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NJAFAP: the mythical unspoiled conduct

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Timothy Nodine

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Apr 13, 2010, 12:45:19 PM4/13/10
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“Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to ascend without
consulting spoilers. The Guidebook is generous if you pay close enough
attention, The Oracle provides clues to the more arcane aspects of the
game, and sheer bloody-minded persistence will see you through
eventually. Nevertheless, there are no well-documented instances of a
totally unspoiled player ascending.” –WikiHack, on Spoilers

“They say that finding a winning strategy is a deliberate move on your
part” – fortune cookie

The details of Tim V’s life and ascension are by themselves
unremarkable. Certainly they contain little that would stand out to a
Nethack veteran aside from some painfully newbish decisions. The
games leading up to Tim V’s ascension, on the other hand, are highly
notable because they illustrate what it takes to build a winning
strategy from the ground up.

Thus, I will start with the character’s true conception, as a humble
dwarven archaeologist.
I had played games before this, but without strategy. I identified
scrolls by reading them, potions by drinking them and armors by
wearing them. I took insane risks early on, figuring that the time I
won would be the time I got lucky. At best, these games served to
learn the controls and the common items. During this era I had made a
few major discoveries, such as the use of magic markers on blank
scrolls and the trick of identifying wands by engraving with them.
Still, my focus was always on gaining experience and moving deeper. I
almost never made it past level 10.

The humble Digger’s father came from the Guidebook’s claim that Amulet
of Yendor was below dungeon level 20. After noticing this, I made it
my goal to reach at least that far, even without any chance of getting
further. In another game at about that time, a random monster used a
wand of digging to escape through the floor; she was Digger’s mother.

Their child was a dwarven archaeologist with a pickaxe, who only once
moved horizontally and died on dungeon level 9. Following in his
footsteps were Digger II, Digger III and so on. Over time, his
descendents got savvier. They learned to move away from doors before
digging, to call on Elbereth to ward danger, and several other
refinements. Eventually, Digger XVI came to a place too hard to dig
through, found a nearby line of water tiles, and got one-shotted by a
shark.

After Digger XVI came a period of sporadic progress. I discovered
savescumming, abandoned it in favor of explore mode scumming and then
abandoned it completely. I found wizard mode but failed to make use
of its features. At some point in here I completed the Gnomish Mines
quest as a barbarian, escaping with the jewels and setting a high
score that would stand for years. And then, over a year later, I
ascended for the first time.

Or rather, I ascended as wizard, having pulled off many things that
would be impossible in a ‘real’ game. I had found out that the ‘wish’
command went well beyond the power of normal wishes and blazed through
the game with C^F, C^T and a massive ring of increase damage. Then I
set the mode aside and went back to playing normally, but many times
in the future I would revive the wizard to test out various
interactions. (Note: looking back through the log, I actually escaped
in celestial disgrace, then followed through with a true wizard mode
ascension two years later)

The next major step forward came much later, three years after Digger
discovered the castle, when I happened to acquire a pickaxe as a
Wizard with an instrument and significantly better equipment. I
decided to go for old Digger’s tactics and blew straight down to the
castle. I went close to the bridge and began Masterminding (thanks to
a forturne cookie/Oracle tip) when a giant eel grappled him. A
panicked search through his inventory came up with nothing relevant
but a scroll of scare monster. I quickly dropped it, then realized
the full implications of what I had done. I was able to repeat this
setup intentionally a couple of times in later games, but while I
could get to the castle, I couldn’t progress from there.

The beginning of the end came when a fortune cookie told me how to
bless water. This caused a subtle shift in my strategy; I acted more
cautiously, looking for altars, stockpiling water. Soon, I stopped
trying on random armor without altar-checking it first. Then I began
making piles of backup equipment near altars, which over time expanded
to full stockpiles.

And the advantages snowballed. The longer I survived, the quicker I
picked up new survival habits. At some point I figured out how to
identify bags of holding (i.e. get Burdened by gathering rocks, then
put rocks in the bag). I started traveling at no encumbrance, rather
than Burdened. With holy water to spare, I found I could use magic
markers to mass-produce blessed scrolls of enchant armor and reach
hitherto unheard of AC levels. And a bit of trial and error produced
some clean, reliable solutions to Sokoban.

