We few, we happy few, we band of @-signs -- Nethack tourney; MeFi represent! May 28, 2007 7:43 PM   Subscribe

There's a Nethack tournament going on for all of next month. I know we have a bunch of Nethack fans. Want to be part of a MeFi clan?
posted by Zed_Lopez to MetaFilter-Related at 7:43 PM (244 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

The Nethack tournament link, above, is to the tournament FAQ, and explains the details. It's still a single-player game; the clans are just for some trophies based on the clan members' scores and such. I'm just doing this for fun and an excuse to play Nethack -- sign up if you plan to play at least one game. If, in that one game, you get killed by a newt on the first level, that's fine (I've never ascended, myself.)

The play is on a public Nethack server -- just telnet to nethack.alt.org and create a login. For reasons explained in the FAQ, keep your login id to 10 characters or fewer, despite that nethack.alt.org itself allows up to 20. And email me (email in profile) your nethack.alt.org ID if you want to be part of the clan.

And if you're not a Nethacker and wonder how anyone could possibly still want to play a game using ASCII for graphics, see here or here.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 7:45 PM on May 28, 2007

Only if I can cheat.
posted by IronLizard at 8:01 PM on May 28, 2007

If anyone goes, I recommend using Putty in nethack mode so you can use the numeric keypad.
posted by IronLizard at 8:18 PM on May 28, 2007

If I can figure out how to play it without a numeric keypad, I'm in. Username is the same as here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:03 PM on May 28, 2007

I'll sign up as long as I can play a chaotic monk.

Keypad? What's a keypad? Nethack uses the same keys as vi. What could be more intuitive?
posted by octothorpe at 9:12 PM on May 28, 2007

Is there a sub-ladder for best deaths of low level characters? Because I've got a lot better chance of dying trying to get on my horse than actually representing with a good score.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:19 PM on May 28, 2007

Massive amounts of spoilers warning.

You may want this.
posted by IronLizard at 9:22 PM on May 28, 2007

HELL YES. Way to derail my finals, guys!

fuck the goddamn keypad. I hate it when other roguelikes pwn my beloved hjkl.

I have ascended once in my lifetime, after hundreds of games, and I cheated by savescumming occasionally.

Don't tell me that you don't start copying your saves and quivering with excitement once you get to the quest or Medusa or so.

The scumming stopped being occasional when I got to the Planes above Level 1 in the endgame. Holy Fuck. I copied my save file and restored it hundreds of times in the last few thousand moves of play. When I got to the Astral Plane, I managed to take the wrong direction twice. There are only three directions. It's so goddamn hard I could only get to one of the altars without dying twice (I had an Amulet of Life Saving).

It is beyond my comprehension how people can beat this game multiple times, without cheating, and with insane restrictions. Mind-Boggling.
posted by blasdelf at 9:53 PM on May 28, 2007

I managed to remember my nethack.alt.org password, but I'm not sure how to register for the tourney. I'll email the organizer and try to get a Metafilter clan going.

Most of the other clans are titled 'Cabal $greek*'. How about naming ours 'Cabal, The', or alternatively 'Cabal, There is no'?
posted by blasdelf at 10:17 PM on May 28, 2007

It is beyond my comprehension how people can beat this game multiple times, without cheating, and with insane restrictions. Mind-Boggling.

It's actually much easier than you think, and by savescumming you basically prevent yourself from having to learn what you need to to win. Dying in the astral plane with your first character to make it lower than the castle is (I can assure you from first-hand experience) very educational (though a bit dismaying) -- it really makes you think about what you need to do to be prepared. The next time around was much easier.

That said I'm probably too out of practice for the tournament since I switched to dungeon crawl a few years ago.
posted by advil at 10:25 PM on May 28, 2007

You're right in that savescumming robs me of the statistical experience of the later parts of the game (painfully figuring out just how powerful you have to be to get past certain points). It does let me try techniques to see if they work without too much pain, and as you know it's not a catchall.

I'll probably get to the quest in the tournament, maybe further.
posted by blasdelf at 11:07 PM on May 28, 2007

So, I suck at nethack and will contribute nothing more than a beginners death, but it is clearly not a coincidence that this will be held during my exam fortnight, so I'm in with the same name as here.
posted by jacalata at 12:58 AM on May 29, 2007

Since we're supposed to put then name of the clan in the nethack.rc file, what exactly is the name of the clan?
posted by IronLizard at 1:57 AM on May 29, 2007

I'm rooting for "Cabal, There is no" to fit in with the other Clan names, also for injokery.

What form is it supposed to take in our nethack.rc? Where did you find that morsel of info?
posted by blasdelf at 2:43 AM on May 29, 2007

Oh, I totally missed it in the FAQ:
Yes! Clans are supported this year. The processes for setting up and joining a clan will be fleshed out soon. At the moment it looks like it will be the following:

1. Clan leader emails me his clan name, and a list of players who he wants in.
2. If needed, I will ask that the clan leader puts "# I really intend to start {clan name} with {player list}" in his nethackrc (since it is easy to pretend to be someone else).
3. Each player puts "# I intend to join {clan name}" in his nethackrc.
4. If a player wants to join a clan and is not in the original list, the same process is followed. I will need some kind of confirmation from the leader.

