OpTm advice


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

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Zot Zealot

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Post Thursday, 28th March 2013, 10:57

OpTm advice

Hola.

I have recently started playing DCSS again and (not unexpectedly) I am doing much worse than I used to. Partly this is just rust, but partly I think I am missing some insight on not dying. I was never a good player, but I had some wins and could all-rune at least the basic kind of spellcaster.

Anyway.

I have killed many, many Octopode Transmuters since my return. It's like I'm running a sushi restaurant.

My basic strategy has looked like this:

1. Get Transmutation up to 4 or 5
2. A couple of levels of Poison Magic (reliable Spider Form, and it's cheap)
3. Pump Unarmed Combat for a while, using Sticks to Snakes to distract anything that looks fearsome and Spider Form to run away if it goes wrong
4. Worship Makhleb for the HP regain and Minor Destruction to soften things up
5. ???

My problems have been with steps 4 and 5. If taking Makhleb, then getting Greater Servant online improves my survivability quite a bit but something often happens before I get there. Then in the late midgame I eventually get munched, often simply due to poor play with a squishy character, but that I can work on. I feel like I don't have a good grasp of what combination of Dodging, Fighting, spells and UC will make for the best outcome.

Obviously past this tricky period other options start turning up (Translocations, wands, rings), but there seems to be a time between XL7 and XL12 - usually when my characters used to start finding their feet - where sudden death arrives very frequently.

Ice Form helps with getting demolished by poisonous things in the Lair and the AC is nice, but is it really worthwhile? Is Makhleb not really helping me, and are those Invocations levels a diversion of XP into something that could be keeping me from dying? Fighting and Dodging are interesting but I don't really understand them very well.

Any advice gratefully received.

[edit: Also, Blade Hands. I had a Tm of Chei who put out absurd amounts of damage with it ages ago, but is it really worthwhile for an OpTm without monstrous levels of STR and DEX? Spider Form actually seems to win more fights because they're having a harder time hitting me.]

[edit 2: I generally update my trunk build every week or so, if this changes anything.]
I am sure I played flawflessly. This was an utmost unfair death. -- gorbeh

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Thursday, 28th March 2013, 11:07

Re: OpTm advice

Why are you putting early xp into fighting if you are dying a lot? The HP boost is only good as I understand it after you have a fair number of levels under your belt and the added melee bonuses are negligible for early game encounters.

I dont play a lot of (any) transmuters, and perhaps my advice reflects this, but I would hold off on pumping fighting (even with access to forms) until you can kill and avoid being killed reliably. Especially with a squishy character. As a KoAs, I wont toss anything into fighting until well into lair, and only after my basic survivability skills are up to where they need to be. Then i'll put a quick ten ranks or so in, and not come back to it until I have a much higher XL and xp to spare, where I can then get a worthwhile hp/melee boost.

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joellercoaster

Slime Squisher

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Post Thursday, 28th March 2013, 12:13

Re: OpTm advice

blade hands murders things just fine even if you are not a chei follower
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Zot Zealot

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Post Thursday, 28th March 2013, 12:20

Re: OpTm advice

Ah, but does it murder things better than Spider Form (or even Ice Form), if you have no armour?
I am sure I played flawflessly. This was an utmost unfair death. -- gorbeh
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Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 28th March 2013, 16:50

Re: OpTm advice

IMO, Spider Form is the thing that will most easily take you through Lair and Orc -- especially as you won't be training armour much on your Op. Blade Hands does more damage, but you'll take less damage as a spider (see the EV boost!) -- and it's easier to get away and rest up. With any luck, that baddie will die form poison anyhow. And pumping tmut for Blade Hands means you can't level your combat skills as much.

Training Dodging more was the difference between splatting my NaTms and having them murder the whole dungeon. That, and taking Dex instead of Int -- tmut spells don't care about power so much.

Oka might be a better choice than Makhleb -- Heroism makes you much better at unarmed and dodging. Finesse improves damage output more than Haste and it's cheap. You'll probably get a cool hat, and will have lots of chances to branch into ranged combat.