At this point, a thoroughly spoiled friend suggested that I give the
Valkyrie class a try. I switched classes from Monk, and blew through
the Quest on my first try. From that point forward, every death meant
some future precaution to take. I learnt the importance of
reflection, then magic resistance. I started keeping track of item
prices across games, eventually building a near-complete price chart
for potions and scrolls. After a few promising games came to untimely
ends, I started spending holy water for a greater genocide on ‘L’.
One particularly promising game saw me blow through the castle, grab
the wand of wishing, and clear most of the later game before the run
got crippled by an exploded bag of holding.

After that came only a couple of significant games. In one, I was
using dragon scales as caster-friendly armor with a bonus resistance
when I accidentally enhanced it into dragon scale mail. In another, I
found two magic lamps and a friendly altar in minetown and would
probably have seen me ascend as a Barbarian if I hadn’t been so sure
that levitation prevented death by eel drowning (I even had an amulet
of magical breathing handy). I took on the Priest, Barbarian and
Healer quests blind to prepare myself for the endgame.

And then came the final run. Sokoban gave an amulet of reflection and
a bag of holding spawned randomly. I converted an alter and got
Mjolnir and holy water. I killed a blue dragon in a throne room and
turned its scales into dragon scale mail. I decided to start building
Dual Wielding skill on a whim, using my +5 throwing daggers in my off-
hand, and discovered to my surprise that it resulted in a huge damage
boost. On dungeon level 27, I stumbled across a double bones file -
the remains of both an original Digger and a Wizard Digger that
between them had a cloak of magic resistance, a magic marker and a
castle kit.

From there, most of the rest of the game was easy. I ran into
unexpected trouble on the way up after grabbing the Amulet, since I
had planned on using the Orb of Fate to warp back to level 1. I was
also unprepared for the mysterious force that kept sending me
backwards, but figured out eventually that I could use the Candelabrum
to avoid it. I ended up brute-forcing the Planes looking for the
portals, having lost all my scrolls in an earlier dunking incident.
Nevertheless, the only real challenge from there out came on the
Astral plane, where something dropped a summon bomb full of dragons on
me while I was fighting Pestilence. That got me under half health,
at which point I stopped saving my wand of death charges for the
Wizard and started shooting anything capable of summoning.

Actually winning turned out to be as anticlimactic as walking up to
the only remaining altar with no real resistance.

Beating Nethack completely from scratch took roughly 1700 games,
played over a period of four years and three months. This figure
includes roughly 200 savescums (in explore mode once I figured out
how) and 170 wizard mode games, mostly short. I set a few standards
for myself: I do not consider the Guidebook a spoiler, nor any in-game
text. At no time did I ever seek external help, and I responded to
any attempt to coach me with a warning that I wished to remain
unspoiled. I have referenced a few documents from my own notes which
would be considered spoilers, that I feel should not count as outside
help because I made those documents in the first place.

At various times during this period, I was exposed to other Nethack
players; they told me little that I did not already know. I never
asked them for advice, and usually warned them about spoiling me. In
a few cases where I was exposed to new, significant information, I
deliberately did not use it in the final game. The sum total of the
significant outside information that made its way into the final run
was a tip to give the Valkyrie class a try and just enough information
about the protection racket, directed at a third party, for me to
figure out the rest. (The final run did not use the protection
racket.)

Whether my attempt fulfills the unspoiled conduct depends on how
finely one splits hairs. According to the Wiki definition of a
spoiler as “a file documenting the behaviour of the game in great
detail”, I am clearly unspoiled except for files of my own creation.
However, given the possibility of coaching, there are stricter
standards that could apply.
First, one could play having never sought outside information about
Nethack. One might be unwillingly told partial spoilers, and those do
not count against the conduct. Second, one could play completely
without any outside information. This is ultimately impractical as
long as the player shares a real or virtual community with other
Nethack players; remaining pure long enough to ascend is far harder
than simply ascending without help. As a middle ground, one could
refrain, for a single run, from using any information learned or
derived from outside sources. If we view unspoiled play as a conduct,
this third standard is the only one that is consistent with other
conducts.

I accomplished the first and third versions, but not the second. My
story demonstrates both that the unspoilered conduct is possible and
why there are no previously known cases. Even under the strictest
version of the challenge, had I never heard a few remarks, my meta-
strategy would have led to the same place. I might have ascended as a
Barbarian instead, but the critical mass of knowledge was there. On
the other hand, it shows that remaining unspoiled long enough to
ascend is far harder than merely working out a winning strategy.
Anyone less spoiled than myself would necessarily have no contact with
the Nethack community, and as a result their achievements would not be
known.

