User:Neil/Denny Sidhe, SpSt

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Early game

D:1 had, among other things, a troop of gnolls. Usually that would mean "run away", but being a Spriggan I could pause and throw things while doing so. Being a Stalker, "things" include potions of water, poison, and confusion. I came dangerously close to dying when one of the gnolls recovered from confusion and threw a spear, but one more cloud of steam took him out, and I reached XL 4 before taking the stairs.

D:2 and D:3 were uneventful, other than the wand of fireball I found. I meleed the rats, newts, and cockroaches, and confused and stabbed many of the humanoids. D:4 had Edmund, who got the Evaporate-stab treatment. It also had the sewer portal; it was the version with the altar. The kobolds and grey rats yielded enough potions to make up for the ones I spent killing them. The loot included a bunch of potions of heal wounds and one of gain dexterity. Back on D:4 I picked up a blowgun from a kobold and enchanted some needles up to +3 or so. In retrospect, that was probably a waste, but I guess it's good to have backup when the mana runs out.

D:5 had a Spriggan Conjurer player ghost next to the Temple stairs; fortunately I was able to dodge its Stone Arrows and kill it with a wand of fire. I also encountered a goliath beetle zombie; they deal way too much damage in melee, so I Evaporated a potion of berserk rage at it. I figured I'd clear the level before going to the Temple; in doing so I found an altar to Makhleb behind a lava moat (demons_altar, the one that's open in the corners and has one to three demons). I figured I was going to need some ranged damage soon, and Vehumet seemed kind of boring, so I killed the iron imps guarding it and became a servant of hell. I never even set foot in the Temple.

D:6 had a kobold vault. Unfortunately I had just test-wielded a glowing orcish dagger that turned out to be cursed (and -1/-0). This made killing the big kobolds quite slow. I was using up my potions of poison as fast as I was distilling them, but I tried to conserve the potions of confusion. I also spent a lot of time doing barely effective melee attacks against big kobolds; fortunately I was good enough at Dodging that I didn't take too much damage there. The ranged attacks were more of a problem. I had to teleport a couple of times, and run away more than a couple, but I managed to kill everybody—something like 10 big kobolds, 20 kobolds, a sky beast, an ice beast, two centaurs, a phantom, and ogre, and loads of weaker creatures. I found an awesome randart dagger: +6,+5 with venom, rPois, MR, SInv, Dex+3, and Int+3. I headed downstairs in search of a scroll of remove curse.

D:7 had the stairs to the Orcish Mines, surrounded by various undead—Evaporate wasn't going to be very useful here, except for making the occasional steam cloud. I meleed the smaller undead (still using the dull cursed dagger) and used the larger ones (four ogre zombies and a troll zombie) to train up Invocations with Minor Destruction. One of the living orcs left me a buckler, which I thought would be a good thing to wear. I finally re-killed all the zombies, and explored the rest of the level to find a wand of lightning and, thank Makhleb, a scroll of remove curse.

Now it's on to D:8 and, when I find it, the Lair. The Orcish Mines would be a good source for contaminated corpses, but I don't need any more potions of confusion just yet. I still need to practise my Earth Magic: I learned Petrify and Dig, but haven't actually cast either spell yet. More spellbooks would also be nice, since I have six free spell levels but only Passwall left to memorise.


D:8 had two disconnected sections. The first had a DECj player ghost with Sticky Flame, so I fled. The second section was nowhere near as dangerous, and yielded a Robe of the Archmagi, which I wore, and the Book of Power. D:9 also had two sections. The first had a beehive vault, which was not a problem at all with rPois and the occasional potion to soften up the front lines. The second section contained both Pikel, who gave me a robe of magic resistance, and Psyche, who had a dagger of chaos rather than distortion. I meleed her to death, but probably should have used Evaporate just to be safe. The melee was enough to get me my first level of Shields, though. At this point I was starting to be burdened, so I made a temporary stash in the beehive vault.

D:10 had Maurice, with a cloak of magic resistance and wand of digging that are now mine. A +4 ring of evasion was just lying around; I swapped out my ring of sustain abilities and reveled in my dodginess (EV 33). There was also a staff of enchantment, but for a non-Enchanter Spriggan like myself it's just not good enough to carry with me; and wands of disintegration and invisibility, which are good enough. Off in one corner of the level was a room with Erolcha, Harold, and five wights. I drew out the ogress with a few invocations of Minor Destruction, then confused and stabbed her to death; she managed to zap her wand of draining at Harold while confused. Harold and the wights got some non-stabby melee. The room yielded a staff of earth, which is marginally more useful to me than the staff of enchantment, but still not enough to carry around. A third upstair back to D:9 led to a single room with some useless heavy armour and a ring of life protection.

