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Old April 14, 2011, 02:40   #1
Camcolit
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Zangband - Little Help with Character - a *lot of questions* a *lot of noob comments*

tl;dr

I'm new to Angband generally, played dungeon crawl stone soup for a long time (if you haven't, check it out, it's awesome ). I'm playing a pretty old version - Zangband tk 2.4.0r5. I'd like some help with my character and what I should be doing and also something about spells. I'd be very interested in some feedback from experienced player on these comments - thanks.

I'm at stat-gain depth at the moment with my vampire warrior-mage guy and doing ok but he seems to lack 'oomph'. I can't do anything to kill things fast. Warrior-mage seemed like a good idea at the time and suits a vampire well but arcane magic I've since discovered kind of sucks, it's all very convenient for a while but I suspect in late or even mid game it will become just a waste.

For example the detection line of spells were handy but now I have two rods of detection I never use them. As I go deeper I'm discovering anything you can do with Arcane you can do with items easier and for no mana. Sure they take up slots, which may become much more important later, but at the moment the only thing from arcane I bother using are the resistance spells, and then only very rarely for something like an ancient dragon where it's obvious what low element it breathes. (to go off topic for a moment, dragons seem disappointingly underpowered in Zangband - I have no doubt there are some lethal unique dragons out there but dragons are supposed to be very rare and epically strong in general. When my pretty tame level 30ish character yawns when he encounters an 'ancient dragon' something isn't right). The only spell I can see on the list that might be useful is the Clairvoyance spell, but I can probably get the same effect from some item.

The other realm I got to choose, and what I chose for my evil vampire lord of pain and terror was, surprise, death magic. This is much more useful but I have some gripes. First, nether bolt is a bit crappy because almost everything seems to resist nether but without it saying so in the monster description. The end result is that sometimes malediction does more damage ('pound for pound', malediction is a great spell). At level 30+ however I can't rely on that. Orb of entropy is kind of useful for clearing low-level crowds but since it's a drain-life spell a lot of things are immune and it doesn't have the power to be useful in fighting dangerous stuff. My main attack spell at the moment is vampiric drain. Pretty good, but since it replenishes life it does less damage for the same mana than a pure attack spell would, which means I usually use it to heal since I can do more damage with my weapon, plus a great many things are immune to it. So basically I'm a weakish warrior and as a mage I have no decent attack spell, plus the game keeps giving me quest uniques that just laugh at me. Should I just scum for a good artifact weapon or carry some rods or something? Here's the character dump -

[ZAngbandTk 2.4.0 Character Dump]

Code:
Name     Kremlath III    Age       112          Self  RB  CB  EB   Best
 Sex      Male            Height     58   STR:  18/77  +3  +2  +2 18/147
 Race     Vampire         Weight    140   INT:  18/75  +3  +2  +8 18/205
 Class    Warrior-Mage    Status      3   Wis:     18  -1  +0  +3  18/20  18/10
 Title    Mage-Hero       HP    304/304   DEX:  18/91  -1  +1  +2 18/111
 Realm 1  Arcane          SP    264/264   Con:     15  +1  +0  +2     18     15
 Realm 2  Death           Maximize    Y   CHR:  18/95  +2  +1  +0 18/125
 Patron   Khorne          Preserve    Y

 Level           33       Fighting               Saving Throw     Superb
 Cur Exp     502529       + to Skill      26     Stealth      Chaos Rank
 Max Exp     502529       Deadliness    214%     Fighting      Excellent
 Adv Exp     687500       Blows/Round      3     Shooting           Good
                                                 Disarming        Superb
 Gold        161012       Shooting               Magic Device Chaos Rank
                          + to Skill      16     Perception    Excellent
 Armor     [31,+76]       Deadliness    187%     Searching     Very Good
 Burden   151.1 lbs       Shots/Round    1.0     Infravision       80 ft

     In life you were a powerful noble.  You have a hairless
     head, blank white eyes, and a deathly pale complexion.


