ARCHIVED Drwhat's Vampire Conjurer guide

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Version 0.10: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.


This article contains advice from other players, which may be subjective, outdated, inaccurate or ill-advised. Read at your own risk and alter to fit your play style as necessary!


THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN FOR AN EARLIER VERSION OF CRAWL, AND IS NO LONGER RELIABLE. TO HAVE IT REMOVED FROM THE ARCHIVES, PLEASE UPDATE IT FOR THE CURRENT VERSION.

Overview

The Vampire Conjurer is a magic user who revolves around three central concepts: Ice magic, Necromancy, and corpse manipulation.

  • Vampires have average aptitudes in Spellcasting and Ice Magic, and good aptitudes (+1) in Necromancy and Charms. On the downside, their Conjurations aptitude is terrible (-3), as is their Invocations (-2). Ice magic is the obvious focus for damaging spells; there's no avoiding the horrible Conjurations aptitude, unfortunately.
  • Since Vampires are bad at Invocations, Sif Muna is not a good choice of god, as her main power (the MP channel) requires significant Invocations training. We could go for Vehumet, but Kikubaaqudgha delivers corpses, and his powers do not use Invocations but instead Necromancy! This lets this character (ab)use Sublimation of Blood, since we'll always have a large supply of potions of blood and chunks of meat on hand, and resort to Necromancy for various other utility and backup spells.
  • The plentiful corpses also let us play the Vampire food clock as we wish, and Bat Form is always nifty for escapes, complementing the skillset nicely. Plus Vampires get an amazing set of intrinsics and satiation-based resistances that let us focus on wearing jewellery and armour that enhances spellcasting.

Strategy

Background

While Ice Elementalist works fine for an ice specific build, the Conjurer background is a more offensive-minded choice that trades some buffs and a summon spell for a larger repertoire of direct nukes and a couple of cloud spells:

Ice Elementalist

Conjurer

Magic Dart is a definite upgrade over Freeze any way you look at it, as is Mephitic Cloud over Ozocubu's Armour. The Ice Elementalist has a leg up in the mid-game with Throw Icicle, however, but if the Conjurer can make it to Bolt of Cold and Freezing Cloud, they'll have all the killing power they need until Ice Storm -- your end-game goal and the reason you always burn scrolls of acquirement on books! It does mean the Conjurer will have to divert some experience to Air Magic earlier, though, but with proper skill management this is easy to pull off and shouldn't adversely affect the Conjurer much.

Early Game

Without a food clock to speak of, there's no downside to running away, especially with Bat Form to guarantee you'll outrun pretty much anything the game can throw at you at this point.

As soon as you find his altar, worship Kiku and try on all amulets, as an early amulet of faith will speed up his book gifts considerably. When you receive the Book of Necromancy, learn Regeneration so you can start training Necromancy. You'll receive Kiku's second gift, the Book of Death, at three piety stars, and once you do find a safe place ASAP to memorize Sublimation of Blood, the spell around which this character revolves, and Dispel Undead too if you can. There's nothing amazing in the Book of Unlife, sadly, but the Necronomicon (who needs a pain brand?) will let you learn Haunt, though that'll come fairly late in the game. Focus Necromancy to get Sublimation of Blood's success and power up to a comfortable level: Excellent success and 4-5 power pips should be enough for now.

Mid Game

If you are hurt after a battle chug a potion of blood or two to pop yourself to a higher satiation level; Regeneration can help here, though its effects are drastically reduced as your satiation decreases (and having no effect at all if you're Bloodless). Bottle blood from all corpses you can, chop the rest into chunks of meat, and simply wield either when you need a quick MP boost. Again, use Bat Form to flee from difficult encounters.

When you can learn Freezing Cloud do so and use it to kill groups of monsters whenever the occasion arises. Focusing Ice Magic and Air Magic at this point is not a bad idea, since they'll level faster than Conjurations -- and you should definitely do this if either or both skills are trailing Conjurations. Bolt of Cold will be the last addition to your arsenal, but with it, you should be strong enough to clear everything but the last levels of the mid-game branches (Snake Pit, Swamp, Elven Halls, and Vaults).

If you're cast into the Abyss before you're ready to tackle it, go Bat Form and run like hell, picking up loot along the way. Even if you're low level, the only serious danger are smoke demons (who can not only smite you, but also cast Sticky Flame) and purple draconians breathing dispelling energy at you (which removes all buffs, including Bat Form!). Your chances of survival are much higher than other characters at that point.

Late Game

Coming soon...

