| The Tomb of the Ancients is a place of damnation, of horrors animated by the vilest necromancy. Honest creatures of the surface turn pale at the mere mention of its name. The list of those who have returned from this place of pure death is exceedingly short.
The Tomb is three levels deep and contains the golden rune. Its entry is either on Crypt:2 or Crypt:3.
|A way to the Tomb of Ancients, a place of damnation, of horrors animated by the vilest necromancy.|
The Tomb of Ancients (usually referred to only as the Tomb) is a branch located under the Crypt, inhabited by dessicated mummies of all kinds. Although mostly bare of valuables, it holds the golden rune of Zot and two massive treasure heaps for those who manage to survive all the way to the end.
Stairs to the Tomb are found on floor 2 or 3 of the Crypt. It's only 3 levels deep but it is one of the most dangerous branches in the game, even for powerful characters. You'll meet a wide variety of mummies, which if not carefully dealt with can decimate you with their crippling death curses. There is also a greater density of traps here than you'll find anywhere else, and teleport control is not permitted until you've acquired the rune.
While it's not as deathly quiet as the Crypt, the Tomb has very little ambient noise. As a result, every sound (be it from casting a spell, hitting something with a weapon, or attracting the attention of a flying skull) will carry farther than you are used to. Be extra careful if you wish to avoid attracting attention.
Unlike other areas of the game, the layout of the Tomb is mostly fixed, with only a few insignificant variations possible. Monster composition and placement is also extremely predictable, with a few very rare exceptions.
You'll encounter the following, in order of difficulty:
- Flying skulls: Although not dangerous themselves, these will alert nearby sleeping mummies of your presence.
- Random inhabitants of the Crypt may show up on Tomb:1, but they aren't very threatening.
- Mummies: Although only a nuisance, their death curses will curse equipment in your inventory, making gear swapping difficult.
- Guardian mummies: They hit harder and faster than normal mummies, and their death curses can be quite nasty.
- Mummy priests: Slightly slower than guardian mummies, but tougher. They can cast Torment, Smite, Summon Undead, and Summon Demon, and their death curses are more likely to be unpleasant than those of the guardians.
- Sphinxes: The only living things one will find in Tomb, these can paralyze, confuse, smite, or simply beat you to death if you are not careful. They have moderate durability, but no resistances to speak of and no death curses.
- Greater mummies: The biggest threat in Tomb, they have the same spells as a mummy priest, but over three times the health, 50% more HD, faster movement, and the highest chance of delivering devastating death curses. These will kill you if you are not prepared. Try not to take on more than one at a time!
|M Mummy (monster)||M Guardian mummy||M Mummy priest||M Greater mummy|
|z Flying skull|
|z Zombie||z Skeleton||z Simulacrum|
Extremely Rare Monsters
|s Trapdoor spider|
|L Lich||L Ancient lich|
Placed by Vault Syntax on Tomb:1 (Never Generated Randomly)
- Upon entering Tomb:1, you'll find yourself in an open hallway that surrounds the Tomb proper. This will contain a handful of mummies and guardian mummies, but nothing particularly dangerous until you've gone halfway around the level. There you'll find a massive statue-lined hallway leading inwards, which will be guarded by a large pack of sphinxes. Use stasis to keep from getting paralyzed, and try to lure them away a few at a time until you've cleared them out.
- Past the hallway you'll find a massive courtyard filled with several mummies, guardian mummies, mummy priests, and a greater mummy or two. Be careful upon entering, as the entrance will be heavily trapped. You may wish to lure these mummies out into the outer hallways a few at a time to clear it. You'll find two side passages and a small room beyond here; all will be heavily trapped, but one of them should contain a staircase to Tomb:2.
- As soon as you enter Tomb:2, you'll find yourself in a large open chamber with several mummies of all sorts in sight. This room's inhabitants are nearly identical in composition to those in the Tomb:1 courtyard. If necessary, stairdance to pull them up in manageable numbers until the room is clear. At this point it is fairly safe to attempt to skip ahead through random teleportation (see Skip Sections below).