I've never actually been huge into Ice Form. It's good, but you need to invest in Ice and I can usually kill things OK with spider form (or consumables in a pinch). It'd depend some on book drops -- access to Ozo's (armour or refrigeration, actually) would make me change my tune -- especially on an armour-less OP.

So: I'd:

* Rush Spider Form. Use s2s to distract or poison-stack early threats.
* Put off Blade Hands in lieu of more Dodging and UC and Fighting.
* Take Oka and spam Heroism and apply Finesse liberally. You care even less about gifts than most Okawarites.
* Maybe pick up a bow or crossbow and use it to soften dudes up. Heroism == +5 skill :) Heroism generally lasts longer than one melee combat, so cast it early and plink. You won't accidentally turn crossbows into snakes. Oka will give you bolts.
* Take dex, dex, and more dex. It'll help for Blade Hands damage output and improve EV.
* When you start finding monsters you want dead RIGHT NOW (and 2ac becomes too much of a drawback) get you some Blade Hands. (Or you wind up with more than two rings you don't want melded in combat.)

(Then again, I'm not a very good player either.)
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

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Vestibule Violator

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Post Thursday, 28th March 2013, 21:01

Re: OpTm advice

ice form is too important for spiny frogs, mambas, and hydrae for me to skip it - I'm not comfortable meleeing any of that with spider form.

Okawaru's good but I like sticks to snakes, so I just play dgtm and don't worry about gods :) (and yes you can get s2s at xl2 and spider form at xl3, just get spc to 2 if your race doesn't start with it already).
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 28th March 2013, 21:11

Re: OpTm advice

While I definitely think Spider Form is great (it should be your most used form until end of Orc, IMO), I don't think rushing to Spider Form is a great idea. Looking at your plan here:
1. Get Transmutation up to 4 or 5
2. A couple of levels of Poison Magic (reliable Spider Form, and it's cheap)
3. Pump Unarmed Combat for a while, using Sticks to Snakes to distract anything that looks fearsome and Spider Form to run away if it goes wrong
4. Worship Makhleb for the HP regain and Minor Destruction to soften things up


2) is a good way to get Spider Form. 1) is not a good thing to do before it though. I would recommend getting Unarmed Combat 5 first so you are actually good without it, as there is no way you will be capable of casting it reliably so early on. Unarmed Combat 5 -> Poison Magic 2 -> a bit of tmut -> more UC would probably come close to what I would do.
Another tip: it seems like you are having a hard time with a very specific area of the game (or, rather, an especially hard time - of course OpTm is pretty much always a hard time :)). I think you should try worshipping Fedhas for a few games, and use his animate mushrooms ability (pray over corpse, aa) heavily during that XL 7-12 period. Have 3-4 mushrooms with you at all times, they will slaughter everything you can't. Much easier than Makhleb at that stage of the game. Plus, you can swim through deep water, which could occasionally be useful with Fedhas' raincalling powers - this is more of a cute little synergy than anything gamebreaking, though.

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joellercoaster

Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 29th March 2013, 03:24

Re: OpTm advice

You could try not playing optm?
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Zot Zealot

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Post Friday, 29th March 2013, 10:11

Re: OpTm advice

cerebovssquire wrote:Unarmed Combat 5 -> Poison Magic 2 -> a bit of tmut -> more UC would probably come close to what I would do.


Aha! This was actually what I started with, but I think I got a bit carried away with rushing Spider Form. Will go back to it.

Thank you excellent Tavern, things I'll go play around with:

Dodging over Fighting a lot
DEX over INT maybe (depends on spellbook drops I guess)
Fedhas
Okawaru
I am sure I played flawflessly. This was an utmost unfair death. -- gorbeh
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Barkeep

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Post Friday, 29th March 2013, 12:59

Re: OpTm advice

I second ce's recommendation of Fedhas. Wandering Mushrooms *destroy* stuff. Remember that you can shoot through plants. I can't remember right now if that includes wandering mushrooms.
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Friday, 29th March 2013, 14:19

Re: OpTm advice

njvack wrote:I second ce's recommendation of Fedhas. Wandering Mushrooms *destroy* stuff. Remember that you can shoot through plants. I can't remember right now if that includes wandering mushrooms.

