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Old November 18, 2015, 11:51   #1
gglibertine
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Beyond frustration

My gnome mage is level 25, but I'm stuck at level 20. I'm afraid to go any lower because I've got no decent armor, resists, or healing stuff. I grind through level after level and pop back to the shops when I'm sure they'll have been restocked -- and nothing. NOTHING! A handful of potions of Cure Serious if I'm lucky. I've got a shield of resist fire and studded leather armor of resist cold, boots of stealth, and Elvagil. Everything else is lightly enchanted if at all. And Elvagil with STR 14 is no great shakes.

What did I ever do to the RNG?

ETA: I decided to push through to level 21 anyway... Found the Phial and five potions of Cure Critical... and was immediately killed by a basilisk before I even had time to react. So there you go: impatience kills.

Last edited by gglibertine; November 18, 2015 at 12:35.
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Old November 18, 2015, 13:14   #2
krugar
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I have spells like that, that sometimes last as much as a month. It's the nature of randomization, until suddenly you just have such a stupid easy game.

What may help is not attaching yourself too much to a character before 1500'-2000'. Keep descending and leave grinding to an absolute minimum; just enough to keep the character alive. Just make sure you have a permanent means of detect invisible by 1000'.

This is important, because with too much grinding you start growing the wrong feeling that it is too much effort and takes too much time to start a character from scratch. This will only intensify your feeling of frustration with each death.

Currently playing a 5th generation warrior. He's on 1300' and still carrying a magical dagger (not even excellent) and a non excellent magical bow with non magical arrow. I'm not kidding, it's that bad. Only good thing that happened to him was a Cloak of Thorongil, which didn't come without a cost since it replaced a cloak of Protection with much better AC. 21 uniques killed and that's what it has to show for it. Pathetic. This character however has only about 4 or 5 hours of game play time. It won't bother me if he dies.
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Old November 18, 2015, 13:18   #3
Bogatyr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gglibertine View Post
My gnome mage is level 25, but I'm stuck at level 20. I'm afraid to go any lower because I've got no decent armor, resists, or healing stuff. I grind through level after level and pop back to the shops when I'm sure they'll have been restocked -- and nothing. NOTHING! A handful of potions of Cure Serious if I'm lucky. I've got a shield of resist fire and studded leather armor of resist cold, boots of stealth, and Elvagil. Everything else is lightly enchanted if at all. And Elvagil with STR 14 is no great shakes.

What did I ever do to the RNG?

ETA: I decided to push through to level 21 anyway... Found the Phial and five potions of Cure Critical... and was immediately killed by a basilisk before I even had time to react. So there you go: impatience kills.
My gnome mages usually hit dlevs in the high 20's or low 30's before needing to slow down. Did you select max INT at birth? (18/50). By clev 25 a mage-friendly-race mage can pretty much take out any single monster at those depths that doesn't resist all the elements without any trouble. Do you drink every single potion of Intellect you come across (dungeon or store), and avoid all others? A mage's first order of business is to gain levels fast, and push INT to 18/200 by all means possible. Weapons and armor are completely uninteresting except for their side effects (particularly INT boost). Resists are not all that important yet until you start diving towards dlev 40.

And a Basilisk on dlev 21 is 7 levels (33%!) out of depth. Did you not see it on the detect/reveal monster page? Mages must play with a healthy dose of paranoia. They're major strength is their perfect detection, *use it*!

I'll usually dive quite happily to stat gain at a reasonable pace once I have enough SP to take out any single non-unique monster, and hang out there until INT is maxed (including rings of INT).
I've pretty much completely given up melee fighting with all my fragile race mages. I don't see a lot of point to the poor INT races playing mage unless you're looking for a challenge and a sort of a "hybrid" character.

Corridors full of orcs are great ways to gain EXP fast. wands of sleep monster and slow monster really help conserve SP. Mages, particularly gnome mages, are beasts with devices since they get a damage multiplier that increases with magic device skill (which goes up with INT and clev, *another* reason to max INT as fast as possible).

I also always keep the best missile launcher I've encountered with at least one stack of quiver ammo or it on me at all times, for those times when disaster strikes and SP is too low to handle your encounter, and you can't make it oto the stairs in time.

Another point: I always carry a healthy stack of ?Phase Door until I have 0% fail on it.