- You'll find several doors off to the side of this open chamber, leading to a series of small rooms that envelop half of the map. These will contain mummies, guardians, and priests, as well as many traps. Eventually you'll find a staircase back up to Tomb:1.
- Heading back up, you'll find yourself in the only unexplored portion of the floor left, the large horseshoe surrounding the inner courtyard. You will encounter a few guardian mummies and mummy priests here, as well as an unpredictable scattering of traps, but the majority of its inhabitants are greater mummies encountered in the long open hallways. Handled carefully, you should only encounter one or two greater mummies at a time; make too much noise and you may wind up with a lot more on your hands. Consider luring them back to the nearest corner before engaging them, and remember that a teleport to safety is almost guaranteed to send you back to the first area of Tomb:1. At the end of the horseshoe, you'll find another staircase to Tomb:2.
- Remember the small chambers you found on Tomb:2 earlier? Now you get to clear a mirror image of those on the other side. Expect more of the same, and eventually you'll find three staircases leading to Tomb:3.
- All three staircases leading to Tomb:3 place you in the same area, the start of a short, wide hallway leading to the treasure vaults and rune chamber. You will almost immediately encounter an absurd number of guardian mummies, followed by plenty of reinforcements in the form of flying skulls, mummy priests, and greater mummies (over a dozen of each is not unusual). Eventually the flow of mummies will stop, freeing you to explore and loot the place, but expect to find several mummy stragglers as you go. Teleport control is restored once you have the rune.
If not done correctly, Tomb is one of the deadliest places in the game. A character facing Tomb must tackle these three problems:
- Greater mummies and mummy priests can torment you, instantly cutting your HP by up to half. They can then smite you to finish the job.
- Greater mummies and mummy priests can summon a ton of undead and demons, which in addition to mobbing you also means they will frequently abjure your own summons.
- All mummies cast death curses when killed. The normal mummies only curse your items, but the others can slow you, rot you, torment you, drain you, drain your stats, and even occasionally kill you outright if you are low enough on HP. Since there are so many mummies in the Tomb, these effects can quickly reach debilitating levels.
Some strategies, with their specific strengths and weaknesses, are outlined below. One should mix and match these strategies: it is unlikely that one can do Tomb simply by being a Zin or a Kiku worshiper, or simply by having Dispel Undead, but a lichform necromancer of Kiku, or Zinnite with a holy weapon and silence, stands a very good chance of making it. The best general advice is to know your limits: if one encounter with a greater mummy nearly killed you, then the next one may very well finish you off. If you find your HP rotting beyond what you can repair, or that you are burning through all your royal jellies because of stat drain, don't continue - get out. It is by no means necessary to do Tomb to finish the game.
Mind Your Equipment
Due to the very specific monster population in the Tomb, much of the gear you'll be seeking out throughout your adventure will be more or less worthless here. Apart from the occasional summoned demon or surprising unique, there are no sources of fire, cold, poison, acid, or electricity damage in this branch, and the only likely source of mutation is if you accidentally step into a Zot trap. As such, focus your equipment on dealing with the threats you definitely will be encountering:
- One rank of sustain abilities will greatly reduce the stat damage you take. Two ranks will negate it.
- A source of stasis will keep you from slowing (but also disables Haste!) and allow you to ignore teleport traps.
- If you have the food to fuel it, a ring of regeneration will greatly reduce the amount of time you spend recuperating between waves of the undead. Couple it with a ring of sustenance while resting to minimize the starvation.
- Gear that boosts your stats will make any stat damage you take less of an issue, as well as improving your general performance.
- A source of flight will allow you to ignore some of the traps you'll encounter. While this does nothing for Zot traps, it does render blade traps harmless.
