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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:18 pm 


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I had to check if these newfangled Sil and Incursion games you mentioned had goblins in them like 80% of this stuff has, and Incursion's full name is literally Incursion: Halls of the Goblin King. I certainly hope the goblins have a complex Dwarf Fortressian society with various castes, hobbies, and so on, and aren't little g's with 1d6 HP, deal 1d4 damage, and have 0 AC. That would be very disappointing.

"'It's a blank canvas you can make anything on!' says the man who only makes Gran Turismo games."

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@#*$U*($... "Blue Goblin", I'm dead.

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Guwange was the same game as Battle Garegga


Battle Garegga is a shoot'em up, the same exact game as a ton of other games. Especially the various Raizing clones.

Guwange is a bullet/monster swatting game, more in common with the fly swatting minigame in Mario Paint.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:57 pm 


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"Roguelike" has become a buzzword most of its users keep using for it makes them feel they belong to a "subculture", or "community". You can see it happen all the time with much more strictly defined terms, like: "autism", "OCD", "ADHD" etc. - the purpose parroting those serves is not communication, but making its casual user feel like they know what they're talking about.

I for one have felt comfortable using "dungeon crawler" term, although I'm not saying it means any more to me than that I feel I'm "dungeon-crawling" in game. For instance, the first Bomberman's single-player (Game Boy version) does it for me, and since I don't recall anyone else's reflecting upon that game, the question if anyone else shares my feelings about it remains academic to me.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:05 pm 


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Obiwanshinobi wrote:
the purpose parroting those serves is not communication, but making its casual user feel like they know what they're talking about.


¬_¬

Sorry mate, "roguelike elements " or " roguelite " are useful for communicating what a game is about.

I don't see myself being denied entry to cool guys club because i don't say roguelike.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:35 pm 


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I really can't keep on the terms. Two weeks ago I called Void Terrarium a 'roguelike' and almost immediately someone jumped down my throat to inform me it was actually a 'mystery dungeon' (a term I have never heard before in my life)

Whatever you say, pal. Whatever you say...


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:50 pm 


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I mean, Mystery Dungeon is a roguelike series by Chunsoft, so pretty sure that person is just an idiot.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:10 pm 


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m.sniffles.esq wrote:
I really can't keep on the terms. Two weeks ago I called Void Terrarium a 'roguelike' and almost immediately someone jumped down my throat to inform me it was actually a 'mystery dungeon' (a term I have never heard before in my life)

Whatever you say, pal. Whatever you say...


oof, that's exactly the kind of insular attitude of the community I'm talking about. Some people want their games to be a very specific way, and get reactionary if someone tries to change anything.

Some holy cows that really make the scene stagnate:

* Permadeath. Nothing says "keep the normies out" quite like permadeath.

* Tolkien and Tolkien-adjacent theming. (Let's go over a ton of themes that can and should be used: Aliens, Horror, Kaiju, Dinosaurs, Wuxia/Xianxia, Killer Robots From Hell, Isekai, etc etc. "Escape from Jurassic Park" already has your imagination soaring like crazy with possibilities.)

* Putting no strong emphasis on expanding play systems. Gardening, house-nesting, social parameters, tribe-building.

* An extreme focus on de-emphasizing characterization and human interaction. Your player character is a class, an archetype, not a person. The only NPC I can really recall is the little girl with the missing dog from ADOM. (I believe her name was "little girl" all in undercaps? (googled it: it's "tiny girl")) There should be dozens of those kinds of NPCs in my memory banks from these games, but there aren't.

* Dungeon and Dragons-esque combat systems.

* ASCii.

* Dots on the ground.

Text can let you paint any picture you want, and they've stuffed it in a box to die.

From the development perspective it's a disheartening attitude: ASCii is the easiest way to crank out a game. Outside of text adventures and roguelikes, are there any real scenes that like ASCii games? The days when ZZT (note it doesn't use dots to represent ground~) was popular have long passed.

The sad thing about this is Rogue didn't even have a Tolkien or DnD theme: the author always said he envisioned a teen wearing sneakers running around in one of those rad 80's type worlds with lasers n' trippy dream monsters n' stuff. The kind of thing you'd see on advertising posters for movies aimed at teens during that era?


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:58 am 


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drauch wrote:
I mean, Mystery Dungeon is a roguelike series by Chunsoft, so pretty sure that person is just an idiot.


Mystery Dungeon clones are basically their own subgenre by this point. There are a bunch of Japanese roguelites that are Mystery Dungeons in all but name.

BryanM wrote:
Some holy cows that really make the scene stagnate:


In short, you think the roguelike genre is stagnant because they are tactical combat games rather than sandbox storygames, and you dislike some of their superficial conventions.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:25 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
In short, you think the roguelike genre is stagnant because they are tactical combat games rather than sandbox storygames, and you dislike some of their superficial conventions.


Nope, it's because they often keep making the same game.

There are of course tons of roguelikes that experiment and actually do different things, but they are not called roguelikes by those with aspergers. If by writ of using art or by actually having a different kind of combat system or any of a million things you could change that isn't just the equivalent of moving chairs around in a room.

(Though "being more popular than Nethack" is more than a small motivator for this exclusion, than something intrinsic to the games themselves.)


