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Old August 4, 2008, 23:55   #1
g. rodrigues
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Fast diving, a myth?

Hi all,

The title in the post is more a provocation to get somebody's attention and, if at all possible, get some advice.

I only play high-elf mages. Lately I've been trying to dive much faster than what I was used to, so a normal game goes like this: spend time in dl1 until getting to clvl 3 and get detect traps. Then keep diving until I get to clvl11 and get id (with a couple of recalls to get the other town books and sell any loot). By this time I am around dl15. Then I dive all the way to stat potion depth (~ dl35). If the mood is right, If I am getting bored, etc. I keep diving. Most of the times, if not always, what this means is that I get to dl35 with no elemental resistances, no FA, no rConf no nothing. So, naturally, if I even smell the least hint of trouble I bail out. Usually, this entails a *fair* amout of stair scumming (meaning, going up and down to land in a hopefully safer level) scrounging for nice loot on the dungeon floor or some easy kill, since basically anything out there can (insta)kill me.

To my surprise, until now almost all of my deaths have been of the "inevitable" kind: when recalling back to the dungeon, I land right in the middle of a pack of gravity hounds or nether hounds or whatever-stupid-idiot hounds, BOOM I am dead. With the usually low amount of hps, they donīt even have to breathe, just claw me to death. Or I sleep somewhere and some crazed Emperor Wight or Death Drake, fast as lightning, comes face to face and nether bolts me to death. Now the frustrating thing is that this happened in all my last 5 or 6 games where I have reached stat gain depth.

So the natural question, is this kind of diving suicidal? The people that dive fast, what precautions do they take? How do you save yourself from the boredom of yo-yoing through the levels and actually kill something worthy (of loot at least)?
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Old August 5, 2008, 12:40   #2
dstyle
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Generally, I don't dive beyond dlev 25 or so without having FA and SI. Also at that point make it top priority to find an armor of Resistance (even if I have to buy it at the black market). I think that being at dlev 35 without rbase and FA is suicidal.

Rconf and Rblind, you can get by without, as long as you carry plenty of CCW potions and at least 2 Teleport staffs. But if you're spending all of your time teleporting, you're probably too deep. By nature, a mage has to dive more slowly than a warrior, priest, paladin, etc. Of course, remember to detect on every new screen, get telepathy if you can, etc, etc, and all the usual. Good luck.
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Old August 6, 2008, 06:16   #3
Zero
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Hey there, welcome to the forums.

First, let me address something dstyle wrote:

> By nature, a mage has to dive more slowly than a warrior, priest, paladin, etc.

I disagree. I think mages can dive faster than any other class because the ease of detection and nice escapes allows a greater degree of safety, IMO.

Okay, now getting to the point of fast diving...

Just today, as it happens, I started a new high elf mage (to slack off with while at work). I only created one today, and starting from CL 1 in the town when I arrived for work, I was CL 33 at DL 98 with all mage books and some nice gear when I left. So, power diving is not a myth.

I was like you until just a few months ago. I've been playing Angband for over 10 years, but never came anywhere near DL 98, and would play a single character for a week or more just to get to stat-gain. Then I read kandrc's post (#9) in the thread "Mage's SP", and just couldn't believe that what he was describing could actually be done. But, for the hell of it, I gave it a shot, and died... a lot. I realize now that while his advice was very good, taking an absolute literal interpretation of "take every down staircase" was wrong, so after perfecting my technique, I decided to post my own version of power-diving instructions in the thread "How to Keep Your Mage Alive". The most important advice is to know (1) what items to have for diving, and (2) what monsters give good XP. Because of this, I'll repeat the relevant items and name some good monsters here:
Code:
10x   !CCW                Recovery from spell/breath-caused confusion and blindness
5x    !RLL                In case a Ghost sneaks up on you
0-10x !Speed              If you can find any in black market or dungeon
1-2x  -Teleportation      Essential once Dark Hounds and Umber Hulks start showing up
10x   ?Magic Mapping      Being able to see if monsters can get to you, or if phase door is a possible escape is a major advantage
1x    -Object Location    Makes finding stat potions and mage books easier
5x    ?Recharging         To recharge -Teleportation and -Object Location

Snaga
Cave Orc
Hill Orc
Wolf
White Wolf
Light Hound
Dark Hound
Earth Hound
Air Hound
Vibration Hound
Cave troll
Half-troll
Olog
Water troll
Gravity Hound
Impact Hound
Inertia Hound
Young/Mature/Ancient blue/bronze/green/white/black/gold/red dragon
Vrock
Mumak
Nether Hound
I don't drop much below DL 20 without FA, as Ghouls will kill you, and even Illusionists can also. The nice thing is that there are a lot of different items that can give FA, including dwarven armor, westernesse weapons, defender weapons, gondolin weapons, =FA, boots and gloves of FA, and many artifacts, so it shouldn't take long to find something that gives FA. If you're not playing a high-elf, then see invisible is also necessary.

