Discussion:
Some questions, some Ironman thoughts {S}
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b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-03 11:42:04 UTC
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Hi,

Even though I have never won at Sangband, I've been playing a lot of
Ironman Sangband lately. Yes, I have strange tastes.

I'm curious as to people's thoughts on not only the best race and
"class" for Ironman play, but also runners-up.

I use the autoroller heavily in all of this; I am crazy, but not
masochistic. I also reroll for enough cash to afford the first two
books for any casters. Although it seems only casters have a chance;
see below.

I've gotten the deepest with an oathed Dark Elf sorceror (casting/
power/wizardry/devices/perception/stealth/savingthrow/armor). I
believe Dark Elf sorcerors have the most going for them in Ironman,
Dark Elves have the best sorcery-related aptitudes, and because
sorcery has the quickest access to the things that most characters
would normally get via the surface and the stores -- plenty of escapes
and detection, and even a little healing. Even identification...
although I reached level 26 without seeing the third Wizard book.
Maybe without even seeing any third books.

Dark Elves's stealth aptitude is a big survival aid too. Once my
stealth really got rolling, I even was able to rest up several times
from very poor shape back up to full HP/MP while standing next to a
crowd. This leads to my first question: does taking off your light
source improve your stealth in a lighted room? In a dark room?

I realize that that is a lot of skills for an ironman game. Armor
especially seems superfluous. It is so tempting though! Perception
might also be superfluous, but there is so little ID for so long in
Ironman that I enjoy all the pseudo-ID I can get. Plus, I just hate
waiting for secret doors to show up.

This leads to my second question: how does the "tendency to 'hear'
monsters once perception reaches 18 or so" alleged in the help file
work. I haven't noticed any difference. Is the help file wrong, or is
the player's own Perception score just too low here? If the latter,
what should I be looking for?

My recent attempts have gone oathed-mage with burglary added on top of
stealth and perception. I have been tempted to take dodging here.
Mages do get a dodging-amplifying spell, although it's not until the
third book.

The burglary bit leads to my third question: just how badly and
quickly does a burglar who's not in the guild fall behind? Will the
skill become a useless skill point sink in the long run? So far I am
liking it due to the extra loot, since a lack of loot is a big problem
in Ironman.


Dwarf priests seem to be the second best. I have a normal dwarf priest
game going, so I have been avoiding doing an ironman character of this
type. But they get decent detection . Hard to say if oathed or
oathless would be better, which leads to the fourth question -- how
bad is the hit to combat skill from an Oath?


Necromancers seem quite good for Ironman as well, maybe even better
than priests. Both of them lack full-on Teleportation within the first
two books, but necros quickly get Become Bat, which gives +5 speed.
The question is, though, is that kind of an escape sufficient? If you
open up enough distance by running, will things lose your scent?


Druids don't seem to be much made for ironman... all good stuff, but
just not enough of what one needs in the first two books. I'd be happy
to be proven wrong, though.


Thieves are adorable little ironmanners -- or not so little in the
case of half-orc thieves -- and so I have put more effort into them
than they deserve, because really, the moment Fang or at best
Feldisham comes along, none of their little tricks have enough oomph
to count, and they just crumple up like a fender in a car crash.


The "steamroller" approach, that is, trying to be so strong in melee
that you never need escapes, at least until sources of escape become
more commonly available in the dungeon, does not seem to work. Uniques
after D:5 or so don't seem to be doable without the escapes/healing
that a melee character would get from store-bought supplies. The
biggest culprit here is Mughash -- help, it's raining kobold dart
throwers!


Some strategy tips for the curious:

- If you get a ranged attack while on the surface, you can sometimes
pick up a little extra starting cash, since you cannot target non-
hostile townspeople in melee (...right?), but you can target them at
range.

- You generally don't need more than one or two rations to start, and
rations sell for a precious 2 GP apiece. Torches, on the other hand,
are worth their weight in gold. I tend to inscribe mine with @w9
@t9...

- Don't forget that any scrolls and potions you pick up on the surface
count double, one for the one you bought and one for the one you would
waste on ID.

- Totally unskilled combat by a caster is sometimes necessary on the
first dungeon level, and it seems to go a little bit better with even
the lowliest weapon than barehand.

- Taking the first quest, although it makes the third dungeon level
somewhat harder, makes the fourth through sixth or so somewhat easier,
which I would venture is more important.


One technical note for anyone else who might be curious about ironman:
at least in the Windows binary, manipulation of the Ironman flag is
buggy. It was quite annoying to discover the bug by accident, and
annoying to work around until I got used to it. The bug is that at
least the following things will clear the ironman flag:
* Starting a new character with the same name -- even though other
startup settings are preserved.
* re-'S'tarting generation.

I'm pretty sure there's another unexpected thing or three that clears
the Ironman flag, but I can't remember offhand. Basically, it's enough
to just look at the settings funny during character generation, and
you've lost the Ironman flag.

The funny thing is, when you head into the startup options to re-
activate Ironman in the situations where Ironman has buggily been
turned off, it is marked as "yes" in the settings. I think you still
have to go and mark it "yes", though.

Ironman characters have "Ironman" right next to their score on their
character sheet, and you are shown the character sheet before starting
play, so you can double check there, thankfully.



Bostock
camlost
2007-08-03 14:18:17 UTC
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Post by b***@inmail24.com
Hi,
Even though I have never won at Sangband, I've been playing a lot of
Ironman Sangband lately. Yes, I have strange tastes.
I'm curious as to people's thoughts on not only the best race and
"class" for Ironman play, but also runners-up.
I use the autoroller heavily in all of this; I am crazy, but not
masochistic. I also reroll for enough cash to afford the first two
books for any casters. Although it seems only casters have a chance;
see below.
I would certainly choose a caster with two books if I could. If you're
willing to put up with really bad stats, you might even get 3? Probably
not worth it though.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I've gotten the deepest with an oathed Dark Elf sorceror (casting/
power/wizardry/devices/perception/stealth/savingthrow/armor). I
believe Dark Elf sorcerors have the most going for them in Ironman,
Dark Elves have the best sorcery-related aptitudes, and because
sorcery has the quickest access to the things that most characters
would normally get via the surface and the stores -- plenty of escapes
and detection, and even a little healing. Even identification...
although I reached level 26 without seeing the third Wizard book.
Maybe without even seeing any third books.
Dark Elves's stealth aptitude is a big survival aid too. Once my
stealth really got rolling, I even was able to rest up several times
from very poor shape back up to full HP/MP while standing next to a
crowd. This leads to my first question: does taking off your light
source improve your stealth in a lighted room? In a dark room?
Bad HP, good stealth. I prefer giant sorcerors. The HP is good enough
to raise survival, but don't expect any stealth at any point in the
game, without +6 or so to it. Also, melee skill is plenty high to make
up for the oath, and wrestling is really cheap and good. Of course, I
play of lot of these non-ironman.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I realize that that is a lot of skills for an ironman game. Armor
especially seems superfluous. It is so tempting though! Perception
might also be superfluous, but there is so little ID for so long in
Ironman that I enjoy all the pseudo-ID I can get. Plus, I just hate
waiting for secret doors to show up.
That's what detect doors is for in mage books.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
This leads to my second question: how does the "tendency to 'hear'
monsters once perception reaches 18 or so" alleged in the help file
work. I haven't noticed any difference. Is the help file wrong, or is
the player's own Perception score just too low here? If the latter,
what should I be looking for?
Look for '*' where you can't normally see monsters.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
My recent attempts have gone oathed-mage with burglary added on top of
stealth and perception. I have been tempted to take dodging here.
Mages do get a dodging-amplifying spell, although it's not until the
third book.
The burglary bit leads to my third question: just how badly and
quickly does a burglar who's not in the guild fall behind? Will the
skill become a useless skill point sink in the long run? So far I am
liking it due to the extra loot, since a lack of loot is a big problem
in Ironman.
50% penalty after skill 20 or 25, which is probably mean enough to not
bother.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Dwarf priests seem to be the second best. I have a normal dwarf priest
game going, so I have been avoiding doing an ironman character of this
type. But they get decent detection . Hard to say if oathed or
oathless would be better, which leads to the fourth question -- how
bad is the hit to combat skill from an Oath?
Necromancers seem quite good for Ironman as well, maybe even better
than priests. Both of them lack full-on Teleportation within the first
two books, but necros quickly get Become Bat, which gives +5 speed.
The question is, though, is that kind of an escape sufficient? If you
open up enough distance by running, will things lose your scent?
Druids don't seem to be much made for ironman... all good stuff, but
just not enough of what one needs in the first two books. I'd be happy
to be proven wrong, though.
Good source of food is always nice, which druids get, but no teleport.
Mages get everything you want except food. Necromancers get everything,
but most of the good stuff is late. Once you get like 20 squares away,
every monster turns off, IIRC.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Thieves are adorable little ironmanners -- or not so little in the
case of half-orc thieves -- and so I have put more effort into them
than they deserve, because really, the moment Fang or at best
Feldisham comes along, none of their little tricks have enough oomph
to count, and they just crumple up like a fender in a car crash.
The "steamroller" approach, that is, trying to be so strong in melee
that you never need escapes, at least until sources of escape become
more commonly available in the dungeon, does not seem to work. Uniques
after D:5 or so don't seem to be doable without the escapes/healing
that a melee character would get from store-bought supplies. The
biggest culprit here is Mughash -- help, it's raining kobold dart
throwers!
Try meleeing them around a corner. Should have a decent chance of
offing them in one round. Lack of escapes will probably be a problem
though.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- If you get a ranged attack while on the surface, you can sometimes
pick up a little extra starting cash, since you cannot target non-
hostile townspeople in melee (...right?), but you can target them at
range.
Yes, you can. Buy stone pebbles and throw them.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- You generally don't need more than one or two rations to start, and
rations sell for a precious 2 GP apiece. Torches, on the other hand,
@t9...
Torches? I would guess that you'd want flasks of oil and a lantern.
Maybe even badly enough to start scum for one. Or even just some flasks
for when you do(?) find a lantern.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- Don't forget that any scrolls and potions you pick up on the surface
count double, one for the one you bought and one for the one you would
waste on ID.
- Totally unskilled combat by a caster is sometimes necessary on the
first dungeon level, and it seems to go a little bit better with even
the lowliest weapon than barehand.
Yes, you'll do 1d4 instead of 1d1. Due to the limited number of drops,
I'd guess that barehanded is the way to go.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- Taking the first quest, although it makes the third dungeon level
somewhat harder, makes the fourth through sixth or so somewhat easier,
which I would venture is more important.
The fast XP is probably a good thing.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
at least in the Windows binary, manipulation of the Ironman flag is
buggy. It was quite annoying to discover the bug by accident, and
annoying to work around until I got used to it. The bug is that at
* Starting a new character with the same name -- even though other
startup settings are preserved.
* re-'S'tarting generation.
That's odd, I don't see any code trying to do that. My best guess is
that either you or the game are not saving the settings correctly.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I'm pretty sure there's another unexpected thing or three that clears
the Ironman flag, but I can't remember offhand. Basically, it's enough
to just look at the settings funny during character generation, and
you've lost the Ironman flag.
The funny thing is, when you head into the startup options to re-
activate Ironman in the situations where Ironman has buggily been
turned off, it is marked as "yes" in the settings. I think you still
have to go and mark it "yes", though.
Ironman characters have "Ironman" right next to their score on their
character sheet, and you are shown the character sheet before starting
play, so you can double check there, thankfully.
Bostock
b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-03 15:38:35 UTC
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Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
masochistic. I also reroll for enough cash to afford the first two
books for any casters. Although it seems only casters have a chance;
see below.
I would certainly choose a caster with two books if I could. If you're
willing to put up with really bad stats, you might even get 3? Probably
not worth it though.
Is it really possible to get around 1350 in cash from stat reductions?
Because that is what it would take.

The sorceror who made it to the mid-20's was not yet feeling
underpowered without the third book. (He died because I underestimated
the threat from Harpies -- he starved. I mention this because he was
managing conventional threats without too much adrenaline at that
point.) Shouldn't the third book become common a little bit after
that? If so, even if some ridiculously low stats would enable an
initial buy of the third book, it really is *not* worth it. Good
initial stats make life a lot easier, and still mix well with
affording two books... with a little re-rolling. :-)


(Dark Elf Sorcerors as ironmen)
Post by camlost
Bad HP, good stealth. I prefer giant sorcerors.
I've read up on Sangband history, the ladder, etc., a lot, and your
many, many laddered Giant Sorcerors are actually why I don't play
them. I figure the rest of us need to conserve giant sorcerors so you
don't exhaust the universe's whole supply. :-)

That bit of off-topicness aside, my intuition is that you are right,
that they would be strong candidates. After all, I'm sure you use them
so much in normal play for a reason! As for an answer that's more than
just intuition, I will leave the testing on that to you!

Incidentally, the dark elf approach also seems to be working just fine
survivability-wise after the tough initial levels (< level 8 or so)
until my inexperience/overconfidence/lack of sleep killed me. What
they lack in hitpoints, they gain in rocket-like advances in skill
levels even with strong skill dilution -- they don't seem to really
need all that many hitpoints to survive once they get going.
Post by camlost
The HP is good enough to raise survival, but don't expect any stealth at any point in the
game, without +6 or so to it.
Hmm. Well, stealth also raises survival -- it makes the HP that you do
have go a much longer way. As does getting more spells, more MP, and
lower fail rates faster. They can't kill you if they're dead! So,
sounds like a fair trade-off.


(Maybe too many skills in my characters so far, notes on the more
eyebrow-raising ones)
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
especially seems superfluous. It is so tempting though! Perception
might also be superfluous, but there is so little ID for so long in
Ironman that I enjoy all the pseudo-ID I can get. Plus, I just hate
waiting for secret doors to show up.
That's what detect doors is for in mage books.
True. That doesn't resolve the lack of ID though. While that problem
disappears after the third book, the runup to that book is very long!
Those asterisks for heard monsters sound like a fairly good deal to
me, but then, I hate re-casting detection spells all the time. Someone
who minds that work less would probably appreciate Perception less.
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
This leads to my second question: how does the "tendency to 'hear'
monsters once perception reaches 18 or so" alleged in the help file
work. I haven't noticed any difference. Is the help file wrong, or is
the player's own Perception score just too low here? If the latter,
what should I be looking for?
Look for '*' where you can't normally see monsters.
Thanks.


(Burglary without joining the Guild)
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
quickly does a burglar who's not in the guild fall behind? Will the
skill become a useless skill point sink in the long run? So far I am
liking it due to the extra loot, since a lack of loot is a big problem
in Ironman.
50% penalty after skill 20 or 25, which is probably mean enough to not
bother.
Oh I know the *objective* part. I was thinking more the subjective
impression of anyone who's run a guildless burglar of how it *felt*.
Ah well. Maybe ultimately I will be the one to report to other people
instead of the other way around, though. (So far I haven't felt like
the skill was going to waste, but the deepest I've gotten with an
Ironman mage-thief instead of a mage+misc is dungeon level 15, which
is too early to speak authoritatively, I think. I don't take the lower
maximum depth as a sign of the combo's weakness, by the way -- I've
been testing it for a much shorter time than the mage+misc combo.
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Druids don't seem to be much made for ironman... all good stuff, but
just not enough of what one needs in the first two books. I'd be happy
to be proven wrong, though.
Good source of food is always nice, which druids get,
Even though my deepest candidate died of starvation, that was due to
my incompetence in the given situation, not to a lack of food overall.
In fact, I forgot to mention above that not long before the harpies
struck, the character had discovered the hard way what quasits do... I
lost about 2/3 of my consumables, all my untested combat gear, all my
oil, and almost all of my food rations to that. I was *still* not in a
food crisis despite that until the harpies struck! When Leon wrote
that he wanted to ensure there was enough food in Sangband for ironman
players, he was not kidding! Now lighting, on the other hand...

(Which leads to another strategy tip for Ironman: only fools and
daredevils walk around without one of either slow descent or feather
falling once a source shows up. Not that these help against Quasits,
of course. But they are the reason I was willing to keep a stash on
the floor instead of all in my backpack in the first place.)

So, my impression is that a good source of food is a nice insurance
policy against total PEBKAC in Sangband, but is otherwise not "always
nice" material even in Ironman. Unless you consider insurance policies
against total PEBKAC to be always nice. Which, considering, maybe I
should! :-D
Post by camlost
but no teleport.
Priests have to wait until the third book, so druids are not that much
worse than priests, by the way, considering that teleportation and
other tools for completely disengaging (i.e. not just phase door),
unlike identification, are not just a convenience but practically a
necessity long before third-book depth. That's why the issue of how
well +5 speed (become bat) could replace teleportation is so
intriguing to me.

(In light of this, maybe I overrated priests in my original post.
Still, dwarven priests are tough old birds. But then, so are half-
troll warriors, and those drop like flies in Ironman.)
Post by camlost
Mages get everything you want except food.
I don't want any food very badly. So they more or less get everything
I want, full stop.
Post by camlost
Necromancers get everything,
but most of the good stuff is late. Once you get like 20 squares away,
every monster turns off, IIRC.
I don't understand you, and I am intrigued. What do you mean?
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Thieves are adorable little ironmanners -- or not so little in the
The "steamroller" approach, that is, trying to be so strong in melee
that you never need escapes, at least until sources of escape become
more commonly available in the dungeon, does not seem to work. Uniques
after D:5 or so don't seem to be doable without the escapes/healing
that a melee character would get from store-bought supplies. The
biggest culprit here is Mughash -- help, it's raining kobold dart
throwers!
Try meleeing them around a corner. Should have a decent chance of
offing them in one round.
Huh-uh. Each one was taking a good half-dozen rounds each. I think
that was a bit of an early Mughash appearance though -- he was
generated by a Summon Monster trap *cough*perception perception
perception*cough*, and don't those tend to generate stuff that is
slightly out of depth?
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- If you get a ranged attack while on the surface, you can sometimes
pick up a little extra starting cash, since you cannot target non-
hostile townspeople in melee (...right?), but you can target them at
range.
Yes, you can. Buy stone pebbles and throw them.
I didn't mean in theory, I meant for that particular character. Or
perhaps you meant "look, there is no if for any character at all, any
character can!" But the trouble is, if you won't be doing a ranged
skill and thus can't afford to raise a ranged skill while still in
town, then the exercise may be cash-negative even with stone pebbles.

(Of course if nobody but casters has a chance, then the point is moot
for every combo-with-a-chance except priests, and if only sorcerors
and necromancers have a chance, then...)
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- You generally don't need more than one or two rations to start, and
rations sell for a precious 2 GP apiece. Torches, on the other hand,
@t9...
Torches? I would guess that you'd want flasks of oil and a lantern.
If my hunch on your opinion of Perception is right, then lanterns are
for me like Perception is for you. :-) That is, tempting-looking but
too not enough benefit for the cost. Tight though the early light
situation may be, a lantern is less likely to prevent a slow death
than a "sample" phase door + CLW (these two together are slightly
cheaper than a lantern, in fact) is to prevent a quick one.

Also, I do enough start-scumming already. Also also, I don't know how
to quit a character without killing them, and checking for a lantern,
then suiciding to the first thing I see if none is present seems
pretty annoying. The laugh's on me if there really is a true-Quit
function and I just found it, of course!

Still, I understand what you're saying.
Post by camlost
Maybe even badly enough to start scum for one. Or even just some flasks
for when you do(?) find a lantern.
If you're conservative, it's not a problem to reach have enough light
until lantern depth, unless you really got cheated by the RNG on your
initial torch count. Being conservative can be deadly, though. I guess
those are the real lighting deaths in Ironman -- dying to the turn you
lost to re-wield your torch.

I've always had plenty of flasks by the time I found a lantern,
though. That one's clearcut -- buy a lantern or more torches, *don't*
buy flasks of oil, it's a waste.
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- Totally unskilled combat by a caster is sometimes necessary on the
first dungeon level, and it seems to go a little bit better with even
the lowliest weapon than barehand.
Yes, you'll do 1d4 instead of 1d1. Due to the limited number of drops,
I'd guess that barehanded is the way to go.
Hard to say. Even though Sangband has much less TMJ than Angband,
shouldn't getting, say, half the usual drops leave you with a weapon
about 80% as good as normal, not 50%? Sounds good enough to me...

Also, I'm tempted by the resistances.

Then again, since I'm leaning towards meleeless, it's clearcut for me
-- weapon-bearing, for the weapon with the best resistances. And your
giants' choice if you try out ironman will be equally clearcut!
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
at least in the Windows binary, manipulation of the Ironman flag is
buggy. It was quite annoying to discover the bug by accident, and
annoying to work around until I got used to it. The bug is that at
* Starting a new character with the same name -- even though other
startup settings are preserved.
* re-'S'tarting generation.
That's odd, I don't see any code trying to do that. My best guess is
that either you or the game are not saving the settings correctly.
I'm just doing what anyone would do in any *band with profiles, I
would think -- start the program, choose a lettered profile that
previously had an ironmanned character in it, observe absence of
ironman flag despite this...


Bostock
b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-07 16:57:58 UTC
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Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- If you get a ranged attack while on the surface, you can sometimes
pick up a little extra starting cash, since you cannot target non-
hostile townspeople in melee (...right?), but you can target them at
range.
Yes, you can. Buy stone pebbles and throw them.
I must thank you for this advice, and apologize for pooh-poohing it
earlier. As I go about trying priests and other characters that don't
start with a ranged attack skill, I am using this advice a lot.

Bostock
z***@cat.com
2007-08-03 14:41:56 UTC
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On Fri, 03 Aug 2007 11:42:04 -0000, ***@inmail24.com indirectly
manipulated photons emitted by my display thusly:

<snip cuz I don't play ironman>
~This leads to my second question: how does the "tendency to 'hear'
~monsters once perception reaches 18 or so" alleged in the help file
~work. I haven't noticed any difference. Is the help file wrong, or is
~the player's own Perception score just too low here? If the latter,
~what should I be looking for?
Look for *'s, if skill is high enough you'll see them outside visual
range, even thru doors/walls. You won't know "what" is there, just
that something is. Helps before esp, and I believe it works on
things esp doesn't.
magnate
2007-08-03 15:45:29 UTC
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Post by b***@inmail24.com
Hi,
Even though I have never won at Sangband, I've been playing a lot of
Ironman Sangband lately. Yes, I have strange tastes.
Funny, I was thinking only today about how the quests in S slow down
my diving, and so I should try more ironman games to practise diving.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I've gotten the deepest with an oathed Dark Elf sorceror (casting/
power/wizardry/devices/perception/stealth/savingthrow/armor). I
believe Dark Elf sorcerors have the most going for them in Ironman,
Dark Elves have the best sorcery-related aptitudes, and because
sorcery has the quickest access to the things that most characters
would normally get via the surface and the stores -- plenty of escapes
and detection, and even a little healing. Even identification...
although I reached level 26 without seeing the third Wizard book.
Maybe without even seeing any third books.
Dark Elves's stealth aptitude is a big survival aid too. Once my
stealth really got rolling, I even was able to rest up several times
from very poor shape back up to full HP/MP while standing next to a
crowd. This leads to my first question: does taking off your light
source improve your stealth in a lighted room? In a dark room?
I don't think it makes any difference in a lit room, but it certainly
improves your stealth in a dark room or corridor (at the expense of
not being able to see anything, of course).

I too think that Dark Elves are the best overall race for ironman -
that's why I submitted one for the competition. In the 0.9.9 series
they had noticeably cheaper total skills than other races (ie. they
were good at a lot of things and not really bad at anything), but this
has been balanced out a bit, so it's no longer quite so clear.

Their main problem is penalties to both STR and CON, meaning they're
crap at melee and can't carry much, and have low hp. Their awesome
spellcasting and good stealth helps a lot though.

Joshua mentions giants, which I hadn't thought of. My thought was
hobbits. Notoriously hard to keep alive for the first few levels, but
once you've done the first quest their +2 Con and excellent burglary-
related skills would help a huge amount. If any non-caster can win
ironman, my money would be on a hobbit.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I realize that that is a lot of skills for an ironman game.
We have very different ideas of what constitutes a lot here! You
listed 8 skills, which for me is a mild challenge game. Given that
it's ironman, I don't think 8 is too many at all. I'd be quite
impressed with a win with 10 or 12. The only issue there is whether
your rate of increasing hp is sufficient to keep you alive while
improving all those skills.