It took over a month between ascension and this report, and I have
been spoiled beyond my ability to play around in the process. Doing
the research to prepare this newsgroup post was the end of Nethack as
I know it. My only real game since the ascension has been marred by
uber-wishes and stolen exploits. This is the border between the real
game and the realm of fools. But which side is real and which is
foolishness? Ask again in four more years.

3.4.3 4848754 7 -5 49 178 179 0 20100303 20100228 1 Val Hum Fem Law
Tim V,ascended

Kristoffer Björkman

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Apr 13, 2010, 3:57:58 PM4/13/10
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In article <851af4f7-70a7-4fb3-af4f-f42d1680b864@
30g2000yqi.googlegroups.com>, Timothy Nodine says...
> The details of Tim V?s life and ascension are by themselves

> unremarkable. Certainly they contain little that would stand out to a
> Nethack veteran aside from some painfully newbish decisions. The
> games leading up to Tim V?s ascension, on the other hand, are highly

> notable because they illustrate what it takes to build a winning
> strategy from the ground up.
[...]

Thanks for telling us about this!

You make some discussion about what is meant by spoiled/unspoiled play.
IMHO, using your own notes derived from earlier games is not spoiling at
all. Neither would a tip like "try a certain class and see how you like
it" be. However, the use of information gathered from explore/wizard-
mode games about areas of the game not yet visited in normal gameplay I
think must seriously take away much of the enjoyment of 'real' risky
discovery of new areas of the game, especially so for the late game with
a character that has been very heavily invested in. [someone cut up that
sentence for me, please] But good then, there is room for someon to be
the first to do this conduct some day! (classic example of the most
well-known attempt so far
<http://web.archive.org/web/20071010031352/http://roguelikes.sauceforge.
net/pub/nethack/stories/>)

Above all, congratulations, your accomplishment is greater than I am
able to put in words!

//

--
This cookie has a scrap of paper inside. It reads:
Gurl fnl gung zbafgref arire fgrc ba n fpner zbafgre fpebyy.

Timothy Nodine

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Apr 13, 2010, 4:14:44 PM4/13/10
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On Apr 13, 2:57 pm, Kristoffer Björkman
<kristoffer.bjork...@frontnet.org> wrote:
> In article <851af4f7-70a7-4fb3-af4f-f42d1680b864@

> You make some discussion about what is meant by spoiled/unspoiled play.
> IMHO, using your own notes derived from earlier games is not spoiling at
> all. Neither would a tip like "try a certain class and see how you like
> it" be. However, the use of information gathered from explore/wizard-
> mode games about areas of the game not yet visited in normal gameplay I
> think must seriously take away much of the enjoyment of 'real' risky
> discovery of new areas of the game, especially so for the late game with
> a character that has been very heavily invested in.
As far as I know, no pre-existing standard for unspoiled play placed
any restrictions on wizard-mode or explore mode games; in fact, the
Guidebook recommends that novices play in explore mode. Discovering
areas obviously still happens in wizard mode, and then discovering how
to beat them without C^F, C^T, +80 ring of increase damage happens the
normal way. Exploring areas for the first time outside of debug mode
is almost as risky as exploring them blind.

The really helpful use of wizard mode is to test obscure or
potentially dangerous item conditions, such as confused scroll reading
and killing each color of dragon to try on its scales.


> Above all, congratulations, your accomplishment is greater than I am
> able to put in words!
>
>

Thanks.

Doug Freyburger

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Apr 13, 2010, 5:34:29 PM4/13/10
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Timothy Nodine wrote:
>
> The details of Tim V’s life and ascension are by themselves
> unremarkable. Certainly they contain little that would stand out to a
> Nethack veteran aside from some painfully newbish decisions. The
> games leading up to Tim V’s ascension, on the other hand, are highly
> notable because they illustrate what it takes to build a winning
> strategy from the ground up.

Awesome post. Thanks!

> ... I was


> also unprepared for the mysterious force that kept sending me
> backwards, but figured out eventually that I could use the Candelabrum
> to avoid it.

Can anyone please explain this bit?

Timothy Nodine

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Apr 13, 2010, 5:52:21 PM4/13/10
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On Apr 13, 4:34 pm, Doug Freyburger <dfrey...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > ...  I was
> > also unprepared for the mysterious force that kept sending me
> > backwards, but figured out eventually that I could use the Candelabrum
> > to avoid it.
>
> Can anyone please explain this bit?

