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Old March 9, 2018, 16:15   #1
Moving Pictures
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What am I doing wrong?

I'm growing frustrated, because I can't seem to get past levels 40, no matter what I play.

The problem: the characters go into a level, and come back with less stuff and less experience - level drainers and acid being the culprits.

Mage - kaput on 30, coudn't use magic to defeat critters, couldn't battle toe-to-toe.
Rogue - got it to 20, dead.
Fighter - died, couldn't deal with magic, couldn't get goodies.
Ranger 1 - best so far, got to 50, but died after being level-drained a bunch of times and blasted by gravity hounds. No resistance possible. Oh, and a level 70 critter was wandering around, outside a vault.
Priest - no idea why good weapons are banned. Couldn't fight, couldn't do much magic-wise.
Ranger 2 - generally comes back form a level 20,000 xp less than it went in. Crown of the magi, which is supposed to protect, doesn't. Amulet of acid resistance, doesn't. What few goodies it has are now -2 or some stuff, due to acid burns. Oh, and half of what it runs into summons a bunch of critters that are nasty, and there's been ONE scroll of banishment. it's at level 36 and floundering.

I get this is supposed to be a challenge, but there is no way, as I see, a level X character can be in a Level X situation.


(edit)

I know rangers are good with bows: both have had some solid X4/power items. So the usual battle plan is speed/bow/keep distance. Works well, except when overwhelmed by numbers/summoners.

But for the most part, the standard battle involves

*confusion*
(zap rod of curing)
*multiple damage/attacks*
(attack)
*multiple damage/attacks/confusion*
(zap rod of curing)
*multiple damage/attacks/confusion*
(quaff potion of healing)
*multiple damage/attacks/confusion/something drains a bunch of experience and/or a stat*
(zap rod of curing)
*multiple damage/attacks/confusion/something spews acid, something useful degraded/more damage*
(use staff of teleport, quaff a potion of restore levels/mushroom of recovery)

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Last edited by Moving Pictures; March 9, 2018 at 16:32.
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Old March 9, 2018, 17:23   #2
Sideways
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Mages are weak in the early game and strong in the late game, so getting a mage to level 30 is a good start.

Priests are probably the simplest class to play; you can rely on orb of draining for offense, even against deep monsters until you find a good melee weapon, and use portal/teleport other/healing prayers/detection prayers as appropriate. Zero-fail Holy Word is really powerful.

I usually hang around in the dungeon level 32-42 range for long enough that by the time I'm done (usually clvl 38-ish) I'm really strong and can handle everything at that depth comfortably. What many other experienced players do, though, is dive through that area (and indeed most of the dungeon) speedily, detect a lot so they know what they're running into, avoid fights too big for them and grab deep-dungeon loot. The somewhat counterintuitive thing is that both of these approaches probably work better than the "intuitive" approach of a steady but not particularly fast descent.

The general rules: try to fight dangerous monsters one at a time, regardless of your class; don't try to kill everybody you meet, unless you're really strong for the depth (like a slow grinding player might be), and even then make exceptions for totally out-of-depth guys; teleport other is safer than teleport (unless you're fighting lots of monsters at once) because teleport can land you in a new bad situation, but teleport is still heaps safer than dying. Creating anti-summoning corridors lets you pick your terrain and reduces the chance you'll end up fighting more monsters than you'd like; and hockey sticks are really strong to the extent that players like me find them too unsporting/exploity to use.
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Old March 9, 2018, 17:32   #3
Derakon
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You need to be aware of what's around you. Mages, rogues, and rangers should be regularly casting Detect Monsters (or later, Reveal Monsters, which shows invisible monsters as well). Priests, paladins, and warriors should be using Detect Evil (warriors have to use staves). If there's a nasty monster somewhere, just avoid them! There's an infinitude of dungeon levels so there's no reason to clear every one.

You mention using Rods of Curing. Use Potions of Cure Critical Wounds instead; they succeed 100% of the time, and restore some HP as well.

