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Old February 15, 2009, 10:48   #1
Cave Man
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[comp 64] The Serpent is down

Warning: spoiler alert.

The Serpent is no more, and Cain #3 retires to bask in fame and glory. Resources used: 3 ?Destruction (2 used to clear away a chapel and a demon pit prior to the start of the fight), 1 ?MassBanish, 10 !heal and 23 !*heal*. I still had 1 !*heal* and 19 !Life in reserve. Decided not to try the Chemist with this guy. I know from prior experience that I would need a lot more resources to even have a chance. I've killed the chemist twice before, both times with beserkers, dishing out ~3000 dam per round with duel wielded, vampiric weapons of kill human (Slayer with the Stick). In both cases, it was an incredibly long, tough fight. And you really need to kill all the other high-level uniques before trying this. Nodens is an instakill specialist (double manastorms are quite common, no matter how fast you are), and Bahamut and the Angels are quite dangerous opponents for a vampire (note: the Serpent won’t summon any of these “good” guys).

Never found a light of darkness, despite checking *every* light source on every level after reaching lvl45 (when enlightenment kicks in). This meant I had to use AoPDN (Castle reward) in order to wear Amber (dropped, appropriately, by Oberon after a *very* tough fight). Found Quickthorn quickly once I hit Clvl45 (easy to spot a 1d7 rapier with enlightenment), but Littlethorn only turned up much later, in the centre of a GCV on Lvl98. Got nothing else from the vault, but I was still pretty happy. Then Klingsor dropped Shivas armor, a great find in any circumstances, but doubly so when it replaces a robe of permanence (RShard). Got Narya and Nenya from unique drops (forget who). So I hit lvl50, resist all, immune to fire and cold, doing decent damage, and who do I bump into? Caine! Revenge! Caine falls, and promptly curses me AGAIN - the full monty - paralyzed, teleported and surrounded ... except instead of cyberdemons, I got Hell wyrms and Ice wyrms. HA! Didn't take any damage at all. Returned to collect the corpse and found that Caine had dropped Vilya! Karma. Found Morgie in a bubbles vault, and dispatched him very easily. The fight with the Destroyer was long but uneventful, although I had to sacrifice superstealth in order to wear an AoReflection. 3 staves of healing proved sufficient, using 18 charges in all, recharging included (one blew up).Time to take on the Serpent.

Initiated the fight with the big J inside a small vault with permanent walls, to try and restrict summoning room. His first move was to summon monsters; one open square, so he got one monster: The Chemist! The Chemists first move: Blink. Phew. Since he was now outside the vault, I could ignore him. Things then went very well for a while - Serpent down to 5 stars. Then one of his earthquakes cleared away all the non-permanent rock in the vault. Smart guy that
he is, he promptly summoned "special", and I was surrounded by Ancalagon, Nyarlathotep and the cyberdemon boss, Oremorj. No option but to teleport. The fight then took a typical course, the Serpent outpaces his summons in getting to you (he’s rather fast: speed 50), fight for a while until they catch up, or he summons more, teleport again. When the fight was over, all the guardians (except Boldor, of course) were on the level, along with all the remaining high level uniques. The Serpents last act before the coup de grace was to summon cyberdemons, which was when I used the ?MassBanish. They all (4) disappeared, which was quite lucky (monsters get a saving throw against banishment, proportional to their level). When the Serpent died, I retired immediately – didn’t even bother to ID his drop.

The extra ~100 HP gained from quaffing !NewLife (life rating changed from 85 to 110) was very helpful. I recommend others give this a try (besides finding them in the dungeon (quite rare), you can get one as a corpse quest reward, and the boss of the Mountain dungeon also has one). When fighting the serpent, double moves are quite common, so every HP helps. Be aware that !NewLife will also reroll your stat max’s, and remove all your corruptions, so you wont always like the result. I like to have at least two (preferably three) before quaffing one (along with the same number of !SelfKnow so you can check the results).