D:11 had the Lair stairs, guarded by a cyclops and some yaks. I also ran into Sonja, whom I stabbed before she even woke. Her short sword of distortion might be handy should I need to take a trip to the Abyss. Unfortunately, in stabbing her I woke the nearby jelly before I could stab it, but Minor Destruction took care of it before it got too close. Clearing out the rest of the level netted me my first rank in Traps & Doors, as well as my sixth star of piety with Makhleb.

Now to clear Lair:1 and move my stash there. There are some good arguments for memorizing Animate Dead out of the Book of Power: my Necromancy skill and wizardry items are enough to put it to Very Good, and with six stars of piety I don't see myself needing to sacrifice too many corpses to Makhleb in the near future. On the other hand, maybe I should wait to see if any books turn up in the Lair. Based on my experiences with the DDNe, I think I'd rather have Twisted Resurrection than Animate Dead. And if I can find something to train Conjurations, Iskenderun's Mystic Blast would be even better (with Minor Destruction as the low-mana alternative).

Lair, part 1

I proceeded to the Lair. The first level had the usual assortment of weak creatures, plus a few spiny frogs and a six-headed hydra. The frogs simply could not hit me, and the hydra didn't even get a chance to awaken. I found a randart amulet of resist mutation (the first amulet of the game!) with Str+3 and Dex+4. This put my evasion up to 37, and more importantly gave me the extra carrying capacity I desperately needed. With the level cleared, I took a few trips to move my temporary stash into its more permanent location.

Lair:2 was small and fairly boring. I found a wand of polymorph other and a ring of protection from magic (now if I swap out my robe and ring I can get up to "incredibly resistant to hostile enchantments", even without the staff). There were some war dogs, normally dangerous but not when you can almost outrun them, and an eight-headed hydra. I lured the hydra up a level and kited it with Minor Destruction until it fell. I did waste an entire wand of confusion on it, attempting in vain to penetrate its MR.

Lair:3 was a little more interesting. I found a Book of Conjurations (fire+earth), from which I learned Throw Flame (mainly for training purposes). There was also another beehive vault; at this rate I won't have to do the Hive at all. I then fell through a shaft, landing on Lair:5 right next to the Snake Pit entrance. I went looking for stairs back up, but first found the Spider's Nest portal and the stairs to the Shoals. I had a bad experience with the Spider's Nest last time, and that was with a much tougher character; I decided to skip the portal. I made my way back up and finished clearing Lair:3 and Lair:4. Back on Lair:5, I found a plain deck of war as well as a lantern of shadows. I then came across yet another portal, this one to the Ice Cave. I lacked a source of cold resistance, so I once again chickened out and skipped it; I did take out a number of ice beasts guarding the portal, though.

Lair:6 had a vault with an oklob plant; it took a point of AC off my cloak, but I stepped away before it could do more. Next up was a pack of death yaks. I confused and stabbed the first few, but there were too many yaks and not enough potions, so I retreated. I'll try approaching from a different staircase next time, since they should be somewhat scattered now.

Lair, part 2

Before going back to Lair:6, I memorised Animate Dead and used the XP from the two yaks I had killed to train up my Necromancy, Earth Magic, and Spellcasting a bit. This level had ponds, one with an electric eel, but Throw Flame dealt with the swimmers easily enough. I went invisible to kill the oklob plant, but it was still spitting acid (somewhat less accurately), so I polymorphed it into a wandering mushroom and killed that instead. Back at the first stairs I had taken, the death yaks were asleep, and easily taken care of. There was also yet another beehive, for a grand total of 55 honeycombs plus however many I have eaten so far. Food will not be a problem this game.

Lair:7 had a Zot trap next to the stairs. I didn't step on it myself, but a pack of green rats did. I went up and took a different set of stairs. In addition to the usual fare, this level had twelve death yaks and five elephants. I killed the elephants with melee and Minor Destruction, and zombified them to help hold back the death yaks. Eventually I managed to find a chokepoint and meleed the death yaks one at a time. They did a fair amount of damage, but each time I killed one Makhleb raised me back to full hitpoints, and I animated its corpse to help deal with the others. I only needed one potion of heal wounds.

Lair:7 gave me a Book of Geomancy and a randart spellbook with Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Fire Brand, Fireball (which I already had), and Ring of Flames. There was also an amulet of warding and another ring of evasion, but the latter detected as cursed so I didn't bother putting it on.

Back at the stash, I memorised Iskenderun's Mystic Blast, which is at Good with my wizardry items. I still have six spell levels remaining, and four scrolls of amnesia. I didn't amnesia away Throw Flame just yet, since it still works well on water-based creatures (and Minor Destruction isn't reliable enough for emergency steam). Some others spells to consider are Lee's Rapid Deconstruction and Bolt of Magma (though the latter will require more training first).

