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Old December 3, 2009, 15:28   #1
slinberg
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13 levels in one hit

I have a new Angband sport: trying to see how many levels I can go up in a single hit with a new character.

With new characters, I do often try to "dive" to level 2 or 3 without touching anything, after equipping myself with whatever gear I can afford that will support the effort, and try to kill Grip or Fang first at level 1 before anything else. You get a nice, tidy 60xp for that, enough for a quick jump to level 3 (for me with my weenie high elf mage / ranger builds, probably more for courageous human fighters with no XP penalty). It's hard to avoid killing things or other things that will get you experience on the way down; you want to do your kill at level 1, so any accidental XP you accumulate has to not push you to level 2 before you get them.

Last night I wanted to see how absurdly far I could push this, so I stair-scummed like crazy to level 1, just going down from town, picking anything within easy reach up if I spawned in a room without monsters, running back up and selling it, and going down for more, ignoring level feelings and rarely leaving the room I spawned in. As I accumulated things to sell, I managed to raise about 6000 gp overall (it took a while), which I invested in a few key components:

- A sling of extra shots (+15, +6) (+1), about 5000 by itself
- 5 or 6 iron shots of frost from the black market (one at a time!), which would do about 80 damage per hit to non-frost-resistant creatures
- Scrolls of detect doors / stairs, phase door, and deep descent (key, about 8 of those)

Along the way of gathering all this stuff, I accidentally accumulated 22 xp, where 23 are needed to level. This happened mostly by landing on traps, which give you XP for "discovering" them; once by accidentally disarming a trap I was trying to avoid; and some of it I don't know how I got, but I was watching the counter as I scummed for gear. It reached the point where I was 1 xp away from level 2, so it was time to dive, as deep as I could get.

I stair-scummed to level 4 or so and then read deep descent scrolls to plunge, reading detect doors and traps on each level down to see if there was a stairway nearby within easy reach, to drop an extra level with before the next deep descent scroll. I managed to get down to 1000' this way without touching anything. I then realized I really needed a detect monsters device to help find my target candidate, so I WOR'ed back up to town to get one, and then realized that there are no detect monster scrolls! Somehow that had never occurred to me. And casting a spell would give me XP, which would push me to level 2. No, I would just have to be lucky, here.

I WOR'ed back down, hoping to find a troll, but I happened to land right next to a sleeping werewolf. Value for a level 1 character: 3,000xp. That would do.

Step one: take one step to the side.
Step two: potion of speed.
Step three: one more step, as far around a corner as I could get while preserving the line of sight.
Step four: one iron shot of frost. Hit. Here he comes.
Step five: another. He's almost dead, but right next to me, and could easily kill me in one hit. Run? Fight?
Step six: I roll the dice and fire one more. Hit! He's dead. Then I warm up my space bar finger for going through the level messages.

Result: from level 1 to level 14 in one hit. Sweet! Worth the pain as a gameplay tactic? Of course not, but fun.

Now, of course, I wonder how much farther I could push this. A human fighter would have benefitted much more from that 3,000 xp. And deeper dives and bigger monsters would always be possible, too. The hardest part is trying not to accumulate ANY experience while gearing up. You can't kill anything in the dungeon before your biggie, you have to be lucky to avoid traps which give you XP for detecting them whether you mean to or not, and things in town CAN kill you.

Anyone else have deep-diving adventures with level 1 characters?
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Old December 3, 2009, 15:37   #2
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You'll love thrall mode in FAngband - you start as a CL1 character at the wilderness equivalent of DL58 (on a staircase to DL60 so you can stair-scum back and forth). Multi-levelling with one hit (up to about CL15) is common, although not as common as dying horribly.

I think my record was getting up to about CL22 in one go, after finding an artifact weapon as a Warrior and a Staff of Speed, against a Mumak - I don't recall the precise details but I think it was worth about 20,000 XP...
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Old December 3, 2009, 16:43   #3
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Good story and great write-up - thanks. I have got from cl1 to cl27 in one hit, but it was an unclean build - somehow some header files got mixed up and I killed a fruitbat worth thousands of xp (it did have a lot of hp too, but it's still not a valid effort). The best I've done in-game was from cl21 to 27 killing a ringwraith (Adunaphel I think) - I had a 5d3 randart whip with *slay* undead and 6 blows. I think the best I've managed from cl1 is about cl4 or 5 from killing a red jelly down at 250' or so. I don't have the patience to scum for enough gp to equal your effort!
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Old December 3, 2009, 16:45   #4
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Playing TOME in ghost mode I've gone from level 1 to level 20... but that was in an ideal situation and using "Magic Missile" with 0 SP, and wall-walking.
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Old December 3, 2009, 16:46   #5
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I'm addicted to this type of power-leveling when I start a new character in Zangband (and Z+). Potions of poison are perfect starting out; 2d5 damage from a reasonably safe distance with no failure chance. I'll frequently suicide if !Poison is not in stock in the first town. From there it's usually just a short time before finding a suitable monster in the wilderness.

The strangest side-effect of this strategy, as you mentioned, is that you try very hard to *not* gain experience until you find a good target. Depending on which variant you're playing, accidentally getting to level 2 can cut your XP reward by 50% when you finally find a juicy target.

I don't tend to use this strategy in Vanilla. Too much stair-scumming required.
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Old December 3, 2009, 20:36   #6
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Can't agree more with Seany. Thrall mode in FAangband was designed for this kind of insane fun. I can plow about 100 thrall characters in the ground in under an hour, and have a blast doing it.
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Old December 3, 2009, 20:45   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HallucinationMushroom View Post
Can't agree more with Seany. Thrall mode in FAangband was designed for this kind of insane fun. I can plow about 100 thrall characters in the ground in under an hour, and have a blast doing it.
I'm looking at one of these for next comp. Ironman
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Old December 3, 2009, 21:08   #8
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I got an ironman thrall down to DL71 the other day. Utter madness.
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Old December 3, 2009, 21:09   #9
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Ironman Thrall?! Oh wow. First character to move a distance of 30 yards wins!
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Old December 3, 2009, 21:09   #10
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I got an ironman thrall down to DL71 the other day. Utter madness.
Possibly not the best idea for a comp, as there's a lot of luck involved in finding a decent offensive device and an easy first kill ...
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