While random teleportation on Tomb:1 is potentially suicidal, doing so on Tomb:2 is mostly safe. After clearing the central chamber of Tomb:2, you can repeatedly teleport with a ring of teleportation or teleport trap until you land in the area with the stairs to Tomb:3. You may wind up stumbling across a mummy priest or two, as well as several lesser mummies, but no greater mummies. Skipping the second portion of Tomb:1 makes the branch significantly faster.
Unlike demonic casters, mummies are quite vulnerable to this spell, and with a good enough melee weapon you can even kill a greater mummy while it is in the silence radius. Silence is far more effective if combined with pre-silence Haste; in fact, if you are wielding a non-holy weapon this may be necessary. Be sure that the spell is at high enough power! Without that, it will run out before you kill the mummy, giving it a couple turns to cast while you are still silenced. Similarly, don't try to take on more than one greater mummy at a time just with Silence. They have a lot of HP, and unless you are extremely strong you may not be able to take out two before the Silence runs out. Make sure you have enough AC/EV to survive the mummies in melee: they aren't the most dangerous, but they can be a danger to weaker characters.
The downside to this strategy alone is that you still need a way to deal with the death curses. Without that, you will have many rotted HP and drained stats to recover during and afterwards. Be sure to bring along some potions of restore abilities or royal jellies in case your stats drop too low for comfort.
In no way, shape or form is this spell enough to deal with Tomb on its own. However, it is very useful to have if you cannot silence the mummies. Otherwise, their summons may overwhelm you, and at the very least block you from reaching them. Mummies enjoy summoning things such as neqoxecs to mutate you; being able to abjure them quickly is often vital to stopping yourself from leaving Tomb with malmutation in addition to the normal rotting. Be sure to have it at a decent enough spell power that you don't simply end up wasting all your MP trying to abjure the mummies' summons.
Finding the Grand Grimoire to even get access to this spell is by no means guaranteed. If you lack access to Mass Abjuration, high-powered castings of Fire Storm, Ice Storm, or Tornado are another way to deal with summons (and the mummies themselves). If all else fails, remember that all summons have a finite lifespan, and going back upstairs and waiting a few dozen turns will get rid of them.
Being undead provides complete protection from the torment that the mummies are so fond of throwing at you. Additionally, it protects you against many of the nastier mummy death curse effects: you will not rot, be tormented, or suffer backlash damage from them. Mummies and ghouls have these characteristics intrinsically; vampires can gain all of them by becoming bloodless, and living characters can gain all of them by casting the spell Necromutation. Other than the high casting cost, there is no downside to casting Necromutation in Tomb: nothing in there casts Dispel Undead, and nothing can summon anything that casts it either. It will often pay for its own casting cost in terms of turns spent without hunger, and hungerless channeling.
Being undead, however, is not an option if you are worshiping a good god. Also, unless you are a ghoul or a vampire, you will be unable to drink potions, depriving you of a good way of restoring health and MP. Restoring stats can be an even greater problem, since you will have to become living again in order to eat or drink (mummies can restore their stats by sacrificing one permanent MP).
Although less effective than Necromutation, Statue Form grants massive resistance against rot and torment without restricting your access to potions or food. The reduced action speed is still a pain, especially if you're using an amulet of stasis to prevent slowing, but it may be worth the trouble.
One of the most efficient ways to deal damage to the mummies through magic (with the exception of high-powered Shatter) is by casting Dispel Undead at them. Be very sure to have this spell at high power - even at full power, it may take several casts to take out a greater mummy. Wield a staff of death and/or be in lichform if necessary. Try to close to melee range while using this spell on greater mummies, possibly by using a corner. This makes them much less inclined to summon undead and demons, which will block you line of fire and force you to waste turns and possibly MP either killing or abjuring them. The same can hold true of mummy priests, although since they are slower and weaker it is usually possible to kill them from range with this spell.
The other downsides to Dispel Undead are that it is single-target only, and that it's a Necromancy spell - those who worship the good gods will be unable to use it without incurring penance.
