The Wizard 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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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 16:14

The Wizard Thread

Ok I tried over in YASD but didnt get much more than omgwhyveh? and y you no chei? So I will try again here.

Wizards. How do you get one of these off the ground, and by that I mean, where do you go build-wise once you hit lair? How should you skill them? How do you choose/focus your magic spells and training? What spells should you be on the look out for? When do you incorporate melee capabilities? What gods are good and why? Obviously a lot of this will be race specific, but feel free to share your thoughts or experience... What are some tricks and tips to look out for?

So far I've been blasting stuff with magic dart and spamming imps, and mephitic cloud seems pretty ok at least in the early game. Conjure flame is always a good thing. But havent really been able to get past this part..

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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 16:17

Re: The Wizard Thread

~depends on race, gods and drops~

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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 16:24

Re: The Wizard Thread

If you haven't played blasty mages before, I probably wouldn't start with Og. But OgWz != blasty mage. Most people regard Wz as more of a hybrid playstyle. So maybe try building that way instead of going Veh?

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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 16:40

Re: The Wizard Thread

OK. Wizard is one of the more challenging backgrounds because there isn't a single best road. You really need to be able to roll with what the dungeon throws at you, which means being good at judging what power you'll get out of (say) training that elec whip up vs training summon lightning spire to castable. Or, short answer, it's complicated. Wizard is very easy for very good players, and very hard for new players for this reason.


However, god choices can help give you some certainty, or help you deal with the uncertainty by handing you generically useful panic buttons. For this discussion, I'll assume you're not hard-committing with your species (say MiWz or DEWz) since that's not really what wizards are designed for. If you go one of those, only pick specialist gods to back up the species tendency unless you want a challenge.

Generalist gods:
Fedhas Madash
Spam mushrooms through Lair, and then use 1-2 oklobs near the stairs on any branch end or difficult level. It's a bit boring because you lure everything across the level, but a couple oklobs with Invo 10 can wipe almost anything without abjuration. And still performs well in Elf, where that's prevalent, though you'll have to replace them occasionally. Train whatever books or branded weapons drop. Your god will keep you above water.

Nemelex
Nemelex is almost always a good generalist god for anyone. You get so many plain decks it's absurd; you can use them on popcorn. Stack your escape decks and you'll always have several get out of jail free cards. Again, train up whatever books and weapons drop.

Dithmenos
Dith provides effectively an evasion buff vs enemies in the umbra, and amplifies the damage on magic dart significantly 50% of the time at max piety (essentially half a free battlesphere permantently up). He also provides a ~50% increase in melee damage in midgame, and ~25% in late game (enchantment and brand aren't copied). He provides you with the ability to choose your battles via stealth. (Don't try stabbing things; carry rocks to wake things at the edge of los.) Finally, shadow form is amazing, and lets you still cast buff spells, etc. effectively. I've done confuses from shadow form too and got stabs off, but it does drop your spell power. It's a get out of jail free card. And it's cheap.

Ru
Ru's always good. Not exactly generalist, because your sacrifice choices will define you. OTOH, you're a generalist background, so you can give up magical or physical power, and it's not a big deal. Train up whatever drops and works with your sacrifices. Spam the shit out of power leap; it's only cost is exhaustion, and you get a free controlled blink. Ru's OP.

Directed gods:
Okawaru
One of the best gods for wizards. Get your book online, then start training up the best weapon you've found. Eventually Oka will probably give you a nice weapon, and 1-2 useful bits of armour. Most importantly, you get to only train your weapon and shield skills to the threshold - 5, which massively saves on XP. Hybrids are short XP, so this is good. Finesse+heroism will leave you hitting like a melee specialist, while still having a lot of skill invested in spells. Look for summoning, necromancy and support spells and train them up. Aim for mottled dragon or ring mail. Shoot for 1-handed + shield. Raise dex.

