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Old June 15, 2009, 12:30   #1
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Newbie mage...

Hullo hullo. I just started playing a couple of days ago, feeling things out with a series of now-dead half-troll warriors. Made it to the 6th floor on the last one and starved to death on the way out.

I've been trying to play a mage - they're much more my style - but have been having incredible difficulty. Tried high elves and gnomes, with stats divided between INT and CON with a dash of WIS, but I can't even get past the first level of the dungeon. I'll run down a hallway and just be dead. I'll cast two magic missiles and die running to find a place where I can rest up my mana. Or I'll run into a confusion-using mushroom and be forced into it again and again until I die. Is there some trick to this that I'm missing? Any advice? Or should mages be left to the uber-elites?

Last edited by Azoth; June 15, 2009 at 12:43.
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Old June 15, 2009, 12:51   #2
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Old June 15, 2009, 14:01   #3
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There's no need to run around wildly while confused. Just take that first step. Once you're one square away from the stationary mushroom, just press 'keypad 5' (do nothing) several times or 'R' (rest) until the confusion wears off.
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Old June 15, 2009, 14:23   #4
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Ah, thanks for the link. I got a h-elf mage to level 7 and was doing real good, but I accidently walked into a mercenary in the town and died...
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Old June 15, 2009, 16:00   #5
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I recommend high-elf, spend your points evenly between STR, INT, and CON. You need STR for the carrying capacity, and if you get up to 18/50 INT, you'll start with 3 SP and 2 spells at level 1. Learn magic missile and detect monsters. I like CON for the extra hitpoints but it only makes a difference after you gain a few levels; some people prefer to put some points in DEX so it doesn't take as long to get multiple blows with a weapon. I would avoid WIS and CHR completely.

To prepare for the first trip, I always sell my dagger, buy one !CureSeriousWounds, if in stock buy a short/long bow and 10 arrows, and spend the rest on ?PhaseDoor. The dagger isn't worth a lot, but I find having no melee weapon whatsoever helps discourage me from meleeing for any reason against any target, and thus increases my likelihood of survival.

The following is just a re-hash of Eddie's diving advice, but this is how I play the first 750 feet. Go down to 50' and start wandering around, looking for down stairs. Use DMonsters to avoid dangerous monsters, but avoid monsters in general unless you need to get past them, or they will advance your character one or more levels. Avoid groups of monsters period. Listen for door crashing which would indicate one of the unique dogs is near. If you encounter Fang or Grip at level 1, you should be able to kill them with 2-3 magic missiles, some arrows, a few scrolls of phase door, and a little luck. Doing so will jump you to level 3.

Once you obtain level 3, learn Find Hidden Traps/Doors (it also reveals stairs). From then on, detect for Traps/Doors and Monsters to rapidly find the safest down stairs, and head straight there. Make only minor detours to pick up items you see along the way or kill very xp-valuable enemies. Good targets are usually any enemy with low hp that is out of depth: snakes, dragon flies, bats, lizards, some kobolds, nagas, dark elves, and mages (but be careful of casters and shooters). Keep avoiding groups and high hp targets, such as molds, jellies, hybrids and many-headed reptiles.

If you keep diving, running away, and killing the juicy targets, it's very possible to reach character level 9-10 before 750' (DL 15). At this point you can recall, buy spell books 2 and 3, learn a bunch of spells and cast them for xp. If you gain level 11 in town, then you can learn Identify, ID your loot, sell it, and get ready for dive #2.

This style of play is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it, but if slow, "safe" diving is more your thing, then much of the same advice applies. Just remember that most in-depth monsters are still a very real threat to low level mages even though they're not worth much xp. Don't get lulled into a (very!) false sense of complacency just because you're up against an enemy you out-level.

Last edited by Marble Dice; June 15, 2009 at 17:27.
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Old June 15, 2009, 17:49   #6
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Thanks for all the advice. Lost another 5-6 mages trying to follow it... damn shrieker mushrooms.

I think this game's too hardc0re for me.
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Old June 15, 2009, 18:10   #7
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Try a mixed class.
Paladins, Rogues and Rangers have decent fighting abilities and depending on race also good CON.
And you still have the pleasure of casting some spells. Well, not that much in the early game, but later on ...
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Old June 15, 2009, 18:44   #8
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I also support trying a rogue or paladin so you have some outs. Rogues are especially nice (except dwarf rogues) because their stealth allows them to move around and not wake up creatures near them as easily, so you can usually get the first ranged shot or stab and often 1-shot them. And they get detects and ID and a host of other mage spells, but with great combat ability.

I also *highly* recommend you don't actually "dive" like Marble was describing until you're pretty familiar with the game; it is advanced and a typical strategy for people on these forums, but we've played for a long time and know exactly what to expect.

I recommend clearing out a few iterations of 50' to 150' until you get the hang of it.

A couple keys to survival, whether or not you "dive":

1) Always have an escape available (phase door, teleport, ring of escaping, etc.)
2) Detect regularly so you can avoid nasty out-of-depth monsters or hordes of otherwise harmless monsters.
3) Sell all the loot you can find in the beginning until you can afford (or find) a Longbow and some arrows, even as a caster. Eventually you'll want to get that longbow enchanted to +9,+9 until you find an ego bow (i.e. "of Power", etc.)
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Old June 17, 2009, 04:00   #9
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Originally Posted by Azoth View Post
Thanks for all the advice. Lost another 5-6 mages trying to follow it... damn shrieker mushrooms.

I think this game's too hardc0re for me.
Nonsense, Azoth! Admittedly it is quite challenging at first. Mages, though, were my thing when I first picked up the game, and they still are. Once you learn what each monster can do, and how to effectively manage your resources, i.e. spells and gear, you'll get a little further every time. Don't try to wrap your head around every piece of certainly excellent advice to be found here; rather, grab two or three gems every time with a new mage. You'll eventually assimilate all you need to know. And then die again. And again. One day, you might win. That's the wonder of Angband. Embrace......
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Old June 17, 2009, 04:29   #10
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Weeell, got mage to level 17 and then got taken apart by Wormtongue's paralysis on DL12. My half-troll warrior then somehow ran into Wormtongue on DL3 half an hour later, got me down to single-digits, stole some gold and poofed.

Anyway, yeah, I hate Wormtongue. BUT my warrior just picked up some sandals of free action, so I'm happy.
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