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Old September 20, 2008, 17:25   #1
Lachre
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Not Sure What I'm Doing Wrong...

I've been playing Angband for about ten months and after going through 50 or more characters, I think I've finally stopped making the stupid mistakes. My patience has improved greatly and I'm not doing things like running out of food while having no Recall scrolls at depths of 500+ feet.

My preferred characters are Gnome Mage and Dwarf Warrior. I greatly prefer the mage, though and finally learned that being Slow (-3) is certain death for a mage in most situations beyond 1-on-1 or 1-on-2 combat.

My biggest problem now, though, is that I can't seem to get a character to survive beyond being level 19 or going deeper than 1000'. In fact, my average is probably level 10 or so at 500'. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, so I'll list the things I think I'm doing right, and maybe that will narrow it down a little so someone can spot the mistakes.

With stats: Str - at least 6, usually 8, sometimes 10. Int - I put as many points as I can into this first (I think it ends up at 18/150). Dex - I raise this to 15 if I can. After that, I think there are usually only a few points left and those go into Con (though I've also experimented with putting them in Cha instead. The mage's spell resistance seems decent enough that I don't increase Wis.

Preparation - light and food aren't problems. I always carry at least 2 Recall Scrolls, one for the trip up and one for the return. Usually I carry at least 4 since the shop doesn't always have Recall scrolls available. Once they start becoming available, I carry a wand or two in case I run out of mana.

Mana and Spells - lately, I've been training in depths of 50' to 400' until I have Identify and started learning spells from the 4th book. This seems to make sure that I have enough mana to deal with monster pits. I use detect traps and detect monsters anytime I enter a new 'screen' of the dungeon. If my mana or hp start getting low, I make sure I have enough mana to cast Teleport. If things look like they might get really ugly, I make sure I have enough mana to cast Teleport twice (this comes up most often when I'm struggling against uniques, especially Wormtongue).

I try not to play for too long at a stretch because I've noticed I start getting sloppy if I've been playing for too long - I've killed a character several times by starting to rush things.

Other than that, I'm just at a loss. One question I do have is about the spells. It seems like in almost every situation for the depths I've been at, Magic Missile is the way to go. Unless I'm fighting 1-on-1 with a monster who can deal out large amounts of damage very quickly, such as hill orcs. In situations like that (since they usually appear in groups) I use higher-level spells to get a faster kill, then Teleport away. To avoid teleporting into a bad situation, I usually clear out the surrounding area when I encounter a monster pit.

Finally, as for the sorts of things that bring about the untimely death of my characters these days - I can't pin it down to any one thing. It just seems like every time I start to get somewhere with the character, monsters I wasn't really having a hard time with suddenly start doing horrible things.

As an example, my last character death came about while I was fighting tengus and dark elves, though I forget the depth. A tengu summoned me into a room with two other dark elves. At this point I was at full HP (or near full) and had plenty of SP. If I remember correctly, I was dead four rounds later. The dark elves both decided to cast spells every round. The round before I died, I had half, or nearly half of my HP left and didn't see any reason that both of them casting a spell on the next round should kill me - but it did. The only thing I can think of was that I was slow, but only -1 and that dark elves are much faster than I previously noticed. This death took me so much by surprise that I just quit and didn't take the time to analyze the message window to see exactly what had happened. I also didn't think to check it out the next time I started a character.
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Old September 20, 2008, 17:37   #2
PowerDiver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lachre View Post
IMy preferred characters are Gnome Mage and Dwarf Warrior. I greatly prefer the mage, though.
A mage is a challenge character. Low str and low hp mean doom until you really know what you are doing. Play a dwarf warrior instead of a mage at least until you have died to Vecna. That may take you quite some time.
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Old September 20, 2008, 18:09   #3
Atarlost
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Carry consumables: cure critical wounds, teleport scrolls, and the like. Zero fail is important.

Try a dwarf or high elf mage instead of a gnome. The extra strength helps prevent you from being slow and slow means you need to assume the enemy will get double moves.