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:36 pm 


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BryanM wrote:
Nope, it's because they often keep making the same game.


They have different combat, different rules, and different strategies, but since there are goblins and there are dots on the ground they're the same game. Graphics + story > gameplay.

Sil is primarily about fighting alone against groups. Most enemies are much weaker than the player character, but the AI is exceptionally good at working as a team and they will try to do things like surround you and block off your escape routes. There's also a morale system that influences enemy behavior. If the first orc to approach you gets decapitated in one brutal strike, his friends are gonna be a lot less keen on rushing you down, and they may even make a run for it. If you scare them badly enough some enemies will jump off of cliffs to get away from you. You can even exploit high enemy morale - if they think they're sure to win, enemies are more likely to follow you into terrain where you have the upper hand. There are abilities that interact with movement and positioning, like the ability to move and attack at the same time, or the ability to punish enemies who spend a turn circling around you. These abilities are often more valuable than direct stat boosts. It's a unique combat system you won't find in any other roguelike, and very few games in any genre can compete with its squad AI.

Many roguelikes use superficial elements from D&D such as XdY format dice rolls and and AC that gets lower as your armor improves, but Incursion is, to my knowledge, the only roguelike that truly implements D&D combat. It's based on 3.5e, and I don't believe any other video game more thoroughly implements a tabletop RPG's rules than Incursion does. Just like in 3.5e, the most powerful attacks for both the player and enemies tend to be "save or die" effects that immediately shut down or outright kill the victim should they fail to resist it. It also has fairly elaborate systems for diplomacy. When dealing with creatures capable of speech, you can surrender to them, demand they surrender to you, agree to take turns keeping watch while you each sleep, and invite them into your party, among other things. It isn't just a minor gimmick either, diplomancer bards are genuinely very powerful, and every class can find some benefit from investing in social skills. You could even hypothetically win by convincing Murgash to call off his invasion of the surface, though this is far less trivial than doing the same in Fallout. There's no hard time limit, but the game spawns more enemies every time you rest, so characters who can get a lot done before needing to recover have an advantage over those who don't, and there's a bit of risk/reward in deciding whether to rest and and when to fight at less than full strength. In my opinion, Incursion's most significant departure from 3.5e's rules is that it uses an MP system instead of spell slots. Some spells, such as healing and buffs, use long-term MP that doesn't regenerate until you sleep. A magic user can win fights with attack spells without needing a long period of rest, but if they take a bunch of damage they'll need to either burn some healing items or set up camp for the day. This MP system works very well with improvements Incursion has made to how buffs work. Most buffs in Incursion last until the next time you sleep, and you can set up your character's daily buffs once, and then after you sleep, recast the lot of them with the single press of a button. This is considerably more convenient than the frequent need to rest and rebuff in 3.5e.

Nethack (including its variants, if one wants to be pedantic) is quite simply the most complex game ever made in terms of the sheer number of things to interact with, and the number of distinct ways in which they can interact with each other. You can transform your character into most of the monster types present in the game, and you will be able to use their abilities. You can eat the meat of the great majority of the monster types in the game, and many of them have special effects, some helpful, some harmful. You can tin monster meat to prevent it from rotting, though this comes with the downside of the downside of needing to expend time opening the tin to eat the meat, time you might not be able to lose in an emergency. If you've polymorphed into a metallivore, such as a rust eater, you can circumvent this delay by biting right into the tin itself. If you rub a lamp there's a chance of releasing a djinni, who may reward you with a wish. If you find a hostile monster in a trap, you may attempt to release it, which may cause it to become peaceful towards you. Even if you ultimately fail to release it, the monster may think it was nice of you to try, and should it escape later, it won't want to fight. Your character is able to write words on the dungeon floors through a variety of methods, and the most practical use of this ability is to write the name of Elbereth, whom many of the dungeon's denizens fear. Most intelligent, sighted monsters will refuse to attack a player standing on an engraving of Elbereth's name. Different writing methods carry differing advantages and disadvantages. Writing Elbereth's name in the dust is quick and readily available, but the letters are easily disturbed and thus rendered impotent. Carving Elbereth into the ground with a sword is slower and can damage your weapon, but the engraving will not easily degrade. An even more durable engraving can be made by burning the letters into the ground with a wand of fire or lightning. The cockatrice is a monster that can petrify you with its touch attack, and Nethack's attention to detail is strong enough that touching a cockatrice corpse will also petrify and kill you. Wear a set of gloves and you can use the corpse as a formidable weapon, albeit one that's nearly as hazardous to you as it is to your enemies. Even though Nethack is fundamentally a hack and slash game, its depth and complexity are great enough that it can be won as a pacifist, who never once kills another being. Should you accomplish a pacifist win, the game will recognize it. There are many optional conducts one can perform for a greater challenge which the game will both allow and recognize: foodless, atheist, illiterate, zen (ie blind), and nudist among others. All of this is only a tiny fraction of the possible things you can encounter and do in Nethack. There is no non-roguelike game on earth that comes even close to this level of variety. And you say roguelikes are averse to expanding play systems. What a joke.