Note that the leader can allow other people to confirm new members, just include that in an email.
I already emailed him a link to this thread, and I just put some stuff in my nethack.rc.
posted by blasdelf at 3:26 AM on May 29, 2007

Oh, now I'm doomed. Delicious telnetty nethack.
posted by that girl at 5:49 AM on May 29, 2007

Is something I would need my virginity to enjoy?
posted by Jofus at 6:02 AM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm in. It's not like I'd be doing much at work anyhow.
posted by ericales at 6:05 AM on May 29, 2007

I'll be in as popeguilty.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:22 AM on May 29, 2007

Actually, it looks like the character limit is actually nine, so I'm just guilty.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:37 AM on May 29, 2007

Hmm. From only a cursory glance at this, I can see that I'm going to live to regret my last comment. Between retrotagging and Nethack, it seems unlikely I'll see any sunlight this summer.
posted by Jofus at 7:38 AM on May 29, 2007

I'm in. I've ascended exactly once (wiz elf mal cha) and I did it without save scumming. Nick at n.a.o. is "inkoate", same as here.
posted by Inkoate at 10:36 AM on May 29, 2007

I shouldn't do it but I might have to play anyway.
posted by pombe at 3:11 PM on May 29, 2007

I'm in. My NAO login is Croupier.
posted by escher at 4:52 PM on May 29, 2007

I'm in too. Don't expect much though. Despite decades of play I haven't acesended yet.
posted by Mitheral at 5:34 PM on May 29, 2007

I just spoke with Eidolos on IRC (tournament organizer) and he said:

"the jist of it is: to join the metafilter clan put something in your nethackrc saying "I'll join Cabal, There is no". blasdelf said anyone who posts in the thread is welcome to join, so just putting that message into the nethackrc and telling me to look at it is enough"

So it looks like things are all set. Just put "I'll join Cabal, There is no" as a comment in your nethackrc file (after logging into NAO select 'o' to edit your nethackrc file) and then notify Eidolos via email that you wish to join this clan. Happy hacking!

You can look at my nethackrc file for reference.
posted by escher at 5:44 PM on May 29, 2007

I'd be in, but I can't figure out how to use arrow keys instead of either this vi-garbage or my nonexistent keypad.
posted by gleuschk at 6:31 PM on May 29, 2007

gleuschk, without a keypad, you're going to need to learn the vi-style controls. Roguelikes make diagonal movement a necessity.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:43 PM on May 29, 2007

cortex: Is there a sub-ladder for best deaths of low level characters?

There is an individual trophy for dying the greatest number of different ways. (No clan trophy for it, sadly.)

octothorpe: Keypad? What's a keypad? Nethack uses the same keys as vi.

Not only do I not use the vi-keys, I play from within Emacs.

blasdelf: I'll email the organizer and try to get a Metafilter clan going.

Well, that's what I was going to be doing. OK, please add: jessamyn, ironlizard, jacalata, octothorpe, thatgirl, guilty, Izzard (that's me -- 'Zed' was taken.) And, everyone, do as escher said, above, to complete the signup. If anyone else wants in, please make clear to blasdelf what your nethack.alt.org id is.

Pope Guilty: it looks like the character limit is actually nine

The FAQ's not consistent; it looks to me like it intends 10. I'm waiting for a reply from Eidolos to clarify.

gleuschk: I can't figure out how to use arrow keys instead of either this vi-garbage or my nonexistent keypad.

What Pope Guilty said. Without a numeric keypad, there isn't really a better answer than the vi keys.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:33 PM on May 29, 2007

How can we tell when we're in the clan?
posted by IronLizard at 9:33 PM on May 29, 2007

Look here.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:48 PM on May 29, 2007

Well, now I feel totally unwanted. There's only two players on that list.
posted by IronLizard at 10:16 PM on May 29, 2007

It's a somewhat clunky process -- blasdelf requests it; you confirm it in your .nethackrc on nethack.alt.org; Eidolosmanually enters it (so far as I know.) It should all work out before June 1.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:50 PM on May 29, 2007

Sign me up, coach! I'll be 'fleacircus' there too.

I'll be lucky if I ascend once.
posted by fleacircus at 10:57 PM on May 29, 2007

I got an email from Eidolos:
I'll try to keep track of that thread for people who want to join your
clan. I must stress that everyone who intends to join your clan must
have something in their nethackrc saying as much. If they know basic
vi they can use the built-in dgamelaunch text editor. If they don't,
they can use the web interface at
http://alt.org/nethack/webconf/nhrc_edit.php . Something like this
would be perfect:

# I intend to join "Cabal, There is no" (or whatever it's named these days)
I've updated my nethack.rc, be sure to edit yours to include a shoutout of intention, and maybe email Eidolos just to be sure.
posted by blasdelf at 2:27 AM on May 30, 2007

There is an individual trophy for dying the greatest number of different ways.

There's hope for me yet, then. Just created account, username cortex; I'll get to my nethackrc shortly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:31 AM on May 30, 2007

I've got my .rc setup with "Cabal, There is no". I'm registered as Mitheral.

One question, how do you chat with storekeepers? Alt+C doesn't seem to be working.
posted by Mitheral at 9:08 AM on May 30, 2007

Try '#' to begin all the extended commands.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:37 AM on May 30, 2007

I'm in!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:52 AM on May 30, 2007

without a keypad, you're going to need to learn the vi-style controls. Roguelikes make diagonal movement a necessity.

Yeah, when playing on my laptop I use Fn plus the embedded keypad (789uiojkl) for diagonal moves, but just stick with up/down/left/right for the vast majority of the time that it doesn't matter. So I don't think retraining my muscle memory for this is worth it.

Happily, though, this did remind me that I've never ascended (after, like Mitheral, decades of playing), so I'm halfway down Gehennom in Explore mode. Whee! I'll finally see what the big fuss is.
posted by gleuschk at 10:35 AM on May 30, 2007

Ah, that works.
posted by Mitheral at 1:30 PM on May 30, 2007

Mitheral: "I've got my .rc setup with "Cabal, There is no". I'm registered as Mitheral.

One question, how do you chat with storekeepers? Alt+C doesn't seem to be working.

posted by octothorpe at 6:30 PM on May 30, 2007

Steelypips is the best nethack spoilers site that I know of.
posted by octothorpe at 6:32 PM on May 30, 2007

I think level 7 is the farthest I ever got in that game (when I found a room full of apes, yeti, and gnome lords).
posted by Tuwa at 9:22 PM on May 30, 2007

More mail from Eidolos:
I added a bunch of these Metafilter people. The only problem is Mr. Inkoate. He messaged me on IRC and is listed on the Metafilter page as intending to join your clan, _but_ he has nothing in his nethackrc stating as much.

