[POWDER] YAAP 'The Cleromancer'

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artis...@gmail.com

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Sep 7, 2017, 8:41:13 PM9/7/17
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Ah, liches. If you've played the POWDER roguelike enough, you know that they're commonly the death of any new player that's asked "what's behind this secret door?". Liches, of course, having the pesky ability of being rather dangerous from afar, as well as being able to slow nearby players during melee combat. Being sneaky won't help much, as they can see invisible foes.

So, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em... er, rather, beat 'em, then resurrect 'em so they join you instead... rolls right off the tongue. Basically, for most of the run, my team consisted of a handful of liches, as well as additional pets that were along for the ride.

Before I began the run, I attempted a few where I'd only follow Belweir, though that hardly worked, as death by imps was inevitable. I initially started the run with a familiar tome, which has some helpful teleport/possess spells for dealing with tough foes, and heal for the early game.

However, at one point or another, I wanted to try out the infinite XP trick. The familiar tome also, of course, comes with summon familiar and transfer knowledge. Basically, if you and another tamed creature know transfer knowledge, what you can do is...
1. repeatedly transfer knowledge to the pet (which at this point, was a kobold mage)
2. make sure that while doing this, keep at least 250 xp on your character
3. when you run out, possess the pet and have them use transfer knowledge back to the player
4. repeat until you are inevitably burned at the stake by T'losh and H'ruth

The way how this works, is that whenever your pets get XP, you get half of it back. So, for each 250 XP you give to your pet, you earn 126 back. Using this, you could, in theory, rapidly strengthen your pets.

I messed around with this technique for a bit, but didn't abuse it much after that, possibly either because I could feel Jeff Lait staring at me through the code of POWDER, or I got bored.

After a while, my team consisted of myself and an army of kobold mages... er, one kobold mage, anyways. However, I ran into a foe feared just as much as liches, if not more, the dreaded cockatrice. However however, this was actually a named cockatrice (Ylem), which means it's cooler and also more dangerous.

I don't quite recall how this fight ended up, possibly a combination of...
1. hiding behind the kobold mage while occasionally using stone to flesh
2. using my classic/much abused strategy of possessing the cockatrice and tricking it into instead fighting with a leather tunic or squeaky shoes
3. some other strategy that would make the fight not worth remembering

Now that Ylem the cockatrice was dea*... Wait a second, what's it doing? Oh my, it seems that it wasn't named for nothing! Ylem is now a cockatrice lich! One of the two most feared creatures in a single package! Now all we need is a green dragon combined with a ghost!

Only, Ylem wasn't as terrifying as I had suspected... Such a pitiful creature, it was given a second chance at life and wasn't able to make a difference. Then again, maybe third time's the charm, so I resurrected the now twice-dead cockatrice.

Ylem was my first lich on the team, and by this point I had ventured down the road of Cleric, hence the title "cleromancer" (I had also gotten lucky and had a tome of healing/staff of healing along the way, allowing me to learn resurrect without needing to get major heal/cure poison).

I quickly equipped Ylem with some gear, as well as a ring of regeneration (which, I just realized while writing this, is useless due to their natural regeneration). Additionally, I equipped the cockatrice/lich (cockalich?) with some useful spells, while removing spells such as poison bolt/lighting bolt (as the tame AI in powder can be notoriously dumb, often leading to allies zapping projectiles with little consideration for teammates).

However, I then realized that since the base creature of the cockalich was, indeed, a cockatrice, it had no mana to cast spells. So, I decided to instead give the lich a mean named spear (it couldn't petrify enemies anymore, anyways) with fire resistance, along with the H'ruth armor. When something uses H'ruth's dress code, they can move/attack diagnolly (see H'ruth? I dressed up one of my pets all nice for you, now leave me alone please).

Since my kobold mage was equipped with wizard gear that included jump boots as the footwear, this meant that the two pets were able to quickly tackle enemies and just as quickly return to my position. I was enjoying myself a bit too much in the really large room, commanding my creatures to melt any unfortunate rodent that wandered into my sights.