These are very clearly innovative games. Nethack in particular is among the most innovative video games ever made. It's a genuine competitor for the #1 spot. It's so incredibly stupid to say they're all the same thing. You've already shown beyond any shadow of a doubt that you don't understand how small, well-considered changes to a formula can result in a wildly different game. Hopefully you will at least be able to appreciate the selection of drastically different gameplay types I've brought up here. Something tells me, though, that you'd rather continue to feel very clever for noticing that they all have dots on the ground, and are thus the same game.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:11 am 


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I don’t have any strong feelings about what labels people do or do not use, but I sure enjoy hearing Vanguard gush about Nethack.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:51 am 


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:06 pm 


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Dungeons and Dragons is fine, people should make and play what they like - there's just more than enough of it out there. The "D20" branding was a brilliant move by Wizards though - sell more Dungeons and Dragons by changing the name and letting other people do all the work for you. It's a bit outrageous how much of the market they own though - it's a lot like how Magic the Gathering is about the only card game where the cards sell for real money because almost everyone plays it. A nerd monoculture.

One of the things Van dislikes - spawn camping - was already long ago addressed by the system all these orthodox roguelikes are ribbing off of. Exp for killing things in DnD was garbage, just utter garbage. A goblin gave 15 exp. Exp is divided among party members. In a party of five, a Rogue would have to kill 417 goblins just to reach level 2. It was always about finishing quests, and finding caches of treasure.

The min/max tactic of using a door as a chokepoint is another of those classic issues. Classic crawler setup - you set your warrior in front of a door and mow down eight million tons of bones and flesh like a blender as the dumb lemmings walk into their doom for some reason. Advanced Heroquest even tried a hack to try to fix it - all doors were two spaces wide. In a more realistic simulation, the mass of bodies will either push down the clogger by shear weight, or the door will quickly jam itself with the giant pile of death that builds up. ... that's to say nothing of the tripping hazard of having so much fluid and all the body parts on the floor.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:26 pm 


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Seconding Vanguard's praise of Incursion and Nethack. The only real issue with Incursion is that the developer's stopped working on it, and someone else has taken up work on it in its stead. It was a lot of fun when I played it, but I ran into a bug that prevented further progress so I'd been waiting for it to get a few more updates before getting back into it. It resembles Nethack in the sense that there's a ton of depth in terms of your options. All of them are based around D&D type of mechanics, and it really feels like you're playing a tabletop D&D game, using a roguelike interface. It's fantastic and I'm looking forward to the release of a more "complete", stable build.

Nethack is nuts in terms of sheer depth. I've beaten it a few times, admittedly thanks to breaking down and reading spoilers after struggling with it for some time. I was a teenager when I started playing it and I went looking for help trying to figure out how some of the more esoteric elements worked and I basically didn't stop myself from reading, haha. You could technically figure out and beat the game without spoilers, but doing so involves a massive amount of trial and error; getting good at the game in large part is discovering what your options are. You often have many things you can do that are not intuitive or obvious as far as interacting with objects. Nethack is a very esoteric game and many of its elements such as exactly how much damage you're dealing are not well communicated, a deliberate move on the game's part to make it a game you have to learn to play by "feel". I think you can only really appreciate what a great game it is when you're more fully aware of just how deep the game is in terms of interaction options, how many ways you can navigate your way through the dungeon and its encounters, etc. If you want to beat it without looking up spoilers, expect to play it for years with numerous deaths as you figure out all the finer points of the game. There's several things that can instantly kill you without warning if you're not aware to be prepared for them with appropriate equipment.

Angband and its many variants also deserves mention; it is a heavily combat focused shmup that aims to be as user-friendly as possible, while generally avoiding "cheap" deaths. You have as much time to explore and descend as you want as long as you bring sufficient resources (food, supplies to teleport back to town), and your goal is to slowly progress while finding more and more powerful loot. Weapon and other equipment stats are communicated well to the player, and it's a roguelike that seeks to minimize the value of esoteric knowledge, with a greater emphasis on tactical combat and preparation.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:08 pm 


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I'm pretty sure DoomRL is considered a proper roguelike, and it sure as hell ain't Tolkien.

It has a paid spiritual sequel called Jupiter Hell that's in the totally-playable 0.9x stage of early development.

It has 3D graphics and a clearly-visualized cover system.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:44 am 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Seconding Vanguard's praise of Incursion and Nethack. The only real issue with Incursion is that the developer's stopped working on it, and someone else has taken up work on it in its stead. It was a lot of fun when I played it, but I ran into a bug that prevented further progress so I'd been waiting for it to get a few more updates before getting back into it. It resembles Nethack in the sense that there's a ton of depth in terms of your options. All of them are based around D&D type of mechanics, and it really feels like you're playing a tabletop D&D game, using a roguelike interface. It's fantastic and I'm looking forward to the release of a more "complete", stable build.


I don't believe it has seen any updates in a few years. The latest version is fairly stable, by Incursion's standards, anyway. The most common issue I can think of off the top of my head is that if you cast stone to mud on some dungeon walls, and then cast an AOE spell over the mud, that will crash the game. Back when it was maintained by Julian Mensch, the original author, the game would inevitably fall apart on me around halfway in. In the latest version, 0.6.9Y19, I was able to get through it on challenge difficulty where the dungeon is 50% longer. Might as well jump in now.