I probably need to do a bit more leveling before trying the Snake Pit. I'm not too worried about the nagas, but anacondas are faster than I am; I suppose they are easily confusable, though. I'd rather deal with the Swamp, but, alas, I got the Shoals instead. As for leveling, I am probably more than ready to take on the Orcish Mines and even one or two levels of the Elven Halls. Or there's always D:12 and up (down?).

Orcish Mines

I decided to try the Mines next; I had yet to encounter a shop, and the bottom level always has some. As expected, the branch was ridiculously easy. I stabbed until the orcs had awakened, then confused them and stabbed some more. Wargs got IMB or Minor Destruction instead. I netted 17 potions of confusion, and could have had more if I had dropped some. Donald was on Orc:3, but didn't even have a chance to wake up (too bad, his messages are hilarious). I leveled both stabbing and stealth on this level, then collected all the short blades and robes and put them in a pile for later identification.

Orc:4 had one bookstore out in the open, where I bought a randart charms spellbook: Repel Missiles, Swiftness (useless to spriggans), Freezing Aura, Warp Weapon, and Deflect Missiles. I bought it for the two "missiles" spells and immediately learned Repel Missiles. One end of the level had the st_orc_ogre_mass vault, with over a dozen ogres, ten two-headed ogres, and an ogre mage, all surrounding a cluster of four shops. Evaporate and stabbing did the trick as usual, and I ended up with fourteen potions of degeneration. The shops were:

On the way back up, I took some of the "extra" stairs to find additional sections of the levels. In part of Orc:3 I found Joseph and Josephine (no Jozef, so the trinity was incomplete). Josephine's zombies surrounded me at the stairs; with no good way of dealing with hard-hitting undead, I decided to take another approach. I went back through Orc:4 to the other section of Orc:3, and cast Dig to reach her section. I managed to lure Josephine down the stairs and killed her there. She had, of all things, a dagger of holy wrath! I wielded it and managed to take care of her zombies without a problem. With the zombies gone, Joseph was a snap.

Finally, I went back to my loot pile, picked everything up (dropping some potions to stay under my weight limit), and cast detect curse. Not a single item was cursed, so I wield-identified everything. I got lucky and did not find any distortion weapons; however, I was unlucky in that the only ego items were a dagger of draining and one of venom. Still, the shop loot and the potions made the trip worthwhile. It took two trips to get the spellbooks and potions to the Lair.

Sadly, I only managed to gain about 15000 experience—not enough to reach XL 15. It was a good excursion, though. The potions of degeneration have replaced poison in my Evaporate toolbox.

Next up is a level or two of Elf, I guess, until I hit level 15 or 16 and feel comfortable taking on the Snake Pit.


I headed for the Elven Halls next, preparing by swapping out my ring of evasion for a ring of protection from magic. My tactics were generally to sleep-stab when possible, confuse and stab knights and summoners, and melee everything else. I also made liberal use of Iskenderun's Mystic Blast to deal with things that didn't want to approach me but weren't worth a potion. As with the Mines, I gathered all the glowing and runed short blades for mass identification. I did the same with the bucklers, but there were no robes to be found. I was near my carrying capacity, so I had to drop off the weapons (and spare potions) fairly frequently.

On entering Elf:1 I was greeted by, among others, a deep elf summoner and his horde of imps. I had to lure elves out one or two at a time until I had a clear shot at the summoner, but then he died easily. After clearing the entry rooms, I found an ant nest, which seemed a little out of place but gave me lots of opportunity to melee. On this level I found a Book of the Sky and a scroll of acquirement. I was doing okay on books and weapons, so I chose jewelry. This gave me a randart ring of ice with Str+3 Int+4, which might be handy if I could counteract the rF- (the intelligence bonus seems to approximately cancel the spell power penalty for Fire Magic spells, so that's not a big deal).

Elf:2 had Erica, Urug, and a shapeshifter who took the form of a giant orange brain. None caused problems. It also had a wand shop, but nothing caught my fancy (no healing, haste, or teleport). Elf:3 yielded an amulet of clarity, which I saved in case I lose the mutation. I also found there an orange crystal statue, which drained my intelligence down to 14 before I could zap it with the wand of disintegration. There was a potion of restore abilities back in my Lair stash, but I decided instead to buy one from one of the shops on Orc:4. In a disconnected section of Elf:2, I encountered another deep elf summoner who managed to summon a tormentor between us in a corridor. It took me down to 8 hit points, but I got away, rested, and came back with potions blazing. After that, Elf:4 was no problem, with the only thing of note being a Book of Envenomations.

