Aargxl's mutilating Formicid of antcrapping onto 'em
Foreword: Despite my older diarie(s?) trying not to get OOC, this one is rather inspired by how Majang did his diaries - which I quite liked. The idea is to go for maximum (positive) mutations while also getting great equipment and since I will try to go for 15 runes, I will need to switch to becoming a mage at some point. The plan is to abandon Xom once I can survive it, switch to Gozag and buy upgrades, while working on my intelligence in advance. So it is three set long-term-stages to go through. I like the plan and it is actually made by a friend of mine with whom I often play crawl together, but he certainly won't write any diary about this. His most used player name is MAX POWA, btw! A better player than me, imo.
Exiled for my erratic behaviour from our tribe's traditional inhabitated underground area, I dug around randomly for months, until this voice in my head calling itself Xom, told me to dig to above ground - he says there is some kind of dungeon, insulated from the outside underground by thick walls. I shall listen to it and enter from the top entrance or suffer the concequences. As a sentient insectoid being my fellows saw me as danger, since it seems only me has this strange connection to this deity. They said I would bring too much risk with me. I accept my fate.
As for Xom, he often seems to alter my body and surroundings often, while he cannot teleport me as he does with other worshippers. Over the years, I've got to know his behaviour quite well and I feel prepared. While he saiys we will start out as if we have not known for long in this dungeon, I will use my hand axe to apply his madness to as many enemies as possible.
First thing I do is to turn on autopickup on evocables, magical staves and all ammo except for stones and throwing axes. Chances are, I will find some good (normally) two handed ranged weapon so I'd like to be prepared, while having some javelins and throwing nets is never wrong. My starting attributes are S 19, I 11 and D 10. I level my axes, since it is on 3 and by 4 i will hit slightly faster. Once this is done, I switch on fighting instead. I don't want to specialize too much until I find a worthy weapon. Basically I keep track of my skill levels and only turn on one at a time. I get to XL3 by finishing it, mainly using autpfight (which the axe is also nice for, cleaving all enemies instead of me having to choose or even retreat into corridors for weak foes). I also found a glowing mace on the ground, which I will not yet try out for it might be cursed.
I find a small vault with altars of Elyvillon and TSO - crap gods imo, at least at this stage. After a rather risky fight with two goblins, a worm, three jackals and a gnoll, I got a dagger of draining, which might come in handy as a swap at times. Next to the corpses I find a ring lying around, which I wear-identify as protection from cold. While resting up, Xom grants me insight so I can see an adder about a screen away - well thanks, I could do without this since I got antennae! As if he knew and just wanted to mock me, he smiles, declares me a beloved toy and throws 27 gold pieces at me - I guess we get an understanding. I throw one of my 3 javelins at a sleeping adder but only scratch it - then cleaving it in two whilst doing some random shit with it. A Sif Muna altar? That's like the opposite of what I stand for. Go preach to some monks. Yes! a wand of acid. These are quite helpful if shot multiple times since every shot severly cripples my enemies in both defense and offense. My fighting just reached 4, so I take a turn on some armour (will get it to 4, too) and then switch to evocations to failsafe myself a bit - with stasis I will get most of my panic buttons out of evocables. After finishing, I take a closer look at the map and see a closed structure of stone walls and only two stairs leading down. Interesting!