I'm amazed that you have no melee skill at all. I always always start
with karate or wrestling, to survive the first few levels, even with
casters.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Armor especially seems superfluous. It is so tempting though!
I've always thought that forging would be vital in ironman, since you
don't have the home to expand your equipment permutations. I would
look at infusion too.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Perception might also be superfluous, but there is so little ID for so long in
Ironman that I enjoy all the pseudo-ID I can get.
Yes, although this is minimised with sorcery, which has the earliest
of all ID spells. If anyone can do without Perception it's a sorceror
- but Perception is on my list of "too important" skills, along with
Devices and Spell Resistance (with martial arts and Stealth close
behind).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
This leads to my second question: how does the "tendency to 'hear'
monsters once perception reaches 18 or so" alleged in the help file
work. I haven't noticed any difference. Is the help file wrong, or is
the player's own Perception score just too low here? If the latter,
what should I be looking for?
As others have said, you see asterisks (*) instead of the actual
monsters. This is often all you need, since you can target them. If
you have very high Piety/Nature/Blood, you can often tell exactly what
the monster is (for demons/animals/undead respectively) - ie. in those
cases it works just like telepathy.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
My recent attempts have gone oathed-mage with burglary added on top of
stealth and perception. I have been tempted to take dodging here.
Mages do get a dodging-amplifying spell, although it's not until the
third book.
I've always been disappointed with dodging. It has to get really
pretty high (50 or so) before I notice myself dodging. I like it, but
it's one to drop if I'm trying to cut back on skills.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
The burglary bit leads to my third question: just how badly and
quickly does a burglar who's not in the guild fall behind? Will the
skill become a useless skill point sink in the long run? So far I am
liking it due to the extra loot, since a lack of loot is a big problem
in Ironman.
It's a bit like non-oath casters getting half mana for their money,
and warriors getting half device skill for theirs. Your effective
burglary skill is 20+(skill-20)/2, so 40 is 30, 60 is 40, 80 is 50 and
100 is 60. This means it becomes a complete waste of money after about
60-70, limiting your effectively burglary skill to about 40-45. This
means your trap damage will never be enough to be useful later in the
game - but could be useful to take out gravity hounds, just about.

My guess would be that an ironman burglar would be better off taking
the oath. You get big combat bonuses with light weapons, making your
melee *much* better than an oath caster. You can still have all the
utility spells, the only drawback being half mana. You don't need to
rely on damaging spells, since you have traps to deal with monsters
you're not meleeing. You also get more hp than oath casters.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Dwarf priests seem to be the second best. I have a normal dwarf priest
game going, so I have been avoiding doing an ironman character of this
type. But they get decent detection . Hard to say if oathed or
oathless would be better, which leads to the fourth question -- how
bad is the hit to combat skill from an Oath?
It's capped at 50% for non-priests, and 75% for priests wielding blunt
weapons. That really means that your late-game damage is going to come
from spells, not melee, unless you're a priest. Again, I would suggest
that an ironman would be better off not taking a casting oath, for the
hp and combat skill. If you're not investing in burglary, take no oath
at all.

I don't think there's a penalty to ranged skills as an oath caster
though, so a ranger type is an interesting possibility.

I'm not sure how a Dwarf will survive later on when stealth becomes
really important. I'd be really interested to hear tales of a Dwarf or
Giant ironman winner.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Necromancers seem quite good for Ironman as well, maybe even better
than priests. Both of them lack full-on Teleportation within the first
two books, but necros quickly get Become Bat, which gives +5 speed.
The question is, though, is that kind of an escape sufficient? If you
open up enough distance by running, will things lose your scent?
Eventually they will lose your scent. Just head for the stairs. Even
when necros get their teleport spell, it's horribly unreliable for a
long long time. This is the biggest drawback of necros, nicely
balancing all their other great spells (Break Curse and Black Blessing
are both awesome for ironmen).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Druids don't seem to be much made for ironman... all good stuff, but
just not enough of what one needs in the first two books. I'd be happy
to be proven wrong, though.
This is an interesting thought. I might try an ironman hobbit burglar,
pumping spells much later if and only if I find the druid
transformations book. That would be great for an ironman.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Thieves are adorable little ironmanners -- or not so little in the
case of half-orc thieves -- and so I have put more effort into them
than they deserve, because really, the moment Fang or at best
Feldisham comes along, none of their little tricks have enough oomph
to count, and they just crumple up like a fender in a car crash.
Feldisham is not fast, so just head for the stairs. The best way to
deal with the dogs is to weaken them with traps - but yes, it's a bit
of a crap shoot. If you can survive the first dog you're probably
safe. That said, none of my comp hobbits has died to the dogs -
several to novice warriors, but if they can get those first couple of
levels they have enough karate to survive.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
The "steamroller" approach, that is, trying to be so strong in melee
that you never need escapes, at least until sources of escape become
more commonly available in the dungeon, does not seem to work. Uniques
after D:5 or so don't seem to be doable without the escapes/healing
that a melee character would get from store-bought supplies. The
biggest culprit here is Mughash -- help, it's raining kobold dart
throwers!
This is why stealth is important, so you can choose your fights.
Always know your way to the nearest stairs - explore levels from the
stairs and stay close to them. Flee at the first sign of trouble.
You're not meant to kill everything, especially not in ironman.

That said, I've been assuming throughout that we're talking about
ironman with connected stairs. Playing without connected stairs would
be impossible, I suspect.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- If you get a ranged attack while on the surface, you can sometimes
pick up a little extra starting cash, since you cannot target non-
hostile townspeople in melee (...right?), but you can target them at
range.
- You generally don't need more than one or two rations to start, and
rations sell for a precious 2 GP apiece. Torches, on the other hand,
@t9...
- Don't forget that any scrolls and potions you pick up on the surface
count double, one for the one you bought and one for the one you would
waste on ID.
To be honest I would think that what happens in the town makes little
difference in the long run (I would consider no_stores to be true
ironman). It's all about surviving the first few levels until you have
enough hp and killing power to take down most single in-depth enemies.
For me this means a martial art skill in the teens and about 25hp,
somewhere around 200'. If I can make it that far, there's everything
to play for, but more than half my characters die before then.

With ironman the other big consideration is food. Leon claims that the
dungeon is balanced to provide enough food for ironmen.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
- Taking the first quest, although it makes the third dungeon level
somewhat harder, makes the fourth through sixth or so somewhat easier,
which I would venture is more important.
Yes. Always take the quest for the extra xp (which means more hp).

Good luck,

CC
b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-06 11:38:35 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Even though I have never won at Sangband, I've been playing a lot of
Ironman Sangband lately. Yes, I have strange tastes.
Funny, I was thinking only today about how the quests in S slow down
my diving, and so I should try more ironman games to practise diving.
Actually, in my Ironman play I dive a lot slower than in normal
play. :-D To each his own!
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I've gotten the deepest with an oathed Dark Elf sorceror (casting/
power/wizardry/devices/perception/stealth/savingthrow/armor). I
believe Dark Elf sorcerors have the most going for them in Ironman,
(Dark Elves as Ironmen)
Post by magnate
Their main problem is penalties to both STR and CON, meaning they're
crap at melee and can't carry much, and have low hp. Their awesome
spellcasting and good stealth helps a lot though.
Melee weakness isn't a problem if you avoid any melee focus at
all. :-) But yeah, the carrying capacity is real trouble. That's why I
have ended up leaving non-essentials in a floor cache once I have
feather falling.
Post by magnate
Joshua mentions giants, which I hadn't thought of. My thought was
hobbits. Notoriously hard to keep alive for the first few levels, but
once you've done the first quest their +2 Con and excellent burglary-
related skills would help a huge amount. If any non-caster can win
ironman, my money would be on a hobbit.
My Hobbit attempts tended to have a fairly even distribution of deaths
in the 2-6 range. But I've been learning as I go along, especially
since I spent the weekend with the relatively hard Necro approach, and
I might be able to get one further if I tried again. Hopefully I'm not
as prone to being suckerpunched by Summon Monster as I was for a very
long time after trying non-Sorcerors, for example. (Sorcerors' Phase
Door spell makes escaping that suckerpunch deceptively easy.)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I realize that that is a lot of skills for an ironman game.
We have very different ideas of what constitutes a lot here! You
listed 8 skills, which for me is a mild challenge game. Given that
it's ironman, I don't think 8 is too many at all. I'd be quite
impressed with a win with 10 or 12. The only issue there is whether
your rate of increasing hp is sufficient to keep you alive while
improving all those skills.
Huh. My impression is that having too many skills in Ironman (where
you can't easily just slow down to compensate) leads to a situation
where your skillset has less value than the sum of its parts, since
you e.g. have Stealth, but not enough to really count, you have melee
skill, but not enough to be more than a toy, you have magic skills,
but not enough to do the whole job, etc. etc.

On the other hand, I know that you are much more experienced at
Sangband than I am, so I can only ask, "What am I missing?"
Post by magnate
I'm amazed that you have no melee skill at all. I always always start
with karate or wrestling, to survive the first few levels, even with
casters.
Well, on the very first level -- skill-less boulder throwing. Heck,
pebble throwing. Heck, iron spike throwing. Heck, broken skull
throwing!

Other than that (and being quick to raise Magic Device once a wand of
Spark or such turns up), just going into every battle at full MP.
These are in my case oathed casters we're talking about here, after
all.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Armor especially seems superfluous. It is so tempting though!
I've always thought that forging would be vital in ironman, since you
don't have the home to expand your equipment permutations. I would
look at infusion too.
If I weren't so worried about skill dilution, I would too. :-)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
My recent attempts have gone oathed-mage with burglary added on top of
stealth and perception. I have been tempted to take dodging here.
Mages do get a dodging-amplifying spell, although it's not until the
third book.
I've always been disappointed with dodging. It has to get really
pretty high (50 or so) before I notice myself dodging. I like it, but
it's one to drop if I'm trying to cut back on skills.
Dodging seems to be about more than just its main benefit, though, no?
It seems to help against theivery attacks, which can be deadly if they
get your books (Bullroarer!), and the help says that it lets you wear
heavier armor without getting increased fail rates, which seems like
it would be important later on...

All that said, I've never raised it for any of my candidates except
the rare Hobbits who got far enough to be able to think about more
than just their killskills.
Post by magnate
It's a bit like non-oath casters getting half mana for their money,
and warriors getting half device skill for theirs. Your effective
burglary skill is 20+(skill-20)/2, so 40 is 30, 60 is 40, 80 is 50 and
100 is 60. This means it becomes a complete waste of money after about
60-70, limiting your effectively burglary skill to about 40-45. This
means your trap damage will never be enough to be useful later in the
game - but could be useful to take out gravity hounds, just about.
At least with Dark Elf Sorcerors, my interest in burglary isn't
actually about the traps, it's about item stealing. Even with Burglary
below 20, I only very rarely have had the feeling that the mana
savings were worth all the extra real-life keystrokes. I guess I could
be using more trap-related macros, though.
Post by magnate
My guess would be that an ironman burglar would be better off taking
the oath. You get big combat bonuses with light weapons, making your
melee *much* better than an oath caster. You can still have all the
utility spells, the only drawback being half mana.
For a sorceror, I consider that to be a big drawback indeed. My
sorceror Ironmen were able, thanks to the oath, to get by in the
killing department just fine with only trivial meleeing.

For necros with their Black Blessing, oathless or Guild both sound
more attractive than Oathed, although I've been going ordinary
Oathless with my necro attempts due to the fear of skill dilution,
again.

I don't have faith in Druids.

Since you write below that oathed priests can reach 75% of max combat
skill, I'd probably go oathed with them. Not to beat a dead horse, but
I really like the benefits of the Oaths.
Post by magnate
You don't need to
rely on damaging spells, since you have traps to deal with monsters
you're not meleeing.
Traps as the main source of kills?? Then I'd *really* have to improve
my macro-fu.
Post by magnate
I don't think there's a penalty to ranged skills as an oath caster
though, so a ranger type is an interesting possibility.
Necros are interesting here, since in batform they can fire, retreat,
fire, retreat, etc. (And I mean this as more than just theory --
exactly this tactic saved my necros' lives several times over the
weekend.) However, they also get Black Blessing, so...


(How well will Become Bat get things off your tail? Shake em for
good?)
Post by magnate
Eventually they will lose your scent. Just head for the stairs.
The stairs? Why? The *last* thing I want to do in Ironman is
prematurely descend. That just means a vicious circle of be
underpowered -- flee, thus losing my chance at the relatively less
dangerously accessible loot and XP on the current level -- become more
underpowered -- be thus forced to flee even more -- etc..., no?

That said, I agree that it's better to be yellow than dead. I've fled
e.g. breeder-infested levels in Ironman before, and died to not having
done so as well.

I got lots of experience with Become Bat over the weekend -- while it
hasn't seemed to have made anything lose my scent, it's still quite
good; in fact, I'd venture it's a much greater turning point for an
Ironman Necro than Black Blessing or Break Curse are, as those two --
especially Break Curse -- tend to arrive long before they really
become important to have.


(Ironmen without escape spells vs. e.g. Feldisham)
Post by magnate
Feldisham is not fast, so just head for the stairs.
Besides my objection to "head to the stairs", my experience with
Feldisham, as well as some other nominally normal-speed foes, is that
he's actually slightly faster than normal speed (why IS that, I
wonder?), so running from him will slowly (as in quickly) sap the life
from you.
Post by magnate
Always know your way to the nearest stairs - explore levels from the
stairs and stay close to them.
I think I'll continue with my "clear the level organically" approach
-- this sounds like too much tedium for the benefits to me. But thanks
all the same.
Post by magnate
That said, I've been assuming throughout that we're talking about
ironman with connected stairs. Playing without connected stairs would
be impossible, I suspect.
There is no "connected stairs" option in my copy of Sangband 1.0.0
final -- just a "no stairs back the way you came" option that is
without relevance in Ironman in any case. So, I don't understand you
here.


(Somehow Google Groups cut off your reply so this will be a
paraphrase)
Post by magnate
(paraphrased) If you're buying things in town, it's not really Ironman.
Ironman is one option, no_stores is another. I'll keep Ironman as just
Ironman without what I see as unnecessary special extra restrictions.
I like the improved chances, I like the broadened combo options (no
shops = no casters, practically!), I like the extra initial decisions,
etc., and meanwhile I don't consider e.g. the "original Ironman post"
from back in the day to be my measuring stick for what is Ironman. But
I respect your viewpoint all the same.

Bostock
magnate
2007-08-07 09:45:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Even though I have never won at Sangband, I've been playing a lot of
Ironman Sangband lately. Yes, I have strange tastes.
Funny, I was thinking only today about how the quests in S slow down
my diving, and so I should try more ironman games to practise diving.
Actually, in my Ironman play I dive a lot slower than in normal
play. :-D To each his own!
Well, there are two ways to play ironman. One is to get what you can
out of each level, clearing it before continuing down. The other is to
dive like Cliff or Eddie, relying on stealth and tactics to stay alive
until you find good enough loot to help. Both are challenging, but for
me the former would be too much like normal quest-driven play (I end
up pretty much clearing every quest level, though not the levels in
between).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I've gotten the deepest with an oathed Dark Elf sorceror (casting/
power/wizardry/devices/perception/stealth/savingthrow/armor). I
believe Dark Elf sorcerors have the most going for them in Ironman,
(Dark Elves as Ironmen)
Post by magnate
Their main problem is penalties to both STR and CON, meaning they're
crap at melee and can't carry much, and have low hp. Their awesome
spellcasting and good stealth helps a lot though.
Melee weakness isn't a problem if you avoid any melee focus at
all. :-) But yeah, the carrying capacity is real trouble. That's why I
have ended up leaving non-essentials in a floor cache once I have
feather falling.
We have very different styles of play. I cannot survive the early game
without melee, even with oathed casters. I'm just too impatient, and
end up adjacent to monsters too many times (especially if I can't
restock ?phase). I can, with an oathed necro or priest, leave melee in
the twenties once dark bolt/OoD are viable killers, but I've never
played a character with no melee skill at all.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Joshua mentions giants, which I hadn't thought of. My thought was
hobbits. Notoriously hard to keep alive for the first few levels, but
once you've done the first quest their +2 Con and excellent burglary-
related skills would help a huge amount. If any non-caster can win
ironman, my money would be on a hobbit.
My Hobbit attempts tended to have a fairly even distribution of deaths
in the 2-6 range. But I've been learning as I go along, especially
since I spent the weekend with the relatively hard Necro approach, and
I might be able to get one further if I tried again. Hopefully I'm not
as prone to being suckerpunched by Summon Monster as I was for a very
long time after trying non-Sorcerors, for example. (Sorcerors' Phase
Door spell makes escaping that suckerpunch deceptively easy.)
Another interesting idea - I'd never considered a hobbit necro.
Hobbits make pretty good druids, though I know you don't rate the
druidic realm. However, my gut feeling is that a hobbit would have the
best chance of survival without spells, as an oath burglar, killing
with traps, devices and melee/missiles/thrown in that order.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I realize that that is a lot of skills for an ironman game.
We have very different ideas of what constitutes a lot here! You
listed 8 skills, which for me is a mild challenge game. Given that
it's ironman, I don't think 8 is too many at all. I'd be quite
impressed with a win with 10 or 12. The only issue there is whether
your rate of increasing hp is sufficient to keep you alive while
improving all those skills.
Huh. My impression is that having too many skills in Ironman (where
you can't easily just slow down to compensate) leads to a situation
where your skillset has less value than the sum of its parts, since
you e.g. have Stealth, but not enough to really count, you have melee
skill, but not enough to be more than a toy, you have magic skills,
but not enough to do the whole job, etc. etc.
Yeah, I understand that. IME that problem normally kicks in around 12
skills, but it may be fewer in ironman.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, I know that you are much more experienced at
Sangband than I am, so I can only ask, "What am I missing?"
Well, let's consider. IMO ironman skills would fall into the following
categories -

Essential for all: Devices, Perception, Stealth(*), Spell Resistance
Need at least one of: Swords|Clubs|Polearms
Bows|Xbows|Slings|Thrown (see comments below
about missiles)
Karate|Wrestling
Casting+Mana+Realm
Nice to have: Burglary, Disarming, Dodging, Armor Forging, Alchemy,
Infusion

(*)Probably uneconomic to invest in Stealth for a dwarf or giant.

So a caster would need at least seven skills, but could add Alchemy
and Infusion for nine and Armor Forging for ten. A burglar would need
a melee skill, and it would make sense to add disarming and dodging
because they're so cheap after burglary. That's eight, so could add
forging and infusion for ten. A burglar/caster with no melee or
forging/infusion would also have ten skills.

I am inclined to stay away from casters for ironman, because the lack
of shopping means that your chances of finding books 6&7 are far less
likely. Devices will give you what you need to replace the utility
spells. Still, I'm very interested to hear your tales of ironmen
casters. That said, I wouldn't recommend the OoI for ironmen either,
because the extra hp is not worth the 50% loss to device skill. (This
has been reduced to 33% in Joshua's new unofficial release, which
might make the difference.) I think devices would be absolutely
critical to success in ironman.

I would also strongly recommend a martial art for any char except an
oath-caster. It makes the early game easier, and has important
benefits later on (FA, rconf, rsound). These benefits are less
important if you take forging though.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I'm amazed that you have no melee skill at all. I always always start
with karate or wrestling, to survive the first few levels, even with
casters.
Well, on the very first level -- skill-less boulder throwing. Heck,
pebble throwing. Heck, iron spike throwing. Heck, broken skull
throwing!
I just don't have the patience to play like that for long enough to
survive. I guess it's because I played so much S before there were
wands of spark, which make a big difference to the early survivability
of non-melee/missile chars.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Other than that (and being quick to raise Magic Device once a wand of
Spark or such turns up), just going into every battle at full MP.
These are in my case oathed casters we're talking about here, after
all.
Indeed, wands of spark are a boon. Missiles are also fine for the
first few levels, but it's frustrating how quickly they deteriorate
into non-viable killing skills, especially thrown weapons and slings.
There is a big gap between about 300' and finding your first ego
launcher (often 1500' or lower) where you just can't use missiles as a
primary killer. This is even more true in ironman with a shortage of
ammo. Hence I would stay away from missiles altogether in ironman.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Armor especially seems superfluous. It is so tempting though!
I've always thought that forging would be vital in ironman, since you
don't have the home to expand your equipment permutations. I would
look at infusion too.
If I weren't so worried about skill dilution, I would too. :-)
Well, if you still like trying oath casters, add armor forging and
infusion - that takes you to nine skills, which is only one more than
you were trying before. Infusion is important because essences enable
you to direct your forging to cover resistance holes etc. Essences
quickly rack up into the hundreds, giving you plenty to spend on each
chunk of metal you find.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
My recent attempts have gone oathed-mage with burglary added on top of
stealth and perception. I have been tempted to take dodging here.
Mages do get a dodging-amplifying spell, although it's not until the
third book.
I've always been disappointed with dodging. It has to get really
pretty high (50 or so) before I notice myself dodging. I like it, but
it's one to drop if I'm trying to cut back on skills.
Dodging seems to be about more than just its main benefit, though, no?
It seems to help against theivery attacks, which can be deadly if they
get your books (Bullroarer!), and the help says that it lets you wear
heavier armor without getting increased fail rates, which seems like
it would be important later on...
I guess so. Loss of books is another reason not to play ironman
casters. The chances of losing a book to fire or thievery before
finding a blanket of elemental protection and getting your Dex high
enough to avoid thieves must be nearing 100%! But yes, dodging does
help with more than just avoiding attacks - though I'm not sure it's
worth the investment for a non-burglar.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
It's a bit like non-oath casters getting half mana for their money,
and warriors getting half device skill for theirs. Your effective
burglary skill is 20+(skill-20)/2, so 40 is 30, 60 is 40, 80 is 50 and
100 is 60. This means it becomes a complete waste of money after about
60-70, limiting your effectively burglary skill to about 40-45. This
means your trap damage will never be enough to be useful later in the
game - but could be useful to take out gravity hounds, just about.
At least with Dark Elf Sorcerors, my interest in burglary isn't
actually about the traps, it's about item stealing. Even with Burglary
below 20, I only very rarely have had the feeling that the mana
savings were worth all the extra real-life keystrokes. I guess I could
be using more trap-related macros, though.
Traps really aren't too onerous. Two keypresses (+-dir) to set a trap,
and three more (+, inv selection, Esc) to fill it. Difficult to macro
I would have thought, because you don't know which direction or
inventory item you want, but I'm really no expert on macros.

Your comment on stealing items is interesting. I often forget to do
this with my burglars, and when I do remember I often burgle only dust
- but occasionally get a really nice find (stat potion, unIDd device,
etc.).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
My guess would be that an ironman burglar would be better off taking
the oath. You get big combat bonuses with light weapons, making your
melee *much* better than an oath caster. You can still have all the
utility spells, the only drawback being half mana.
For a sorceror, I consider that to be a big drawback indeed. My
sorceror Ironmen were able, thanks to the oath, to get by in the
killing department just fine with only trivial meleeing.
Sure, but since you were avoiding melee, they had to. My point is that
a non-oath caster would focus on melee or traps or devices for
killing, and only need mana for utility spells. A druid fits this
model well, since they have great utility/buff spells and poor killing
spells.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
For necros with their Black Blessing, oathless or Guild both sound
more attractive than Oathed, although I've been going ordinary
Oathless with my necro attempts due to the fear of skill dilution,
again.
Combining burglary and casting certainly does crank up the skill
count, but it can be done (ten skills without forging or melee).
Ironically a necro is the caster I would most want to take the oath,
because their killing power goes up considerably. I guess also a
priest for OoD. But that's a trade-off against the burglary oath,
which is important (though as a caster without melee you wouldn't miss
the bonus to light weapons). Interesting conundrum - but I think I
would probably not combine casting and burglary - or if I did I would
take swords as well for 11 skills, and take the burglary oath, using
spells for utility and backup.

That's what's so great about this game - so many more permutations
than the traditional six classes.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I don't have faith in Druids.
I think this is because you see casters as needing to rely on spells
to kill. If you try a character who uses spells to supplement melee or
missile killing, druidic magic is great. Give one a try (not an
ironman, I suggest).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Since you write below that oathed priests can reach 75% of max combat
skill, I'd probably go oathed with them. Not to beat a dead horse, but
I really like the benefits of the Oaths.
Well, if your caster is killing primarily with spells, the oath is a
must. Otherwise, I don't think it is. A non-oath priest can raise
clubbing to 100%!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
You don't need to
rely on damaging spells, since you have traps to deal with monsters
you're not meleeing.
Traps as the main source of kills?? Then I'd *really* have to improve
my macro-fu.
Traps are truly awesome later on. Admittedly there are nasty
intelligent monsters who can usually avoid them - but these are the
ones with low hp that you can dispatch more easily with devices,
spells or melee. Traps are great for putting dents in trolls, giants,
golems etc., and most importantly of all, you can get to the point
where they will annihilate entire packs of hounds.

