Mork the MDHu

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This page is a Diary of a Crawler, the journal of an individual character. This page probably contains spoilers.


I've never particularly liked the (in)famous Mountain Dwarf Fighter. It always struck me as a particularly boring character; I'd look at those Mountain Dwarf spellcasting aptitudes and I'd cringe. My melee characters have always died by walking right up to a monster I underestimated, then having no way to escape. I mean, without blinks and clouds, there are only so many scrolls and potions. And anyway, isn't the whole fun of the crawl to think your way through difficult situations? Melee guys just click the arrow keys. What's a Dorf to do?

Why, get a crossbow of course! But alas, Yaktaurs are usually the first crossbows I come across, and there are at least half a dozen tough levels between start and there. And finally it occurred to me; a Hunter is just a Fighter that starts with Xbow! I can still pick up my axe, switch to some heavier armor, and act like a fighter, but I'll already have an Xbow and a way to hurt some monsters from distance. So, here we go...

Character Strategy

For reference, this is a version 0.7 Mountain dwarf Hunter. My choice of skills? Fighting for getting HP as high as possible. Axes and Crossbows as my close and long range methods of doing damage. Armor for getting my AC as high as possible (EV? Pssh!). I won't need Invocation because I'll be worshipping Okawaru for his gifts (especially ammo!), but Evocation should be a nice supplementary skill. If I can think of any useful utility spells that are 1st level, I might try to get some basic competency for them (Summon Small Mammals would be nice to spam the room with meatshields), but otherwise I think this is a pretty straightforward character:

If the monster is easy, walk up and thwack with an axe. If he is a little harder, or melee is a bad idea, use the crossbow and try to kill him from a distance. When necessary, use Okawaru abilities (Might and then Haste) for hard battles. Incrementally get better equipment, and try not to play like a total idiot.

The Many Lives of Mork

First Attempt

D:1 - 3

And it begins. Levels 1-3 are a cinch, with no real scares. I immediately switch to hand axe and pick up some ringmail, turn off dodging and crossbow, and act like a fighter. The first dangerous monsters I encounter is a snake, but switching to the xbow makes work of him at distance. I once turn a corner and run smack into a snake, but with the xbow already in hand, I luck out with a 1-shot kill.

Lesson learned: walk around with the xbow out, use it to soften a melee monster as he closes (or shoot at a ranged one from afar), or switch to the axe and close if its an easy rat/bat/etc.

D:4 - Dowan and Duvessa!

I walk down the stairs and there stand Dowan and Duvessa in an open room, 3 squares away. This is actually the luckiest I can be - right back up the stairs with me! I come down in a different part of D4 and clear it; it's totally cut off from Dowan and Duvessa's side. I'm going to go ahead to D:5 and come back for them later, as I'm only level 4 with 33HP, 7AC, and my unenchanted xbow. I have a ring of strength +1, but nothing else special just yet besides some unidentified potions and scrolls.


Right down the stairs are quite a few monsters, but they're at distance and I'm on the stairs, so I can always retreat. But the xbow makes short work of them, and I find a glowing sewer! Excellent!


At first things were going well - mostly giant newts and small snakes, with an occasional semi-dangerous Snake thrown in. Then I made it to the final area, carefully turned the corner... and was face to face with a Giant Frog and a Snake toe-to-toe with me, a slime behind them, and a few giant newts lined up... all within 2-3 spaces of me. With no potions identified, I took a couple shots and got the snake and the frog to retreat, but was badly hurt and tried to quaff a potion - it was might - quaffed another, it was porridge, and the slime had effectively destroyed all my equipment. And then I was dead. Crap, there was a nice axe in there, too! It looked pretty magical.


Any lessons learned? Not really, just some bad luck on how I turned that corner. Oh wait, I had teleport scrolls identified - I should have immediately ejected! I also probably might have identified some of the potions earlier (I did have curing, but unrevealed). C'est la vie! I'm feeling good about this kind of character.

Second Attempt


Up until here, a shocking number of orcs, including wizards and priests. I've dispensed with them, and come upon what I have been hoping for: an altar of Okawaru! I kneel, pray, and am now Mork the Bolt Thrower, Level 5 Mountain Dwarf of Okawaru! The Mrs. will be proud. Sadly, I have a cursed ring that I am assuming is a Ring of Hunger, given the ridiculous rate at which I'm becoming hungry. I burnt through trying to identify some scrolls, but no remove curse just yet.

D:5 - Sigmund!