You guys can check http://sartak.katron.org/nh/07/clan/Cabal,%20There%20is%20no.html to make sure your name is on the clan roster and whatnot. As long as you join the clan before the tournament ends, all your games will count.

To respond specifically to Zed_Lopez (I don't feel like trying to sign up for a Metafilter account :)):
>> Pope Guilty: it looks like the character limit is actually nine
> The FAQ's not consistent; it looks to me like it intends 10.
> I'm waiting for a reply from Eidolos to clarify.
The limit should really be nine. There's a glitch in dgamelaunch for longer nicks, which I'd rather not reveal to people.

> It's a somewhat clunky process [...] Eidolos manually enters it (so far as I know.)
Yep and yep. :) It'll be automated next year, probably. I'm trying to make it as painless as possible while still having the security I want.

Happy hacking!
Mitheral, I added you to my list, so you should get on there pretty soon. Anybody else not already on there, you need to make sure to post your alt.nethack.org account here and edit your nethack.rc file to state intent. Emailing Shawn wouldn't hurt.
posted by blasdelf at 10:56 PM on May 30, 2007

posted by octothorpe at 6:30 PM on May 30 [+] [!]


In case some people dont find the link, be sure to have a copy of some spoilers around when you play! Assuming you go that way.
posted by fleacircus at 10:56 PM on May 30, 2007

Awesome, Zed! I'll sign up when I get home.

I've ascended 6 times (without copying save files) but only 4 were 3.4.3 - the first one was a barbarian in 3.0j. I am most proud of the monk, who ascended vegetarian - that was harder, maybe, than it sounds.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:19 PM on May 30, 2007

I'm in, probably. Same name on nao. I've never ascended and rarely make it past the bigroom, but I did get right down to the vibrating square once. And then died, stupidly. Serves me right for playing monks.
posted by corvine at 6:03 AM on May 31, 2007

Not sure why Eidolos thought I don't have anything in my nethackrc... I definitely do. It wasn't quite in the form requested, so I've modified it slightly, and I'll try to get back in touch with him to make sure we're square.
posted by Inkoate at 6:37 AM on May 31, 2007

Should the links under Roster be broken like that?
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2007

Baby_balrog, you're babybalrog on NAO, I take it?

corvine, ikkyu2, babybalrog, please add your statements of intent to your .nethackrc files, per Escher's instructions (and please add them to yours, blasdelf -- and could you please remove the plaintext copy of my email address while you're at it?)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 8:43 AM on May 31, 2007

My guess is that the links under Roster will start being populated from date from the NAO logs by a script starting 6/1.

BTW, there is one behavior I humbly request clan members refrain from: startscumming. The tournament FAQ encourages people to "yell at any clanmates who are startscumming." I'm not especially worried about our Ascension ratio, per se, but I'd also rather not see hundreds of games quit on level 1. Help yourselves to every other "game abuse" from pudding farming to polypiling. :-)

Oh, and at least one of us isn't a newcomer to NAO -- Escher has ascended 9 different classes!

And I just noticed that there's a 'jofus' on NAO who hasn't played any games -- if you want into the clan, please say so and add the confirmation to your nethackrc, jofus.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 8:57 AM on May 31, 2007

er, from data from the NAO logs
posted by Zed_Lopez at 8:57 AM on May 31, 2007

My guess is that the links under Roster will start being populated from date from the NAO logs by a script starting 6/1.

Cool, I'm guessing likewise but wanted to see if it was a known issue.

BTW, there is one behavior I humbly request clan members refrain from:

Point of clarification on startscumming. I'm a reckless, impulsive, impatient, bad player in all but the best of conditions. I have a habit of quaffing things Just To See, for example. I have no intention to actually tank our clan stats, nor to blow a game with malicious intent—I'll keep a dimwitted, rat-morphed tourist alive if I can—but there's a good chance I'll be well out on the high quartile of the mortality bell curve. Is that...bad?
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:04 AM on May 31, 2007

I'll give it a shot, but it'll be mostly newbie deaths.

I've set up an account through telnet; how do I edit my nethack.rc?
posted by Tuwa at 9:09 AM on May 31, 2007


After you log in, you should see a screen like this:

Logged in as: octothorpe

c) Change password
e) Change email address
o) Edit option file
w) Watch games in progress
p) Play NetHack!
q) Quit


Choose o) and it will open your rc file in an editor.
posted by octothorpe at 9:30 AM on May 31, 2007

I'm a reckless, impulsive, impatient, bad player in all but the best of conditions

Reckless and impulsive death is fine. Starting and quitting a bazillion wizards until one of them gets super-awesome initial equipment is the frowned-upon behavior.

I'm not worried about our ranking -- die all you want!

To edit one's NAO nethackrc, I found it easier to start with its WebConf (especially nice if you haven't memorized the NetHack Guidebook and don't already know all of the options) and finish with its RC Edit to add the Cabal comment. But I'm also not a vi user -- a vi user would be more at home than I with the o) Edit option file choice in the telne session.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:42 AM on May 31, 2007

You might want to bone up on vi before attempting to do so.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:00 AM on May 31, 2007

I tried that o) business; it's like someone went through iterative development to make a word processor as counter-intuitive as possible.

WebConf was a lot easier to understand.
posted by Tuwa at 10:06 AM on May 31, 2007

stupid question: I'm trying to kick a door in but it keeps moving me north instead. #kick doesn't work; ?b shows that k is mapped to both 'move north' and 'kick'. k worked offline, not here....
posted by Tuwa at 10:21 AM on May 31, 2007

ctrl-d is Kick
posted by octothorpe at 10:23 AM on May 31, 2007


posted by Tuwa at 10:29 AM on May 31, 2007

I'm in, please.
posted by paduasoy at 2:34 PM on May 31, 2007

I've edited my list again.

People who need to set up their accounts or tell us their alt.org usernames:
  • ikkyu2
  • Baby_Balrog
People who need to add a shoutout to us in their nethack.rc:
  • corvine
  • paduasoy
Anyone else?