Also, one thing that I must point out is that I play on a 1600x1200 monitor that lets me see the whole dungeon on one screen. I read one ?Magic Mapping and can then see the whole level. Some consider this cheating. I don't know if I'd go that far, but it does definitely have an impact on gameplay. In the next release, effects like object detection will have a limited range, which will make the game harder. Also, I disable connected stairs, because I really don't like the idea of stair scumming. However, at stat-gain depth, you'll have enough gold to just keep recalling, so it doesn't make that much difference. What I'd really like to see is the level feelings removed completely, but with the autoscummer stuck on.

Anyway, it sounds to me like your "inevitable" deaths are not so inevitable. I don't think I've ever died from recalling into a hound pack. Make sure you have a -Teleportation and some !CCW on hand in case you recall into something nasty. As for your comment about sleeping and being nether bolted by an Emperor Wight, that's your fault, unfortunately. The first thing I do when I enter a new level (assuming there's nothing in sight that I have to deal with first) is read ?Magic Mapping. Being able to see if something nasty is blocked by walls or not lets me know where it's safe to sleep. And I'm constantly casting Detect Monsters and Detect Invisible, so I always know what I'm going to be facing.

One more thing: do you use run macros? I always used to just hold down a movement key, and would die when I ran into something that could kill me in melee in a few turns. Now that I've switched to run macros, I am always disturbed when encountering a monster. And I've found that it's faster, too. I use the x key followed by a numpad key to run. I used to never run, and now would never go back. It's faster, and much safer.

P.S. Creeping Adamantite Coins are overpowered. F*ckers are as tough as Bolg/Azog. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Last edited by Zero; August 6, 2008 at 06:21.
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Old August 6, 2008, 11:26   #4
g. rodrigues
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Thanks for the heads up. Just a couple of points.

- I agree with you that dying to an Emperor Wight (or Tarrasque in a vault, or...) while going to sleep is careless on my part. Its one of those risks
you take: most of the times it goes well but then...

- The situation with hounds is really inevitable. Since I land (either from going up/down a stair or recalling) and... I am dead. No time to react. It happened with gravity hounds, with nether hounds, etc. In the latter case I had like 300 hps (I was clvl 29 around dl55). But I had no nether resist, was surrounded, my AC was probably too low, etc. No amount of supplies can save you. It is frustrating, but I guess its just the risk of being at such depths.

- I have to stress that these deaths, never had anything to do with lack of necessary resistances. I only remember one death due to lack of FA. None to lack elemental resistances. It was simply the case that I had too low hps to sustain an attack from the nasties. Of course the cure, or my cure, was being completely paranoid, staying around the stairs, detect everything in sight and retreat at the least sign of trouble. As I said, this strategy entailed a fair amount of stair scumming.

- From the list of supplies, it strikes me that I really need to carry some detect object thingies. Detect Enchantment is only at dl30.

- What do you mean by run macros? I always move around running: left finger on shift, right finger on the numpad.
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Old August 6, 2008, 15:48   #5
Zikke
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I think by "run macros" he just means, "use the run feature instead of holding down a movement key".


At what dlvl do you usually start finding the non-standard mage books on dives?
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Old August 6, 2008, 16:29   #6
Zero
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You should never be on DL 55 for more time than is necessary to create a down staircase to DL 56. When you consider the danger you face at that level, you might as well just dive to 98.

DL 55: Good floor loot, and lots of things that can kill you in one hit.
DL 98: Great floor loot, and lots of things that can kill you in one hit.

I generally go no lower than DL 41 (for ancient dragons) before diving to 98. And even then, I'd have high CON and good gear. The thing is that Mature/Ancient Multi-Hued, Greater Basilisks, and Drolems can one-shot you if you don't have poison/nether resist, which I frequently don't have. So I tend to hover around 30-41 using object detection to find stat potions, and kill high-XP monsters.

I just learned yesterday that CL 33 is a critical level, because you get WoD if/when you get Kelek's, and WoD is very useful at DL 98 for collecting artifacts from vaults.

>I think by "run macros" he just means, "use the run feature instead of holding down a movement key".

Exactly. I removed the shift-numpad run macros when I rewrote my .prf file. If I hadn't, I probably would have just learned to use shift-numpad, as rodrigues does.

>At what dlvl do you usually start finding the non-standard mage books on dives?

Uhh... 1?

After much internal conflict, I decided to use the autoscummer. For a very long time, I considered it cheating, but now I think it actually makes the game harder, because you tend to get vaults a lot, and they leak. The variation in monster strength means that when you're looking for stat potions at DL 30, you'll more often get monsters spawning that can kill you in one hit. Ultimately, I think it just makes the game more interesting, but I've played with the autoscummer off, and believe it would not make much difference in the long run.

