing on the other hand, is pretty meh if you're not using daggers. But I haven't really experimented with the race much, so I'm not that experienced with Greys or any other colour to be honest.

I prefer the ones that give resistance pips (Red, White, Black, Yellow, Green in specific). The rest are too weird for my taste.

Something cool about Draconians is boots of levitation since 0.10. You have unlimited flight whenever you want which increases your weight limit and allows auto-exploring over water/lava. Works great for clearing Swamp/Shoals and in the Abyss, especially coupled with swiftness when it comes to the latter. (well, granted, you could use boots of running and use flight + swiftness, which would be better, I guess, but with the lev boots you don't have to rebuff flight and worry about falling into a stupid death. What, can I say, I'm lazy :P ).
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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 01:45

Re: Draconians general thread

I don't think swiftness gives extra speed from flight anymore.

I've found pale draconian to be my favorite. I've only gotten pale once out of ~50 draconian games at level 7+, but it was stupidly powerful. I eventually took the pale DrGl to 14 runes but died to Cerebov becausenof my excessive hubris. Steam breath deals large damage, killing Orc warriors in 3 hits and finishing off Moths of Wrath in Zot. Not to mention the steam damages for more than one turn and also never misses. Also, it has the lowest hunger cost and fastest recharge rate of all the colored breaths, making it spammable early on, when breaths are at their most useful stage. Breaking LOS was useful later on against yaktaurs but not as good as I had expected, however.
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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 01:52

Re: Draconians general thread

Mottled is good because splashable sticky flame will carry you through Lair and beyond, and napalm resistance is useful for keeping your scrolls intact in the extended game. Pale draconians can block LOS on demand. That's a very strong perk if used correctly.

With Holy Pan now implemented, and Pearl Dragons in the game, how about we add pearl draconians too. Axe greys, give us necro + holy draconians.
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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 02:58

Re: Draconians general thread

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 03:41

Re: Draconians general thread

That's true, but I think the coolness factor of a holy/necro draconian outweighs the risk of getting insta-nuked by your god at level 7. You'd just have to take off DK+Priest from the recommended backgrounds.

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 04:54

Re: Draconians general thread

However, that is pretty spoiler-y, and against Crawl's aim, right?

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 05:13

Re: Draconians general thread

The gods in crawl are generally pretty lenient about when you unintentionally go against their conduct. TSO allows green draconians but forbids them from intentionally poisoning (and your character won't use its poison stinger auxiliary attack), and Chei doesn't punish you for getting berserkeritis. If pearl draconians were added to the game, the evil gods would probably just forbid them from using their breath.

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 05:14

Re: Draconians general thread

Picking a good/evil god pre-lvl 7 wouldn't be any more dangerous than picking Xom. You'd have a 1 in 10 (9 original - Grey + Pearl + Necro) chance of getting the right/wrong colour.

I'm not sure what Pearl's aptitudes would be... maybe +2 invo, -2 necro, and something. Maybe at lvl 14, Pearl/Necro could gain halo/umbra.

And because black makes more sense for necro than lightning, you could change lightning draconians to blue/bright blue/sky blue/metallic.
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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 07:34

Re: Draconians general thread

I hate draconian ghosts. I mean, draining breath? Seriously?

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 18:35

Re: Draconians general thread

Pteriforever wrote:I hate draconian ghosts. I mean, draining breath? Seriously?


Agreed. It's not so much that they have draining breath, it's that they absolutely SPAM it. Even if you kill your ghost, you'll lose way more exp than you could ever hope to gain unless you have negative energy immunity.
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Post Sunday, 5th February 2012, 22:44

Re: Draconians general thread

Pteriforever wrote:I hate draconian ghosts. I mean, draining breath? Seriously?



Definitely agree, it would be just as threatening to have their regular breath, but it would make fighting them actually worth your time rather than an avoid at all costs unless you're undead..
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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 03:32

Re: Draconians general thread

So I've recently been trying out a few runs with DrTm. I like it a lot, gotta say. Not many super early deaths, but I'm having a lot of trouble around the lvl 10-15 area. The problem is, I'm just too damn squishy. Sure, spider form keeps me from getting hit a bunch but if I run into some orcs with crossbows and I can't confuse them, I'm toast.

Any advice?

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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 04:03

Re: Draconians general thread

If you see those baileys, just flee without engaging. Same with that Orc 4 vault (which you should avoid without magic mapping anyway).
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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 04:58

Re: Draconians general thread

True but that was a single example. The point remains that I only have 5 AC or so. That's rough, regardless who you are facing.
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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 06:49

Re: Draconians general thread

Having a ring of protection or a few scrolls of fog helps against ranged guys.
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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 17:38

Re: Draconians general thread

MADDOGmjb wrote:True but that was a single example. The point remains that I only have 5 AC or so. That's rough, regardless who you are facing.

How do you have 5 AC? You should have at least that from your scales at the level 10 area, never mind wearing a robe, a hat, shoes, etc.

My DrTm also has Stone-Skin; and uses that with Blade Hands at Level 15 at the moment. Has 16 AC (9 from Scales, +7 from clothes I think), which goes up to 19~ish with Stone-Skin. Still a little squishy, due to using a Staff of Energy with no Shield, but certainly livable. You should be getting Fighting a fair bit from melee-ing stuff in your various forms.
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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 19:49

Re: Draconians general thread

It's not Draconian, it's Spider Form.

That's a thing with Transmuters in general. Spider Form and Evaporate will let you stomp all over 99% of the stuff you meet in the early game, because very few things can hit spider form, and spider form can run from stuff. Evaporate works on nearly everything, and none of the things it fails on are a real danger to spider form. So you get really used to this, and then you start encountering problems you cannot solve with spider form and evaporate and die really suddenly.

The main thing I found is that what was doing this to me was over-investing in magic early on. Get spider form and evaporate castable at Great and hungerless, then stop leveling magic for a while and get more Unarmed and Fighting. Then try to transition to Blade Hands (which lets you sustain much better AC than spider form) around the time when spider form loses its winning power.

Of course, spider form stays useful all game - you just can't have it be your go-to spell forever.

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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 20:19

Re: Draconians general thread

Ah, of course, yes, I forget that Spider Form removes your AC.

As Wereox says, you need to build unarmed skill. In fact, I typically don't use Spider Form early on, just use Evaporate to even the odds and then go punch people out. Its then a more steady progression to Blade Hands; and you're not stuck if you don't find Ice Form, Statue Form, or Dragon Form books later. Spider is mainly, for me, used as a retreat spell since its pretty swift, and you can also use Cling to retreat across water and stuff.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 21:00

Re: Draconians general thread

Good points, fellas. I didn't realize that stoneskin and blade hands could be cast together. I thought they were mutually exclusive. And what I've been doing, skill-wise, is to get unarmed and dodging up to about 6 each. Then I immediately swap to transmutation and spellcasting until I get spider form castable well. Then it's back to unarmed and dodging until I feel I'm ready to start focusing on Blade Hands.

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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 21:55

Re: Draconians general thread

Especially on a draconian who have terrible EV.

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Post Tuesday, 7th February 2012, 22:27

Re: Draconians general thread

Sorry, I meant to quote. They don't have "terrible EV". It's only -1.
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