Cool, I find the missing stairs almost next to my descending place, go up aand... its a smirking altar of Xom. I pray and earn my right to pick up the throwing net and two unidentified potions lying around, while getting labeled as Xoms ugly child. Most other races consider me ugly, anyway. Suddenly I find a ring in my posession, must have been this now dead hobgoblin. Teleportation and cursed? No matter. Aw god/Xom! I am already becoming reckless - I almost dies in an encounter of gnolls and orcs, hasting the first gnoll with my axe of chaos. Xom opens a gate while we're at it and seems rather excited as I speed up my most dangerous enemy. Good thing about this stuff is, the risky fights actally tend to please Xom. He also thinks it is hilarious that I save my sorry butt by drink-identifying a potion of agility and one curing me. Before I forget, Xom sent me a crimson imp as backup, which also took part in making this encounter non-lethal. In the middle of this fight I get my evocations to level 2, reminding me: I pile them up in a corridor and go for it until my imo blinks out, then I shoot them retards. Now corroded, they are easy to deal with even with my leftover HP - I think! The gnoll succumbs, leveling me up to sex, err.. Xom stop it! Level six is what I mean and this encounter sure made me a bigger brain. Just when I think it should be easy to whack these critters now, the orc wizard confuses and nearly kills me. Thank god I had a second potion of curing! As my agility-inducing drug liquor runs out, I start to feel hungry, but this fight is over and survived. I rest, knowing I made a leap to the better in Xoms opinion. I learned my lesson and lure out single enemies if they look strong, while Xom seems to point out it is no use, summoning me about ten friendly critters making noise, but also swashbuckling my opposition away. He then decides this was too easy and sends a second mob trying to kill me, but this one is nothing compared to me and my army. They don't give no experience either, though. By the end of D3, I still got only mediocre equipment, notably I only get to wear this cold protection ring and a cloak adding to my starting gear. BUT I got a load of unidentified potions and scrolls. Maybe I should start tactically identifying some of them with higher quantities once I face some random enemies - this pleases Xom most of the time and we don't want him to get bored.
I can't bring myself to do it - even after a berserked worker ant nearly killing me and a mob of orcs (with a warrior) plus the occational centaur skeleton, I had two close quarters fights and did not make use of those potions. That second fight went rather easy in the end after Xom mass confused my enemies. Now while finding a (+0) Ring Mail of magic resistance on the ground which matches my +2 leather armour of Xom while giving some higher GDR, I notice XOm already gave me a bunch of mutations!! I scroll up the log and find out it happened in midfight, while I did not pay much attention - thinking the two hounds hit me down to 50% of my health (that's basically what happens when Xom mutates me). Let's have a look at this goodies: +2 AC from thin metallic scales - nice early game boost! Tier 1 mutation resistance - I actually don't like this because it rules out the evolve mutation which is actually my most desired mutation. But as long as I stay/survive with Xom by my side it doesn't matter much - he bypasses this kind of resistance anyway and is likely to take it away at some point anyway. I'll just hope it won't take forever. Regeneration 1! Now that one is certainly one of the most useful things for an ant like me, since I can even try to heal while fleeing a fight or just survive until I reach some stairs. As a bonus, Xom altered my strength by two points. Well, thanks, Xom!
I will now gladly take this escape hatch to please you, my master.
I land near to a lone iguana and Xom is not noticing this. I take the escape hatch back up next to me and shaft myself, maybe to some better effect. Ooops! I just fell down 3 floors and find myself on D7 now, in sight: a centaur, a necrophage and a howler monkey skeleton. Luckily, the centaur is quite near to me (one square away). I switch to my draining dagger and walk up to drain this centaur while closing in to a narrow passage. Xom briefly asks Quazlal for help and the area engulfs in a massive cloudburst - sadly nothing damagind my enemies. Now I got the necro, should I risk the rot? Well, sure! Xom will be happy! I drink-identify my now three potions of haste, which have no effect whatsoever but make Xom roar with laughter. Then I axe this phage and level up! On lvl 8 I now feel stronger, having one of my 65 HP rotted away I charge at the centaur, petrifiying him with my hand axe of chaos while the skeleton gets cleaved to death. This +2 shortbow of freezing could pack a punch, but I'd rather get my fighting up to 10 (it is now at 7). I rest and while Xom happily spawns altars of his truly around me I notice it seems to be a hint: My fight took place about next to the entrance to the ecumenical temple. I quick-check it but of course it got nothing to offer. Until I find the stairs up I can get a hold of a wand of iceblast and a flail of draining, which I trade in my dagger of same for. On D6 I collect some small stuff and whack my way through small fries, while Xom and my axe do their random things. The last enemy before I can approach the stairs to D5 is a giant frog, which first gets berserked by my axe and then, almost dead, gets transmuted into a crocodile by XOm. Nearly killing me, I use-identify a potion of degeneration, a potion of brilliance, resistance and one of magic without impressing Xom at all. Then I get my heal wounds and he laughs - probably because I wasted some precious stuff. While I kill the crocodile he almost notices me. Back to 5, here I should be able to beat everything to death! Doing that Xom touches me (balls) and gives me cancer! No wait, it is actually rugged brown scales he grew me and the sensation of feeling my balls touched goes away as he also grants me clarity - well NOW I feel well mutated. I go bashing some orcs, knowing those stupid wizards will not confuse me again, and as for compensation Xom turns me into a spider midfight! Good thing I am now fast enough to maneuver the band around while applying some poison from time to time. Fight still became a hard one because one of the orcs went berserk by chance, but then was luckily confused by Xom. I almost die again when Xom turns a harmless hound into a grey wolf which hits me down fast, until I give him two charges of my wand of corrosion. Fighting turns to 10 and I see the point in now turning my attention to evocations again. After being back to D6 I find a shield, which I plan on using excessively, so I switch off evocations again to level it simultaneously with shields. Next to it is a jewelery shop containing three different rings of strength (+2, +5 & +6), three rings of evasion (+2, +3 & +3), a ring of fire, a +4 ring of protection, magic protection and +2 dexterity. Strange compilation imo. It also has an amulet of berserk rage which I cannot use and a unique one, giving spirit shield and MR++, but at the cost of 3 INT. I got merely 372 gold pieces with me and will not afford any of these right now, since I can only pay for the weaker ones anyway. I do not see a significant increase from those I can buy and thus rather save my money for the real shit (I plan on saving a lot for later converting to Gozag, too).