At one point or another, this lead to a series of stupid decisions and terrible consequences which include the following in this order:
-The blue kobold died, was revived, then died again
-I deployed a familiar that I had previously accidentally summoned while spamming transfer knowledge to sweep up the gear
-I attempt to level up the familiar and am only successful with leveling it up like once
-The familiar dies because I'm in the mid-game. This is not a good time to raise a low-level familiar
-My health is punished via system shock and is reduced from 80-90 to 70-80
-I get sad because I liked that health. The familiar was also nice.

Then, as if to cheer me up, a lich who wants to kill me appears. I kill the lich without much thought, but then come to a moral dilemma: Do I...
A. Eat the corpse for a 1-7 boost in magic points?
B. Resurrect the lich, even though I already have a named one?

Having more magic is always appreciated, and having two of the same pet results in difficulty when telling them apart. So, I chose to resurrect the lich, because I was interested to see where it would go.

Additionally, having a lich with more magic points than zero meant that I could actually teach it useful spells (mostly consisting of anything dangerous while not being ranged), as well as give it the wizard outfit that formerly belonged to the blue kobold mage's misplaced corpse.

I then realized that I couldn't keep calling the lich 'the lich', so I was tasked with the life-or-death choice of "what dumb nickname can I give to my pet?".

I settled on the name "Bingus". Ideally, not my best nickname, but it was a name that stood for honor. Either that, or it sounded kind of funny so I kept it.

My hearty crew (now consisting of one-and-a-half liches and half-a cockatrice) ventured deeper with minimal conflict until I happened upon yet ANOTHER named cockatrice (Wazret)! I commanded my pets to attack (while I once again kept a safe/cowardly distance with stone-to-flesh at the ready). As Wazret the Cockatrice grew wounded from battle, I suspected another hideous transformation!... But as it turned out Wazret just died that time. I nonetheless revived them, making my team consist of mostly cockaliches (you may now refer to me as the cockalich cleromancer).

My hearty-yet-mostly-undead crew once more waltzed on until we reached the Minotaur's layer, which involved a somewhat-awkward fight using boulders to wall off the Minotaur while my creatures gathered around it the best they could. I preserved the corpse in order to upkeep the picnic traditions later on (more on that later).

Along the way from 16-20, I found a purple-tridude room with Bladqual the named purple tridude. I possessed Bladqual, commanded its pets to stay put, then had it waltz out of its room in order to gain an advantage. Bingus's spells, along with Ylem the cockalich's fire-damage spear, allowed us to get around the purple tridude's natural physical immunity.

Bladqual fell in battle, but also revived as a lich. This gave way to another moral dilemma:
A. Either resurrect the Lich, or
B. Resurrect the Lich. You're basically hoarding them as pets, anyways.

With Bladqual on the team, I knew that having two liches with names beginning with 'B' could prove to be a fatal mistake. So, I naturally was forced to rename 'Bingus' to 'Pingas'. Stay woke for memes.

I ransacked Belweir's library to supply my pets with more spells, and supplied Bladqual with with a handful of tools to be a threat at long range (namely, create pit, fetch, and soul suck) along with a named dagger with the ability to water walk.

Quizar's level proved to be a challenge, not for myself, but for my team of cockaliches. Namely, the ones that had water walking would idiotically attempt to cross lava/acid pools, despite lacking the resistances for them. I took away anything that gave water walking and gave some resistance rings to Wazret the non-lich cockatrice, then simply scouted ahead while using down pour/pushing boulders/entomb to create a path for my creatures.

I gathered all of my creatures around the staircase and went down to H'ruth's level, only to encounter another problem I did not consider. When going up/down staircases with your pets next to you, they will appear on the next floor in any nearby open space (as if you had cast 'fetch' on them). The only problem with this, is that due to the entrance of H'ruth's level being a tight space, a majority of my creatures were scattered through the different rooms of the arena.