(spoiler)
On the way up after acquiring the Amulet of Yendor, a mysterious force
will sometimes send the player down rather than up when he goes up
stairs. I thought that lighting the Candelabrum of Invocation before
ascending the stairs would prevent this; however, after I posted the
ascension report, someone informed me that the Candelabrum didn't
actually do this and I just got lucky.

JoaoSantos

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Apr 14, 2010, 4:56:55 AM4/14/10
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On Apr 13, 5:45 pm, Timothy Nodine <timgnod...@gmail.com> wrote:
[...]

> 3.4.3 4848754 7 -5 49 178 179 0 20100303 20100228 1 Val Hum Fem Law
> Tim V,ascended

Wow. Congratulations.
Just one question: how did you figure how to do the Invocation ritual?
solidsnail

David Ploog

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Apr 14, 2010, 5:57:57 AM4/14/10
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On Wed, 14 Apr 2010, JoaoSantos wrote:

> Just one question: how did you figure how to do the Invocation ritual?
> solidsnail

Isn't there this one Oracle hint about the ritual? I recall collecting
those (with savescumming) back in the day.

David

JoaoSantos

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Apr 14, 2010, 6:51:12 AM4/14/10
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dat.oracles.txt says:
-----
It is said that thou mayst gain entry to Moloch's sanctuary, if thou
darest, from a place where the ground vibrateth in the deepest depths
of Gehennom. Thou needs must have the aid of three magical items.
The pure sound of a silver bell shall announce thee. The terrible
runes, read from Moloch's book, shall cause the earth to tremble
mightily. The light of an enchanted candelabrum shall show thee the
way.
-----
But I would like confirmation from the original poster.
Even assuming a player gets this information, from all these elements
I find the vibrating square the most difficult to find. Even I that
I'm spoiled and know what to search for, sometimes I find it hard to
find.
solidsnail

Timothy Nodine

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Apr 14, 2010, 12:03:43 PM4/14/10
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I had played a large number of games, so I had seen all the oracle's
greater consultation messages at least once. In the final game, I
used the Orb of Fate to return to the Oracle sometime post-castle and
got that message on the first consultation. This might have been
right after Vlad, while I was looking for candles.

The vibrating square had been located by chance during the wizard-mode
game, then was re-discovered during the exploding bag of holding
game. On the final run, I located it deliberately pre-Wizard by the
same means and left a gem to mark the spot.

Ray Kulhanek

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Apr 16, 2010, 5:20:40 PM4/16/10
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Timothy Nodine wrote:
> ...

> 3.4.3 4848754 7 -5 49 178 179 0 20100303 20100228 1 Val Hum Fem Law
> Tim V,ascended

Amazing. There's no other word.

A couple of questions:


> After a few promising games came to untimely
> ends, I started spending holy water for a greater genocide on ‘L’.

How did you discover how blessed scrolls of genocide worked? Likewise
things like confused gold detection; you mentioned that you didn't
have any left for the planes, so presumably you'd figured out that
they were useful for trap detection.

> On dungeon level 27, I stumbled across a double bones file -
> the remains of both an original Digger and a Wizard Digger that
> between them had a cloak of magic resistance, a magic marker and a
> castle kit.

Was that a wizard *role* or a wizard *mode* bones file?

Timothy Nodine

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Apr 17, 2010, 12:14:16 AM4/17/10
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On Apr 16, 4:20 pm, Ray Kulhanek <kulhane...@wright.edu> wrote:
> How did you discover how blessed scrolls of genocide worked?  
By reading a randomly generated blessed scroll of genocide.

>Likewise
> things like confused gold detection; you mentioned that you didn't
> have any left for the planes, so presumably you'd figured out that
> they were useful for trap detection.

After a fortune cookie tipped me off, I tested reading every scroll I
could think of while confused in wizard-mode. I figured out how to
detect traps at about the same time as I figured out how to rustproof
equipment.


>  > On dungeon level 27, I stumbled across a double bones file -
>  > the remains of both an original Digger and a Wizard Digger that
>  > between them had a cloak of magic resistance, a magic marker and a
>  > castle kit.
>
> Was that a wizard *role* or a wizard *mode* bones file?

Wizard role. That was a lingering bones file from the earlier
strategy where I would spawn as an Elven Wizard (hopefully) with an
instrument, grab a pick-axe from the mines and then follow the
Archaeologist strategy.