So, I head back to D7 where I fleed from not too long ago. As the enemies around here are more numerous and strong, I switch to my +2 bow of freezing for a change - after overusing my axe that much, it does not seem to impress Xom anymore anyway. I plow arrows into wargs and centaurs and they fall easily, even without having leveled bows (got to admid, that Xom threw in some confusion again). One even drops a +2 bow of chaos, which I think is rather funny. I will try that one and only resort to melee if I feel it is safe, so I do not waste too many arrows. Shields just jumped up to 5, btw. That +2 aptitude pays off fast. That mod didn't come from a lair entrance, rather I find a fortress here in D7 - Xom bless I didn't shaft myself into that, seeing it got quite the experience in it I prever to check the surroundings first: Surrounded by water but I can walk around it. Xom throws me a brown potion while I'm at it. Wargs on the backyard cannot swim and I shoot at them, not calculating their "intelligence": they flee to the west and come back on my side, severly punching me. As my wand of acid turns out to be empty, I use the newly acquired potion which happens to be might. I swap my bow for the flail of draining and bash the remaining three, using a potion of heal wounds but reaching lvl 10 and raising my shields to 7 in the process. As I check out the rest of the dungeon I stumple about a band of kobolds, dropping an enchanted blowgun and a +2 dagger of protection. I am gonna keep the latter in case I need an AC boost while fleeing. I use my four scrolls of identify to check for remove curse and don't find it - this blowgun will remain unchecked for the time being. I got magic mapping, enchant armour/weapon and recharging ready to use now. My first found amulet is inaccuracy, so I try my last set of 2 unidentified scrolls, wasting a scroll of fear. Two single scrolls left, I sure hope one is remove curse since otherwise this fortress will be a pain... phew! First one was it. I was even reckless enough to test out those unidentified weapons before I used the scroll, now getting rid of the dagger, mace and amulet, along with my axe of chaos (now that I got the bow). Cool, I just wasted a sky beast and it dropped mutagenic meat. To get hungry I dig around a bit and then feel odd by the meat not doing anything. Xom punishes me with a sarcastic line: "You need some minor improvements, mortal." and gives me a bad mutation in place of the meat: -10% MP, which luckily is not a problem for me at this stage of the game. As I approach the fortress, a horde of orcs comes rushing at me, leaded by an orc knight. I lure them into hallways while making use of my +3 blowgun to massivly poison this knight, while Xom simultaneously petrifies him. I pour more needles into him, until he moves again, charges at me with about half of his HP left. But I took my safe distance and continue the game. Next hallway I wait for his damage while further poisoning him, when Xom "Ka-Booom!" explodes his lessers waiting behind him. And such, my shields reached 10. Now onto evocations again. As I lure out the next batch of orcs, Xom gives me Death channel and summons an iron imp to my aid - but those warriors got glaives, and there is an enchanted one in front. I continue the poisoning in good faith I will get this guy as a spectral thing of my cause. Okay, I got 4 of them now but they dropped their equipment before joining my cause - what a shame. It is a +2 glaive of venom and I seriously consider putting some training into polearms now, but not before 10-ing my evocations. As I charge onto the fortress again with my army of four spectral orcs, in sight of the gate Xoms power touches me another time - gawd this is so creepy. I turn out to be more clever and two times more agile afterwards (+2INT and +4DEX mutations). My stats are now 20 16 14. With my spectral meatshields I use my glaive to put those stronger armoured orcs from safe distance, letting only enemies near to me while they have to stand in shallow water. Works well, but my servants are more or less destroyed afterwards. A +2 hand axe of electrocution is found in the remains. With