My favorite Incursion build is what I call the Wizbard. Play a bard, I like to go human because they get an extra feat and can train their attributes up to absurd levels. Bards get a similar spell list to mages, but learn at a slower rate. There's a feat they can take repeatedly to improve their spell progression. Take that every time you can and you'll have a caster only slightly inferior to a mage, who can fight, wear armor, doesn't need spell books, gets a ton of skills and skill points, and has the bard's equipment-boosting power. Humans can get something stupid like 26 base charisma, with that and a maxed out diplomacy skill you can walk right into the long forgotten tomb of an ancient mummy sorcerer, powerful beyond mortal imagining, and simply ask him if you can take some of his treasures and usually he'll be fine with it.

BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Angband and its many variants also deserves mention; it is a heavily combat focused shmup that aims to be as user-friendly as possible, while generally avoiding "cheap" deaths. You have as much time to explore and descend as you want as long as you bring sufficient resources (food, supplies to teleport back to town), and your goal is to slowly progress while finding more and more powerful loot. Weapon and other equipment stats are communicated well to the player, and it's a roguelike that seeks to minimize the value of esoteric knowledge, with a greater emphasis on tactical combat and preparation.


Angband? More like Angbland!

Angband's ok if you push yourself to keep moving forward. Take your time and it's pure anti-fun. I like vanilla Angband better than most of its 8 million identical variants because even though it doesn't do anything especially interesting, it's very polished and the later versions have addressed a lot of quality of life issues. Poschengband/Composband/Frogcomposband have some really interesting races and classes. A lot of in-game monster types are playable and they can evolve into stronger monsters Pokemon-style. You can even play as a SaGa android who gains (and loses) experience by changing equipment rather than by killing enemies. The moment to moment gameplay is pretty bland, though. Likewise in Tome 2, classes such as possessors and thaumaturgists can do some really crazy stuff, but it's built on and plays like ZAngband, and ZAngband is a tedious game. I'd still take it over Tome 4 though. I recommend starting as a Melkor worshipper so you can learn the genocide spell which will severely cut down on the tedium. FAAngband and Halls of Mist sound interesting but I don't know what I'm doing in either.

Sil is without question the best *band, and uncoincidentally it plays nothing like Angband.

Mischief Maker wrote:
I'm pretty sure DoomRL is considered a proper roguelike, and it sure as hell ain't Tolkien.

It has a paid spiritual sequel called Jupiter Hell that's in the totally-playable 0.9x stage of early development.

It has 3D graphics and a clearly-visualized cover system.


Yeah, DoomRL is a true roguelike. Only played a little bit of that. Seemed cool and I've heard plenty of praise for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:33 pm 


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I don't have much experience with playing roguelikes, but from what I've read Brogue is an excellent game for both beginners and experts alike. I plan on eventually playing through it.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:07 pm 


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I played Brogue for a little while, but it ultimately just made me want to play Nethack instead. I have this experience a lot with these sorts of games.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:01 pm 


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If you're in EU, there's this
https://www.siliconera.com/etrian-mystery-dungeon-will-be-delisted-in-europe-on-september-30-2020/


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:18 pm 


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Ajora wrote:
I don't have much experience with playing roguelikes, but from what I've read Brogue is an excellent game for both beginners and experts alike. I plan on eventually playing through it.


Brogue is good. It follows the modern roguelike philosophy that says spoilers shouldn't be necessary and repetitive behavior shouldn't be rewarded. The downside of those types of games is that you won't get the level of mystery of ADOM or the sheer complexity of Nethack.

It's a good game for learning the genre because it features all of the common roguelike concepts in a relatively simple form. It's also really good about explaining itself. If you examine a monster, Brogue will give you an idea of what you're dealing with and it'll tell you its exact odds of landing a hit on you and the minimum number of hits it'd need to kill you and stuff like that. Winning is still plenty tough though.

A good starting strategy is to gather as many items as you can while using as few consumables as possible until you've got a full inventory. Then find a safe area and start drinking your potions. Ideally you'll have a door nearby in case you open a potion of caustic gas, and water nearby in case a potion sets you on fire. Don't stand too close to the water when you test your potion or the flames can create deadly clouds of steam. Also be prepared for a potion of descent to drop you down to the next level. Anyway, what you're looking for is a potion of detect magic. Drinking that will mark good items with a purple symbol and bad items with a red symbol. Once you know which items are beneficial and which are harmful, identifying your items becomes a lot easier. Bear in mind that when it comes to wands and staves, potions of detect magic consider the ones that kill and harm their targets to be good and the ones that heal and help their targets to be bad.

Necronopticous wrote:
I played Brogue for a little while, but it ultimately just made me want to play Nethack instead. I have this experience a lot with these sorts of games.


You play much ADOM or Ragnarok? They're a lot closer to Nethack in that they're full of obscure tricks and hidden complexity. A lot of their ideas are lifted straight out of Nethack, but they do enough of their own things to be worth playing.

I've actually never beaten Nethack. Might be time to memorize the wiki and rectify that.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:32 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
I've actually never beaten Nethack. Might be time to memorize the wiki and rectify that.