Vehumet
Go blastery. Your kit will last you well into Lair, so don't bother learning anything sub level 4. When you see a 4-6 level spell you like, grab it and train it up. Get defenses online, and around vaults get a weapon for popcorn online. Once you have 15+defenses, go for a level 9 spell if one fits your build. You can even get it online with negative apts in ring mail with good defenses. (I've done tornado on Gr for instance.) Raise Int.

Kiku
Another great hybrid god. Get your book online, and start learning a few necromancy spells (max animate dead). Toward the end of lair, train your defenses, stopping at 10ish. Pick up the next tier of necromancy skills (death channel is my favorite; whatever you find). Grab a shield, train away defenses. Pick your best one-handed weapon and bless it. Skip necronomicon unless going extended. Train to min delay.

Edit: just noticed you'd run an OgWz. That's a challenge race; I'd suggest a DrWz, MfWz, GrWz, or if you want moderate difficulty, a HuWz, KoWz, VSWz.
Last edited by byrel on Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 16:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 16:42

Re: The Wizard Thread

I just tried an Op and thought wow ok this is waaaay easier than an Og, but then I met a centaur and learned that they can one shot imps. Should have just walked up and constricted first. Oh well.

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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 16:49

Re: The Wizard Thread

Centaurs are insta-mephitic. Very vulnerable, and stops their threat entirely.
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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 17:55

Re: The Wizard Thread

Just lost everything I typed out

In retrospect, the advice boiled down to "Conjure Flame owns"

In particular: Meph+Conj Flame synergize very well, as you can combo them to force enemies to wander into fire clouds.
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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 18:01

Re: The Wizard Thread

Yeah I just started playing around with mephitic cloud... I can see the light now. Got stupid with a jelly tho but was otherwise doing pretty solid.
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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 20:22

Re: The Wizard Thread

Remember that mephitic is very loud; it will encourage buddies to come see you.
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Post Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 23:56

Re: The Wizard Thread

Okay, you're getting the starting spellbook down, and that's good. You basically learn what enemy is vulnerable to which spell and you run with it. Slimes and jellies get cflame. Player ghosts, hydras, and spiny frogs, the same. Same for anything undead. You don't even need a wall with undead, as they'll walk into it if you just step around the lit square. Centaurs and orc priests (and pretty much anything sentient) get meph, first thing. I look for a good shot spell, a good bolt spell, a good AoE spell, and a few support spells after the starting book. For a bolt, I'll take what I can get, but usually go with fire, depending on training. For shot, I like iron shot if I can get it, but I'll also take orb (but that takes some getting used to, and more learning about nearby conditions, etc.). For AoE, freezing cloud wins hands down for me.

Veh is especially good for Wz because the extended range means that basically nothing is out of range of some spells. The return on MP for kills is also pretty amazing, especially if you don't give a hoot about spell noise (as I don't) and take on mass quantities at a time gladly. As mephed creatures kill themselves and each other, and you kill what you can, you keep getting refilled even without a staff or crystal ball. I've used Chei with Wz and had a winning version of the TrWz that I killed just by getting sloppy in Zot. That's a whole other learning curve, though, because the speed issue can really get you hurt fast. But the stat boosts are pretty amazing. Slouch is amazing, too, but I was always perhaps too conservative using it. As for Sif, Ive never been happy. There's just not enough there to draw me, I guess.

I always plan on doing extended, so I commit the cardinal sin of actually exercising choice when it comes to choosing a god, training skills and such. I don't care if the altar I'm looking for is on D:8, I'm going to wait until I come to it (and in the meantime I get to wear-id ammys without worrying about the faith one). I train spellcasting constantly, always the highest, and always first to 27. This is quite a challenge on my current attempt of TrWz, whose aptitude is -5, but that's okay.

