Crawl Diary

Relevant to your interests

Month: May, 2013

May 31: Naga Venom Mage

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup 0.13-a0-1284-g77c6466

Overview:

This seems like a natural combo, though probably not a popular one. The Nagas you fight in the Snake Pit are essentially Venom Mages, casting Venom Bolt and Poison Arrow along with an assortment of other conjurations and translocations spells. However, neither Nagas nor Venom Mages are particularly popular choices – in the last tournament, only 21 Nagas were won, which puts them towards the middle of the distribution in median terms but in fact far closer to the least played race, (Ghouls, with 11 wins), than the most, (Minotaurs, with 109). Venom Mages were even less popular. In the end, only 14 were won, making them the 4th-least chosen background and tied with notoriously difficult Transmuters and Chaos Knights. Personally, I think Venom Mages are underrated by the community at large. Sure, they lack a 9th-level super-spell like Shatter, Tornado, or Fire/Ice Storm, but their 6th-level spell Poison Arrow is the best single-target conjuration in the game, in my opinion, on account of its high damage and massive range, (full-screen targeting with Vehumet’s aid, and enough damage to 1-shot most high-level enemies that lack rPois). They do face some problems early on because of poison-resistant enemies, but not as much as you might think, and enemies that lack poison resistance tend to go down even quicker than to the other elementalists. Further, worshiping Vehumet, (the natural god choice for a Venom Mage), usually gives quick access to spells that can affect poison-resistant enemies. Overall they’re actually one of my favorite classes, and I’ve ascended 2 already and played several more.

Nagas, however, are a different story. I’ve never gotten one off the ground, let alone ascended one. I just haven’t gotten the hang of their slow speed, because my playstyle tends to focus on taking lots of risks while allowing for quick retreat if things go pear-shaped. Naga Venom Mages also face some additional challenges that other Venom Mages don’t – the standby strategy of poisoning an enemy then retreating while the poison wears down their HP isn’t going to work here, forcing more uses of Mephitic Cloud, which makes a great deal of noise. That’s bad. It wakes up enemies and potentially draws them into the battle, so I try to avoid using it when I have other options. Additionally, many of the threats early Venom Mages can’t take down on account of poison resistance, like ice beasts, wraiths, and the new-and-improved shadows, are best retreated from, which Nagas can’t always effectively do. On the belated bright side, they can use Olgreb’s Toxic Radiance, (the full-screen poisoning spell comparable to Ozocubu’s Refrigeration and Shatter), without fear of poisoning themselves though I’ve never found that particularly effective myself.

With all that in mind, I’ll be playing my NaVM the same way I’d play most VMs: worshiping Vehumet as soon as possible. If I was more comfortable with Nagas I might take a somewhat harder god, possibly Chei, but I’m not confident enough to do so. It’s hard for me to estimate how well I’ll do, since I’m very comfortable with my choice of class and god but inexperienced and possessing a poor record with my choice of species. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve got equal chances of early death, tragic midgame loss, or glorious victory.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

High Elf Gladiator Analysis (and Why I Hate Damage Traps)

Analysis

It’s hard for me to really evaluate HEGl because I didn’t get this one very far. As I mentioned in a note at the end of my last post I ended up losing shortly after my narrative cut off when I walked into a bolt trap at low HP, instantly killing me. However, I got far enough to get a feel for the combo, so I’ll go ahead and give a preliminary analysis.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 30: High Elf Gladiator

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup 0.13-a0-1284-g77c6466

Overview

Gladiators are the light armour melee class, which makes them well-suited for a High Elf intent on melee. High Elves have a positive dodging aptitude and negative armour aptitude, and while both are fairly modest they’re enough to give decisive favor to EV over AC as the best choice for a defensive focus. High Elves also have a +2 aptitude for long blades, quite high, so I choose a falchion as my starting weapon. Long blades are one of the strongest weapon groups in the game, and falchions are hands-down the most damaging weapon you can start with, so this will play in my favor. I’ll eventually be dipping into bows as well as my ranged option, since I have a decent aptitude there as well and need something to make up for what is sure to be lackluster defense capabilities, but for the very early game these should be enough to carry me. Overall, this is a fairly strong combo, (listed as viable, and for good reason), and though I’m not sure I can ascend it I expect to make it quite far with good play and careful planning. I’ll be putting all of my stat points into dexterity, to raise my EV, and aiming to worship Okawaru.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 29: Octopode Wanderer

Overview

This is a fairly dismal combo. Wanderers are the “random class” – all of their starting skills most of their starting equipment (rations aside) are entirely randomized. With excessive startscumming this can actually result in a character with a better start than most standard backgrounds, but in most cases you’ll end up with an unpowered, redundant or just plain bad skill spread. Combined with an octopode, the outright squishiest class in the game starting out, this probably spells an early death. I don’t expect to survive to Lair, let alone ascend.

As expected, I come out with a downright awful skill spread. 3 levels of fighting, 2 of of short blades, and 1 each of bows, dodging, stealth, traps and invocations. Fighting, dodging, stealth and traps are all essential skills in the long run, but nothing that’s going to help me much in the early game. Short blades are useless to me unless I plan to build a stabber, (which I don’t), I didn’t even start with a bow, and I’m not even sure if I’ll have a god that uses the invocations skill. The one bright spot with this start is that I started with two important consumables – a potion of heal wounds and a scroll of teleportation. These are arguably (along with potions of curing) the most useful consumables in the early game, as heal wounds will save me when low on HP and teleportation can allow me to escape from unwinnable situations, so starting with both identified and a supply of 1 each is a great benefit.

Read the rest of this entry »