Finally, I identified the loot. All the bucklers were +0, but the lighter weight was enough reason to switch from the plain +0 buckler I had been using. The branded weapons were short swords of anti-magic, electrocution, and speed. I also netted 23 potions of confusion, in addition to various other potions and scrolls. Three trips relocated the loot to my Lair stash.

Elf:5 is way too tough for me to take now: a deep elf annihilator would be able to one-shot me, and a master archer could three-shot me in close to one turn. I am XL 15 now, so the Snake Pit is probably within reach; or there's D:12 through D:15 or so.


Next up was more of the Dungeon proper. D:12 had two player ghosts: my previous Spriggan Stalker, who died to a shapeshifter in snapping turtle form, and a Hill Orc Priest who learned the meaning of pain from an enormous slime creature (-48 hit points!). The Spriggan got some mystic blasts to the face, followed by the dagger of holy wrath. The Hill Orc, with his potentially massive damage, worried me a bit more, so I summoned up a Greater Servant of Makhleb to take care of him. There was an air elemental fan lying about, which I collected for the stash.

D:13 had nothing much of interest: just a wand of disintegration and the various creatures one might expect to see. I did start actually casting Petrify, since my usual stabbing tricks don't work on hydrae and undead, and zapping everything with IMB is too mana intensive. I also used the demons again, this time against some slime creatures.

D:14 was full of ponds, but thankfully no electric eels. An unidentified wand turned out to be enslavement, so the shark I tested it on took care of his pondmate. There were also some shops, where I purchased a robe of fire resistance, a scroll of enchant armour, and some unidentified short blades (one turned out the be egoless, the other venom). I also managed to level Conjurations to level 5, putting Mystic Blast at Excellent (with wizardry). The stairs to the Hive were on this level, but after having found three separate beehives I doubt I'm going to need any more food this game. I suppose having some royal jellies wouldn't hurt, but I'll consider that later.

On D:15 I found a mottled dragon, whom I sleep-stabbed. I used the scroll of enchant armour on its hide; it won't replace the robe of the Archmagi, but I figured every Spriggan needs something bright pink and violet in his wardrobe. I also managed to gain XL 16 here, as well as level 15 in stabbing. The level also held the game's first batch of ugly things. They started out brown (acid), so I blasted from a distance then summoned some (lesser) demons to clean up. I managed to get hit once, corroding my buckler, so I went back to the Elven Halls to pick up another (dropping off my potions of mutation on the way). Once I returned, I took care of the remaining ugly things (now much nicer colours) and finished clearing the level.

D:16 didn't look so bad at first: there were some vampire mosquitoes who gave me potions of decay; then a griffon, some more slime creatures, and a rock trolls; Petrify-stab worked pretty well against all of them. I found a Book of Callings and a lamp of fire for the stash. Then I encountered a vault full of nasties: a deep elf knight, a stone giant, another rock troll or two, and a bunch of shapeshifters. I confused and killed a bunch, but then a shadow dragon appeared and blasted me down to half my HP. As I was running away (quaffing a potion of heal wounds), I encountered a centaur warrior, who took me down to about 30 HP. I cast Repel Missiles and confused him, then made my escape. After dropping off some loot, I put on the mottled dragon armour and headed back to D:8 to kill that DECj ghost. He still managed to burn a scroll or two with a Bolt of Magma, but nothing terribly important.

The nature of the creature in the D:16 vault leads me to believe that the entrance to the Vaults is nearby. It also means I'm a little too deep right now, especially given my lack of elemental resistances: I can get rF+ in exchange for a hit to spell power and success, or I can get rC+ at the expense of rF- and a penalty to my fire spells. I guess that means it's time for the Snake Pit. I have six spell levels left, but am not sure what to spend it on. Probably I should train up Charms first, then decide.


I headed to the Snake Pit next. I knew it would not be trivial: my only source of rPois is a randart dagger of venom, which meant I would not be doing much damage other than stabs. Being slowed by a guardian serpent would completely ruin my day, so I swapped out my ring of wizardry for a ring of protection from magic.

Snake:1 had the usual assortment of snakes and nagas. I used Petrify occasionally, and Animate Dead after each batch of nagas. The naga warriors were fairly tough; they didn't hit often, but when they did it was often for a third of my hitpoints. My zombies served as excellent distractions, though, and even managed to kill a few creatures. I also used Greater Servant of Makhleb once, but that was probably unnecessary. I ran into a sleeping Aizul, and was quite glad when he died to a single stab. I managed to level Fighting (to 10), Stealth (to 13), Spellcasting (to 9), Conjurations (to 6) and Necromancy (to 7) on this floor. I also picked up a +3 ring of intelligence and a second copy of the Book of Stalking.

