[Let's Play] NetHack 3.6.1


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And here we are, Plane of Erf. Apparently Tharg was able to successfully steel his resolve. Rodney awaits us to be killed one last time.

Y'know, for being as old and as supremely wizardly and sorcerous and magical and so forth as he is supposed to be, you'd think he woulda realized the importance of reflection and magical resistance. Some "expert".

One of these days, when I have fully mastered the game and have nothing better to do, I wanna fully map out the Plane of Erf, just to see what the structure is like. Though I imagine someone else already did so decades ago.

Well it's damned hard to see, but my completionist tendencies compel me to post this screenshot anyways. Tharg read a scroll of gold detection while confused, and if you do that, magical portals show up (along with any traps that might be in the area). If you squint, you can see a slightly blue blob in amid the inky blackness. That's our portal.

Plane of Air. This was the plane that caused me the most trouble the last time I played. Let's see if I can make it to the other side of the map before I get killed.

Vortices and elementals are not the same. Being engulfed by an air elemental can knock off quite a few HP. Being engulfed by a steam vortex is like a relaxing sauna. You can spend an indefinite amount of time inside one of these. During my archaeologist run, I was on the verge of a failed ascension run before landing in one of these. Healed up, wrote out some scrolls, had a few margaritas, and came out as good as new.

Tharg isn't in quite as bad a shape as Jones the Archaeologist was, but he'll take five here.

I may have spoken too soon. The vortices will eventually spit you out, so you can't hang out in one for more than a handful of turns. And after that you're at the mercy of the air elementals.

Tharg can't take a step without getting engulfed by air elementals. Can't get away, can't move, surrounded by dragons and air elementals. Kinda obnoxious. Even worse, the air elementals on the Plane of Air are much tougher than the ones you find in the dungeon, so they're much more of a threat. Time to bust out the potions of full healing. Not sure what my options are here.

Note also that Tharg is now deaf. If you're inside a cloud, there's a chance of thunder and lightning, which will blind you and deafen you and may paralyze you for a few turns while the air elementals have their way with you (which is just as exciting as it sounds). In v3.4.3, the clouds were stationary and could thus be avoided. In v3.6.x, the clouds move.

Tharg has thinned out the crowd somewhat. Things got a little hectic when Rodney showed up again. I didn't think he could appear randomly once you were in the elemental planes. Guess I was wrong.

Hated to do it, but I busted out the Wand of Def and killed some of the elementals along with Rodney. Now let's see if we can find that damned portal.


Burned through almost all of my potions of full healing. Started with seven. Used six in the Plane of Air. Only got one left. Plane of Air is teh sux.

But that is behind us now. Time to play tag with the fire elementals.

This is an obnoxious level for a completely different reason: So much spam. Every step, some critter or other is walking into a trap that doesn't affect them, but you get all the messages anyways. Though I did see a few critters get killed by a stinking cloud, so that was cool.

The other problem with this level is that there are so many traps on the level that it's hard to pick out where your portal is. Usually you have to wait until some fire elemental wanders over it by mistake (which teleports that fire elemental to the Plane of Water, oops).
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With all these clouds of toxic smoke filling the air (Tharg just saw a scorpion cough), I figure it's time to bust out the amulet of magical breathing.

Note also that I am on fire. It's like a Rammstein concert around here.

Ah, and there's the portal, helpfully discovered for us by the fire vortex.

Boy, I bet he was surprised.

Gonna take me half an hour to get over there just from having to stop EVERY STEP and clear away the spam messages. I recall KoboldLord mentioning that there was a way to turn them off, but I can't be arsed to look right now. I'll just tough it out and then look for solutions on the next run.

Dear Tileset Creators:

When creating a tileset for a game which features an air bubble surrounded by water, perhaps make the air tiles a slightly different color from the water tiles?

Yours sincerely,
Tharg the Cavegnome

A few minutes of quality time with GIMP and we're good to go.

I like to think that that fire vortex is going to find that he has a lot more in common with these water creatures than he thought, and he's going immigrate and be very successful as a hot springs attendant or something.

Okay, with the amulet of magical breathing and an oilskin cloak, Tharg should have nothing to fear from the critters on this Plane. And he's got all of his bags of holding in an oilskin sack so his belongings should be protected. Now time to swim and try to find the portal.

If Tharg didn't have the amulet of magical breathing, he would be restricted to staying within the bubble, and the bubble moves around of it's own accord through random brownian motion with no way to direct it.

Unfortunately, the bubble containing the portal to the Astral Plane also moves randomly around the plane, and it carries the portal with it. And I'm out of scrolls of gold detection, so I have no clue where it might be.

Ah-hah! Now to swim over and...

Next go around I need to find some way to get multiple lines of text on the screen at once so I don't need to make three screenshots to show three lines of text.

Anyhow, we haz arrived, and Tharg has a new pet for his troubles.

If you enter the Astral Plane with conflict active, you don't get a pet. You get four hostile angels who all try to kill you. If you get the pet angel first and then activate conflict, the angel goes *poof* and is immediately replaced by the four hostile angels.
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A little crowded around here. The priests on the level keep summoning swarms of insects. The insects are no threat whatsoever to Tharg. Tharg can one-shot almost all of them. However, they do increase the battlespam significantly and make it much more annoying to move around.

Making a little progress. It's taken me like half an hour real time just to make it to the door of the first altar, thanks to the never-ending battlespam. I was getting 4-7 lines of battlespam per turn, and I would have to hit "enter" on each line (--more--) before I could take my turn. Then I'd make a single attack, and get 4-7 more lines of battlespam.

My pet angel has already died, so I think it's time to #invoke the Sceptre of Might's conflict ability to help thin out this crowd.