It was kind of interesting, actually, starting out with just Wazret to fight off threats, then gradually re-forming the team from room to room. It kinda reminded me of Pikmin. Hmmm... this gives me another idea... "Dear Jeff Lait, if you are reading this, make a Pikmin/roguelike type of game. Or just add stuff to POWDER. Anything you make is probably good". Along the way, I befriended an iron golem (my love for iron golems was too strong) and switched to Pax's outfit for most of the rest of the game, to provide healing for the iron golem and quicker health regen for everyone else. Additionally, I held an artifact torch which provided water walking and wore a crown of telepathy on my head for superior seeing-things-around-me-so-I-can-tell-my-pets-to-go-kill-it tactics.

Fighting the orcs in Klaskov's level was interesting, and mainly involved...
-using 'entomb' to block off and bottleneck the orcs to fight one at a time
-ordering my creatures to all target whichever unlucky orc was closest
-forgetting that my creatures would then run forwards to get stuck in the bottleneck, rather than wait at its entrance.
The last orc was felled and I strove towards the path downwards as my liches picked up a lot of the spears that were dropped.

After that, it was time to face the Big B himself. Otherwise referred to as HWNCBSC, or Baezel'bub/Beelze'bub/I give up. Similar to Quizar's level, I ended up slowly building a land bridge towards Big B. Normally, you'd expect an army of liches with a natural fire weakness to be a terrible idea to fight the Fiery Demon King all while being surrounded by lava. However, Big B was unable to cast any fire balls due to Bladqual the tridude lich abusing Soul Suck.

Now came the tough part of the battle: Whittling away Big B's health while attempting to prevent my stupid lich army from killing themselves/me. Since they had stocked up on spears from the previous level, they were throwing them willy-nilly and hit everything that wasn't the giant 2x2 target of the underworld. Likewise, Bladqual was summoning Daemons, a spell also gained from Soul Sucking Big B, which meant that the Daemons would, in turn, summon Imps. Imps, of course, being the worst teammates for anything without fire resistance.

After going around for a while to provide healing and refreshments to any wounded teammates, Big B finally fell, but this time, an even bigger twist occured: The Black Heart was an artifact. Not really as threatening as named creatures reviving as liches, but it was kind of neat ('natural' items all have a 1% of becoming an artifact).

I stuffed the now-preserved corpse into my inventory and ventured back up (but not before killing/resurrecting a second iron golem for fun).

Ascending with a large group of creatures involved the following:
-gathering a handful around the stairs to take a few up at a time
-heavy use of the 'stay' and 'guard me' commands to move them (too bad there isn't a 'move here' command yet)
-occasionally casting 'down pour' on pits so my pets don't idiotically move onto them (despite there being numerous ways around)

On the way up, I noticed the two purple tridudes that had belonged to Bladqual earlier. Interestingly enough, they were friendly, despite me having killed their leader twice (who was now a revived lich. Huh). Unfortunately, despite them being the pet of my pet, I was unable to control them. So, I did what any perfectly sane person would do, and ordered Bladqual to brutally tear them to pieces (while leaving enough pieces to revive them, of course). I find it interesting that Pax forbids attacking peaceful creatures, but is fine if your pets do it. Oh well, I suppose it's one of the only ways you can appease T'losh while remaining in good standings with Pax.

Technically, this is the first run where I ended with high standing with Pax. I've done successful cleric runs before, but I've lost all piety with Pax towards the very end. My other two Pax-hating cleric runs included:
-A run where on the way up, I possessed a Soul Sucker and had it Soul Suck a lich to make the two fight, completely oblivious to the fact that 'Soul Suck' is a forbidden death spell.
-Another run where I blew up Big B with the powerful acidic corrosive explosion, while providing my pets and I acid resistance. I killed Big B and earned a level up, but I noticed that in the level up screen, Pax's piety had gone from 200-300 to around 10-30. After the explosion completely finished, I noticed that Pax's piety was well into the negative -100's. As it turns out, attacking your pets with something they're completely immune to still counts as attacking a non-hostile monster, and due to the large number of items that had gone into the explosion, my pets were hit numerous times by the blast that did no damage.