Tactics And Tips

  • Always save 2 MP so you can cast Sublimation of Blood to get more MP or Bat Form to escape!
  • Enemies with a holy wrath weapon, or using silver ammunition, will deal bonus damage to you. Watch out for them.
  • All chunks of meat, no matter their type or freshness, work with Sublimation of Blood. Potions of coagulated blood are fine too.
  • You won't be able to use Sublimation of Blood on yourself unless you're Very Full/Alive, so never count on that.
  • The type of corpses Kiku delivers depends on the branch you're in; e.g., you'll get animal corpses in the Lair, orc corpses in the Orcish Mines, and so on and so forth. In some cases, it's best to retreat to the dungeon or the previous branch, receive your corpses there, then return.
*If you wait until you're at Near Bloodless to chug a potion of blood, you'll bounce back to Thirsty every time, making this an easy cycle to repeat if you're paranoid about never letting your poison resistance/stealth boost fall off.
  • Kiku does not accept collateral kills from non-undead allies. As such, use Summon Ice Beast only when absolutely necessary while you're still getting book gifts. This is not a huge problem later on.

Skills

Apart from normal spellcasters, a Vampire Conjurer of Kiku should consider:

  • Spellcasting: spell hunger is not an issue for Vampires, so if you don't need more spell levels, feel free to disable it in favor of Conjurations. Do plan ahead, however.
  • Necromancy: always on, and focused once you learned Sublimation of Blood to boost its power ASAP.
  • Stealth: always on. With the boost you'll get at Thirsty or below, you can pick your battles exceptionally well.

Items

The Good

The best amulets are faith for the early game, then conservation (to protect your potions of blood) or clarity. Similarly, cloaks of preservation give you two intrinsic in a single slot, one of which protects your MP regen. The best rings are wizardry, +Int, and, if you did find Blink, teleport control.

The staff of cold and the ring of ice are both nice, though they each have their downsides: the staff must be constantly wielded/unwielded so you can regen MP with Sublimation of Blood, but it grants one level of cold resistance with no other downsides. The ring, on the other hand, grants one level of fire vulnerability, but it will always be on (unless you need to wear specific resistance jewellery for a particular monster). The best option is a staff of conjurations, or failing that, a staff of death or staff of enchantment.

The So-So

Most spellcasters love rings of magical power and staffs of power, but since you're playing a character who can regen a large amount of MP mid-battle, they won't be of much use by the mid-game, though early-game they can make a significant difference. Resistance items are commonplace too, but you're a freaking Vampire who can, nearly at will, get rPois, rN+++, rC++, torment resistance, and mutation resistance. Besides fire resistance you won't be needing much, although making the effort to reach rC+++ to protect yourself in case you need to pop an Ice Storm at close range is an excellent idea. Magic resistance is decent, though your Spellcasting will keep you safe for most of the game, and good artefacts with Stealth boosts can increase your survivability.

Potions

You should be fine for most fights with a stack of 10-15 potions of blood, fewer if you have chunks of meat on hand. Needless to say, use Kiku's delivery service before big battles, because the last thing you want to be doing is calling for a time-out to bottle blood. Keep in mind the effects of potions (such as heal wounds) is halved when you're Thirsty or worse.

Satiation

  • Alive, Very Full, Full: You should pretty much never be at those levels. Their only advantage is heightened HP regeneration, but since you're playing a conjurer, that's not a solution to any problem you'll be experiencing. You also can't use Bat Form if Full or above.
  • Satiated (i.e. no special message): If you need to regenerate after a battle, go for this level, so you'll have a normal regeneration rate (use the Regeneration spell to make it even faster). However, once you resume exploring, cast a couple of spells -- assuming they still have a hunger cost -- to drop yourself to Thirsty.
  • Thirsty, Very Thirsty: This will be your main state for most of the game. While regeneration is slow (not a big problem for you), you gain a ton of resistances, including poison resistance and mutation resistance, plus a boost to stealth. At the start of the game, do not drink your first potion of blood, or from any corpses, so you can get to Thirsty ASAP to prevent early adders from poisoning you.
  • Near Bloodless: This is also a very good level to be in if you feel rather safe: while regeneration is still slow, it'll take a lot more blood to pop you back up to Satiated after a battle. On the other hand, the resistances and stealth boost are further increased, and you get no spell hunger at this point!
  • Bloodless: No HP regeneration at all, but torment immunity(!) and a large boost to stealth. Since you're worshipping Kikubaaqudgha, who protects you from torment if your piety is sufficiently high, the benefits of this state are limited to the stealth boost. It's much easier to stick to this state late-game, with Ice Storm, Repel/Deflect Missiles, and resistances ensuring you kill monsters before they can deal any damage to you.

What Can Kill You

  • Forgetting to use Bat Form. Did you just turn a corner and come face to face with berserked Rupert on the first level of the Lair? Fly away!
  • Not saving at least 2 MP for Sublimation of Blood or Bat Form. You must manage your MP properly, or you'll die. Simple as that.

More coming soon.