my small arsenal to compensate for any well trained weapon choice I go through the remains of the fortress. I find a book of unlife, which I don't see coming to great use, and a book of the tempests, with fireball and tornado inside - this one got quite some lategame potential! I could start swapping to magic at any time now since I still lack a nice main weapon. I also got hold of a cloak of invisibility, and in the last room is a boggard "locked in" behind some iron grates. I thought about freeing it and if still hostile, then killing it before it starts the summoning, but actually it just blinked out of his so called "prison", saving me the work. After I exit the fortress via autoexplore I stumble upn an orc warlord. This ain't no fun at my level, I've got to check options... one scroll of fear is a good chance of getting rid of him when stuck in melee. Okay, I will try becoming invisible via my newly acquired cloak, since those brutes cannot see insivible foes. My failure chance at 8.6 evocations is 34% but he is a solid 6 steps away from me, plenty of time. Then I will go on poisoning him using the blowgun and glaive I've got. Let's just hope Xom doesn't do something fucked up in the middle of it! I manage to become invisible on my first try and the +3 blowgun does its job pretty well! The orc is stupid enough not even to figure out his way in melee range for three rounds. I switch to the glaive as soon as he comes into polearms reaching range and try to keep this one space of distance between us - because even one or two hits of this guy can maybe put me to sleep forever. And then there it is; as the tension rises through the warlords approaching Xom makes his entrance: "Go forth and cause havoc, mortal!" - well okay, that doesn't sound too b... wait what?! He gave me brilliance? For the heck of it then lets live up to it! Well, now this guy stays in my back, but my glaive seems to damage him more than he hits me. Xom again moans and gives me the thick fur (AC+1) and passive mapping mutations - so this warlord didnt hurt me, but Xom did? Then again, the warlord seems to get the upper hand. We are in a corridor and I am thinking shit, if I turn visible now this guy just needs one rush to beat me down. Once he hits me into critical state, three butterflies erupt from me - perfect! I swap the space with the one behind me and the ort kills it in one go. But now I got this free space between us to try and hit him with my glaive, further damaging and/or poisoning him. I repeat this a second time, while the third butterfly successfully flees and run away, when the warlord finally collapses. 10/93 HP left, level 11 reached and evocations leapt from 8 to ten. Luckily he only had a dire flail and a chain mail, otherwise he'd hav had me for dinner. I am lucky not to be malmutated by the yellow contamination I now got from staying invisible for so long, and as I rest, three gnolls show up - those are no match for my blowgun and serve as exchanging my +0 flail of draining with a +2 one of the same kind. After the action I autoexplore the rest of this dungeon level, to find out that I have displeased Xom somehow and now feel weaker (only stat loss though, I've still got the +2STR mutation).
I am taking a break for now, so here are my stats: Str 19(20), Int 16, Dex 14 AC 11, EV 11, SH 12 XL 11, and a surprisingly good tradeoff in mutations. My four innate ones, Rugged brown scales 1 (AC+1, +3%HP) Thin metallic scales (AC+2) Dex 2 (+4) Clarity Int 1 (+2) Less MP 1 (-10%) Mutation resistance 1 Passive mapping 1 (deep dwarf style formicid!) Regeneration 1 Fur 1 (+1AC) Str 1 (+2) Skills: Fighting 10, Axes 4, Armour 4, Shields 10, Evocations 10.
This would basically be a good time to abandon Xom, but I think I wouldn't survive hiw wrath yet, so I'd rather hope his mood doesn't turn bad and that he maybe, on top of that, gives me the evolve mutation instead of resistance to further mutation. If this happens the mutations will go on by themselves for quite a while, mainly giving upgrades. At my point right now those Xom mutations actually save my ass, because the loot I found couldn't carry me through the game at this point.
