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Old April 1, 2014, 18:34   #1
grodrigues
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Newbie advice on FAAngband

Hi all,

I have some experience with rogues, Angband in particular, with two victories under my belt as a High-Elf Mage (one even with the One Ring, Feanor, Ringil, etc.). But I am picking up FAAngband for the first time and I'd like some newbie advice.

note: I am in Kubuntu 13.04, but I am playing the windows 1.4.4 version via Wine. Not the most rational decision, I know, but I could not be bothered to look up the docs to see what is needed to compile the source.

(1) The first question is really not about my character, but about keymaps and inscriptions in general, as I cannot get them to work. I have set up a link Mage.prf in lib/user to a same-named personal file located elsewhere. The game loads it up alright (tested with query keymap). But while a command like

# Rest.
A:R&[Enter]
C:0:^R

works, but

# Detect monsters.
A:m1b
C:0:[F1]

does not: it opens up the menu of the m1 book (the first one) and asks me what spell to cast. Also surrounded the action in parenthesis as suggested for the more recent vanilla Angband versions, but with the same result. As one can guess, this is aggravating. Any advice on how to get this to work?

(2) Any advice on what special powers to pick for someone with vanilla Angband experience and vices (e.g. run away at the faintest smell of trouble)? Beguile to amplify the power of disablings? I never use disablings in vanilla as they rarely work. Channeling? Since I am always resting, this will probably fit my play style. Honestly, I have no idea what to choose and while I understand that some "wrong" choices are bound to be made, any advice would be much appreciated.

(3) Since I chose High-Elf I am dropped in a level 28 danger zone. Already gotten killed a couple of times; my strategy now is to try to reach for the stairs to lower level zones and then proceed from there. On the way, kill what I think are easy pickings (and getting killed in the process), picking up stray objects with Telekinesis, levelling and stocking money, etc. This entails a lot of yo-yoing, but since this kind of paranoid gameplay was what I used in vanilla, I figure it cannot be too bad. Any advice on how to get to safer areas?

Thanks in advance.
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Old April 1, 2014, 18:48   #2
Mondkalb
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1) No idea ^^

2) Depends on play style and character; I usually take abilities that have an impact on attack or defense.

3) The high level starting points are a bit easier with the new version since the way to lesser dangerous levels is shorter, but still it is some challenge. I would only recommend it for players with some experience in wilderness levels. As you already have noticed, they are dangerous.
It is possible to sneak your way down to (relative) safety, but it may take a while and several attempts.
I would recommend to choose a dark elf and start in Taur-Im-Duinath or a green elf and start in Ossiriand.
The starting point isn't very important, you will reach the places anyway, and the few starting level you get are not worth it (considered the many deaths you will suffer ).

Last edited by Mondkalb; April 1, 2014 at 18:56.
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Old April 1, 2014, 19:09   #3
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For the m1b thing to work I think you'd have to inscribe the book appropriately, i.e. with @m1. Have you done that?
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Old April 1, 2014, 19:25   #4
grodrigues
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonymousHero View Post
For the m1b thing to work I think you'd have to inscribe the book appropriately, i.e. with @m1. Have you done that?
Yup. The full inscription is !d!k!v@m1@b1@G1

Things are even weirder. With the following in Mage.prf file

# Detect monsters.
A:m1b
C:0:[F1]

# Detect doors, stairs and traps.
A:m1d
C:0:[F2]

# Fire Bolt.
A:m1a
C:0:{S}[F1]

Both [F1] and {S}[F1] prompt for a target and then cast Fire bolt while [F2] does what I said above: opens up m1 book and asks what spell to cast. Scratches head in confusion.

note: also checked encoding and endline; it matches to builtin .pref files (e.g. Windows, utf-8).
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Old April 1, 2014, 21:38   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grodrigues View Post
(1) The first question is really not about my character, but about keymaps and inscriptions in general, as I cannot get them to work.
Looks like there's a bug, and I don't understand quite what it's doing. I thought it was just ignoring numbers, but it's not quite as simple as that. I'll investigate further.

Quote:
(2) Any advice on what special powers to pick for someone with vanilla Angband experience and vices (e.g. run away at the faintest smell of trouble)?
As a mage I usually take Clarity or Meditation to enhance my early-game mana - what I would do if I ever made it to the late game, I don't know Magic Resistance can be good, too. I don't think there are any obvious ones to choose.