This is going to be awesome.
posted by blasdelf at 2:59 PM on May 31, 2007

1 hour and 23 minutes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:37 PM on May 31, 2007

I'm game. I'm in as just plain 'cobalt'.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:51 PM on May 31, 2007

Tuwa writes "it's like someone went through iterative development to make a word processor as counter-intuitive as possible."

Your thinking of TECO.
posted by Mitheral at 5:32 PM on May 31, 2007

Baby_Balrog _please_ sign up as Baby_Balrog. Not only will it leave an interesting bones pile but I can stop feeling like an outcast in the Cabal for my Proper case name.
posted by Mitheral at 6:33 PM on May 31, 2007

I'm in. I've ascended two wizards and a valk in my time, and have come close (I was on the Astral Plane twice) with countless archaeologists who keep succumbing to YASDs.

I'll give the archies a go for a while, but then I might just valk out again if I get frustrated.

My nethack monier is ursuscomiter.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:10 PM on May 31, 2007

posted by ursus_comiter at 9:10 PM on May 31, 2007

I'm really good at random stupid deaths so far.
posted by Tuwa at 9:16 PM on May 31, 2007

Baby_Balrog might want to go for a name with fewer characters so the scoring works. ursuscomiter might want to do the same.

cobaltnine, you need to add a shoutout to your config file.

Both ursuscomiter and cobalt have been added to my list.

I have a thing for archeologists, but damn are they hard to get very far with. Valkyries are way easier (that's what I ascended with).
posted by blasdelf at 9:20 PM on May 31, 2007

I'll just show up as ursuscom, right?

Yeah, I've had a lot of archy frustration, but I've got a pretty good plan of attack these days. I'm a pseudo-pacifist in the Dungeons of Doom and the Mines until I get enough money for the mine priest. By then I usually have myself a Dwarvish Mattock or a silver saber of some sort. Then I can get to work killing the beasties and hopefully scoring Greyswandir by sacrificing.

If I'm in the zone and patient enough, I can get a surprisingly large number of archaeologists down to medusa or better.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:39 PM on May 31, 2007

I'm in as ikkyu2. OK people, let's rock it to Russia!

My .nethackrc is good. Do I need to email Eidolos?
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:47 PM on May 31, 2007

ursus, I'm not so sure... I think there's some weird issues where different tools look at different numbers of characters, they didn't fully explain to avoid giving away exploits. You might want to sign up for an account named 'ursuscom' and play with that, or just play and see whether things get counted.

ikkyu2, It might be a good idea to email him.

Now, to play!
posted by blasdelf at 12:19 AM on June 1, 2007

ikkyu, I'm watching you play, and damn do you play fast!
posted by blasdelf at 12:29 AM on June 1, 2007

Aw man, I forgot you can't be opening locked doors in town without getting zapped.
posted by blasdelf at 12:59 AM on June 1, 2007

                      /          \
                     /    REST    \
                    /      IN      \
                   /     PEACE      \
                  /                  \
                  |     blasdelf     |
                  |       0 Au       |
                  |   killed by a    |
                  |  black pudding   |
                  |                  |
                  |                  |
                  |       2007       |
                 *|     *  *  *      | *

Goodbye blasdelf the Ranger...

You died in The Dungeons of Doom on dungeon level 1 with 0 points,
and 0 pieces of gold, after 13 moves.
You were level 1 with a maximum of 14 hit points when you died.
posted by blasdelf at 1:46 AM on June 1, 2007

Goddamn <pre> tag, doublespaces after posting! Should've used <tt>.

But seriously, cortex? Top that death!
posted by blasdelf at 1:48 AM on June 1, 2007

...killed by Yeenoghu, while helpless.

Sigh. Guess it's bedtime.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:10 AM on June 1, 2007

Goddamn ants. I've never found a good way to deal with insects, they're my most common killer.
posted by blasdelf at 2:56 AM on June 1, 2007

blasdelf: "Goddamn ants. I've never found a good way to deal with insects, they're my most common killer."

Run away! Let them chase you and don't stop until you are in a doorway (with a door) or in a corridor so that only one of them can hit you at a time. If you can get them to line up in front of you, blast the whole line with a wand/spell. Don't forget about Elbereth too.
posted by octothorpe at 7:00 AM on June 1, 2007

blasdelf, I have not yet begun to die.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 AM on June 1, 2007

The fire ant literally set me on fire.

Is wizard/orc/male not an easy thing to play, or is there just a steeper learning curve than I'd imagined?
posted by Tuwa at 8:47 AM on June 1, 2007

Yeah, I hit some errors editing the damn file - I write in pico, because I'm lazy - so I'll have to fix it again when I'm not at work.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:48 AM on June 1, 2007

Wizard is one of the harder classes. Sex doesn't matter.
posted by Mitheral at 9:36 AM on June 1, 2007

Orcish wizards are particularly hard because their race gives them a minus to INT which is their prime attribute.

Wizards in themselves are quite powerful; once you get past level 20 or so they quickly become the game's most powerful character. But the play style is particularly diffident until then - you have to mince around firing magic missiles from afar and letting your dog kill things for you.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:18 AM on June 1, 2007

Yea, I've never gotten too far with Wizard, you might want to play a Barbarian or a Valkyrie if you are starting out.
posted by octothorpe at 10:27 AM on June 1, 2007

Okay, I'm in. At least, I will be if I can manage to create an account. Do you just type your desired login name at the prompt? I'm starting to find it implausible that all the names I'm trying are taken.

I was -- and probably still am -- very good at this game, but I probably won't have the patience to sit around killing death for hours again., however, that

I was going to post the Steelypips link, but octothorpe beat me to it. Also do note the less coherent but more broad Categorized list of spoilers, also linked from Steelypips, that includes some additional help on things like wishes and prayer.
posted by coined at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2007

It's fun watching people play, too (octothorpe, you rock). I haven't played for about 18 months and not only have I lost my grip, but I've forgotten the key strokes, which I'm sure at one point I could do in my sleep.
posted by paduasoy at 1:05 PM on June 1, 2007

coined: Make sure you're not SSH-ing in, but telnetting in. That trips me up when I'm setting up a new connection and it don't work none.

