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Old December 15, 2008, 23:21   #1
Donald Jonker
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FAangband wilderness survival tips?

So I suck at FAangband wilderness levels, tend to get surrounded by monsters that would normally make me laugh in derision in other variants, such as novice mages and paladins, then proceed to get blinded, confused, torn apart at a distance, &c.

The main thing is: I can't seem to figure out how use the terrain to my advantage; my only tactical innovation has been to hug the walls, and that is extremely dull, and not terribly effective.

Mountains aren't so bad, since you can find bottlenecks, but the other types - forests, plains, swamps, &c. are torture.

Any advice? I mostly play warriors, but am willing to compromise if other classes have better survivability in the early game...
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Old December 16, 2008, 02:47   #2
buzzkill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Jonker View Post
So I suck at FAangband wilderness levels, tend to get surrounded by monsters that would normally make me laugh in derision in other variants, such as novice mages and paladins, then proceed to get blinded, confused, torn apart at a distance, &c.

The main thing is: I can't seem to figure out how use the terrain to my advantage; my only tactical innovation has been to hug the walls, and that is extremely dull, and not terribly effective.

Mountains aren't so bad, since you can find bottlenecks, but the other types - forests, plains, swamps, &c. are torture.

Any advice? I mostly play warriors, but am willing to compromise if other classes have better survivability in the early game...
When I started playing FA, I found myself continually being beaten back by the 'novices' you describe, at or about wilderness level 10 or so. Eventually I learned to overcome it, unfortunately, I couldn't really tell you how. I'd say pack a bow and kill whatever you find, awake or asleep. Obviously, take out the archers and MU's first. Tackle the wilderness during the day, when visibility is good. Use small groups of rocks (or even trees if they slow the emeny) as choke points/funnels for fighting or fleeing. Always fight standing on rubble (missile and melee) even if you have to take a couple of steps to get there. Flee through rubble or trees if you have no movement penalty (dwarves and elves). CCW and teleport. Incidentally, once I made it past this sticking point, I found the same thing happens again about WL20 or so (hounds and giants IIRC).
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Old December 16, 2008, 03:06   #3
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I found it helpful to stick to the trees and poke out into a clearing to check it and then go back to the trees. I guess it depends on which class you are.

I bet Nick has some pro tips on this.
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Old December 16, 2008, 07:22   #4
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Buzzkill's tactics are all good; here are a few more.

Stealth is a big factor. If you play a Rogue or Assassin, you will be much stealthier, and less monsters will wake up. Also, move quickly through danger areas; the longer you are in an area, the more monsters will wake up. Day is good for seeing things at a distance, but at night everything starts asleep; both can be handy.

Wands can be handy in an emergency; Stinking Cloud is especially good, but Slow, Confuse, Sleep, Wonder, Magic Missile all help. I don't usually buy these, but I quite often use ones I have picked up.

Be aware of all your class and race strengths, and play to them (speed through trees as an elf, ranger or druid, and through rubble as a dwarf; evasion bonuses; shapechanges, etc).

Follow the paths.

Carry !CSW early on; it's cheaper than !CCW, and heals blindness and confusion. Also ?phase, ?teleport and ?teleport level, and !speed if you can get it.

Learn what monsters do what and avoid the ones that cause trouble as much as possible.

Don't walk in water if you're burdened; better still, don't get burdened.

Not all races and classes are equal; find the ones that work for you.

And an advertisement - a lot of monsters (particularly low level p's) will be based on player races from 0.4.0; this and the new AI that goes with it may make them easier to deal with at first. On the other hand, 0.4.0 at this point is looking bigger than Texas, so I don't know when it'll be out (and 0.3.6, which will be out first, won't have this stuff).
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Old December 16, 2008, 09:34   #5
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As Nick says, stealth is huge in the wilderness. With the wide open spaces, summoners and breeders can easily spell the end of the level or the end of you - make sure they are asleep or dead.

As soon as you see a large pack of something problematic, give it a wide berth - unless you have a good reason to kill them (wilderness vault) in which case find a protected spot of rubble far enough way to lure them to a few at a time.

Make the most of night time if you are using the wilderness to travel, rather than for XP or loot. For example the Fenn of Serech is absolutely deadly by day, but you have a chance by night (but you still want a good stock of ?Teleportation and ?TL).

Wilderness vaults can be very profitable - and very dangerous. There is a learning exercise here.

Until you have the hang of wilderness survival play a high stealth character that can move easily through its native terrain.
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Old December 16, 2008, 10:29   #6
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Most of the advice so far is pretty good - key points for me are:

If you're just trying to get to the far side of the level, travel in darkness - monsters being asleep at the start is more important than your ability to see them;

Use the terrain - unless you have free movement through trees (check your chars attributes with 'O'), stick to the plains, as near to the edges as is convenient;

Stealth is important - if you like playing melee chars then try an Assassin - good melee and good stealth, with some utility spells (Detect Evil, Detect Traps, etc) to boot;

Different tactics if you're looking for loot - but you can always pick up random bits that appear nearby.

If detection is an issue, try playing a Druadan, if you haven't already...

Get as many ? of TL as you can afford - don't be afraid to use one if you get caught in the middle of the level; take the stairs if you're near the start of the level...

If you're travelling, don't try to kill everything - at a lowish CL, you'll wake monsters up faster than you kill them. Stick to high-reward (XP or loot) monsters, or to ones you're confident you can drop with one or two attacks...

Hope that helps...
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Old December 16, 2008, 20:17   #7
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Thanks for the tips - all good stuff. I'll put them to profitable use (hopefully). It would never have occurred to me that there was an advantage to sneaking around at night...as obvious as it seems now that I know.
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