For level drainers and enemies that damage armor, avoid melee range. You should always be carrying a big stack of scrolls of Phase Door, regardless of what class you play as; use them to stay away from enemies with nasty melee, and wear the enemy down with missiles, wands, or spells. Speaking of which, high magic device skill gives you extra damage from wands, rods, activatable equipment, etc. Mages get a lot of extra mileage out of devices thanks to their high magic device skill, to the point that devices are often more powerful than their attack spells.

Upload a character dump to the ladder and post a link here and we can give you more advice.
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Old March 9, 2018, 17:47   #4
Moving Pictures
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
You need to be aware of what's around you. Mages, rogues, and rangers should be regularly casting Detect Monsters (or later, Reveal Monsters, which shows invisible monsters as well). Priests, paladins, and warriors should be using Detect Evil (warriors have to use staves). If there's a nasty monster somewhere, just avoid them! There's an infinitude of dungeon levels so there's no reason to clear every one.
Doing that already. MAG MAB MCG are kinda ingrained in the fingers, for mages/rangers.

And to the previous reply: if I'm being murdered at 40, how is going down deeper going to avoid being murdered?

Quote:

You mention using Rods of Curing. Use Potions of Cure Critical Wounds instead; they succeed 100% of the time, and restore some HP as well.
That presumes they exist. Potions vanish, rods do not.

Quote:
For level drainers and enemies that damage armor, avoid melee range. You should always be carrying a big stack of scrolls of Phase Door, regardless of what class you play as; use them to stay away from enemies with nasty melee, and wear the enemy down with missiles, wands, or spells.
Doing that, too. Doesn't stop being mugged by level-drainers that come through the wall, or various nasties that summon level--drainers while the character is stunned/confused.

Quote:


Speaking of which, high magic device skill gives you extra damage from wands, rods, activatable equipment, etc. Mages get a lot of extra mileage out of devices thanks to their high magic device skill, to the point that devices are often more powerful than their attack spells.

Upload a character dump to the ladder and post a link here and we can give you more advice.
Don't know how to do that.
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Old March 9, 2018, 18:49   #5
Sideways
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Originally Posted by Moving Pictures View Post
And to the previous reply: if I'm being murdered at 40, how is going down deeper going to avoid being murdered?
You get better items deeper down, which will make you stronger and less prone to being murdered; and by completing the game faster you have less time to get murdered in. The idea behind the slow, grinding approach is basically that no monster you run into should ever be capable of killing you in a single turn. The idea behind the diving approach is that you accept some monsters at your depth will be capable of killing you in a single turn, but that by detecting enough you avoid running into them.

If you're deep enough that you're seeing monsters potentially capable of killing you in a single turn (which for non-grinders starts happening after 40), then you're already taking the risk that comes with diving, viz. that a single moment's carelessness might mean insta-death. That's not to say that that risk won't be greater deeper in the dungeon; but the reward will also be greater, and you'll have less time to be careless in. Watch Ingwe and see how he does it.

No matter how you play, at some point you'll have to fight monsters capable of killing you in 2 turns; and it's absolutely critical that your character has a ready, safe, figured-out way to handle fights like that. (This is simplest for a priest: heal every time you take enough damage to be killable in 1 turn.) Depending on how you approach the game (and how much damage you can take), you may either have lots of fights against monsters like that, or only two; but you can't avoid fights like that entirely.

Needless to say, never fight two monsters capable of killing you in 2 turns at the same time.
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Old March 9, 2018, 19:04   #6
Derakon
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To add onto what Sideways said, there will be individual monsters capable of killing you in 1 turn at some point in your game, unless you take things really painfully slowly. And there will always be scenarios where you are at risk of being killed in 1 turn because of multiple enemies. A big part of being effective in the mid- and late-game in Angband is learning to recognize when those scenarios might potentially develop, and taking steps to avoid them.

Think a few turns ahead and consider what would happen if everything went wrong. For example, what if that dragon decides to breathe next turn? I'd be at low health; do I have healing items that could heal me enough if it decided to breathe a second time? Or can I get out of line-of-sight? If I'm not able to break LOS in one turn, maybe I should spend this turn getting into a position where I can break LOS in one turn, so that if it does breathe, I can just step around the corner and have more time to recover.

