Posted by: shatteredblog | January 13, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Among the G

When last we left our intrepid archaeologist, he was glancing over his shoulder while heading for the stairs down into the gnomish mines. The rampaging water demon left behind on DL 2 doesn’t make an appearance, and so we head down into the new dungeon branch.

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The game has in addition to the main dungeon several branches that represent optional or non optional challenges while playing the game. The first of these is the gnomish mines, a several levels deep area that includes cavern levels like the one I am in now, Minetown which is a source of shops and an altar, and the End of the Mines which has a few different variations that all include gems and a luckstone mixed in with loadstones. The in between cavern levels can  be lit or unlit, and thankfully this is a lit level. I can see from the stairs three gnomes, a food ration and a gem in the corner there. Unless your character is a gnome the gnomes in the mines are usually hostile, and these are no exception.

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Three or four gnomes rush me on the stairs, and I gain two quick levels. Still surrounded by gnomes but not in any urgent danger, and a dwarf is approaching from the north. Dwarves are a bit different then gnomes in that they tend to be generated lawful, and will be peaceful to a lawful character. This one hates me of course.  Killing the rest of the gnomes and him gains me level 5.

The gnomes were carrying some gems, and that means it’s time for my archaeologist training  to shine. Archaeologists always begin the game with an uncursed touchstone, and can use an uncursed touchstone as other classes can use a blessed one to identify gems and other stones. To do so, we open the extended commands menu (with [#] in this port, and select rub.

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Rub prompts you first for what to rub. If this is a touchstone, then it prompts you to rub something on the stone. Here I am picking the two orange stones I picked up.

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Worthless glass once identified is truly worthless, only useful as ammunition for a sling. I drop these. Now to check the corpses (and eat a gnome that isn’t too long dead, gnomes are good eating!)

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What luck! The dwarf in addition to some armor and coin was carrying a broad pick, which is a dwarvish mattock. This is the weapon I was talking about earlier that is a two hand item and uses the pickaxe skill, which archaeologists can become expert in. A great find, it’s a powerful weapon. I take it, and everything else useful. Wear [W] the shoes and cloak from the dwarf, though wearing armor before you know if it’s cursed can come back to haunt you. These aren’t, thankfully and my AC improves to 7.

A bit more exploring, and I’m ambushed by another gnome and dwarf. This gnome throws a purple-red potion at me, “You feel rather tired.” means it was a potion of sleeping and I fall asleep. Luckily sleep only lasts until I’m attacked, and after my nap I make short work of the pair. This dwarf has a hat and shoes and foolishly I try them on as well in hopes of a better AC. Both are cursed, so my AC remains 7. Around the corner is a ring mail which I can thankfully wear due to the cloak not being cursed, and my AC is improved to 4. A lower armor class at starting levels is worth dealing with some cursed items, but it’s a bad idea to wield a weapon that you haven’t seen a monster wield or otherwise tested as if it is two handed it won’t leave your hands free for anything else!

The first mines level has one more surprise for me as I move toward the exit, a rust trap that rusts my cursed helmet. The mine levels all include a handful of hidden traps that are quite nasty below minetown, but avoidable once you’ve seen them.

The second cavern level is also lit, and also features a mob of gnomes swarming me when I poke my head down. A few trips up to heal then back down to fight and the wave of little people is cleared. I find a sack lying on the ground, with nothing in it.

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An annoying thing about the port is it defaults to looting something on the ground if you tap the screen trying to pick it up. Not too difficult to remedy, the command to pick up items is [,] but still requires remembering to do so. I bring the bag along with me.

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The only (g)notable monster I run across is a little dog, after leveling to 6 from gnome and gnome lord kills. Normally a pet animal like this would be dangerous to meet early on, but with AC 4 and a mattock I can take it. I could throw [t] a tripe ration and tame it, but I think it would be better to save that for when I’m in trouble against one or can benefit more from the pet. Quick tip – don’t eat the corpses of domestic animals like dogs, cats and ponys. You will get aggravate monster for your troubles, and it will make it much easier for nasties to find you.

Onward to the third cavern level in our next installment, when we stumble blindly through the dark, make rusty things rustier and perhaps stumble upon the town in the mines.

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