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Old November 13, 2019, 00:44   #1
wizard44
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Complete N00b's Journey: The Series

Complete N00b's Journey: Prologue

Hello everybody. This is a n00b who is here in my second roguelike tour of duty after I gave up on Elona due to the difficulty understanding the mechanics as well as the inability to deal with its stupid thirst mechanic. Some of you may remember me from when I visited Angband in my first tour of duty. After getting owned by the cruelty of Iter Vehemens ad Necem (IVAN), the community there recommended that I play this free game. Below is my roguelike resume:

Outstanding Nethack experience: Managed to ascend every role at least once in 3.4.3, and still have an excellent playing record in the 3.6 versions.

Exceeds Expectations ADOM experience: Achieved several ultra endings back when it was free and before Steam came into the scene. Haven't played the Steam version due to pricing though.

Exceeds Expectations DoomRL experience: Fully won the game several times, but only up to the Ultra-Violence Difficulty (I like being able to save my games, thank you very much, so hard pass to Nightmare) and even managed to obtain two Diamond Medals from my efforts there.

Acceptable Angband experience: Killed Morgoth after 5 attempts (all 5 characters of which were generated with random states rather than a point-based roller).

Acceptable ZAP'M experience: Won a couple of games, but I got bored of that real fast.

Acceptable Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup experience: Escaped with the Orb in a 3-rune game as a Demigod Fighter after 4 attempts with randomly generated characters.

Acceptable Brogue experience: Escaped with the Amulet of Yendor once after 10 tries.

Acceptable Rogue experience: The deepest I got was level 16 I think.

Poor experience with PRIME: Haven't made it into the robot town.

Poor experience with Elona+: The farthest I made it was in Act 1 to Lesimas: 30 after four tries in Loss mode.

Poor experience with IVAN: The farthest I ever made was the first level of the Gloomy Caves after four tries.

So now I am delving deep into (Vanilla) Sil 1.3, under a series titled "Complete N00b's Journey" where I create a character at random, and hope for the best, because that is just what I do and random generation is my thing. In this series, the number before the hyphen will signify the attempt that I am playing, and the number after the hyphen signifies the goal that I have completed. The first goal that all characters will focus on is to get to the 250’ depth. Something new that I am trying for games in this second tour of duty is that I will only be making four attempts per game, as I feel that is a sufficient number of tries to see a game’s capabilities. This series will continue until I either get a Silmaril and escape Angband, or die four times. If the latter happens, I will be giving my overall impression of this game and be thanking anyone who has helped me in these four runs.

My questions before I begin this game:

I played the tutorial a couple of times, and managed to reach the downstairs after some clever retreating techniques with the fire-drake (after getting killed three times by the fire-drake and its cronies). So my impression is that the overall game strategy lies heavily in the “don’t kill everything you see” camp, similar to what the optimal approach was in Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup. With that being said, is the approach to dive aggressively to 950’ or some other deep level to get equipment, experience, and other benefits more quickly? Or should you linger in the shallow levels to play it safe?

On another note, what are the different ways to get a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown? I know that you can either go the extra mile and kill Morgoth, put him to sleep and have the crown drop, but what are the other ways to accomplish your goal once you reach the throne room?

Is there a skill that almost every character needs to get in order to survive? I have heard a lot about Loremaster, but will taking that skill (or any other necessary one) prohibit me from committing to any builds to the required level to survive?

How much experience points should be committed to the eight skill attributes, and how many points should go to skills? I heard that achieving 8 (base) in evasion and melee scores should be a top priority in most builds before looking at abilities, but I’m curious on what the overall consensus is from the veterans here. On that note, should all of the 5,000 starting experience points go to improving the character right away, or is a lot of it best spent when you finish a certain depth?

Is the rest command (‘Shift + 5’) reliable? Or does it often lead to more trouble than it’s worth?

How plentiful is food in this game? For games like Brogue, food management was very important due to the relative scarcity, while in other games like Nethack or ADOM, food soon became a non-issue after the first levels of gameplay.

Since there will be sticky curses, there will obviously be a tad more caution when equipping weapons and armor. Which pieces of weapons and armor should I look for in the early game? And do you equip these items as soon as you get them and take a risk knowing that they are cursed, or wait until you have an uncursing method? On that note, are lots of early equipment cursed in general?

Which types of consumables is a good class to use-id, and when?

Is smithing something that most characters pursue at some point, or is it only for dedicated builds like it was for ADOM?