If you come up with a decent set of trap setting and filling macros,
please publish them!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I don't think there's a penalty to ranged skills as an oath caster
though, so a ranger type is an interesting possibility.
Necros are interesting here, since in batform they can fire, retreat,
fire, retreat, etc. (And I mean this as more than just theory --
exactly this tactic saved my necros' lives several times over the
weekend.) However, they also get Black Blessing, so...
Necros have such good offensive spells that they have the least need
for supplemental killing of all casters. I would have thought that
melee would be more useful, for those times when you end up next to
something. You can always use devices to finish off beasties at range
and conserve mana. A ranger type would do better with druidic or
sorcerous magic, I would have thought, because they have better
utility/buff spells. But since this thread was originally about
ironman I should re-iterate that I don't think rangers are viable in
ironman because of the lack of ammo (though you could take Fletching
to alleviate this ...).

One important point about Black Blessing is that it makes martial arts
viable in ironman, because you can take on incorporeals (which are
otherwise impossible for ironmen martial artists). My necros almost
always take karate - ditto priests (who have normal Blessing as a
spell).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(How well will Become Bat get things off your tail? Shake em for
good?)
Become bat just gives you +5 speed (it has some other effects, but
that's the main one). That means you can outrun anything that moves at
normal speed. You can either get outside their detection range (up to
300' - 30 squares - for some monsters) or, more likely, you can get to
a set of stairs and escape. Given that your stairs are limited in
ironman, and each one takes you to greater danger, I would not rely on
Become Bat as an escape method. This makes necros the most dangerous
of casters, because their phase door spell (Shadow Shifting) is the
least reliable.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Eventually they will lose your scent. Just head for the stairs.
The stairs? Why? The *last* thing I want to do in Ironman is
prematurely descend. That just means a vicious circle of be
underpowered -- flee, thus losing my chance at the relatively less
dangerously accessible loot and XP on the current level -- become more
underpowered -- be thus forced to flee even more -- etc..., no?
Precisely. So running away isn't really an option - especially as you
are likely to wake up other monsters while you're fleeing. A staff of
teleportation is what you want instead - or a wand of tOther.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I got lots of experience with Become Bat over the weekend -- while it
hasn't seemed to have made anything lose my scent, it's still quite
good; in fact, I'd venture it's a much greater turning point for an
Ironman Necro than Black Blessing or Break Curse are, as those two --
especially Break Curse -- tend to arrive long before they really
become important to have.
Really? I use Break Curse immediately, to test all my unIDd kit.
Become Bat loses its usefulness as soon as you start meeting creatures
that move fairly quickly (+5) or quickly (+10) - which is quite soon.
Break Curse stays useful for a long time, since you don't have access
to unlimited ID in ironman.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Feldisham is not fast, so just head for the stairs.
Besides my objection to "head to the stairs", my experience with
Feldisham, as well as some other nominally normal-speed foes, is that
he's actually slightly faster than normal speed (why IS that, I
wonder?), so running from him will slowly (as in quickly) sap the life
from you.
All non-unique monsters have a random speed modifier of between -2 and
+2 to their normal speed. This is precisely so you can't always run
away from beasties the same speed as you. This may be what you're
observing with Feldisham, though IME it shouldn't apply to uniques
(who are generally tougher and therefore you should be allowed to
run). Maybe in S the modifier is applied to uniques as well - I don't
know. I'm sure a code-diver like Joshua or Christophe can tell us.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Always know your way to the nearest stairs - explore levels from the
stairs and stay close to them.
I think I'll continue with my "clear the level organically" approach
-- this sounds like too much tedium for the benefits to me. But thanks
all the same.
To each his own - I find clearing levels very tedious!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
That said, I've been assuming throughout that we're talking about
ironman with connected stairs. Playing without connected stairs would
be impossible, I suspect.
There is no "connected stairs" option in my copy of Sangband 1.0.0
final -- just a "no stairs back the way you came" option that is
without relevance in Ironman in any case. So, I don't understand you
here.
Sorry, my bad - I forgot that ironman doesn't allow you to go back up!
But yes, that's the option I meant - which is essential for non-
ironman speed-divers.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Ironman is one option, no_stores is another. I'll keep Ironman as just
Ironman without what I see as unnecessary special extra restrictions.
I like the improved chances, I like the broadened combo options (no
shops = no casters, practically!), I like the extra initial decisions,
etc., and meanwhile I don't consider e.g. the "original Ironman post"
from back in the day to be my measuring stick for what is Ironman. But
I respect your viewpoint all the same.
Sure. It wasn't a particularly strong view - just that I didn't really
see much significance in a single visit to the shops before you go
down. I guess it is important to pick up the second spellbook for
casters, and ammo for (doomed!) rangers, but that's about it. Maybe a
lantern, and a !CSW to ID.

CC
b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-07 14:25:40 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Let the leaning tower of attributions begin!

(Discussion - Is Ironman also about, or not-about fast diving?)
Post by magnate
Well, there are two ways to play ironman. One is to get what you can
out of each level, clearing it before continuing down. The other is to
dive like Cliff or Eddie, relying on stealth and tactics to stay alive
until you find good enough loot to help. Both are challenging, but for
me the former would be too much like normal quest-driven play (I end
up pretty much clearing every quest level, though not the levels in
between).
Got you. I find too many things too threatening even as it is to go
fast-dive, though, although granted, the loot you skipped when you
skip a level is less consequential on average than the loot you are
about to find. Level 1 at least is a bit of an exception, though,
since the threat level is so exceedingly low and there are so many
locks to pick, potions of water to drink, scrolls of darkness to read,
etc., that can bring you into the rest of the game stronger...
*assuming* you it doesn't bore you to be that thorough. Which is, as
you note, a matter of personal taste. For me, fortunately (I guess),
it's a nice soothing, meditative part of the game, a low-threat warmup
before heading to the dogs and to the quest monsters below them.

I have spent most of my rogueliking career with permalevel roguelikes
which are balanced for the player's fully exploiting each one of the
relative (to normal *band play) -ly small number of levels, by the
way, so clearing every level fully feels also more "normal" for me
because of that. Purely an emotional reason, but there you are. (That
history is also what attracts me to Ironman.)
Post by magnate
We have very different styles of play. I cannot survive the early game
without melee, even with oathed casters. I'm just too impatient, and
end up adjacent to monsters too many times (especially if I can't
restock ?phase).
With sorcerors, this quickly becomes irrelevant, as long as you are
watchful enough to recognize you'll be needing to phase *before*
you're low on MP.

I haven't tried any other oathed casters yet except a couple of hours
with dwarf priests yesterday, and those took Wrestling so it's a moot
point. (Fortunately, they died -- fortunately, because I made the
decision with full awareness that the big benefits for barehand come
about 75, and so if I happened by some bizarre twist of fate to
survive until the endgame, I'd probably be kicking not monsters, but
myself.)
Post by magnate
I can, with an oathed necro or priest, leave melee in
the twenties once dark bolt/OoD are viable killers, but I've never
played a character with no melee skill at all.
I think in normal play I'd be even less tempted to take melee on a
sorceror than in Ironman -- the ability to phase out and later
teleport out from scrolls until I'm blue in the face would remove all
MP worries for me.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
If any non-caster can win ironman, my money would be on a hobbit.
My Hobbit attempts tended to have a fairly even distribution of deaths
in the 2-6 range. But I've been learning as I go along, especially
since I spent the weekend with the relatively hard Necro approach, and
I might be able to get one further if I tried again. Hopefully I'm not
as prone to being suckerpunched by Summon Monster as I was for a very
long time after trying non-Sorcerors, for example. (Sorcerors' Phase
Door spell makes escaping that suckerpunch deceptively easy.)
Another interesting idea - I'd never considered a hobbit necro.
Neither have I. I just wrote that paragraph confusingly. My hobbits
were sword-burglars, my necros were humans and half-orcs, plus one
half-troll.
Post by magnate
Hobbits make pretty good druids, though I know you don't rate the
druidic realm.
I rate it for normal play, just not for Ironman. This is purely
because they seem to lack escape methods in comparison to the other
three caster types, with lack of escapes seeming to be the number one
Ironman problem.
Post by magnate
However, my gut feeling is that a hobbit would have the
best chance of survival without spells, as an oath burglar, killing
with traps, devices and melee/missiles/thrown in that order.
Do you mean (melee && missiles && thrown) or (melee && (missiles |
thrown))? I would think that taking both missiles and thrown would be
a waste.


(Discussion - how many skills is a lot?)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(With 10ish skills, won't you be jack of all trades, master of none?)
Yeah, I understand that. IME that problem normally kicks in around 12
skills, but it may be fewer in ironman.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, I know that you are much more experienced at
Sangband than I am, so I can only ask, "What am I missing?"
Well, let's consider. IMO ironman skills would fall into the following
categories -
Essential for all: Devices, Perception, Stealth(*), Spell Resistance
Need at least one of: (long list of attack skills and skillgroups)
(*)Probably uneconomic to invest in Stealth for a dwarf or giant.
Interestingly, my stealthless dwarven priest attempt got massacred on
level 6 in a "quiet... *too* quiet" moment where all of a sudden
Sangband pulled Mughash's Gang and a gradually growing band of
additional "onlookers" that only got bigger as I scroll-phased
helplessly about trying to survive. Hard to say if the kind of stealth
a dwarf can get would have made things any better.
Post by magnate
So a caster would need at least seven skills, but could add Alchemy
and Infusion for nine and Armor Forging for ten.
As an aside, in my experience, in the very early game, a sorceror does
best to stick strictly to their casting skills for the first level or
two, and a fighter-caster, to stick strictly to casting skills plus
their weapon skill. Magic device gets caught up next, or perhaps
perception if doors are getting annoying, then stealth or perception,
then perception if it wasn't already before then. Burglary can replace
magdev in this order, or come right after it.

With my experience with how tight skillpoints have been, I still think
I'd skip Alchemy and Infusion, and definitely would skip them for a
fighting caster.
Post by magnate
I am inclined to stay away from casters for ironman, because the lack
of shopping means that your chances of finding books 6&7 are far less
likely.
I'll take that *any* day over trying to get through the early game
without a renewable escape method. But you mention fire risk below,
and I have no experience with that risk, so "I'm possibly
underestimating it" isn't even the right phrase.
Post by magnate
Devices will give you what you need to replace the utility
spells.
Is there a rod of phase door? Of teleportation? When can one start to
hope for them?
Post by magnate
Still, I'm very interested to hear your tales of ironmen
casters.
I really should start documenting these games more. The trouble is,
when I'm playing an epic game, I hate stopping to write down what's
happening. :-)
Post by magnate
I think devices would be absolutely critical to success in ironman.
I agree.


(Discussion: how do I survive the opening without melee? Essentially,
patient play...)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Other than that (and being quick to raise Magic Device once a wand of
Spark or such turns up), just going into every battle at full MP.
These are in my case oathed casters we're talking about here, after
all.
Indeed, wands of spark are a boon. Missiles are also fine for the
first few levels, but it's frustrating how quickly they deteriorate
into non-viable killing skills,
I didn't say "skilled throwing," did I? That would be a waste of
skillpoints on a skill I won't be using in the long term. (Although
you don't seem to conider that a waste, so maybe I should reevaluate
that viewpoint.) I use pointblank or near-pointblank range to make up
for lack of skill. There are some monsters where the pointblank bonus
still doesn't help, but it's plenty enough for taking out jellies,
molds, etc., as well as some of the mobile monsters. Don't bother with
it on snakes, though.
Post by magnate
(Many missiles have lots of problems even outside of Ironman, and in Ironman they'll also be plagued by lack of ammo.)
I agree. When I mention necromancers using Become Bat plus ranged-
physical, I'm mentioning that as a secondary killing method for pillar-
danceable emergencies, not as a primary killing method.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Armor especially seems superfluous. It is so tempting though!
I've always thought that forging would be vital in ironman, since you
don't have the home to expand your equipment permutations. I would
look at infusion too.
If I weren't so worried about skill dilution, I would too. :-)
Well, if you still like trying oath casters, add armor forging and
infusion - that takes you to nine skills, which is only one more than
you were trying before. Infusion is important because essences enable
you to direct your forging to cover resistance holes etc. Essences
quickly rack up into the hundreds, giving you plenty to spend on each
chunk of metal you find.
By the time I find, on average, my first chunk of copper, though, I've
either walked around for a while with a huge albatross on my neck in
the form of a uselessly-early investment in these skills, or I have to
pay a premium for the first levels of the skill when I give it a late
start. Maybe I'd be less nervous if I had a better feel for the skill
cost system. (But please don't quote too many algorithms at me --
algorithms aren't feelings.)


(Discussion: Dodging not worth it? Kind of, but, well, it *does* help
against, er, burglars...)
Post by magnate
I guess so. Loss of books is another reason not to play ironman
casters. The chances of losing a book to fire or thievery before
finding a blanket of elemental protection and getting your Dex high
enough to avoid thieves must be nearing 100%!
Books stack, though, and unless you're mortally afraid of quasits, you
don't have to carry all your copies of books with you, either.

Still, it's foreboding to hear such words of gloom from you,
considering I've never been to the deeper depths.


(Discussion: Traps! Traps? Traps seem onerous.)
Post by magnate
Traps really aren't too onerous. Two keypresses (+-dir) to set a trap,
and three more (+, inv selection, Esc) to fill it. Difficult to macro
I would have thought, because you don't know which direction or
inventory item you want, but I'm really no expert on macros.
Hopefully that interface would respect @ inscriptions, although I have
even less hope that it would respect @x (e.g. @v, @w, etc.)
inscriptions, and then there's the fact that there are nine directions
to consider... a set of nine macros might work, but it would be work
to set up (at least for the inventor), and would only cover one type
of action... well, I'll take a look.
Post by magnate
Your comment on stealing items is interesting. I often forget to do
this with my burglars, and when I do remember I often burgle only dust
- but occasionally get a really nice find (stat potion, unIDd device,
etc.).
Burglary does seem to go for the light items, although if I'm not
hallucinating, I once burgled a rusty chain mail from an icky thing. :-
D If it does go for the light stuff, that's good, since light stuff is
so often good stuff.


(Um... snippage.)
Post by magnate
a non-oath caster would focus on melee or traps or devices for
killing, and only need mana for utility spells.
My non-oath Necros have also needed mana for ranged killing (certain
jellies, fleeing enemies, etc.)... I think having at least some kind
of ranged option is essential, if not two or three.
Post by magnate
Ironically a necro is the caster I would most want to take the oath,
because their killing power goes up considerably.
Don't necros have abnormally high fail rates, though? That is the
intuition I'm getting with them. If so, that seems to argue in favor
of at least some melee.

On the other hand, my oathless necros keep getting crushed like grapes
long before my best oathed meleeless sorcerors were (I have one parked
relatively deep right now, in fact, waiting for my mildly masochistic
non-oathed-sorceror experiments to end), and maybe the problem is in
the "oathless," not the "necro."


(mage-thieves discussion)
Post by magnate
the bonus to light weapons). Interesting conundrum - but I think I
would probably not combine casting and burglary - or if I did I would
take swords as well for 11 skills, and take the burglary oath, using
spells for utility and backup.
I get the feeling that you're assuming that a burglar has to take
most or all of the burglary suite. My parked mage-thief is going just
burglary-stealth-perception; isn't that also an option? And thus the
parked mage-thief is at magic1/magic2/magic3/device/percep/stealth/
burglary/resistance = only 8 skills (again, I'm really paranoid about
dilution!), with my perhaps having forgot one taking it to 9.

In any case, you're making me less afraid to take the upper end of the
skill counts I think about taking, so you are having an effect here.
Post by magnate
That's what's so great about this game - so many more permutations than the traditional six classes.
Yes!
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I don't have faith in Druids.
I think this is because you see casters as needing to rely on spells
to kill. If you try a character who uses spells to supplement melee or
missile killing, druidic magic is great. Give one a try (not an
ironman, I suggest).
No, it's just the escapes thing. I'm plenty happy to play fighter-
casters, just have been preferring to play sorcerors meleeless --
their spell set is that good.

Think I might start trying meleeless necros, though (but with missile
skill for retreat-and-fire).
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I don't think there's a penalty to ranged skills as an oath caster
though, so a ranger type is an interesting possibility.
Necros are interesting here, since in batform they can fire, retreat,
fire, retreat, etc. (And I mean this as more than just theory --
exactly this tactic saved my necros' lives several times over the
weekend.) However, they also get Black Blessing, so...
Necros have such good offensive spells that they have the least need
for supplemental killing of all casters.
They have to actually get that far first, though. Remember, levels 2-9
or so in an Ironman game are *HAERD*! It's a long, long way from the
start of an ironman game until even the second necro attack skill, and
then there's that extra-special speed bump before the third and later
books... Still, I'll check it out (probably dropping melee rather than
missile though... in any case, magic + missile + melee was perhaps
stretching things a bit thin.)
Post by magnate
I would have thought that
melee would be more useful, for those times when you end up next to
something. You can always use devices to finish off beasties at range
and conserve mana.
Being able to pillar-dance and chuck/fire at monsters is like having a
huge, huge stack of devices for free. It's really, really good. I took
down Mughash and the non-dart-thrower part of his band once using
nothing but javelins. Granted, I was unusually lucky to have javelins
already by that point, but the fact remains.
Post by magnate
One important point about Black Blessing is that it makes martial arts
viable in ironman, because you can take on incorporeals (which are
otherwise impossible for ironmen martial artists). My necros almost
always take karate - ditto priests (who have normal Blessing as a
spell).
I would think martial arts would be OK for *every* caster, since they
can just take out the offending beastie with magic. That said, martial
arts is an interesting topic. I was originally skeptical, since they
present a choice between either getting no resistances from the weapon
slot, or having to avoid the Oath to get the MA resistances. But now
that I have a feel for how quickly (slowly) I can expect a decent
weapon to turn up, I have to admit Josh was right -- the way MA
removes dependence on weapon drops is extremely powerful for Ironman.
Still feels like a hard decision, though.

Ironically, my best weapon luck was with the best-performing of my
meleeless casters -- a 'thanc around D:5, for example. :-)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(How well will Become Bat get things off your tail? Shake em for
good?)
Become bat just gives (...)
I meant that as a discussion summary, not a question. I was satisfied
with your answer from the last time. But thanks!
Post by magnate
normal speed. You can either get outside their detection range (up to
300' - 30 squares - for some monsters)
This, in any case, is new information for me. That could be useful on
mostly-explored and relatively large levels, although you never know
what's been generated in the meantime...
Post by magnate
or, more likely, you can get to a set of stairs and escape.
Or you can pillar-dance, possibly chucking/firing as you go.
Post by magnate
Precisely. So running away isn't really an option - especially as you
are likely to wake up other monsters while you're fleeing. A staff of
teleportation is what you want instead - or a wand of tOther.
Cool to know these exist, although they apparently turn up deeper than
level 25, and I haven't gotten a non-sorc Ironman deeper than level 10
or so yet and the sorc only to 25, so it's still a rather exotic
consideration...


(...)
Post by magnate
(...) I use Break Curse immediately, to test all my unIDd kit.
I test it non-stop anyway... Remove Curse starts appearing rather
shallow, and cursed stuff rather deep. This does tend to leave my non-
necros stuck with a ring of teleportation for a while, but then, I'll
be wearing one for at least a little while anyway, for the ID XP.
Post by magnate
Become Bat loses its usefulness as soon as you start meeting creatures
that move fairly quickly (+5) or quickly (+10) - which is quite soon.
Oof. Doesn't have to be useful against everything to be useful,
though.
Post by magnate
Break Curse stays useful for a long time, since you don't have access
to unlimited ID in ironman.
Priests get Scan Item, though, and Sorcs who finally reach book-3
depth *do* get unlimited ID. (What do Druids get in this department?
Besides goatform, I mean.)


(Not so hot on running from Feldisham to stairs -- he was getting hits
in)
Post by magnate
All non-unique monsters have a random speed modifier of between -2 and
+2 to their normal speed.
Thanks! That must explains why green icky things keep getting free
hits in on my non-meleeless guys...
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
There is no "connected stairs" option in my copy of Sangband 1.0.0
final -- just a "no stairs back the way you came" option that is
without relevance in Ironman in any case. So, I don't understand you
here.
Sorry, my bad - I forgot that ironman doesn't allow you to go back up!
But yes, that's the option I meant - which is essential for non-
ironman speed-divers.
Oh, I get it -- you'd go down, look for stairs, and go up and back
down again if none were in view. That's a common tactic among "Void
divers" in ToME too (because almost no enemies in ToME's Void are
trivially survivable for most Void divers).

(Shopless ironman?! DO NOT WANT!)
Post by magnate
(It's really just that) I didn't really
see much significance in a single visit to the shops before you go
down.
Even for my melee guys it makes all the difference -- especially if
there are some nice items available at a deep discount. If there are
not, then the money goes to scrolls of phase door, plus one CLW and
maybe CSW and ?Tele if there's money to spare.

Phase door is so important that I've begun experimenting with my non-
sorcs with not buying the second book.
Post by magnate
I guess it is important to pick up the second spellbook for
casters, and ammo for (doomed!) rangers, but that's about it. Maybe a
lantern, and a !CSW to ID.
Even when available, lantern purchases (unless they're like 75% off or
something) are an inefficient luxury. !CSW is a bit pricey, but...
yeah. Surprised Phase Door wasn't the first thing to cross your mind,
though!

Bostock
Roger
2007-08-07 15:46:02 UTC
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Post by b***@inmail24.com
Is there a rod of phase door? Of teleportation? When can one start to
hope for them?
For phase door there's a Rod of Blinking. I usually find one around
level 30 or so. For teleport you can get an amulet of escaping. I
don't know the depth of the latter since I've only found one.
Roger
2007-08-07 15:52:26 UTC
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Post by Roger
For phase door there's a Rod of Blinking. I usually find one around
level 30 or so. For teleport you can get an amulet of escaping. I
don't know the depth of the latter since I've only found one.
Duh, I just remembered you can just use a Staff of Teleportation.
Sangband's staves are much more durable than Vanilla's, and you can
recharge them pretty easily. I regularly find stacks of recharging
scrolls in the dungeon.

On that note... my games tend to really take off once I find that
first staff of perception. It's essentially infinite ID; I'll
recharge it half a dozen times before I pick up a fresh staff up from
the dungeon floor. I've only lost 1 staff to wild magic so far
(although I've lost charges a few more times than that).
magnate
2007-08-08 10:48:53 UTC
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Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Discussion - Is Ironman also about, or not-about fast diving?)
Post by magnate
Well, there are two ways to play ironman. One is to get what you can
out of each level, clearing it before continuing down. The other is to
dive like Cliff or Eddie, relying on stealth and tactics to stay alive
until you find good enough loot to help. Both are challenging, but for
me the former would be too much like normal quest-driven play (I end
up pretty much clearing every quest level, though not the levels in
between).
Got you. I find too many things too threatening even as it is to go
fast-dive, though, although granted, the loot you skipped when you
skip a level is less consequential on average than the loot you are
about to find. Level 1 at least is a bit of an exception, though,
since the threat level is so exceedingly low and there are so many
locks to pick, potions of water to drink, scrolls of darkness to read,
etc., that can bring you into the rest of the game stronger...
*assuming* you it doesn't bore you to be that thorough. Which is, as
you note, a matter of personal taste. For me, fortunately (I guess),
it's a nice soothing, meditative part of the game, a low-threat warmup
before heading to the dogs and to the quest monsters below them.
I agree with you here. I lose a *lot* of characters to Grip/Fang/
Feldisham simply because I don't spend long enough on level 1. Since
re-rolling and shopping are tedious, I'm trying to train myself to
clear at least two-thirds of dl1, so that I have a decent chance of
surviving when I descend. For me this means good enough karate or
wrestling to give Grip a solid punch on the nose - 10% or better.