Died twice, but I think my config file is OK now.
posted by cobaltnine at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2007

Perhaps no one can create accounts after the tournament start date/time? That would make me sad.
posted by coined at 1:08 PM on June 1, 2007


a) I need to preview before posting.

b) I'm ssh-ing. I've been away from port 23 for a long time. I should be fine now. Thanks!
posted by coined at 1:09 PM on June 1, 2007

I'm in, as "coined". I'd like to be part of the clan and have said so in my .nethackrc.
posted by coined at 1:13 PM on June 1, 2007

octothorpe, you rock

/me blushes

Actually, I've sort of plateaued with nethack. I can get my @ up to ~14th level, AC to -12 or so, HP over 100, clear our the mines, solve sokoban, and down to about the twentieth level and then I always seem to die. I've been stuck there for about two years now.
posted by octothorpe at 2:33 PM on June 1, 2007

Goddamn ants. I've never found a good way to deal with insects, they're my most common killer.

Play a barbarian. They scoff at team ant.
posted by IronLizard at 3:54 PM on June 1, 2007

I'm changing my id to 'octothorp' since I realized that I'm an idiot and they said that there was a 9 character limit on usernames. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by octothorpe at 5:01 PM on June 1, 2007

Go Team Ant!

Got dishes to do and cats to comfort, but later on I will create a new user with fewer characters in the name and go to town.
posted by ursus_comiter at 5:08 PM on June 1, 2007

ursuscom rides!
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:05 PM on June 1, 2007

My barb did not scoff at the soldier ants.

It's a stinker fighting things that get three or four strikes in for your one.
posted by Tuwa at 6:17 PM on June 1, 2007

What do you want to eat? [dip or ?*]
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:25 PM on June 1, 2007

Goddamn ants. I've never found a good way to deal with insects, they're my most common killer.

Play a barbarian. They scoff at team ant.
posted by IronLizard at 3:54 PM on June 1 [+] [!]
Hilariously, I WAS!

I've updated my list to include coined and your newly shortened usernames, you may want to email him.
posted by blasdelf at 6:50 PM on June 1, 2007

Well, I haven't managed to die stunningly quickly yet, but my cat has been dead from a rock trap within three turns two games in a row now. So that's, you know, something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:38 PM on June 1, 2007

Well, I just starved to death. That's a new one.

Is it typical to go through 7 levels and not find a shop? (maybe I should have spent less time smashing rocks.)
posted by Tuwa at 7:57 PM on June 1, 2007

Yeah, that'll happen. My first death: Failing to successfully disarm a dart trap.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:22 PM on June 1, 2007

The black blade draws the life from the gnome lord!

I can has a Stormbringer!
posted by octothorpe at 8:24 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Man, I remember the first time I played an archeologist. I must have dug through half of level one because it was so awesome. I didn't realize it took more than one tick and ended up in bad shape quick.

I'm glad to say I haven't gone starving in a long time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:37 PM on June 1, 2007

It's not unusual at all for the first store you encounter to be in the mines.
posted by Mitheral at 8:38 PM on June 1, 2007

I was playing an orc who found a pickaxe, and a lot of gold, and not enough enemies leaving corpses, and so now I have a rich ghost.

Also: eyeballs! gah. "Killed by a lizard, while helpless." So goes my plan not to carry long-distance weapons. ^_^
posted by Tuwa at 9:20 PM on June 1, 2007

This spoiler details exactly how likely a shop or any other special room is, if you really want to know.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:24 PM on June 1, 2007

Well, I just starved to death. That's a new one.

Always #Pray when you're to the point of being weak (unless you've been a bad boy/girl).
posted by IronLizard at 12:01 AM on June 2, 2007

octothorpe, there's a pretty standard "ascension kit," or at least that's how I think of it - it needs to be in order around the time you hit the castle, before you enter Gehennom and lose the ability to pray. If there are parts missing, you *will* die from it below level 20, just as you're describing.

If you'd like to learn more I could expand on it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:31 AM on June 2, 2007

Here are some useful spoiler files:

Kate Nepveu's spoilers on steelypips.com. Includes links to several other sites; includes a Sokoban solution for people like me who can't stand Sokoban but want the goodie at the end.

Dylan O'Donnell's Nethack Gazetteer. Gives an overview of special levels, maps and rooms.

Ali Harlow's Monster Manual. Computer generated info about monsters; last updated for 3.3.1.

The good old Wheaton College spoiler file. 14 years out of date (version 3.1), but contains info, still mostly valid, that you can't find anywhere else.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:37 AM on June 2, 2007

Tuwa: "
Also: eyeballs! gah. "Killed by a lizard, while helpless." So goes my plan not to carry long-distance weapons. ^_^

Put(p) on a blindfold or towel so that you can't see the floating eye. Remove(r) it when you have killed the eye.
posted by octothorpe at 4:18 AM on June 2, 2007

Then immediately freak when you find out you forgot to check the blindfold and can't take it off (CURSES!). Calm down when you realize eating the eye will make it almost irrelevant. Resume panic when you discover the floating eyeball decided not to leave it's corpse behind. Fail about blindly while dunking your head in nearby fountains, hoping and praying for that rare potion of holy water effect. After drying up three fountains, a soldier ant finds your soaking wet, bedraggled body. Just before it kills you, you #name it 'butt raper'. Seeing this immortalized on the scoreboard makes you feel a bit better, until you realize the sun is coming up outside.
posted by IronLizard at 5:02 AM on June 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

IronLizard, that was on of the funniest things that I've read in a while. Did you try praying? I guess that I should have mentioned not to put anything on until you've checked to see if your cat will stand on it or have dropped it on an Altar to see if it is cursed/blessed.
posted by octothorpe at 5:25 AM on June 2, 2007