The purpose of this comp was to provide some ideas for porting Entro features into a V environment. My main comment would be that ninja powers are way too good for a game with connected stairs and non-persistent dungeons (they would be stair-scum gods). Non-connected stairs would be a must, at the minimum. Another possibility would be to make ninjas an ironman-only option. This would be a decent challenge, without most of the irritating issues most ironman characters have to endure.

I only realized towards the end of the game that Cain #3 wasn't the only one with the moronic corruption. I hadn't noticed that the comp was using the game clock, rather than moves to judge the winner. I often left the game running while doing other stuff, so there's plenty of opportunity for others to beat this (I think actual play-time was probably about half of the clock reading). In game move terms, I think this is a reasonably fast win (just over 800k moves). I have won in just over 400k, but that was with a spectre beserker with the vault option, and almost felt like cheating - but was still great fun. I recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed this comp. I certainly have, so thanks to all involved. This is my first ninja winner; my previous best effort was a lazy zombie ninja, who managed to acquire all three lazy artifacts (a *monumental* achievement for a ninja – you have to kill Morgie (easy), the Unicorn (exceptionally tough) and the Ring (tough to find, even tougher to kill)), only to be instakilled, from full health, by Nodens (and I was speed +45 at the time! – the joys of a randomized movement-energy system). Lesson learned: some monsters are best just avoided!

Cave Man
PS: any offers for a RoSpeed +17 – hardly used by one careful owner.
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Old February 16, 2009, 17:12   #2
chem
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That's a heck of a win. Nice job. You had quite a stock of *healing* and Life potions -- were they mostly from picking them off the floor at deep dlvls, or from monster drops? Excellent tip about New Life potions for other players in the comp. Good point about ninjas and connected stairs. Did you consider doing dungeon-entrance scumming at the entrance to R'yleh or the cave of darkness?

The vampire ninja combo was chosen somewhat randomly for the comp. Do you have any comments about non-ninja specific things for porting to [V]? Like maybe the Arena, or which artifacts/monsters you'd like to see the most?

thanks!
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Old February 18, 2009, 14:34   #3
Cave Man
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No internet connection for last 2 days, hence slow reply.
Almost all potions collected off the dungeon floor, or plucked out of vaults (using passwall / superstealth). They are very common deep in the dungeon. I did not need to make any conscious effort to collect them - enough turn up while looking for kit and leveling up. In fact, I think leveling up takes the longest.

Entrance scumming is only good for finding vaults, and only makes sense if you’re lucky enough to find a “vault cracking kit” early, particularly a staff of destruction and wands and rods of teleother. If I’m not mistaken, item generation on the floor of the first level of all the dungeons
Is lvl 1, to discourage “skimming”. I base this on extensive observation, rather than knowledge of the code. Drops and vaults don’t appear to be affected. Hence Cain #2 entrance scummed R’yleh (very successfully), while Cain #3 chose to dive and level up in the Dragons Lair.

I think the arena would be an excellent addition to V, pretty much as is. Others thoughts:
- the beserker class: an excellent, fun class for beginners (they’ll get further into the game than with any other class before they die), but not as easy as it looks for experienced players to win with.
- the archery system *works* – excellent for the characters who should rely on it, useful for others, nearly useless beyond the middle game for those who shouldn’t be using it. I can’t understand why the Z/heng/Entro archery system isn’t adopted as is in V – the only thing it lacks is a quiver, which V takes care of nicely.
- tone down Spec a bit, and make their use carry the same consequences as the terror mask (ie. fighters only)
- I would ditch the lazy personality / rewards. I would give the Unicorn one of the three lazy arts, at random. All characters can then take their chances.
- I don’t see any reason why all the monsters can’t remain, but I suspect the randomized movement-energy system might need to go.
- I would tone down Diatribe – its too much better than all the other hats.
- If the Castle remains, with class specific rewards, some of these need to be upgraded – low utility combined with easy acquisition in the dungeon.
- the cloning pits is a must – a character defining test – with an excellent, but not overpowering reward.
I’m sure I’ve missed plenty, but that’s all that springs to mind at the moment.
Good luck
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