Although hard to come by, this spell is remarkably well-suited to the inhabitants of the Tomb. It deals massive damage to multiple targets, and the mummies generally have awful evasion, making it fairly easy to hit them (even moreso if you follow the Shining One). As it doesn't cost you actual MP to cast, this makes it an excellent accompaniment to your more traditional spells. Just be careful about killing standard mummies with it, as you likely don't want to waste the turn uncursing it in the middle of a fight.
The god of Necromancy provides a number of tools which are extremely handy in dealing with Tomb. In fact, being a Kiku worshipper is arguably the easiest way to tackle the Tomb.
First off, with enough piety he may lessen or entirely prevent mummy curses. When you add up all the item cursing, rot, stat drain, and other headaches that death curses cause, this makes clearing the Tomb far less painful than it would otherwise be. Additionally, Kiku provides some protection from torment, again scaling with piety. It never reaches 100%, but it's much better than nothing, and it couples very well with rN+++. If that isn't enough, he also provides likely access to Necromutation, which will protect fully from torment, as well as Dispel Undead and Haunt, which are both useful anti-mummy tools. However, he doesn't provide any particular way to deal with summoned monsters, so you will likely need Mass Abjuration or high-powered attack spells for that.
The downside to using Kiku to do Tomb is that he does not grant piety for killing undead, and his protection scales with piety, so you will become vulnerable if you waste too much time in there. Make sure to enter with 6* piety, preferably after just having tackled a living/demonic branch. Don't make the mistake of taking Tomb right after Crypt with Kiku.
The Crusader God is not as strong as Kiku in Tomb, but he can still be immensely helpful. First of all, he gives rN+++ at max piety, which softens the blow of torment (reduces it to 35% HP loss rather than 50%, and this adds up over multiple torments). Secondly, he gives a holy weapon, which is by far the best way to kill mummies in melee. Thirdly, he gives HP and MP for undead kills, which greatly increases survivability in Tomb, offsetting some of the accumulated torment damage and fueling your spells beyond their natural limits. Cleansing Flame at high Invocations is also a great weapon for dealing with the mummies and their demonic summons.
Finally, his Angel/Daeva summons are extremely useful - their own holy weapons hit hard, they serve as meatshields, and (perhaps best of all) they will absorb the death curses of any mummies they kill. The downside is that they can be mobbed by summons and they are vulnerable to abjuration themselves, so you cannot sit back and let them do all the work. Be aware that using lots of holy warriors will quickly drain your TSO piety, especially if they're the only ones getting any kills in. Also note that TSO provides no direct protection from mummy death curses apart from his rN+++; use equipment to patch up those holes as best you can.
A somewhat unusual choice for Tomb, and only for those with high powered Silence and possibly a holy weapon from their TSO days, Zin provides some protection from mummy death curses for those who don't wish to go down the path of Necromancy. He stops the nastier rot, and of course will protect you from mutation caused by any summoned neqoxecs. His vitalization can be used to cure the lighter rot as well as to reverse stat drain, although this will use up piety. Lastly, those who find themselves in a real bind can use his Sanctuary power as a last resort.
Do It In Waves
If you think you'll wind up relying on your god's expensive abilities to clear out Tomb, consider doing it in waves. If you clear out Tomb:1 and already you've already lost a star of piety, head out and make some progress in Hell to restore it before coming back. You don't have to do Tomb all at once, and it doesn't have to be the last rune you go after.
For those characters who are already maxed in power, mummies are perfectly vulnerable to high-powered Shatter, Tornado or Fire Storm. This isn't exactly an efficient or subtle way to do Tomb, but it certainly will work, and with lichform and channeling may even be sustainable. Even the greatest characters, however, will need a way to deal with the death curses - again lichform comes to mind, since most characters who can cast a level 9 spell can probably cast Necromutation. This is unlikely to be the strategy for those who are trying Tomb for the first time, but rather is more likely as a strategy for Ziggurat raiders.