I skip down to after only clearing half of 4, and encounter my first centaur. He has a bow with arrows of frost, but I get around a corner and lure him close to finish him with my axe. I should probably head back upstairs... but on my way, another centaur. I dispatch with him the same way. This ring of hunger is getting annoying, and it isn't helping my standing with Okawaru that I have to eat every corpse I can get. On my way through 5, I run into Sigmund. He is standing next to me now, and I would immediately hit my teleport scroll, but I've discovered just a moment earlier that the cursed amulet I have donned (and cannot remove) is an amulet of stasis. I have one unidentified potion that may help, so I chug it - agility! Hm, he misses. I try the only wand I have - it identifies as a wand of random effects, but it launches a bolt of cold and Sigmund is almost dead - 2 swipes of the axe later and I have bested Sigmund! I carve up his body in case I must feed. Take that!


My (assumed) ring of hunger has taken me down to zero remaining rations, as bodies have been hard to come by, and I keep getting down to Near Starving. If I do not find any scrolls of remove curse on this level, I might starve to death - a first for me.


Nope, I lucked out and ran into a pack of orcs including 2 wizards and a warrior. To save myself the embarrassment of a starvation death, I took them on and was beaten to death by the warrior. Lessons learned? Poor luck on this one, but maybe I'll refrain from wearing any jewelry and switching equipment until I collect enough scrolls and potions, make it to the Ecumenical Temple, and have the opportunity to reason out which items are which.

The gods were laughing at me

In the post game screen, it was indeed confirmed that the ring of hunger was relentlessly eating through my resources. But here is the kicker: another unidentified ring sat idly in my knapsack: a ring of sustenance. Would that have offset and saved me? Bah humbug!

Fourth Attempt

Dead (already?!)

I get to D:3 with no problem, then immediately step on a teleport trap, and this is where I land:


Having heeded my earlier "lessons learned", nothing is identified and I am not wearing anything. However, there is a stack of 4 potions. After I get a nice hit on Crazy Yiuf, he hits me for some damage and I quaff the big stack. Yes, it was a potion of curing! I may get through this!! Of course, while I'm drinking, Yiuf thwacks me again and kills me outright. Another one bites the dust, but I am happy to see that nothing in my inventory would have helped in the least.

Sixth Attempt


I feel like someone turned the difficulty to high; D1 was crawling with gnolls carrying halberds (what?!), but the xbow crushed them. D2 started with a giant ant poisoning me, but the magical xbow finished him and his hanger-ons (a giant newt, a rat, and a bat) and I managed to fight off the poison. I found some plate mail, but with an armour skill of 3, I think I'll be sticking with this +1 ring mail. I have an uncursed glowing dwarven hand axe - a few more whacks and I should know if it is worth carrying; yep, +1/+1... a nice little boost to get things started!

D:3 - The Return of Yiuf?

I learned my lesson last time. I'm moving past this pathway; Crazy Yiuf can wait until later.


D:4 - Dead! From a Prince's Kiss

I did not fully appreciate how thoroughly Prince Ribbit would own me. My most frequent characters are magic users who would be able to mephitic cloud him, or crusaders who would have a frost brand. He just beat me up, even with my xbow at full power. In the death screen, none of my equipment would have been any help. Lesson learned? Run from Yiuf and Ribbit, and pretty much any other non-Kobold named NPC until I get a few more dungeon levels under my belt.

Seventh Attempt

D:4 - Flee from Sigmund

Turning a corner, there is Sigmund. The only thing I have going for me at this point is a +0 ring mail of magic resistance, and I'm only level 4. I immediately hit my biggest stack of scrolls and luck out - Tele! I get back around the corner, and reappear safely on the other side of the map. I'm going straight to D:5!

It seems unfair, but on my way to the stairs, Sigmund has somehow tracked me across the whole map! I teleport again, and dispatch two ogres (great experience!) and a worm on my way to the closest down stairs. Bah - down those stairs is an ice beast, so I'm back to D:4 to find another path. I pray Sigmund is sleeping somewhere.

D:5 - The Temple is Discovered

The new stairs were still too close to the ice beast, but I was able to run from him downstairs into the temple. I have again joined Okawaru, and though I know the beast is waiting for me at the top of the stairs, I am about to go through my potions and scrolls to identify things, so I will have some powers to use against him!