I think it pretty much only applies at dl1 though. If you can survive
Grip or Fang (let alone Feldisham), you can immediately dive to about
200' pretty safely (this assumes that you pick your fights, which
comes up further down this reply). Since I always play quests, I dive
to complete the first quest (always 150' or 200') and then come back
up to get the next. If I can survive the first quest then I'm rolling.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I have spent most of my rogueliking career with permalevel roguelikes
which are balanced for the player's fully exploiting each one of the
relative (to normal *band play) -ly small number of levels, by the
way, so clearing every level fully feels also more "normal" for me
because of that. Purely an emotional reason, but there you are. (That
history is also what attracts me to Ironman.)
Ah, yes - this is certainly a strong influence on your play style. My
only previous roguelike was Moria, which also had nonpersistent
levels. I did develop a habit of clearing levels, but then got bored
with the game, and my interest was rekindled after reading Eddie's
Tales of the Bold, so I tried diving and got to like it. S is a
perfect balance for me, because quests limit my diving, which means I
survive longer! I have much more trouble in O, where I rarely get past
2000' because I dive much faster.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
We have very different styles of play. I cannot survive the early game
without melee, even with oathed casters. I'm just too impatient, and
end up adjacent to monsters too many times (especially if I can't
restock ?phase).
With sorcerors, this quickly becomes irrelevant, as long as you are
watchful enough to recognize you'll be needing to phase *before*
you're low on MP.
?? Admittedly I've not tried many sorcerors, but my recollection is
that mana in the early levels is only enough for one or two phases
before running out - especially if I'm using magic missile to do my
killing. Perhaps you invest in a lot of mana early, in the way I do
with martial arts. That makes sense - it's a caster strategy I've not
tried yet, which I read recently - leave casting itself but reduce
your fail rate and pump mana until you have enough to kill stuff
reliably.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I can, with an oathed necro or priest, leave melee in
the twenties once dark bolt/OoD are viable killers, but I've never
played a character with no melee skill at all.
I think in normal play I'd be even less tempted to take melee on a
sorceror than in Ironman -- the ability to phase out and later
teleport out from scrolls until I'm blue in the face would remove all
MP worries for me.
Well listen, next time you play a non-melee caster, keep a note of
near misses or awkward fights where you end up next to the baddie and
have to phase away. At least in the early levels - it would be
interesting to see whether it's a significant problem or not. (More on
the need for melee, and martial arts in particular, below.)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Hobbits make pretty good druids, though I know you don't rate the
druidic realm.
I rate it for normal play, just not for Ironman. This is purely
because they seem to lack escape methods in comparison to the other
three caster types, with lack of escapes seeming to be the number one
Ironman problem.
Hmm. I would have said that necros were pretty lacking in the escape
department too, but you will correctly point out that I have not fully
appreciated the utility of Become Bat. I'll get back to you on this.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
However, my gut feeling is that a hobbit would have the
best chance of survival without spells, as an oath burglar, killing
with traps, devices and melee/missiles/thrown in that order.
Do you mean (melee && missiles && thrown) or (melee && (missiles |
thrown))? I would think that taking both missiles and thrown would be
a waste.
Agreed.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Discussion - how many skills is a lot?)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(With 10ish skills, won't you be jack of all trades, master of none?)
Yeah, I understand that. IME that problem normally kicks in around 12
skills, but it may be fewer in ironman.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, I know that you are much more experienced at
Sangband than I am, so I can only ask, "What am I missing?"
Well, let's consider. IMO ironman skills would fall into the following
categories -
Essential for all: Devices, Perception, Stealth(*), Spell Resistance
Need at least one of: (long list of attack skills and skillgroups)
(*)Probably uneconomic to invest in Stealth for a dwarf or giant.
Interestingly, my stealthless dwarven priest attempt got massacred on
level 6 in a "quiet... *too* quiet" moment where all of a sudden
Sangband pulled Mughash's Gang and a gradually growing band of
additional "onlookers" that only got bigger as I scroll-phased
helplessly about trying to survive. Hard to say if the kind of stealth
a dwarf can get would have made things any better.
I think Leon's design, if I understand it correctly, is that the
unstealthy races (Dwarves, Giants, Half-Trolls) should not bother to
try and creep around, but instead slug it out with whatever comes
their way (escaping if necessary). I don't think it's a coincidence
that the three least stealthy races have the biggest hit dice. I've
never tried pumping stealth with any of those races - I guess it might
make a bit of difference, but it seems perverse given that one wants
to play with as few skills as one can.

For unstealthy characters escapes are more important, which means that
in ironman, where escapes are severely limited by the lack of town,
stealth is even more important than usual. A giant sorceror or dwarf
priest could rely on escape spells, but I doubt that a non-caster of
those races would be viable in ironman. In fact it remains to be
proven whether any non-caster is viable in ironman, but a hobbit
burglar is my best bet.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
So a caster would need at least seven skills, but could add Alchemy
and Infusion for nine and Armor Forging for ten.
As an aside, in my experience, in the very early game, a sorceror does
best to stick strictly to their casting skills for the first level or
two, and a fighter-caster, to stick strictly to casting skills plus
their weapon skill. Magic device gets caught up next, or perhaps
perception if doors are getting annoying, then stealth or perception,
then perception if it wasn't already before then. Burglary can replace
magdev in this order, or come right after it.
That's interesting. I always pump my martial art first, right up to
21% (where there is a big cost jump) before pumping anything else at
all. That way I know I can kill pretty much anything that crosses my
path - even Mughash or Lagduf. At that point I then start to bring up
all the skills I intend to max out for that char - burglary and
friends, perception, saving throw, devices, forging, infusion -
whichever. I continue to pump the martial art so that it's about 10%
ahead of all the other skills. Using this method I have lost a couple
of characters to traps or failed saves when the martial art was in the
high teens (ie. just before pumping any other skills), but my survival
rate into the middle game is pretty high. I don't think it would need
adjusting for ironman, since it all takes place in the first trip down
in any event.

That's for warriors, burglars and warrior-casters (i.e. oathless
casters killing with melee and using spells as backup/utility). For
casters intending to actually kill with spells (whether oathed or
not), the three spell skills need to go up much earlier, almost in
parity with the martial art. I find that this lowers my survival rate
dramatically, and have not found a solution yet. The one I will try
(when I next bother with a primary caster) is to pump just mana
alongside the martial art, and leave the casting and realm skills with
the rest. That might be more effective (more killing power sooner).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
With my experience with how tight skillpoints have been, I still think
I'd skip Alchemy and Infusion, and definitely would skip them for a
fighting caster.
For a fighting caster yes, but for a pure caster they might help -
infusion especially. Although forging can make some cool stuff, what
you want in ironman is a way to fill resistance holes, because you
can't leave useful stuff at home - so I think infusion would be well
worthwhile. That said, I've never played ironman far enough to see if
this is true.

I'm really not very experienced with alchemy, it just seems like it
could be useful in ironman for making key scrolls and potions later
on.

The thing about the forging skills is that you don't have to raise
them until later on. Sure, you pay over the odds if you raise them
later, but that's still much more sensible than investing in them
early when you're not using them and the points would be better spent
on survival and killing skills. After all, there's an infinite amount
of xp available, so it doesn't really matter if you pay a bit more. So
you could pump forging once you found your first chunk of metal, for
example, or alchemy once you found your first empty bottle or blank
parchment.

In fact this is another of the great things about Sang. If you find an
awesome artifact launcher or weapon, there's nothing to stop you from
pumping the skill which enables you to use it effectively. I often
switch from martial arts to a weapon after a great find (e.g. if Wormy
drops a HA or and artifact). I once found a truly fantastic artifact
throwing axe, so I pumped throwing all the way from 0% to about 60% -
which took me all of about five minutes at that depth.

So you're not restricted to your initial choice of skills - and indeed
I suggest that in ironman it's sensible to choose a bare minimum at
first, and raise others depending on your finds.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I am inclined to stay away from casters for ironman, because the lack
of shopping means that your chances of finding books 6&7 are far less
likely.
I'll take that *any* day over trying to get through the early game
without a renewable escape method. But you mention fire risk below,
and I have no experience with that risk, so "I'm possibly
underestimating it" isn't even the right phrase.
Oh wow. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but the first three books burn
real nice. Packs of fire hounds, chimeras, fire vortices - very common
from about 1300' onwards, and even resist fire doesn't stop them
burning.

Still, I can't say I've tried many ironman casters, so maybe it isn't
that big a deal. You should have spares of at least the first two
books pretty quickly, so it's only the third that would be in real
danger.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Devices will give you what you need to replace the utility
spells.
Is there a rod of phase door? Of teleportation? When can one start to
hope for them?
Rod of Blinking shows up not long after 1000'; Staff of Teleportation
not much later. Staves very occasionally blow up on recharging, but
not often.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Still, I'm very interested to hear your tales of ironmen
casters.
I really should start documenting these games more. The trouble is,
when I'm playing an epic game, I hate stopping to write down what's
happening. :-)
I know that feeling exactly.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I think devices would be absolutely critical to success in ironman.
I agree.
In fact, I think the device skill (along with Spell Resistance) is too
important, period. But that's a subject for another thread.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Discussion: how do I survive the opening without melee? Essentially,
patient play...)
Post by magnate
Indeed, wands of spark are a boon. Missiles are also fine for the
first few levels, but it's frustrating how quickly they deteriorate
into non-viable killing skills,
I didn't say "skilled throwing," did I? That would be a waste of
skillpoints on a skill I won't be using in the long term. (Although
you don't seem to conider that a waste, so maybe I should reevaluate
that viewpoint.)
Yes - just as there's nothing wrong with paying over the odds to raise
a new skill later in the game, there's no problem at all about leaving
a skill at a certain point - in fact it helps your score to raise
fewer skills. I frequently play characters who invest in certain
skills purely to get a specific talent (detect magic, mend self,
detect evil, etc.) and then stop. I will often leave one melee skill
and switch to another after a particular find - ditto with missile
launchers. A little investment in throwing is always useful, since you
can chuck all sorts of nasty things you find at bad guys (potions of
essences/confusion/detonations, mushrooms of unhealth/disease etc.). I
don't know the optimal level, but a few points in throwing would help
early and not be wasted later. Like I said earlier, 21% is a key
breakpoint where there's a big cost jump, and I think there's another
one around 34%. Either of those would be good points to leave
throwing.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I use pointblank or near-pointblank range to make up
for lack of skill. There are some monsters where the pointblank bonus
still doesn't help, but it's plenty enough for taking out jellies,
molds, etc., as well as some of the mobile monsters. Don't bother with
it on snakes, though.
There are two interesting points in this paragraph. One is that in
most variants (I think including S), there is a big penalty associated
with using missiles at point-blank range - I think the bad guys get
bonuses to-hit, or your effective AC drops dramatically, or something.
This is why I'm so keen on a melee skill - and it seems to me that you
don't end up adjacent to bad guys any less often than I do, you just
use missiles or escape instead of slugging it out. (By "pointblank
bonus" I assume you mean "lack of range penalty", since there isn't an
actual bonus AFAIK.)

The other thing is very revealing indeed, which is that you kill
jellies and molds. I think this is associated with your level-clearing
habit from previous roguelikes with persistent levels. Most *banders
adopt a conscious decision *not* to kill every monster, since trying
to do so is a very common cause of death. I almost never kill jellies
or molds, because they're far more trouble than they're worth, and I
can almost always avoid them. Ditto quylthulgs, silent watchers,
haunted helmets, eyes, mimics and indeed almost all immobiles. Only if
they're preventing me reaching an item I want do I bother with them
(or if they're a sodding quest monster!).

I may have made an incorrect inference about your play style, but if I
not then this explains quite a lot about our different emphases on
various skills.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
(Many missiles have lots of problems even outside of Ironman, and in Ironman they'll also be plagued by lack of ammo.)
I agree. When I mention necromancers using Become Bat plus ranged-
physical, I'm mentioning that as a secondary killing method for pillar-
danceable emergencies, not as a primary killing method.
That makes sense.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Armor especially seems superfluous. It is so tempting though!
I've always thought that forging would be vital in ironman, since you
don't have the home to expand your equipment permutations. I would
look at infusion too.
If I weren't so worried about skill dilution, I would too. :-)
Well, if you still like trying oath casters, add armor forging and
infusion - that takes you to nine skills, which is only one more than
you were trying before. Infusion is important because essences enable
you to direct your forging to cover resistance holes etc. Essences
quickly rack up into the hundreds, giving you plenty to spend on each
chunk of metal you find.
By the time I find, on average, my first chunk of copper, though, I've
either walked around for a while with a huge albatross on my neck in
the form of a uselessly-early investment in these skills, or I have to
pay a premium for the first levels of the skill when I give it a late
start. Maybe I'd be less nervous if I had a better feel for the skill
cost system. (But please don't quote too many algorithms at me --
algorithms aren't feelings.)
Keeping it simple, and following on from what I said above, the
additional cost of raising a skill later in the game is almost
negligible. XP and skill costs scale exponentially, so by the time
forging is costing you 50 per point instead of 2, you have thousands
of XP to spend so it really doesn't matter. There is a slight drawback
with skills that need practice (combat skills, casting, devices,
burglary) in that you can't raise them too quickly or the cost
skyrockets (it goes grey-yellow-orange-red on the skills screen), but
for forging/infusion etc. that problem doesn't arise. So you can find
your first chunk, drop twenty points into forging and see what
happens.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Discussion: Dodging not worth it? Kind of, but, well, it *does* help
against, er, burglars...)
Post by magnate
I guess so. Loss of books is another reason not to play ironman
casters. The chances of losing a book to fire or thievery before
finding a blanket of elemental protection and getting your Dex high
enough to avoid thieves must be nearing 100%!
Books stack, though, and unless you're mortally afraid of quasits, you
don't have to carry all your copies of books with you, either.
Books are heavy though, and leaving them on the ground is unsafe
unless you have both FF and Rnexus (which resists tele-level). But
don't worry, you have done much to rekindle my interest in casters!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Still, it's foreboding to hear such words of gloom from you,
considering I've never been to the deeper depths.
Well, the deeper depths are consistently challenging and fun, and IMO
Sang is the best-balanced variant I've played (which is a poor
recommendation because I have played so few). I'll be interested to
hear whether your lack of melee skills becomes less of a problem as
you go deeper (because your casting and devices are better) or more of
a problem (because phasing and landing next to things is more
dangerous).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Discussion: Traps! Traps? Traps seem onerous.)
Post by magnate
Traps really aren't too onerous. Two keypresses (+-dir) to set a trap,
and three more (+, inv selection, Esc) to fill it. Difficult to macro
I would have thought, because you don't know which direction or
inventory item you want, but I'm really no expert on macros.
inscriptions, and then there's the fact that there are nine directions
to consider... a set of nine macros might work, but it would be work
to set up (at least for the inventor), and would only cover one type
of action... well, I'll take a look.
Yes, it's the directions which are annoying. But macros can be
combined with user input, I think, so it might be possible to make a
single trap macro that took a direction, made a trap in that direction
and then filled it with whichever item was inscribed with @T (or
whatever).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
a non-oath caster would focus on melee or traps or devices for
killing, and only need mana for utility spells.
My non-oath Necros have also needed mana for ranged killing (certain
jellies, fleeing enemies, etc.)... I think having at least some kind
of ranged option is essential, if not two or three.
This is why I think the device skill is too powerful: why would
anybody invest in throwing or a ranged weapon, when devices do the
same (ranged damage) plus so much else as well? Unless I'm playing a
ranger, I now don't bother with any ranged skill other than devices. I
consider not raising Devices to be a challenge char along the lines of
not raising Spell Resistance (indeed I have one of each going).

So yes, mana is of course useful for killing at range, but if you're
raising Devices (which you certainly are in ironman), it's not that
critical (making an oathless caster with 50% mana viable, which I
think was the genesis of this section).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Ironically a necro is the caster I would most want to take the oath,
because their killing power goes up considerably.
Don't necros have abnormally high fail rates, though? That is the
intuition I'm getting with them. If so, that seems to argue in favor
of at least some melee.
Necros have high fail rates on certain spells which other realms learn
easily, like phasing and food, but I don't think their fail rates are
higher on average. I've not checked though - it would be an
interesting exercise.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, my oathless necros keep getting crushed like grapes
long before my best oathed meleeless sorcerors were (I have one parked
relatively deep right now, in fact, waiting for my mildly masochistic
non-oathed-sorceror experiments to end), and maybe the problem is in
the "oathless," not the "necro."
I doubt it. Are you comparing the same races? I suspect necros are
just harder to keep alive than sorcerors, for the first few levels.
Once Dark Bolt gets down to 0% fail and up to 3d8 damage I suspect the
tables turn partway - though the lack of phasing will leave sorcerors
with the edge for quite a long time. Then there's the fact that necro
ID is in the fourth flipping book ...
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(mage-thieves discussion)
Post by magnate
the bonus to light weapons). Interesting conundrum - but I think I
would probably not combine casting and burglary - or if I did I would
take swords as well for 11 skills, and take the burglary oath, using
spells for utility and backup.
I get the feeling that you're assuming that a burglar has to take
most or all of the burglary suite. My parked mage-thief is going just
burglary-stealth-perception; isn't that also an option? And thus the
parked mage-thief is at magic1/magic2/magic3/device/percep/stealth/
burglary/resistance = only 8 skills (again, I'm really paranoid about
dilution!), with my perhaps having forgot one taking it to 9.
Well here we come across the issue that not all skills are equal.
Disarming, for instance, is the cheapest skill of all - it's already
only just over a quarter of the cost of devices, and once you've
invested in burglary it's almost free. So I see no point in my
burglars not taking Disarming. Dodging is 50% more expensive than
disarming, though still much cheaper than many skills, but here it
depends on race. My hobbits will always take dodging, whether burglars
or not; other races will take it if they're burglars because it's even
cheaper than normal, except Giants and Half-Trolls who should never
bother with it. Stealth is a must for all characters regardless of
burglary (except Dwarves, Half-Trolls and Giants as previously
discussed). So yes, burglars should almost always take the entire
suite for a combination of reasons, and it only really counts as two
full-price skills even though it's actually four. I note at this point
that I have never played a Dwarf or Half-Troll burglar. I submitted a
competition to play a giant burglar once, which was fun - he didn't
bother with stealth or dodging, but did raise disarming and perception
(which was at the time part of the burglary suite, though it isn't any
more).

So when considering how many skills to raise, you must consider the
cost (the base cost, excluding racial adjustments). Casting is 16,
devices 15, armour forging 14, infusion 13, weapon skills/mana/
burglary 12, martial arts/weapon forging 10, bows/xbows/throwing 9,
alchemy 8, slings/perception 7, realm skills/stealth/dodging/saving
throw 6, disarming 4.

So casting+mana+realm is 34. Burglary+stealth+disarming+dodging is
actually only 21 because stealth and dodging have an effective cost of
4, while disarming has an effective cost of 1! Armour forging and
infusion is a massive 27 (35 if you add alchemy), so it's a big
investment (and people still argue that armour forging, in particular,
is overpowered).

So your usual suite of casting, devices, perception, stealth, dodging,
saving throw is 74. Adding burglary and disarming takes you to only 83
- effectively adding less than one whole skill. But adding armour
forging and infusion adds over two an a half skills!

By comparison my current Samwise (competition hobbit) is raising
karate, devices, perception, the burglary suite and spell resistance,
which is a total of 59 - effectively only six skills. That explains
why his score is going so well (relative to my usual 10-12 skill
games!).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
In any case, you're making me less afraid to take the upper end of the
skill counts I think about taking, so you are having an effect here.
Nice to know.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I don't have faith in Druids.
I think this is because you see casters as needing to rely on spells
to kill. If you try a character who uses spells to supplement melee or
missile killing, druidic magic is great. Give one a try (not an
ironman, I suggest).
No, it's just the escapes thing. I'm plenty happy to play fighter-
casters, just have been preferring to play sorcerors meleeless --
their spell set is that good.
Well, you've definitely encouraged me to try this one day.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Think I might start trying meleeless necros, though (but with missile
skill for retreat-and-fire).
That might work.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Necros have such good offensive spells that they have the least need
for supplemental killing of all casters.
They have to actually get that far first, though. Remember, levels 2-9
or so in an Ironman game are *HAERD*!
Do you mean clev or dlev? I find that my clev (and therefore hp) rise
pretty quickly on my first trip down, regardless of what I'm playing -
but that might change if I try melee-less I guess.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
It's a long, long way from the
start of an ironman game until even the second necro attack skill, and
Sure, but isn't the first one viable until then, just as with a
sorceror?
Post by b***@inmail24.com
then there's that extra-special speed bump before the third and later
books... Still, I'll check it out (probably dropping melee rather than
missile though... in any case, magic + missile + melee was perhaps
stretching things a bit thin.)
Definitely. I don't really see the point of magic+missile if you're
investing in devices too. I would have though magic+devices+melee was
the way to go.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I would have thought that
melee would be more useful, for those times when you end up next to
something. You can always use devices to finish off beasties at range
and conserve mana.
Being able to pillar-dance and chuck/fire at monsters is like having a
huge, huge stack of devices for free. It's really, really good. I took
down Mughash and the non-dart-thrower part of his band once using
nothing but javelins. Granted, I was unusually lucky to have javelins
already by that point, but the fact remains.
I have experienced this too, but as I said before it gets frustrating
how the killing power of missiles/thrown actually goes down really
quite quickly after about 300-400'. This is the one area of Sang which
I think is poorly balanced compared with other variants. Still, no
harm in getting your missile/thrown skill up to 21% to make use of its
early benefits.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
One important point about Black Blessing is that it makes martial arts
viable in ironman, because you can take on incorporeals (which are
otherwise impossible for ironmen martial artists). My necros almost
always take karate - ditto priests (who have normal Blessing as a
spell).
I would think martial arts would be OK for *every* caster, since they
can just take out the offending beastie with magic. That said, martial
arts is an interesting topic. I was originally skeptical, since they
present a choice between either getting no resistances from the weapon
slot, or having to avoid the Oath to get the MA resistances. But now
that I have a feel for how quickly (slowly) I can expect a decent
weapon to turn up, I have to admit Josh was right -- the way MA
removes dependence on weapon drops is extremely powerful for Ironman.
Still feels like a hard decision, though.
I've never got a martial art high enough to get the resists, but I
don't see where it says they're not available to oath-casters. The
manual just says "Very skilled karate users who are not wielding a
weapon get special immunities: free action at a skill of 86, resist
sound and stunning at 92, and resist confusion at 98" - doesn't say
anything about oaths.

Anyway, I am currently totally dependent on martial arts for early
survival. I occasionally try a non-martial-artist - a swordsman or
dwarf spearman, but they survive far far less well in the early game.
This is the other problem with S's balance, IMO. Martial arts scales
quite quickly to become a useful killing skill (10% or so). With
weapons I don't see any improvement between 0% and about 25%, though
they are of course excellent later on. This early lack of improvement
means my weapon users die early because they miss too many times.

I have run several chars who have started off with a martial art (up
to 21%, or 40% for the first free stat point) and then switched to a
weapon skill after an early ego or artifact find - that works fine.

Of course, martial art vs. melee-less is a different decision from
martial art vs. weapon skill. If I'm trying melee-less that's fine,
but I have a very hard time using a weapon in the early game instead
of a martial art. Especially because of the free stat points later on,
and the hindrance effects.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Ironically, my best weapon luck was with the best-performing of my
meleeless casters -- a 'thanc around D:5, for example. :-)
'thancs are *great* for throwing though!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
normal speed. You can either get outside their detection range (up to
300' - 30 squares - for some monsters)
This, in any case, is new information for me. That could be useful on
mostly-explored and relatively large levels, although you never know
what's been generated in the meantime...
Exactly. I very rarely find it helpful to run out of a monster's
range. If I can't beat them, I either take the stairs or teleport out
of range.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
or, more likely, you can get to a set of stairs and escape.
Or you can pillar-dance, possibly chucking/firing as you go.
Only if you're faster than them (which really only applies to necros).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Precisely. So running away isn't really an option - especially as you
are likely to wake up other monsters while you're fleeing. A staff of
teleportation is what you want instead - or a wand of tOther.
Cool to know these exist, although they apparently turn up deeper than
level 25, and I haven't gotten a non-sorc Ironman deeper than level 10
or so yet and the sorc only to 25, so it's still a rather exotic
consideration...
Staves of teleportation turn up pretty reliably around 1500' or soon
after. Wands of teleport away are very rare before 2000', which is a
pain - but then they are really really good!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
(...) I use Break Curse immediately, to test all my unIDd kit.
I test it non-stop anyway... Remove Curse starts appearing rather
shallow, and cursed stuff rather deep. This does tend to leave my non-
necros stuck with a ring of teleportation for a while, but then, I'll
be wearing one for at least a little while anyway, for the ID XP.
? I tend to find at least one cursed item on my first trip into the
dungeon (levels 1-3). I have a very low tolerance for wearing cursed
stuff, which is why I like Break Curse so much.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Break Curse stays useful for a long time, since you don't have access
to unlimited ID in ironman.
Priests get Scan Item, though, and Sorcs who finally reach book-3
depth *do* get unlimited ID. (What do Druids get in this department?
Besides goatform, I mean.)
Druids get ID in book 3 also, but right at the end (level 70 or so).
Very painful - pretty much as bad as necros, though the book is less
rare.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
All non-unique monsters have a random speed modifier of between -2 and
+2 to their normal speed.
Thanks! That must explains why green icky things keep getting free
hits in on my non-meleeless guys...
Yes. There is *always* the risk of a normal-speed monster getting a
double move on you, unless you are hasted.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
There is no "connected stairs" option in my copy of Sangband 1.0.0
final -- just a "no stairs back the way you came" option that is
without relevance in Ironman in any case. So, I don't understand you
here.
Sorry, my bad - I forgot that ironman doesn't allow you to go back up!
But yes, that's the option I meant - which is essential for non-
ironman speed-divers.
Oh, I get it -- you'd go down, look for stairs, and go up and back
down again if none were in view. That's a common tactic among "Void
divers" in ToME too (because almost no enemies in ToME's Void are
trivially survivable for most Void divers).
Well, not so much looking for stairs, as deciding that I can't kill
anything in sight, or reach any of the useful items in sight!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Shopless ironman?! DO NOT WANT!)
Post by magnate
(It's really just that) I didn't really
see much significance in a single visit to the shops before you go
down.
Even for my melee guys it makes all the difference -- especially if
there are some nice items available at a deep discount. If there are
not, then the money goes to scrolls of phase door, plus one CLW and
maybe CSW and ?Tele if there's money to spare.
Phase door is so important that I've begun experimenting with my non-
sorcs with not buying the second book.
Fair enough.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I guess it is important to pick up the second spellbook for
casters, and ammo for (doomed!) rangers, but that's about it. Maybe a
lantern, and a !CSW to ID.
Even when available, lantern purchases (unless they're like 75% off or
something) are an inefficient luxury. !CSW is a bit pricey, but...
yeah. Surprised Phase Door wasn't the first thing to cross your mind,
though!
Well it's certainly good, but with the initial few hundred gp you can
buy a dozen at most, which doesn't last you long in ironman. As I said
above, if I can survive until my martial art reaches 21 I can pretty
much cope with anything I'm likely to meet - not that I never need
escapes, but I don't need huge numbers of them. Admittedly ?phase does
help survival until that point - but I'm not sure I'd find shopless
ironman all that much harder than shopping ironman ...