Snake:2 was an open level, so I lured the first wave of nagas upstairs to deal with them. I then confuse-stabbed an anaconda, having learned my lesson from the death of Tari Blackstool. Soon after, I came across a vault with a guardian serpent and a bunch of mimics (as well as a few real items). I petrified and stabbed the guardian serpent, and summoned a demon to deal with the mimics. Unfortunately, the demon was hostile. Even more unfortunately, it was an executioner, so significantly faster than me. I think I uttered a few obscenities out loud. It hit me for a large chunk of my hit points; I blinked away, but without teleport control there was no way I would make it to the stairs. This was going to be a really stupid death. It then occurred to me to summon another demon; there was a 92% chance of it being friendly, and if it was, it might be able to distract the demon. The first summon was a friendly executioner, who distracted it but didn't last very long; the second was a cacodemon, who held it off long enough for me to reach the stairs. I waited a bit, then headed back down and dealt with the mimics myself, using IMB and Minor Destruction. Plenty of them got a chance to teleport away, but that meant I was free to pick up the real loot, which included a few hundred gold. After that, the level was not too bad; naga zombies helped take care of the scattered mimics, and I found a rod of smiting as well as my second Book of Spatial Translocations.

On Snake:3 I encountered Frances, who managed to summon a hellion before I confused him. I summoned some lesser servants to block the path, and ran; I still got hit once by its burst of hellfire, but my demons and zombies took care of both Frances and the Hellion. A naga on the level dropped a robe of positive energy, which I saved for eventual stashing. Snake:4 was comparatively simple, but gave me a ring of regeneration and a second ring of wizardry. I left the latter behind, since I couldn't imagine many situations where I'd want to be wearing two. Should I change my mind, I can always go back to retrieve it.

After clearing Snake:4, I was about 1000 XP short of level 17. I decided to briefly visit Snake:5 to gain a few XP. The first set of stairs landed me right in the middle of a bunch of sleeping greater nagas, guardian serpents, and so on, so I went back up. The second set of stairs were immediately adjacent to the first, and this time the creatures awoke; none were close enough to follow me back up, though. The third set were some distance away, so I explored a bit until I killed two black mambas and a naga, gaining XL 17. I headed back to the stash to drop off loot and to plan. I have enough potions of healing to survive a few castings of Poison Arrow, but actually killing the greater nagas could be problematic. I could use demons, but the experience with the executioner has me a bit worried. I then remembered the bookstores in the Orcish Mines. I headed back there, fighting a few orcs along the way, and bought a Book of Fire, from which I memorised Ignite Poison. Besides the direct damage, it can also turn my poison and mephitic clouds into fire. I'll have to be careful, though, because at my power level the six castings I can safely do on a single mana bar might not be enough to kill a greater naga. Still, that combined with zombies and perhaps demons sounds like my best bet.

Serpentine rune

In addition to Ignite Poison, I decided to memorise Call Imp, so I could cover my escapes in an emergency (though I guess Summon Small Mammals would have been better for that). I ended up not using it at all, though. On Snake:5 I used Dig to clear some more paths so I would get surrounded. Ignite Poison worked very well, killing naga magi in one or two hits, and greater nagas in three plus a zap or two of Minor Destruction or IMB.

The orb vault was the snake_hunt variant, with stairs in the middle of an antechamber and a door between that and the orb chamber itself. I dealt with the inhabitants by drawing them out one at a time into the corridors leading to the other stairs, and zapping, stabbing, or igniting them depending on their difficulty: nagas were zapped (or ignited if there were multiples), guardian serpents petrify-stabbed, and greater nagas ignited repeatedly then zapped. I animated the corpses, except for the guardian serpents, which I distilled. The zombies weren't exactly killing machines, but they did let me get in some distraction stabs. I also used potions of poison as landmines against some of the nagas, but I probably should have used them for flame clouds instead.

I was Poison Arrowed a few times, but potions of healing and a ring of regeneration were ready for that. Because I was casting higher-level spells than usual, and because I forgot for a while that I was wearing the ring of regeneration, I burned though a fair amount of food. I had on the ring of magic resistance instead of wizardry, which meant my spell success rates were not as insanely high as I might have hoped. This led to my getting glow, which discharged to give me -10% MP and deterioration 1. I headed back to the stash to try to fix this using my dozen potions of mutation. Potion after potion did nothing; eventually I did get teleport control and another level of deterioration, which was not what I wanted. I picked up more food, and headed back. I put on my ring of sustain abilities in place of the +4 evasion and headed back.