I 'celebarated' with a picnic soon after : http://imgur.com/gallery/8xFCW
(Featured in picture, the 'hearty crew' of 3 liches, a cockatrice, and some iron golems, along with some additional liches/creatures that I simply petrified and held onto, due to already being 'encumbered' by an already large team. Also featured: "GG EZ", an unholy fusion between the Cretan Minotaur and Big B, several grotesque heaps of meat as the main snack, and a frozen pool party).

POWDER 117
iPOWDER Version
You have save scummed 2 times. (I forgot to email the summary and had to go back a few times to get it :P)
Name: DoNev
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Physical: 122/16 (max 122)
Mental: 147/14 (max 183)
AC: 10
X: 12
Depth: 0
56636 moves over 11h13m52s
Score: 5124
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Intrinsics:
x Fire resistance
x Position fixed
x See invisible
x Life saved
x Walk on water
x Jump
+ Dressed as a wizard
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Spells:
* Magic Missile
x Frost Bolt
x Lightning Bolt
+ Heal
+ Cure Poison
+ Major Heal
+ Resurrect
+ Diagnose
+ Preserve
+ Possess
+ Fetch
+ Teleport
+ Teleport with Control
x Force Bolt
+ Dig
+ Grow Forest
+ Down Pour
+ Petrify
+ Stone to Flesh
+ Entomb
x Poison Bolt
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Skills:
+ Endure Hunger
+ Clean Kill
+ Leap Attack
+ Helmets
+ Body Armour
+ Boots
+ Cloth Armour
+ Medium Weapons
+ Blunt Attacks
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Equipped Items:
- Holy -1 floppy hat on head.
- Holy amulet of life saving around neck.
- Holy +0 boots of water walking named Waterwalk in right hand.
- +0 Staff of bolts named Bolts in left hand.
- Holy +1 plain robe over body.
- Ring of see invisible named See invis on right finger.
- Holy ring of fire resistance on left finger.
- Holy -2 jump boots named Jump on feet.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Artifacts:
The +0 dagger Amybar
This artifact grants walk on water.
Melee: 2d3+3[+1] (physical), 1d4[+1] (physical)
Thrown 5: 2d5+1[+2] (physical), 1d4+2[+2] (physical)

The -1 spear Amyslugrelat
This artifact grants regeneration.
Melee: 1d2+2 (cold), 1d9+1 (physical)
Thrown 5: 3[+1] (physical), 1d8+2[+1] (physical)

The +0 spear Orcyyz
This artifact grants breathless.
Melee: 1d8 (acid), 1d9+1 (physical)
Thrown 4: 1d2+2[+1] (physical), 1d8+2[+1] (physical)

The holy +1 torch Wangtree
This artifact grants walk on water, light radius 3, armour 1.
Melee: 1d8[-1] (fire), 1d5[-1] (fire)
Thrown 7: 1d6+2 (physical), 1d5+2[-2] (fire)

The holy +0 iron shoes Zubfrostrelat
This artifact grants teleport control, life saved, walk on water, armour
9.
Melee: 1d2 (physical)
Thrown 2: 1d2[-2] (physical)

The holy +1 buckler Frostrelat
This artifact grants breathless, armour 6.
Melee: 1d2 (physical)
Thrown 2: 1d2[-2] (physical)

The holy wand of digging (2) Braskbarwhiz
This artifact grants regeneration.
Melee: 2d7+3 (acid)
Thrown 2: 1d2[-2] (physical)