Any other tips are appreciated!
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Old November 13, 2019, 16:18   #2
wobbly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard44 View Post
With that being said, is the approach to dive aggressively to 950' or some other deep level to get equipment, experience, and other benefits more quickly? Or should you linger in the shallow levels to play it safe?
Both work, so a matter of preference. It also depends on race. Noldor are much stronger then Edain giving them more leeway to dive aggressively.

I clear the 1st level, but really I'm just after leather armour & boots. Then I like to find a helm or shield before archers start showing up at 200'-ish. After that just find a pace based on how well you're handling enemies. Most of the good stuff wont start turning up till 400'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard44 View Post
On another note, what are the different ways to get a Silmaril from Morgoths crown? I know that you can either go the extra mile and kill Morgoth, put him to sleep and have the crown drop, but what are the other ways to accomplish your goal once you reach the throne room?
Sleep, Kill or Hit & Run. You can use archery instead of melee, just have to hit him hard enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard44 View Post
Is there a skill that almost every character needs to get in order to survive? I have heard a lot about Loremaster, but will taking that skill (or any other necessary one) prohibit me from committing to any builds to the required level to survive?
You can generally afford loremaster on most builds unless you want listen or hunter (& even then you can, just expensive). I guess the major exceptions are extreme smithing and song builds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard44 View Post
How much experience points should be committed to the eight skill attributes, and how many points should go to skills? I heard that achieving 8 (base) in evasion and melee scores should be a top priority in most builds before looking at abilities, but I’m curious on what the overall consensus is from the veterans here. On that note, should all of the 5,000 starting experience points go to improving the character right away, or is a lot of it best spent when you finish a certain depth?
I don't see a point hoarding skill pts unless you are smithing. The rest of the question is tricky. For a very rough guide, if it's cheaper to get an extra melee or evasion point then a skill you're usually better of just getting more melee/evasion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard44 View Post
Is the rest command ('Shift + 5') reliable? Or does it often lead to more trouble than it's worth?

How plentiful is food in this game? For games like Brogue, food management was very important due to the relative scarcity, while in other games like Nethack or ADOM, food soon became a non-issue after the first levels of gameplay.
Rest is fine. Stand next to the wall, you'll be stealthier that way. I find food a non-issue but it depends a bit. You'll need to be careful if you're wearing a hunger item & there's a late game monster that hits for hunger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard44 View Post
Since there will be sticky curses, there will obviously be a tad more caution when equipping weapons and armor. Which pieces of weapons and armor should I look for in the early game? And do you equip these items as soon as you get them and take a risk knowing that they are cursed, or wait until you have an uncursing method? On that note, are lots of early equipment cursed in general?
For armour & jewellery I just risk it. If you're playing with an inventory window then some weapons glow around enemies. These weapons are always safe to wield.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard44 View Post
Is smithing something that most characters pursue at some point, or is it only for dedicated builds like it was for ADOM?

Any other tips are appreciated!
Mostly dedicated builds & smiths can be a little frustrating. However Feanor & dwarves have the specialty, so getting some smithing is fairly ok. There's a guaranteed forge at 100'. Jeweller is cheap-ish if you just want a bit of smithing & later when you find mithril it'll be useful to get a big light.
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Old November 13, 2019, 20:20   #3
Infinitum
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Smithing is generally a trap choice (4 points + jeweler gets you early fenorian lamps generally). Loremaster bypasses the ID game, but ID'ing is generally not dangerous and fairly simple once you know what to look for (I wrote a guide for it a while back). Remember the true cost abilities = the last ability you purchase in any given tree, so cutting loremaster might save you a few thousand xp in all (especially as all melee characters want raukobane asap).

Generally more melee/evasion is better than extra abilities (with plenty of exceptions). ~25 melee is enough to hit most things, more depending on how reliant on crits your weapon is. Around 35 evasion is when endgame stuff stops hitting you reliably (45+ if you want to melee morgy).

You might want to start out with Q-Sil from the get go btw as that is still worked on, and the changes are a net positive imo (matter of taste though).
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Old November 13, 2019, 21:33   #4
wizard44
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Thank you for the tips. In particular, I highly appreciate Infinitum's guide for identifying items.

For this game, I will be posting the initial setup of each character in this thread. Because a lot of my characters will most likely die in the early game, a character will only get its own thread when it reaches the 250' depth.