Eventually the waves stopped coming, so I wandered in further and killed the few stragglers. Loot was minimal, unless I decide at some point to switch to long blades; there was a wand of flame and a crystal ball that I haven't yet identified, but not much else. There had been a couple of scrolls of summoning earlier in the level, but the small abominations weren't much better than the zombies. I may have burnt some other scrolls beneath poisonous corpses. I picked up the rune, cleared the few remaining creatures (sleep-stabbing a few greater nagas, and gaining XL 18 in the process), and headed back to the stash.

About this time, I realised why the potions of mutation hadn't been working: I was wearing my amulet of resist mutation the whole time! I bought the remaining potion of mutation on Orc:4, but unfortunately received only stiff muscles. I didn't mind the mutation, though, because I needed the extra carrying capacity. Now that I have deterioration 2, I probably do need to clear the Hive for the royal jellies. With Ignite Poison that should be nearly trivial. Once I have a good supply of royal jellies, my negative mutations won't be terrible (right now they are forcing me to use a ring slot), so maybe I shouldn't play the potion of mutation game. After all, I do have clarity and teleport control.

On Snake:5 I managed to level Necromancy, Earth Magic, Shields, Dodging, Fire Magic, and Spellcasting (twice). I got more XP on that level than in all the other levels of the Snake Pit combined; there were a total of 23 greater nagas, 14 naga magi, 12 naga warriors, 11 guardian serpents, and quite a few plain nagas and unintelligent snakes.

Next up is the Hive, then I guess the Shoals. Before the shoals, though, I need to practice a bit with Repel Missiles, then learn Flight. I've been taking things slowly compared to the DDNE, who had two runes and was exploring the Vaults by this point, but I don't have the raw damage output that he did, except against sleeping things.

Hive and Shoals

The Hive was trivial. Each time I encountered a group of bees, I let them get as close as possible, then cast Ignite Poison; any survivors were stabbed or zapped while trying to flee. The non-food loot was surrounded by four oklob plants, who took off a point of AC and a point of SH the moment they came into view. I stepped away, went invisible, and picked up the loot. It included a staff of power, disc of storms, a second air elemental fan, a +2 ring of strength, a ring of levitation, an anti-magic demon blade, and some consumables. The food included 30+ honeycombs and about 15 royal jellies. I bought the Book of Dreams on Orc:4, learned Flight and Alistair's Intoxication, and headed to the Shoals.

Shoals:1 had a ring of protection from cold and a rod of Striking. The monsters weren't too bad. I zapped and meleed the plain merfolk, ignited and zapped the sea snakes, and Petrify-stabbed nearly everything else. When possible, I petrified the harpies over deep water so I wouldn't even have to stab them; I still lost a royal jelly and a few honeycombs, though.

Shoals:2 was a bit more interesting. First was a kraken; Petrify "worked" on it, but that wasn't very useful because the tentacles kept coming, so I couldn't safely stab it. I tried to blast it through the tentacles, but had to step back every they got near, and when I did it would heal as quickly as I. Eventually I got tired of that, so I waited for a clear shot, lobbed a potion of decay onto it, and stepped back. When the cloud dissipated, I did the same with a potion of strong poison. That was enough to get it to "almost dead", so I zapped it a few times for the kill. The level also had Wiglaf, who must have rPois on some of his armour, since he refused to be affected by my potions. Instead I summoned some Greater Servants (who turned out to be Blue Deaths) and let them deal with him. One was hostile, so I left the level, waited a while, and came back. Fortunately the friendly demon outlasted the hostile one, and also managed to summon some shadow centaurs, who pinged the dwarf down to near death; I finished him off with Minor Destruction. After that, Shoals:3 was boring; it had mermaids, but they did not manage to penetrate my AC a single time. Shoals:4 was more of the same, except I found a Book of Wizardry and two plain decks which I have not yet identified; the single siren, much like the mermaids, was no threat at all. I did animate a lot of dead on this level, so that I would have some friends to help kill anything I lured from Shoals:5.

Finally, I went down the last set of stairs. There were two huts visible from the stairs, one to the left and one to the right. I chose the right-hand door, and Makhleb smiled upon me: the barnacled rune was in the centre of the room. I stabbed a few aquamancers and impalers before the rest managed to wake up. I lured those to the stairs, trading a few hits along the way and losing nearly half my hit points, but gaining XL 19; on Shoals:4 I let my zombies help deal with them. One of the aquamancers dropped a sabre of protection; I switched to that for a little while, but then encountered a merfolk javelineer with poisoned javelins, so switched back to my dagger; another dropped a robe that turned out to be +2 positive energy. After a few trips up the stairs, the threats were thinned out a little, so I started killing them on Shoals:5 to build up a zombie army there. With the hut clear, I picked up the rune and started exploring. I found some randart armour I couldn't use, as well as a -3 cloak with int+3 and dex+2: not worth switching to, but worth putting in the stash. A scroll of enchant armour went into my buckler. I also found an ornate deck, and a bookstore with the Book of Unlife, Young Poisoner's Handbook, Book of Morphology, and others. While exploring, I ran into a pack of water elementals and some impalers, with my zombies either dead or halfway across the level, my mana mostly depleted, and my carrying capacity over the limit when I wasn't flying. I probably could have drunk my single potion of magic and taken them, but I didn't want to risk it; I teleported back to the stairs and returned to the stash.

