ARCHIVED Petro's Mountain Dwarf Fighter guide

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Version 0.8: 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This article contains advice from other players, which may be subjective, outdated, inaccurate or ill-advised.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!


Obsolete: This article refers to an aspect of the game which has been removed. It is retained for historical reference only.


Ah, the Mountain Dwarf Fighter, a go-to character for beginners and experts alike. It is one of the most straightforward characters when sticking to its core competencies of wearing heavy armor and hitting things, but maintains enough versatility to branch out into fields other heavy melee species are effectively barred from. With skill and a little luck this will probably be the first class you win Crawl with.

General Strategy

While it might sound like an oxymoron, fighters require strategy to be successful. Unlike many classes they have no easy escape effects, so a bad situation can quickly become a fatal one. Move cautiously. You are slow and lack the ability to deal with crowds well. If you see a horde of enemies back up immediately to the nearest choke point where you can safely mulch them one by one. Try to gauge the danger of fights early and beat a hasty retreat if you suspect things are about to go pear shaped. Ranged attackers and magic users especially pose a serious threat to you, and should be dealt with carefully. Retreating at the first sign of trouble may seem undignified, but they are always preferable to YASD.

Skills

Fighters have a pretty straightforward skill build, focusing on their core combat skills early then branching out to deal with new threats later on. Hypothetically earth and fire magic can be taken late game to help fighting the undead and demons, but like all magic it is an uphill battle for Mountain Dwarves and is almost never worth it.

On

  • Fighting
  • Primary Weapon Skill
  • Armor
  • Shields

Off

  • Dodging
  • Stealth
  • Stabbing
  • Spellcasting (Why did you do that?)

On As Needed

  • Invocations
  • Evocations
  • Crossbows
  • Traps and Doors

Items

Mountain Dwarf Fighters live and die on their gear. They can wear just about anything and wield the largest weapons and shields, all of which they will need to survive. They also get a handy bonus from Dwarven gear, boosting their already formidable power.

As far as weapons go you have two viable choices, maces or axes. Both have many excellent offerings throughout the game, with maces being more common early on and Axes showing up with greater frequency later. This writer personally prefers maces for the greater chances of getting a good ego drop early on and their shield friendliness, but axes are certainly a viable choice with late game potential. As the game progresses you will have a choice to drop your shield for the massive two handed varieties of your weapon class. These bring formidable damage but waste any time you've invested in shields and can be difficult to wield effectively in plate. Be certain you're willing to accept these penalties if you want to use them.

For armor MdFi's favor the heaviest available, with Dwarven quality in a tie. Your armor skill trains rapidly and you have no dodge, stealth, or casting capabilities to interfere with it. Heavier armor trains the skill faster, so don't be shy about bulking up! Grab yourself a crystal plate or golden dragon armor ASAP. Likewise shields should be upgraded to the largest possible as they are found, though this is rarely an issue. Just remember that the heavier your armor and shield the larger the penalty they impart to weapons. Don't try to wield something large like a morning star unless you have the proper armor skills to support it. Resistance effects are valuable for dealing with casters, something that will become an increasing problem as the game goes on. For jewelry the fighter has many options. Resistance gear takes precedence since magic is a serious problem for you. An Amulet of rage compliments your character quite well if you don't worship Trog already, while an Amulet of faith can fast track your worship and give you access to much needed divine support.

For ranged combat you are largely restricted to crossbows. These are a worthwhile investment for dealing with the various enemies you'd just rather not touch (jellies, wights) but can be difficult to find outside of stores. Mountain Dwarves also excel at evoking wands, which helps to compensate for your nonexistent spell casting ability. Unfortunately wands and their recharge scrolls simply aren't common enough to make this a stand alone solution unless you feel like worshiping Nemelex.

Gods

More than many classes, fighters count on their gods to feed them useful items and patch the rather large holes in their repertoire. Getting a good god can make or break your prospects, and should be done as early as possible. Lets take a look at the most competitive offerings.

Pros: Gives weapon and armor gifts, a boon for your item dependent character. Finesse mulches enemies. Heroism is generally useful and can let you use strong weapons against powerful opponents earlier than would otherwise be practical.
Cons: His abilities do not generally help with escape, and both use piety.
Pros: Gives weapon gifts. Has several useful panic button skills that don't require the training of invocations. Berserk requires no piety, while Trog's Hand gives you much needed magic resistance.
Cons: Supports few strategies beyond pointing your dwarf at something and seeing if it will bleed. Brother in Arms frequently fails. Doesn't give armor gifts like Okawaru. One of the hardest gods to desert, as he enjoys summoning hostile, berserk Brothers in Arms against you.
Pros: Greatly increases survivability, particularly against undead and demonic enemies. Supports the use of pure fighters in the extended endgame.
Cons: Extremely hard to gain piety with, particularly early on. Forbids the use of poison. Unsuitable for the early game, but you can start with Elyvilon or Zin and convert safely.
Pros: Gives you the abilities of several different high level casters while retaining the fighter's natural strength and durability. Evocations is an easy train for MDs. Stacked legendary decks give you the versatility to survive the extended endgame.
Cons: Does nothing to improve your core skill set. Requires the sacrifice of potentially useful items to get piety and the decks you want. Before you get the ability to stack decks you will have to suffer inherent randomness of Nemelex, which can sometimes be harmful or downright fatal depending on the deck. Many decks are dangerous at low Evo skill.