Code:
  [Miscellaneous information]

 Autoscum:              OFF
 Small Levels:           ON
 Arena Levels:          ENABLED
 Hard Quests:           OFF
 Num. Random Quests: 20
 Nightmare Mode:      OFF
 Recall Depth:       Level 38 (1900')

 You have defeated 19599 enemies.

[Character Equipment]

a) The Small Sword 'Sting' (2d6) (+10,+10) (+2)
b) (nothing)
c) a Ring of Slaying (+9,+10)
d) a Marble Ring of Confusion Resistance {cursed}
e) a Brass Amulet of Brilliance (+3)
f) The Incandescent Light of Edison (+3 to infravision)
g) The Metal Scale Mail of the Unseen (-2) [13,+19] (+4) {cursed}
h) an Elven Cloak [4,+10] (+4 to stealth)
i) a Large Metal Shield of Resistance [8,+13]
j) a Jingasa of Intelligence [4,+10] (+1) {cursed}
k) (nothing)
l) a Pair of Soft Leather Boots of Stealth [2,+17] (+3 to stealth)


[Character Inventory]

a) 2 Arcane Spellbooks [Cantrips for Beginners]
b) 2 Arcane Spellbooks [Minor Arcana]
c) 2 Arcane Spellbooks [Major Arcana]
d) 2 Death Spellbooks [Black Prayers]
e) a Death Spellbook [Black Mass]
f) 9 Yellow Potions of Healing
g) 2 Metallic Green Potions of Restore Mana
h) 8 Scrolls titled "jahab argtue" of Teleportation
i) a Scroll titled "itder xuxu ion" of Teleport Level
j) a Scroll titled "viver bjorulk" of Enchant Weapon Skill
k) a Silver Rod of Recall
l) 2 Hexagonal Rods of Detection (1 charging)
m) a Wand of Teleport Other (11 charges)
n) a Staff of Perception (21 charges)
o) a Mistletoe Staff of Probing (8 charges)
p) a Zircon Ring of Dexterity
q) an Aquamarine Ring of Combat
r) 2 Pearl Rings of Nexus Resistance
s) a Mithril Ring of Sound Resistance
t) a Stone and Hide Armour [15] {cursed}
u) a Quarterstaff (1d9)
v) a Dwarven Shovel (1d3) (+0,+0) (+3)


[Home Inventory - Morivant]

a) a Brown Speckled Potion of Berserk Strength
b) a Green Potion of *Healing*
c) a Scroll titled "sefjo bekbar" of *Identify*
d) a Titanium Wand of Clone Monster (9 charges)
e) an Azurite Ring of Free Action
f) a Ruby Ring of Skill (+14) {uncursed}
g) an Adamantite Ring of Light and Darkness Resistance
h) a Gold Ring of Shard Resistance
i) an Amulet of Charisma (+4)
j) an Amber Amulet of Reflection
k) a Copper Amulet of Anti-Teleportation
l) The Phial of Galadriel (+1 to searching)
m) a Cord Armour of Elvenkind [6,+11] (+3 to stealth)
n) a Pair of Soft Leather Boots of Free Action [2,+10]
o) a Pair of Metal Shod Boots of Free Action [6,+6]
p) a Two-Handed Sword (Defender) (3d6) (+8,+7) [+7] (+1 to stealth)
q) a Two-Handed Sword of Westernesse (3d6) (+9,+8) (+1)
r) a Two-Handed Sword (Trump Weapon) (3d6) (+8,+12) (+1 to searching)
s) The Spear of Hagen (1d6) (+11,+13) (+3 to speed)
t) The Beaked Axe of Theoden (2d6) (+8,+10) (+3)
u) a Whip (Trump Weapon) (1d6) (+9,+10) (+1 to searching)
v) a Heavy Crossbow of Extra Shots (x5) (+19,+6)
w) 7 Magical Figurines of a Greater hell-beast



I've looked over this death magic article http://www.zangband.org/spoilers/death.txt many times and here are some comments about the spells - what do you think?