I guess I'll finish clearing Shoals:5 next; then it's on to the Vaults. I don't think I'm ready for a 15-rune game yet, but I could definitely shoot for four or five this time. My next spell will probably be Dispel Undead, but first I'll need to either level Spellcasting or forget Ignite Poison.

D:16–17, Vault:1

First I finished up the Shoals; there wasn't much left other than Ilsuiw, who died to poison over some deep water. Casting Flight leveled Air Magic (which I then turned off) and Charms. I then headed back to D:16 to finish it. It turns out that the out-of-depth monsters weren't a sign of the stairs to the Vaults, but rather a large minivault, little_maze_vault. I was able to stab most of the creatures I encounted, including the shadow dragon (who had fallen asleep again), a deep elf annihilator, a tentacled monstrosity, a phantasmal warrior, and more. I did have to deal with a sphinx, but eventually Petrify penetrated its magic resistance and I stabbed it to death. I leveled Traps & Doors twice, but it's still only at level 6. The vault had all kinds of nice items, some of which I could even use. I found a Book of Ice, Book of Death, two randart spellbooks, staves of summoning and channeling, lots of gold, and a randart bow with +Lev rPois rF+. I took them back to my stash in two trips, hanging onto the bow as my only source of fire resistance. I trained Translocations to level 1, and headed back.

D:17 was another open level with ponds, and held the Vaults stairs, as well as a portal to a treasure trove (demanding a wand of healing with 8 charges). I encountered a number of vampire mosquitoes and ugly things, which I converted to potions. A dragon frightened me a bit, but I switched to the bow and zapped it with spells while my zombies held it away. After clearing the level, I used a scroll of amnesia to forget Call Imp and bought the Book of Necromancy on Orc:4, memorising Dispel Undead.

On Vault:1 I encounted Louise, whom I stabbed, then Kirke. The hogs prevented me from getting a clear shot, but Louise the human zombie held them off until I could zap the enchantress to death, gaining level 12 in Spellcasting in the process. This eliminated hungering from my level 4 spells, which should mean somewhat fewer trips back to the stash. Kirke's room contained three shops: antique armour, scrolls, and books. I bought some utility scrolls and two cloaks; one turned out to be a cloak of darkness, while the other was egoless but +1. A couple of scrolls of enchant armour went into the buckler and cloak of MR, respectively.

Elsewhere on the level I found two more shops: food and jewelry. The latter had a randart ring with rF+, Str+3, and Dex+2; I was about 200 gold short, so it went on my shopping list. Finally, I found Roxanne. I let my zombies whale on her, but they were destroyed before they could finish the job. I stepped in and traded mystic blasts with her until she shattered. Statue Form was the only spell in her book that I didn't already have. I finished clearing the level, gaining XL 20 and Necromancy 10, and headed back to stash my loot.

On to Vault:2 . . . .


Vault:2 was more of the same, though a fire crab did manage to take out some of my scrolls. I found a couple of rings of slaying there, one +2,+2 and the other +0,+4. Vault:3, on the other hand, was quite "fun". I encountered Mara and Agnes at almost the same time. Agnes was much tougher than I remember; some semicontrolled Blinks got me back to the stairs. After healing on Vault:2, I went back and lured her up, but Mara followed as well. Some undead surrounded the rakshasa, so I was able to lure Agnes alone back to Vault:1. A potion of speed allowed me to take the lead in a Benny-Hill-esque chase scene, stopping every half dozen steps to blast her. Eventually she died, so I headed back to Vault:2 to deal with Mara. I summoned some demons including a Blue Death; its Shadow Creatures surrounded and took out my illusion (I'd like to think that I would have been smarter and blinked away), then did the same to Mara and his illusions. He left me a vampiric demon blade; at some point I might consider switching to long blades, but for the moment it's stash fodder. I then went to clear Vault:3, and found the Crypt entrance; Dispel Undead and Petrify-stabbing worked wonders on the undead surrounding it. I found some shops, and also managed to pick up enough gold to buy the randart ring of fire resistance. I first bought some utility scrolls (identify, teleportation, and enchant weapon II) in one of the new shops, then spent the rest of my money on the ring. I also found a second potion of gain dexterity, and a few wands. Some centaurs left arrows for me; I identified some as +4, and figured I might as well carry them around if I'm going to hang onto this bow (though, with no training, my chances of hitting something are not high).

