while true; do printf $RANDOM; done # Poor man's Matrix screensaver...

Three more Random Games of Nethack

Date/Time Permalink: 06/29/06 07:53:17 am
Category: Linux Gaming

Our intrepid reporter attempts three more games of Nethack, accepting whatever random character the game picks and playing the character thus dealt...

Game #3:
A neutral female Gnomish Healer. OK, I tried one once, I think. I start with spellbooks of healing + stone-to-flesh, potions of healing, wand of sleep, 6 apples and a stethoscope. I have a little dog.

Level 1: Find two food rations right off. Hey, with protection from starvation and healing for everything else, what can possibly go wrong? Find splint mail, but it's too heavy for my frail character to lift, let alone wear, so I leave it. Find a spellbook, which crumbles to dust as I read it and makes me feel threatened. Find a potion and test it. It's a potion of confusion, so I wait on that space until it passes rather than risk killing my dog.

Level 2: Wade through a pack of jackals, which bring me down to 3 hit points and I use one potion of extra healing. Healers are lousy fighters - my scalpel misses most of the time and takes too many strikes to finish a critter off. Lucky my dog's so valiant - I let him take the lead where I can. At last, the best thing that can happen to a healer (who always starts out with tons of gold!): a general store! I walk off with a shiny new dagger, scrolls of enchant weapon and identify, potions of speed and monster detection, a brass lantern, and a banana. One of my food rations is rotten, but the next is good. Normally I let my pet filch off the store, which is a nuisance at best.

Level 3: What the heck, let's try the mines. The gnomes are the same race as I, so the going is less hostile. I just notice that my class ranking is "rhizotomist", which sends me to the dictionary. Rhizotomy is "the operation of cutting the anterior or posterior spinal nerve roots" as my Webster's Collegiate has it. How I could have gotten this far in life without knowing that handy word, I'll never cease to marvel. My trusty dog and I rhizotomise our way through a few more monster packs. My brass lantern is a big plus in the dark mines.

Level 4: Sticking with the mines, we meet a hobbit whom neither of us can seem to hit! My dog finally gets in the killing blow and I pilfer the hobbit's goods - whatever armor it was wearing, I want it! I find *two* armor items, however, a hooded cloak and an Elven Mithril coat. I try the drop-it-and-see-if-your-pet-likes-it trick. The dog joyously carries the hooded cloak around, but seems to not care for the Mithril coat, though he will still step on it without protest when dragged over it with a leash. After trying on each, I settle on the Mithril. I'm nearing my carrying capacity - I have to drop things. I try wearing a spherical amulet for awhile.

Level 5: My dog is ripping through monsters. He's advanced to something that looks like a Great Dane now. I think the amulet is also helping with my weapon skills, as I'm rhizotomising much faster, now. I advance to Empiric. At the same time, my dog hits a level teleporter trap and vanishes and my lantern burns out. With any other character, I'd abandon the pet, but this dog is my main asset here, so I have no choice but to go search. I trod back up a level and blunder around, finding no dog but finding a homonculus, who chases and corners me. I zap it with the sleep wand, but it resists. I kill it anyway and a few other monsters. Go all over the level but still no dog. Try back downstairs and again.

Level 6: Great place to use my potion of monster detection while I carry on the Great Dog Search. If I don't find him here in the Mine town, I'll have to go on without him. Money being no object for a healer, I plow through the stores. I'm good on lamps again, and food won't be an issue. Discover a horn in the general store and toot it, but the dog doesn't answer it. Buy a boomerang - maybe a ranged weapon will help since I'm just not cut out for heavy melee. I round a corner and run right into a wood nymph, who steals my spherical amulet. In the food shop I buy and eat an egg, which is bad and makes me hallucinate at the exact moment a rothe enters and attacks. I survive by pure luck. A paper golem attacks and when I kill it, the shop keeper wants to charge me for the blank scrolls it drops! Next I get ambushed by the wood nymph again. This time the boomerang misses, the sleep wand does nothing, and she can't be leashed. She zaps herself with something and falls through a hole in the floor. Since I'm cornered, I have no chance but to follow her, and that's how we get to...

Level 7: The wood nymph zaps herself again with the wand of digging and does her rabbit-hole trick again. After some brief exploration, I find I am stuck falling down the hole yet again...

Level 8: I throw away the leash since the dog is a lost cause by now. Narrow corridors lead me to a confrontation with a wood spider - and I lost my boomerang two levels ago! I fight like hell and heal every other turn, but it looks grim. I run out of healing potions and fail to cast healing spell properly once too often. I'm dead. The dagger was rusty. Otherwise, nothing interesting in the post-mortem item ID, as all the interesting stuff got lost to the nymph. I never found the damn dog!

Game #4: A lawful male human Samurai. I generate with nothing but weapons and the armor on my back, plus dog.