Ray Kulhanek

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Apr 17, 2010, 3:22:46 PM4/17/10
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Another question: There was a thread awhile back about whether
unspoiled ascension was possible
(Archive at http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.roguelike.nethack
/browse_thread/thread/6c73b2adb01e5545/5b1cb88e5033cad6)
One of the things that came up as difficult to learn without spoilers
or source diving was magic cancellation. Did you discover anything
about that (and if so, how?) or were you just able to ascend without
knowing about it?

Timothy Nodine

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Apr 17, 2010, 3:44:09 PM4/17/10
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On Apr 17, 2:22 pm, Ray Kulhanek <kulhane...@wright.edu> wrote:
> Another question: There was a thread awhile back about whether
> unspoiled ascension was possible
> (Archive athttp://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.roguelike.nethack/browse_thr...)

> One of the things that came up as difficult to learn without spoilers
> or source diving was magic cancellation.  Did you discover anything
> about that (and if so, how?) or were you just able to ascend without
> knowing about it?

I did not use cancellation for anything significant. My practical
knowledge of cancellation boiled down to "don't hit yourself with
it". I now know there are practical uses, but at the time fountains
proved to be a reasonable substitute.

Janis Papanagnou

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Apr 17, 2010, 6:07:11 PM4/17/10
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Timothy Nodine schrieb:

> On Apr 17, 2:22 pm, Ray Kulhanek <kulhane...@wright.edu> wrote:
>> Another question: There was a thread awhile back about whether
>> unspoiled ascension was possible
>> (Archive athttp://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.roguelike.nethack/browse_thr...)
>> One of the things that came up as difficult to learn without spoilers
>> or source diving was magic cancellation.

It's difficult to learn about it if unspoiled, but it's also not really
necessary to know about magic cancellation.

>> Did you discover anything
>> about that (and if so, how?) or were you just able to ascend without
>> knowing about it?
>
> I did not use cancellation for anything significant. My practical
> knowledge of cancellation boiled down to "don't hit yourself with
> it". I now know there are practical uses, but at the time fountains
> proved to be a reasonable substitute.

You're probably talking about a wand of cancellation (maybe a spell of
cancellation, or one of Magicbane's effects), but Ray was talking about
a property that is called "magic cancellation" (often abbreviated as MC
here) which is something less apparent than "[plain] cancellation". You
cannot identify the MC property, so it's not surprising that you don't
know about it.

Janis

David Damerell

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Apr 19, 2010, 12:00:08 PM4/19/10
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Quoting Janis Papanagnou <janis_pa...@hotmail.com>:
>>On Apr 17, 2:22 pm, Ray Kulhanek <kulhane...@wright.edu> wrote:
>>>One of the things that came up as difficult to learn without spoilers
>>>or source diving was magic cancellation.
>It's difficult to learn about it if unspoiled, but it's also not really
>necessary to know about magic cancellation.

Quite. Any plausible cloak will give you MC2 or MC3...
--
David Damerell <dame...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> Oil is for sissies
Today is Leicesterday, April.
Tomorrow will be Brieday, April.

Timothy Nodine

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Apr 21, 2010, 3:56:09 AM4/21/10
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On Apr 19, 11:00 am, David Damerell <damer...@chiark.greenend.org.uk>
wrote:

>
> Quite. Any plausible cloak will give you MC2 or MC3...

For what it's worth, I almost always pick up a dwarven cloak in the
mines and upgrade to a cloak with an AC value when I find one (usually
off a dead elf). The reason for the dwarven cloak is to protect the
armor under it.

Janis Papanagnou

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Apr 21, 2010, 1:09:34 PM4/21/10
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And thereby you get MC:2 (even if that cloak has just an AC:0), without
at all knowing what MC is in the first place.

Janis

Doug Freyburger

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Apr 21, 2010, 3:09:11 PM4/21/10
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And once I get an elven cloak I switch to it because it has one point
better base AC. When I learned that I stopped enchanting dwarvish
cloaks and started enchanting elven cloaks. Having a scoll of
identification tell you the names of the scrambled types of cloaks
becomes quite instructive.

Richard Bos

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Apr 23, 2010, 12:10:25 PM4/23/10
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Doug Freyburger <dfre...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Timothy Nodine wrote:
> > David Damerell <damer...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
> >
> >> Quite. Any plausible cloak will give you MC2 or MC3...
> >
> > For what it's worth, I almost always pick up a dwarven cloak in the
> > mines and upgrade to a cloak with an AC value when I find one (usually
> > off a dead elf). The reason for the dwarven cloak is to protect the
> > armor under it.
>
> And once I get an elven cloak I switch to it because it has one point
> better base AC. When I learned that I stopped enchanting dwarvish
> cloaks and started enchanting elven cloaks.