Early game goes like this for me: start game; set training to manual, turn on spellcasting only; at XL2, memorize blink (unless Fo) and imp; train sc at *, tloc and summ at + until they are < 20% fail; as spell points become available, memorize meph, cflame, rmsl; train conj, pois and air at + until fail ~15% for meph; train conj and fire at * until fail ~15% for cflame; don't train charms for rmsl because you can get it to cast without it. The percentages seem high, but it's just to get them usable for the early game, because as sc and conj rise through the game, all the starting spells will be at 0%-1% before long anyway.

Weapons are the only thing I leave up to the rng gods, I suppose, but even then I have a preference for trident or demon trident, because you get to hit 3x the number of squares as you would otherwise, which is especially helpful when you have a horde of stumbling, mephed enemies you can dispatch by poking them. I'll train a few integers for whatever I currently have, but I'm not ever going for super-strong melee with a Wz, anyway, so toward the end of the game it usually boils down to what randart or fixedart has the best combinations to augment my character sheet.

I only train charms if I find haste, and memorize it when I do. I train fire and cold decently, but also earth and air, too, because there are certain spells that have excellent uses that I will always memorize when they arrive: LRD, force lance, and airstrike. Fireball is always great for mid-game. Freezing cloud is da bomb for same. By then end of mid-game, I'm trying to get a level 9 online, usually either firestorm or glaciate. Doesn't matter which because usually I'll end up with both, plus LCS and tornado to boot. I've tried summons, but they just end up getting in the way towards the end, so I've made do without them, although I will sometimes make an exception for shadow creatures. I've never used necromancy on a Wz. I've tried poison, but it's of almost no use in extended.

This all in the good case, of course, and reflects only my preferences, not commonly accepted good gameplay. Most times this plan of action fails, but when it does succeed it is very fun, for me.

Good luck to you on yours.

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Post Thursday, 15th October 2015, 02:01

Re: The Wizard Thread

hydra will also walk right into flame clouds =)
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Post Thursday, 15th October 2015, 04:33

Re: The Wizard Thread

All the backgrounds are toolboxes built to get you through the early game and give you a launching point for the midgame. Wizards have a particularly nice toolbox, but it takes some getting used to to make the most out of it, and the spells you start with will save your life in a lot of situations, but don't give you the damage output to kill things straightforwardly once you get a little deeper into the game.

Wizards need to find the tool that will do that for them quickly. It could be a weapon, bow, a spell, a god ability, but they need to grab it earlier than most other backgrounds.

The other thing to remember is that once your spells are all reliable, you really don't need to keep training your magic skills for your wizard spells. Blink doesn't change a bit with more translocations, and more power doesn't make Mephitic Cloud any more likely to confuse a monster. Stronger and longer lasting flame clouds are nice, but it doesn't take long before the bonus doesn't make a difference. So once your spells hit that point, grab dodging or fighting or a weapon or stealth or invocations or a new spell or whatever you've got to keep you alive.

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Post Thursday, 15th October 2015, 07:27

Re: The Wizard Thread

I believe that if you want a blasy mage (with Veh probably), you are better off with conjurer. And if you want a "melee dude with support spells", then IE and FE are better, and also probably Ne (I never tried the nerfed Ne, so I don't know).

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Post Thursday, 15th October 2015, 08:55

Re: The Wizard Thread

Magipi wrote:I believe that if you want a blasy mage (with Veh probably), you are better off with conjurer. And if you want a "melee dude with support spells", then IE and FE are better, and also probably Ne (I never tried the nerfed Ne, so I don't know).


I'd put Fire Elementalist in the former category, not the latter. Fire magic doesn't do much in the supporting area.

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Post Thursday, 15th October 2015, 10:20

Re: The Wizard Thread

I've run multi-rune firestorming FE's, they are blasty by definition. My current OpWz finally found a book: Book of Fire. So he looks pretty much like an FE now, just without sticky flame and with a little more Int. Man I really want sticky flame... or something at least that is almost as effective when a bad guy gets adjacent. If I am in a corridor, I can pop an imp and step thru him and it gains me a square. Very useful if you are in a corridor and are free to leave the other end. Pop a couple more and you get a little more space as well. But it's not sticky flame... =(

As far as skills, yeah.. I found a ring of wizardry and everything is castable, so I took some time to put a few points into fighting/dodging/stealth, working on pimping fire a bit more now.