What do you think is the size limit for a Usenet post??

CC
b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-13 14:50:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
(Fast vs. slow diving in Ironman and in general, long visits to level
1)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
you note, a matter of personal taste. For me, fortunately (I guess),
it's a nice soothing, meditative part of the game, a low-threat warmup
before heading to the dogs and to the quest monsters below them.
I wish I would have remembered my note to myself to remove or edit
that last clause, since the faster diving Ironman strategy that was
discussed as the alternative to this would involve not taking the
first (and only) quest at all. Ah well.
Post by magnate
I think it pretty much only applies at dl1 though. If you can survive
Grip or Fang (let alone Feldisham), you can immediately dive to about
200' pretty safely (this assumes that you pick your fights, which
comes up further down this reply). Since I always play quests, I dive
to complete the first quest (always 150' or 200') and then come back
up to get the next. If I can survive the first quest then I'm rolling.
Non-Ironman *bands seem to let anyone roll with enough patience no
matter what, although there are all sorts of pressure to dive despite
that, both in the game and in the player ("I won't be caught dead
finishing the game in more than a million turns!").


(magnate: meleeless casters?!)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
We have very different styles of play. I cannot survive the early game
without melee, even with oathed casters. I'm just too impatient, and
end up adjacent to monsters too many times (especially if I can't
restock ?phase).
With sorcerors, this quickly becomes irrelevant, as long as you are
watchful enough to recognize you'll be needing to phase *before*
you're low on MP.
?? Admittedly I've not tried many sorcerors, but my recollection is
that mana in the early levels is only enough for one or two phases
before running out - especially if I'm using magic missile to do my
killing. Perhaps you invest in a lot of mana early, in the way I do
with martial arts. That makes sense - it's a caster strategy I've not
tried yet, which I read recently - leave casting itself but reduce
your fail rate and pump mana until you have enough to kill stuff
reliably.
Absolutely. Until the cost per point for Magical Power and Sorcery get
to four or five or so, spending points on spellcasting just isn't
worth it, at least not above Phase Door. The important thing is
reliability and lots of casts -- not being able to cast Light a Room
on top of Kill Things, Get Early Warning about Things, and
Successfully Run from What You Couldn't Kill or Avoid.

With my Ironman Necros, it's even more drastic than that; it's
sometimes not until level 3 that they raise Spellcasting above 1,
especially if they won't be fighting (if they're fighting, there's the
lure of Black Blessing). There's no incentive.

Even later on, I tend to leave Spellcasting in the back of the pack --
I'm not interested in the "theoretical" ability to cast spell XYZ;
it's only the ability to cast it at least a little reliably that
interests me, and letting Spellcasting lag increases the latter
ability at the cost of the less desired former one.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I can, with an oathed necro or priest, leave melee in
the twenties once dark bolt/OoD are viable killers, but I've never
played a character with no melee skill at all.
I think in normal play I'd be even less tempted to take melee on a
sorceror than in Ironman -- the ability to phase out and later
teleport out from scrolls until I'm blue in the face would remove all
MP worries for me.
Well listen, next time you play a non-melee caster, keep a note of
near misses or awkward fights where you end up next to the baddie and
have to phase away.
In normal play or in Ironman? I've been doing a run of Ironman
meleeless necros lately (although mostly I've been on a computerless
vacation and just got back)... the one near-guaranteed phase per game
is when Summon Monster comes up; this equally for fighting and
meleeless attempts. Fighting candidates are more reliable against the
dogs -- neither effortlessly killing them nor having to phase out
unless caught at a bad time, whereas meleeless characters see both
extremes. Meleeless characters start being able to save phases (or
avoid death, since phases run out really quick if you spent your money
on the second book) via Become Bat much earlier; melee characters have
less trouble with crowds. Both types enjoy dying to usage-testing of
Foos of Blindness, where the difference between them is small due to
hitpoints still being short and fighting being rather ineffective when
you're blind. Each has its up and down sides in Ironman it seems.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Hobbits make pretty good druids, though I know you don't rate the
druidic realm.
I rate it for normal play, just not for Ironman. This is purely
because they seem to lack escape methods in comparison to the other
three caster types, with lack of escapes seeming to be the number one
Ironman problem.
Hmm. I would have said that necros were pretty lacking in the escape
department too, but you will correctly point out that I have not fully
appreciated the utility of Become Bat. I'll get back to you on this.
It's not the be-all and end-all of anything, but it's very nice to
have around in Ironman, and probably in normal play too. Incidentally,
it's a surprisingly complicated spell, inasmuch as just when I think
there is nothing more to learn about its direct or indirect effects, I
find something new. For example, the infravision aspect of it means
that the few MP that you do retain after changing can go a bit farther
than you might expect, as you don't need to open fire at an "asterisk"
to kill things in time. Another example: while Become Bat won't take
you away from danger very effectively, putting on a ring of
teleportation and then going into batform will let you swoop around
and avoid melee until the ring effect kicks in. VERY nice for Ironman.
Post by magnate
For unstealthy characters escapes are more important, which means that
in ironman, where escapes are severely limited by the lack of town,
stealth is even more important than usual. A giant sorceror or dwarf
priest could rely on escape spells, but I doubt that a non-caster of
those races would be viable in ironman. In fact it remains to be
proven whether any non-caster is viable in ironman, but a hobbit
burglar is my best bet.
You would be a better player for them than I am -- the key thing with
that combo would be to avoid dangerous encounters, and I'm overly
tempted by each shot at gaining XP, especially the dangerous ones
(since it's more XP!).


(Early skill raising order, with non-kill-skills getting caught up to
kill skills relatively fast)
Post by magnate
That's interesting. I always pump my martial art first, right up to
21% (where there is a big cost jump) before pumping anything else at
all.
I'm probably being too conservative in my fear of raising the costs of
other skills, once again because I don't really understand the system
for that, and so I'm erring on the side of caution.

Then there's the fact that anything more than 2 or 3 unspent
skillpoints at a time quickly starts to absolutely burn a hole in my
pocket if there's a place to spend it. :-)
Post by magnate
That way I know I can kill pretty much anything that crosses my
path - even Mughash or Lagduf.
Good point.
Post by magnate
I continue to pump the martial art so that it's about 10%
ahead of all the other skills.
Does this have no effect on the cost of the martial art?
Post by magnate
The (skill-raising strategy) I will try
(when I next bother with a primary caster) is to pump just mana
alongside the martial art, and leave the casting and realm skills with
the rest. That might be more effective (more killing power sooner).
The realm skill makes the same amount of mana go farther, though, and
reduces the risk of deadly double- or triple-miscasts.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
With my experience with how tight skillpoints have been, I still think
I'd skip Alchemy and Infusion, and definitely would skip them for a
fighting caster.
For a fighting caster yes, but for a pure caster they might help -
infusion especially. Although forging can make some cool stuff, what
you want in ironman is a way to fill resistance holes, because you
can't leave useful stuff at home - so I think infusion would be well
worthwhile. That said, I've never played ironman far enough to see if
this is true.
I think you're right, and I'm leaning this way in recent attempts on
those occasions when I get far enough to afford the luxury of thinking
about more than just increased short-term offense/defense.


(the crafting skills in the context of a normal game)
Post by magnate
on survival and killing skills. After all, there's an infinite amount
of xp available, so it doesn't really matter if you pay a bit more. So
you could pump forging once you found your first chunk of metal, for
example, or alchemy once you found your first empty bottle or blank
parchment.
The one time I tried Alchemy (it was a normal game) I found myself
generating bottles and parchments out the wazoo just through normal
consumption (each scroll read/potion drunk leaves a raw material
behind!), so that's not the criterion to use...

As for Alchemy in Ironman, it seems useful, just not useful enough to
stretch from 9 to 10 skills, etc., unlike Armour and Infusion.
Tradeoffs, tradeoffs...
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Devices will give you what you need to replace the utility
spells.
Is there a rod of phase door? Of teleportation? When can one start to
hope for them?
Rod of Blinking shows up not long after 1000'; Staff of Teleportation
not much later. Staves very occasionally blow up on recharging, but
not often.
I know it's horrid of me, but I still don't have the "feet" system
completely under my thumb. Uh... is it 50' per level? That rings a
bell with me... if so, I was unlucky in my one Ironman game to exceed
1000', since despite finding plenty of _CMW and _Perception and maybe
even a _RC, _Blinking were nowhere.


(Importance of Device)
Post by magnate
In fact, I think the device skill (along with Spell Resistance) is too
important, period. But that's a subject for another thread.
I've read that elsewhere too. My experience matches those complaints.
No idea what to do about it, though.


(Early survival without melee)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I use pointblank or near-pointblank range to make up
for lack of skill. There are some monsters where the pointblank bonus
still doesn't help, but it's plenty enough for taking out jellies,
molds, etc., as well as some of the mobile monsters. Don't bother with
it on snakes, though.
There are two interesting points in this paragraph. One is that in
most variants (I think including S), there is a big penalty associated
with using missiles at point-blank range - I think the bad guys get
bonuses to-hit, or your effective AC drops dramatically, or something.
Oh! I was going by this passage in manual.html:

"Ranged fire
inaccuracy:
Distance from the target has a significant effect on the accuracy
of ranged
fire and throwing."

And what better way to reduce distance than to be at range 1!
Post by magnate
This is why I'm so keen on a melee skill - and it seems to me that you
don't end up adjacent to bad guys any less often than I do, you just
use missiles or escape instead of slugging it out.
Mostly escaping, or rather, backing up to regain MP. Boulders and such
is really a level-1 thing, although I still find myself carrying them
until a bit later, for just-in-cases that rarely happen.
Post by magnate
(By "pointblank
bonus" I assume you mean "lack of range penalty", since there isn't an
actual bonus AFAIK.)
The other thing is very revealing indeed, which is that you kill
jellies and molds. I think this is associated with your level-clearing
habit from previous roguelikes with persistent levels. Most *banders
adopt a conscious decision *not* to kill every monster, since trying
to do so is a very common cause of death. I almost never kill jellies
or molds, because they're far more trouble than they're worth,
In Ironman, killing them -- at least the varieties I've seen to date
-- really does make strategic sense, in my opinion. The worth of every
single point of XP goes way up in Ironman, since you can't just tread
water if your skill levels aren't keeping up with your depth. And
jellies and molds on the early levels are essentially free XP. They're
also an easy way to get the token Device kills needed to avoid paying
"over the whatchamacallit" per point for Devices.

I've not seen a jelly or mold with a ranged attack other than range-2
poison cloud (so stand at range 3!) or mana drain, which is more of an
argument in favor of killing them than in favor of letting them go --
who knows when you'll need the flexibility of being able to run back
that way without having the mana sucked out of you?

Once I do see a jelly or mold that's an actual threat when you try to
kill it, I may well avoid it just like you say. But at the depths I've
been reaching...

In fact, green jellies are quickly becoming my favorite Clone Monster
targets. :-)

In normal play, I totally understand what you mean. That said, if it's
an easy kill, I might take it down in normal play just for the sheer
sadism of it.
Post by magnate
can almost always avoid them. Ditto (various immobile summoners, etc.)
I can see Quylthulgs as a monster I'll be avoiding in Ironman in the
future if I can ever get that deep, although the lost flexibility in
navigating the level will smart.


(Late-starter penalty)
Post by magnate
Keeping it simple, and following on from what I said above, the
additional cost of raising a skill later in the game is almost
negligible. XP and skill costs scale exponentially, so by the time
forging is costing you 50 per point instead of 2, you have thousands
of XP to spend so it really doesn't matter. There is a slight drawback
with skills that need practice (combat skills, casting, devices,
burglary) in that you can't raise them too quickly or the cost
skyrockets (it goes grey-yellow-orange-red on the skills screen), but
for forging/infusion etc. that problem doesn't arise. So you can find
your first chunk, drop twenty points into forging and see what
happens.
Ironman, though, dude. Ironman. :-)

But I see your point for normal play -- there, the cost change nothing
to obsess about.

First-chunk seems to sometimes be a bit too early in Ironman BTW --
the hiccup that it causes in the speed at which your "short-term
offense/defense" skills keep up with the deadliness of the dungeon can
be fatal in my experience. 400' (level 8) or deeper regardless of when
you got your first chunk seems to be wiser.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Discussion: Dodging not worth it? Kind of, but, well, it *does* help
against, er, burglars...)
Post by magnate
I guess so. Loss of books is another reason not to play ironman
casters. The chances of losing a book to fire or thievery before
finding a blanket of elemental protection and getting your Dex high
enough to avoid thieves must be nearing 100%!
Books stack, though, and unless you're mortally afraid of quasits, you
don't have to carry all your copies of books with you, either.
Books are heavy though, and leaving them on the ground is unsafe
unless you have both FF and Rnexus (which resists tele-level).
It's great to hear there's a defense against tele-level; I was worried
it was uncombatable. It's really important to me for Ironman play that
there be a way to safely leave things on the floor, because that
possibility makes things much, much easier, not only because of
protection for spare books, but also because of the desire to not have
to cart around strategically useful but tactically useless items like
food (except for an operational supply), oil, and all the wargear
that's waiting at any given moment for Ironman's lagging ID supply to
catch up.

Batform gives FF if you're really paranoid, but above all FF amulets
and boots are quick to appear. Unless the first causes of tele-level
include something else than quasits, then tele-level is not a threat
until the early 20's. So the question becomes, when does rNexus start
to appear?
Post by magnate
Well, the deeper depths are consistently challenging and fun, and IMO
Sang is the best-balanced variant I've played (which is a poor
recommendation because I have played so few). I'll be interested to
hear whether your lack of melee skills becomes less of a problem as
you go deeper (because your casting and devices are better) or more of
a problem (because phasing and landing next to things is more
dangerous).
With sorcs, things basically settled down once Teleportation became
reliable -- it's only spell 2, book 2, after all, and it's only 5 mana
a pop. The lack of it is one of the main frustrations I expect to see
with Ironman Necros (fighting or meleeless, doesn't matter, although
my gut feeling is that I'll break through with the latter not the
former) once I get better at dealing with the lack of cheap Phase Door
-- assuming I don't give up and go back to Sorcs first.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
My non-oath Necros have also needed mana for ranged killing (certain
jellies, fleeing enemies, etc.)... I think having at least some kind
of ranged option is essential, if not two or three.
This is why I think the device skill is too powerful: why would
anybody invest in throwing or a ranged weapon, when devices do the
same (ranged damage) plus so much else as well?
Yowza!
Post by magnate
(...) So yes, mana is of course useful for killing at range, but if you're
raising Devices (which you certainly are in ironman), it's not that
critical (making an oathless caster with 50% mana viable, which I
think was the genesis of this section).
Devices do take up space, though, which is at a premium in Ironman, at
least during level to level transitions, even if you leave stuff in a
floor stash (since you have to get it to the next level somehow). They
also eventually run out of charges...

(My big problem with oathless necros is/was the sluggishness with
which they reached a reliable Become Bat, BTW :-))
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Ironically a necro is the caster I would most want to take the oath,
because their killing power goes up considerably.
Don't necros have abnormally high fail rates, though? That is the
intuition I'm getting with them. If so, that seems to argue in favor
of at least some melee.
Necros have high fail rates on certain spells which other realms learn
easily, like phasing and food, but I don't think their fail rates are
higher on average. I've not checked though - it would be an
interesting exercise.
In retrospect, I'm pretty sure I was wrong. Become Bat has an
abnormally high fail rate, but then, it behaves like a much higher
level spell at least one other respect too (in its "test-cast" bonus
XP), so it's not surprising. Other stuff seems fine. I think I was
just underestimating the impact of moving from oathed meleeless dark
elves to non-oathed, non-meleeless non-dark elves. (Although I guess
the oath wouldn't make a difference... or would it?... the reduced MP
for oathless means you notice miscasts more.)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Necros have such good offensive spells that they have the least need
for supplemental killing of all casters.
They have to actually get that far first, though. Remember, levels 2-9
or so in an Ironman game are *HAERD*!
Do you mean clev or dlev? I find that my clev (and therefore hp) rise
pretty quickly on my first trip down, regardless of what I'm playing -
but that might change if I try melee-less I guess.
Dlev. Dlev 2 has the dogs, 3 has the quest monsters (though that's
optional, obviously), 4 is a bit of a breather, and 5-9 tend to see
you either kill Mughash or get killed by him; Bullroarer and
Wormtongue make appearances as well, although those two are only
dangerous, as opposed to well-nigh deadly, and are more feasibly
solvable by deferment to a later level. That range also sees snagas
start to show up in force, and trap doors become thicker, while
there's meanwhile no guarantee yet that you've got feather falling.

Sorcerors tend to get their escapes and their counters (e.g. the ray
of light spell that massacres snagas) in time for the various
challenges in this phase; everyone else can just cross their fingers.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
It's a long, long way from the
start of an ironman game until even the second necro attack skill, and
Sure, but isn't the first one viable until then, just as with a
sorceror?
I spoke from a lack of experience with meleeless necros -- you're
mostly right, here. But Ironman sorcs tend to get Stinking Cloud "just
in time," and necros get Noxious Cloud a little later than that -- and
something a bit more stinking cloud like would be more appreciated in
my book, although maybe I just don't have the hang of using Noxious
Cloud right yet.


(MA and the Oaths)
Post by magnate
I've never got a martial art high enough to get the resists, but I
don't see where it says they're not available to oath-casters. The
manual just says "Very skilled karate users who are not wielding a
weapon get special immunities: free action at a skill of 86, resist
sound and stunning at 92, and resist confusion at 98" - doesn't say
anything about oaths.
Oh! Then I obviously misunderstood the effect of the Oaths -- I
thought they limited how high up you were allowed to take any melee
skill.
Post by magnate
Anyway, I am currently totally dependent on martial arts for early
survival. I occasionally try a non-martial-artist - a swordsman or
dwarf spearman, but they survive far far less well in the early game.
This is the other problem with S's balance, IMO. Martial arts scales
quite quickly to become a useful killing skill (10% or so). With
weapons I don't see any improvement between 0% and about 25%, though
they are of course excellent later on. This early lack of improvement
means my weapon users die early because they miss too many times.
Interesting. Much of my non-ironman play has been with melee and half-
melee characters, and I never felt I was lacking in hitting power in
the opening despite not having tried MA until my experiments with
Ironman. However, in my normal play I dive much slower than you (2/3
exploration of each level on average, 2 or even 3 trips to reach the
first quest, etc.); this almost certainly explains the difference.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Ironically, my best weapon luck was with the best-performing of my
meleeless casters -- a 'thanc around D:5, for example. :-)
'thancs are *great* for throwing though!
He was throwingless too!

BTW you mentioned raisings of skills to e.g. the 20's -- would you
still do that in Ironman, where XP aren't in infinite supply? (Short
of milking a cuddlywug, I guess?)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
(...) I use Break Curse immediately, to test all my unIDd kit.
I test it non-stop anyway... Remove Curse starts appearing rather
shallow, and cursed stuff rather deep. This does tend to leave my non-
necros stuck with a ring of teleportation for a while, but then, I'll
be wearing one for at least a little while anyway, for the ID XP.
? I tend to find at least one cursed item on my first trip into the
dungeon (levels 1-3). I have a very low tolerance for wearing cursed
stuff, which is why I like Break Curse so much.
There's the difference -- in Ironman, my tolerance for cursed stuff is
high. It's not like the uncursed stuff that I'd be able to find before
the typical depth for the first ?oRC would be all that great, anyway.


(Pre-descent purchases)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I guess it is important to pick up the second spellbook for
casters, and ammo for (doomed!) rangers, but that's about it. Maybe a
lantern, and a !CSW to ID.
Even when available, lantern purchases (unless they're like 75% off or
something) are an inefficient luxury. !CSW is a bit pricey, but...
yeah. Surprised Phase Door wasn't the first thing to cross your mind,
though!
Well it's certainly good, but with the initial few hundred gp you can
buy a dozen at most, which doesn't last you long in ironman.
True, but that's not their purpose -- instead, it's to serve until
your own spells and dungeon finds become a good enough "supply" to
reach equilibrium. Zero isn't enough for that (especially since the
first one "counts double"); one sometimes is; a dozen is really great
in helping you reach self-sufficiency, weak though Become Bat is
compared to sorcs' level 3 Phase Door.
Post by magnate
What do you think is the size limit for a Usenet post??
I don't want to find
Phil Cartwright
2007-08-13 17:08:58 UTC
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Post by b***@inmail24.com
BTW you mentioned raisings of skills to e.g. the 20's -- would you
still do that in Ironman, where XP aren't in infinite supply? (Short
of milking a cuddlywug, I guess?)
Eh. I haven't met those yet and I've reached the 40s in dungeon level
and 70s in player skill levels.
--
There's only four things you can be certain of: taxes, change, spam, and
death.
magnate
2007-08-15 11:35:57 UTC
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b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-15 13:05:52 UTC
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(The Dlevel 1 Follies)
That's an interesting point. I wonder if ironman_no_stores closes the
Inn and therefore prevents you getting the quest? I suspect it does,
but it wouldn't make much difference - the only thing about the first
quest is a bit of xp from the monsters.
That XP does come at an extremely useful time, though, since every
point counts, that early on. It's a two-edged sword, though,
especially if you get something that's hard for the combo you chose to
handle -- e.g. priests or paladins for a melee necromancer (a risk of
being Afraid, and not having enough MP to use magic instead of melee
to off those pests).

That reminds me, I really need to check to see if my hunch is right
that poisoning has an effect on fail rates similarly to fear. I have
seen some weird spikes in my fail rates in my current game, with the
only common denominator seeming to be poisoning.
Yes. I too keep a =tele for swap in ironman, until _tele is reliable.
So you've been having a go at it? If so, great to hear -- would really
love to hear some Hobbit tales!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
I continue to pump the martial art so that it's about 10%
ahead of all the other skills.
Does this have no effect on the cost of the martial art?
No. (Exhaustive discussion of skill cost increases from high-to-low gaps and related)
Thanks, I feel a whole lot less "no idea how this whole shebang works"
anxiety already!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
you could pump forging once you found your first chunk of metal, for
example, or alchemy once you found your first empty bottle or blank
parchment.
The one time I tried Alchemy (it was a normal game) I found myself
generating bottles and parchments out the wazoo just through normal
consumption (each scroll read/potion drunk leaves a raw material
behind!), so that's not the criterion to use...
Except that you don't generate bottles/parchments before you raise
Alchemy, so it's a catch-22. I was kind of meaning a high-quality one
(crystal/vellum), which would be more likely to get the result you
wanted, would be the thing to make me decide to kick-start alchemy.
Interesting. I've never done any alchemy, only raised the Alchemy
skill. Thus I didn't know you could get something other than what you
wanted. I was thinking the downside of the lower quality bottles/
parchments was a higher failure rate.