How quickly you can find Mordenkainen's at stat gain, and Kelek's at 98, depends on whether you have the autoscummer on. Even if it's off, you just need to explore/scum longer until you find it. If you make it to CL 33 and haven't yet found Mordenkainen's, you might want to try diving, as carefully as you can, until you see it and can get it. Be careful though, as you can die very easily if you don't have nether and poison resistance.

[EDIT] I don't know what level Mordenkainen's is supposed to start showing up on. When I find it, it's always either as an out-of-depth item generated randomly, or it's in a vault and I Teleport Other anything in the vault that I can't handle and hope some novice rogue doesn't pick it up before I can get to it. If you do see Mordenkainen's in a vault, take a look at the monsters in the vault to see what is capable of picking it up, and keep track of those monsters.

Last edited by Zero; August 6, 2008 at 16:39.
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Old August 7, 2008, 12:11   #7
Garrie
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your method sounds like mine... I agree with the posts by rodrigus that WOR into room and dying before you have had a turn is an inevitable death as is hitting a > and being breathed on by 25 gravity hounds before you can think "gee this aint too good a room to stand around in"...

Your concept of > to DL35-DL41 then chill till you have the resists / stats / mana to hit more > then >>>>>DL98 is a lightbulb moment for me. Will have to drop Dwarven Fortress for a bit to see if this concept changes my results.
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Old August 11, 2008, 00:47   #8
ChodTheWacko
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I've tried doing the insta-dive down to 98.
You then face a HUGE threat of very fast monsters that can walk through walls!

They are a huge threat - you can't teleport them away, and teleport doesn't save you for long as they just keep charging through walls. And it happens all the time. Etheral dragons, several uniques. I don't see how you can survive for long. What do you do, leave the level?

- Frank
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Old August 11, 2008, 02:56   #9
Zero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChodTheWacko View Post
I've tried doing the insta-dive down to 98.
You then face a HUGE threat of very fast monsters that can walk through walls!

They are a huge threat - you can't teleport them away, and teleport doesn't save you for long as they just keep charging through walls. And it happens all the time. Etheral dragons, several uniques. I don't see how you can survive for long. What do you do, leave the level?

- Frank
Hmmm... Well, I've dived to 98 a few times, and there never seemed to be enough of those things to be a problem. Whenever one would step outside a wall, I'd teleport it away. Maybe I just got lucky, but it doesn't seem that way to me. Make sure you have enough mana to keep yourself perpetually hasted, and try for high stealth. Collect -Banishment and ?Banishment and ?Mass Banishment and -*Destruction* and ?*Destruction* until you find Kelek's for the spell versions. Also, keep in mind that line-of-sight rules still apply, even for monsters that can move through walls:
Code:
####
@
####
   L



####
@
##L#



####
@L
####
I don't think that lich would be able to do anything to you until the last frame, and they do always seem to step into the corridor in situations like that, where they are coming in at a shallow angle relative to the corridor, or, to put it another way, when they occupy a corridor wall tile that isn't adjacent to you. Even if that lich is getting two actions for each of yours, you're still safe if you can step left. The lich will first have to step left, within the corridor's wall, to make up for your move, and then it will step into the corridor. You then get to move, and can hit it with a wand of TO.

If the monster is coming at you from a steep angle relative to the corridor...
Code:
###
 @
###

  L
then I'd suggest you phase door as it gets close and use the strategy above.

Last edited by Zero; August 11, 2008 at 03:16.
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Old August 27, 2008, 04:16   #10
aeneas
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You have to get really good at detection and avoidance. A lot of what you're describing is avoidable once you have enough experience. A lot of the rest makes me think you're not diving fast _enough_. One thing about diving is that it does mean that some low-frequency events can kill you without any way of avoiding them. But they are unlikely to happen to you in a really short game. On the other hand, if you play out of depth, but still slowly, eventually your number will come up. Once you've decided to dive you need to recognize that it's a committal thing- don't dive to a level that can kill you by chance and then spend 200,000 turns there- you won't get strong enough fast enough to avoid getting whomped.

Also, you have to die a _lot_ to learn how to dive. That's a big part of the point- you get better by dying, and then figuring out how you died. Diving lets you die a lot in a short period of time. There's a lot of skill, or at least pattern recognition in Angband, and it takes a while to pick it up. I think it took me about a year (maybe more) to get reasonably good at diving and I was playing a fair bit at that time.

I also think that Mage is the wrong class to learn to dive with. I'd start with a HE Warrior and learn to get to 2500' really fast consistently. Then I'd switch to Ranger or Rogue to learn more about the deep dungeon. Also, emphasize Con above just about everything else (obviously excluding real essentials). The biggest question is, can you survive the situation you're in for _one turn_ so that you get the chance to read ?tele_level, or something like that. That's all about HP. and if you're diving you will never have enough of them.

EDIT: Oh, and stealth is quite important too- as Cliff Stamp once said you are dead if you have poor stealth if you are really diving and deep. You just can't survive if everything comes for you the instant you show your face down there.
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