Buddy23Lee's Troll monk of Jiyva ("slime troll") guide
Of all the Dungeon Crawl gods, Jiyva is arguably one of the most difficult to successfully worship. Many have tried, particularly with an early altar, only to see their precious loot and potential experience eaten away by swarms of marauding jellies. Despite this, and like so much else in the dungeon, situationally, Jiyva can be an exceptionally beneficial deity. Those who are able to successfully navigate Jiyva’s challenges and pitfalls will find a unique and rewarding gameplay.
Most often in Dungeon Crawl, one selects a god to compliment his or her character. However, aside from those of a sufficiently high-level who might conditionally become a Jiyva worshiper, the reverse is most often true for those who wish to worship the slime god early in the game and often as their character’s first and only god. This strategy guide assumes this to be your objective.
Given this, it is commonly suggested that the best species for Jiyva worship is one with few available equipment slots. While that is indeed a good suggestion, one of the greatest challenges to successful Jiyva worship is getting such a character to live long enough to reach an altar. Perhaps the species best suited for this (and just surviving the early game generally) is the troll. It is also the troll, particularly with the background as a monk, who arguably stands the most to gain from Jiyva worship.
Therefore, while many other species and background types may enjoy all sorts of fun being a Jiyva worshiper, this guide assumes you are using a troll monk (henceforth referred to as a “slime troll”) as a character with both a very good chance of living to see an altar and getting particular use for Jiyva’s powers subsequent to worship.
The advantages of being a 'slime troll'
As mentioned, trolls have limited equipment slots and can only wear loose armors, various hats, and medium to large shields. Of those, only the first is a prerequisite to a successful character. While other items, such as jewelry and wands, may likely end up an essential key to your success, the reduction in needed gear is critical, as you will inevitably suffer from a vastly diminished amount of discovered items thanks to your voracious and largely uncontrollable jellies.
Hunger/hit point levels
As a troll, you have 3 times the hunger of most species and +30% the amount of hit points. Thus, Jiyva’s ability to replenish both of these, as your jellies consume items, well compliments your innate regeneration and ability to consume carrion yourself. Often you will find yourself not needing to eat for quite some time, something otherwise impossible for the insatiable troll.
Hiding items in places where they aren’t appropriated by wandering monsters is hard enough, but with Jiyva the process becomes even more vexing. Some elect to hide items in teleport traps, when they have the required abilities to retrieve them. Others hide them on the stairs of the Ecumenical Temple, where monsters do not spawn. Those who get far enough sometimes even store items in the Vestibule of Hell.
Wherever the place, I would submit that as a troll you try to not create a stash at all. Unless Jiyva decides to shuffle your strength to woefully low levels (which does happen), you should have the strength to carry virtually all that you need along with you. This, coupled with Jiyva’s delightful gift of well protecting your items from outright destruction, means that at high enough piety, items on your person are safer than even the most remote off-level stash.
Complete with claws and an unarmed combat aptitude that's not as terrible as most other skills, monk is a widely lauded background for trolls. This just becomes all the more true when it comes to being a Jiyva follower; it eliminates the headache of trying to find increasingly effective weapons and the scrolls to enchant them.
Additionally, while gaining piety with Jiyva is generally a pretty simple and automatic affair, the monk background comes with automatic piety right from the start. Having this ability is helpful, and being able to call in jellies right from the get-go makes the piety snowball-effect even quicker.
Skill selections and investment
As you know, trolls have the worst of all skill aptitudes. As such, they need much more experience than most other characters to raise their skills. With experience at a premium, you should first shut off all skills other than fighting, unarmed combat, and dodging. Of these, unarmed combat is most the important and should be specially focused from the very moment you start. You may wish to focus fighting as well, to keep it roughly proportionate to your quickly building dodging skill. Just like with other characters, you can begin to expand to other skills as these base ones achieve an acceptable level.
