Arena of Blood

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The Arena Of Blood

You descend into the pit of gibs and meat,
The sunken abyss of the depraved
The mill of turgid gutspawn.
The writhen instruments serve in adoration,
Immured beneath a rotten throne.

Before you lies the servitor of chaos,
The cleaver,
The blasphemer,
The destroyer,
The Axe of Woe.

The Arena of Blood (a.k.a. meatsprint) is the eighth module for Dungeon Sprint. Unlike most Dungeon Sprints, this allows only one playstyle: you must worship Makhleb, and you must wield the Axe of Woe. No other course of action stands a chance of victory, and only through prudent positioning, cleaving attacks, and abuse of Makhleb's healing on kills will you survive.

Urand axe of woe.png

The Axe of Woe

As you hold this axe your mind does not feel fully your own. Your body begins to exhibit strength far beyond its capabilities, and your movements become guided by Makhleb.

+∞, +∞ executioner's axe (or broad axe for small and little species)

With infinite accuracy and damage, plus cleaving, you are guaranteed to kill every enemy adjacent to you with every attack. Training Axes is still vital, if only to reduce its attack speed to something bearable.

Preliminaries

Before starting, understand that your species choice should be based upon a very small number of issues. Due to the absurd amount of experience earned here, the absence of any armour or important jewellery, and the fact that most enemy attacks are completely unavoidable, your species' skill aptitudes and equipment slots make almost no difference; all that matters here is how quickly you can move around and how massive your HP pool is. As such, trolls, ogres, and centaurs have a distinct advantage in terms of sheer survivability. Due to the eventual presence of fire, cold, negative energy, torment, and poison attacks, ghouls and occasionally demonspawn serve well here as well. Mummies are not advisable, as the amount of fire damage they'll be exposed to would take them out in short order, while vampires simply can't hunger fast enough to get access to their useful resistances. Deep Dwarf are also a good choice as they have damage reduction, and their lack of natural healing is no longer a disadvantage.

Because they cannot wield axes at all, felids get an extremely different game than all other species. Instead of wielding the Axe of Woe, they are given a +27,000, +27,000 ring of slaying, which is still quite capable of destroying any foe in a single hit. This means that they lose all cleaving opportunities, but their jump attacks and extra lives make for an interesting alternative.

Formicid have the ability to burrow, which will allow you the opportunity to hide from ranged attacks. By burrowing in an alternating diagonal path you can create a hole that allows only one enemy to see you at one time. This works great until you run into a monster with dig.

Your background choice is even more straightforward. Your stats generally don't matter; your infinite damage weapon and non-existent inventory means strength is pointless, and you won't have time to memorize any of the higher level spells in your starting spell books, so intelligence is also out. Dexterity will increase you evasion, which provides a chance of dodging a very small percentage of the attacks you'll face, so that is the only stat which matters, and even that is almost negligible. Meanwhile, almost all of the starter spellbooks you can receive contain nothing that will help you here, and you'll be training your way from near-incompetence with an axe to mastery in moments. As such, almost all backgrounds are identical, with the following exceptions:

  • Fighter - This is a terrible option unless you choose Formicid. You'll waste precious early turns removing your shield.
  • Warper - One of the only backgrounds with a distinct advantage, as Warpers begin with two scrolls of blinking (extremely useful, especially if you can keep one intact for the Arena of Blood's finale), and if you can find the time to memorize them, Blink and Passage of Golubria can both be helpful.
  • Enchanter - Invisibility is a useful spell, although very difficult to memorize. Maybe 1 in 5 games, with the help of the blink scroll, you will be able to memorize this spell before everyone surrounds you. The magical contamination, however, makes it inadvisable to cast this multiple times.

Useful Info

You begin in the center of a large, circular arena. At your feet is the Axe of Woe, which you will need to pick up immediately. Once you have the axe in your possession, you'll notice that there are four altars to Makhleb nearby, which you should pray at as quickly as possible. A flood of opponents will begin swarming you almost immediately, gradually becoming deadlier and deadlier as you progress. Before you engage them, enter your skill training menu and begin training Axes and nothing else.

Your initial placement is not an ideal one; apart from four short walls that partially box you in, there is no cover to speak of, and plenty of enemies with powerful smite-targeted attacks will eventually arrive at the edges of your line of sight. Unfortunately, there aren't any better areas to get to, and you won't have time to explore much anyway.

Take your time luring opponents into melee range and defeating them without allowing them the chance to attack you. As the enemies become progressively more difficult, make sure to examine them and find out what they're capable of, and act accordingly. You'll quickly master Axes; once that happens, master Fighting (HP is king here), then Dodging, then Stealth, then Armour. As with all Dungeon Sprint modules, you start with several useful consumable items; use them where they're needed to survive (the potion of speed in particular is extremely powerful, and a well-timed potion of resistance can be a huge help).

