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Old December 14, 2007, 18:39   #1
Bovius
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Venting frustrations, and looking for suggestions (Z, potentially some spoilers)

It's been about 8 years since I first tried Zangband, and so far the score is something like Zangband: 153, Bovius: 0. Normally I realize I've failed because of a shortcoming on my part, but I'm a little frustrated with my most recent loss, and I'm looking for symphathizers or advice.

This is the first time that I've been in striking distance to complete the game with munchkin off. Playing as a Mindflayer Mage with Death/Sorcery, with:
* Clevel 41
* A complete set of resistances, and a few immunities to put on when the need arises
* Multiple copies of all spell books
* A healthy +43 speed with Haste Self on
* Maxed out int/wis/con
* >150 armor
* A few of my favorite staffs
* More +sp equipment then I've ever had up to this point.

All I really need is to level up to gain access to my top level spells, and I'm set, so I'm hovering around dlevel 80 looking for pits to clean out.

Now, granted, I did make a mistake. I'm used to thinking "Air Hounds" when I see 5 light blue Zs, so I cast Clairvoyance after coming out of a stairway to scout for pits. Nope - on dlevel 80, light blue Zs = Mana Hounds. I never got another action.

What can I do to tighten my game at this point? Angband variants seem to be a journey of 1000 miles where any randomly selected step could be your last. I don't know what I could have done to survive this scenario, other than teleporting away or leaving the floor instead of casting Clairvoyance. Some ideas:

* Get more speed. This seems unlikely to help - returns on investment past +43 are pretty slim.
* Increase stealth. My equipment layout ended up with no stealth bonuses, but I'm used to that not mattering at all at this point in the game.
* Never, ever fail to closely examine each line-of-sight monster and accurately assess risk when entering a new floor. See 1000 miles comment above.
* Dimension door into a safer location if there are any line-of-sight monsters on entering a new floor, regardless of percieved threat. The problem with this is that you don't necessarily know of any good places to hide until using Magic Mapping or Clairvoyance.
* Use a staff/scroll of *Destruction* when entering a new floor, every time. Hmm...this might actually be a feasible option. I was carrying four of said staffs and keeping them decently charged at time of death. The obvious drawback is losing potential loot nearby, although at that point I really only cared about artifacts.
* Stay at shallower dlevels until I've got GoI. This feels a little cheap, and doesn't guarantee that I won't have a suprise encounter with an out-of-depth critter.

What do you think?
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Old December 14, 2007, 18:49   #2
konijn_
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>Playing as a Mindflayer Mage with Death/Sorcery

What I think is that Mindflayers are really a challenge race. Try a Half Titan which only has a slightly smaller racial bonus and healthy con / hp.

Once you win with that, get back to Mindflayers.

And, of course you should have left the level and re-enter until everything is clear.

Cheers,
T.
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Old December 14, 2007, 23:08   #3
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Are mana hounds really that nasty thaht they could knock you flat just like that? I've never been that far before so I really don't know. That seems pretty ridiculous though.
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Old December 15, 2007, 00:59   #4
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Hmmm, of course you could also play Hellband for a change, which is a descendant of Z

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Old December 19, 2007, 06:38   #5
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that situation is a great example of how term windows can come in handy
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Old December 19, 2007, 08:12   #6
Pete Mack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bovius View Post
Now, granted, I did make a mistake. I'm used to thinking "Air Hounds" when I see 5 light blue Zs, so I cast Clairvoyance after coming out of a stairway to scout for pits. Nope - on dlevel 80, light blue Zs = Mana Hounds. I never got another action.

What can I do to tighten my game at this point? Angband variants seem to be a journey of 1000 miles where any randomly selected step could be your last. I don't know what I could have done to survive this scenario, other than teleporting away or leaving the floor instead of casting Clairvoyance. Some ideas:
I don't play Z, but...

Your idea of more stealth is good, but the idea of teleportation is terrible. You either want to immediately go upstairs, Teleport Level, or *Destruction* when you are in a dangerous situation like the above. Teleportation is pretty damn dangerous at dl 80.

The other thing you should do is to change the color of any monster that you find confusing. I have a big problem with The Tarrasque, and with Kavlax. Both have killed me in exactly the way you describe. I saw the Tarrasque as a Greater Basilisk, and I saw Kavlax as a bronze 'd' or something.

The solution is: Change the color to one you know is scary in monsters.txt, or using the preferences.

Usually that color is pink. (You may want to change Nexus Hounds to something else. Or change Air hounds to Green, like they are in almost every other variant.)
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Old December 23, 2007, 03:42   #7
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i like my solution better, use a term window to display all creatures in sight, it even works with detection so you can easily see whats around at a glance, it names all creatures including uniques
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Old February 1, 2008, 21:14   #8
Bovius
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Thumbs up The colors!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
I don't play Z, but...

Your idea of more stealth is good, but the idea of teleportation is terrible. You either want to immediately go upstairs, Teleport Level, or *Destruction* when you are in a dangerous situation like the above. Teleportation is pretty damn dangerous at dl 80.

The other thing you should do is to change the color of any monster that you find confusing. I have a big problem with The Tarrasque, and with Kavlax. Both have killed me in exactly the way you describe. I saw the Tarrasque as a Greater Basilisk, and I saw Kavlax as a bronze 'd' or something.

The solution is: Change the color to one you know is scary in monsters.txt, or using the preferences.

Usually that color is pink. (You may want to change Nexus Hounds to something else. Or change Air hounds to Green, like they are in almost every other variant.)
I like the color change idea a lot, and plan on using it in future runs. I have ended up resorting to *Destruction* when entering a dubious new floor, and it has paid off.

I also like the idea of a separate terminal window for visible monsters, but to be really useful, it should list counts and monster names, and let me sort out their positions in the main window. Sorting them by depth would be nice too, but that might be too spoilerific for new creatures. List should probably be uniques, then undefeated monsters, and then previously killed monsters sorted by depth, deepest first.
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Old February 1, 2008, 22:31   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konijn_ View Post
>Playing as a Mindflayer Mage with Death/Sorcery

What I think is that Mindflayers are really a challenge race. Try a Half Titan which only has a slightly smaller racial bonus and healthy con / hp.

Once you win with that, get back to Mindflayers.

And, of course you should have left the level and re-enter until everything is clear.

Cheers,
T.
A min-maxed mindflayer isn't that much of a challenge race in Heng (although I'm thinking paladin more than mage, and life magic more than death magic). That's what I trained my *band tactics with when playing with "all levels special" (2-6 vaults per level in Angband).

They get patience as their racial virtue, and patience is very easy to maximize (between digging out the Yeek starter dungeon for absurd amounts of gold, and properly practicing all early attack spells to minimize failure rate).

Hmm...but does a death/sorcery mage want to maximize virtues? This seems unlikely.
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