Please do! We should start a Nethack community playthrough thread here at Shmups. I would participate :)


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:14 pm 


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That wasn't bad at all

Spoiler: show
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I made some classic noob mistakes in this run. I put a wand of cancellation into my bag of holding not once, but twice. Also switched out my amulet of magical breathing for a different amulet and then forgot I had done that and ate corpses until I choked. Good thing the other amulet was life saving. I stumbled into a lava pit in the plane of fire, fortunately Odin was willing to bail me out.

Good game overall. I like the quick and brutal combat. The item design is really nice too, the good stuff usually gives you new abilities rather than merely having higher numbers than the cruft. The ring of conflict, which triggers spontaneous infighting between monsters, turned out to be a favorite of mine. Nethack does enable you to engage in a lot of tedious and repetitive behavior in exchange for an advantage, but it's a flexible enough game that you can ignore most of the mechanics you don't like. Definitely don't bring a "win at any cost" attitude to this one, if price IDing your items or writing Elbereth 8 million times sounds tedious, just don't do it.

The game gets a lot worse once you reach Gehennom. By that point you've found the guaranteed wand of wishing so you should have basically all the items you need, and you've likely picked up all the intrinsics you can get from corpses and sacrifices and such. There's not much left to do except rush for the bottom. They couuld cut Gehennom's length in half and I don't think the game would suffer for it. It picks back up once you reach the elemental planes. Having the rules change so drastically right at the end is scary. Loved the big finale in the astral plane.

The identification system is a big pain and one of the biggest improvements made by ADOM and Ragnarok is that blessed scrolls of identification identify your entire inventory every time. It's a big enough quality of life issue that I'd burn a wish on a spellbook of identify if I hadn't found one by that point. Inventory management is also a pain and a blessed bag of holding is mandatory. It's another item I'd wish for if it came to that.

Nethack beat my expectations and I give it an A-


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:01 pm 


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Respect!


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:17 pm 


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Identification is a bit of a nuisance late game if you get hit with amnesia effects for sure. It's meant to be a major part of the game's challenge, with a serious spoilery element being that there's often tricks that let you positively ID items in other ways, based on a combination of weight, and relative shop price. Or at least narrow down what they potentially are. The endgame of Nethack is really rad for sure, as even if you go in with an optimal set of gear it's an intense fight you really have to pay attention to the whole time. Congrats on winning.

There's a few options you can adjust that deal with inventory management, hopefully one of those is better if you ever play it again.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:41 am 


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A Nethack beginner's guide

This is meant to be relatively low on spoilers and will give you most of the information you need to get a playthrough up and running. This will not cover roguelike fundamentals and instead focuses on information pertinent to Nethack specifically.

Food and corpses
Spoiler: show
Your character needs to eat to survive, and procuring food can be a serious concern in the early game. You might find a few fruits and pancakes here and there, but for the most part you will be surviving on monster corpses. First things first, don't eat old corpses. A corpse that died more than ~50 turns ago is unfit for consumption, eating it will make you sick. If you find a corpse lying around and you don't know when it died, don't eat it. If you kill an undead monster, its corpse has been dead for a lot more than 50 turns, don't eat it. Wraiths are the exception to that rule, fresh wraith corpses are safe. Beyond that, experiment. Some corpses are beneficial, some are harmful, and the only way to know is through testing. Or just read the article on which corpses are good on the wiki, that's what I did. You can get away with eating a lot of dubious things so long as you've got a unicorn horn on hand. Bear in mind that, like many things in Nethack, the effects from eating corpses is somewhat random. Eating a killer bee for example, could potentially grant you permanent resistance to poison, but it can also poison you.

A character who eats the corpse of their own race will be severely penalized, don't do it. Orcs and cavemen are exceptions who suffer no penalties from eating their own kind. Eating other intelligent races is fine, dwarves eating humans and humans eating elves is allowed, and indeed, encouraged. Most enemies represented by an @ are human unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Eating while already satiated has a chance of choking and killing you. If you're eating something and the game asks if you want to stop, you should stop.


Items and equipment
Spoiler: show
Nethack features a wide variety of strange and powerful items, and understanding them is the key to success. Per roguelike standards, your character doesn't understand most of the items in the game, and it's up to you to identify them. First and foremost, make sure you don't equip anything cursed. Cursed items generally cannot be removed without breaking the curse, and many are harmful. You start the game with a pet, a cat or a dog for most classes, and they are very helpful for finding cursed items because they dislike stepping on tiles with a cursed item. Drop a piece of equipment between yourself and your pet in a hallway and see if they're willing to move past it. If they refuse, or if they step carefully around the item, you know it's cursed and shouldn't wear it. Blessed and uncursed equipment is fairly safe to test out by wearing them. Blessed and uncursed potions and scrolls can still harm you, but testing them is safer than doing so with cursed potions and scrolls. If you figure out what an item is, but your character still hasn't, make sure to name that type of item with shift + c so you'll recognize other items of that type going forward.

Any item you drop on an altar will reveal whether it is blessed or cursed. This is a lot more convenient and efficient than relying on your pet. It doesn't matter whether it's an altar to your god, or a rival god, or to Moloch, the overarching antagonist of Nethack, it will always work. It won't tell you what the item is, but knowing which items are cursed is half the battle.

If you're burdened, drop items off somewhere. Being burdened lowers your speed, which is crippling in this game. Monsters will mess with items you leave on the ground, but they'll never touch anything you put inside a chest.

