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Old March 28, 2010, 12:50   #1
o-o
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Victory after only 15 years & 13M turns

I finally won. I'm telling you guys, because nobody I know can possibly understand my sense of achievement. My girl-friend laughed at my @, and got angry when I killed baby dragons: “But they're so cute!” My friends play those computer games you buy in shops. This is long-winded; perhaps in that there is a clue for me as to why people won't listen to me on this subject.

I've been playing on and off since 1995, when I started on my trusty XT, but mostly just dabbled. It took 13,271,315 turns, which seems like a lot now that I see people aim to do it in a million, but I did it without save-scumming. (I did have a back-up, but I was determined not to use it, and didn't. Does this count as save-scumming?) This is the first time I've maxed my level, got all 9 spell-books, got a ring of power, or kitted myself completely in artifacts.

I was playing 3.0.9b. I have no idea what this means in any detail. I opted for “autoscum” because it keeps things a little more interesting; I have found it frustrating trolling around vacant levels. In exchange I decided to attempt to clear every level I entered, and managed this almost all the time. Infernal lice over-ran some earlier levels. This felt like a suitable compromise to my OCD nature. This made winning the game take a lot longer, but in retrospect I feel the people of Middle Earth would rather my slow and steady effort to one that saw Morgroth dominating the world.

I wanted to head on down and beat up Morgroth in hand-to-hand combat, mano-a-mano, eyeball to eyeball, and opted for a Dwarf Paladin. Maybe a Priest would have made it easier (I got *sick* of the dull dread that the 5% fail on Heal and Teleport spells gave me when things got dire), but the weapons restrictions might be a drag. Perhaps a Dúnedain? Next time I would play a Mage. Harder, for sure, but totally different. I chose a female, because female dwarfs are funny.

Caution was my watch-word, in spite of my commitment to clearing levels. The combination of caution and level-clearing meant that winning took ages. It seems, on brief acquaintance with the forum, that I am the Anti-Power-Diver.

I wanted to do this without reverting to back-ups, and did, but my intention of working without using the Spoilers went by the way-side. The most important spoiler was this chart:
1000': Free Action, See Invisible
1250': Basic four Resistances
1900': Maxxed Stats, Confusion Resistance, Blindness Resistance
2000': Poison Resistance
2500': Hold Life
2700': Chaos Resistance, Nether Resistance
3000': Permanent and Temporary Speed of +20 or greater
4000': Permanent + Temporary Speed of +30 or greater
4950': As much as you can get. Sustains, Speed, every resistance,
Every time I had deviated from this in the the past, my character had died, and this time I pretty much adhered to it; this was the first reason it took so long. There were two exceptions to my adherence: nether resistance (which was impossible to find until Narya showed up), and wearing both Narya and Nenya meant dropping my permanent speed to +19, and in neither case did I like it.

The second reason was that I rested a lot, for mana and HP, because I didn't like to travel light on these, and I was using a lot of identifies, detections, and light spells, dispelled a lot of traps, and enchanted a lot of ammo. Before all that I rested occasionally to speed my pseudo-ID, and later there was a bit of time spent resting while Evenstar (or some other crucial artifact/rod) was charging. I used orb of draining extensively to kill j, m, Q and drujs, which meant a lot of resting. What is it about Angband and the high scoring Scrabble letters (Z, Q)?

The third reason were my time consuming tactics. I dug out a lot of treasure early on, and dug a lot anti-summoning corridors later on. I thought this was suitably dwarfish, although I felt weird about it when I was digging through granite walls with a whip of Westernesse, or the dagger Angrist. I used teleports a lot, but hardly any phase doors or teleport other. I fought on corners against hordes, and drew them out one at a time. (By the way, I killed more Zs than anything else, and hate them.)

All of this is best summed up in one word. *Caution*. The further on, the worse it got. It's a scary place down there! There's monsters! By the time I was thinking about facing the violet 'p,' I was paranoid. My equipment looked like this:
a) Lance of Eorlingas b) Longbow 'Belthronding'
c) Ring of Power 'Nenya' d) Ring of Power 'Narya'
e) Amulet of Trickery (+4) f) Arkenstone of Thrain
g) Full plate Mail of Isildur h) Cloak 'Colannon'
i) Small Metal Shield of Thorin j) Jewel Encrusted Crown of Numenor
k) Cesti of Fingolfin l) Metal Shod Boots of Thror

I had a full set of resists, immunity to fire, acid & cold, +19 permanent speed, devastating melee, telepathy, all stats maxed & sustained, considerable stealth, 18/*** STR, DEX, CON, 18/160 WIS, 1098 HP, and 288 Mana. I had killed all the uniques except Sauron and Morgroth. By the way, there is no R like the Tarrasque. I'll keep my eye out for that one, next time.

