The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Fun and Games > Middle-earth Mirth
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-02-2021, 06:59 AM   #1
Huinesoron
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Huinesoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,427
Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Sting How to Kill Morgoth: Playing Angband

  • Buy a torch
  • Go down lots of stairs
  • Kill Morgoth

This is Angband, a 30-year-old Roguelike video game in which you... well, see above! The gameplay consists in large part of fighting monsters and taking their stuff. "Monsters" range from generic D'n'D types, through Orcs and Wargs and suchlike, to named Tolkien characters - Wormtongue is particularly pleasurable to finally murder. "Stuff" is your standard magic potions and scrolls, weapons and armour, and a large number of Middle-earth-based artefacts - canon characters' swords and armour, or invented items carrying Sindarin names.

As a Roguelike, the 'graphics' consist of ASCII characters forming the map, so for example:

#####
#. @ .#
# . . . #
#. U .#
#####

Player character (@) fights balrog (U) in small room.

Despite that, it can be really fun to play, and to find out what pieces of Tolkien you're going to encounter on the next level.

It's also brutally hard. I'm not the greatest at computer games, but in 42 games I've only made it past level 30 (out of 100) three times. My best character died on level 56 of the dungeon - barely over halfway to Morgoth. I don't think I'll be killing him any time soon...

To keep myself from going crazy, I've made myself a rule that I will play the same character (race, class, name, and description) over and over until they hit dungeon level 30 (1500' underground). Once they reach that marker, they become the last bearer of their name - if (when) they die, I pick a new race and class for the next game. I've also been drawing my Level 30 adventurers - all three of them.

(Obviously, as the player character is just an @ symbol, some interpretation is required...)

Kaitlyn VII - Hobbit Blackguard



Sent in before I made my rule, there were at least 25 Kaitlyns in total, but the seventh got the furthest. As a Blackguard she had access to necromancy, but her weapons of choice were her collection of magic wands, and Dagmor, sword of Beren. She also wore a Helm of Seeing, which obviously must have glasses attached.

Kaitlyn VII made it down to level 35 of the dungeon before walking into a room full of Inertia Hounds. These nasty beggars breath Inertia, which slowed her down to a crawl and meant they could bite her to death before she could take two turns. I have been mortally afraid of the blighters ever since.

(The next-best Kaitlyn was the last - Kaitlyn XXV, a Hobbit Necromancer who shot everything with dark magic and made it down to level 27. Then she wound up low on health with no potions, and got pecked to death by an angry bird. She doesn't get art, it's too embarassing.)

Cheri III - Dwarf Warrior



The reason I started the drawings - the image of a dwarf marching around with Anduril over her shoulder was just too funny. ^_^ Cheri III managed to make it all the way to Level 31, only to get trapped in a corridor full of hydrae. As a Warrior, she had no spells to play with, so her options were fight, run, or die. She went for the third one, by way of the first.

She did steal Wormtongue's boots first, though - and, when she ran into Grima himself, she killed him and discovered he'd nicked Anduril somewhere along the way.

Waterlily I - Half-Orc Paladin



Waterlily doesn't talk about her dad. Nor does she respond to allegations that she became a paladin and set off on a quest to kill Morgoth to try and redeem her lineage. Given that she's fully tricked out with artefact-level gear, including the hammer of a god, an impenetrable shield, and tough iron armour, nobody questions her right to call herself an Avenger. (Sorry, not sorry.)

She did a really good job, reaching level 56 of the dungeon on her very first run. As a Paladin, she had access to some Holy spells; whenever she went into battle she started by invoking blessings of strength, accuracy, and protection on herself. She hammered her way through the dungeon, until finally she ran into a pit full of hydrae. She drew at least a dozen of the nasty 9-headed variety away to their deaths, but the last few caught her in a room, covered her with poison and fire, and ended her lineage.

Celebestel II - High Elf Mage

My current character is on level 28 of the dungeon, so should at least crack 30. She's an incredibly fragile mage, who once lost 3/4 of her life because a demon breathed on her (she left that level pretty darn quick). She's also had rotten luck with artefacts - she's currently got Arvedui's armour, which is too heavy for her, and a cloak named Colannon which gives her speed and very little else (she needs it to make up for the armour). Oh, and the Phial of Galadriel, but everyone gets that. She does have Wormtongue's boots tucked away, but needs to wear her boots which prevent paralysis instead.

