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Old August 14, 2009, 07:33   #1
Bad Tempered Geezer
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Mage Books and Bows

Hi; I'm new to the forum, though I have some experience with Angband and variants already. Personally, I LOVE playing mages. The only characters I have played at any length have been mages and warriors, and I have a few of questions about playing with my High-Elf mage.

First of all, I am CLVL 25, and my max depth is 800'. Yes, not very far. I go between 750' and 800', recalling often and doing what I can to pits and uniques - though I've actually only encountered a single pit, and it was a small jelly pit. Ew. (I had to TO that dumb gelatinous cube any time I saw it) My progress is going pretty slowly in terms of items; notably, I have a Scimitar of Westernesse, but the only artifacts I have are the Phial and The Set of Gauntlets 'Paurnimmen'.

My questions are these:

Any advice on obtaining the additional spellbooks?
I currently am capable of learning 9 new spells, but I am nearing the end of Sorcery and Evocations and want to find some new books. Do they appear more often at certain depths, or is there something I can do to find them easily? (I remember once I found Kelek's at DLVL 25-30 or so.. with a warrior. That was annoying, as I couldn't even read it)

What's the big deal with bows?
When I browse through the forum and look at the mage advice threads, there's a whole lot of talk of longbows and crossbows. Personally, I never worried about missile launchers. For the whole game up to now - including very early game - I've been getting by just fine with magic missiles and melee (only when necessary). I have picked up a Long Bow of Accuracy (x3) (+14, +9) and keep some Arrows (1d4) (+6, +3), but I've never really used these. What is so important about having projectile weapons - especially early on? Rods, wands, artifacts, etc. seem to kind of fulfill that purpose anyway.

What are some particularly good depths to search for good items and monsters without too much danger - I.E. is there a certain DLVL that tends to have particularly lucrative monsters/drops for its depth?
I do detect constantly (door/stair and monster detect are together in a macro that I use whenever I reach the "DTrap" line given that there's no immediate danger) but I only have RCold, RAcid, FrAct, and RBlind. I'm aiming to get some more resistances ASAP, especially confusion and poison (don't know where to find them though).
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Old August 14, 2009, 07:45   #2
Pete Mack
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Any advice on obtaining the additional spellbooks?
The shallowest dungeon book is native to DL 40. At DL 30 it can be found in lesser vaults. Below dl 30, they are out of depth, even in lesser vaults. Since stat potions are also native to dl 30, it behooves you to go deeper. To dl 30. Or below.
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Old August 14, 2009, 15:35   #3
Marble Dice
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Jelly nests are notoriously difficult for very little reward; orc pits can be quite worthwhile if you can handle them thanks to item drops.

Check the black market for dungeon spellbooks as well. Other than that, you just have to go deeper or get lucky. Even then it takes a while to find the specific book you really want.

Bows do good damage from a safe(r) distance and don't consume valuable SP. A Longbow (+9,+9), which is easy to get thanks to enchant weapon scrolls from the alchemist, shooting (+0,+0) arrows will do 34.5 damage per hit. It only gets better if you use enchanted ammo, find a better launcher (of power, of might, of extra shots), and when you use branded ammo the damage is just silly - some of the best in the game.

I dunno about confusion resistance, but you're not likely to find poison resistance until DL40. There are some nasty poison breathers - Greater Basilisks, Drolems, Ancient Multi-Hued Dragons - so be careful until you find it (and even after). Temporary poison resistance from potions or spells helps too, and it stacks with the permanent kind for a total of 8/9 damage reduction. You'll need both for those nasties I mentioned.
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Old August 14, 2009, 16:32   #4
Bad Tempered Geezer
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Ah, okay; thanks for the advice. I'll dive to DLVL 30 and see how I do against those baddies - and I'll keep that in mind about the bows next time I see a good heavy crossbow or something in the black market.
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Old August 14, 2009, 17:21   #5
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Originally Posted by Bad Tempered Geezer View Post
First of all, I am CLVL 25, and my max depth is 800'.

What's the big deal with bows?
You are going so slowly that you are overpowered compared to the monsters you face. Any conclusions you draw are likely invalid for when the game starts in earnest, at DL 40.

The point about bows is to deal damage without facing return melee attacks and without using mana. That way you can save the mana for phase or to teleport monsters you do not want to invite to your current party, or use for some other purpose.
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Old August 14, 2009, 17:23   #6
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Bows are popular for several reasons:
  • If you try to fight everything with spells, you'll run out of SP in a hurry. Offensive spells, particularly at low levels, are inefficient.
  • For mages, it's much easier to deal damage with a longbow than with a melee weapon. Longbows have a nice x3 multiplier built-in. Melee weapons, on the other hand, require multiple blows in order to deal out damage effectively. Mages cannot get multiple blows early on.
  • Most mage attack spells are element-based. Longbows, on the other hand, deal physical damage which cannot be resisted.
  • Branded ammo is incredibly powerful
  • Most characters can find or enchant a bow long before the rare spellbooks begin to appear.
  • Mages have low HP, making ranged attacks preferable.

There's probably several other reasons, but those listed above should be sufficient.
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