If you have holy water, you can dip items in it to bless it by pressing alt + d. You can curse items with unholy water through the same method, which is useful in a few exceptional cases.

You don't always need to identify items to know which have magic abilities, just looking at its unidentified name is often enough. If a helmet's name is "helmet" then it's just a helmet. It might be strong and it might be weak but it won't have the special abilities that you'll want for the late game. If it's a plumed helmet or a visored helmet or something like that, that bears experimentation.

Different classes specialize in different weapons and spells. They'll start out with little to no training, but you can improve your abilities from the enhance menu, accessed by pressing alt + e. Every time you level up you gain a skill point which you can invest in types of weapons or spells. You need to train with a weapon in-game by using it to fight enemies before improving that skill. Going to untrained to basic costs one point, basic to skilled costs one, skilled to expert costs two, and expert to master costs three. Each class has different upper limits for how high they can train each weapon skill. Monks and samurai have access to the martial arts skill for unarmed combat, and monks can train it all the way up to grand master level.

A pick is an important item to have around for anyone who can't reliably cast dig. Digging your own shortcuts can save time and potentially can save your life.

A ranged attack is important. Many enemies have dangerous special abilities they use up close and you don't want to give them a chance to use them. Even against more conventional enemies, any ranged damage you can do before the real fight begins improves your odds of winning. Wands are very powerful and you should always have some on hand, but they aren't renewable. I recommend carrying a stack of throwing knives to deal with problems bigger than a speed bump but not big enough to warrant busting out your wand of death. Elven daggers are nice because they're common, a bit stronger than regular daggers, and since they're made of wood they'll never rust. Train up your daggers skill and you can throw more than one per turn, potentially this can make them very powerful.

Engraving with wands is a useful and reasonably safe way to test them out. Write something in the dust with your finger by pressing shift + e, and then write something over it using a wand. Fire or lightning will burn a new word into the ground. If the original engraving disappears, it may have been a wand of invisibility, cancellation, or teleportation. If the original engraving shows up somewhere else later, you'll know it was teleportation. Whatever happens to the engraving, it should help to intuit what type of wand you're using.

There are tons of instant kills and other brutal special attacks in the game and the best way to protect yourself is to be equipped with a full set of resistances. You'll want a resistance to every type of attack, if possible. Some resistances can be gained intrinsically by your character through various means, which is good for freeing up equipment slots for other things, and won't be lost if, say, some of your equipment is stolen or destroyed.

Most metal equipment interferes with spellcasting. Metal weapons and metal jewelery do hot hamper your magic, but shields, helmets, boots, and body armor do. It is worth noting that dragon scale mail, the best body armor in the game, is not metal. Wearing a robe in your cloak slot improves your spellcasting chances.

If you find a gray stone, it is one of four types of items. One possibility is a loadstone, a terrible cursed item that you won't easily be rid of once you pick it up. The other three range from benign to extremely useful. If you find a gray stone, try kicking it. If you can't get it to move, it's a loadstone. Otherwise take it with you and identify it when convenient. It could potentially be a luckstone, a useful item that increases your luck just by carrying it. Multiple luckstones won't usefully stack and cursed luckstones should be uncursed or abandoned asap.


Intrinsics and extrinsics
Spoiler: show
Intrinsics are special properties your character has, like extra speed or fire resistance. Extrinsics are similar, but they come from you equipment and other external sources.
There are quite a few ways to acquire intrinsics and gathering the useful ones is an important part of preparing your character for the late game. Elemental resistances tend to be immunities, or close to immunities. Stacking two sources of the same resistance won't confer any extra protection, and there's no difference between an intrinsic and an extrinsic resistance. In some cases, the intrinsic and extrinsic versions of the same effect behave differently. For example, extrinsic speed, which you might get from a potion or magic boots, is more powerful than intrinsic speed which you might get from your character class or by eating a particular corpse. If you have both the higher extrinsic speed overrides the slower intrinsic speed.

In general, you can gain intrinsic resistances by eating monsters associated with that element. Fire giant meat can give you fire resistance, for example.


Gods and prayer
Spoiler: show
When you start a game, your character is assigned a god based on their alignment and class. A neutral valkyrie gets Odin, and a lawful samurai gets Amaterasu. It is possible to change your god and your alignment over the course of the game, but I really really do not recommend doing that. You can pray to your god for assistance by pressing alt+p. This is your first and one of your best emergency options. A successful prayer can remove cursed items, cure diseases, restore health, and prevent starvation, among other things. There aren't many crises it can't solve. When you pray you're put on a cooldown called prayer timeout. Praying while under timeout annoys your god, they may punish you, and the punishments can be severe. The problem is that the duration is somewhat random and the game doesn't tell you how long it is. You start the game under 300 turns of prayer timeout and can safely pray for the first time on turn 301.

In general, waiting about 1500 turns between prayers is safe. Special events that occur later in the game, like being crowned as a champion of your alignment, performing a late game ritual called the invocation, and killing a particular late game boss can increase the length of your prayer timeout. With one of those things you should wait about 4,000 turns between prayers. If you're both crowned and have performed the ritual, you should give it around 8,000 turns.