Level 1: My first find is a spellbook which I try to read. That was stupid: "A cloud of darkness falls upon you." I wait to recover from blindness. That sucks about 400 turns right from the beginning of the game. A few rooms later a trap door opens under me, and I am tired of worrying about pets, so that scratches the dog. A Samurai should be able to look out for himself, anyway. I have weapons and strength. What can possibly go wrong?

Level 2: Uneventful, except for the fact that I have a gift for stumbling on every trap, including being hit by a falling boulder! I decide against the mines this time.

Level 3: I find a chest and loot it to acquire a hexagonal amulet. That's right, I forgot that pets are useful for IDing cursed items. Oh well. I try the amulet on. It gives me a sex change and crumbles to dust. I'm glad the dog's not here to see this. My first meal is some found gunyoki, which is bad and makes me blind again. This time it passes within 20 turns. I discover a scroll shop. With not much money and no pet to shoplift with, I earmark it for later pursuit. But first, I'm going to use the cheapest-item trick to find an identify scroll. It works, for 30 Zs I get an identify and discover that my spellbook is a book of cancellation. I sell it in disgust.

Level 4: Since combat's getting difficult, I switch weapons from my katana to my wakizashi, shooting ya from my quiver. In a culmination of the most jinxed character I've played in a while, my very next step meets a fierce small dog, who has no intention of keeping a distance while I shoot ya at it. The little dog kills me. Yes, I abandoned a dog three levels ago and now get killed by one. Hey, I don't have much luck with Samurai anyway.

Game #5: A neutral female gnomish Ranger. Dagger, crossbow, ammo, cloak of displacement, and cram rations... rangers are born combat-ready! This time I vow to again keep the dog close by. I switch weapons to the crossbow. I'm going to play this one stealthy and smart.

Level 1: Found four candles, killed some beasties. Rangers are adept at searching, so finding traps before hitting them and easily finding all hidden passages is a plus.

Level 2: Found a wand. Zapping the wall and a sewer rat produces no visible change. Of all things, I follow the sound of ringing cash registers to a wand shop. I test the price of the wand. I'm offered 100 Z for it. I keep it. I let the dog shoplift the tiny store and carry wands outside to me. I score wands of fire, light, two wands of digging, and a wand of teleportation, all free! Armed like this, what could possibly go wrong? I still have two wands that I can't tell what they do.

Level 3: Found a "charm monster" spellbook! I've always wanted to try one of these. As I understand it, you can make any monster your pet with it! Of course, not being handy with magic and being a low level, the failure rate is 100% with it right now. I give the mines a pass.

Level 4: "Walk softly and carry a blessed crossbow plus a fistful of bad mofo wands for backup." continues to be a winning strategy. I find all kinds of neat stuff, but this time I ID it or it doesn't get used. No more wanton experimentation. The exception is the glass orb, so it "zaps my mind" and I begin hallucinating. Luckily, it wears off quickly. Subsequent attempts tell me that the glass orb is simply too much for my little mind to comprehend. No kidding.

Level 5: Discover a lawful altar while I am neutral. What happens if you sacrifice in this situation? Since I killed a lichen corpse right on the altar, the experiment is begging to be tried. The lawful god gains power over the neutral god, otherwise nothing happens. My alignment's still neutral.

Level 6: Find the Oracle room again. I do very little here. Not taking chances. Then, my dog steps on a level teleport trap and vanishes. This has never happened to me before in Nethack, and now it happens twice in one day! At least I didn't depend on this one for fighting, but it was still useful for other things. I even try teleporting after it, but the trap shuts off. All this time without an identify scroll is bumming me, so I go back up to the previous level to drop items one at a time on that altar to determine if they are at least cursed. None of the scrolls are, so I try reading them. One's a fire scroll that burns my cloak, the next makes my cloak turn to dust, and the last wipes my memory. That still leaves seven potions, two wands, and a ring that do I-have-no-idea-what. I go back to level 6. I can't find the stairs down from 6. I use up one wand of digging zapping random tunnels in hopes of finding something. I get interrupted in this activity when a horde of killer bees ambush me in a tunnel. I can fire all the crossbow bolts I want; they'll still come
up and sting me. Their stings are poisonous, and amidst all my treasure, I have nothing that heals or cures. I zap the fire wand to clear the tunnel, frying several bees, but die anyway.

That's ONE way to get your goods ID'd! Noteworthy is that one of my potions was a healing one, but I would have been dead anyway before I found it through trial-and-error. The two unknown wands were cancellation and make invisible. The ring was protection from shapechangers, and the crystal ball was cursed.

Nethack information:
The Nethack Index, and this list of resources for Nethack is so exhaustive, I don't need to post a second link; it's all right there.

The previous Nethack post...

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