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Old October 13, 2014, 14:16   #1
Fluster
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A middle-game crisis

I'm a long time now-and-then Angband player, but new in the forums. I played quite much in late 90's and in some years after that, but didn't get too far - maybe to 2000 feet at best. A lot have changed in the game after that though. In the Hall of Fame on my laptop I see that my latest game until recently was three years ago, when I was able to get to level 42 and 2600 feet.

A few weeks ago I got the idea of playing again and enjoyed it enough to make it to level 41 and 2400 feet with my human ranger (which I always play). I was quite happy with my character; roughly 530 HP, 250 SP, 200 AC, armed with Aiglos with damage 300 to 500 depending on monster type and a range of resistances (except poison) etc. (didn't understand to take a character dump). My hero finally met his destiny by an ancient multihued dragon who surprised me by breathing 800 points of poison damage on my healthy character.

After the death of my character I was not that disappointed, but more puzzled. I had absolutely no idea that this dragon could do me that much damage with a single blow even though I had already slain a whole bunch of them. I knew that many monsters were able to deal me some 300 points of damage even with an element I had resistance on so I knew to be careful with them. But this dragon suprised me and so it didn't help that I knew exactly where it was waiting.

This all made me wonder if my strategy in this middle game stage has been correct at all and how could I improve it. Especially I've been pondering the following two questions:

1) How do I know if some monster has a rare very strong attack I should be careful for? Of course there are the spoilers, but I'm looking more for an in-game like solution. I learn by my ancestors, but surely there are much more new monster types still coming and I wouldn't want to learn them all the hard way. And even if I do, I'm not sure if the description for ancient multihued dragon will still say it has a capability to do 800 points of damage.

2) If I know an enemy can do lethal (ranged) damage to be, how should I prepare for it? It seems that at those levels the character no longer improves much, so I can't really just wait until I'm strong enough to deal with them. This dragon for example is rather common enemy already and I can't expect being able to avoid it eternally. Afterwards I have been thinking that maybe the correct play would be to carry a ring of rPoison with me and wear it when I need to deal with a monster like this.

I have already began a new adventure to the depths, but if I'm able to get as deep again, I'm still unsure how to continue from there.
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Old October 13, 2014, 14:56   #2
Carnivean
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There are 3 main tiers of breath damage:

1) Fire/Acid/Lightning/Cold. These can be up to 1600hp damage on a single breath. Resistance comes in temporary (spell, potion), permanent (item) and immunity. Combining a temporary and a permanent drops the maximum damage to approx 10% of the unresisted. Immunity drops the elemental damage to 0, but you can still suffer physical damage from the attack. Permanent resists don't stack. One gives you as much as you'll get.

2) Poison. Big hp damage (up to 800 max IIRC), but temp and permanent resists drop this down a lot too.

3) The others. You'd be able to survive a single attack of any of the others at 630hp. Good to have a permanent resist but not vital. Damage reduction from resists is variable across these, but you avoid side effects if you have the resist.

Other attacks of note are Time (which is really nasty, but unlikely to kill you;avoid at all cost) and Mana Storm, which you'd survive a one shot of at 630h. Neither are resistable.

To work out who can do what to you you need a rod of probing to provide monster information. Don't have one? Assume that everything you've never seen before is going to breath or cast something nasty and cover your resists. Drink potions (buy potions) and wear the best resisting combo you have. Don't discard something that you could swap to cover resists. Carry healing potions and escapes (phase door minimum, teleport and teleport level for better chances). Staff of teleport can be used blind, but scrolls cannot.
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Old October 13, 2014, 14:57   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluster View Post
I learn by my ancestors, but surely there are much more new monster types still coming and I wouldn't want to learn them all the hard way.
Hi everyone who thinks this is a "fun part of angband" This quote is for you
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Old October 13, 2014, 15:01   #4
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Now, to kind of answer your question: Basically, any big D can breathe a lot of something, so you should be scared of them.

The base elemental attacks (fire, acid, cold, elec) can do monster HP / 3 damage, which is usually "a kabillion". If you have one permanent resist and one temporary resist of that element, it curbs damage by a lot (8/9s? Can't remember.) The lesser elements don't do as much damage, but it is also more random.

It's not obvious unless you read the help that having e.g. more than one rFire from equipment is not any better than having exactly one. In order to get more fire resist, you need to use a temporary source like a potion, a spell, etc.

There are other monsters (e.g. drolems) that breathe for a billion and you would really not have any way of knowing, so you have to just guess that everything can kill you.

If I were you, I would just learn how to read the monster info edit file or just use spoilers all the time, until such time that people realize this is really not a fun way to play the game and put it into the UI somehow.

