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moosferatu April 30, 2020 20:04

A few beginner questions
I've been dabbling for a few months now and have tried a couple warriors, a couple paladins, and I'm now on my first ranger. The deepest I've gotten is just past DL50 with my first warrior (it was a great character, but I neglected to TO the first ancient dragon I ran into...). I'm really enjoying playing my ranger now. It's fun sneaking around and being generally terrified of monsters that I wouldn't blink at with a warrior.

Here's my current character:

I think I've found some decent gear, but it's driving me nuts that I have yet to find any enchanted bows. That sling is the best I've been able to find, but at least I also found some decent ammo for it.

I just noticed when looking at the dump that my footwear has degraded to the point that I can just buy something better at the store (have yet to find anything nice for the feet, but hobbits go barefoot, right?). I also think I'm going to replace my Helm of Telepathy for my Cap of Wisdom. I was just trying it out because I hadn't had an ESP item before. It's nice, but doesn't seem as helpful as it would be if I couldn't spam Detect Life.

From what I've read here, it sounds like the predominant approach is to dive rather than clearing levels. At the same time, I also frequently see people talking about the necessity of getting stat potions and resistances before getting too deep.

I had been planning on attempting to scout all of the loot on every level in the 30s, as able (DL 30 had a vault filled with more items than I'd ever seen in one place before -- and more OD monsters...). If I don't manage to find items like a good bow, next spell book, or sufficient stat potions, is it worth continuing out of the 30s? I feel more nervous about this character because it is so much more squishy than the others I've played.

Another question I have is about devices. With the other characters I played, devices that did damage seemed more or less useless when compared to the damage I could do with my sword. So, I've continued to pretty much ignore them. Should I be giving them another chance? Well, rods and wands, staves are too heavy.

Final question (I thought I had more...), is there a penalty for using a ranged weapon when the monster is right next to you?

Pete Mack April 30, 2020 20:17

ESP is super important. It detects all dangerous monsters except 'E' uniques, and a few deep 'g', and 'v'.

fph April 30, 2020 20:35

The damage and failure rate of magic devices depends on your class and race, so give them another chance with another character (a mage, for instance). In my experience they are not too useful for rangers, because they already excel at dealing damage from a distance.

Infravision is one of the less useful stats; it is strange that you haven't found a better amulet yet. Same for that ring of protection.

You have detection (ESP) and stealth, which are good for diving, but your character still feels squishy to me. Opinions may vary, but for me that depth looks appropriate for now. Proceed slowly until you find a good bow, some stat potions or at least a good stat ring, or some more speed (that +1 on the Elven Cloak might help, but it's not enough).

moosferatu April 30, 2020 20:48

Thanks for the feedback!

Yeah, all of the amulets and rings I've found have been disappointing. The only other amulets I've found were for resistances that are already covered. I just found the ring of dex, and had been wearing 2 rings of protection up until that point. The ring of protection seemed better to me than the ring of str I have at home because my character is so squishy, but I could be wrong.

I just found that cloak of aman. I miss the speed from the elven cloak, but I liked the better protection and stealth and wanted to find out what else it does (don't spoil me, please :) ).

archolewa May 1, 2020 00:40


Originally Posted by Pete Mack (Post 145076)
ESP is super important. It detects all dangerous monsters except 'E' uniques, and a few deep 'g', and 'v'.

It also doesn't detect 'Q' (quthylugs, creatures that do nothing but summon other creatures).

ESP is in my mind, the single most important trait you can have for several reasons:

1. It's always on. So a tunneling or ghostly monster is much less likely to sneak up on you while you're running down a long corridor.

2. It's always on. Which means it doesn't take a turn to use (or more if you fail). This is *very* important when you're sneaking up on a nasty creature. Every turn you spend near a creature is another chance for that creature to wake up and one-shot you. Knowing that they've woken up before they can see you is thus very important. It's also important when you're in a pitched battle, and can't spare a turn to cast your detect spell. I once got one-shotted by the Phoenix while dealing with a dragon while playing a rogue. If I had ESP, I would have seen the Phoenix sneaking up on me and could have bailed out, or TO'd the dragon away before the Phoenix showed up.