What else did I need? In reality, I probably had it. Between my inventory and my home I had all 9 spell books, 54 mushrooms of restoring, 45 potions of restore life-levels, 82 potions of speed, 107 potions of heroism, 9 potions of berserk strength, 123 potions of healing, 85 potions of *healing*, 40 potions of life, 142 potions of restore mana, 22 scrolls of banishment, 15 scrolls of mass banishment, 4 rods of healing, 2 rods of speed, a ring of speed+13, 'Evenstar,' the Elfstone 'Elessar,' the Palantir, the mithril plate of Celeborn, 'Soulkeeper,' Thalkettoth, the cloak 'Colluin,' the shadow cloak 'Luthien,' the cap of Thengel, 93 seeker arrows (+10, +10), and the whip of Gothmog, which I was holding onto so I could carry it as a swap with Deathwreaker if both that and Vilya showed up, giving me a full set of immunities and untold damage potential, but without having to aggrevate everything the whole time. One could only dream.

I decided I needed a little more speed. After all, if I only had permanent + temporary of +29, Morgroth might get two goes at me before I could heal! I couldn't go down to 4950' and face Sauron with +19 permanent speed. Not that he was Morgroth, mind; but I hadn't got where I was without being cautious.

I thought through the options I had, and it meant that I had to trade around resists and immunities and telepathy, so I dismissed those options and went on a quest for more permanent speed: Ringil, Cubragol, Vilya, Feanor, or Boots of speed.

Level 98 was trivial. Hordes of greater demons could be farmed; vaults full of greater undead were dispatched with ease. My favourites were vaults chokka with white, black or red dragons: protection from evil, walk in, dispel evil, repeat until there are only 'D' left. This was payback time, and the only problems were sorting through loot, RSI, and time hounds.

As this process wore on, I started getting frustrated, and pondered the unthinkable: what if I confronted Sauron with permanent speed of +19, and endless +10 temporary speed? I cleared level 98 a few more times, and decided for certain: if I didn't get some more speed soon I would definitely think about going down.

And then, several level clearances later, The Hard Leather Boots of Feanor appeared. I told my girl-friend, who looked confused; I explained, but as time passed she was increasingly uninterested. At last, I thought, I was ready to face Sauron. +31 speed should be ample, I thought. So, with some trepidation, I kitted up: I swapped boots (Feanor for Thror; speed to +31; permanent mana to 342), packed dozens of potions of speed, heroism, healing, *healing*, life & restore mana, a dozen each of restoring, restore life-levels and scrolls of banish, half a dozen mass banish, a couple of rods of speed, and a bunch of seeker arrows and tracked him down. I figured I would, at the very least, put up a good fight before I fled.

He wasn't hard to find; “detection” showed him immediately after I went to 4950', so I dug an anti-summoning corridor and waited until he closed, casting “detect evil” frequently to check his (rapid) progress, cast Holy Prayer, quaffed a potion of heroism and a potion of berserk strength, zapped a rod of speed, and then the melee was on. I used “Heal” every time I got below 798 HP; if that didn't work (infernal 5% fail!) I quaffed a potion of Healing; when I got to under 600 HP I had a potion of *healing*. When I got down to 100 mana, I had a potion of restore mana. When my speed dropped, I had a potion of speed. Who would have thought it could be so easy?

Sauron's loot was disappointing (nothing I would use), but I decided to clear the level before going down to take on Morgroth. In my first piece of risk-taking, I thought I would take a look at Morgroth without even re-stocking.

Morgroth noticed me as soon as I arrived, so I started digging an ASC. He got to me before I got anywhere. It took me a little to get my potions and spells going, and by that stage the landscape had been smashed to pieces and I was getting surrounded by all sorts of D, U and L, mana bolts were flying from the odd “s,” and Morgroth was far from the only thing summoning. I phased around a bit, which only made matters worse. I thought about banishing, but didn't want to waste these valuable scrolls, which might come in handy later. So I used a Word of Destruction, and Morgroth vanished.

This was confusing, so I cleared the level, and found the golden crown of Gondor. This meant I could go home and swap Gondor+Celeborn for Numenor+Isildur; my thinking was that with this combination I would gain +3WIS (lower fail), the power of Banish, find myself unencumbered and so get extra mana (398!) , and maintain all my other benefits (resistances, immunities, speed, etc.). I rocked down, detected evil—Morgroth was on his way—used Word of Destruction to make a bunker, cast “Protection from Evil” (for summoned monsters) and “Holy Prayer,” drank potions of heroism, berserk strength and restore mana, and waited.