I found out you can apply a mirror towards the eye. Then guess who's paralyzed, and it's not the @ symbol? >:-}
posted by Tuwa at 6:26 AM on June 2, 2007

Thanks for the tips, too. I always forget about praying and I didn't know about the use of altars to check for curses. Mostly I've been having my pet walk on (or refuse to walk on) things, and anything it picks up on its own is something I'm willing to put on later. The pets are also (sometimes) surprisingly good at stealing from shops.
posted by Tuwa at 6:28 AM on June 2, 2007

Something else to remember about food: Wearing rings and amulets increases your food consumption significantly, so don't just blithely put on a ring of regeneration unless you've already acquired a significant food cache.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:09 AM on June 2, 2007

Hm, sometimes the mirror works until you smite it and sometimes it freezes it for longer. Ah well.
posted by Tuwa at 7:11 AM on June 2, 2007

Use ranged weapons for floating eyes, or just throw daggers/darts/whatever at them. Eat their corpses to gain the ability to see all monsters when blind (or blindfolded).

Once I figured all that out, running into a floating eye became cause for celebration.
posted by blasdelf at 7:21 AM on June 2, 2007

Yeah, floating eyes are good. Keep a tin or two of them around in case you accidentally cannibalize a member of your own race, which will cause you to lose telepathy.

I usually pick up 40 rocks or so from a destroyed boulder or statue, Q)uiver them, and then f)ire them one by one at the eye until it dies. Then I dump the rocks. Best to do this while your pet is far away so he won't eat the corpse.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:31 PM on June 2, 2007

I just discovered what the figurines are for. Awesome (when it works at least; I'm assuming that anything in NetHack can not work at random).
posted by Tuwa at 2:01 PM on June 2, 2007

octhorpe: Did you try praying?

Hehe, that was years ago. These days it's the impatience that kills me.

so don't just blithely put on a ring of regeneration unless you've already acquired

A ring of slow digestion. Bless it if you can.
posted by IronLizard at 2:19 PM on June 2, 2007

Tuwa, the figurine works differently depending on if it's blessed, uncursed or cursed, just like most everything else. It's also fairly heavy - half the weight of a large shield - so don't carry it around.

My archaeologist is level 13 and just hit the Medusa level. He's not ready to go, though. He's got the +6 Grayswandir, +2 gray dragon scale mail, a blessed bag of holding, a shield of reflection, 2 blessed luckstones, and a rustproofed helm of brilliance (ridiculous game so far - 3 magic lamps, and the shield and helm were just laying around, along with some -1 gauntlets of dex and plenty of altars and temples.) All this stuff is part of the 'ascension kit'. He's got 132 HP which isn't bad for a level 13 archaelogist - lot of pots of gain ability kicking around - and 6 points of intrinsic protection, thanks to a couple leprechaun halls on the low levels.

What he's missing, and will not descend much further until he has in place: shock resistance, disintegration resistance, speed boots, and some way to get past the eels.

Next step is to hit Sokoban - mostly for the items - then the Quest. It's getting to be about time to abandon my pets.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:13 PM on June 2, 2007

WTF! A Master Lich in Mine town! Where the heck did that come from.
posted by Mitheral at 5:41 PM on June 2, 2007

It's probably a chameleon, Mitheral. Wait till it morphs again.

Sokoban down- almost ready for Medusa. I've never ascended an archaeologist before; I'm sort of getting my hopes up.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:58 PM on June 2, 2007

Oh, hi Zed_Lopez! How's life? Good to hear. By the way, thanks for SUCKING AWAY THE PAST FIVE DAYS FROM MY LIFE WITH YOUR ASCII-OPERATED TIME VORTEX
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:53 PM on June 2, 2007

BTW, I'm on a level with no apparent exit, and I checked everywhere (fell through a trap door). Anyone know common causes/solutions for this? I've got a pick-axe, but the walls and floors are too hard to dig through, apparently.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:55 PM on June 2, 2007

GNFTI: Are you pretty far down? You could be at the Vibrating Square level.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:20 PM on June 2, 2007

This square, it vibrates?

meme synergy woo

posted by cortex (staff) at 8:36 PM on June 2, 2007

YASD: Choked on a tin of spinach on level one.
posted by IronLizard at 8:41 PM on June 2, 2007

I am watching IronLizard play. This is very very odd. I thought y'all were joking about most of this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:50 PM on June 2, 2007

You went without food.
You were an atheist.
You never hit with a wielded weapon.
You were a pacifist.
You were illiterate.
You never genocided any monsters.
You never polymorphed an object.
You never changed form.
You used no wishes.
You were fervently aligned.
You were poison resistant.
You had infravision.
You were stealthy.
You are dead.

Story of my life, really.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2007

I have to admit that the first time someone explained Nethack to me, I thought they were fucking with me. Which, I've learned, is a really good sign as to the quality of a game.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2007

The sad thing is that I've been playing this game off and on since the days of 286s and I still suck at it. You'd think that I'd give up by now.
posted by octothorpe at 9:06 PM on June 2, 2007

I fucking hate trapdoors.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:35 PM on June 2, 2007

Nothing like being a vampire lord with Mjollnir. :)

(I've found three sets of speed boots this game, too!)

This is the part of the game where I'm far enough along that I'll be disappointed if I die, but not far enough along that I have real confidence I'll survive. I've finished sokoban and the mines (I always do them in that order). I have max +speed, GDSM and Mjollnir. I have a coaligned altar in minetown. I'm playing a tourist.

Next: gradually pay for intrinsic protection while making my way down to the castle level, skipping my quest for now. (The medusa level isn't generally a problem, but I will need levitation / water walking before I pass it.) Then get outfitted via the castle level's wand, and head back to take on my quest. Then Gehennom.

Anyone know whether it's frowned upon to wish for other classes' quest artifacts? The valkyrie and wizard items are pretty nice.
posted by coined at 10:34 PM on June 2, 2007

I found nethack in 1990 when I started college. For months I thought it was just a silly little game, limited scope, you walk around in a dungeon for a few minutes, eventually a goblin kills you.