This is an area where I, the player, reveal my inexperience. I don't normally use conflict because it is of limited use in areas of low population density (i.e. most dungeon levels), and then I forget I have it active when I run into a shop or a temple or something. So I am not in the habit of keeping it active. Especially since monsters killed by other monsters don't generate XP for Tharg.

But in areas of high population density -- especially in areas where Tharg doesn't care about XP because he's about to turn into a demigod -- it is VERY useful. It would've been VERY useful on the Elemental Planes as well. But I didn't think about it until right about now.

Famine to the north of me
Pestilence to the south
Here I am
Stuck in the middle with you

This is pretty much the textbook definition of POOR TACTICAL POSITIONING.

Amusingly, right after this screenshot, Famine got fragged by one of the priests thanks to conflict being active. And I was able to take down Pestilence before he infected me.

This is the second character I've ascended. In both ascensions, I managed to pick the correct altar on the first try. No need to fight my way back out through the crowd over to another altar. Just "Let's go here first, oh hey, it's the right altar, hello Demigod status!"

I am bringing this up now because I don't expect my luck to continue in this respect, so I won't have a chance to mention it again.

Took me a minute to figure out how to offer the amulet to Ishtar. PROTIP: Dropping it on the altar is unnecessary. Just #offer it out of your inventory.

One final look at Tharg's attributes:

Not much has changed from the last update, but there are a few additional pieces of info. Plus, it is traditional to post the attributes when you ascend.

...and a bunch of other gemstones not worth listing individually.

No conducts of note. Tharg did not polymorph any objects, but only because he couldn't find a wand of polymorph. I was hoarding unicorn horns and rings for future polypiling, but the RNG did not see fit to provide me the means for it. Used 12 wishes. That's pretty amazing.

4007 monsters killed. Killed Rodney 8 times. Soldiers extinct. I killed 119, which means that I missed one and he's still alive and wandering around in the dungeon wondering where everybody went. Other impressive numbers: 82 killer bees (Summon Insects from the various priests there towards the end probably boosted this number significantly), 76 bugbears (thanks to the Caveman Quest being filled with the damned things), and 60+ each of every variety of Orc.

Also in the kill list: "A cavewoman". I have no idea when or where I killed a cavewoman. The Quest seems like it would be the only place, but I definitely think I would've noticed it if I'd killed one of the friendly NPCs.

134,755 turns to ascension. I am not an efficient NetHacker by any stretch. That's 1.86x as many turns as it took me to ascend the Archaeologist.

Speaking of which, the leaderboard:

           Name                     Score                 Turns
1. Tharg the Cavegnome            4,657,950              134,755
2. Jones the Archaeologist        4,014,544               72,276
Tharg averaged 34.6 points per turn, while Jones averaged 55.5 points per turn. So clearly Jones was the more efficient ascender.

WEW LAD. That's 600 screenshots. I hope I have managed to make it reasonably entertaining and enjoyable to read. I think the zoomed-in screenshots help, because sometimes it's hard to understand where the action is when the screenshot consists of the entire dungeon level.

Still feeling the NetHack urge. Probably good to go for another month before I completely lose interest as though someone had flipped a switch in my brain. So you can expect more NetHack posts from me in this thread. I was going to try the chaotic elven priest next, because I have yet to play a chaotic character, and because KoboldLord says priests are hard, and because "chaotic elven priest" always seems to be a crowd favorite whenever people say "What should I play next?" No clue why it's such a popular suggestion, but it got brought up a lot in KoboldLord's thread and in Hellzon's thread. So I am intrigued.

ON THE OTHER HAND: Looking at it, it looks like it would play similarly to Tharg. It would be another $WEAPON-and-board class, and without even a good weapon. So it would take EVEN LONGER to kill stuff than Tharg did. And Tharg took forever.

Still, I remain intrigued.

The other option is a chaotic orc wizard. "Wizard" because I have yet to play a cast-heavy class, and "orc" because I like oddball combos.

Feel free to chip in your thoughts here, or even to suggest something entirely.
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Also in the kill list: "A cavewoman". I have no idea when or where I killed a cavewoman. The Quest seems like it would be the only place, but I definitely think I would've noticed it if I'd killed one of the friendly NPCs.
Probably on the Astral plane, it has playercharacter-type monsters in it.


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ON THE OTHER HAND: Looking at it, it looks like it would play similarly to Tharg. It would be another $WEAPON-and-board class, and without even a good weapon. So it would take EVEN LONGER to kill stuff than Tharg did. And Tharg took forever.
Nethack's priest doesn't really play like a D&D cleric. They're more a caster class with a bit more physical fighting ability than a physical fighter class with spellcasting.


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Congrats on the ascension!

As far as what comes next, knights are kind of sword and board, but the lance and the mount and a few other things give them some really neat differences. Wizards, and any other casting heavy class would also make for a strong change. (Knights do get to be actually decent casters, but that's a very late game thing.)
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Congratulations! I'm sure you'll be on your way to winning every starting role shortly.

If you want something distinct, you don't really have that many choices. Caveman is distinct mostly in that it is just kind of bad, and almost every other starting role will trend towards the same sort of melee brute play by the time you have reached the Castle. You could do rogue or ranger for the early-game ranged focus, or the healer or tourist for scintillating pet-management action to carry you through the early game, or you could do a wizard which is legitimately different from the other starting roles through most of the game.


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Even with a blessed artifact weapon they still took an annoyingly long time to kill.
The best way to tackle them is with a tourist who dual wields blessed +7 Grayswandir and a normal blessed +7 silver saber. And has somewhere around +10 points of increase damage. They get down reaally fast. (Tourist is the only class that can expect to get to those levels of increase damage as other classes run out of both blessed charging and rings of increase damage long before reaching that. If rings of increase damage rings are edible, you can get even higher than that. My personal record is +19).
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