The Angband Ladder: Ancient, Half-Troll Paladin by Sideways

Posted on 27.2.2017 17:14

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3589. on the Ladder (of 18807)
1017. on the Angband Ladder (of 6394)
82. for this player (out of 182)


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On 27.2.2017 17:14 Sideways wrote:
YEE-HAW! I beat 2.9.3 at last! After 16 years :)

2.9.3 was the first version I played; I stuck with it for quite a while in the early '00s, tried it countless times and got killed countless times, and never came even close to completing the game without save-scumming. My best attempt, IIRC, was a half-troll warrior who had ~5,000,000 EXP but didn't get anywhere near Morgoth.

The next version I tried was 3.0.5, which I finished pretty soon. My very hazy recollection is that my 3.0.5 "winner" cheated death a couple times and thus wasn't a real win; even so, I was left with a strong impression that 3.0.5 was far easier than 2.9.3. Indeed, probably the reason I didn't feel more guilty about cheating death (apart from me being an immature, unprincipled, death-cheating brat) was that I felt that playing 3.0.5, instead of "real" Angband (2.9.3), was essentially cheating in itself. I don't think I ever played that version again.

Many years later I downloaded 3.5.1; and no longer being an unprincipled, death-cheating brat - only immature ;-) - I only ever played it fairly and eventually, last year, after some heart-breaking late deaths, scored my first clean win in any version of Angband. After I got into the habit of not dying I started to win more often; I won as a priest, a ranger, a mage, a warrior, with standarts, with randarts... but I still felt I'd only beaten a dumbed-down kiddie version of Angband. This is not to say I don't view 3.5.1 as a good version or a game worth playing; obviously, if that were the case I wouldn't have played it so many times ;-) But I had unfinished business with 2.9.3, and repeatedly beating 3.5.1 gave me confidence that I was a better player now and might be ready to beat "real" Angband.


As you can see, I did beat 2.9.3; and I did so almost on my first attempt in this new Angband-winning form (technically this was my third 2.9.3 attempt in 2017... but the first two died on dungeon levels 1 and 2 respectively :p) It would be easy to conclude that I'm simply that much better at Angband now; but the fact is that I was really, really lucky and that's the main reason I won.

I killed Nar, the Dwarf at 1200'... and he dropped Boots of Speed (+9) for me! That would be a nice drop even in today's Angband; but in terms of being an incredibly lucky and totally game-changing find, an early pair of Boots of Speed (+9) in 2.9.3 is more like an early Power Dragon Scale Mail of Speed in today's Angband. To put those boots in perspective, they were not just the only speed boots I found at any point in the game - they were one of only two positive perma-speed items of any kind that I found before dungeon level 89, the other being a Ring of Speed (+6) that I discovered somewhere around 2800'. If not for that super-lucky footwear drop, Ancient would have been just as dead as all my hundreds of 2.9.3 characters from the early noughties.

I also had a couple lucky escapes ;-) One was around 1450' when I was just pressing down Control and the left arrow, thinking the group of ogres would be a piece of cake for me... what I didn't realize until it was almost too late was that one of the ogres was Lokkak. Eventually, to my horror, I realized that I had 34 HP left and it was Lokkak's turn... Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftain hits you... Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftain misses you... Lokkak, the Ogre Chieftain misses you. PHEW. And I had to do a very awkward Phase Door the next turn since I didn't have any proper healing (CCWs were weaker in 2.9.3 and not a serious option); but I survived and recovered to win the fight.

The Gabriel (=Radagast) fight at 3350' got completely out of hand. He kept covering himself in Solars (=Istari), which kept summoning more Solars... it felt like I killed about a thousand angels on that level, but the official body count indicates it was only about 100 angels (=ainur) and 30 Solars. I'd probably have had to quit the fight if I hadn't found a lucky Iron Helm of Dor-Lomin in the middle of it (I'm not sure if it was dropped by one of the angels or if it was already on the floor). Dor-Lomin happens to be about the only item that was actually stronger in 2.9.3 than it is now :) Then, when I thought Gabriel was already going down, he summoned two more Solars and I got double-mana-bolted... so I had to use my emergency !*Healing* and teleport away the Solars before I could finish Gabriel off.

I chose a half-troll paladin because I thought 2.9.3 was so brutal I would need every last bit of HP I could get; and I was right, as I found out at 4250'. I had 1081 HP, but I was far away from any interesting area of the level and thought I'd teleport to make the journey faster... so I teleport; The Tarrasque breathes fire; The Tarrasque breathes frost. I'd like to say I had done the math and calculated that the maximum damage that the Tarrasque could do with two resisted breaths was 1068; but the fact is that I had no idea that the Tarrasque was even on the level.

But that extra 13 HP saved me from joining the Tarrasque Club :-) Luckily, I happened to have one Potion of *Healing* and one Scroll of Teleportation with me; needless to say, I used those on the next two turns, got the heck out of the level and recalled to town; I killed the Tarrasque soon after returning to the dungeon with much better supplies.

The Morgoth fight was much tougher than any I've had in later versions; partly because of the nasty summons, partly because I only had Sting and had to leave my +17 Ring of Damage home to avoid getting double-moved, and mostly because it's so much harder to find scrolls of Genocide (=Banishment) and Mass Genocide (=Mass Banishment) or potions of *Healing* or Life in 2.9.3. In 3.5.1 - thanks to my dull non-diving playstyle, and my quite unnecessary habit of saving all the best stuff for the big fight - I've always had a nice supply of all of those left over, to the extent that it usually wouldn't have made any difference if Morgoth had 80000 HP instead of 20000; here, despite having spent even more time grinding and gathering supplies before the fight, I actually ran out of both Genocide and Mass Genocide, and never had many *Healing* or Life potions even to begin with.

Eventually I got Morgoth alone and down to one star... and used Holy Word to heal. Morgoth, Lord of Darkness dissolves! That was a nice surprise :)

Now I'm finally done with 2.9.3, and can return to the dumbed-down kiddie version of Angband that's so much more player-friendly ;-)

Thank you RNG! Much appreciated.

On 27.2.2017 17:56 Estie wrote:
Congrats. I dont know if you did this, but to get consumables, you can clone specific monsters like death quasits who have a high chance of dropping such stuff.

On 27.2.2017 19:06 krazyhades wrote:

On 28.2.2017 02:38 Sideways wrote:
Thanks :-)

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