But despite that, she's still ticking! Her main attack is Magic Missile, which has the advantage of not being an element that can be resisted, but in the right circumstances she can zap Fire, Ice, Lightning, or Acid onto her opponents, or hit them with her wands of Light (for orcs and trolls) and Poison. If all that fails, she's got a pretty good bow which... I've just noticed will also prevent paralysis, so she can swap her boots at last. I think she's still stuck with the cloak, though.

No art yet; she'll get her official portrait once she dies or - hah! - actually kills Morgoth. But rest assured she won't be prodding any hydra nests any time soon.

hS
__________________
Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera
Huinesoron is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2021, 08:46 AM   #2
Huinesoron
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Huinesoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,427
Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Update:



Celebestel II died as my second-best character so far. She had a whole bunch of elemental spells, meaning she could burn, zap, dissolve, or freeze her enemies (along with random items on the floor) at will - but most of the time she used pure magic in combat, Magic Missile or its successor Mana Bolt.

Her Robe of Permanence was a lovely find - it protects all her stats and gives her all the basic elemental resistances. With a bit more time/luck, she could have built on that and been safe from almost anything.

... but then she pushed open a door without using Detect to check for monsters behind it, and I saw:

> You hear an eerie roar.
> You are hit by something cold!
> You die.

It was a Death Drake, but I only know that from her tombstone: I never saw it. One breath of Nether, which Celebestel had never even seen anything that resisted it, and she was down from nearly full health to a pile of bones on the floor.

Oh well! That's Angband.

Her current successor is:

Lupa I - Kobold Ranger

I'm a bit torn on how to picture Lupa: she's a kobold, which are dog-like reptilian humanoids from D&D and its associates. They're the one player race which doesn't fit all that well into Middle-earth (well, other than Half-Trolls). Should I draw her as just a small goblin? As a canine creature? As a mini dragon? Still considering.

Lupa is a Ranger, which means she gets a boost to using her bow, plus some Nature spells. She's got a decent selection of arrows in her pack, and can shoot most things dead in one hit. She also has, between spells and rods, the ability to know everything that's going on around her.

What she doesn't have is... almost everything else. She's on Level 20 of the dungeon and hasn't seen a single artefact. She doesn't have electricity resistance (though she is innately resistant to poison). She can't see invisible monsters. She has no resistance to fear, blindness, confusion... she's only found a single item which prevents paralysis! She's only met 9 unique monsters, and none of them are anything to write home about. (She has continued my trend of killing Wormtongue, though - he went down in 3 arrows.)

Right now she's at a level where she keeps running into ghosts, and can only fight back by using a potion or staff to see them. If she doesn't pick up some decent equipment soon, I don't think she'll make it down to level 30...

hS
__________________
Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera
Huinesoron is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2021, 03:15 PM   #3
Huinesoron
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Huinesoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,427
Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
To my (unreasonable?) surprise, Lupa the Kobold Ranger has just stepped down onto level 35 and is not dead. She's scraped together some decent equipment, including a very nice Longbow of Power which lets her shoot most stuff.

Her favourite trick, however, is her daggers. Most games I've run into the Fire and Ice artefact daggers, Narthanc and Nimthanc; this time I've discovered the Lightning version as well, Dethanc. It turns out they can be thrown at monsters, doing much more damage than just wielding one, and can then be collected for later use. As artefacts, they can't be destroyed by things like acid breath passing over them, or by breaking when thrown (unlike arrows, which break all the time).

So the really big, scary, or annoying monsters get a dagger or three to the face. Vampires, which drain experience? Narthanc, with a Nimthanc chaser if needed. That 5-headed hydra which had me panicking last level? Weak to cold; Nimthanc brought it near to death and an arrow finished it off.

It's not how I thought a Ranger would play, but it's working very nicely so far. Lupa I is already third place in my hall of fame, and unless she gets unlucky she should keep going a while yet.

(Now watch as the vault on this level one-shots her.)

hS
__________________
Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera
Huinesoron is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2021, 01:51 AM   #4
Legate of Amon Lanc
A Voice That Gainsayeth
 
Legate of Amon Lanc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In that far land beyond the Sea
Posts: 7,573
Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.
I've been reading about your experiences for a while, Hui, and found them very entertaining. Now I tried the game for myself, and I can see where the appeal comes from. It's like old-fashioned Diablo (the first one), except in the coat of something still a decade deeper into the past. But I like it! It's well-built. It has probably as much to do with the "real" Angband as... as many other "adaptations" of Tolkien may, but hey. It is at least not pretending.

Certainly whoever has made it must have put quite some effort into it. And I very much enjoy the "classic" RPG element with the classes, races and rolling.