Yeah, you can shoot through your shrooms.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 29th March 2013, 18:38

Re: OpTm advice

I also especially avoid ice form on OpTm because it will meld all but 2 rings. Spider form, blade hands, and I believe statue form as well will allow all 8 rings. I haven't tested statue form because I die on Op's easily ;)

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 29th March 2013, 18:48

Re: OpTm advice

Statue form and necromutation let octopodes keep all 8 rings. Ice form and dragon form keep two. Bat form and hog form meld all equipment. I haven't see all of the new forms in trunk yet.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 29th March 2013, 19:01

Re: OpTm advice

I have tried to get Statue Form on all of my Ops using transformations. Besides the fact that it is a quite good form for dealing damage, though probably not quite as good as Blade Hands due to slowness, it gives you huge AC, essentially negating the only thing that makes Ops with tons of rings balanced - their terrible defence. Pair with Stoneskin for full effect.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Saturday, 30th March 2013, 17:38

Re: OpTm advice

OK, so the very first game after this thread is already teaching me things. I picked Okawaru as the first of the two altars to show up (have never worshipped him before) and he certainly helps. Found a randart bow of velocity and branched out into ranged combat... Heroism plus the bow is making hydrae and so on much less terrifying. And Finesse is impressive!

I get that he's basically only going to be useful for arrows and maybe a hat, but he keeps giving me ego shields. Am I right in just leaving them on the floor without even looking?
I am sure I played flawflessly. This was an utmost unfair death. -- gorbeh

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 30th March 2013, 18:20

Re: OpTm advice

Yes. Their benefit in melee is very small, as most of your forms currently in use meld a shield anyway. In addition, when you don't meld them, they hamper unarmed melee more than normal melee. And they halve your attack speed with a bow.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Tuesday, 2nd April 2013, 08:56

Re: OpTm advice

All right - so I haven't had much time to play, but the first post-thread character is still alive, XL15 and suddenly has Statue Form working. At which point it seems inefficient to train Dodging any further (was at 13) but rather adapt to my new life as a tank... any further tips? The Heroism/plinking-with-arrows tip has stood me in good stead thus far, nothing is giving me too much hassle of late (except for Agnes, still lurking somewhere around D:16).

The current plan is to keep pumping UC and look to find some more Earth spells as I go. I have a randart longbow of speed and Okawaru has started up his branded arrow production line, is it worth training Bows at least to minimum delay or maybe even further? I've only ever played one missile user and that was throwing boulders, bows and such are a mystery to me :P

[edit: Also, at one point I turned myself into a porcupine! That was awesome :D]

[edit 2: Scratch request for specific-game advice. Died in L:8 due to forgetting about spiny worm acid splash - the new dragon vault is pretty cool though. And, this is definitely progress 8-)]
I am sure I played flawflessly. This was an utmost unfair death. -- gorbeh

Bim

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Tuesday, 2nd April 2013, 12:14

Re: OpTm advice

My humble advice (I've only ever scraped a 3rune with a Tm) is to get dragon form under way when you can, as it's awesome! I personally would get bows/xbows up only if you find a really good Rand.Art bow/xbow (or very well enchanted velocity and, as you've probably got a couple of scrolls of enchantment lying around, you should be able to get one up to a good level).
I think my general advice for Tm though is to really focus on the use of utility spells (and consumables to an extent), getting Tloc up is massively important (I managed to get phase shift at no hunger at one point if I remember) as is getting charms/air for repel/deflect and swiftness.

Good luck!
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Thursday, 4th April 2013, 16:05

Re: OpTm advice

Bim wrote:My humble advice (I've only ever scraped a 3rune with a Tm) is to get dragon form under way when you can, as it's awesome!

Dragon Form's awesome indeed and it was quite viable for an OpTm back in 0.10. But since 0.11 dragons can't wear more than two rings :(
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