The holy Baezl'bub's black heart Relatfrost
This artifact grants position fixed, light radius 2.
Intrinsics are granted by carrying this item.
Melee: 1d2 (physical)
Thrown 2: 1d2[-2] (physical)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inventory Items:
- Holy -1 floppy hat.
- Holy amulet of life saving.
- Holy +0 boots of water walking named Waterwalk.
- +0 Staff of bolts named Bolts.
- Holy +1 plain robe.
- Ring of see invisible named See invis.
- Holy ring of fire resistance.
- Holy -2 jump boots named Jump.
- Holy amulet of reflection named Reflect.
- Amulet of unchanging.
- +3 Staff of destruction called Gift.
- Holy +0 staff of healing named Healing.
- Holy +2 knife.
- 2 Holy +1 daggers.
- Holy +0 dagger.
- +0 Dagger Amybar.
- 2 Holy +0 silver daggers.
- 2 +0 Earth hammers.
- 17 Holy +0 spears.
- 2 Holy +1 spears.
- 5 Holy -1 spears.
- -1 Spear Amyslugrelat.
- +0 Spear Orcyyz.
- 5 Holy +0 silver spears.
- Holy -1 silver spear.
- Holy -5 flaming sword.
- Holy +0 torch.
- Holy +1 torch Wangtree.
- 7 Holy +0 iron helms.
- Holy +0 helm of telepathy named Telepathy.
- Holy +0 sandals.
- +1 Squeaky shoes.
- 4 Holy +0 iron shoes.
- Holy +0 iron shoes Zubfrostrelat.
- Holy +0 fur-lined boots.
- 3 +0 Boots of water walking named Waterwalk.
- Holy +1 buckler Frostrelat.
- 5 Holy +0 tower shields.
- +1 Chainmail.
- 3 Holy +0 plate mails.
- 3 Holy +0 crystal platemails.
- Holy ring of invisibility.
- Holy ring of the missing finger.
- Holy ring of polymorph named Polymorph.
- Ring of polymorph control.
- Holy wedding ring.
- Ring of teleportation named Teleport.
- Holy ring of acid resistance.
- 4 Holy scrolls of teleport.
- 8 Holy scrolls of light.
- 5 Holy scrolls of healing.
- 3 Holy scrolls of magic mapping.
- 8 Holy scrolls of remove curse.
- Evil book of bashing (2).
- 2 Books of blades (4).
- Evil tome of force (5).
- Tome of healing (3).
- Shocking tome (5).
- Holy +3 guide to armour (1).
- 4 Holy poison potions.
- 9 Holy smoke potions.
- 4 Holy potions of blindness.
- 2 Holy acid potions.
- 5 Holy bottles of greek fire.
- 3 Holy heal potions.
- 2 Holy cure potions.
- 17 Bottles of holy water.
- Holy wand of digging (3).
- Holy wand of digging (2) Braskbarwhiz.
- Holy +3 wand of speed (11).
- 2 Holy wands of ice (4).
- Holy wand of slowness (7).
- Holy wand of slowness (8).
- Holy +3 wand of fire (4) called Gift.
- Holy wand of fire (5).
- Wand of invisibility (6) named Invisibility.
- 2 Holy wands of sleep (7).
- Holy +3 wand of trapping (4).
- Holy wand of trapping (4).
- Wand of trapping (10).
- Holy wand of create monster (0).
- Holy wand of create monster (1).
- 2 Wands of teleport (5).
- 8 Empty bottles.
- 3 Mounds of flesh.
- Holy Baezl'bub's black heart Relatfrost.
- Evil glowing y-rune.

yeesh this was a long post

thank you muchfords to anyone who stuck around to read all of this

you must have a lot of spare time to be reading this far

artis...@gmail.com

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Sep 7, 2017, 8:43:04 PM9/7/17
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Still not somehow satisfied with reading large chunks of text?

Use this link to find another run where I followed XOM and XOM only.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.roguelike.misc/g6nirc-_vKo

David Damerell

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Sep 9, 2017, 12:11:09 PM9/9/17
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Quoting <artis...@gmail.com>:
>However, at one point or another, I wanted to try out the infinite XP
>trick. The familiar tome also, of course, comes with summon familiar and
>transfer knowledge.
>-Another run where I blew up Big B with the powerful acidic corrosive
>explosion, while providing my pets and I acid resistance.

I wrote to that nice Mr Lait about these. He seems ambivalent about fixing
the first one since if you can do it you're in a position to win anyway.
He said he'd look into the second one.

Please also don't quote entire huge articles to add 3 lines of additional
text.
--
David Damerell <dame...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> flcl?
Today is Gouday, August.
Tomorrow will be Chedday, August.

phillips....@gmail.com

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Aug 9, 2019, 10:00:02 PM8/9/19
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This was extremely fun to read. The fight against Baezalzbee had me cackling. Glad to see people other than me are still playing POWDER :D
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