On a different note, one of the tools that's been obliquely mentioned in this thread but not emphasized nearly enough is Teleport Other. If you see a single nasty enemy coming for you, you can teleport it away. This is almost always safer than teleporting yourself, since you don't really care where the enemy ends up, while you very much care where you end up after teleporting yourself. No matter what class you play as, you should be leaning hard on Teleport Other to avoid fighting unpleasant enemies.

Also, you mentioned being interrupted during an orc bash. You aren't holding down the direction keys, are you? That's an extremely easy way to die. Better to take an extra 30 seconds killing easy enemies than lose the last few hours' worth of play because something nasty killed you before you could react.
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Old March 9, 2018, 20:43   #7
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#1 rule: it's not "can kill it or not". It's "do I afford to engage with it right now right here? "
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Old March 9, 2018, 17:49   #8
Philip
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I suspect there are two parts of the issue, specifically the strategic problem of fighting too much, which you'll have to reorient your play to avoid, and the secondary problem of not having an intuition of which monsters it is you're not supposed to fight, which is hard to gain other than through dying a lot.
There is another thing that struck me, specifically that your mages and rangers take stat/xp damage? This should never happen. Perhaps you don't know which monsters drain xp yet (though I think probing is still in the game), but you should not be next to monsters as a mage, and you should not be next to anything that could possibly do anything interesting to you as a ranger, at least until you have a handle on the game.

Your problem with the mage seems to be a mixture of expecting to kill things (don't fight things if teleporting away is safer, and detect like your life depends on it, because it does) and not having some devices on hand to supplement mana. A couple rods can kill weak things for you, and a high-powered wand can be recharged and used on tougher prey. Only use mana to finish things off. Detect, and if you haven't seen the monster before, and don't think you could kill with rods, avoid it, and teleport if needed. Then detect some more.

Rogue is as before, except the category of things you can reasonably kill is quite different, and you replace a lot of teleportation with stealth. Continue detecting though.

Everyone will have a character die to gravity hounds at some point, they're pretty horrible. Leave the level if you see a pack of those, leave the level if you see a dlvl70 monster.

Priest has to pick battles carefully, which is a bit harder when your detection is mediocre. Priest has three phases - in the early game they are weak, but CLW is ok and they get Portal early enough. Spam CLW and Portal, kill evil pack monsters like orcs and such, using buffs, healing, and bad melee. At some point, you will hopefully find some good +WIS and get enough SP and low enough failrate to reliably pull off a couple Orbs of Draining, at which point you can start taking on some of the squishier evil monsters. At some point, you get low-fail% healing and a good deal of mana, and you get to pick whether you just nuke stuff with Orb of Draining (it's never bad, and you can kill Morgoth with it if you're patient) and 0%fail Heal when bad things happen. You still need to run away a lot, but Priest Books 5 and 6 are amazing. They let you know when to run away, and they let you run away.

Warriors are tough. Their detection is bad, and their escapes are bad. Their only real virtue is being able to dive fast and take a bit of punishment. They're pretty good for learning what is dangerous, because a lot of dangerous stuff will just barely not kill them, and you can run a lot of them in the time it takes to run one mage. If magic is frequently a problem, you probably either aren't doing good for escapes, or you're not positioning yourself for fights too well.

Acid damage is nasty, but avoiding monsters that do melee acid should prevent your AC from getting too bad. Soon enough everything you use will not be damaged by acid, so it'll just be scrolls and such. Also watch out for melee disenchantment, it's going to start turning up around that point.

EDIT: You make a character dump in the character screen or in the death screen, the command should appear somewhere, you upload it in the ladder menu.

Potions should not vanish faster than the Temple can restock them. If they do, your problem is probably that you were fighting the wrong things.

Detect Evil (or Reveal Monsters) will show you every monster that can come through a wall. If you're going to be attacked by one, post up in the middle of a room somewhere, or just teleport away. ESP would also help, though it's rather rare.

Nothing should ever be summoned while you are stunned or confused. Either you were fighting multiple dangerous monsters at once (don't do this), some kind of spellcaster who is faster than you (also don't do this), or you were stunned or confused and didn't clear the status instantly (drink CCW). The problem is not the monsters getting summoned while you're indisposed, the problem is that you didn't prevent this situation earlier, through detection + evasion, teleportation, stealth, or tactics/positioning. Also don't fight things that summon undead and don't fight undead, it is never worth it.