Praying while standing on an altar of your god may get better results for your prayer, and perhaps more importantly, any potions of water on the altar will be changed into holy water. Praying on an altar of a different god isn't a good idea. Lastly, do not pray at all while in Gehennom. No matter how bad things get, don't do it.

You can offer fresh corpses as sacrifices to your god by standing on their altar and pressing alt + o. Doing this reduces your prayer timeout and can net you some valuable rewards, including luck boosts, intrinsics, and artifact weapons. Once you think you've made enough offerings, pray and with any luck you'll get something nice. Wands of create monster seem like bad items, but using one to spawn sacrifices near an altar can help a lot. Don't offer sacrifices on a rival god's altar.

Depending on your god's alignment, there are certain things they do and don't want you to do. Staying in their good graces is important. Lawful gods don't want you to rob shops. None of the gods like it when you abuse your pets and murder friendly NPCs. Chaotic gods like it when you sacrifice corpses of your race, lawful and neutral gods do not. It's mostly intuitive, if something seems like a big mistake it probably is. It's pretty easy to stay in at least reasonably good standing because all gods like it when you kill hostile monsters, and that is what you will spend 90% of the game doing. One thing to be aware of is unicorns. Attacking a unicorn of your alignment is a crime in the eye of your god, and killing it will inflict a nasty curse on you. White unicorns are lawful, gray unicorns are neutral, black unicorns are chaotic. Messing with unicorns of other alignments is no problem, which is nice because unicorn meat is good for you and unicorn horns are one of the most useful tools in the game. They're both an infinitely reusable method of curing most status ailments and a decent backup weapon to use should you somehow find yourself disarmed. Also keep in mind that you will never be held responsible for anything your pet does, no matter what. Feel free to send your cat to rob shops and your dog to kill unicorns as much as you like.

Sometimes you'll encounter a priest in a temple. By chatting with them using alt + c you can make a donation in exchange for a blessing. This works fine even if the priest does not worship your god. The most valuable use of this feature is to improve your character's natural armor level. To get that, you need to donate at least 400 times your level in gold, and less than 600 times your level. The donation may also need to be at least one third of your gold, but you can always temporarily drop some on the ground if it's going to be a problem. The first time you do this you will receive a hefty boost of 2 to 4 to your armor class. Afterwards you'll gain one point at a time, up to a certain point where it becomes unreliable. Past the early game you don't have much need for money, this is what you should spend most of it on.

Around midgame you'll receive a message from an NPC who needs your help. This quest is mandatory for finishing the game, and being in good standing with the god you were worshipping at the start of the game is mandatory for finishing the quest. A magic portal will be hidden somewhere on the floor where you received the message. Just run across every tile and you'll find it eventually.

There is one other other goddess whom any player character can call on, namely Elbereth of the Valar. The great majority of enemies respect Elbereth and won't attack you while you stand on an engraving of her name. No enemy represented by an @ will respect Elbereth, nearly anything else will. However, writing in the dust is easily disturbed and best not relied on. You can try writing it as a last resort against an enemy you stand no chance of defeating. Don't attack while standing on an Elbereth engraving. How durable the engraving is depends on what tool you used to write it. Writing with your finger in the dust is quick but not reliable. You can still write Elbereth in one turn that way, so in an emergency it might just save your life. You could also try writing Elbereth 20 or 30 times in the same spot in hopes that at least one of them will stay intact. Carving with a weapon creates a slower but sturdier engraving at the cost of damaging the weapon. There are special daggers called athames that both carve quickly and are not damaged by doing so. The best engravings are those burned into the ground with a wand of fire or lightning.


Artifacts, wishes, and ascension kits - A bit more of a spoiler than the rest of the guide
Spoiler: show
There are a few ways to obtain wishes in Nethack, the big one is by zapping a wand of wishing. After being used up, a wand of wishing can be recharged exactly once. A blessed scroll of recharging will give it three more wishes, otherwise it will gain one. No matter what, don't settle for only one wish, even if you have to use your first wish on a blessed scroll of charging, or a blessed magic marker with which to write your own blessed scroll of charging. A magic marker is extremely useful in general. After the wand is used up, zap it repeatedly and you'll eventually get one final wish, at the cost of breaking the wand. All wands can generate one last shot like that. One wand of wishing is guaranteed to appear in a chest in the castle, deep inside the dungeon.

The other items which can grant wishes are smoky potions and magic lamps. Quaffing the potion and rubbing the lamp can produce a djinni, who might decide to give you one wish. The odds are better if the item is blessed, but smoky potions are unreliable enough that I wouldn't bother. A blessed magic lamp has an 80% chance of giving you a wish, which is very good, but you might prefer to keep the lamp instead, since a magic lamp can provide light forever without needing fuel.

Wishing for more wishes won't pay off.

Generally when wishing for an item, wish for "blessed fixed greased [item]". Blessed items are nearly always better than uncursed and cursed ones. Adding fixed grants your item protection to its weakness eg rustproof for metal items. Greased items are resistant to water damage and wearing greased equipment can save you from grappling monsters. Don't grease a weapon you intend to throw.

The artifact dagger Sting can be created by renaming an elven dagger to Sting. Likewise Orcrist can be created by renaming an elven broadsword. Both are bottom tier artifacts, but they might give you the edge you need to survive the early game.

