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Old April 8, 2019, 10:42   #1
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My first serious warrior experience

I haven't played Angband for the last few years (kids). I thought I'd learn v4 with a simple approach, and try a warrior. And, as (IIRC) Derakon is often touting Half-Trolls as the best choice, I went full brute and rolled a Half-Troll warrior.

I enjoyed it at first, my HP and strength meant that I had to worry about very little.

My experiences/learning:
  • You basically can cast spells, but you have a rod per spell, so they are less inventory efficient (not as much less as you might imagine, as most spellbooks only have a couple of must-use spells).
  • Rods get a lot more useful then you first imagine because you can carry multiple of the same type, and weight isn't an issue (for a warrior)
  • High strength meant I could carry 40x Phase Door no problem
  • Detection was a big shortfall. I ended up carrying Beruthiel Crown (heavily cursed but gives Telepathy) for detection.
  • Lack of reliable access to double resists - I could see the greater dragons were going to fry me quickly, even with ~800 HP at lvl 38
  • Lack of Stealth - never really hurt me. I guess Stealth is sort of an odd counter balance to killing speed. If you can kill things as quickly as they wake up, who cares if they wake up often/soon? (Side point: I don't know if v4 has any changes to make stealth assist killing things - I think some 'first blow' advantage would be great)
  • After ~2000ft I started consuming CCW and !Healing and !RestoreLifeLevels faster than I was finding them and it felt my days were numbered at that point.... so I basically gave up and died. My HP kept my 'ahead of the curve' until I encountered nether monsters and tougher uniques.
  • Most importantly, I don't see a good reason to not play a Half-troll on most classes. Lack of Int and Wis is just until you find potions, and your extra HP make up for that for all but pure spell casters (maybe even then). Sustain strength is the best sustain (imho) the regen is quite handly, and the +HitDice is the ultimate - they help you in every situation at every stage of the game, and ultimately no amount of !Con actually gives you more Hit Dice - Half Trolls will always win there.
  • Hence I'm now playing a Half-Troll Paladin and expect to have the best of both worlds - playing the same way as a warrior until I find !Wis and powerful prayerbooks.

Interested to hear other people's Warrior experiences, strategies (esp post 2000 ft) and desired changes, if any.
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Old April 8, 2019, 12:27   #2
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I havent played v4 much, but generally speaking you are right with all of your obesravtions.

Half troll is indeed a good choice for any class, even more so since their regeneration also applies to mana.

A high level paladin is indeed a warrior with spells. The only advantage the warrior has is the very early game where his superior starting stats for str/dex/con make an impact. That said, an early impact is generally more valuable than a late one.

From what you write, I assume you play relatively slowly. I think that if you get more efficient to the point where it takes you a long afternoon to win with a character, you will find that your perspective on some of these evaluations changes.
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Old April 8, 2019, 19:52   #3
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I would perhaps dispute the notion that lack of stealth didn't hurt you - as far as I can tell, you died because you weren't able to sufficiently control your fights (running out of consumables is an indicator that you were either unable to control your fights, or you were simply picking fights with the wrong monsters), and stealth is a critical component of controlling fights (along with escapes and TO). Half-Trolls remain probably the best all-around race (well, High-Elves and Dunedain are pretty good), though, since Regen is very powerful, and hp is nice. If you look at stealth as a factor in killing things, it is mostly useless. It makes fights near other monsters a bit easier, and it allows you to pick where you are when the fight starts, but that's it. However, killing things is not the goal of V.
Well, it kind of is. Killing Morgoth (and, before that, Sauron) is the goal of V. There isn't anything else you *necessarily* need to kill in V (notably, Lord Tom actually managed to win V while only killing 4 monsters, two of which were accidental and not critical to the win, as described in this thread

I think that, for each character, there are a couple basic categories of monster.
The first is monsters which are easy to kill, can't really kill you, have a drop (really any drop will do), and aren't a serious risk to your supply of consumables (either through forcing use or through item destruction. These are the monsters you will actively seek out in order to kill them.
The second is monsters which don't really pose any threat (to your life or consumable supply) but drop nothing or gold (certain monsters might be worth enough XP to make fighting them worthwhile, but I don't really believe in that). There is no real reason to fight these, but also no reason not to, really. If they're in your way, you simply kill them to get them out of your way.
The third is monsters which you can't afford to fight. These are monsters who have disenchantment attacks, can destroy precious consumables, or can force the use of consumables (some exceptions apply, there are uniques it will be worthwhile to use a couple consumables on to make them go away). You need some way to avoid fighting these, or else your character will frequently make negative progress, and will suffer a death of a thousand cuts.
The fourth is monsters which are a serious threat to your life. Generally through either out-speeding the player, or with attacks that take away all your hp, or by disabling the player somehow (confusing melee), these monsters have a chance of killing you if you fight them. You must never fight them, or you will die eventually (if you take a 1% chance of dying 100 times, you will probably die, and Angband is a rather long game, with many chances to die).