Why waste ?oEA on elven cloaks? Its "magical" power is useless in most
cases (since you either have it or can get it easily already), and you
already get the MC3 from the mithril you should be wearing. Even oilskin
is better. You want to save the scrolls for...

> Having a scoll of identification tell you the names of the scrambled
> types of cloaks becomes quite instructive.

...right. Those.

Richard

Doug Freyburger

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Apr 23, 2010, 3:22:57 PM4/23/10
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Richard Bos wrote:

> Doug Freyburger <dfre...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> And once I get an elven cloak I switch to it because it has one point
>> better base AC. When I learned that I stopped enchanting dwarvish
>> cloaks and started enchanting elven cloaks.
>
> Why waste ?oEA on elven cloaks?

Unless I want to take out priests it's a type that is virtually
guaranteed and better than any of the types given to any character class
other than wizards. It might even be my final cloak depending on how
much effort I put into armor types.

> Its "magical" power is useless in most
> cases (since you either have it or can get it easily already), and you
> already get the MC3 from the mithril you should be wearing. Even oilskin
> is better. You want to save the scrolls for...
>
>> Having a scoll of identification tell you the names of the scrambled
>> types of cloaks becomes quite instructive.
>
> ...right. Those.

The ones that have better AC are robe and protection. One is known at
site the other self identifies when worn. In most cases I'll switch to
them. The ones with the same AC but better other powers are
displacement, oilskin and magic resistance. I'm not a fan of
displacement but I understand why some are. In many cases I'll switch
to oilskin once I get one. If I get a cloak of magic resistance it
depends on my other items if I'll use it.

The principle remains - There are types of cloaks that are worn by
common monsters so they are virtually guaranteed in any game. Orcish
and dwarvish cloaks, elven cloaks, mummy wrappings. Depending on how
many soldier types you encounter maybe even leather cloaks. Of those
the choice most of the time would be elven plus keeping a mummy wrapping
in the bag for specific uses. There are then the specialty cloak types
that might or might not appear in the game.

If I want to polypile for the other cloak types I still need to hoard
magical armor types and for number occuring in most games that's mostly
elven cloak and elven boots. Those that get'em, wear'em until somthing
better comes along.

My mid-game kit can end up enchanted even the items not a part of my
end-game kit, or my character can get strong enough to be ready for the
ascension run with some sub-optimal items.

Timothy Nodine

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Apr 23, 2010, 9:42:30 PM4/23/10
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On Apr 21, 12:09 pm, Janis Papanagnou <janis_papanag...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>
> And thereby you get MC:2 (even if that cloak has just an AC:0), without
> at all knowing what MC is in the first place.
>
> Janis

An unspoiled player can do the right things for the wrong reasons and
it's just as effective as a spoiled player who knows what he's doing
and does the same. Conversely, not all learning is conscious. I
probably got into the habit of regular cloak wearing simply because I
survived longer with a cloak on, without even realizing it. I never
really figured out how the periodic stat increases worked, but somehow
learned to get them anyway. Similarly, I never figured out all the
effects of a blessed vs. normal luckstone, or for that matter the
effects of luck period, but always blessed my luckstone ASAP anyway.


Janis Papanagnou

unread,
Apr 24, 2010, 5:39:02 AM4/24/10
to
Timothy Nodine wrote:
> On Apr 21, 12:09 pm, Janis Papanagnou <janis_papanag...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>> And thereby you get MC:2 (even if that cloak has just an AC:0), without
>> at all knowing what MC is in the first place.
>
> An unspoiled player can do the right things for the wrong reasons and
> it's just as effective as a spoiled player who knows what he's doing
> and does the same. Conversely, not all learning is conscious. I
> probably got into the habit of regular cloak wearing simply because I
> survived longer with a cloak on, without even realizing it.

You can realize that a cloak is better if you get AC points for it,
and if you notice that body armor won't rust with a cloak, thereby
not having your AC reduced, thereby not dying so often. That's a
very apparent effect, and the primary reason why you get MC whether
you pretent to notice a direct MC effect of not.

> I never
> really figured out how the periodic stat increases worked, but somehow
> learned to get them anyway.

