Posted by: shatteredblog | January 8, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Beginning

Welcome back to the continuing adventures of one man and his phone, in the NetHack Diaries! We left off with my new level 1 archaeologist named Tom, and his little kitten standing on the stairs up to the surface with much trepidation about the coming adventure. But first, a bit about my starting inventory.


Archaeologists start the game with a bullwhip for a weapon and leather jacket and fedora as armor, along with an uncursed touchstone, pickaxe and a tinning kit. I also started with the expected other stuff on me, two food rations and a tripe ration (animal food), as well as a sack to put stuff in. There is a random chance to have other things but I was not lucky enough to get any of them. The highlighted f in the room with me is my tame kitten (the reason for the tripe ration) and also in the room are a statue of a newt ` and a carrot %. The kitten makes it to the carrot before I do, but does not like vegetables so I add it to my inventory. I wield [w] my pickaxe instead of the bullwhip, wanting to gain skill for replacing it with a better weapon later on. The bullwhip is not a bad weapon, but you will never find an upgrade that uses the same skill. Each class starts with different weapons it can become skilled in, so it is good to be on the lookout for one good for the class you begin with.

Dungeon level 1 is pretty uneventful, nothing noteworthy to pick up other than the carrot and a pair of grid bugs that I squished in the corridor. There are only a few rooms, but a long corridor between the start and the down stair to level 2 seems to trip up my kitten. Like a typical cat it doesn’t want to follow and rubs against every wall as I wait for it. I spend a bit over 100 turns waiting and moving to see if it will follow, then give up and move ahead without it. Like my Oliver I think it was a scaredy cat. Bravely and still at level 1 my Digger descends the stairs to DL 2.

On dungeon level 2 I kill a pair of lichens, which are kind enough to leave corpses for me. Lichens are a pretty weak monster you see at the start, and fall easily to my wild pickaxe swings. While in the dungeon, your character will become hungry, and a food shortage or fainting from hunger have killed many an unprepared character. On the other hand it is also bad to be overfilled, as spending time Satiated abuses your statistics. Food can be in short supply because rations are relatively rare and normally you need to rely on the corpses of things to keep your nutrition up. Corpses however go bad very quickly, and eating spoiled food is a bad thing. Lichen corpses (along with lizard corpses) don’t spoil, so picking them up to save for later is a good idea. Other monster corpses you should eat right away if you plan to eat them at all. These two went into my inventory. The tinning kit in my backpack also allows me to save corpses for later, though tins of meat are usually pretty poor nutrition and the kit is better used for other purposes, which maybe we’ll get to later on.

Another hundred turns of exploring go by on DL 2. In NetHack, movement is based on your character or the monster’s rate of movement. Archaeologists start with the Speed intrinsic, meaning that they will move at 4/3 the rate of a normal character of their race (an average of four moves every three turns). A hundred turns is therefore more than a hundred actions, as some pass with me having an extra move. Having Speed from the start means that I am able to outrun most low level monsters, and also affords me some extra attacks during combat. Archaeologists also start with another intrinsic called Stealth, which prevents monsters from being aware of your presence from just movement in most cases. Many types of creature are spawned in the  dungeon asleep, and a character with Stealth can sneak past these sometimes.


I come across a room with a fountain, and decide to quaff. Fountains can be magical, or there’s always the chance of finding a gem. In the best case, you can summon a water demon who will grant you one wish and then leave, on dungeon levels 1-19. In the worse case, that demon may be hostile and kill you. Chances are though this fountain isn’t magical so I’m [q] quaffing.


Hello Mr Demon… I’m lucky! Wait, no I’m not… he’s angry. Time to run away if i can, but first it’s the demons turn to move as I already have by quaffing. The first thing he does is more bad news, he turns invisible.


The message here about being aggravated is because he used a cursed potion to turn invisible. Quaffing a cursed potion of invisibility awakens all sleeping monsters on the level, and shows them your location. When a monster does it, you are awakened if you were asleep and you see the monster. Doesn’t help me in this case, I know exactly where the demon is (or was)


I turn to run out the closest door, and bad thing number three happens. The demon throws a potion at me and I get the message “You feel somewhat dizzy.” This is a potion of confusion, but it doesn’t automatically identify and prompts me to name the type (in normal situations you can only name an item you are holding). Confusion is bad in this case because one of the effects is moving in a direction different than the one you wanted to move. It is going to make running from this demon a lot harder.

Our Digger is in trouble! Will he make it away before the demon decides to drown him in the fountain? Find out next time.


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