One important skill to consider is ‘armor’. Obviously this isn’t going to be of much use until you actually get some heavier armor, but once you do, it’s likely time to begin training this skill as well.
Once you are starting to feel comfortable with your skills in relation to immediate opponents, you can consider developing a modicum of stealth, invocations, and even traps. Again, these are supporting skills and given how much experience they require to develop in the first place, don’t need much more than a few levels each.
Your troll is going to want to develop some type of range ability. I would suggest you choose between throwing (large rocks) and evocations (wands). Now, you might think that throwing is obviously the way to go. After all, you’re a large troll. You can hurl large rocks, the giant spiked club of ranged combat. Also, unlike other ammo, your rocks won’t get eaten by jellies.
However, as a slime troll, Jiyva may have other plans in store for you and will potentially shuffle your stats until you have a frighteningly high dexterity and an equally scary lack of strength. This will make your large rocks into a much larger burden than they normally are, especially given everything else you’ll be hauling. Thus, you may want to consider training evocations. Wands will only need to be collected once (no ammo to retrieve) and you’ll be surprised at just how many you’ll still find laying around unconsumed.
As mentioned, actually finding a reliable way to worship Jiyva is a substantial challenge in and of itself. Aside from finding a suitable robe and cloak, or, if you’re lucky, hide or armor, your main goal is to find Jiyva as soon as practicable. While as a troll you maybe be strong enough to poke around a bit in the Orcish Mines by the time you find them, you want to resist doing this and head straight for The Lair. Once you find The Lair, bypass levels 1-5 and go straight to 6. If you’ve retained any scrolls of magic mapping, levels 6-8 are the place to use them. At this point start searching for the opening to The Slime Pits. As of version 0.14, the opening to The Slime Pits remains the most reliable place to discover an altar. Pray, then unleash your jellies on an unsuspecting world!
Be very mindful as you poke around the deeper levels of The Lair though, as you are likely only just capable of dealing with many of the inhabitants there. Hydras are a notable mention, which you should generally flee from. Later, these painful problems will be rendered trivial by your ability to ‘slimify’.
- Clear each dungeon level like normal, maximizing your experience and items discoveries
- Bypass the Orc Mines, if discovered before The Lair
- Skip through The Lair levels 1-5, going downstairs as soon as you find some
- Search for the opening for the Slime Pits and (hopefully) a Jiyva altar
After finding a Jivya altar and devoting yourself to your new god, make your way back up to the first floor of The Lair and begin slaughter like normal. By the time you return to the opening of the Slime Pits you should have just enough piety to go down and grab some loot.
Once you hit the highest level of piety, make your way back to the Slime Pits (you might likely be nearby) and proceed down to the bottom level. The walls to the Slime Pit vaults are now gone, which is good, but the massive hoard of slime denizens are now entirely interested in eating the contents, which is bad. You’ll need to spam the hell out of your ability to paralyze jellies. You might need to use it every few steps. Don’t worry about the piety loss, as you’ll gain it back quickly as items are consumed. Make sure you focus on the items situationally useful to you as you likely won’t be able to get all or even most things. Still, what you do manage to pluck out of this quickly dissolving treasure hoard will often be of much use.
Jellies not only eat damn near everything, they also harass and soften up some of the monsters on the level. Obviously, this works better on shallower levels and branches than it does the deeper ones, but you’ll get a surprising amount of mileage out of those little guys. One good way of doing this is to empty all your magic points at once into summoning jellies. This will summon a decent sized group which will then wander off and maraud throughout the dungeon. You can usually do this 2-3 times on a level without even touching your piety status. Add in one or more tougher slimes created through the ‘slimify’ ability and you’ve got a oozy force that will rile all sorts of monsters.
The unfortunate downside to this is that you will dramatically reduce your chances of finding any, let alone useful, items. Still, if you are encountering a place where slaughtering or simply surviving is more a concern than finding items, flooding the level with jellies may be the way to go.