One basic tradeoff at play in Angband is usually that the more speed and hp you have, the fewer monsters are in group 4, the more speed, healing, and damage output you have, the more monsters are in groups 1 and 2, and the more resists you have, the fewer monsters are in groups 3 and 4. All classes are able to fight decently well at range, though some are better than others. Fighting at range mostly moves monsters which would otherwise be in group 3 to groups 1 and 2, occasionally even group 4 monsters become less scary.
Another important tradeoff, however, relates to how effectively players can use these groups. Detection, stealth, and monster removal (TO, Banish, Destruct) make it easier to target monsters in group 1 without running into groups 3 and 4, and those plus teleportation (Teleport, Teleport Level) make it easier to avoid monsters in groups 3 and 4 (and 2, though you won't need it as much).
Warriors, who have a lot of hp and damage output, will find the distribution of monsters between these groups quite friendly, at least until late in the game (by which point they have ok, if unreliable detection and removal). However, they are penalized in the options that would allow them to make use of this distribution. Mages have to be more selective in their fights, but are also very much able to be.
As you go deeper, monsters get more likely to be in groups 3 and 4, but of course the loot is better there too. Generally you want to strike a balance, where you are as deep as you can afford to be. If you have good enough control, that can involve being at depths where 80% of the monsters are "do not fight under any condition", simply because the "do not fight" part is so easy.

If you have trouble with the Paladin, I recommend a Rogue. Half-troll Rogues have serviceable stealth, and while you will have trouble using your SP for anything but detection spells, Rogues have very good detection spells, so it's still doing a lot for you. So long as you're sufficiently selective in your fights (which with detection, stealth, and perhaps a staff of Teleport should be possible, though you will have to learn which fights are worthwhile with trial and error), you should find yourself more in control. The main weakness of Rogues is that they are bad at killing things, but Half-Trolls are good at killing things, and if you're making it into the late-game, you can switch to a class that's more powerful there.

Full casters are squishy and frequently bad at killing things, but 0% fail is really important, since it's the only non-consumable perfectly reliable effect, and in a game as long as angband, that reliability is extremely valuable.
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Old April 8, 2019, 22:28   #4
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Phillip pretty much covers everything. But death by exhaustion (running out of healing, or TO charges, or mana) means you are killing monsters you should avoid. Plan on using 1/2 to 2/3 of your healing potions, depending on how fast you dive. (The faster you go, the pickier you have to be, and the larger fraction of heal you need to save for the end.)

And yes, stealth and detection are the way to solve this, along with the occasional escape (TO, teleport, destruction, teleport level.)

And Paladin is harder than you may expect. You won't get decent healing until very late in the game. In the meantime, your spells are not much better than the warrior gets with other stuff. Except for unlimited resist heat/cold. That is a hugely valuable spell.
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Old April 9, 2019, 02:32   #5
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Originally Posted by Estie View Post
From what you write, I assume you play relatively slowly. I think that if you get more efficient to the point where it takes you a long afternoon to win with a character, you will find that your perspective on some of these evaluations changes.
Wow. People really play that quickly?! I guess I come from a perspective of death is such a defeating moment - I tend to play slowly (not necessarily well!) as tho my character is only character I have (not true, I could just roll another).
I guess this attitude becomes self-fulfilling, because if I take ~30 hours to approach Morgoth (for me that's probably 2hr x 15 sessions), then I don't want to die 25 hours in. Were it only to takes me ~5 hours, then I guess there's a lot less at stake.

Do people literally win (or come close) in one day?
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Old April 9, 2019, 03:29   #6
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The thing is, if you get to DL 30 in under an hour, losing a character isn't a big deal. Then you just keep going down, avoiding monsters that can kill you quickly. Of course, that becomes harder and harder, the deeper you go.

I *strongly* recommend trying a High-elf rogue, or some other stealthy rogue. (Kobold is pretty common, though it starts with weak melee.) Also, put a few points in CON to start. It makes stat gain go faster.
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Old April 9, 2019, 10:15   #7
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Halfling rogues are also nice, because of high starting stealth.
They are weak though and it takes some time or luck to get them to decent strength.
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