My High Elven Ranger didn't get very far yet and to be honest, I am not sure that I am going to continue, but hey, never say never. It was in any case interesting to try, so thanks for bringing this to our attention.
__________________
"Should the story say 'he ate bread,' the dramatic producer can only show 'a piece of bread' according to his taste or fancy, but the hearer of the story will think of bread in general and picture it in some form of his own." -On Fairy-Stories
Legate of Amon Lanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2021, 08:30 AM   #5
Huinesoron
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Huinesoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,427
Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Huinesoron is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
I've been reading about your experiences for a while, Hui, and found them very entertaining. Now I tried the game for myself, and I can see where the appeal comes from. It's like old-fashioned Diablo (the first one), except in the coat of something still a decade deeper into the past. But I like it! It's well-built. It has probably as much to do with the "real" Angband as... as many other "adaptations" of Tolkien may, but hey. It is at least not pretending.

Certainly whoever has made it must have put quite some effort into it. And I very much enjoy the "classic" RPG element with the classes, races and rolling.

My High Elven Ranger didn't get very far yet and to be honest, I am not sure that I am going to continue, but hey, never say never. It was in any case interesting to try, so thanks for bringing this to our attention.
Yeah, it's very much a 'Tolkien + fantasy' game. A lot of the 'fantasy' is actually made up for the game (or rather for 1983's Moria, on which it was based): early-game monsters the Yeeks exist solely because it let them use the letter y. But the artefacts, and most of the unique monsters, are heavily Tolkien-y.

Even with that, it's an unholy mashup of the Ages of Middle-earth: Lupa I killed Golfimbul (who famously fought Bullroarer Took) and Mim (betrayer of Turin) one level apart, then popped back to town to take out Farmer Maggot. But there's something utterly delightful about rampaging through the dungeon dressed as a Rider of Rohan, wielding Aule's own hammer to smash Orcs to bits by the light of the Phial of Galadriel. (The title screen quotes the Second Prophecy of Mandos, so maybe we're supposed to imagine that like Turin, all these villains and monsters have come back from the dead to serve Morgoth in the Dagor Dagorath?)

One thing it does get right is that invading the base of an incarnate evil demigod would be brutally hard. Case in point:

Lupa I - Kobold Ranger - RIP



Lupa made it down to dungeon level 46, and seemed to be in good shape. She had a nice longbow, a variety of arrows (she'd just picked up some Arrows of Wounding, which sounds good), and was still throwing her trio of elemental artefact daggers at anything which needed a faceful of fire/ice/lightning. She had native speed of +3, and had learned the spell of Haste Self, which let her get up to +13. Combined with an auto-recharging rod of Slow Monster, she could at least match the speed of pretty much anything in the dungeon.

She ran into trouble clearing out a strange room filled with lava pits. She actually got through the room all right, but had to teleport a bunch of high-level monsters across the dungeon to do it. When she went to explore the rest of the level - it said there was good treasure there, and the lava vault hadn't really delivered - she avoided the Balrog of Moria, but ran into a tag-team of Harowen the Black Hand (a unique thief) and a Death Drake.

Yes, the same kind of Death Drake that killed Celebestel II out of nowhere. This time she could see it coming, so of course she made herself scarce, right?

Ummm... well, it bit her and only did 20 damage or so, out of her 350. Harowen tried to pick her pocket and teleported away, so it was only the two of them. So sure, let's try this!

> You smite the death drake.
> The death drake breathes nether.
> You die.

Death Drakes: not to be messed with. Sorry, Lupa; at least you're my second-ranking adventurer to date.

Meanwhile... listening to the tales of the fallen Lupa I is someone with a solid grudge against Morgoth, a vested interest in getting into - and out of - Angband, and no particular qualms about how to do it. She's been digging through some old books, and sure, there's pretty dire warnings attached to some of this stuff - but that just means it's effective, right? And in order to get her husband back, there is nothing, nothing she won't do.

It's time to fight fire with fire.

Morwen I - (Dun)adan Necromancer

>You case Nether Bolt.
>The pitiful-looking beggar dies.

hS
__________________
Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera
Huinesoron is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2021, 01:35 AM   #6
Blind Guardian
Guardian of the Blind
 
Blind Guardian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Where The Skies End
Posts: 874
Blind Guardian is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
I've been lurking quite a bit, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm also invested in your game and I love your drawings!

Poor Lupa!
__________________
Adjust and calibrate when the memories start to fade; Into a carrier signal, origin unknown
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
Tom was poet bot. Tom only sold soul for art. Tom suffered. Mith mithed Tom
Blind Guardian is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:35 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.