Monday, January 05, 2009

Nethack: Talk Nerdy to Me

After a great holiday weekend with Jefferson, I needed to get back to work on Pride High. I had miscellaneous updates for the homepage, as well as artwork to download/upload. However, once I got home, I discovered that my internet connection was down. My roommate had lost his wallet the previous day and had to cancel all of his cards, including the one our connection was billed to.

After doing all I could do on the comic without the internet, I decided to take a break and play Nethack, an ASCII dungeon crawl game I first heard about almost a decade ago. This game is one of the hardest out there. If your character perishes, it’s game over. Scores of fans have played for years without ever beating it. What follows will be gobbledygook for non-fans, but for any fellow Nethackers out there, here’s a copy of my very own YAFAP (Yet Another First Ascension Post):

I've played Nethack off and on for nearly a decade. I've rotated between it, SLASH'EM, ADOM, and Angband. Originally, ADOM was my favorite, but Nethack's quirky humor, pet system, and mounted combat won me over. I've pretty much always played as a human knight. I was hooked after the first time I tried jousting. However, stupid mistake after stupid mistake kept me from ever getting far at all. The most promising game I had before this one ended at the Castle… from overeating. I gorged on a black dragon corpse for disintegration resistance while satiated. Before this, I always assumed the warning message for overeating would appear. Oops.

This time around, I had a good feeling about things. Using a wish from the magic lamp in Minetown, I got myself a tame ki-rin who I named Windhoof. Ki-rin are AMAZING mounts! Besides being able to fly, they're fast, can wear an amulet of reflection, AND self-heal.

After finding two spare lances in the Castle, I began using my original lance in earnest. I enchanted it to +6 (can’t engrave/re-enchant for +7) and rustproofed it.

Ixoth, the quest boss was cake. With my lance, I was able to just joust him to death. I gave Grayswandir to Sunset, my pet archon (from the Castle wand of wishing), and descended into Gehennom. Named demons and Rodney (who I battled for the first time ever) all fell to the knight joust/pound technique. I made it to the vibrating square, grabbed the Amulet from the high priest of Moloch, and with heart racing, began to make my way back through the dungeon.

With 6 scrolls of uncursed gold detection, archon sidekick, and trusty flying mount, I made my way through the Planes of Earth and Air easily. And then disaster struck. When I got to the Plane of Fire, I realized I had left my bag of holding, with my holy water, scrolls, and spare wands on the Plane of Air!!! I was tempted to reroll, but then took a deep breath and continued. I made my way to the upper righthand corner of the Elemental Plane of Fire and began to fly over every single square of the map to find the portal. Without knowing where the portal was, I knew I would be saying goodbye to my archon soon. About a third of the way through the map, I finally hit the magic portal.

Water was the most frustrating of the Elemental Planes. I avoided fighting as much as possible, and searched every bubble as thoroughly as I could. Unlike the Plane of Fire, I had no idea if I was missing any squares as I went along. Thankfully, I got lucky and tripped the magic portal in a bubble to the far right of the map.

The Astral Plane was tense. With towel telepathy I could see Pestilence guarding the left altar, Famine in front of the center, and Death on the right. I went for Famine first. Luckily he never got his hands on me due to jousting and a fully lit Candelabrum to pound at a distance. The altar was wrong, so I went for Death next. He was a little scarier, as he hit me a few times. Still, I was able to dispatch him without too much trouble and make my way to the altar. Wrong again!

I headed for Pestilence, only to have Famine and Death come back for more as a team. I backed up into the hallway, and fought them one on one. Famine first, then Death. I finally made my way to Pestilence. At this point I was REALLY nervous, thinking that my lance could break at any moment, despite my insanely high luck. My Excalibur and Sunsword had been lost with my bag of holding, so my only backup weapon was a longsword dropped by a trash mob. Well, my lance was rendered obsolete afterall, though it didn't break. Pestilence made me ill, and with no other way to mitigate the disease (potions all lost with bag), I had to pray. While praying, Pestilence killed my mount, Windhoof! I checked my inventory to see if I had my wand of turn undead, but no such luck. Another thing lost with the bag of holding. Luckily, I did have a wand of death on me, and blasted Pestilence away.

Switching to my long sword, I began to slowly make my way to the last altar, but enemies were being summoned all around me. Pestilence revived close by, but luckily, his way to me was blocked by hordes of insects. Despite my high AC, my health was starting to trickle down. I began to despair, until I checked back through my inventory. I had a wand of teleportation with 7 charges left! With renewed hope, I began to teleport enemies out of the way. With the path now open, I raced up to the altar, sacrificed the Amulet of Yendor, and ascended for the first time!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice! Found this post pretty randomly; now I'll have to track down those comics.