Eventually I came to appreciate it for what it is, which is the most detailed, carefully crafted, ornate, and utterly bizarre and insane D&D-style computer game that has ever been made. Years later I learned that nethack was open source long before anyone had defined "Open Source." Which is probably why it's so great.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:01 PM on June 2, 2007

I managed to get a pet incubus while wandering around minetown. As much as I usually hate to keep pets around, this one is a keeper. Watching a demon put on bronze plate mail is usually cause for alarm.
posted by IronLizard at 11:02 PM on June 2, 2007

Hey, coined: quit bogarting the speed boots, man. I've been down to level 23 and there's not a pair to be found in this man's dungeon.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:02 PM on June 2, 2007

Anyone know whether it's frowned upon to wish for other classes' quest artifacts?

You can find someone to frown upon almost anything. (Read rec.games.roguelike.nethack for a while and you'll see.) As someone who hasn't ever ascended, I'll take every advantage I can get and worry about applying voluntary restrictions when ascending without them has gotten boring. (But be warned that the likelihood of successfully wishing for an artifact is inversely proportional to the number of artifacts that have appeared in your game.)


No problemo!
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:13 PM on June 2, 2007

I just got poly'ed into a troll. Crap.
posted by IronLizard at 11:28 PM on June 2, 2007

It's probably a chameleon, Mitheral. Wait till it morphs again.

Oh it is (was) a lich alright. Bunch of other insane monsters were on the level as well (Mind flayer). I figured polymorph trap or bones level. Died before I found out which if either (I admit it, I panicked).
posted by Mitheral at 11:59 PM on June 2, 2007

Got killed by a shop owner who was angry I kicked the door in. Shops have hours of operation in this game? I've always seen them with the doors open. Sheesh.

Medusa? Sokoban? You're all talking crazy talk. (Latest death: found a throne room, was killing ogres and gnomes, then someone read a scroll adding ice wolves and various dangerous-to-@-sign thingies).
posted by Tuwa at 6:07 AM on June 3, 2007

I've never played on a server where I could watch games in progress. It's pretty cool. (Except last night, whoever was doing Sokoban was obviously looking up hints, because they'd move one thing....then nothing...then one more boulder.)

I forgot how awesome, on reflection, stupid deaths can be. Also, I have got to stop randomly reading scrolls. Nothing like having a scroll of punishment when you're level 3...then, after dragging that around, being bit by a wererat, still punished. Prayed, got un-ratted...then got bit again! I thought I killed him! It took me two more levels before I finally, blissfully, died.

And that's why you shouldn't play a knight.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:21 AM on June 3, 2007

Hate this game.
posted by octothorpe at 8:45 AM on June 3, 2007

You unleash a water demon!
You hit the water demon. The water demon zaps a marble wand!
The bolt of cold hits you! The bolt of cold bounces!
The bolt of cold hits you!
The water demon is killed by the bolt of cold!

posted by octothorpe at 9:19 AM on June 3, 2007

Did the dev team do the right thing and have the cone of cold turn the water demon into a statue?

Not quite too frustrated yet to go valk, but possibly soon.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:39 AM on June 3, 2007

You read: "jspeed, killed by an invisible Mordor orc".--More--
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:29 AM on June 3, 2007

When I first started playing, every time I saw the IE icon I thought it was a floating eye.
posted by paduasoy at 10:37 AM on June 3, 2007

Tuwa: if you had looked at the ground in front of the shop door, you'd have seen "Closed for inventory" scribbled in the dust.

Unless your cat rubbed it out before you got there.

Anyway, if you hear cash registers or someone cursing shoplifters, don't kick locked doors that look like they might lead to rooms near the edge of the screen. But if you do, you can often mollify the shopkeeper with 400 gold or so. Assuming you survive his first hit.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:43 PM on June 3, 2007

Woot, got the /oW! I'm beginning to think this archaelogist might be a keeper. (There were not one but two pairs of speed boots between level 24 and 26.)
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:12 PM on June 3, 2007

Ha, watched you do it, ikkyu2.

This whole watching-nethack thing reminds all too much of freshman year. Anybody up for a run to the Sev for corn dogs?
posted by gleuschk at 2:19 PM on June 3, 2007

BTW, using a lockpick will both open the door and not piss off the shopkeeper.
posted by IronLizard at 3:55 PM on June 3, 2007

I don't often find a lockpick. I seem to have games where I don't find useful tools (like a blindfold) followed by games where I find three or four of them and just leave all the rest lying there.

I don't suppose the levels are crudely mapped out anywhere? I've noticed that one level will always have two stairs down and that one set of stairs leads to an Oracle and stays within rooms whereas the other set leads to caves. I'm not sure which is the best path to take first, though I imagine there's useful experience in both.
posted by Tuwa at 5:07 PM on June 3, 2007


General Description of the Dungeon Layout.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:25 PM on June 3, 2007

Tuwa, there are some relatively fixed branches in the game, but with the exception of some special rooms none of it can be literally mapped—one of the lovely things about Nethack (and other RLs) is the run-time generation of the random dungeons.

So if you mean by 'crude mapping' a statement of on which levels, approximately, you'll find the stairs to gnome town and sokoban and so on, there are spoilers available; but for the most part, no, there is no map, just trends. No one will know where the stairs down are until you find them, etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:27 PM on June 3, 2007

And what cobaltnine said.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:27 PM on June 3, 2007

A Gazetteer of NetHack 3.4
posted by octothorpe at 5:42 PM on June 3, 2007

Tuwa, I usually like to go down to the Oracle first, then backtrack and take the other downstair. What you called 'caves' is the Gnomish Mines. You will find a lot of gnomes and dwarves down there.

I like to go all the way to the bottom of the Mines, then come back up to the Dungeons of Doom.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:45 PM on June 3, 2007

Thanks for the tips.