Next time you get into a fight if you aren't doing damage to them faster than they are to you flee. If something killed your last charachter and you're not significantly more powerful than he was, flee. You don't have to kill everything. If there's something on the level that can teleport to that you can't kill quickly, get off the level. Teleport to is extremely dangerous because it can take you out of advantageous terrain like halways where you're only attacked from one side and put you in rooms or hallways where you're blocked on both sides.
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Old September 20, 2008, 18:22   #4
Lachre
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OK - thanks for the advice; I didn't realize the mage was considered a "challenging" class - I had figured it was just a class with a different strategy (unfortunately, most games these days have that theme - if you can use different "classes" the challenge level is the same and the only difference is playing style).

It also sounds like I need to significantly improve my knowledge of the monsters if I want to do better at this game.
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Old September 20, 2008, 20:52   #5
Elsairon
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Here's my 2 cents

Main way to stay alive in Angband that I've found, is make sure you always have a way to escape, preferably multile ways, and carry as much healing as you can.

Pump CON whenever you get the chance, more HP is always better.
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Old September 20, 2008, 20:56   #6
Pete Mack
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if you are having trouble with wormtounge there's also something wrong with your tactics.
Wormy is an easy target it takes:
- an enchanted longbow. For a Mage this means (+7+7)
- sufficient chance to hit. For Mage, this generally means !heroism.
- some way to deal with damage. This means plenty of HP and/o
-and/or !ccw and/or rCold. (You can use a potion.)
- phase door.

Since most of these are required just to survive comfortably at 1000', killing wormy shouldn't pose much trouble.
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Old September 20, 2008, 22:14   #7
Atarlost
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It's not really that mage is a challenge class. It's that gnome is a challenge race. The best class to use is the one you find most interesting, but you need to select a race with high CON and decent STR. Gnomes are low on both.

Mages shall run away. Of course it's not just mages. Warriors, rogues, priests, rangers, and paladins should run away too. If you're not running away you're too shallow. Mages are just more so than the others.
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Old September 20, 2008, 22:19   #8
aeneas
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[QUOTE=Lachre;10375It also sounds like I need to significantly improve my knowledge of the monsters if I want to do better at this game.[/QUOTE]

That's definitely part of it. The main thing is to not take tactical risks though. It's OK to take risks, but they should be strategic risks. There's no strategic reason to fight a tengu and two dark elves, and there is risk because the tengu can blip you into bad tactical situations. Better to just tele away from them, particularly if you are playing a race/class combo with really minimal hp. The most important thing in Angband is an exquisitely refined sense of danger. The tengu blipping you into the open around other enemies should make you uncomfortable enough to want to leave the situation. (EDIT: and ideally you should get that uncomfortable before you take any damage at all, so that you're not teleing around with half your hp.)

Anyway, dying is a feature, not a bug . The main thing is to learn a little bit from every death. It's pretty rare that you can't trace the death back to some mistake, though the harder you push the more subtle the mistakes become. This is why I'd suggest playing some characters whose purpose in life is to get as deep as possible as quickly as possible before dying gloriously. You learn more from dying, so you might as well die a lot for a while. This will also teach you to be paranoid, and paranoia is justified in Angband. The game really is out to get you. Gnome Mages are not a great choice for this though- too few hp, and no simple way to deal a lot of damage right at the beginning.
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Old September 22, 2008, 18:29   #9
bpleshek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeneas View Post
Anyway, dying is a feature, not a bug ....The game really is out to get you.
This just says it all.

Brian
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Old September 23, 2008, 10:45   #10
Caesum
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addl

With all my characters I always aim for a (+9,+9) *3 bow, ccw, scrolls of phase door, scrolls of teleport level, 5-6 wor scrolls. for uniques i always try and have a potion of speed available and phase door/shoot tactics most of the time. if they have minions then i might teleport away a few times, and eventually get them on their own.
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