I managed to identify the potions of mutation, paralysis, poison, and confusion without negatively affecting myself (phew!). Here are the nice new assets I have at my disposal based off my stay identifying & testing in the Ecumenical Temple:

There are still two unknown rings, one cursed (but not worn) and one uncursed. I'm most excited about the fact that I can now evoke Berserk at "Good". I'm going to have to work up my evocation a little with my wand to make sure I can use that effectively, because it will get me out of some tough fights. More reliably, but less game-changing, I can Might (and will soon get it from Okawaru) and Blink because of this equipment. That should let me survive at least a little longer.

I think I'm going to use a scroll to teleport, then walk up the stairs; hopefully that Ice beast won't shatter any of my potions in the hit it will likely get on me.


I can't believe it. I bothered writing that last long entry because I thought this time I had some momentum. I immediately walked up the stairs and teleported safely away, but then saw an ogre. I gave him a few shots on the xbow, but it didn't do enough damage, so as he closed I fled to the stairs. But he somehow caught up to me at the stairs, and I had a brain fart, failing to realize he would follow me down to D:6. So there I am on D:6 with an ogre, already at half life, and a Giant Frog next to me as well. I try to blink, but 1-hit-death.

This one can be chalked up to sheer stupidity, a real case-and-point of Yet Another Stupid Death! BAH HUMBUG!

Lessons learned: don't get complacent, and try to get some sleep - it's too late at night for any more of this nonsense.

Eighth Attempt

D:3 - Flee from Terence

I cleared most of D:3 before running into Terence. I was able to try to engage him from the stairs with my xbow - I'm already level 6 with 46HP and AC6 - but his wand was too much for me, so I retreated back up and circumvented him to go to D:4. I'll come back for him later, assuming I survive long enough.


I run into Dowan, but I am near the stairs and Duvessa is nowhere to be seen. I dispatch him with my axe, and hear a distant scream. I should probably let her cool down for a bit... I'll skip down to D:5, since I've already cleared half the level, just to make sure I don't run into her just yet.


I manage to kill a Giant frog and a Centaur on this level, but they were close enough calls that I burnt through a few healing potions. Luckily, I stumble across the Ecumenical temple and head downstairs to test out my equipment and join Okawaru. My session of identifying things yields mixed results. I've got a few nice things at my disposal:

  • 2 rings of evasion (+4 combined)
  • ringmail +2, wizard hat +2
  • a wand of fire
  • 3 scrolls of teleportation

I think I'm going to be struggling for the next little bit, so we'll see if I can pull this off; I head back to D:5 and find a book shop. Nothing here for me to read (interesting to note they sell the Necronomicon though. Barnes & Noble has that in stock too.)

After clearing D:5, I find a nice axe upgrade in an uncursed dwarven war axe. I'm up to 8th level with 62HP and 9AC/13EV, so I'm confident to go back and take on Duvessa, then Terence.

No wonder this war axe felt like it was worse; it identifies as -3/-1! Regardless, I handily dispatch the two named characters of the above floors with a little help of Might from Okawaru.


The first thing I notice is an armour shop. I stop to check out the wares, and discover a faintly humming scale mail and a bloodstained plate mail, for 359gp and 756gp respectively. If I can live long enough, I'll have to come back to buy those! The only other thing of note on the level is an ice beast I dodge by stair hopping; otherwise, the quest moves on to D:7.


D:7 is going fine, but I take some upstairs to double check I cleared D:6, and find Sigmund! I don't feel quite ready yet, so I retreat. A little later, I run into Blork the orc, and dispatch of him handily. I've found quite a few notable weapons, but all of the wrong type - we have a mace of holy wrath, a spear of dragon slaying, and more - but nothing of the axe category. I really need to upgrade from this +0/+0 dwarven hand axe soon. I find my first artefact - a buckler - and quickly don it.

Behold! The -5 Buckler of Perpetual Drought {EV-4, Int+2}

I don't think that one is a keeper.

D:9 - YASD!


Well, this is the furthest the character has gone. I just ran into the orcs guarding the entrance to Orc Mines, and was dispatching them, and simply didn't expect the orc warrior in front of me to do so much damage in one hit (27!). The only thing keeping me going at that point was my wand of fire, which I had to recharge twice, since I was down to firing darts out of my xbow and was wielding a terrible axe.

The irony, of course, is that the orc that killed me did so with an axe I would have made some good use of.

My analysis of this run is: well done, smartly played in general, and just some bad luck. No jewelry except 2 rings of (bad) evasion, no good equipment to use ... the gods simply didn't smile on me. I surely could have been more careful and avoided such a death, but alas, a stupid death awaits us all.