Quote:
(3) Any advice on how to get to safer areas?
Sounds like you're already doing the right sort of things. Mondkalb's advice is good too. As a High-Elf, I tend to start with quite a lot of go out, kill stuff, grab loot, run back to town.
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Old April 1, 2014, 23:12   #6
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Here is my advice: Prepare to die a lot.
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Old April 2, 2014, 06:14   #7
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My two mage winners and one that died on DL98 had these setups:

Clarity, Heighten Magic, Channeling (High-Elf)
Beguile, Meditation, Armour Proficiency (Dwarf)
Meditation, Heighten Magic, Enhance Magic (Petty-Dwarf)

The elf was long enough ago that I forget how good channeling is, but I recommend heighten magic over it by a long way. You can quickly cast magic missile a few times to power up all of your spells for every significant fight, but keeping your SP high throughout a fight is much harder.

Beguile is fun but not hugely useful. There's a spell later on called 'beguile' which tries to put confusion/slow/sleep on something, but even using that with the ability deep things will almost never get confused even without resistance, so the only thing that you can get working is slow. Early on the confuse monster spell is quite handy without needing to get the ability.

Meditation is really good, especially once you find regen to go along with it, you get like 8 SP back per +0 speed turn. On the other hand, you get a spell in a dungeon book to regain SP so it's not mandatory.

Enhance Magic is mainly convenience for a mage, but it does turn your haste spell into +13 speed rather than +10. I like it, though it's much better on priests/paladins who get all sorts of little boosts that add up to a lot.

The Petty-Dwarf was the most recent and is my most preferred choices. For race choices, Dwarf is an interesting option. Intrinsic rBlind (this is extremely important in O/FA) with good HP and melee potential, but you have to deal with poor stealth.

With mages, I prefer dungeon levels to wilderness. Forest and desert levels are a pain due to limited sight and you don't really have the crowd control for plains. To navigate dangerous wilderness levels, you want to skirt around the edge of the map. If you enter at night, everything starts asleep (even hounds I think) but you also can't see so that's a little double edged. To be honest you should play without connected stairs, FA can get really stair scummy in the wilderness sometimes which is too much with connected stairs.

Last edited by clouded; April 2, 2014 at 06:33.
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Old April 2, 2014, 14:44   #8
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Looks like there's a bug, and I don't understand quite what it's doing. I thought it was just ignoring numbers, but it's not quite as simple as that. I'll investigate further.
Thanks. Do not know if this matters in this case, but I am playing in a laptop. And as long as I got your attention, like a good Complainer, allow me to point out another bug and an issue.

Bug: Got lucky and found Cammithrim lying on the ground, but the artifact was not registered in the artifact knowledge list, which remains empty and greyed out.

Issue: When activating an item, the whole equipment list shows. Only the ones that have activations have assigned letter commands, but is it possible to just filter the list?

About the game itself, dying a lot comes with the territory. Finally got out of the Gondolin prison and found my way to Taur-Im-Duinath and then swerved up to Belegost. Going to start feeling my way about, gearing up and getting to know the hostiles, as I have already had my share of nasty surprises. Even in an earlier try I had already managed to get out, but then got careless and an Ochre Jelly got to me. Being quick (that was unexpected) and with three acid attacks, it ripped me to shreds in no time. Thought I could dodge it and I am always hesitant to cast Teleport Self as I loose all sense of location and direction. And more often than not, it is just jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Oh well.

(1) Thanks all for the advice on special powers. Think I am going for Clarity and Heighten Magic. Then we will see.

(2) I think I can reliably get out of the Gondolin prison. It is a game of patience though, and a little bit of luck. Going in at night and skirting around the borders seems to be the best option. Your LOS is mostly disrupted anyway, what with all the forests and rubble. Use detect a lot; activate your magestaff a lot. Invisibles can still get the drop on you.

Last question: what are neutrals for? Just flavor?
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Old April 2, 2014, 22:01   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grodrigues View Post
Bug: Got lucky and found Cammithrim lying on the ground, but the artifact was not registered in the artifact knowledge list, which remains empty and greyed out.
Yep, that looks like a bug.

Quote:
Issue: When activating an item, the whole equipment list shows. Only the ones that have activations have assigned letter commands, but is it possible to just filter the list?
It currently isn't, but that's a good idea.

Quote:
Last question: what are neutrals for? Just flavor?
Basically yes. You'll find that monsters of a given player race will turn up closer to their home town, so for example it can be more dangerous for a dwarf going near Menegroth because the elves there are more likely to be hostile.

Also you can attack neutrals if you really want to ('+' next to them to physically attack, or target them with a ranged attack), which will make them hostile.
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Old April 3, 2014, 03:24   #10
Fendell Orcbane
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Sounds like you're already doing the right sort of things. Mondkalb's advice is good too. As a High-Elf, I tend to start with quite a lot of go out, kill stuff, grab loot, run back to town.
Yup that is what I do too. Pick off some dragonflies for exp. then run back to town, identify, heal and resupply.
Granted some versions of FA don't let you go back to town which is frustrating :/
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