In the first place you don't need to learn how to get stats because
you quite cannot avoid to get the stat increase anyway. Then you get
(more than less) meaningful messages with any increase or decrase
where you can directly derive what you should avoid in playing. It
is very much visible what you can do or should avoid after a couple
games; those messages give very apparent hints (compared to MC, or
luck).

The difference for discussion purpose is; how apparent is any effect:
- will you get direct effects (change of some stats counter; AC,
HP, etc.), or
- will you get direct hints (messages from the game, rumors from
various sources, etc.), or
- can you directly derive or guess from your actions by applying
common sense, or
- deriving apparent correlation by statistical observations (e.g.
pricing policy), or
- deriving by thorough statistical analysis; various grades are
possible here, and especially MC is on the far end of this scale.

> Similarly, I never figured out all the
> effects of a blessed vs. normal luckstone, or for that matter the
> effects of luck period, but always blessed my luckstone ASAP anyway.

Yes. And that's why you've apparently done that thing wrong. There's
no reason to bless the luckstone in the early/mid game, not really
necessary to bless it in the late game, and even bad to bless it in
specific cases in the early/mid game if you've misbehaved. You've
drawn the wrong conclusion here, because you cannot see the number
of luck points, and because you think that blessing would always be
better than cursing. The more you advance in your Nethack proficiency
you will see that there are a lot of objects that have also helpful
effects if those objects are cursed, even though, as a rule of thumb
for the newbie, blessing is mostly better.

Janis

Ray Kulhanek

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Apr 25, 2010, 3:32:58 PM4/25/10
to
Doug Freyburger wrote:
> Richard Bos wrote:
>> Doug Freyburger <dfre...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>
>>> And once I get an elven cloak I switch to it because it has one point
>>> better base AC. When I learned that I stopped enchanting dwarvish
>>> cloaks and started enchanting elven cloaks.
>> Why waste ?oEA on elven cloaks?
>
> Unless I want to take out priests it's a type that is virtually
> guaranteed and better than any of the types given to any character class
> other than wizards.

Non-elven rangers get displacement. Not as good as MR, but better
than the elven cloak.

Doug Freyburger

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Apr 26, 2010, 2:26:38 PM4/26/10
to
Ray Kulhanek wrote:

> Doug Freyburger wrote:
>
>> Unless I want to take out priests it's a type that is virtually
>> guaranteed and better than any of the types given to any character class
>> other than wizards.
>
> Non-elven rangers get displacement. Not as good as MR, but better
> than the elven cloak.

I haven't played a monk or priest in way too long. They get robes. I
like them for more reasons than the extra point of AC.

Thinking about why I prefer elven over displacement it's because of
playing spoiled. The two types give the same AC but different other
effects. The enchantment on the ranger's starting equipment also makes
a difference.

Richard Bos

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May 4, 2010, 10:13:22 AM5/4/10
to
Janis Papanagnou <janis_pa...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Timothy Nodine wrote:

> > I never really figured out how the periodic stat increases worked,
> > but somehow learned to get them anyway.
>
> In the first place you don't need to learn how to get stats because
> you quite cannot avoid to get the stat increase anyway.

That's not entirely true. For strength and wisdom, and usually
constitution, yes. However, it's quite possible, if you eat a lot of
monsters in an attempt to gain intrinsics, to be satiated much of the
time, which abuses dexterity.

> (more than less)

YM "more or less".

> > Similarly, I never figured out all the
> > effects of a blessed vs. normal luckstone, or for that matter the
> > effects of luck period, but always blessed my luckstone ASAP anyway.
>
> Yes. And that's why you've apparently done that thing wrong. There's
> no reason to bless the luckstone in the early/mid game, not really
> necessary to bless it in the late game,

If your (only) luckstone gets cursed by the Amulet, you will have a -3
luck malus, _and_ the positive luck you had will start timing out (at
double speed, because you have the Amulet). This is Not Good. To avoid
this, I'd say it's definitely necessary to bless your luckstone in the
late game.

> and even bad to bless it in specific cases in the early/mid game if
> you've misbehaved.

Hm? I can't think of any case where this is true.

Richard

Janis Papanagnou

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May 4, 2010, 11:06:40 AM5/4/10
to
Richard Bos schrieb:
> Janis Papanagnou <janis_pa...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> [ stats change messages ]

>> (more than less)
>
> YM "more or less".

I wanted to express an exphasis on "more". In German there's...

"mehr oder weniger" - "more or less"

"eher mehr als weniger" - "rather more than less" (just
literally translated; is that actually wrong in English?)