Horrify: attempts to terrify and stun one monster

Doesn't seem to work often enough to use / lot of things are immune

Enslave the Undead: attempts to control one undead creature

Why bother when you can just kill it? Have never found a situation where I thought casting it would be useful, so I'm not sure if it works at a decent rate, probably not. If something is powerful enough that you can't kill it easily and you might want to cast this on it then it will probably resist, and you waste a turn that could have been used to do something else.

Terror: attempts to scare all visible monsters, power 30+level

Probably only effective against weaker monsters, which you would kill instead using a ball spell. Unless you're in the middle of crowd of things meleeing you (which you never should be) there's no point to this. If you're against one big bad guy, horrify has an extra stun effect - not sure what the power is on that. In any case I wouldn't bother casting either.


The following are spells I can't cast, either because I'm not at the level or haven't got the book. Here's my impression from the descriptions. Please point out anything good about these spells I overlook.

Dispel Good: 1d(level*4) damage to all good creatures in sight

Doesn't seem to be many good monsters in the game

Restore Life: restores drained XP

I already have Hold Life, not 100% effective but fine for me at the moment, and this spell is really high level for some reason, seems useless.

Berserk/Battle-Frenzy

Ah, these are spells I looked forward to when I first made the character. Warrior-mage buffing himself magically is pretty, well, pretty much what a warrior-mage does. But neither of them are in the shop books . Berserk is only level 10, why is it not in 'Black Mass'? When I finally get my hands on Black Channels (at what depth do the first dungeon books usually drop btw?) then I'll only cast Battle-Frenzy, never Berserk, so that's a waste of a spell.

Invoke Spirits

Seems completely useless

Dark bolt

Damage is underwhelming and lots of things are immune - same problems as with nether bolt

Death Ray: damage level*200. If (monster level)+1d20 is
greater than 1d(player level)+1d10, the monster
resists. Unique monsters have only a 1 in 888 chance of
being affected. Undead and nonliving creatures always
resist.

Will probably never cast it due to extremely low chance of working on anything worth using it on.

Raise the Dead: 1 in 3, summons an undead (if level less than
48) or greater undead (otherwise) which will try
to kill you. 2 in 3, summons a friendly undead or
a friendly greater undead. If level greater than
24 and 1d3=1, you can get a group of undead.

Summoning spells are bad enough without having a big chance to summon hostile.


Evocation: 1d(level*4) damage to all monsters in sight, attempts
to scare all monsters (power level*4) and attempts to
banish all monsters (power level*4)

Sounds cool. About banishment btw, what does that mean? Destroy or teleport away or delete with no XP? Does it only work on summoned monsters? Does the game recognise which monsters have been summoned and which haven't?


Hellfire 50 135 95
Ommnicide 50 100 95
Wraithform 50 123 95


These sound great, but I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to cast them at a decent rate. The numbers here are level, mana, failure, for me. So given that I started with 18/40 INT what kind of failure rate will I have on these at max stats?



Regarding the genocide line of spells -

I've read that these are a main reason people choose death magic. Genocide deletes all monsters of a type on the whole level without xp, is that right? Can I die from the damage? Given that omnicide costs more mana than mass genocide, isn't mass genocide superior? You get one mana for every killed monster with omnicide but you'ld have to kill 15+ to make up for the initial difference, and it has a higher fail rate. The radius on mass genocide is huge already so that doesn't seem to make a difference.


Regarding summoning and trump magic -

Summoning seems like a total waste of time. You don't get XP for the kills and I had a look at the Trump spells - boy I wouldn't want to be a Trump high-mage. Not only do you get no XP, your summons suck. Trump magic seems terrible. The dungeon monsters on the other hand all seems to be master summoners - sometimes a unique will summon a monster much more dangerous than the unique, and it gets annoying when a unique summons summoners.

One last question, here is the skill bonus table from the website - what do these numbers mean? For example 'Melee 70+45'. Is there any difference between that and '60+55'? How much of an effect do these starting bonuses have on the difference in prowess between end-game characters? It's all a bit vague for me.