Eventually, the boss of the Arena of Blood will arrive: the Meatlord.

Monsters

Orc.png Bag of meat: The first foes you'll encounter, these are simply melee opponents. They wear rings of slaying that make them deadly to fresh characters and somewhat threatening to seasoned fighters, but in general they are simply free experience and healing.

One of the legions of abominations created by the sculptors of flesh. It is a horrendous imitation of the human form, consisting of an unrecognisable mass of meat stitched together with limbs sewn on seemingly at random. Its skin hangs off loosely in some places and bulges repulsively in others. Each one bears a large symbol carved into its flesh, a mark of pride from its twisted creator.

Ogre (monster).png Meat berserker: These units also appear in the first waves, hitting harder than bags of meat and being innately berserk. This means that they'll move into melee with you much faster. Move cautiously so as to avoid letting them enter melee with you and hit you before you get a chance to act.

One of the legions of abominations created by the sculptors of flesh. Its form is large and muscular. It moves swiftly and with impetuous fury, the sole thought within its being to rend you apart with great fervour. As it rages, it creates a cacophonous din.

Vampire knight.png Destroyer: These opponents hit much, much harder than anything you've faced so far, and can cast Blink Close to get into melee range with you surprisingly quickly. Pay attention to them turn by turn, and don't let them land a single hit.

The destroyers begin to descend upon you. They come in numbers and with wrath, maws gaping like abaddon, bottomless and abyssal. They bring your doom and will feast on your remains.

Hill giant.png Large bag of meat: Fairly powerful opponents with an innate Inner Flame enchantment. While one normally tries to avoid killing Inner Flamed opponents in melee, you don't have much choice in the matter here, and frankly they're much more dangerous alive. Hack 'em up and enjoy the fireworks! Just try to get out of the flame clouds quickly if you have any scrolls on hand.

One of the legions of abominations created by the sculptors of flesh. Its bloated hulk pulsates and throbs constantly with accursed fires. It looks as if it could explode into a torrent of viscera at any moment.

Skeletal warrior.png Sculptor of flesh: Occasionally irritating, these pests can cast Twisted Resurrection, turning all those corpses you've generated so far into an army of abominations. They also hit hard in melee, but fortunately both them and their creations are unlikely to last long enough in melee range for that to matter.

An artisan of unlife, the sculptor appears as a grim skeletal form. It has six long arms ending in mangled hands with broken fingers, upon which it crawls like a spider. Its skull is abnormally large and full of holes. Its bones are reddened and fractured, inscribed with the unholy spells it weaves to assemble its puppets.

Greater mummy.png Accursed: These opponents aren't too deadly directly; they aren't very impressive in melee, and their only spell is Smiting, which is annoying but not terribly deadly. Unfortunately, they give greater mummy-style death curses. If you're lucky, this will only torment you or reduce some of your meaningless stats. If you're unlucky, this will slow you, likely with lethal results.

The accursed are the ones who came before. They have come to ensure you share their fate.

Phantom.png Lost soul: To the living, these naturally invisible pests aren't much of a threat. They'll occasionally hit you with Bolt of Draining, which won't inflict draining for more than a single kill before your massive experience gains replace the loss. To the undead, however, they can be extremely deadly, as they cast Dispel Undead. If you notice yourself suddenly torn to pieces by thin air, it's likely the work of one of these.

A spectre, struggling to leave the mortal world it is incarcerated in. It drains life and unlife from all those it comes into contact with.

Lich.png Tyrant: These powerful spellcasters can hit you for heavy damage with their Airstrike spell or bog down the battlefield with worthless summoned foes through Summon Horrible Things, and do so much more effectively after hasting themselves. If you have a choice in the matter, kill them off quickly.

A colossal mass of bones and skulls, a walking tomb. You hear shrieks and screams as it approaches, shattering off bones with each crushing step, reassembling itself in eternal unrest.

Hell beast.png Meat beast: Permanently hasted, heavy-hitting opponents whose attacks shove you around the battle field. Although far from harmless, they're one of the less deadly opponents you'll face in the later rounds of the Arena.

One of the legions of abominations created by the sculptors of flesh. Ablaze with demonic frenzy, it gores and tramples with ferocity unmatched. Its skin is flayed, exposing the glistening tendons and sinew underneath, and the teeth inside its cavernous maw are stained with blood.

Wraith.png Dread: One of the worst opponents you can encounter, dreads tend to linger at the edge of your line of sight, pelting you with Symbol of Torment and Hellfire Burst. On top of that, their melee attacks can slow you, which is a death sentence here. Kill them quickly.