Okay now that I take another look at my stuff I see that I could only bash Hydras with my wand of iceblast. This is not nearly enough, since I'd like to save up my scrolls of recharging for later. I happen to have innate SeeInv on the other hand, so I should be able to go a little deeper in the normal dungeon once I find the lair entrance. To prepare for the lair, I will try to get the fireball spell from my book of the tempests usable for the lair. My aptitudes for conjurations and fire are -1 and 0 so it could become a hard time doing so, and I will need to sacrifice training in spellcasting first, becoming partly dependent on permafood to even stand a chance to pull this off. Luckily, I only wear a ring mail right now, so I won't have to focus on armour training.
On my first entrance on D8, a big pack of orcs with at least one priest, a hungry ghost, a black bear and joseph with them awaits me, and I only manage to lure out one orc safely by stairdancing. I will now try some other stairs. Not too far, but about a screen away. That's good since I can weed them out with my blowgun like this. I manage to take the black bear with me on the second try while blowing enough poison to kill into two orcs, still avoiding that annoying hungry ghost. Back to the first stairs. What, only the hungry ghost is left over? Well then, it shall be next. It will taste my +2 axe of electrocution, since I can hit it pretty well with it and it got no Relec. As I lure it to my stairs, throwing my remaining two javelins at it, both Joseph and the orc priest make their re-entry but don't deal damage. I pull the ghost up and it manages to bring me to near starving status before it dies and I do not find any chunks on D7 in time so I have to eat a meat ration. Joseph himself then doest not hit me well with his sling bullets, so I manage to poison him almost to death, until the orc priest arrives before me and I pull it up, quickly killing it with my axe. Back down, I deal the lethal last hit on Joseph with his same axe, too. But as I want to check his remains, Psyche emerges! She has got her dagger of distortion (scary) and a runed robe (quite nice if it is well enchanted for me, since it could make fireball usable even earlier. I shoot at her with some poison, until she stands only one square away from me, when I switch to my axe. She still has lots of HP left and I sure don't want to be banished into the abyss, so I am happy she wastes her time throwing frost and flames at me for two turns, in which I give her a shot of my wand of iceblast, bringing her down to about 1/4 HP. I get to shoot once more with my wand of flames, until she charges in melee. I hit her once and electrocute her to death, while she hits me with her dagger before she dies... phew, only a teleport attempt blocked by my stasis. Fire magic advanced to 4 over all this and I pick up Josephs quaterstaff of crushing, which is unluckily only +0. An ogre with giant spiked club enters the scene and I lose a turn to change to my blowgun (and then back, after he reaches me), electrocuting him. Still, this guy hit me only twice to bring me below 50% of my HP. I try on the robe and... surprise! It is a (+0, but we can work on that) robe of the archmagi, which will boost my fireball to compensate for my lack of Int. Just not now yet. I further find a minivault with a worm, a worker ant and two wasps, which is quite the weak defense for a loot consisting of a scroll of enchant weapon, 9 royal jellies and 6 fruits - this looks as it is in favor of my fireball plans. I find an entrance to the lair on this dungeon, but skip it for now. I won't take those escape hatches anymore, since the dungeon starts to become too dangerous for me.