Code:
              Dsrm   Dvce   Save    Stlh  Srch   Melee  Bows
Warrior       25+12  18+7   18+10   1     14/2   70+45  55+45
Mage          30+7   36+13  30+9    2     15/20  34+15  20+15
Priest        25+7   30+10  32+12   2     16/8   48+20  35+20
Rogue         45+15  32+10  28+10   5     32/24  60+40  66+30
Ranger        30+8   32+10  28+10   3     24/16  56+30  72+45
Paladin       20+7   24+10  26+11   1     12/2   68+35  40+30
Warrior-Mage  30+7   30+10  28+9    2     18/16  50+20  25+20
Chaos Warrior 20+7   25+11  25+10   1     14/12  65+34  40+29
Monk          45+15  32+11  28+10   5     32/24  64+40  60+30
Mindcrafter   30+10  30+10  30+10   3     22/16  50+20  40+30
High Mage     30+7   36+13  30+9    2     15/20  34+15  20+15

Many thanks.
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Old April 14, 2011, 03:11   #2
camlost
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Arcane sucks; try to figure you got it for free. If you're not using a book, leave it at home.

I'm guessing that you should play as a warrior with some utility, like a Vanilla rogue, if that helps. Casting isn't your main skill. Maybe swap "Brilliance for "Reflection?

This version of Z looks like it's using OAngband style combat, which places a priority on weapon dice/side as opposed to +Dam. Your 3d6 weapons will deal ~x3 damage per blow compared to Sting. Two handed sword of Westernesse is probably your best bet. Or the Heavy Crossbow of extra shots. That should be wicked; check how much damage it deals with bolts. Your stealth is pretty good, you should try to pick your fights.

The skill a+b is probably how much of each skill you get to start and per level (though maybe not on the same scale).
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Old April 14, 2011, 03:41   #3
Camcolit
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Thanks for the reply. How will the 3d6 deal 3 times more damage than the 2d6? I thought that the dice is the base, and then that's multiplied by the deadliness, that being modified by +dam and strength. That's another thing that's a little irritating, the game gives no numerical feedback on how much damage I'm doing.

Ah, that kind of makes sense about the skills. Maybe the first value is the base, then the second is what you gain over the life of the character or something like that.
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Old April 14, 2011, 11:05   #4
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Arcane only somewhat sucks. It does not enable any new abilities, but it does save you inventory slots. In a single book you get:

Detection
Word of Recall

both of which you'd have to carry with you otherwise in forms of Rods.
Additionaly you get:

Recharging for Staves and Wands
Teleport Level and Teleport Other for times, when a few % fail rate isnt a problem.(This doesnt save you inventory slots, since you should carry scrolls of teleport level anyway for 0 failrate. It allows you to save up more of them though)

The only gripe I have with arcane is both, the lack of a good Resistance spell, and the fact that the 3 existing ones are divided amongst 2 books;/
Of course, only Manual of Mastery is usefull, so you should only carry this one book with you.

As for the Death magic, as you noticed there are only a few spells worth mentioning:
Only two decent attack spells - Maledicton and Hellfire
One weak detection spell - Detect Evil(usefull before you get rods of detection/detection from Arcane)
Vampiric Drain - Satisfy Hunger, but cooler!
Invoke Spirits - it's actually decent for times, when you have no other means of damaging the monster. It's random nature means it's not reliable, but it ok for its use.
Battle Frenzy - Berserk+Haste = awesome
Death Ray - it may rarely work, but if you get OOD monsters into a corridor, and fire it off, it hits each of them, and 200*lvl damage is kinda decent.(it's a beam IIRC)
Esoteria - nice to have *identify*
Restore Life - it's more usefull then you think. Deeper in the dungeon many things suck your exp pretty badly.
Wraithform - you turn godlike for 25+1d25 turns!

All in all death is a great realm.