An affront to existence, a void in which there is only torment and hellfire. Its unearthly form is torn and twisted, black and hollow. It is bereft of rational thought, knowing only hatred and the desire to desecrate your soul.

Hydra.png Meat hydra: Normally, hydras are only threats in melee, and should never be attacked with chopping weapons like axes if you have a choice in the matter. These freakish beasts, however, know Symbol of Torment, and should be slaughtered in melee as quickly as possible. No amount of mythical regeneration can save them from the Axe of Woe!

One of the legions of abominations created by the sculptors of flesh. Each of its eight necks is distended and elongated, connected to a colossal body crumpled and dripping with ichor. Its many heads spew blood while writhing and convulsing in agony, as it brings torment to itself and anything else that beholds its foul visage.

Sea snake.png Scourge: If you're playing a species with poison resistance, scourges are next to harmless. For anyone else, their access to Poison Arrow, Poisonous Cloud, and to a lesser extent Venom Bolt can be devastating. If possible, don't give them a clear line of effect to you until they enter melee range.

A vast serpentine form with raw and diseased skin, seeping bile and pus, spouting venom and blight.

Great orb of eyes.png Observer: Another invisible threat, these beings simply pelt you with Bolt of Fire, Fireball, and Smiting until they happen to get close enough to you to get chopped to pieces. If you can determine where they're at and have a free turn to move, feel free to position yourself so they don't have a clear line of fire against you.

You see the unseen, you stare and they stare back. They whisper and laugh, they grin and cry, they leer at you with contempt and gaze at you in adoration. They are the observers, they are the judge of your worth and will decide your end.

Hell knight.png Fleshlord: One of the deadliest opponents you'll face, fleshlords deal monstrous amounts of damage in melee due to their +400 slaying bonuses to damage, and their tendency to haste themselves and slow you make them surprisingly capable of landing those massive blows.

One of the greatest servants of the Meatlord. It is muscular, agile and full of malevolence.

Molten gargoyle.png Vile: Has some nasty spells for you Confuse and Dig included.

An emaciated figure brimming with hellfire and plague. Its appearance signifies the end of days.

Uniques

Sigmund.png The Captor: Uses Ensnare and Sentinels Mark against you. Note that he does not spawn with a reaching weapon.

Those who enter will not escape.

Harold.png The Servant: A moderately powerful melee attacker armed with a reaching weapon. Don't give him time to make use of it.

His glaive is alight with the flames of hell.

Edmund.png The Defiler: Although little threat in melee, he's capable of hitting you with Fireball and Poisonous Cloud. Overall, he's less threatening than many of the other foes here.

His shield is emblazoned with images of infernal flames.

Dispater.png The Meatlord: Upon killing this Enemy the Orb of Zot will be placed at your feet. To win the game, you will have to pick it up and leave the Arena by the stairs on which you entered it. They are located in the middle of the Arena between the altars of Makhleb.

You behold the embodiment of filth, corruption and depravity, the Meatlord. His foul body is bloated to the extreme, leaking viscous fluid and the stench of death. His head is that of a boar with bulging eyes and tusks split in two, his snout flares and oozes as he snorts and squeals at the sight of you, his mouth is a toothless rift which drools pools of blood and vomits forth disgusting remains. His neck is stretched and lops forward, its skin sagging downward. His immense gut writhes and distorts as the larvae within await their repugnant release. His legs are unrecognisable masses of flesh, covered in protrusions and throbbing boils. Your mind reels at the sight of this hideous form and your senses begin to shut down in an attempt to preserve your sanity as you choke on the oppressive stench.

Unspeakable.png The Unspeakable: ?

You hear the echoes of planets behind the deafening roar of stars as it approaches. It is the jaws of the abyss. It brings forth crawling chaos from within. It is the last sight you will ever see.

Tips & Tricks

  • Don't bother picking up any of the many rings of slaying your opponents will drop, as you already have infinite accuracy and damage from your axe of Woe.
  • Attacking is the way you survive, with Makhleb healing you on kills. The only time you usually can do anything else is if there are no enemies directly next to you. Move in such a way that you don't give enemies free hits, and that you don't open yourself up to line of effect abilities from distant enemies.
  • If you have a spare turn, you can summon some greater servants to serve as distractions. They are unlikely to survive long enough to turn against you, and if they arrive hostile, you should be able to handle them as easily as you handle everything else here.
  • There are 2 Rings of see invisible and 2 Rings of fire resistance in the arena. See invisible is placed at the northern and southern edge of the arena. Fire resistance is placed west and east. If you are a Warper your Apportation will allow you to get them that much faster. Note that even then, you usually won`t have the time to pick up more than 2 rings. (Thus playing an Octopode is not that much of a benefit.)
  • Enemies will sometimes be spawned in your LOS, stop and check the list of visible monsters after every step.

Layout


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