Last night I was reminded of something I'd only known "academically"
before -- reminded of the fact that Infusion gives a Recharge ability.
Sounds like a plenty fine place to send some spare essences. By the
way, what do Death essences get used in? I've only done infused
forging a grand total of once, but still, on that one occasion, I
couldn't find anything I was allowed to invest Death essences into.
Granted, I only had one Death essence (and a grand total of two
essences overall to my name), but I paid good XP for that essence,
dammit! (It was generated in the vicinity of a potion of Lose
Memories, and I failed to take the hint.) I want my moneysworth!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
As for Alchemy in Ironman, it seems useful, just not useful enough to
stretch from 9 to 10 skills, etc., unlike Armour and Infusion.
Tradeoffs, tradeoffs...
Agreed. I would always take Armour Forging over Alchemy. But it
depends on race - almost no race pays the same for both, so you just
take the one your race gets cheaper. (I don't play humans or half-
trolls so would not have the dilemma there.)
Roguelikes -- where you can be racist without hurting anyone's
feelings!

(I don't do Giants (due to Josh), Dunedan and High Elves; everything
else is fair game for me, more or less.)
[Spoiler warning]
_CMW is 600', abundance 75
(...)

If you were a highway engineer, you'd put the "bump ahead" signs one
inch before the bump. :-P

(Thanks for the spoiler -- myself, I love spoilers.)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Importance of Device)
Post by magnate
In fact, I think the device skill (along with Spell Resistance) is too
important, period. But that's a subject for another thread.
I've read that elsewhere too. My experience matches those complaints.
No idea what to do about it, though.
Isn't that like putting a "note to George Bush" in the middle of a
1000-post thread on a Red Sox forum?

Still, we can hope that once he gets better, he really will at least
skim the {S} threads.


(magnate: I think I've got a solution (...details of it...) for magic
devices' overimportance, but --)
I still haven't solved the spell resistance problem though. I'm going
to try a dwarf artificer with forging and infusion to see if I can
forge enough +save items to make him viable. If not then it really is
an essential skill.
If I could I'd be happy to lend you the wicker shield of +15 save that
I made while trying to forge one with Regeneration. (Good though that
is, I really need to read up on how to get a better chance of getting
the trait that I invested my essences into getting. But hey, it was
only one essence, and it also gives +1 dex and some +hit and +dam, so
I'm not complaining.)


(Pointblank missile penalty! Pointblank missile penalty? Um,
pointblank missile penalty?)
some variants (including V I think). It just feels cheesy to shoot
arrows when you're in melee range.
On the other hand, being penalized for pointblank fire can be annoying
(due to the finger dances and mental switches it demands) unless the
given roguelike's structure makes it really easy to do your missile
killing before things close to pointblank -- in which case what you
have is a roguelike with powerful missiles indeed, and maybe too
powerful.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
In fact, green jellies are quickly becoming my favorite Clone Monster
targets. :-)
I think it's fair to clone monsters in ironman.
There's a tradeoff involved anyway, since it takes up a slot, unless
you leave it on the floor and preserve an immobile for cloning during
the end-of-level wrapup. And there's the finite charges aspect,
although if essences are as much in oversupply in the late game as you
say, then Infusion's Recharging talent might perhaps make charges
abundant indeed.

Hmm, both tradeoffs are not entirely tradeoffs. :-) But the
countermeasures to each tradeoff are pretty tedious, so true abuse is
still not very attractive.
(raising forging later on in ironman)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
First-chunk seems to sometimes be a bit too early in Ironman BTW --
the hiccup that it causes in the speed at which your "short-term
offense/defense" skills keep up with the deadliness of the dungeon can
be fatal in my experience. 400' (level 8) or deeper regardless of when
you got your first chunk seems to be wiser.
So you have three choices when you find your first chunk: ignore it,
drop 15 points into forging and see what happens, or drag it with you
until you can "afford" to do that. Given that chunks are heavy
From game start until Trap Door depth, from the time you have Feather
Falling until quasit depth, and from the time you have rNexus until
game end, chunks' effective weight is zero.
and
raising other skills is likely to increase the cost of those 15 points
of forging, I'd say that's really only two choices. If you ignore, you
get the same choices again with the next chunk, and so on. If the
first chunks are copper, ignoring is probably sensible. If it's iron
or better, I'd give it a whirl. Bronze would depend on my situation.
I'm really happy with the results I got last night with Bronze. If I
had an armor slot with nothing {good} or even a slot with ID'd armour
with a plus of <4, I think I'd go for it even with Copper. This is
another place where Ironman kind of skews everything.

Anyway, I think this is one case where the investment in terms of
increased skill cost may be worth it -- think of it as the difference
between, say, 200 points into Forging and 600 points into everything
else (so armor has "weakened" your skill suite by 25%) and 300 points
(for the same effect) into Forging and 1800 points into everything
else (so a "weakening" of only 14%).

On the other hand, at the later point in the game when you raise
Forging with the proposed "delay" strategy, the average value of the
outputs from the chunk will be less, since the overall quality of your
armor will be higher. Hmm.


(how common is rNexus?)
Very bad news here - it's extremely hard to find without forging. Sang
doesn't have Boots of Stability, so I don't think it's on anything
except Morphic and Power DSMs, and artifacts. (That said, my current
char has found two Morphic DSMs and Arvedui!) Kind of makes me re-
evaluate the importance of forging in ironman ...
From "very high" to "very very VERY high"?
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Well, the deeper depths are consistently challenging and fun, and IMO
Sang is the best-balanced variant I've played (which is a poor
recommendation because I have played so few). I'll be interested to
hear whether your lack of melee skills becomes less of a problem as
you go deeper (because your casting and devices are better) or more of
a problem (because phasing and landing next to things is more
dangerous).
With sorcs, things basically settled down once Teleportation became
reliable -- it's only spell 2, book 2, after all, and it's only 5 mana
a pop. The lack of it is one of the main frustrations I expect to see
with Ironman Necros (fighting or meleeless, doesn't matter, although
my gut feeling is that I'll break through with the latter not the
former) once I get better at dealing with the lack of cheap Phase Door
-- assuming I don't give up and go back to Sorcs first.
Hmm. I have lost a lot of characters to teleporting injured and
getting immediately twatted by hound breaths. I'm sure there is more
than that to your survivability.
I put a lot of thought into each cast, trying to use the attack spell
that does the most damage per MP... I, um...

I'll have to go back and take a look after I kill Melkor with my
current Ironman Priestess! :-)


(Viability of Devices skill as main or near-main provider of ranged
damage in Ironman)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(they) eventually run out of charges...
Rods don't.
Is the time they'll be spending in {charging} status not a problem,
then, once the given rod stack has enough rods?
they're native to 850'). Admittedly you need four slots to cover all
four elements, but you could get by with two (...explanation...)
Thanks for the tip.

Speaking of which, how many slots would you recommend devoting to
status-ailment-shooting wands, and if nonzero, which ones would you
suggest? The tennish plus slots of my priestess's inventory that are
currently going to wands are starting to feel a bit wasteful.
resist (more than one and less than four) elements. Two slots to make
the transition from oathed to oathless is a good trade.
All this somewhat assumes that the transition from oathed to oathless
is agnostic towards your building/not building a melee skill, which
seems a bit controversial to me, although I guess deep down you
consider the issue of whether or not to build some melee solved in
advance ("build it!") -- which may be swinging the balance for you
towards oathless.

Not that I'm not happy with the oathlessness on my current character,
mind you -- I am. But then, she's a priestess!

(Bostock: levels 2-9 in Ironman are hard; reasons why, e.g. Mughash)
I've not found Mughash a problem, which I guess is because I always
have a martial art raised.
I have found melee to help against every "horde" threat than
Necromancy is, true (Ironman sorcerors are rather better off against
hordes in every stage of things I've seen Ironman necromancers reach
to date, and I'd venture they're on par with Ironmen using melee), and
Mughash's gang certainly is that (Mughash himself is relatively a
pushover). However, it helps a little less against the Gang than it
does against most other hordes, since unlike most horde members, many
of the kobolds in the Gang can do non-trivial to you in melee before
you kill them -- no pointblank penalty for those dart throwers, no
sirree! Thus there's a real risk of running out of HP just like the
Necro runs out of MP.
But with enough stealth and detection you
could avoid him - but then in ironman you want to kill him as early as
possible for the xp.
The dart throwers, at least, are exceedingly aware, perhaps just
because there are a lot of them -- do monsters ever wake each other up
upon waking themselves?

Anyway, because they're so aware, avoiding the horde is difficult, at
least if you want to clear any significant portion of the level.



(discussion on MA and the Oaths, clearing up some misconceptions of
mine)

Thanks!
Not with martial arts, they reduce the *effect* of a given skill
level.
Ooh, just like Burglary without the guild... though I suppose here
it's a straight (skill/2) rather than (foo + (skill-foo)/2).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
BTW you mentioned raisings of skills to e.g. the 20's -- would you
still do that in Ironman, where XP aren't in infinite supply? (Short
of milking a cuddlywug, I guess?)
Don't know. Not sure how long 21% throwing skill would remain useful -
but in ironman you want to maximise your use of the resources in the
dungeon, so it might be worth it.
On the other hand, those potions will have to compete with devices,
potions, scrolls, and books for your inventory slots.


(Necros' Break Curse -- a really good deal, or merely kind of neat?)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
? I tend to find at least one cursed item on my first trip into the
dungeon (levels 1-3). I have a very low tolerance for wearing cursed
stuff, which is why I like Break Curse so much.
There's the difference -- in Ironman, my tolerance for cursed stuff is
high. It's not like the uncursed stuff that I'd be able to find before
the typical depth for the first ?oRC would be all that great, anyway.
That's probably a fair point also. A non-necro would have to devote an
inv slot to _RC!
Slots are valuable, so it can't totally be pooh-poohed. In that
respect, even the "create food" spells that I recently pooh-poohed
can't be pooh-poohed.

Bostock
camlost
2007-08-15 13:49:36 UTC
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Post by b***@inmail24.com
That reminds me, I really need to check to see if my hunch is right
that poisoning has an effect on fail rates similarly to fear. I have
seen some weird spikes in my fail rates in my current game, with the
only common denominator seeming to be poisoning.
Not as far as I know.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Last night I was reminded of something I'd only known "academically"
before -- reminded of the fact that Infusion gives a Recharge ability.
Sounds like a plenty fine place to send some spare essences. By the
way, what do Death essences get used in? I've only done infused
forging a grand total of once, but still, on that one occasion, I
couldn't find anything I was allowed to invest Death essences into.
Granted, I only had one Death essence (and a grand total of two
essences overall to my name), but I paid good XP for that essence,
dammit! (It was generated in the vicinity of a potion of Lose
Memories, and I failed to take the hint.) I want my moneysworth!
Death can be used for slays on weapons, and probably is required for
some amulet/rings and/or potions. Also possible for recharging some
wands (drain life and annihilation).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Importance of Device)
Post by magnate
In fact, I think the device skill (along with Spell Resistance) is too
important, period. But that's a subject for another thread.
I've read that elsewhere too. My experience matches those complaints.
No idea what to do about it, though.
Isn't that like putting a "note to George Bush" in the middle of a
1000-post thread on a Red Sox forum?
Still, we can hope that once he gets better, he really will at least
skim the {S} threads.
We can certainly hope. Unfortunately, most news sites expire articles
at some point. I'm guessing that google keeps them onhand, though.
Maybe even oook does?
Post by b***@inmail24.com
If I could I'd be happy to lend you the wicker shield of +15 save that
I made while trying to forge one with Regeneration. (Good though that
is, I really need to read up on how to get a better chance of getting
the trait that I invested my essences into getting. But hey, it was
only one essence, and it also gives +1 dex and some +hit and +dam, so
I'm not complaining.)
You got a shield that gives +tohit and +todam? I've never seen that before.

If you want to increase your odds, put more essences into it. I think
the increased chance to get something levels off once you've put around
twice as many essences in as it calls for.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
char has found two Morphic DSMs and Arvedui!) Kind of makes me re-
evaluate the importance of forging in ironman ...
From "very high" to "very very VERY high"?
I'm certainly one who argues that it's too good even at 14. When I was
maintaining, I put armor forging and devices up to 16 (same level as
spellcasting), because they're that good. I still took them even at
those costs.

Regarding res_nexus, it's not uncommon on artifacts, so I generally
don't worry too much about it. Of course, usually, I'm not playing ironman.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Speaking of which, how many slots would you recommend devoting to
status-ailment-shooting wands, and if nonzero, which ones would you
suggest? The tennish plus slots of my priestess's inventory that are
currently going to wands are starting to feel a bit wasteful.
With a high device skill, holding onto slow and/or confuse is really
nice. You won't believe how easy it is to kill confused uniques. Slow
is nice too, but not as awesome, together is really nice.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Not with martial arts, they reduce the *effect* of a given skill
level.
Ooh, just like Burglary without the guild... though I suppose here
it's a straight (skill/2) rather than (foo + (skill-foo)/2).
No, there is no to-hit penalty with martial arts as a spellcaster.
There is a damage penalty though. The unofficial version will fix this
eventually, as martial arts combat has been rewritten.

Joshua
magnate
2007-08-15 15:22:28 UTC
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Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Last night I was reminded of something I'd only known "academically"
before -- reminded of the fact that Infusion gives a Recharge ability.
Sounds like a plenty fine place to send some spare essences. By the
way, what do Death essences get used in? I've only done infused
forging a grand total of once, but still, on that one occasion, I
couldn't find anything I was allowed to invest Death essences into.
Granted, I only had one Death essence (and a grand total of two
essences overall to my name), but I paid good XP for that essence,
dammit! (It was generated in the vicinity of a potion of Lose
Memories, and I failed to take the hint.) I want my moneysworth!
Death can be used for slays on weapons, and probably is required for
some amulet/rings and/or potions. Also possible for recharging some
wands (drain life and annihilation).
Ah yes, I'd forgotten slays, and the recharging of those wands.
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
If I could I'd be happy to lend you the wicker shield of +15 save that
I made while trying to forge one with Regeneration. (Good though that
is, I really need to read up on how to get a better chance of getting
the trait that I invested my essences into getting. But hey, it was
only one essence, and it also gives +1 dex and some +hit and +dam, so
I'm not complaining.)
You got a shield that gives +tohit and +todam? I've never seen that before.
Can't remember if I have or not - sounds great though. I always
thought more randarts should do that.
Post by camlost
If you want to increase your odds, put more essences into it. I think
the increased chance to get something levels off once you've put around
twice as many essences in as it calls for.
Ah, we need to clarify here the difference between the chances of
getting any individual mod, and the chances of the whole thing coming
out according to plan. My comments about the colour of the word
"Potential" refer to the latter. For the former, watch the colour of
the number of essences put in for that mod. White or cyan is 50/50,
blue is better and violet is better still. But you will see an
interesting trade-off between using more essences to guarantee
specific mods, and the overall success indicator (which is roughly
proportional to the total number of essences invested in the item). So
you have to choose between pretty much guaranteeing one or two
(violet) mods, or taking a flyer on three or four (cyan) - with the
same overall success chance in each case.
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
char has found two Morphic DSMs and Arvedui!) Kind of makes me re-
evaluate the importance of forging in ironman ...
From "very high" to "very very VERY high"?
I'm certainly one who argues that it's too good even at 14. When I was
maintaining, I put armor forging and devices up to 16 (same level as
spellcasting), because they're that good. I still took them even at
those costs.
If you were to separate Devices into two skills (combat and utility),
what costs would you give them? I'd say something like 12 and 13, or
maybe 11 and 14 (since utility devices are the essential ones).
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Speaking of which, how many slots would you recommend devoting to
status-ailment-shooting wands, and if nonzero, which ones would you
suggest? The tennish plus slots of my priestess's inventory that are
currently going to wands are starting to feel a bit wasteful.
With a high device skill, holding onto slow and/or confuse is really
nice. You won't believe how easy it is to kill confused uniques. Slow
is nice too, but not as awesome, together is really nice.
Am I right that slow is harder for them to save against, or is that a
misconception?
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Not with martial arts, they reduce the *effect* of a given skill
level.
Ooh, just like Burglary without the guild... though I suppose here
it's a straight (skill/2) rather than (foo + (skill-foo)/2).
No, there is no to-hit penalty with martial arts as a spellcaster.
There is a damage penalty though. The unofficial version will fix this
eventually, as martial arts combat has been rewritten.
Go on ....

CC
camlost
2007-08-15 15:46:13 UTC
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Post by magnate
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
If I could I'd be happy to lend you the wicker shield of +15 save that
I made while trying to forge one with Regeneration. (Good though that
is, I really need to read up on how to get a better chance of getting
the trait that I invested my essences into getting. But hey, it was
only one essence, and it also gives +1 dex and some +hit and +dam, so
I'm not complaining.)
You got a shield that gives +tohit and +todam? I've never seen that before.
Can't remember if I have or not - sounds great though. I always
thought more randarts should do that.
Actually, I think limiting it to gloves is a good idea, otherwise it
just gets out of hand.
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
char has found two Morphic DSMs and Arvedui!) Kind of makes me re-
evaluate the importance of forging in ironman ...
From "very high" to "very very VERY high"?
I'm certainly one who argues that it's too good even at 14. When I was
maintaining, I put armor forging and devices up to 16 (same level as
spellcasting), because they're that good. I still took them even at
those costs.
If you were to separate Devices into two skills (combat and utility),
what costs would you give them? I'd say something like 12 and 13, or
maybe 11 and 14 (since utility devices are the essential ones).
I wouldn't. Pretty much everyone wants the utility, and only a handful
want the combat. If I had to change things, I'd make most of the
utility easier to use with some EASY_ACT flag. Thus, people would be
happier leaving the skill at some middling value.
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Speaking of which, how many slots would you recommend devoting to
status-ailment-shooting wands, and if nonzero, which ones would you
suggest? The tennish plus slots of my priestess's inventory that are
currently going to wands are starting to feel a bit wasteful.
With a high device skill, holding onto slow and/or confuse is really
nice. You won't believe how easy it is to kill confused uniques. Slow
is nice too, but not as awesome, together is really nice.
Am I right that slow is harder for them to save against, or is that a
misconception?
You are incorrect. All have get_skill(30, 100) in the appropriate spot.
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Not with martial arts, they reduce the *effect* of a given skill
level.
Ooh, just like Burglary without the guild... though I suppose here
it's a straight (skill/2) rather than (foo + (skill-foo)/2).
No, there is no to-hit penalty with martial arts as a spellcaster.
There is a damage penalty though. The unofficial version will fix this
eventually, as martial arts combat has been rewritten.
Go on ....
Regarding new devlopments, or current status?

The current status is as explained. Different calculations for damage,
but to-hit is the same.

Regarding future developments, I am currently working on a system where
primary spellcasters get a 1/3 penalty to all melee attacks (weapons or
martial), non-primary spellcasters get a 1/6 penalty[1]. This is as
opposed to caps, which we already decided were bad when it came to
warriors and magic devices.

Regarding martial arts, I'm making them more like weapon attacks, using
deadliness and critical hits, and non-fixed blows, so there is a high
incentive to have a good skill and high deadliness. Criticals will also
activate a chance at karate confusion/stun/slowing and wrestling robbing
energy.

Due to the insane number of criticals due to the essentially +30 tohit
that martial artist get for having high skill (to compensate for no
weapon), I'm cutting it back to +22 or so. It's got some tweaking, and
I've got to deal with balance, but that's where it's headed. Damage in
the midgame should be reduced, lategame increased somewhat.

[1] For "paladin/priests" and bludgeoning it is no penalty / 1/3 penalty
(paladins) or 1/6 penalty / 1/2 penalty depending on bluntness of
weapons. This still makes blessed sharp weapons suck, though. Not sure
what to do about that.

Joshua
Phil Cartwright
2007-08-15 20:19:25 UTC
Permalink
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Post by camlost
[1] For "paladin/priests" and bludgeoning it is no penalty / 1/3 penalty
(paladins) or 1/6 penalty / 1/2 penalty depending on bluntness of
weapons. This still makes blessed sharp weapons suck, though. Not sure
what to do about that.
Isn't that obvious? Make blessed weapons count as "blunt" for the
purpose of deciding the penalty.
--
There's only four things you can be certain of: taxes, change, spam, and
death.
camlost
2007-08-15 21:48:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Phil Cartwright
Post by camlost
[1] For "paladin/priests" and bludgeoning it is no penalty / 1/3
penalty (paladins) or 1/6 penalty / 1/2 penalty depending on bluntness
of weapons. This still makes blessed sharp weapons suck, though. Not
sure what to do about that.
Isn't that obvious? Make blessed weapons count as "blunt" for the
purpose of deciding the penalty.
That's not a complete fix -- not many priests are going to increase
swords or polearms in case they end up using one that happens to be blessed.

The truly confusing thing to me is that there is a base type
(sacrificial dagger) that is edged and always blessed. I guess it's
just for flavor.

Joshua
Phil Cartwright
2007-08-15 23:05:01 UTC
Permalink
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Post by camlost
Post by Phil Cartwright
Post by camlost
[1] For "paladin/priests" and bludgeoning it is no penalty / 1/3
penalty (paladins) or 1/6 penalty / 1/2 penalty depending on
bluntness of weapons. This still makes blessed sharp weapons suck,
though. Not sure what to do about that.
Isn't that obvious? Make blessed weapons count as "blunt" for the
purpose of deciding the penalty.
That's not a complete fix -- not many priests are going to increase
swords or polearms in case they end up using one that happens to be blessed.
That's an easy one too -- points in Holy Alliance can count toward your
effective skill with an edged weapon type but only when the skill check
is for use of a blessed one. I.e. if you have 50% Holy Alliance, 10% in
swords, and used an unblessed sword, you have the 10%, penalized to 5%.
If you use a blessed sword, you have the 10%, penalized to around 8%,
plus 25% (or whatever) due to your 50 in Holy Alliance, for 33 (or
whatever). Still doesn't match the 50 (say) in Clubbing (reduced to 42
or so by the 1/6 penalty). (The foregoing assumes an oathed caster.
Oathless gets the full 50 in clubbing, 10 plus say 25 for say 35 with
the blessed sword, and 3 or 4 for the unblessed sword. So, in this
example: Paladin hits something with plain dagger, relevant weapon skill
treated as 3 or 4. Hits something with sacrificial dagger, 35. Hits
something with club, 50.)

A kick-ass blessed edged weapon looks more attractive when you only have
to drop say 10 or 15 points into the appropriate weapon skill to get
some use out of it.

Balancing would be required. Likely the bonus proportional to Holy
Alliance would drop as the "real" value of the weapon skill rose, so
that at 100 the bonus is zero, and at 0 it is decent but not
unbalancingly high. And of course this would only apply to skill checks
related to actually using the weapon; skill levels that unlock talents,
stat increases, or any other effects would be unchanged, so if you
needed swords at 60 to get something yummy you still need swords at 60,
regardless of holy alliance and of the blessed status of any sword you
might actually be using at the time. (Certainly, having such a thing
change depending on wielded weapon would be strange! So it should apply
like all other suggested penalties and bonuses to skill effects, and
only affect actual skill-use checks for the skill's primary uses, in
this case hitting something with that sword.)
--
There's only four things you can be certain of: taxes, change, spam, and
death.
magnate
2007-08-16 08:38:49 UTC
Permalink
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Post by camlost
Post by Phil Cartwright
Post by camlost
[1] For "paladin/priests" and bludgeoning it is no penalty / 1/3
penalty (paladins) or 1/6 penalty / 1/2 penalty depending on bluntness
of weapons. This still makes blessed sharp weapons suck, though. Not
sure what to do about that.
Isn't that obvious? Make blessed weapons count as "blunt" for the
purpose of deciding the penalty.
That's not a complete fix -- not many priests are going to increase
swords or polearms in case they end up using one that happens to be blessed.
The truly confusing thing to me is that there is a base type
(sacrificial dagger) that is edged and always blessed. I guess it's
just for flavor.
I thought it was so that paladins could pump swords in the knowledge
that there were some decent weapons available before they found their
Holy Avenger ...

CC
magnate
2007-08-16 08:52:13 UTC
Permalink
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Post by camlost
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
You got a shield that gives +tohit and +todam? I've never seen that before.
Can't remember if I have or not - sounds great though. I always
thought more randarts should do that.
Actually, I think limiting it to gloves is a good idea, otherwise it
just gets out of hand.
Ah well, to avoid that you have to have your randart code track the
*total* to-hit and to-dam mods on nonweapon kit. More variety than
just gloves ... but I guess with forging it's a moot point really.
Post by camlost
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
I'm certainly one who argues that it's too good even at 14. When I was
maintaining, I put armor forging and devices up to 16 (same level as
spellcasting), because they're that good. I still took them even at
those costs.
If you were to separate Devices into two skills (combat and utility),
what costs would you give them? I'd say something like 12 and 13, or
maybe 11 and 14 (since utility devices are the essential ones).
I wouldn't. Pretty much everyone wants the utility, and only a handful
want the combat. If I had to change things, I'd make most of the
utility easier to use with some EASY_ACT flag. Thus, people would be
happier leaving the skill at some middling value.
Hmm. In my experience it's only non-casters for whom utility devices
are a must. All four realms have almost all the utility effects
covered (detection/ID, escapes, buffing etc.), many of them quite
early on. So non-device casters are viable, I think.