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Post Friday, 16th October 2015, 04:18

Re: The Wizard Thread

partial wrote:hydra will also walk right into flame clouds =)


Not only that, but monsters really aren't that smart, you don't even need to use flame in corridors. Got a spiny frog a few tiles a way in front of you? Just conjure the three tiles in front and adjacent to you and it'll walk right into one and die almost instantly. Occasionally a fourth is needed.

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Post Friday, 16th October 2015, 08:30

Re: The Wizard Thread

greedo wrote:Not only that, but monsters really aren't that smart, you don't even need to use flame in corridors. Got a spiny frog a few tiles a way in front of you? Just conjure the three tiles in front and adjacent to you and it'll walk right into one and die almost instantly. Occasionally a fourth is needed.

Actually everything except for zombies/skeletons are more or less "smart", but some kinds also feels "strong", just as we do before die in some stupid situation :D

Hydras, Spiny frogs, top level spiders, scorpions, ugly things and quite strong enough uniques (those which are really strong, regular intelligent humanoids avoid being fried normally) among those. Oh, and ghosts are always welcome for a big burned chunk of XP if you could manage their damage output for 3-4 turns

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Post Friday, 16th October 2015, 09:00

Re: The Wizard Thread

With ghosts I like to just find a corridor and lay down one square of flames after another, that way you aren't eating their damage every turn (assuming they arent just blasting you every round from range, but they dont seem to do that even if they have a ranged spell). Its wierd tho, you cant sticky flame them but you can constrict them as an Op, probably a bug (the latter).

Ive got a DsWz going now.. infinitely easier. Helps I found a book of flames so I have my precious sticky flame and fireball. Also got the mana regen mutation (sweeeet) and went with Mahkleb, so I am rarely having to rest more than a few turns to top off either hp or mp. This guy is looking pretty sick, actually, just need to find a solid bolt spell now. I definitely like wizards, adds a lot of difficulty to the game such that you have to think carefully about your moves and your build, instead of tabbing your way thru life. But if you do it right... One big difference I did this time around is pretty much ignore summon imp and went straight for mephitic cloud. Much, much better.
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Post Friday, 16th October 2015, 14:23

Re: The Wizard Thread

lifecoder wrote:Actually everything except for zombies/skeletons are more or less "smart", but some kinds also feels "strong", just as we do before die in some stupid situation :D

It's actually that they keep thinking Euclidian movement in a Chebychev world.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 16th October 2015, 14:55

Re: The Wizard Thread

Had a great little play last night

  Code:
##########
...@.#####
####S#####
####.h....
##########


I was low health and in the open, the black bear zerked and 1 more smack from him would have killed me.

Blinked until I got into this corridor with the adder between the zerking bear and me. Knowing that snakes aren't smart enough to move aside to let the bear attack and that a zerked bear will rush me with wanton disregard for danger, I popped a flame cloud on the tile between the adder and bear then waited 2 turns. Bear got torched and the adder was too weak to significantly damage me so I just smacked him a couple times with a quarterstaff.

Stuff like this is why Wizards are super fun. Even if the snake were smart, I could have just popped down a second cloud ahead of it.
Last edited by partial on Friday, 16th October 2015, 16:05, edited 2 times in total.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 16th October 2015, 15:05

Re: The Wizard Thread

njvack wrote:Remember that mephitic is very loud; it will encourage buddies to come see you.

I actually did not know this thank you!
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Post Friday, 16th October 2015, 15:57

Re: The Wizard Thread

Aule wrote:Weapons are the only thing I leave up to the rng gods, I suppose, but even then I have a preference for trident or demon trident, because you get to hit 3x the number of squares as you would otherwise, which is especially helpful when you have a horde of stumbling, mephed enemies you can dispatch by poking them.