As Morgoth closed, I zapped a rod of speed, and then we fought. This was harder than Sauron—I used a potion of life, amongst potions of healing, *healing*, speed, and restore mana; I banished D (great wyrms of badness) and U (Horned Reapers), and L, but still found this fairly straightforward.

Later I realised I wasn't resistant to shards. Luckily, Morgroth didn't summon great crystal drakes, or great wyrms of law or balance. A several hundred point breath attack or two, combined with a 500 point mana storm might have been sufficient to finish Khalukda VII, which would have been painful.

Any comments or criticisms would be appreciated.

tl;dr: I got there in the end.
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Old March 28, 2010, 13:14   #2
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=)

Btw, you can teleport other Morgoth and then Destruct all the summoned stuff. Morgy will be right back... Not much need for banishes etc that way.

Load the new vanilla version, and play a mage. Go for no melee/ranged kills, it is possible now with the new mana costs. It's fun. Oh and in the later levels, starting them with banishQWZLsM makes it so much more.. erm.. unannoying.
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Old March 28, 2010, 13:14   #3
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Congratulations, and thanks for the story.
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Old March 28, 2010, 18:19   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o-o View Post
Maybe a Priest would have made it easier (I got *sick* of the dull dread that the 5% fail on Heal and Teleport spells gave me when things got dire), but the weapons restrictions might be a drag.
First off, congrats on the win.

If you are choosing between classes in the future, don't let the weapons restriction restrict you. It only affects you noticeably at particular character levels. By the time you get to wis 18/200, you will have 0% fail even with the pointy penalty on every spell that matters except for the big heal, and at level 46 or so [I forget exactly what] you will have 0% fail on that as well. There is a time in the mid-game it make orb too unreliable, but for the most part it is just an annoyance forcing you to unwield before casting spells like identify or clairvoyance.
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Old March 28, 2010, 19:44   #5
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Originally Posted by o-o View Post
I told my girl-friend, who looked confused; I explained, but as time passed she was increasingly uninterested.
Now you know how she feels... every day .
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Old March 28, 2010, 20:21   #6
SaThaRiel
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Wow - congrats i wont worry about your steps. It simply doesnt matter -at least not for a first time win. I hope i will make this someday too, but maybe i need 20 years or longer.
Girlfriends seem to lack the basic understanding of the deeper philosophy and technical complexness of Angband. Had to learn this too before But dont tell them!
To "save-scumming": I would say that almost every "professional" Angband player will keep savefile backups (at least the ones that need more that a day to win a game). Ive heard it more than once that a savefile was suddenly corrupt. Really sad if you take a break after finishing Sauron and find yourself just before level 0 because of some stupid messy bits. At the moment i play too unconcentrated to justify a savefile backup (CL 10-15 and dead). But since i have 2 PCs where i play i will have a savefile backup with every switch with a char thats worth it.

Oh, and a really nice story. Like it
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Old March 28, 2010, 21:34   #7
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Congrats!
Note that the suggestion of rBase by 1250' is genuinely bad advice. You are better going for stat gain as soon as you have FA. (Even SI isn't required for a Paladin or Priest at 1500'.)
The levels between 1000' and 1500' are filled with hounds and not a lot of payoff. If you hate hounds, don't waste any time there. It's the one time I would absolutely recommend diving, even for compulsive level cleaners.
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Old March 29, 2010, 02:00   #8
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Congratulations on the win! The first one is hugely satisfying
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Old March 29, 2010, 02:10   #9
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Quote:
1000': Free Action, See Invisible
1250': Basic four Resistances
1900': Maxxed Stats, Confusion Resistance, Blindness Resistance
2000': Poison Resistance
2500': Hold Life
2700': Chaos Resistance, Nether Resistance
3000': Permanent and Temporary Speed of +20 or greater
4000': Permanent + Temporary Speed of +30 or greater
4950': As much as you can get. Sustains, Speed, every resistance,
I would love to see an updated version of these recommendations for the new V version.
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Old March 29, 2010, 10:54   #10
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Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
The weapons restriction restrict you.... By the time you get to wis 18/200, you will have 0% fail even with the pointy penalty on every spell that matters except for the big heal, and at level 46 or so [I forget exactly what] you will have 0% fail on that as well.
This seems to be good to be true; it makes the Cleric much more effective. If I did my calculations correctly, you lose about 1.5 HP/lvl--how much less effective are they at attacking?
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