Wisdom meanwhile is honestly less important at this point in the game for a hybrid character, in my opinion. Even a few more points of wisdom isn't going to make you're spells *that* much more reliable, or give you *that* much more SP.

Resistances and stat potions are really important if you don't have good detection and stealth (i.e. midgame paladins and warriors), because they have less control over what fights they take on.

However, with good detection and stealth (both of which you have in spades), diving is probably a good idea. Your detection and stealth mean that you will have much more control over which fights you fight. For example, if you don't have poison resistance, and you see a sleeping drolem through your ESP, you can walk the other way. Meanwhile, a warrior lacking in stealth might not see it until it's in LOS and woken up.

Furthermore, the deeper you are, the better loot you'll find (including more resistance granting gear and stat potion!). Good drops on floor 50 are often utterly inconsequential trash on floor 80. For example a Ring of Speed+9 on floor 50 is *wonderful*, a game changer and quite rare. On Floor 80+, Rings of Speed are much more common.

Furthermore, I believe monster drops is an average of the monster's difficulty and the level. So a pack of Trolls on floor 80 will drop very nice stuff, but they're not any more dangerous than they are on floor 50. It won't be as nice as the stuff dropped by a Great Wyrm, but it'll still be nice and much less dangerous.

Plus, if you're worried that everything is going to kill you on floor 50, well everything is going to kill you on floor 80 too, except you'll find the same stuff on floor 80 guarded by a pack of orcs that you'll find in a vault on floor 50 guarded by an Ancient Dragon and three uniques.

So yeah, in short your ranger seems like someone who would be better off diving. For warriors, paladins and priests I tend to take things a bit slower because their detection isn't as good, and their stealth isn't as good.

As far as rods and wands, for characters who aren't mages and rogues, I find the following useful (of those that you might have found by now):

1. Rod of Probing if you're new to the game and need to flesh out your monster memory.

2. Rods/Wands of Light for lighting up long dark corridors (less necessary for you with ESP, but ESP doesn't detect everything). Also good for wiping out early game orcs and trolls, though you're largely past that phase.

2. Wands of Slow and Stun. Slow can give you a few more precious rounds to pepper them with arrows before they get in melee, and stun inhibits their fighting and spellcasting. Slow effects pretty much everyone, and stun affects most until the end-game uniques.

3. Wands/Rods of Teleport Other. Note that once I find a few Rods of TO, I'll still keep some Wands around. Rods are great for when you need to TO a single creature, but their recharge time is too long for use in say clearing a vault.

4. Wands of Stone to Mud for rapidly burrowing tunnels in the dungeon (though I think Rangers have the equivalent spell). I can use these tunnels to create a longer hallway for peppering a heavy hitting melee creature before it gets in range, or to bypass a really nasty monster standing between me and some loot, or setting up a zigzagging anti-summoning corridor.

5. Rods of Treasure Location and Detection. Being able to know where the treasure is is very useful for determining whether a level is worth exploring or whether you're better off going deeper. Rods of Detection will also detect *every* monster. Not just living creatures, not just evil creatures, *every* monster. Very useful for noticing Quthylugs before they summon a horde of nasties, or time vortices before they drain your stats.

6. Staves of Mapping (though I think Rangers learn the equivalent spell). Knowing the layout of the dungeon without going anywhere is *incredibly* important. You can use it to decide which close monsters are actually threats, how best to attack something dangerous, where the stairs are in case you need to make a break for it, etc.

7. Staves of Teleportation to a point. These are risky because they can drop you in with a bunch of nasties, especially if you've been Teleport Othering a bunch of things. But a random teleport is better than being dead. They have a chance of failure (unlike the scrolls), but you can use them while blind. I find it's good to have one on hand until I get to about floor 60 or so. After that, I usually have enough other options (and enough detection) that randomly teleporting myself is rarely the best course of action.

The offensive wands aren't generally useful unless you're playing a mage or rogue, in my experience.