A lawful character of at least level 5 can create Excalibur by dipping a longsword into a fountain. Might take a few tries. Unlike the two weapons above, Excalibur is an outstanding, endgame-worthy weapon.

Wishing for artifacts often fails unless no more than one artifact has spawned in the game so far. Some artifacts can only be wished for by characters of the proper alignment, and some can't be wished for at all. Best not to risk it unless you know what you're doing.

Here are some endgame-worthy items you'll want to shoot for. Some are worth a wish if you can't find them:

Silver dragon scale mail - Dragon scale mail is the best armor in the game, and the silver version provides the reflection extrinsic, which can save you from all kinds of nasty things. Having reflection is basically non-negotiable. Other sources include amulets of reflection and shields of reflection.

Gray dragon scale mail - The other top tier DSM. This gives magic resistance which stops all kinds of curses and even a few instant death attacks. A cloak of magic resistance is another potential source, as are a few artifacts.

Boots of speed - The only long lasting source of extrinsic speed. Speed is often the most important stat in roguelikes and Nethack is no exception. Extremely useful even if you have intrinsic speed.

Shield of reflection - A great way to gain reflection, especially since there aren't any other important types of shields. Smashing the statue of Perseus in Medusa's level has a chance of giving you one.

Ring of levitation - Important for avoiding many hazards. Not something you'll want to wear full time, but an important item to switch in. Boots of levitation have the same effect, but are not as good because that means taking off your boots of speed. Boots of levitation are potentially available by smashing the statue of Perseus and if you get them there, you probably shouldn't waste a wish on the ring.

Jumping boots - They let you jump over multiple tiles in one action, filling a similar role to both boots of speed and levitation. Press j to jump. There's a spell that allows you to jump as well.

Ring of conflict - Causes infighting among monsters within line of sight. Very powerful against large armies and summoners. Be careful with it around pets and other friendlies as it will cause them to infight against you as well.

Ring of free action - Prevents you from being paralyzed. A good ring to wear when you don't need anything else at the moment.

Gauntlets of power - Increases your strength to 25, well above the normal maximum. Valuable for combat and for improving your weight capacity.

Amulet of life saving - Prevents your death once.

Magic marker - Allows you to write new scrolls onto blank scrolls. Dip scrolls in water to blank them. This can be recharged once. Blessed markers improve the quality of their scrolls. Creating multiple blessed genocide scrolls out of one item is no joke.

Bag of holding - A magic bag that lets you carry more items and reduces the weight of items inside. Don't put a wand of cancellation, a bag of tricks, or another bag of holding inside. Bless it for even more weight reduction.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:25 pm 


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Grimoire : Heralds of the Winged was a real historical oddity. Made by one guy (?) who was briefly a consultant on a canceled post Wizardry 7 game, it was announced in 1997 and eventually came out in 2017. *cough*

It's retro, to a fault.

In the same span of time, Jeff Vogel cranked out ~23 games under his Spiderweb Software label. I'm impressed by his work ethic, though he himself says he doesn't feel like he's living anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:05 am 


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I grabbed "space exploration roguelike" Approaching Infinity because I wanted something I could play on my super weak laptop/tablet. I really liked Everspace, the really fancy space exploration roguelike so might as well check out the low-tech version.

It's kind of dull, get stuff, sell stuff, buy upgrades. I though there'd be more space diplomacy, and crazy alien diseases, and planets inhabited with spiritual consciousness that use my crew's bodies as 'shells' and they end up going bezerk and eating all the supplies in one night. Y'know, space shit. So I may refund, I'm mulling it over.

I think the worst part is that I started on normal difficultly, and I'm currently two hours into my first run. In a roguelike! I should have died at lest six times at this point.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:53 pm 


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In the latest LGR vid (2nd channel), he plays some Rogue for MS-DOS. And Michael Toy drops by in the comment section :)
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:32 pm 


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m.sniffles.esq wrote:
I grabbed "space exploration roguelike" Approaching Infinity because I wanted something I could play on my super weak laptop/tablet. I really liked Everspace, the really fancy space exploration roguelike so might as well check out the low-tech version.

It's kind of dull, get stuff, sell stuff, buy upgrades. I though there'd be more space diplomacy, and crazy alien diseases, and planets inhabited with spiritual consciousness that use my crew's bodies as 'shells' and they end up going bezerk and eating all the supplies in one night. Y'know, space shit. So I may refund, I'm mulling it over.

I think the worst part is that I started on normal difficultly, and I'm currently two hours into my first run. In a roguelike! I should have died at lest six times at this point.


Oh, holy crap! He finally got out from under Shrapnel's boot! I didn't think it would ever happen. AND HE PUT UP A PATCH THAT REMOVES THE DRM?!! AAAAAAA!

I kind of have a strong connection to this game, not only because it reminds me of the beloved Starflight games and features the gameplay loop I expected No Man's Sky to have, but also I may have precipitated the shitstorm that caused its initial release to be a failure. Doh!

Here's my old review on Caltrops. Like No Man's Sky, this is a game that holds back on several gameplay systems in the first couple star systems while you get your bearings. Things get more complicated down the line. Especially once planets start generating multi-level-deep cave systems where you have to balance fighting monsters and eating oxygen-producing plants. A "lite" roguelike no question, but I enjoy it.
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