On Vault:4 I started running into yaktaurs, rock trolls, and stone giants (there were some of the latter on D:16, but those were out-of-depth). Repel Missiles protected me pretty well, and Evaporate and Petrify let me take care of them effectively and quickly. Near the end of clearing this level, I found the Necronomicon. I'm not ready to learn any of the spells yet, but Necromutation is on my to-do list. Level 5 was more of the same, with the Hall of Blades stairs that I did not take. I did run into a crystal golem there, but lost it somehow, and didn't feel the urge to go looking for it again.

Vault:6 held my first hat of the game, a randart +4 wizard hat with Stealth++, excellent for me. It also held my first fire giant. I was too arrogant about my stealth skills and didn't put on the ring; it woke up while I was a few squares away and fireballed me for half my hit points. I blinked away and healed on Vault:5. I assembled my undead army, put on both the bow and the ring, and headed back to fight it. After a number of castings, Petrify took hold and I stabbed it, but it survived and the Petrify wore off. I blinked away and zapped it with Mystic Blast until it died. At this point I noticed that all of my spells except for Flight were at Excellent even without the ring of wizardy, so kept on the rF+ ring, putting my strength up to 16 and my dexterity to 29. The level also had a great orb of eyes, but with my MR it was not a threat at all; and a frost giant, which my undead dealt with.

Vault:7 had a storm dragon, who was sleeping near a corner. I have no source of rElec, so I approached carefully, ready to Blink and retreat around the corner should it awake. It did not, and I stabbed it once to great effect, then raised it as a zombie. It helped me deal with a second fire giant and frost giant.

Since Vault:1 I have gained XL 21, as well as two levels of Conjurations, and one each of Earth Magic, Necromancy, Dodging, Fighting, Fire Magic, Stabbing, Traps & Doors, Transmutations, and Spellcasting.

After the seventh level was clear, I went back to the stash for planning; without a source of electricity resistance, Vault:8 is a little beyond my grasp at the moment. I forgot Ignite Poison (though that wasn't strictly necessary) and memorised Insulation, leaving me with seven spell levels free. I should probably clear some of the Dungeon, Lair:8, and Elf:5, before thinking about Vault:8. Maybe even the Vestibule of Hell, though I hear that I'll need to upgrade Repel Missiles to Deflect Missiles first, and it will be some time before I can cast that.

D:18–21 and death

On D:18 I found a minivault full of mummies, including a greater mummy and three guardian mummies. I killed one mummy myself, then summoned some demons to take care of the rest. They were guarding a randart ring with rF++, rN+, and EV+1; I like the strength bonus from the other one, so I didn't switch just yet, but kept it for dealing with things like dragons. I then encountered Nikola, and was very glad I had memorised Insulation. It took a few tries, but I managed to confuse him, stab him for host of his hit points, and zap him for the rest. I then fell through a shaft to D:20, but made my way back up without incident.

D:19 had a minivault with a number of creatures, including two dragons and an ice dragon. Fortunately I didn't have to fight them at the same time, so I swapped between the ring of ice and the rF++ ring, killing them with IMB and zombies.

D:20 had some boggarts and a a vault full of iron golems. The boggarts died easily to confusion-stabbing. The golems were tougher to kill, but not much of a threat; I had to recharge mana after each one, but eventually managed to kill them all. They were guarding the ring of Robustness, which I picked up but did not wear. Then I figured I should have a better way to deal with future golems; I headed back to the stash and memorised Lee's Rapid Deconstruction, as well as Apportation.

D:21 was an open level, with a portal to Hell near the upstairs. I made my way around the edges of the level, when I stepped into a zot trap; it summoned a Pit fiend. I headed back to the stairs, summoning a demon of my own. I was tormented once, and summoned another demon. It blasted me with hellfire when I was just a few steps away from the stairs. I made it to the stairs, headed up.... and was blasted once more with hellfire.

 2.  317277 Denny Sidhe the Spry (level 22, -15/127 HPs)
            Began as a Spriggan Stalker on Aug 10, 2011.
            Was the Champion of Makhleb.
            Killed from afar by a Pit Fiend (37 damage)
            ... with a blast of hellfire
            ... created by a Zot trap
            ... on Level 21 of the Dungeon on Aug 14, 2011.
            The game lasted 12:40:16 (121298 turns).

It was such a promising game, too. I should have blinked instead of running, especially once the first torment hit me. I had hoped the demons would fight among themselves, but the pit fiend decided to focus on me instead. Oh well...