Seconding spear as being the best weapon for a Wizard. Poking things over a conjured flame will dispatch anything early game, and you don't need skill because you're not being attacked back anyway. I pick up any spear I find; even a cursed -1 spear is useful in this endeavor.

Also, Repel Missiles is useful even at 20% miscast because you're not casting it during a battle anyway. I find that it's good enough to save you from Centaurs (giving you time to flee, not killing) until Meph is up and running.

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Post Saturday, 17th October 2015, 08:29

Re: The Wizard Thread

I hadnt realized that RMSL stayed up permanently until you used it up actually repelling missiles, that would have significantly helped a lot of my first wizard attempts.. :?

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Post Saturday, 17th October 2015, 09:21

Re: The Wizard Thread

partial wrote: Knowing that snakes aren't smart enough to move aside to let the bear attack


However this isn't anymore true in trunk!
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok

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Post Saturday, 17th October 2015, 09:51

Re: The Wizard Thread

Just got nightstalker on my Ds... Ive played so many assassins. Guess the RNG really doesnt want me to switch, maybe now I should start looking into a more magic heavy version tho.

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Post Sunday, 18th October 2015, 12:23

Re: The Wizard Thread

nago wrote:
partial wrote: Knowing that snakes aren't smart enough to move aside to let the bear attack


However this isn't anymore true in trunk!

I don't like this. The fact that monsters only cooperate if they are very smart or used to working together is the kind of thing that makes Crawl's intelligence system so interesting. This changes makes packs less interesting.

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Post Sunday, 18th October 2015, 12:43

Re: The Wizard Thread

Sojiro wrote:
nago wrote:
partial wrote: Knowing that snakes aren't smart enough to move aside to let the bear attack


However this isn't anymore true in trunk!

I don't like this. The fact that monsters only cooperate if they are very smart or used to working together is the kind of thing that makes Crawl's intelligence system so interesting. This changes makes packs less interesting.

wholly agree with this statement

plus it made sense (why would a snake move over to let a bear attack?) and added for some cool interactions/tactics

also it's not spoilery (imo) because it's a common phenomenon and players will quickly observe it enough to figure out what's going on
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Post Sunday, 18th October 2015, 18:52

Re: The Wizard Thread

It's not about being spoilery. It's about preventing stuff like that "great little play" you posted. Monsters shouldn't be preventing each other from attacking effectively.
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Post Sunday, 18th October 2015, 23:15

Re: The Wizard Thread

duvessa wrote:Monsters shouldn't be preventing each other from attacking effectively.

why?

are they all on the same team?
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Post Sunday, 18th October 2015, 23:17

Re: The Wizard Thread

yes

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Post Sunday, 18th October 2015, 23:45

Re: The Wizard Thread

More on silly CF tricks. Usually rF+ and a decent AC significantly lowers conjure flame's damage to you. If you somehow end up glued to something, you can find a corridor, conjure in back of you, run right through it, and find your opponent stuck in flames. Cheap way of getting around the "can't conjure on top of a monster" limitation ;)

partial wrote:
duvessa wrote:Monsters shouldn't be preventing each other from attacking effectively.

why?

are they all on the same team?


Put you, an angel, and a demon from hell in the same room. Both will decide to kill you. It takes divine intervention or magic for things to like you, you're that unlovable.

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Post Monday, 19th October 2015, 15:39

Re: The Wizard Thread

If they are smart enough to team up, they should.

Snakes and zombies and skellys aren't that smart.
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Post Monday, 19th October 2015, 18:12

Re: The Wizard Thread

greedo wrote:More on silly CF tricks. Usually rF+ and a decent AC significantly lowers conjure flame's damage to you. If you somehow end up glued to something, you can find a corridor, conjure in back of you, run right through it, and find your opponent stuck in flames.

That's not a silly CF trick; it's a common tactical use of it.

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