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Old October 10, 2008, 21:47   #1
Donald Jonker
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Hunting Uniques

A point of curiosity: how does one "hunt" uniques?

Is a unique just as likely to show up at any level deeper than its native depth? In other words, will hanging around at 4900' eventually net you all uniques, or are you more likely to encounter lower-level uniques early on?

Whatever the case, does the same hold for Vanilla, NPP, and Hengband?

best, J
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Old October 10, 2008, 22:05   #2
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I have found that uniques show up near their native depth, unless they're in a vault that adds +X to the monster depth. I hang around dlvl 99 and I don't ever plan on seeing Smeagol unless I go way back up.

Not sure how this changes by variant.
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Old October 10, 2008, 22:10   #3
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The best way to hunt uniques is to farm them. For example, find the emperor Q, wait until it summons uniques, then teleport it or yourself. Uniques like the witch-king who summon minions can also produce lesser uniques. Other than that, it's more of an attitude thing. When you detect uniques, rather than avoiding them, hunt them down.

I think NPP has a summon unique scroll. I've sometimes wondered if summon monster should be guaranteed to summon at least one unkilled monster flavor [perhaps the most shallow], but I don't know of anything like that even being in any variant.
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Old October 10, 2008, 23:35   #4
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I would add some things as far as preparedness to hunt uniques:

- Don't even think about it if you can be paralyzed, blinded or confused. If you can be disabled any of these ways, you aren't ready. The same can be said for rBase.

- Have a means of Detection. Telepathy is very desirable too. Situational awareness is VERY important when fighting uniques.

- Have a means of escape that is not vulnerable to fire/acid/draining charges, draining mana, etc. RUN AWAY if you even THINK your life is in danger. Set low HP alarm to 50%. For almost all uniques, you can heal faster than the unique so if you had to bail to heal, if you find the unique quickly enough, he will still be somewhat damaged. Observe how many HP the unique can do per round to estimate where your bail-threshold should be; add a factor of safety to account for something not working as planned.

- Have a means of delivering huge damage per round. Either lots of blows, lots of shots is great; i.e. raw, unresistable damage. Don't rely on elemental attacks since a lot of uniques are immune.

- If you are a spell caster, start with 4 copies each of the first 4 books to allow for losing them due to attacks. My experience is that 4 is the optimum number; more than that and weight can be an issue, less risks losing all of one kind. If you ever get down to 1 of these books, it's time to leave.

- If you are hunting the higher level uniques who summon, set up lots of short anti-summoning corridors because you aren't sure where the battle will take place and it frequently involves one of you teleporting.

- Along with the above, set up one or more areas for the battle using rock removers, glyphs of warding, etc. Some uniques just LOVE to pick up stuff off the floor (Smeagol for example). Littering the floor with arrows or other cheap items gives them an opportunity to pick something up instead of attacking for that turn.

- Speed is life. Always maintain a speed advantage.

- Use temporary buffs (heroism, Shield, etc.)

- Have a means of restoring XP. Stat restoration is ok, but not really needed for inventory slots since they are usually easy to come by. If you are fighting a XP drainer and have lost XP, restore your XP just prior to the final couple of blows to make sure that you get the large XP for killing the unique.

- Carry a couple of primary weapons which (together) have a large number of slays, and then equip the appropriate one for the unique.

- Keep some inventory slots open to collect artifacts or other valuable items. Don't necessarily need *identify* on your person; you can identify or store in town. Alternatively, you can dump all your consumables before recalling with the loot.

- Although I usually stockpile !*healing* and !Life for the endgame, having 1 or 2 of these is a good idea.

- Analyze and Capitalize on the unique's weakness(es). After using an elemental attack for the first time, look at the monster and see if it resists that attack. If it does, use something else. At the risk of stating the obvious, the goal is to kill the unique as quickly as possible by maximizing damage per round and minimizing the number of combat turns that he can attack/summon/teleport or otherwise threaten you or escape.

- Don't take on a unique that you have a low probability of winning. It will just drain you of resources and may kill you or severely set you back in one way or another.

- Lastly, battle SLOWLY. Carefully read what happens each round. Each keypress should be calculated and controlled. A pivotal battle with a unique is not the time for pressing the wrong key or missing an attack round.
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Old October 11, 2008, 07:01   #5
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Further threats:
- Some uniques can disenchant, this could be painful if you don't have the resistance.
- Some uniques are "incredibly" fast and can steel things from your backpack if your dexterity isn't high enough.
- You may find yourself be teleported to an unique, which could take you out of your anti-summon corridor into a dangerous room (could also happen if you are teleported away).
- Uniques with nether-spells can do very high amounts of damage if you don't have rnether.
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Old October 14, 2008, 02:32   #6
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Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
I've sometimes wondered if summon monster should be guaranteed to summon at least one unkilled monster flavor [perhaps the most shallow], but I don't know of anything like that even being in any variant.
That's a great idea...

The Roflwtfzomgbbq Quylthulg summons L33t Paladins -more-
In UnAngband, the level dives you.
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Old October 14, 2008, 04:15   #7
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If I ever do a real variant, I will make the first kill of each monster flavor grant 1 exp, and 0 for later kills of the same flavor. There would need to be a way for the player to avoid having to hunt down wimps he unluckily missed, and that's what inspired the idea.
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