Last edited by Philip; March 9, 2018 at 17:57.
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Old March 9, 2018, 17:56   #9
Ingwe Ingweron
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Learn by example. Though a little dated since they are on previous versions of the game, watch the series of "Let's Play Angband" by Fizzix on YouTube. That's what upped my game initially.

Thanks to Gwarl, you can also watch live play on angband.live. If you're watching someone good at the game, you'll learn a lot.

Also, an advertisement to play on angband.live. If you do, others can watch your play and give you some advice if you want it.
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Old March 9, 2018, 18:26   #10
Moving Pictures
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There is another thing that struck me, specifically that your mages and rangers take stat/xp damage? This should never happen.
Always/frequently. Wraiths, who seem to like wandering through walls during an orc-bash; various "gaze to drain experience" critters, too. Ninjas that love to poison to drain strength (try wandering around a dungeon with any gear and a 9 STR), that sort of thing.


Quote:
Perhaps you don't know which monsters drain xp yet (though I think probing is still in the game), but you should not be next to monsters as a mage, and you should not be next to anything that could possibly do anything interesting to you as a ranger, at least until you have a handle on the game.
Hard to avoid a master vampire that moves through walls, even with a helmet that has ESP. Couple of wraiths/dreads do that too. Death knights that move at 30 or something: hard to get away from those. Especially when something has blown up the wand of teleport, and spells are impossible because ... well, confused. Always.

Quote:
Your problem with the mage seems to be a mixture of expecting to kill things (don't fight things if teleporting away is safer, and detect like your life depends on it, because it does) and not having some devices on hand to supplement mana. A couple rods can kill weak things for you, and a high-powered wand can be recharged and used on tougher prey. Only use mana to finish things off. Detect, and if you haven't seen the monster before, and don't think you could kill with rods, avoid it, and teleport if needed. Then detect some more.
This presumes that there's rods that will do the trick. Right now, ranger lvl 38 has rod of cold ball (1), a buncha frost and cold bolts for hydras/vampires. Psuedodragon armor that pumps out light/dark (which seems to work better than the red dragon that gave out 200 points of oh, crap, buddy resists that....)

Quote:
Priest has to pick battles carefully, which is a bit harder when your detection is mediocre. Priest has three phases - in the early game they are weak, but CLW is ok and they get Portal early enough. Spam CLW and Portal, kill evil pack monsters like orcs and such, using buffs, healing, and bad melee. At some point, you will hopefully find some good +WIS and get enough SP and low enough failrate to reliably pull off a couple Orbs of Draining,
Quote:
If magic is frequently a problem, you probably either aren't doing good for escapes, or you're not positioning yourself for fights too well.
I figure its best to put the "range" in ranger. As above, the general plan of attack is to blast arrows from afar (with a haste self/quaff a speed potion, if needed.) General protocol is to load up on 120 arrows, min, in town, before going down. And I generally use almost all of those on a level.


Quote:
ESP would also help, though it's rather rare.
Both rangers have had ESP in one way or the other. Didn't help the first one, ain''t helping this one much either. Previous chars have had the teleport cloak, this one hasn't. And what are the chances of not one, but TWO staves of teleport being destroyed/drained on one level? Let me know, because it happened today. And that left me with no "out" at all. (A phase door is useless when you're sitting at 80 hp, and something moving at holycrap is coming at you while your'e still trying to quaff a CCW that will juuuuust restore the damage the bad guy is about to do to you.)
PS: the above is why I'm stocking six rods of recall.... because sorry, not taking THAT chance.

Quote:
Also don't fight things that summon undead and don't fight undead, it is never worth it.
So, scum around level 5, for the rest of all time? I mean, seriously, at some point, undead and summoners enter the pic. I tried like hell to avoid The Enchantress, but had to go toe-to-toe with her and an entire playground of nasties. Chewed up a bunch of healing potions, and a restore mana. And I thought the idea was that you had to mangle the baddies to get the decent weaponry and stuff just to survive down further?
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