Don't give up on gnome mage, it is one of the most enjoyable combinations in the game. Focus on stealth and detect the heck out of every level, and choose your encounters wisely, and you'll be master of the dungeon in no time!

One more tip: rings of escaping are awesome, since wearing them doesn't affect magic missile fail rates (and others as you gain levels), and being able to run away from an orc pack is very useful!

Last edited by Bogatyr; November 18, 2015 at 13:27.
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Old November 18, 2015, 15:13   #4
gglibertine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogatyr View Post
My gnome mages usually hit dlevs in the high 20's or low 30's before needing to slow down. Did you select max INT at birth? (18/50).
That had honestly never occurred to me. I stupidly assumed the game knew what was best for me. HA!

Quote:
By clev 25 a mage-friendly-race mage can pretty much take out any single monster at those depths that doesn't resist all the elements without any trouble.
Oh, I had no trouble taking things out. I just had so little AC and so few HP that I couldn't survive getting hit myself.

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Do you drink every single potion of Intellect you come across (dungeon or store), and avoid all others?
I never found any potions of that nature at all. No gain stat, no stat swap, no nothing.

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And a Basilisk on dlev 21 is 7 levels (33%!) out of depth. Did you not see it on the detect/reveal monster page?
A hobbit magic-user of some sort summoned the damned thing. I saw it appear and then -- More -- -- More -- I was dead.

Excellent advice, anyway. I just died again so I'm trying the maxed INT now. We'll see if that does me any good!
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Old November 18, 2015, 17:32   #5
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Originally Posted by gglibertine View Post
That had honestly never occurred to me. I stupidly assumed the game knew what was best for me. HA!
My approach is simple: max INT, then put all the rest into strength.


Quote:
Oh, I had no trouble taking things out. I just had so little AC and so few HP that I couldn't survive getting hit myself.
Here's how buff race/classes properly fight: #@h
Here's how mages should fight: #@>........................h
Armor / melee weapon is irrelevant.

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I never found any potions of that nature at all. No gain stat, no stat swap, no nothing.
You need to get to the levels where the lesser stat potions start showing up at the very least before you start grinding. low to mid 20's, sounds like you weren't there yet. Once you're there you'll start seeing them in the black market, so after each level I recall to check the BM for potions of Intellect, they only cost 3K. Drink 'em all, to heck what it does to your other stats. More SP and lower failure rate = longer life.

Quote:
A hobbit magic-user of some sort summoned the damned thing. I saw it appear and then -- More -- -- More -- I was dead.
That's a bit of bad luck. I think Timo may appreciate this as a random event satisfying his "occasional unfair death" game wish.
Quote:
Excellent advice, anyway. I just died again so I'm trying the maxed INT now. We'll see if that does me any good!
Good luck! Gnome mages FTW! I have a clev 43 one heading for dlev 98 right now, who inexplicably found an early Kelek's (clev 33?) and Mordinkanen's (and Raal's on schedule) but has not yet found Scarabtarices, so I'm judiciously avoiding element breathers.
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Old November 19, 2015, 05:29   #6
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+1 what Bogatyr said

- Max INT at birth helps alot with damage potential, everything else has minor effect on gnome mage
- Do not melee ever.
- Run away from everything which could kill you in one hit/breath

I found myself needed to slow down at DL 50 with gnome mage. At that point pretty much everything on the level can kill me and game becomes unbearable (for me - i am novice)

Here are the things which helped me at early mage levels:
- Ring of escaping. That gives +4 speed, and take away little from you spell damage. Very good tradeoff for mages. You'll stuck with magic missiles, though
- Ring of Mouse. That gives lot of stealth and take away melee damage, which you don't need as a mage. Very good tradeoff.
These two rings usually easy to find early.
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Old November 19, 2015, 11:05   #7
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Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
+1 what Bogatyr said

- Max INT at birth helps alot with damage potential, everything else has minor effect on gnome mage
- Do not melee ever.
- Run away from everything which could kill you in one hit/breath

I found myself needed to slow down at DL 50 with gnome mage. At that point pretty much everything on the level can kill me and game becomes unbearable (for me - i am novice)

Here are the things which helped me at early mage levels:
- Ring of escaping. That gives +4 speed, and take away little from you spell damage. Very good tradeoff for mages. You'll stuck with magic missiles, though
- Ring of Mouse. That gives lot of stealth and take away melee damage, which you don't need as a mage. Very good tradeoff.
These two rings usually easy to find early.
My mid to late game approach: after maxing INT, you want to build CON, but not at the expense of diving. Assuming you have elemental resists and Scaratbarices (or potions), you can take on elemental Ancient dragons for which you have double resist without much trouble. Great exp and item drops.