Trump is a great realm for Rangers.
You get Phase Door for 1 Mana(!!!) at level 3.
Teleport Other, Teleport, Word of Recall, *identify*, Detection, Dimension Door, castable ESP, summon Meatshields and the best branding spell.
Frankly I don't see any other use for it. It just meshes with Nature realm(Healing+Resistances) + shooting so well.

-edit- Ahhh! I forgot about the skills Skill = a+b means you get a base + b per 10 levels IIRC

Last edited by FlayedOne; April 14, 2011 at 14:21.
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Old April 14, 2011, 15:36   #5
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I see what you're saying about Arcane. When I first started the game I assumed the arcane spells, or at least high-level ones, were not available from items. This was the rationale for choosing warrior-mage, and the fact I always like this hybrid in other games and try to get it to work. Now I think that was a kind of bad choice, since they get a poor attack bonus compared to paladins or rogues etc. and only get arcane magic and very slightly superior overall stats to make up for it. In the description for warrior-mage it says 'a truely powerful class', maybe it should be 'a truely gimped class, also coming with the highest XP penalty' . I think I'll restart as a black paladin guy.

Oh, if death ray is a beam, then it's not so bad.

Invoke spirits still seems useless despite your defence of it . I don't plan to get into situations where I have no option but to cast it.

I can see now that it might be very useful for a ranged character, but as you say apart from that I don't see the point. It's a shame to have a whole realm of magic relegated to being a convenience for a particular class. I've heard some later variants revamp Trump magic. Rangers appear to be very powerful, but I'll never play one because I hate rangers, bows, and cute forest creatures!

On to play my anti-paladin. Or maybe I'll continue with my monk. Imagine my delight when I found this lying on the ground at 50 feet, maybe some powerful type just threw it into the dungeon to save on slots while walking past the entrance. Only just got enough gold to afford identification -

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Old April 14, 2011, 21:58   #6
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Heh, I admit that warrior-mages are weak. They have lower skills than most other classes, are as weak fighters as priests/mindcrafters(better only than mages), and get a weak 1st realm. Still, the assumption that there is ANY spell in ANY realm that is really usefull and not available in items is wrong. I believe only damage spells, invulnerabilites and some resistances(although in some earlier versions there were !invulnerability, and I don't remember whether Z 2.4 has them or not)

The mage/fighter hybrids IMO:
warrior/mages - weak fighting, decent skills, decent magic(1 gimpy realm, and one full)
rangers - good fighting, great skills, decent magic(1 full real realm - Nature, weak 2nd realm)
Rogues - great fighting, awesome skills, weak magic(but enough to get some utility)

So if you want more fighting, and less magic go Rogue.

Monks are somewhat special, but I love them. Especially Nature-Draconians and Death-Spectres.

I've never played a palladin. They seem to have similar magic ability to Life/Death monks, but are more normal, so they are definitely powerfull.

I didn't plan on being in such a situation either It's just easier to end up in one as a High Mage(The only other way I could deal damage was malediction, but it's damage was on the lower side) :P I probably should have ran away though:P

The robe is kinda awesome, especially if you're playing a monk! I'd be overjoyed if I found it at 2000' and yet you did at 50':O

Last edited by FlayedOne; April 14, 2011 at 22:10.
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Old April 14, 2011, 22:50   #7
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The monk I have is only level 8 or something, went back to playing the warrior-mage after a while. He's a nature Draconian . Pretty hefty XP penalty on those..

Playing an Amberite death-paladin now, also with a big XP penalty obviously, but I want to play the most powerful races until I bag a first win. More fun and packs a lot more oomph than the warrior-mage, while having the same access to all the death spells. Going to keep going with this class. I do love that robe though. It was like 'give me the best piece of equipment you can possibly give me for a monk at 50 feet', and there it is!

Death high-mage would probably be an awesome sight if you can get it to the late game where you get the heavy-hitting spells. I like pure mage classes too but haven't played any yet because I haven't got the hang of macros. Any guide for Angband macros I've seen reads like Kant .
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