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Old April 27, 2012, 16:23   #3
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, US
Posts: 3,002
fizzix is on a distinguished road
My impromptu guide for playing priest.


These are the most important spells for a priest:
1) Portal
2) Orb of Draining
3) Detect Evil
4) Bless
5) Prot. from Evil
6) Heal
7) Find traps/stairs/doors
8) Sense Surroundings
9) Spells in dungeon books

Everything else is cake. Unfortunately for priests, you don't get to choose spells, you just get to choose books and you get a random available spell from that book. You need to plan a bit to make sure that you have enough spells that can get Orb of Draining from the third book as soon as its available, and portal from the second. If you get Detect Evil, Bless and Find stairs from the first book don't bother getting any more. Save them up so you can get portal. Then stop getting from the second book until you get Orb and Prot from evil from the third.


The easiest race is dwarf by far. If you are used to playing warriors, you can go for half-troll priest and you'll have slightly better combat. But nothing beats a dwarf priest. They're one of the easiest classes in the game.

Early game:

Priests have a reasonably hard early game, but not as hard as a mage. Your Dex will suck, so it's actually often a good move to wield a heavy blunt weapon like a mace or a maul. Pointy penalty is important in the early game, heavy sharp weapons will have some significant to-hit penalties, and you're going to be missing a lot anyway. Starting gear is PB1, a heavy weapon, some phase, food and torches and !cure potions. Throwing sucks but if you're playing 3.3 or earlier, !oil are probably worth it anyway.

You need to survive until you can get Orb, then you can start killing things. If you're used to diving through the first 15 levels with a mixed class or warrior character, you might need to go a bit slower. Once you get Orb, you become a lot more powerful, but you also have a low SP pool so you need to pay attention to that.

Mid game:

Priests have some problems in the midgame. 1) they can't detect non-evil creatures, and may not survive encounters with some (drolems, some hounds). 2) They need ?phase for short range tactical teleportation, since they don't have that in any town books. 3) They're miserable at archery and pretty bad at melee. So they really aren't going to be doing much damage besides with orb or casting prot. from evil and wading through groups of orcs without getting scratched. Luckily Orb is an awesome spell and makes up for all their other weaknesses. 4) They suck at devices, but don't really get penalized too badly for the pitiful Int. It just makes devices less of a damage option.

The detection problems go away with PB6 or a rod of detection, and the ?phase (and TO) problem goes away with PB5. Once you get these you are getting close to the endgame.

Mid game gear consists of =FA (or other source), "Wisdom, =resist poison (after dlevel 40), reasonably high AC, stack of ?phase, stack of !CCW, _teleport or pconf if you're lucky, ?Teleport Level for when you recall into a room of gravity hounds, PB1-4.

End game:

Priests have the easiest endgame. They get the spell of clairvoyance which allows them to see immediately what's on any level (it's fuzzy in 3.4, but still very useful to find vaults/pits). Dispel evil also makes mobs of trolls and orcs painless to eliminate.

0% fail on heal spells and the ease of finding !restore mana means that they can just sit in melee and slowly bash most monsters to death. Summoners are a bit of a pain because combat takes so long that monsters are bound to summon a bit. It'll even be an issue with the changed summoning rules in 3.4. But banish evil in PB9 helps a lot here, and if you're worried about the level being overpopulated, the old trick of TO monsters you want to kill and destruct area is still a useful strategy.

You can even use Orb as a damage spell in the endgame. I just killed gothmog with it. Non evil characters are somewhat more difficult, so there's no point in taking on the angels (ainu) or the tarrasque.
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