>
>>> Similarly, I never figured out all the
>>> effects of a blessed vs. normal luckstone, or for that matter the
>>> effects of luck period, but always blessed my luckstone ASAP anyway.
>> Yes. And that's why you've apparently done that thing wrong. There's
>> no reason to bless the luckstone in the early/mid game, not really
>> necessary to bless it in the late game,
>

> If your (only) luckstone gets cursed by the Amulet, [...]

In this case you'll get a black glow, don't you? Then just fix it. It's
really no issue; I've done that rare uncursing a few times in my games.

> you will have a -3
> luck malus, _and_ the positive luck you had will start timing out (at
> double speed, because you have the Amulet). This is Not Good. To avoid
> this, I'd say it's definitely necessary to bless your luckstone in the
> late game.

You really don't need to avoid this because you can instantly fix it.
The rare event that the luckstone gets cursed *and* you unluckily fall
into the time gap where luck stats are adjusted is neglegible; if you
suffer from such a rare case it's just one point you lose, don't you?
And we're at a stage where we're likely maxed out with our luck stats.
(Would that be luck:12 then instead of luck:13, after uncursing in the
worst case, or did I miss anything?)

I am aware that there's the "argument" of preventing effects from ones
inattentiveness; true. But then I'd rather worry that my unicorn horn
gets cursed and brings me in real trouble. So watching for black glows
is mandatory at that stage of the game; in my book anyway.

>> and even bad to bless it in specific cases in the early/mid game if
>> you've misbehaved.
>
> Hm? I can't think of any case where this is true.

I suppose I was mistaken here. Thanks for inspiring me to re-think and
re-read about it.

Janis

Janis Papanagnou

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May 4, 2010, 11:08:11 AM5/4/10
to
Janis Papanagnou schrieb:

>
> I wanted to express an exphasis on "more".

"emphasis"

> Janis

Bill Green

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May 4, 2010, 12:15:07 PM5/4/10
to
On 2010-05-04, Janis Papanagnou <janis_pa...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Richard Bos schrieb:
>> Janis Papanagnou <janis_pa...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> [ stats change messages ]
>>> (more than less)
>>
>> YM "more or less".
>
> I wanted to express an exphasis on "more". In German there's...
>
> "mehr oder weniger" - "more or less"
>
> "eher mehr als weniger" - "rather more than less" (just
> literally translated; is that actually wrong in English?)

"Rather more than less" or the more common "more rather than less"
are both fine, but "more than less", as seen, isn't
idiomatic and leads to confusion.

Timothy Nodine

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May 4, 2010, 2:52:18 PM5/4/10
to
On Apr 24, 4:39 am, Janis Papanagnou <janis_papanag...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>
> You can realize that a cloak is better if you get AC points for it,
> and if you notice that body armor won't rust with a cloak, thereby
> not having your AC reduced, thereby not dying so often. That's a
> very apparent effect, and the primary reason why you get MC whether
> you pretent to notice a direct MC effect of not.

At some point in each long run, I did start engaging vampires and
wraiths in melee combat more freely since I noticed they no longer
level-drained me. I attributed this to magic resistance until an
unfortunate death to the Healer quest boss while I was (IIRC) wearing
gray dragon scales. At the time of the ascension, I attributed it to
some critical armor class number.

In other words, I sometimes noticed the affects of MC and took
advantage of them, even if I did not know their cause.

>
> Yes. And that's why you've apparently done that thing wrong. There's
> no reason to bless the luckstone in the early/mid game, not really
> necessary to bless it in the late game, and even bad to bless it in
> specific cases in the early/mid game if you've misbehaved.
>

Some points here, applicable at the time of the ascension:
1)I did not know all the sources of bad luck, nor did I know a safe,
easy way to test my luck.
2)A negative overall luck score was extremely bad when I also had an
unblessed luckstone.
3)I sometimes acquired my luckstone before Sokoban, and often
knowingly acquired bad luck in Sokoban because I did not know a
perfect solution to a couple of the levels.

Between these, blessing the luckstone was a good idea even if I did
not know the exact effects.

>The more you advance in your Nethack proficiency
> you will see that there are a lot of objects that have also helpful
> effects if those objects are cursed, even though, as a rule of thumb
> for the newbie, blessing is mostly better.

I was aware of some cases where cursed or uncursed items were more
useful than blessed items; however, all of these cases involved
scrolls or potions.

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