Rogue: An Obligatory Mid-Week Post

From CRPG Adventures

It took me a bit longer to get Haunt up and running than I thought it would – I had to figure out how to use Telnet – and to be honest my blogging fervour has somewhat subsided from the insane level it was at back in April.  So I haven’t been playing any games other than Rogue, which while still fun for me is death for the blog.  I’m determined to keep up my twice-a-week schedule, though, so I’ll half-arse a quick post and hope that you’re all satisfied.
I’ve lost another 17 characters since my last post.  This includes five deaths on the first dungeon level, 9 in the mid-levels, one to a Yeti while grinding for XP on level 15, and one to a hung game.  This is becoming a real problem:  I’ve had a few games that just became completely unresponsive to my keyboard commands.  I’ve taken some steps to fix it, but I might be violating Rogue etiquette.
Of those 17 games, I had one that was really promising.  I found a two-handed sword, and managed to enchant it a couple of times.  I was wearing plate mail armour.  I had a stash of potions of restore strength, and a Strength score of 18/78.  (Rogue uses the odd D&D rule where fighters with an 18 Strength get to roll percentile dice to see if they get any extra bonuses).  I had a scroll of scare monster, which I was pretty stoked about.  And I had a ring of slow digestion, among other things.  That’s a pretty hard equipment list to beat.
By the time I got down to dungeon level 13, I’d also amassed nine portions of food, and between that and the ring I had plenty of time to grind for XP.  At this point – and this is what I meant about the breach of Rogue etiquette – I backed up my save file.  I gather that it’s not the done thing among Rogue aficionados, but I wasn’t doing it for the purpose of cheating.  This was a failsafe against the game hanging on me.  I’m happy enough to start over when I legitimately fail, but this was a character that I didn’t want to lose to technical issues.
I spent a good long while on level 13, doing laps of the level and fighting Quasits, Centaurs, Yetis and other weaker monsters.  I was wearing bad armour so that my plate mail would be protected from Rust Monsters, but I didn’t run into any problems.  Advancement is slow though – the strongest monster there is the Yeti, which is worth 50 XP.  I managed to advance to level 11, which requires 5,160 XP.  Getting to level 12 requires double that, which seems like a pretty tough ask.  You could do it quickly enough fighting monsters like Dragons and Purple Worms, but survival is no guaranteed thing against those.  By the time I reached level 11 I only had three meals left, so it was time to move on.
I was extremely confident about my chances, and the first few levels below 13 went by like a breeze.  Unfortunately, it all came unstuck on level 16.  I looked at the list of monsters to see which was introduced on that level: Invisible Stalkers.  I scoffed, feeling that I could handle them without trouble.  Of course, when I did meet one it was nothing but trouble.  I noticed I was getting hit, and started flailing about at random trying to find my assailant.  I finally got a hit in, but by then it had reduced me to about 15 hit points.  I was getting desperate at that point, so I dropped my scroll of scare monster on the ground.  I had wanted to save it for the Xorns, Umber Hulks and worse monsters lower down, but I wasn’t going to reach those depths unless I did something now.
With the scroll at my feet, I knew that I couldn’t be damaged, so I made my attack.  The thing is, you attack in Rogue by moving.  And the Invisible Stalker wasn’t in the square where it had previously been.  So I moved off of my protective scroll, breaking the magic, and promptly got killed.  Chalk up another dumb way to die in Rogue.
I was really banking on that scroll, I must admit.  I’ve found plenty of them before, but never more than one in a game, and I have a tendency to read scrolls before identifying them.  With the scroll of scare monster, that’s a complete waste.  On this game I encountered a Zombie with the scroll on the ground between us, and I noticed the Zombie move around it to get to me.  That’s not normal monster behaviour in Rogue, and I quickly realised to save that scroll rather than use it.  Sure enough, it was what I thought it was.  Not that it helped me much, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for more such scrolls.
I don’t have any other images from the above game for this post, so here one of me fleeing from an absurdly powerful cadre of monsters on dungeon level 3.  I’d tested out a polymorph wand on a Kobold in the bottom left room, turning it into a series of monsters that were far too strong for me.  The last monster I turned it into before running out of wand charges was the worst possible: a Purple Worm.  So I fled all the way across the dungeon, avoiding monsters and luckily finding the stairs.  It was a narrow escape, not that the character got much further.
The sort of tension that only a roguelike can create.
I expect to post about Haunt on Sunday, but I wouldn’t bank on it.  I run D&D on Saturday nights now, which leaves me pretty knackered the next day.  Plus I’m determined to beat Rogue, and it’s been monopolising all of my gaming time.  I’m not sure how much more content I can eke out of it before winning, and winning seems a long way off.

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