Based on your taste and game play, after maxing INT you could dive straightaway to dlev 98/99 (who's afraid of Sauron if you have 0% TO?). Although I find the vaults in the middle dlevs (40-60) have easier monsters generally, and still very good treasures, particular the major vaults. Those are good placed to get the dungeon spell books.

The next major task after maxing INT (at least reaching 18/200) is to acquire the dungeon spell books, which usually appear in vaults around stat gain. With your maxed INT you should now have 0% fail teleport other. Use this together with Mouse rings or other stealth items to clear out vaults. Use potions of Englightenment to focus only on vaults with dungeon spell books. Once you get Mordinkanen's and Kelek's, winning is just a matter of technique . My preferred approach is getting a stack of Staves of the Magi and Chaos Strike'ing and Rift'ing (mixed with Rend Soul for those which are susceptible, which surprisingly includes vortices ) uniques to death in hockey stick corridors. You can even coax wall passers and wall eaters into hockey sticks, easily if they're asleep to start with, but it can still be done if they're alert and on your tail if you get into position properly.

At some point, you have to judge, a lot of the monsters can one-shot you, that's when you want to switch from stealth to con boost: wear two rings of CON if you must, to get out of one-shot range. You can always hockey-stick monsters which can kill you in one shot. Rift 'em if they get too close, and they'll keep coming back for more . TO if they make it all the way to you.

Clone Farming druj's and Greater Quylthulgs for EXP is easy and fun a few times (but you must be very careful: you MUST NOT step into LoS of multiple drujs = death), quick way to gain a few more levels for more CON and the more advanced spells which you'll need to kill uniques who resist all the base elements. Clone farming elemental great wyrms for which you hold immunity is another good way. No need to hockey stick them, just fire & phase in a large room.

At some point Timo recommended using the spells which stun, and I poo-poo'd this advice from earlier mediocre results, but I recant my earlier position and wholeheartedly endorse them. I've had good luck recently spamming them at monsters I really didn't want getting a move on me and keeping them immobile while I wear them down. Some monster types stun and stay stunned easier than others.

Last edited by Bogatyr; November 19, 2015 at 11:14.
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Old November 19, 2015, 11:52   #8
gglibertine
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More excellent advice -- thanks. I've been playing Angband from the beginning, but for years I just found it much too frustrating to play mages or priests at all. Eventually I settled on rogues as the optimal class for me, and that finally enabled me to get past DL50. I think I even made it to DL70 once. But traditionally I seem to die on DL40 about 80% of the time.

So here's a question for everyone: what do *you* buy for a mage in the shops before you enter the dungeon? I know what to buy for fighting types, but I've tried various combinations of stuff and I'm still not reliably making it as far as DL10.

Right now I've settled on buying a copy of Conjurings & Tricks (since I know I'll be able to learn those spells before I come back upstairs anyway), a shovel for gathering money, and blowing the rest on Cure Light Wounds. I don't even bother with armor since I usually find as much as I can reasonably wear on the early levels anyway.
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Old November 19, 2015, 12:17   #9
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Bogatyr knows better than me, but I buy shovel, torch, cloak, cure light wounds and rest to phase doors.
First recall to town for me would be around dl10, I would be full of unknown scrolls and potions, and about that time I would also be ready/need to buy second magic book.
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Old November 19, 2015, 13:28   #10
gglibertine
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Bogatyr knows better than me, but I buy shovel, torch, cloak, cure light wounds and rest to phase doors.
First recall to town for me would be around dl10, I would be full of unknown scrolls and potions, and about that time I would also be ready/need to buy second magic book.
I'm still learning to be cautious enough to get away with diving that fast. I have a bad habit of forgetting to detect monsters. I also clear entire levels compulsively -- I have to constantly remind myself to move on unless the level feeling indicates there's something worth finding that I haven't already found. It's an interesting challenge to play against type, but I may just not be cut out for it.

My husband would be a great gnome mage. He likes to think things through thoroughly before he makes a move. He wants to know EVERY possible variable. It drives me crazy, but he's a great moderating influence for me.
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