- Enter the level, kills nearby monsters if practical, and consider slimifying at least one
- Dump your magic points into, usually multiple, jelly summonings
- Traverse the outside of the level and give your jellies time to soften things up for you elsewhere
Mid-game and beyond
Gold is more important to a slime troll than to most other characters. With so much of it lying around, you’re bound to find it with more regularity than other items. Equally important, the shops at which you can spend it are one of the few repositories of items safer from destruction than even the stuff in your pack. With so relatively few items to be had, what you purchase is all the more critical to your success.
Preserve your scrolls of enchant armor. It’s likely you’ll need to create better armor from a monster you’ve personally slain, rather than just finding it laying around. If you aren’t lucky enough to find a mottled dragon (or greater) wandering the not-too-deep main dungeon, you’re likely to find a plain dragon or two in the shallow levels of The Vaults and certainly plenty of swamp dragons in The Swamp, if your game has that branch.
Things to particularly try and grab before your jellies do
One last thought about items. You’ll notice that on each new level you’ll have a brief window between the time you enter and the time Jiyva starts sending in the jellies. During this time you’re obviously free to grab whatever you can, like a normal character. Now, being the ravenous wrecking machine that a slime troll is, this can easily lead one to be overly-ambitious in a mad dash to get things. Be extra careful not to fall prey to this and get led into dangerous situations. Remember that as a slime troll you have renounced the world of items unto the corrosive domain of Jiyva!
Using your mutations in lieu of items
Keep an eye on your mutations. Sometimes you will have particularly useful mutations that will make up for your lack of resistance providing items, such as rings. It’s quite probable that you’ll receive mutations that confer poison resistance, magic resistance, mental clarity, etc. If and when these occur, take advantage of them and head off for the branch they are essential for. This is especially true for the poison-related realms of the Spider's Nest and the Snake Pit and the final level of the Elven Halls. Remember though, these mutations can go as quickly as they came, so act on them as soon as you get them.
Jiyva is infamous for stat-shuffling. For a troll monk this is very beneficial at its best and an annoying headache at its worst. The direction of stat shuffling is said to be governed by three particular considerations: your skills, your inventory weight, and the evasion penalty of your armor. Since you have little control over the first two (your skills will be optimized toward survival and your pack will usually be at or near full) it is the last of these, that of armor, that can more liberally be manipulated to make a difference.
Generally, it seems that when you have on a robe and a high dodging skill, Jivya will be most interested in dumping your stats into dexterity. This can bring your evade to Spriggan-esque levels, but will often bring your strength to uncomfortably low levels as well. As exampled above in the section of 'throwing versus evocations', this can significantly alter your play style. Alternatively, if you are wearing heavy dragon armor and have a high armor skill, Jivya will be conversely interested in putting the majority of your stats into strength.
Therefore, even if you have a nicely enchanted robe, it may be worth donning some heavier dragon armor and training some armor skill instead, particularly if you need to retain a significant amount of strength. Ultimately, the choice comes down your own preferences and play style. Just don’t get upset if Jiyva decides to turn you into something like T Purgy!
You probably know this already, but unique monsters have, not surprisingly, unique and terrifying ways to kill you. Normally this wouldn’t even bear mentioning, but sometimes it can be difficult to quell your troll bravado when it’s so easy to slaughter everything else. I would highly recommend avoiding or ‘slimifying’ any high-level uniques you find, even if you think you can handle them. These special monsters have been responsible for many slime troll fatalities.
Getting cast into the abyss
Although magic resistance is often eschewed in favor of other priorities, make sure you keep a reliable source around if possible, particularly for moments of confronting magical-types of deep elves, liches, ogre mages, and of course many of the above-mentioned unique monsters. While a modest amount of magic resistance is unlikely to prevent higher-level uniques from banishing you, like most things in Dungeon Crawl, the longer you put off the experience, the easier it’ll be if/when you do face it. The Abyss can be quite rewarding for a powerful slime troll, just not in the early or mid-game!