Lacking free action and trying to fight a monster who can paralyze you is another really good way to die quickly. Unknowingly fighting a monster who has manastorm is also a good way to die fast, but that won't happen until much later.
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Old October 13, 2014, 16:04   #5
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluster View Post

1) How do I know if some monster has a rare very strong attack I should be careful for?
Basically, you don't. Only basic four and poison are capable of doing more than 600 points of damage in single round (IE, those five you can get both permanent and temporary resist), so if you are above that you are safe (for at least damagewise).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluster View Post
2) If I know an enemy can do lethal (ranged) damage to be, how should I prepare for it?
Either not fight it (if it can kill you) or damage it a lot from distance before it moves. As ranger I suggest bow and arrow -method with stone-to-mud safetyhole or some other "get out of the LoS" method.

Code:
##################
...@.............M
###x##############
  ###
x is the hole. Each time "M"onster makes huge damage you step into hole and heal. Step back and continue shooting.

Breath-attacks depend on monster HP, so most monsters start to lose the max power nearly immediately (major exception: Tarrasque). Note that spells are not limited like that so manastorm is max manastorm even when monster has only one star left (Black Reavers and couple of others).

Last edited by Timo Pietilš; October 13, 2014 at 16:09.
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Old October 13, 2014, 16:08   #6
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Originally Posted by debo View Post
Lacking free action and trying to fight a monster who can paralyze you is another really good way to die quickly. Unknowingly fighting a monster who has manastorm is also a good way to die fast, but that won't happen until much later.
You forgot the monsters that knock you out . Those too are plentiful in the dungeon (in groups). Monsters that confuse you in melee are also pretty nasty unless you can somehow escape the melee while being confused.
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Old October 13, 2014, 17:04   #7
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Other people have covered the damage side pretty well, but as for your character improvement: gaining stats makes a massive improvement in your potential. In particular, CON has increasing rates of return until you get up to 18/200, at which point you get 12.5 bonus HP per level. It's worth stacking as many CON bonuses as you can get; more HP means you survive longer. If you're given the choice between having more hitpoints, or having resistance to an element that isn't fire/cold/elec/acid/poison, take the hitpoints.
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Old October 13, 2014, 18:00   #8
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Also, because it somehow hasn't been mentioned yet:

It's all very well and good to be able to survive a single attack from a critter, but make sure to be very careful about anything fast enough to get in two attacks before you get a chance to panic.
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Old October 13, 2014, 18:48   #9
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Thank you all,

It's nice to get so many answers so fast!

I didn't know that a permanent resistance can be fortified with a temporary one so that was a really nice piece of information. Gives a lot more meaning for the resistances spellbook later in the game also...

I actually did find a rod of probing in the game, but as a greedy bastard I sold it right away . I think I have understood, but have lacked in action to change my playing style from hauling with a lot of empty inventory slots to having useful items in the middle game stage... The reason I want to avoid spoilers is that I think finding new things within the game is one of the most fun parts of playing Angband (unless they kill you). I remember the first times I played the game some 15 to 20 years ago when I simply tried to learn all the scrolls, potions etc by trying them, which led to many interesting - though perhaps not that successful - adventures. In those times you also needed to learn the capabilities of artifacts with *Identify* scrolls, which seem to have been removed since.

As a ranger I have typically have teleport as my main escape plan. I don't like teleport level so much as I play non-preserve and enjoy the pain of trying to figure out how to handle the monsters to get the artifact. I think I also liked it more in the old way, where you got simply for example "special" feeling of a level without knowing if it means an artifact or nasty enemies. My usual plan is to clear the other parts of a level so that I could teleport as safely as possible while dealing with the baddies. Also I don't normally leave the teleport for the last minute, but do that immediately if I get surprised or otherwise think I could get better odds later - the conveniency of having teleport as a spell and not as a consumable item.

However, it seems I just have to take a few more adventures to improve my play. This last time I also had to deal with things I thought I remembered from years back, but really didn't. Like searching a long time for resistance to confusion on 1000 feet before understanding it's not something I usually find there...
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Old October 13, 2014, 19:00   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluster View Post
I actually did find a rod of probing in the game, but as a greedy bastard I sold it right away . I think I have understood, but have lacked in action to change my playing style from hauling with a lot of empty inventory slots to having useful items in the middle game stage...
I would suggest playing with no_selling on. You'll get larger gold drops and when picking up items the focus shifts from "how much is this worth?" to "(how) can i use this?". This is very helpful for forcing yourself to adapt a more "scrappy" playing style where many more items become (situationally) useful.

Quote:
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As a ranger I have typically have teleport as my main escape plan. I don't like teleport level so much as I play non-preserve and enjoy the pain of trying to figure out how to handle the monsters to get the artifact.
(Snip bit about sensible precautions for teleporting.)

Just be aware the teleporting will eventually get you killed at the deeper levels -- things spawn randomly on the level over time. Either that or you'll have to teleport without having had time to clear large portions of the level... Your precautions do reduce the risk significantly, but (reliably) winning Angband is all about reducing risk to zero at some point.
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