Wow, I manage to whack a troll and an ogre without too many problems! A player ghost of a demigod transmuter awaits me next... it says extremely dangerous but I know better: His spells and unarmed suck, but he got this artifact +1 battleaxe netting him mainly good resistances (but I don't see either cold or electricity safety). I lure him and his fellow worker ant to the stairs and whack them twice with the wand of iceblast, which brings him down to about 50% HP and kills the ant. Still, I forgot about his base stats as half a god and he hits me down to 50% too, before I disturb the ghostly electric signals he is composed of enough to make him disappear - still without the iceblasts he could have easily killed me. While I slowly bring up my fireball, I find a randart amulet lying around - how unexpected, I don't even have an amulet at all! It's base is an amulet of berserk, which I cannot make use of. It also grands SInv, which is useless to me. It is still quite useful, since it provides both poison and one level of fire resistance, both of witch I lack completely. I stumble upon some orcs, a black bear and a steam dragon in a corridor. WHile I poison this polearm wielding ord warrior, Xom turns me into spider form. I manage to apply poison once more and retreat around the corner, backwards to not get hit by steam clouds all the way back. Still, in the process I get beaten down badly and once I am out and try to poison this drake, having only 27 of my 93 HP left, a killer bee emerges - dang! Where one is, almost always more follow. Now I need Xoms help badly! Okay, my scroll of fear scared most of them off and I manage to retreat enough so only the black bear and one killer bee are dangerously near me. While the steam dragon is still visible and not scared anymore, I can only hope the poison will kill him. Since in spider form I cannot use wands and supposedly won't stand a chance against even a single killer bee (my poison resistance gets nullified by this transmutation and my HP are still low), I drink one of my two potions of invisibility (in earlygame those are quite the winner-potions but starting around the elven halls most enemies will not be fooled anymore). I manage to hit and poison the killer bee now, while the steam dragon actually helps me and shoots steam through bee and bear, which Xom finds is hilarious. Then I turn back to my original form, still invisible. Now I feel a bit greedy about using my invisibility, even though the killer bee seems to flee and the black bear is nearly dead already I am not sure if I should go on or rather retreat and heal up. I manage to kill the bear with my blowgun, as a howler monkey and a gian frog emerge. No big deal by themselves but I am scared that (especially the monkey) will attract the other killer bees and retreat. A safe spot is the escape hatch upwards where I place myself on, getting an adder to the kill list. I will axe them now har har. Time to heal. As I explore again I get brilliance from Xom and guess what? A moment later there are four of them killer bees piled up together with an orc wizard. I try my 21% failure chance on fireball out on them and manage to shoot all three of them without miscasting. Well, that was nice, thanks, Xom! The orcs were easy with the axe, of course. In comparison; after brilliance runs out I have a 97% failure rate on fireball with spellcasting, conjurations and fire magic at 4 each (I went on with the idea I wil need them all at least at 5 and want spellcasting to get the hunger cost down to 5 or 4 just so I don't regularly have to loose turns eating in midfight, and some MP ar nice too, of course).
Okay, that's it with dungeon 9! I will now try out a potion of mutation I just identified. Chances are it won't do much about mutations in general, since I've already got so many, but chances are also that XOm will be pleased. Okay I got the wand-linking to MP mutation. This is okay right now, but later on makes me choose between them and casting an actual spell. At least Xom finds this hilarious : )
A Two headed ogre awaits me merely two spaces away... i guess I will try him on, because of my earlier easy whipping of a troll. It works out, I electrocute him right away and kill him fast, leveling fire magic to 5. I kill another sky beast emerging from behind the wall. As I see that he was indeed a big danger because of his giant club of chaos, Xom does not approve my gaining mutations all by myself. He halves my HP and removes the newly gained mutation. He also sends me three spatial vortexes which I just avoid. These guys are less than mindless, they are like permanently confused and don't even charge me. I can even bash a hill giant, which nets me lvl 12 and two increases to Int, which is now at 18. Way to go! I find a book of beasts of which I learn summon butterflies in the hope of this being able to give me some panic button for fleeing dangerous stuff. A +3 flail of protection is the exchange for my dagger of protection and maybe my new best melee weapon for single opponents. Xom takes away my Int mutation and one level of Dex+ mutation. He seems not too pleased with me right now and on the next instant I meet another troll, trying my flail of protection against him, we beat each other down to less than 50% when Xom suddenly hastens this guy and he makes short work of me in (i suppose) two lucky hits before I can even drink a potion or do anything about it...
So long, then! Maybe I will continue this diary with another similar character, since I was just careless and really unlucky with equipment. Together with MAX POWA, we already came to Pandemonium with this kind of character, even though we started magic much later on. Getting nice mutations from Xom and abandoning him for some other god giving new and better acquirements is actually a viable, challenging and fun way to play. Formicid is kind of the "Xom-light"-version since many of Xoms actions which normally really destroy your face are rendered useless while being a formicid.
Well working is 1. Xom -> Mutations, possibly tons of money and artefact items 2. Gozag (Abyss is an endless source of money which generates enough permafood) -> nice equipment 3. (Insert choice) -> destroy ziggurats with dudes who heal or give panic buttons like TSO, Makhleb, Dithmenos or whoever you prefer.