How about giving equipment activations EASY_ACT, so that you can use
them more reliably without pumping device skill? The large number of
useful rings and amulets would further reduce the need for utility
devices then.

You could even split devices into three skills: damage, other offence
(slow, sleep, confuse, tele-away, earthquakes, destruction etc.) and
the rest. I'm convinced that in its current form it offers too much
compared to any other single skill.
Post by camlost
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
There is a damage penalty though. The unofficial version will fix this
eventually, as martial arts combat has been rewritten.
Go on ....
Regarding new devlopments, or current status?
The current status is as explained. Different calculations for damage,
but to-hit is the same.
Regarding future developments, I am currently working on a system where
primary spellcasters get a 1/3 penalty to all melee attacks (weapons or
martial), non-primary spellcasters get a 1/6 penalty[1]. This is as
opposed to caps, which we already decided were bad when it came to
warriors and magic devices.
Yep, I'm ok with this (nicely symmetrical with the warriors' 1/3
penalty with devices).
Post by camlost
Regarding martial arts, I'm making them more like weapon attacks, using
deadliness and critical hits, and non-fixed blows, so there is a high
incentive to have a good skill and high deadliness. Criticals will also
activate a chance at karate confusion/stun/slowing and wrestling robbing
energy.
How will you balance the need for high deadliness with the fact that
you can't wield a weapon which boosts deadliness? A skill-related
increment, as with to-hit?
Post by camlost
Due to the insane number of criticals due to the essentially +30 tohit
that martial artist get for having high skill (to compensate for no
weapon), I'm cutting it back to +22 or so. It's got some tweaking, and
I've got to deal with balance, but that's where it's headed. Damage in
the midgame should be reduced, lategame increased somewhat.
I don't know the mechanics, but that sounds ok.
Post by camlost
[1] For "paladin/priests" and bludgeoning it is no penalty / 1/3 penalty
(paladins) or 1/6 penalty / 1/2 penalty depending on bluntness of
weapons. This still makes blessed sharp weapons suck, though. Not sure
what to do about that.
Consider the Eddie philosophy of abandoning the priest/pointy problem
altogether, and just give them a straight 1/3 or 1/6 penalty like the
other realms. Then find a new use for the BLESSED flag ... like extra
damage to angels or something.

CC
camlost
2007-08-16 13:53:24 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
I'm certainly one who argues that it's too good even at 14. When I was
maintaining, I put armor forging and devices up to 16 (same level as
spellcasting), because they're that good. I still took them even at
those costs.
If you were to separate Devices into two skills (combat and utility),
what costs would you give them? I'd say something like 12 and 13, or
maybe 11 and 14 (since utility devices are the essential ones).
I wouldn't. Pretty much everyone wants the utility, and only a handful
want the combat. If I had to change things, I'd make most of the
utility easier to use with some EASY_ACT flag. Thus, people would be
happier leaving the skill at some middling value.
Hmm. In my experience it's only non-casters for whom utility devices
are a must. All four realms have almost all the utility effects
covered (detection/ID, escapes, buffing etc.), many of them quite
early on. So non-device casters are viable, I think.
How about giving equipment activations EASY_ACT, so that you can use
them more reliably without pumping device skill? The large number of
useful rings and amulets would further reduce the need for utility
devices then.
I've made all (non-artifact) activatables that aren't rod/staff/wand
activate much more easily. If I wanted it to be less hackish, I'd
actually add in a EASY_ACT flag.
Post by magnate
You could even split devices into three skills: damage, other offence
(slow, sleep, confuse, tele-away, earthquakes, destruction etc.) and
the rest. I'm convinced that in its current form it offers too much
compared to any other single skill.
Someone suggested that devices be split into 4 categories and have part
of their bonus come from each of the realm skills. I don't really like
the idea of multiple device skills though.
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
Regarding future developments, I am currently working on a system where
primary spellcasters get a 1/3 penalty to all melee attacks (weapons or
martial), non-primary spellcasters get a 1/6 penalty[1]. This is as
opposed to caps, which we already decided were bad when it came to
warriors and magic devices.
Yep, I'm ok with this (nicely symmetrical with the warriors' 1/3
penalty with devices).
That's the idea.
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
Regarding martial arts, I'm making them more like weapon attacks, using
deadliness and critical hits, and non-fixed blows, so there is a high
incentive to have a good skill and high deadliness. Criticals will also
activate a chance at karate confusion/stun/slowing and wrestling robbing
energy.
How will you balance the need for high deadliness with the fact that
you can't wield a weapon which boosts deadliness? A skill-related
increment, as with to-hit?
No, since I control the base damage curve (based soley on skill), I
don't need to. So, you just get bonuses from gloves, rings, beserk, and
shapechanges, or something like that.
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
Due to the insane number of criticals due to the essentially +30 tohit
that martial artist get for having high skill (to compensate for no
weapon), I'm cutting it back to +22 or so. It's got some tweaking, and
I've got to deal with balance, but that's where it's headed. Damage in
the midgame should be reduced, lategame increased somewhat.
I don't know the mechanics, but that sounds ok.
Yeah, it's all a work in progress. I generally start by seeing how the
end-game plays with various weapons and martial arts, and then compare
them. Once I know what the end-game damage should look like and have it
squared away, I go to the slow process of playing through a game to see
if anything goes to crazytown.
Post by magnate
Post by camlost
[1] For "paladin/priests" and bludgeoning it is no penalty / 1/3 penalty
(paladins) or 1/6 penalty / 1/2 penalty depending on bluntness of
weapons. This still makes blessed sharp weapons suck, though. Not sure
what to do about that.
Consider the Eddie philosophy of abandoning the priest/pointy problem
altogether, and just give them a straight 1/3 or 1/6 penalty like the
other realms. Then find a new use for the BLESSED flag ... like extra
damage to angels or something.
I've certainly considered it, but I think that's a change that Leon will
have to make.

Joshua
magnate
2007-08-15 15:10:12 UTC
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Post by b***@inmail24.com
(The Dlevel 1 Follies)
That's an interesting point. I wonder if ironman_no_stores closes the
Inn and therefore prevents you getting the quest? I suspect it does,
but it wouldn't make much difference - the only thing about the first
quest is a bit of xp from the monsters.
That XP does come at an extremely useful time, though, since every
point counts, that early on. It's a two-edged sword, though,
especially if you get something that's hard for the combo you chose to
handle -- e.g. priests or paladins for a melee necromancer (a risk of
being Afraid, and not having enough MP to use magic instead of melee
to off those pests).
But you can always restart if you don't like the first quest - it
takes under a minute to re-roll (check the quest before visiting any
of the stores!). So you can make sure it's do-able.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
That reminds me, I really need to check to see if my hunch is right
that poisoning has an effect on fail rates similarly to fear. I have
seen some weird spikes in my fail rates in my current game, with the
only common denominator seeming to be poisoning.
This is where a spoiler would come in really handy, but Leon has asked
us not to produce one. My guess is that pretty much any adverse
condition will have some effect.

Are you aware that fail rates shoot up when your mana gets low? Not
sure if this is what you're observing. Also from stunning.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Yes. I too keep a =tele for swap in ironman, until _tele is reliable.
So you've been having a go at it? If so, great to hear -- would really
love to hear some Hobbit tales!
Sadly I've just discovered FreeCol, so I've been having a strategy
blitz recently. I'm going to try and win this competition (it would be
my first win), but yes, I will try some ironmen after that.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Exhaustive discussion of skill cost increases from high-to-low gaps and related)
Thanks, I feel a whole lot less "no idea how this whole shebang works"
anxiety already!
You're welcome. I'm an optimiser, so I did some serious research into
all this.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by b***@inmail24.com
The one time I tried Alchemy (it was a normal game) I found myself
generating bottles and parchments out the wazoo just through normal
consumption (each scroll read/potion drunk leaves a raw material
behind!), so that's not the criterion to use...
Except that you don't generate bottles/parchments before you raise
Alchemy, so it's a catch-22. I was kind of meaning a high-quality one
(crystal/vellum), which would be more likely to get the result you
wanted, would be the thing to make me decide to kick-start alchemy.
Interesting. I've never done any alchemy, only raised the Alchemy
skill. Thus I didn't know you could get something other than what you
wanted. I was thinking the downside of the lower quality bottles/
parchments was a higher failure rate.
It is - that's what I meant by getting the result you wanted! (I have
no idea if you accidentally generate the wrong item, but anything's
possible with Leon.)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Last night I was reminded of something I'd only known "academically"
before -- reminded of the fact that Infusion gives a Recharge ability.
Sounds like a plenty fine place to send some spare essences. By the
way, what do Death essences get used in? I've only done infused
forging a grand total of once, but still, on that one occasion, I
couldn't find anything I was allowed to invest Death essences into.
Granted, I only had one Death essence (and a grand total of two
essences overall to my name), but I paid good XP for that essence,
dammit! (It was generated in the vicinity of a potion of Lose
Memories, and I failed to take the hint.) I want my moneysworth!
Well, you'll find them handy if you want to alchemise any of these:

=darkness
=deadliness
=combat
?genocide
?mass genocide
!lose memories (ha!)
!death (huge thrown damage)

... or if you want to infuse a weapon with lifestealing (I suspect you
were forging armour, which is why you didn't see a use for it).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(I don't do Giants (due to Josh), Dunedan and High Elves; everything
else is fair game for me, more or less.)
I love giants, but I'm finding I can only survive with stealthy
characters, so I've given up on them for now. I agree with you on the
other two (though I have no problem playing them in O, which I find
harder than S).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
[Spoiler warning]
_CMW is 600', abundance 75
(...)
If you were a highway engineer, you'd put the "bump ahead" signs one
inch before the bump. :-P
Sorry, not sure what happened there - in my editor there was a whole
screen of blank lines. I blame Google.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Thanks for the spoiler -- myself, I love spoilers.)
Good!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Importance of Device)
Post by magnate
In fact, I think the device skill (along with Spell Resistance) is too
important, period. But that's a subject for another thread.
I've read that elsewhere too. My experience matches those complaints.
No idea what to do about it, though.
Isn't that like putting a "note to George Bush" in the middle of a
1000-post thread on a Red Sox forum?
Well, maybe. Leon has a reasonably good record of catching up on Sang-
related threads when he returns from his absences, but I confess we
may have lost him by now.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Still, we can hope that once he gets better, he really will at least
skim the {S} threads.
Is he ill? Last I heard he was just busy.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I still haven't solved the spell resistance problem though. I'm going
to try a dwarf artificer with forging and infusion to see if I can
forge enough +save items to make him viable. If not then it really is
an essential skill.
If I could I'd be happy to lend you the wicker shield of +15 save that
I made while trying to forge one with Regeneration. (Good though that
is, I really need to read up on how to get a better chance of getting
the trait that I invested my essences into getting. But hey, it was
only one essence, and it also gives +1 dex and some +hit and +dam, so
I'm not complaining.)
That's an *awesome* shield!! Are you sure it's +15 save, not +3? Are
you getting it confused with +15 mana? The pval on plus to mana is
multiplied by 5, but I don't think + to save is. My current hobbit is
wearing a +4 amulet of magical protection, which shows up as +4 not
+20. Hmmm.

Anyway, here is a very quick guide to forging with essences: watch the
colour of the word "Potential". If it's green, you're quite likely to
get what you want (better than 50/50). If it's white, it's about
50/50, and if it's yellow, orange, red or grey then the chances are
small. (The use of the essences will still get you a lot of mods, but
they'll bear little relation to what you asked for.) Watch it as you
choose mods and invest essences - you can see it change colour, take
out one essence and it's back to the higher colour.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, being penalized for pointblank fire can be annoying
(due to the finger dances and mental switches it demands) unless the
given roguelike's structure makes it really easy to do your missile
killing before things close to pointblank -- in which case what you
have is a roguelike with powerful missiles indeed, and maybe too
powerful.
I'd be interested in Timo's view on this (will have to ask him in
another thread I expect) - he plays a *lot* of rangers (primarily in
V), and I've always assumed he stayed at a distance (since I think V
does have the point-blank AC penalty). But I could be wrong.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I think it's fair to clone monsters in ironman.
There's a tradeoff involved anyway, since it takes up a slot, unless
you leave it on the floor and preserve an immobile for cloning during
the end-of-level wrapup. And there's the finite charges aspect,
although if essences are as much in oversupply in the late game as you
say, then Infusion's Recharging talent might perhaps make charges
abundant indeed.
Hmm. I was really only thinking of using it until my inventory filled
up - but I guess that's pretty early in ironman. So I guess it would
come down to cloning something until the wand was empty and then
junking it. I certainly would waste essences recharging it (they're
not that common) - unless perhaps it was death quasits much later on.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(raising forging later on in ironman)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
First-chunk seems to sometimes be a bit too early in Ironman BTW --
the hiccup that it causes in the speed at which your "short-term
offense/defense" skills keep up with the deadliness of the dungeon can
be fatal in my experience. 400' (level 8) or deeper regardless of when
you got your first chunk seems to be wiser.
So you have three choices when you find your first chunk: ignore it,
drop 15 points into forging and see what happens, or drag it with you
until you can "afford" to do that. Given that chunks are heavy
From game start until Trap Door depth, from the time you have Feather
Falling until quasit depth, and from the time you have rNexus until
game end, chunks' effective weight is zero.
Er, but the option of taking them along is only available if you have
an inv slot to take them downstairs with you. But yes, I take your
point that their weight is irrelevant.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
raising other skills is likely to increase the cost of those 15 points
of forging, I'd say that's really only two choices. If you ignore, you
get the same choices again with the next chunk, and so on. If the
first chunks are copper, ignoring is probably sensible. If it's iron
or better, I'd give it a whirl. Bronze would depend on my situation.
I'm really happy with the results I got last night with Bronze. If I
had an armor slot with nothing {good} or even a slot with ID'd armour
with a plus of <4, I think I'd go for it even with Copper. This is
another place where Ironman kind of skews everything.
That's true - but I'm assuming that you're fully armoured from before
you find your first chunk. But yes, if you have a non-{good} (and not
cursed) item in the slot, it's probably worth it.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Anyway, I think this is one case where the investment in terms of
increased skill cost may be worth it -- think of it as the difference
between, say, 200 points into Forging and 600 points into everything
else (so armor has "weakened" your skill suite by 25%) and 300 points
(for the same effect) into Forging and 1800 points into everything
else (so a "weakening" of only 14%).
Yes, this is exactly the point I made a few posts ago. By the time
those 15 points of forging cost you 1000 points, it's a weakening of
only a few percent. Then we get to your point that xp in ironman is
finite ... once more a tradeoff ...
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, at the later point in the game when you raise
Forging with the proposed "delay" strategy, the average value of the
outputs from the chunk will be less, since the overall quality of your
armor will be higher. Hmm.
Possibly. If you're unlucky with _ID and aren't raising perception (or
are not a naturally perceptive race), you may miss a lot of decent kit
and not realise it. One lovely side benefit of forging is that the
stuff is *ID*d and therefore immune to amnesia.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(how common is rNexus?)
Very bad news here - it's extremely hard to find without forging. Sang
doesn't have Boots of Stability, so I don't think it's on anything
except Morphic and Power DSMs, and artifacts. (That said, my current
char has found two Morphic DSMs and Arvedui!) Kind of makes me re-
evaluate the importance of forging in ironman ...
From "very high" to "very very VERY high"?
Precisely. I didn't realise this last time I tried ironman, but then
again I didn't get to nexus depths (except hounds, which are one-hit
kills with decent melee).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Viability of Devices skill as main or near-main provider of ranged
damage in Ironman)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(they) eventually run out of charges...
Rods don't.
Is the time they'll be spending in {charging} status not a problem,
then, once the given rod stack has enough rods?
Well, it depends on whether you can make good use of the recharging
turns. The bolt rods recharge in 15 turns, so once you have 3 or 4 you
just need to cast three spells (or whatever) between each zap. My
melee chars tend to use them to finish off injured baddies, so 3 or 4
is plenty. I guess if they are your primary killing skill you would
need more. Ball rods recharge in 22 turns, but do more damage - it's a
tough call when to switch from a stack of 5-6 bolt rods to a pair of
ball rods of the same element, but eventually you do ...
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Speaking of which, how many slots would you recommend devoting to
status-ailment-shooting wands, and if nonzero, which ones would you
suggest? The tennish plus slots of my priestess's inventory that are
currently going to wands are starting to feel a bit wasteful.
Not quite sure what you mean by "status-ailment-shooting" - if you
mean Sleep/Confuse/Slow Monster, the answer is none - but that's in
normal play, and I guess in ironman things are different. I'd always
go with Slow Monster, because it's the hardest for them to resist
(precisely because it's the least debilitating effect), but it's still
very useful for escaping and/or finishing them off. It comes in staves
too, for all-in-LoS effect.

If you did mean that, what are the other seven??
Post by b***@inmail24.com
resist (more than one and less than four) elements. Two slots to make
the transition from oathed to oathless is a good trade.
All this somewhat assumes that the transition from oathed to oathless
is agnostic towards your building/not building a melee skill, which
seems a bit controversial to me, although I guess deep down you
consider the issue of whether or not to build some melee solved in
advance ("build it!") -- which may be swinging the balance for you
towards oathless.
Yes. I suspect an oathless caster without a melee skill is ... well,
if not unviable certainly suboptimal. That would make devices your
primary attack skill, which I think is tough. An interesting challenge
build though.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Bostock: levels 2-9 in Ironman are hard; reasons why, e.g. Mughash)
I've not found Mughash a problem, which I guess is because I always
have a martial art raised.
I have found melee to help against every "horde" threat than
Necromancy is, true (Ironman sorcerors are rather better off against
hordes in every stage of things I've seen Ironman necromancers reach
to date, and I'd venture they're on par with Ironmen using melee), and
Mughash's gang certainly is that (Mughash himself is relatively a
pushover). However, it helps a little less against the Gang than it
does against most other hordes, since unlike most horde members, many
of the kobolds in the Gang can do non-trivial to you in melee before
you kill them -- no pointblank penalty for those dart throwers, no
sirree! Thus there's a real risk of running out of HP just like the
Necro runs out of MP.
Yes. This is where burglars come into their own: set trap, flee, set
trap, flee, etc. By the time you run out of things to stuff into
traps, you can probably survive finishing off the rest.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
But with enough stealth and detection you
could avoid him - but then in ironman you want to kill him as early as
possible for the xp.
The dart throwers, at least, are exceedingly aware, perhaps just
because there are a lot of them -- do monsters ever wake each other up
upon waking themselves?
No. AFAIK their waking up check is based solely on your noise (which
includes fighting, casting spells which cause screams of agony etc.).
OTOH one of them which wakes up and throws a dart at you could
indirectly cause another to wake up (by making you yell "ow", I
guess).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Anyway, because they're so aware, avoiding the horde is difficult, at
least if you want to clear any significant portion of the level.
Dart-throwers have an awareness range of 20 squares, which is standard
for humanoids (novice whatevers) - snagas have a range of 30! Ouch.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Not with martial arts, they reduce the *effect* of a given skill
level.
Ooh, just like Burglary without the guild... though I suppose here
it's a straight (skill/2) rather than (foo + (skill-foo)/2).
No, it's actually much less bad than a straight halving (which is why
the halving of devices for warriors is so harsh). I don't know the
code, but it's a reduction in the damage you do, rather than in your
effective skill level.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by b***@inmail24.com
BTW you mentioned raisings of skills to e.g. the 20's -- would you
still do that in Ironman, where XP aren't in infinite supply? (Short
of milking a cuddlywug, I guess?)
Don't know. Not sure how long 21% throwing skill would remain useful -
but in ironman you want to maximise your use of the resources in the
dungeon, so it might be worth it.
On the other hand, those potions will have to compete with devices,
potions, scrolls, and books for your inventory slots.
Yes. I really need to try some more ironman to get a feel for the
tougher inventory management. The point about throwing was that the
stuff is only in your inventory during the level - you'd probably dump
anything you hadn't thrown when you left the level, in favour of stuff
like food and oil.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Necros' Break Curse -- a really good deal, or merely kind of neat?)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
? I tend to find at least one cursed item on my first trip into the
dungeon (levels 1-3). I have a very low tolerance for wearing cursed
stuff, which is why I like Break Curse so much.
There's the difference -- in Ironman, my tolerance for cursed stuff is
high. It's not like the uncursed stuff that I'd be able to find before
the typical depth for the first ?oRC would be all that great, anyway.
That's probably a fair point also. A non-necro would have to devote an
inv slot to _RC!
Slots are valuable, so it can't totally be pooh-poohed. In that
respect, even the "create food" spells that I recently pooh-poohed
can't be pooh-poohed.
Except the necro's "feed off light", which is infuriating if you're a
non-burglar (though burglar necros are fun!). Takes twice as long to
feed yourself (and extra turn to relight the room), and you have to do
it much more often (it usually gets you only about 2000 food units,
where other realms take you all the way to 15k!).

CC
b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-16 13:48:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
This thread is getting out of hand. :-)


(The Dlevel 1 follies)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
That XP does come at an extremely useful time, though, since every
point counts, that early on. It's a two-edged sword, though,
especially if you get something that's hard for the combo you chose to
handle -- e.g. priests or paladins for a melee necromancer (a risk of
being Afraid, and not having enough MP to use magic instead of melee
to off those pests).
But you can always restart if you don't like the first quest - it
takes under a minute to re-roll (check the quest before visiting any
of the stores!). So you can make sure it's do-able.
My demands are high and my computer is slow, so it can take me up to a
couple of minutes to roll. Plus, I hate waiting.

In any case, it's really the necros who have trouble with a lot of
"first quests" in Ironman, and I don't think I'll return to them for a
while -- I kind of wore them out last week.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
So you've been having a go at (Ironman)? If so, great to hear -- would really
love to hear some Hobbit tales!
Sadly I've just discovered FreeCol, so I've been having a strategy
blitz recently. I'm going to try and win this competition (it would be
my first win), but yes, I will try some ironmen after that.
My experience with FreeCiv back in the day was underwhelming, as with
several other alternacivs -- above all, I often found them lacking in
the UI department, like much OS software at that time. But things have
gradually been getting better in that respect, so maybe today's
FreeCol is better off there.


(Essences of death)
(list with some yummy items, unlike what Death essences will bring me
via Forging)

Oh sure, tempt me towards alchemy...

...although someone mentioned a use for Death essences in recharging
of certain nice wands via the Recharge talent, so they still do have
some use.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
[Spoiler warning]
_CMW is 600', abundance 75
(...)
If you were a highway engineer, you'd put the "bump ahead" signs one
inch before the bump. :-P
Sorry, not sure what happened there - in my editor there was a whole
screen of blank lines. I blame Google.
Probably justifiably. In r.g.r.adom the standard for spoiler space was
to fill it with at least one filler character per line (a period, song
lyrics, whatever) due to some effect of this sort.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Still, we can hope that once (Leon) gets better, he really will at least
skim the {S} threads.
Is he ill? Last I heard he was just busy.
I trust you here more than myself. Good to hear, then.
Post by magnate
Anyway, here is a very quick guide to forging with essences: watch the
colour of the word "Potential". If it's green, you're quite likely to
get what you want (better than 50/50). If it's white, it's about
50/50, and if it's yellow, orange, red or grey then the chances are
small. (**The use of the essences will still get you a lot of mods** (emphasis mine), but
they'll bear little relation to what you asked for.)
Oops, wish I'd listened to this harder -- then I would have, rightly,
invested essences in my last two forging jobs after all.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, being penalized for pointblank fire can be annoying
(due to the finger dances and mental switches it demands) unless the
given roguelike's structure makes it really easy to do your missile
killing before things close to pointblank -- in which case what you
have is a roguelike with powerful missiles indeed, and maybe too
powerful.
I'd be interested in Timo's view on this (will have to ask him in
another thread I expect) - he plays a *lot* of rangers (primarily in
V), and I've always assumed he stayed at a distance (since I think V
does have the point-blank AC penalty). But I could be wrong.
Preserving in case Timo stops by after all, now that he's looking at
the other thread.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(raising forging later on in ironman)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
First-chunk seems to sometimes be a bit too early in Ironman BTW --
the hiccup that it causes in the speed at which your "short-term
offense/defense" skills keep up with the deadliness of the dungeon can
be fatal in my experience. 400' (level 8) or deeper regardless of when
you got your first chunk seems to be wiser.
So you have three choices when you find your first chunk: ignore it,
drop 15 points into forging and see what happens, or drag it with you
until you can "afford" to do that. Given that chunks are heavy
From game start until Trap Door depth, from the time you have Feather
Falling until quasit depth, and from the time you have rNexus until
game end, chunks' effective weight is zero.
Er, but the option of taking them along is only available if you have
an inv slot to take them downstairs with you. But yes, I take your
point that their weight is irrelevant.
The period we're talking about is the "copper" period, though, and it
nicely overlaps with the period when you still have plenty of
inventory slots, or at least items of such little long-term value that
you can easily sacrifice them to make way for the copper.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Anyway, I think this is one case where the investment in terms of
increased skill cost may be worth it -- think of it as the difference
between, say, 200 points into Forging and 600 points into everything
else (so armor has "weakened" your skill suite by 25%) and 300 points
(for the same effect) into Forging and 1800 points into everything
else (so a "weakening" of only 14%).
Yes, this is exactly the point I made a few posts ago.
Yes, I was thinking of admitting that up front, but didn't find the
nerve.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, at the later point in the game when you raise
Forging with the proposed "delay" strategy, the average value of the
outputs from the chunk will be less, since the overall quality of your
armor will be higher. Hmm.
Possibly. If you're unlucky with _ID and aren't raising perception (or
are not a naturally perceptive race), you may miss a lot of decent kit
and not realise it.
One of the big reasons why I'm lovin' Perception for Ironman. Priests
do get Scan Object fairly early, but it's still not so early that this
benefit isn't appreciated.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Viability of Devices skill as main or near-main provider of ranged
damage in Ironman)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(they) eventually run out of charges...
Rods don't.
Is the time they'll be spending in {charging} status not a problem,
then, once the given rod stack has enough rods?
Well, it depends on whether you can make good use of the recharging
turns. The bolt rods recharge in 15 turns, so once you have 3 or 4 you
just need to cast three spells (or whatever) between each zap. My
melee chars tend to use them to finish off injured baddies, so 3 or 4
is plenty. I guess if they are your primary killing skill you would
need more.
I think that for a primary killing skill I would want something that
was usable that way from the beginning, or nearly so. While I suspect
-- extrapolating from what I've seen so far -- that it would be
possible to engineer a switch to doing almost all killing via devices
in Ironman by, what, 1500' or so, I'd expect that it really wouldn't
be worth the bother compared to continuing on in whatever killing
technique you were using before that.

