Posted by: shatteredblog | January 17, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Making Minetown

Stepping out into the busy thoroughfare of Minetown, feeling hopeful and a little itchy from this rusty helmet glued to my head. Wonder what I’ve been lucky enough to have in my game. Minetown has several variations, each of which in addition to the normal chance for a room with one door to be a shop has rooms that are set aside for specific shop types. What would be really useful is a general store, one that will buy and sell everything to make price identifying easier. We shall see!


Actually we won’t see before the inhabitants try to kill me. Two gnomish wizards pile out of the shops and jump me. I thwack the one with my mattock, but he quaffs a dark potion that I know now is full healing. The wizards don’t manage to cast any spells that hurt me and I take care of them.

The first two shops I come across are a hardware store that sells tools and a bookstore with one scroll and several spellbooks. I approach the room in the center of town that is likely the temple, and get some good news walking through the door.

T2713The altar and priest are coaligned, meaning they share my alignment (neutral). Makes things better when it’s this way, as when you enter a temple with a coaligned priest you gain sanctuary and monsters will not normally attack you.

Continue wandering the town, wave to Izchak through the door of his shop (no lamp so not going in for now). The last shop in the corner is a general store, a tiny three tile one. Even three tiles is enough for identification, so I’ll take it.


I hate shopkeepers. They know it’s easy for someone who can dig to steal from them, so they ask you to leave your pick or mattock outside before coming in. Always worried some random monster will come pick it up when I drop my weapon.

Identifying items by price is a little tricky, but once you know the basics it’s a powerful way to learn what items are. Shopkeepers will offer to buy items from you for half their base cost, or occasionally 1/4 less than that. If you drop an item a few times they will make an offer each time so not difficult to weed out the 1/4 less cases.


I have quite a collection of scrolls and potions to price out. The method works on wands, spellbooks and rings too, but amulets all have the same base price. I drop the stuff in my pack one by one and rename them with the base cost.

T2913For example, this is a scroll he offered 40 for, making the base price 80. I know that there are two scrolls with this cost, so this is either enchant armor or remove curse. Some price points have more items than others, several of my scrolls were cost 100.

I also picked up the whistle he had for sale, to test it and see if it’s a magic whistle.

T2921Lucky! Magic whistles are so incredibly useful. Blowing one that is uncursed or blessed will bring your tame pets to you from anywhere on the level. No more worrying about getting scaredy cats to follow me. I buy it.


Out in the hall, a floating eye floats ominously. Floating eyes are dangerous even for seasoned players, because if you attempt to melee it without being blind or free action it will paralyze you. The paralysis lasts a long time, more than enough for a weak monster to nibble you to death. I have a few darts on me from upstairs but would prefer to have more if I’m going to try to kill this, so I back off… and into the path of the yellow light that came around the corner.


You might say, “This is a good thing, now you can kill the eye while blind!” but remember, minetown has the peaceful watchmen and watch captain walking around and if I bump into one of them trying to walk around they will get angry and all try to kill me. I begin resting with the [.] key to wait out the blindness.

T3062If you become aware of a monster while blind it marks the location with an I, like this. Something that is attacking me is fair game, so I attack back and kill it still blind. If I were searching instead of waiting it would place I’s where I felt a monster near me as well, but gives no idea what the creature might be. I continue waiting.


I can finally see again, 119 turns later. The eye is right next to me, but as long as I don’t attack it can’t hurt me… and apparently my assailant was a mummy as there is a mummy wrapping on the ground. For the meantime, I’m safe after the tense period of blindness.

Come back next time, when I finish up Minetown visit number 1 and get back to dungeon running. See you then!


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