Your Resist Heat and Resist Cold potions are going to be very helpful. Temporary resistances stack with permanent resistances, and the big fire and cold breathers become a lot less scary with double resistance. I think double resistance cuts their damage by 3/4, but I could be wrong on that. I pretty much always buy those from the potion store when I see them and try to keep 5 of each with me at all times (also Resist Poison, though those aren't sold in stores).

By the time I hit midgame, I find that scrolls of blessing/holy chant and potions of heroism aren't worth the inventory space. Fear is really only a problem I think if you're a melee fighter (since it keeps you from attacking in melee, but you can still shoot, cast spells, and use devices).

Same with Protection from Evil. Protection from Evil only works on enemies with a lower level than yours. A monster's level is their native depth. So by the time you hit floor 50, everything dangerous is going to be a higher "level" than you, so Protection from Evil is useless.

I would get those unidentified potions identified sooner rather than later. Usually, I just drink them (except in the very early game where a Potion of Poison could spell doom for a squishy character). Unidentified consumables are basically consumables you don't have, so might as well find out what they do. Who knows, one of them could be a Potion of Augmentation!

There is not a penalty for using ranged weapons in point blank range. It's just that in most cases, melee is going to do more damage than ranged unless you have a really good launcher and a really low-damage melee weapon, or you're maybe playing a ranger (I haven't played a lot of rangers, so I don't know how much the shooting speed helps). Plus, ranged gives you the option of phase dooring away to keep your distance, though that can be risky if you're fighting someone near a bunch of other nasties.

moosferatu May 1, 2020 01:31

Wow, thanks for all of the great advice, archolewa!

You are correct that rangers get Stone to Mud and Mapping in their first spell book, and I've been making heavy use of them.

I stopped use IDing potions until I've IDed the potions that raise a stat by lowering a random stat. I don't like those. That said, I have identified all but the ones that raise str and dex, so I was debating going ahead and drinking them. Maybe I'll put my ring of str on first, I assume the sustains will prevent the potion from lowering that stat?

Good point about fear and protection from evil. I'll ditch those items.

That's good to know there isn't a range penalty. My sword only does ~38 damage/round whereas my shots of wounding do ~62 damage/round.

Thanks again for all of the tips!

Pete Mack May 1, 2020 01:46

Nothing blocks stat swap. Those potions are definitely worth using, especially when you get past base stat 18. At that point, I chug all my stored dump stat swap potions, then all my stored main stat swap.

moosferatu May 1, 2020 01:55

I just drank them. One of them was heal and the other was indeed brawn (lost a point of con :( ).

DavidMedley May 1, 2020 02:24

Great stuff! Just a few notes...


Originally Posted by archolewa (Post 145081)
monster drops is an average of the monster's difficulty and the level

Correct, unless the monster's level alone is higher, e.g. a depth 50 monster drops the same anywhere from dungeon level 1 to 50.

double resistance cuts their damage
The four basic elements and poison are cut by 89% (1/3*1/3 gets through). You can find this in projection.txt.

archolewa May 1, 2020 02:57


Originally Posted by moosferatu (Post 145084)
I just drank them. One of them was heal and the other was indeed brawn (lost a point of con :( ).

I honestly don't worry too much about it. One point isn't going to make a big difference either way (unless it loses you a blow while playing a melee character, that can be obnoxious). I'll bet that con lost only reduced your health by like 10 or so, maybe even less, and stat gain potions aren't exactly in short supply as you go deeper (unless the RNG decides to mess with you, I have had games where most of my gains for a particular stat came from Augmentation rather than Constitution). Regardless, I'd rather drink a few stat swaps than give a Potion of Augmentation to the store.

That being said, once I've identified the stat swap potions, I usually avoid drinking them, unless I'm playing a pure character (Warrior, Priest, Mage, etc), and I find their primary stat (Brawn for Warrior, Intellect for Mage, Contemplation for Priest). I don't even bother saving them, like Pete Mack does. Too much work. :P


Originally Posted by DavidMedley
The four basic elements and poison are cut by 89% (1/3*1/3 gets through). You can find this in projection.txt.

That explains why breathers consistently do way less damage to me than I expect when I'm double-resisted...

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