My random character generation will involve randomly choosing the character's name, sex, history, age, height, weight, race, and house. For allocating my stat points, I randomly chose one of the four stats until I spent all 13 points. The reason why I do this is my general policy regarding roguelikes, which is to leave every starting circumstance "at birth" to chance whenever possible ... after all, trying to scum for the highest stats or play the most uber powerful race/class combo is getting far too close to save-scumming in my book. After all, you can't just reroll life's board such that you're born into a wealthy family or a family with superior genes. Dealing with such hardships from your starting circumstances, I say, is supposed to teach you about life and about the necessary need to adapt or die. The starting experience points, however, will not be spent until the character is fully generated and proper guidance is given by at least one member. This exception is because experience is technically a post-birth resource, making it a resource that I am okay controlling to some extent. I also set the low hitpoint warning threshold to 40% to give myself a reasonable warning buffer. All other settings are at their default values.

Complete Noob's Journey: Character #1

With that set, I randomly rolled my first character, which gave me Antumbor, a Naugrim from the House of Belegost. Random allocation saw me generating the character with 2 Strength, 2 Dexterity, 5 Constitution, and 3 Grace.

So the first question is: What do I spend the experience points for? I'm guessing that spending 4200 points on melee and evasion to get them to 8 values can't go wrong, based on the guides. Beyond that, I have no idea on what to do for the 800 remaining experience points. Do I pump stats even further (I can get another point of melee or evasion for 700 more points), or go for abilities?

So this character has an axe proficiency, a will affinity, a smithing affinity, and an archery penalty. Based on my stats, should I go for a song build due to my slightly higher grace skill? Or resort to an axe melee build? At any rate, I think if I find an axe, I stick with it until something better comes around.

Which monsters should I aim to kill in the first three floors, and which should I avoid at all costs?

I have posted the starting details for this character to the following ladder link below:
http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=22962

Answers to the above questions and other tips are highly appreciated.
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Old November 13, 2019, 21:57   #5
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2 str is ideal for a 2lb longsword where you usually want high melee & finesse. I'd be going sword & board (The axe proficiency is only +1 accuracy & longswords are more accurate to start with). You can still use an axe, you'd just probably want power & no shield to be doing damage.

Re song: 3 grace isn't high (compared to an elf) & singer builds are harder
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Old November 13, 2019, 22:09   #6
Pete Mack
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Random char generation will be brutal in Sil. Yeah, you will lose a lot of chars until you get one that is roughly optimal. Might as well play with a char of your choice
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Old November 14, 2019, 21:48   #7
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Agreed. The races in particular are not balanced, acting more like a difficulty level. You definetly want to play Noldor a the very least. Houses are less important so randomizing those works just fine.
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Old November 16, 2019, 01:12   #8
wizard44
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Thank you for the tips everyone. Unfortunately, this character quickly bites the dust due to encountering some very out of depth monsters in 100 ft.

YASD #1: Surrounded and Killed by orcs and other nasties in a corridor.

After some research and some chatting on angband.live, I begin by allocating 4200 points to get my melee and evasion to 8, and 600 more points to get myself 3 perception points, since I observed that Keen Senses was one of the early skills that many builds obtained. I then picked up the starting curved sword to defend myself and explored the 50 ft level. I find leather armour, a battle axe, a shortbow, and a lesser jewel and head downstairs. On 100 ft, I get a cloak, and run into an out of depth gorcrow, who blinds me and nearly pecks me to death. I manage to kill it while use-id’ing a herb of sickness that I found earlier the level in a desperate attempt to heal myself. After surviving that stressful situation, I get arrows and studded leather armour, and get surrounded by a pair of orc soldiers. I manage to kill one of them, but in my attempt to escape, a blue serpent appears at the end of the corridor and cuts off my escape route. Needless to say, I die a very quick death. Pretty angry at myself for getting killed so early, and am so ashamed that I didn't create a dump file.

So now we move on to another character. May the RNG grant me a better combination.

Complete N00b’s Journey: Character #2

Say hello to Manni, a Female Edain from the House of Beor. So after randomly distributing the stats, my wish was not granted, as the character is weak sauce. But that is what life gives you.

This one takes the cake in fragility, but has a rather moderate enough amount of grace that I might consider a smithing build.

I think the plan is to dump as many points in melee and evasion as possible, but avoid any monster that moves like hell. If this character does have a chance of surviving, which build is the best option, and what skills and points should I invest in?

I have posted the starting details for this character to the following ladder link below:
http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=22970


Any tips for this character is appreciated, though I doubt this character even survives 50 ft.
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Old November 16, 2019, 01:22   #9
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The gorcrow is likely the forge room. You'll learn to spot the shape, though the darkness is generally a sign that it's likely it. As for that edain that's about as tough as it get. I'm not sure what to suggest other then a sprinting pacifist that'll probably get shot to death.
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Old November 16, 2019, 02:16   #10
Pete Mack
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That bad DEX and CON will hurt. You might want to try pacifist. (Put everything in stealth, detdction, and song, and sing lullabies.)
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