(For a normal game, meanwhile, I think I would enjoy an all-devices
game like that one Gnome game I saw on the ladder.)
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
resist (more than one and less than four) elements. Two slots to make
the transition from oathed to oathless is a good trade.
All this somewhat assumes that the transition from oathed to oathless
is agnostic towards your building/not building a melee skill, which
seems a bit controversial to me, although I guess deep down you
consider the issue of whether or not to build some melee solved in
advance ("build it!") -- which may be swinging the balance for you
towards oathless.
Yes. I suspect an oathless caster without a melee skill is ... well,
if not unviable certainly suboptimal.
I was thinking more vice-versa -- of the fact that even for an oathed
character, you would be building melee anyway (thus your choice to
build melee is "agnostic" towards whether or not you're taking the
oath). Sorry; I didn't put it very well.


(Bostock: Meleeless Necromancers suck against hordes, at least in the
periods of their development that I've reached.)
Post by magnate
Yes. This is where burglars come into their own: set trap, flee, set
trap, flee, etc.
That's part of my problem with burglaring -- I never remember to flee;
I always stand around to revel in them stepping on my traps. :-D Oh
well, that bad habit can be unlearned.

I take it that with enough skill / practice / mojo / whatever, the
problem of intelligent creatures being quite trap resistant becomes
less of a problem?
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
The dart throwers, at least, are exceedingly aware, perhaps just
because there are a lot of them -- do monsters ever wake each other up
upon waking themselves?
No. AFAIK their waking up check is based solely on your noise (which
includes fighting, casting spells which cause screams of agony etc.).
Ooh, very nice touch. Here I was thinking it was purely flavour. I
take it grunts of pain are similar, but less intense?
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Anyway, because they're so aware, avoiding the horde is difficult, at
least if you want to clear any significant portion of the level.
Dart-throwers have an awareness range of 20 squares, which is standard
for humanoids (novice whatevers) - snagas have a range of 30! Ouch.
So it sounds like encountering the Gang on a small-to-medium level is
a good excuse to leave the level early so you can meet them again on a
larger one.

I'm gradually getting better at waking up hordes gradually, by the way
-- during last night's giant Giant battle, I was able to split it into
5-6 smaller battles vs. roughly 3 to 10 Giants at a time.


(Consideration of 21% Throwing, to make use of thrown harmful items...
what about inventory problems though?)
Post by magnate
Yes. I really need to try some more ironman to get a feel for the
tougher inventory management. The point about throwing was that the
stuff is only in your inventory during the level - you'd probably dump
anything you hadn't thrown when you left the level, in favour of stuff
like food and oil.
Fair point.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Necros' Break Curse -- a really good deal, or merely kind of neat?)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
? I tend to find at least one cursed item on my first trip into the
dungeon (levels 1-3). I have a very low tolerance for wearing cursed
stuff, which is why I like Break Curse so much.
There's the difference -- in Ironman, my tolerance for cursed stuff is
high. It's not like the uncursed stuff that I'd be able to find before
the typical depth for the first ?oRC would be all that great, anyway.
That's probably a fair point also. A non-necro would have to devote an
inv slot to _RC!
Slots are valuable, so it can't totally be pooh-poohed. In that
respect, even the "create food" spells that I recently pooh-poohed
can't be pooh-poohed.
Except the necro's "feed off light", which is infuriating if you're a
non-burglar (though burglar necros are fun!). Takes twice as long to
feed yourself (and extra turn to relight the room), and you have to do
it much more often (it usually gets you only about 2000 food units,
where other realms take you all the way to 15k!).
CC
I'd really like to see accommodation of (penalized but possible)
darkcasting for necros, at the cost of weakening them in some other
respect to compensate. Maybe the compensation could be increased
failure rates in "room" light -- that is, in light not emanating from
their own equipment.

Bostock
camlost
2007-08-16 14:01:51 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Anyway, here is a very quick guide to forging with essences: watch the
colour of the word "Potential". If it's green, you're quite likely to
get what you want (better than 50/50). If it's white, it's about
50/50, and if it's yellow, orange, red or grey then the chances are
small. (**The use of the essences will still get you a lot of mods** (emphasis mine), but
they'll bear little relation to what you asked for.)
Oops, wish I'd listened to this harder -- then I would have, rightly,
invested essences in my last two forging jobs after all.
The total quality of the item is based on your skill and the depth of
the component (and luck, of course). Adding extra essences will not
increase the power of the item, it will just increase the odds of
getting a particular ability.

Joshua
b***@inmail24.com
2007-08-16 14:06:48 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Anyway, here is a very quick guide to forging with essences: watch the
colour of the word "Potential". If it's green, you're quite likely to
get what you want (better than 50/50). If it's white, it's about
50/50, and if it's yellow, orange, red or grey then the chances are
small. (**The use of the essences will still get you a lot of mods** (emphasis mine), but
they'll bear little relation to what you asked for.)
Oops, wish I'd listened to this harder -- then I would have, rightly,
invested essences in my last two forging jobs after all.
The total quality of the item is based on your skill and the depth of
the component (and luck, of course). Adding extra essences will not
increase the power of the item, it will just increase the odds of
getting a particular ability.
Are we talking about the same thing here? I was referring to using the
"would you like to invest essences" prompt at all, not to increasing
the investment once I'd chosen to do so.

Bostock
magnate
2007-08-17 09:32:24 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by camlost
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Anyway, here is a very quick guide to forging with essences: watch the
colour of the word "Potential". If it's green, you're quite likely to
get what you want (better than 50/50). If it's white, it's about
50/50, and if it's yellow, orange, red or grey then the chances are
small. (**The use of the essences will still get you a lot of mods** (emphasis mine), but
they'll bear little relation to what you asked for.)
Oops, wish I'd listened to this harder -- then I would have, rightly,
invested essences in my last two forging jobs after all.
The total quality of the item is based on your skill and the depth of
the component (and luck, of course). Adding extra essences will not
increase the power of the item, it will just increase the odds of
getting a particular ability.
Are we talking about the same thing here? I was referring to using the
"would you like to invest essences" prompt at all, not to increasing
the investment once I'd chosen to do so.
Josh is contradicting the statement of mine that you emphasised - and
he knows the game much better than I do, so he's much more likely to
be right. It's always been my experience that forging with lots of
essences generates more mods than doing so with few, but of course
that may be because I have more essences to spend when I'm more
skilled and finding deeper metals.

So it looks like essences are only useful for getting specific
abilities, making them a straight choice between one or two almost-
guaranteed and three or more not guaranteed. That simplifies things a
bit.

CC
magnate
2007-08-17 10:02:32 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by b***@inmail24.com
This thread is getting out of hand. :-)
At least we've trimmed most of the early quotes ...
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(The Dlevel 1 follies)
Post by magnate
But you can always restart if you don't like the first quest - it
takes under a minute to re-roll (check the quest before visiting any
of the stores!). So you can make sure it's do-able.
My demands are high and my computer is slow, so it can take me up to a
couple of minutes to roll. Plus, I hate waiting.
Me too, but if I judge the first quest too hard, I'll save myself five
minutes by re-rolling immediately!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
In any case, it's really the necros who have trouble with a lot of
"first quests" in Ironman, and I don't think I'll return to them for a
while -- I kind of wore them out last week.
Hmm - as a keen hobbit player I tend to find the first quest harder
with any class, just because of low hp. Ditto Dark Elves.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
So you've been having a go at (Ironman)? If so, great to hear -- would really
love to hear some Hobbit tales!
Sadly I've just discovered FreeCol, so I've been having a strategy
blitz recently. I'm going to try and win this competition (it would be
my first win), but yes, I will try some ironmen after that.
My experience with FreeCiv back in the day was underwhelming, as with
several other alternacivs -- above all, I often found them lacking in
the UI department, like much OS software at that time. But things have
gradually been getting better in that respect, so maybe today's
FreeCol is better off there.
If you like Civ-likes, do try FreeCol - it's the best strategy remake
I've seen. I'd say it's even better than the original.

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=43225
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Essences of death)
(list with some yummy items, unlike what Death essences will bring me
via Forging)
Oh sure, tempt me towards alchemy...
...although someone mentioned a use for Death essences in recharging
of certain nice wands via the Recharge talent, so they still do have
some use.
Er ... but you need Alchemy to do recharging with essences!!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
[Spoiler warning]
If you were a highway engineer, you'd put the "bump ahead" signs one
inch before the bump. :-P
Sorry, not sure what happened there - in my editor there was a whole
screen of blank lines. I blame Google.
Probably justifiably. In r.g.r.adom the standard for spoiler space was
to fill it with at least one filler character per line (a period, song
lyrics, whatever) due to some effect of this sort.
Doh. Of course. Thanks for the tip.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, being penalized for pointblank fire can be annoying
(due to the finger dances and mental switches it demands) unless the
given roguelike's structure makes it really easy to do your missile
killing before things close to pointblank -- in which case what you
have is a roguelike with powerful missiles indeed, and maybe too
powerful.
I'd be interested in Timo's view on this (will have to ask him in
another thread I expect) - he plays a *lot* of rangers (primarily in
V), and I've always assumed he stayed at a distance (since I think V
does have the point-blank AC penalty). But I could be wrong.
Preserving in case Timo stops by after all, now that he's looking at
the other thread.
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(raising forging later on in ironman)
Er, but the option of taking [chunks] along is only available if you have
an inv slot to take them downstairs with you. But yes, I take your
point that their weight is irrelevant.
The period we're talking about is the "copper" period, though, and it
nicely overlaps with the period when you still have plenty of
inventory slots, or at least items of such little long-term value that
you can easily sacrifice them to make way for the copper.
Yes, I guess so. I'll defer to your greater ironman experience here.
I'm pretty certain my ironmen will have to take forging ...
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Yes, this is exactly the point I made a few posts ago.
Yes, I was thinking of admitting that up front, but didn't find the
nerve.
;-)
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
On the other hand, at the later point in the game when you raise
Forging with the proposed "delay" strategy, the average value of the
outputs from the chunk will be less, since the overall quality of your
armor will be higher. Hmm.
Possibly. If you're unlucky with _ID and aren't raising perception (or
are not a naturally perceptive race), you may miss a lot of decent kit
and not realise it.
One of the big reasons why I'm lovin' Perception for Ironman. Priests
do get Scan Object fairly early, but it's still not so early that this
benefit isn't appreciated.
Indeed. I fear that Perception is the third of the too-powerful must-
have skills, after Spell Resistance and Devices. My current non-comp
character is a three-skill Giant: wrestling, devices and spell
resistance. Not having perception is a huge pain - traps, massive
increase in ID requirement, etc.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Viability of Devices skill as main or near-main provider of ranged
damage in Ironman)
I think that for a primary killing skill I would want something that
was usable that way from the beginning, or nearly so. While I suspect
-- extrapolating from what I've seen so far -- that it would be
possible to engineer a switch to doing almost all killing via devices
in Ironman by, what, 1500' or so, I'd expect that it really wouldn't
be worth the bother compared to continuing on in whatever killing
technique you were using before that.
Yes, I see. There are two options here: one is to leave your melee
skill where it is and switch to devices for primary killing (since
you'll continue to raise that skill). The other is to go meleeless
from the start, get by with a few spells and wands of spark and major
on devices later.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(For a normal game, meanwhile, I think I would enjoy an all-devices
game like that one Gnome game I saw on the ladder.)
I think this is one of the few builds that is no less viable in
ironman. Damage-dealing devices are so common that I never have to buy
them in the shops in normal games, even when I rely on them for
killing.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Yes. I suspect an oathless caster without a melee skill is ... well,
if not unviable certainly suboptimal.
I was thinking more vice-versa -- of the fact that even for an oathed
character, you would be building melee anyway (thus your choice to
build melee is "agnostic" towards whether or not you're taking the
oath). Sorry; I didn't put it very well.
Funny how we've almost swapped positions: I've come to appreciate the
possibilities of meleeless characters (at least in theory), and you've
almost begun to assume that everyone will have a melee skill!
Post by b***@inmail24.com
(Bostock: Meleeless Necromancers suck against hordes, at least in the
periods of their development that I've reached.)
Post by magnate
Yes. This is where burglars come into their own: set trap, flee, set
trap, flee, etc.
That's part of my problem with burglaring -- I never remember to flee;
I always stand around to revel in them stepping on my traps. :-D Oh
well, that bad habit can be unlearned.
I take it that with enough skill / practice / mojo / whatever, the
problem of intelligent creatures being quite trap resistant becomes
less of a problem?
I think it's like devices: the monster's chance to avoid/save goes up
with its level (with a bonus if it has the SMART flag), but that
chance is reduced by your burglary/device skill. So you just have to
keep ahead of them. Which really makes non-oath burglars pretty
pointless (though I've not put this to the test yet).
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
The dart throwers, at least, are exceedingly aware, perhaps just
because there are a lot of them -- do monsters ever wake each other up
upon waking themselves?
No. AFAIK their waking up check is based solely on your noise (which
includes fighting, casting spells which cause screams of agony etc.).
Ooh, very nice touch. Here I was thinking it was purely flavour. I
take it grunts of pain are similar, but less intense?
I'm not sure it's that sophisticated. I think combat generates a
constant amount of noise - though come to think of it there are
variations for very noisy things like sound breaths and earthquakes. I
always have the noise level displayed on the left panel (one of S's
best innovations is the customisable left panel), and it's interesting
to see how it changes. It's great to see my default go from quiet to
whisper to shadowsilent as my stealth increases ...
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Anyway, because they're so aware, avoiding the horde is difficult, at
least if you want to clear any significant portion of the level.
Dart-throwers have an awareness range of 20 squares, which is standard
for humanoids (novice whatevers) - snagas have a range of 30! Ouch.
My mistake - I was looking at the wrong field. Kobolds, large kobolds
and snagas all have awareness range of 20; dart-throwers have 24,
which is 20% further. That's why the dart-throwers always come for you
first.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
So it sounds like encountering the Gang on a small-to-medium level is
a good excuse to leave the level early so you can meet them again on a
larger one.
Definitely. I had a thought about your "xp is finite in ironman"
point: it isn't, as long as you have enough food. Just clear a level,
sit and wait for a few thousand turns, and it will fill up with more
monsters.
Post by b***@inmail24.com
I'm gradually getting better at waking up hordes gradually, by the way
-- during last night's giant Giant battle, I was able to split it into
5-6 smaller battles vs. roughly 3 to 10 Giants at a time.
That's the ticket. This is why telepathy is so nice - you can lure
baddies out of packs one at a time ...
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Post by magnate
Post by b***@inmail24.com
Slots are valuable, so it can't totally be pooh-poohed. In that
respect, even the "create food" spells that I recently pooh-poohed
can't be pooh-poohed.
Except the necro's "feed off light", which is infuriating if you're a
non-burglar (though burglar necros are fun!). Takes twice as long to
feed yourself (and extra turn to relight the room), and you have to do
it much more often (it usually gets you only about 2000 food units,
where other realms take you all the way to 15k!).
I'd really like to see accommodation of (penalized but possible)
darkcasting for necros, at the cost of weakening them in some other
respect to compensate. Maybe the compensation could be increased
failure rates in "room" light -- that is, in light not emanating from
their own equipment.
Well, Joshua has added a new "darkness" talent in his latest version,
which I'm keen to try out after the comp. I don't think it allows
casting, but it allows reading scrolls, setting and disarming traps
and using devices in the dark. IMHO no variant has truly got the
Unlight thing quite right yet - I play a lot of burglars and it is
just too difficult to survive without lighting up rooms so you can see
what's coming. Joshua's added four infravision boosts to the
perception skill to try and get around this (so a hobbit would end up
with 70' infravision), but I'm not sure it'll be enough.

I agree with you that necros should be better able to cast spells in
the dark, and less so in the light - but we want to avoid causing all
necros to become burglars or vice versa. We also want to keep
semicaster burglars of the other realms viable. This is why I like the
new Darkness talent: once you get it, you can switch to it (like a
shape-change) and stay in it. So if you're a burlgar-necro, you'd
spend almost all your time with bonuses in the dark and penalties in
the light. If you're a buglar-sorceror, you'd switch back and forth -
dark for burglary and sneak attacking, light for full bring-it-on area
spell wrath.

I dunno. I need to do more playing and less posting. If only I could
play at work ...

CC
Phil Cartwright
2007-08-17 20:37:03 UTC
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Post by magnate
Indeed. I fear that Perception is the third of the too-powerful must-
have skills, after Spell Resistance and Devices. My current non-comp
character is a three-skill Giant: wrestling, devices and spell
resistance. Not having perception is a huge pain - traps, massive
increase in ID requirement, etc.
When you die, perhaps try perception, devices, and spell resistance,
with devices as your kill skill?
Post by magnate
I'm not sure it's that sophisticated. I think combat generates a
constant amount of noise - though come to think of it there are
variations for very noisy things like sound breaths and earthquakes. I
always have the noise level displayed on the left panel (one of S's
best innovations is the customisable left panel), and it's interesting
to see how it changes. It's great to see my default go from quiet to
whisper to shadowsilent as my stealth increases ...
Indeed.

I think more noise is generated when monsters die than from a round of
combat with only nonlethal blows though, and proportional to the number
that die. My necro sometimes dispels or otherwise area-kills large
groups, and if a large number die in a single round the noise goes into
the red. Much less if they take damage but few or none die, and much
less if there's only a few altogether, especially only one target that
gets hurt or killed.
Post by magnate
That's the ticket. This is why telepathy is so nice - you can lure
baddies out of packs one at a time ...
Playing around the edge of their detection range is critical. It's how I
mopped up that demon pit recently.
Post by magnate
Well, Joshua has added a new "darkness" talent in his latest version,
which I'm keen to try out after the comp. I don't think it allows
casting, but it allows reading scrolls, setting and disarming traps
and using devices in the dark. IMHO no variant has truly got the
Unlight thing quite right yet - I play a lot of burglars and it is
just too difficult to survive without lighting up rooms so you can see
what's coming. Joshua's added four infravision boosts to the
perception skill to try and get around this (so a hobbit would end up
with 70' infravision), but I'm not sure it'll be enough.
I agree with you that necros should be better able to cast spells in
the dark, and less so in the light - but we want to avoid causing all
necros to become burglars or vice versa. We also want to keep
semicaster burglars of the other realms viable. This is why I like the
new Darkness talent: once you get it, you can switch to it (like a
shape-change) and stay in it. So if you're a burlgar-necro, you'd
spend almost all your time with bonuses in the dark and penalties in
the light. If you're a buglar-sorceror, you'd switch back and forth -
dark for burglary and sneak attacking, light for full bring-it-on area
spell wrath.
Another way to handle this would be if raising darkness affected
necromancy. The skills might synergize like burglary and dodging or
whatever, and as darkness is raised, necro fails get lower in the dark
(from 100%) and higher in the light. Torch/lantern light counting less
than a lit room, and maybe depending on radius.
--
There's only four things you can be certain of: taxes, change, spam, and
death.
camlost
2007-08-07 17:19:59 UTC
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So, what do the various realms have to offer Ironman players?

Sorcery: Excellent source of Phase Door and Teleport, available in books
1 and 2. Detect Monsters, early Haste, early Identify. 5% heal spell,
light spell. No food spell.

Druidic: No teleport, good detection, shapeshifts to protect gear and
get boosts, blink, early food, light spell.

Priestly: Healing, blink, bless, remove curse, light, teleport, bless,
scan object, food spell. Low damage output. Great support spells.

Necromancy: Become bat (speed +5) in first book (especially good for a
martial artist!), break curse, bless, high-fail teleport, high-fail
blink, no 5% heal (but great late-game healing). Overall amazing, but
high fail teleport and need deep books for a lot of stuff.


Overall, I'd probably choose priestly magic for an ironman game. It's
got everything you need except damage, which you can provide for in
melee (and with boldness, this is actually plausible. You can save what
healing you need for status conditions, and save scrolls of teleport for
emergencies. I'd probably choose either dwarf or giant, for the hit
die, and expect my healing to carry me through instead of stealth.

Joshua
magnate
2007-08-08 11:50:21 UTC
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Post by camlost
So, what do the various realms have to offer Ironman players?
Sorcery: Excellent source of Phase Door and Teleport, available in books
1 and 2. Detect Monsters, early Haste, early Identify. 5% heal spell,
light spell. No food spell.
No food spell at all, even later on?? I didn't know that. Detect
monsters is great. Don't these guys also get Detect Enchantment?
That's really useful (much more than normal object detection). Do they
also get teleport other eventually? That's invaluable.
Post by camlost
Druidic: No teleport, good detection, shapeshifts to protect gear and
get boosts, blink, early food, light spell.
IMO the best set of support/buff spells, even without teleport self or
other. Though having said that they don't get the full detection until
later than mages I think, and they don't get Detect Enchantment, so it
must be the buffs I'm thinking of (and the great 1-mana healing
spell). ID is really really late though. Druids also get Snuff Small
Life, which is the best anti-breeder spell (until you get to the
annoying PASS_WALL breeders like mana flies).
Post by camlost
Priestly: Healing, blink, bless, remove curse, light, teleport, bless,
scan object, food spell. Low damage output. Great support spells.
Another excellent set, it's true. At the moment I'm hard-pressed to
say why I prefer druids over priests. Probably because my last druid
found the shapechange book early and never looked back. Priests also
get ID earlier than druids - though their detection spells are not as
good.
Post by camlost
Necromancy: Become bat (speed +5) in first book (especially good for a
martial artist!), break curse, bless, high-fail teleport, high-fail
blink, no 5% heal (but great late-game healing). Overall amazing, but
high fail teleport and need deep books for a lot of stuff.
Awesome offensive power, even better than sorcerors. The big problem
is that key utility and escape spells like food and blinking are late
and high-fail, and failing necro spells is very bad.
Post by camlost
Overall, I'd probably choose priestly magic for an ironman game. It's
got everything you need except damage, which you can provide for in
melee (and with boldness, this is actually plausible. You can save what
healing you need for status conditions, and save scrolls of teleport for
emergencies. I'd probably choose either dwarf or giant, for the hit
die, and expect my healing to carry me through instead of stealth.
That's certainly a good choice. I'd try an elven or hobbit druid, lots
of detection and stealth, and relying on perception for ID.

A Dark Elf necro or sorceror would be good if you can survive until
you get a decent amount of hitpoints, but survival is hard even though
they're stealthy. A giant sorceror might work too, with hp instead of
stealth.

The really great thing is that they're all playable - none of them are
so hopelessly skewed that ironmen are simply not viable. In fact, the
only ironmen I would guess are not viable are OoI warriors, but even
that might not be true.

CC
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