Another newbie question: if you're teleported into a vault and the guard comes along and tells you to drop your gold, how do you do it? 'd' didn't show the option.
posted by Tuwa at 7:24 PM on June 3, 2007

If you hit 'd', there should be an option to drop $. Or you can hit "D" and choose "b - Coins". Later use a pick-axe or a wand of digging to open up a hallway to the vault and grab all the gold and run before the guard comes.
posted by octothorpe at 7:47 PM on June 3, 2007

Ah ... that's funny. I'm sure I saw the $ and looked right past it. This is not PHP, and that string of letters was not a single variable.

posted by Tuwa at 7:54 PM on June 3, 2007

using a lockpick will both open the door and not piss off the shopkeeper.

But it will tick off guards so don't use the lock pick in mine town.
posted by Mitheral at 9:14 PM on June 3, 2007

Did he ask you for your name?
posted by IronLizard at 10:06 PM on June 3, 2007

yes. And I told him and he said to drop the gold and follow him.

Impatience kills me more than anything else so far.
posted by Tuwa at 5:07 AM on June 4, 2007

Tuwa: "Impatience kills me more than anything else so far."

Heh, you're not the only one. I always have to keep reminding myself, "Its turn based, not real-time". There's always time to stop and think about what your next move should be.

As long as I'm littering up this thread with spoilers, I should link to the Instadeath page which has saved me from more than one YASD.
posted by octothorpe at 6:25 AM on June 4, 2007

yes. And I told him and he said to drop the gold and follow him.

Next time, you name is 'Croesus'.
posted by IronLizard at 6:34 AM on June 4, 2007

So this weekend, with some deliberate effort, I managed to find Fort Ludios. And then I went and donated close to $10k to a coaligned priest. 11 points of intrinsic protection! Yay!

...and then I decided I'd spend some time sacrificing and repeatedly praying for more protection. But I didn't want to accidentally get crowned. So I lowered my luck a bit by breaking a few mirrors. And then I made my big mistake -- tried praying without sacrificing or enlightening. Apparently I'd lowered my luck more than I realized. Sudden loss of 11 points of intrinsic protection. Aww...

So I killed the priest (getting lightning bolted by my god at least half a dozen times in the process), looted massive amounts of gold from his corpse, and then sacrificed over and over until I was finally back in The Lady's good graces. And then I donated all the gold to the _other_ coaligned priest. 10 points of intrinsic protection! Yay!

Of course, I didn't want to make the same mistake again, so I just prayed on an altar as soon as I knew it was safe. And was immediately crowned. Oh well. :/

Level 17 tourist, stats maxed (with a bit to go in St), AC -31, 334 HP (alchemy got me 21 full healing potions), alternating between Mjollnir and Magicbane, carrying the Orb of Fate. I've been lucky with wishes (1 water demon, 1 throne, 2 magic lamps).

Now probably some genociding and quality succubus time -- and maybe sacrificing until I get Frost Brand or Grayswandir -- and then I'll go deal with Medusa. If I'm still alive. You never know, with nethack.
posted by coined at 9:01 AM on June 4, 2007

Nice job coined!

I have not been quite so lucky. I just died near the end of the Gnomish Mines on what was until then my most successful play of the tourney. Level 8 monk, 10k points. I got completely surrounded on the upstair, and alternated between engraving Elebreth and going upstairs to cast healing spells, but managed to have the worst possible luck rubbing out the engraving. On my last trip back downstairs I went from Max HP to 0 and fucked up the engraving in a single movement turn. Fuck.
posted by blasdelf at 11:31 AM on June 4, 2007

Is anyone else running into mumaks at minetown?
posted by IronLizard at 5:33 PM on June 4, 2007

Oh, and try not to walk over a chickatrice corpse while blindfolded.
posted by IronLizard at 5:49 PM on June 4, 2007

Stupid death. My first game I had a nice Samurai going. Surfeit of magic lamps got me +2 SDSM, but couldn't get a freakin' resistance.

Cleared the Mines and the DoD down to Medusa, but couldn't find any fast ways of getting up to level 14 for the quest, so I decided to do it the hard way via killin' things. Burned a wish on a ring of levitation to cross Medusa. While floating across I ame upon a demilich sitting on an island. Normally I would hope to have the L's genocided by this point, but I decided to use him as an experience generator. He kept summoning critters and I floated around the Island, swinging in with my longswords of doom (Excalibur and a normal one) harvesting them, throwing off a shot or two at the Demilich when I felt like it.

Neglected to notice an electric eel creeping up behind me (I'd carefully dispatched most of them before going out on the water). It zapped me and the ring exploded. I dropped into the water, and land wasn't close enough. DYWYPI? FU,G!
posted by fleacircus at 7:44 PM on June 4, 2007

Eels have generated most of my personal top ten list of supremely annoying deaths. Nowadays I waste a lot of resources blasting them from afar with wands, outrunning them with levitation and speed boots, or just genociding them.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:06 PM on June 4, 2007

I've been wandering around the catacombs afraid to do much because things seem to be going well. Though soon I'm going to have to decide what to do about food because I seem to be running out of corpses.

Once I find my pet again (if I find my pet again), is there any way to make it quit attacking watchmen? At least I'm guessing that's what's happening; the last few times it got close to one I got a message like "the watchman wields a dagger!")
posted by Tuwa at 9:20 PM on June 4, 2007

I just created a new wizard this afternoon:

a - a blessed +1 quarterstaff (weapon in hands)
b - an uncursed +0 cloak of magic resistance (being worn)
i - an uncursed scroll of remove curse
j - an uncursed scroll of identify
k - an uncursed scroll of scare monster
l - a blessed spellbook of force bolt
m - an uncursed spellbook of extra healing
f - an uncursed potion of oil
g - an uncursed potion of extra healing
h - an uncursed potion of monster detection
d - an uncursed ring of teleport control
e - an uncursed +2 ring of gain constitution
c - a wand of polymorph (0:7)

I'm...a little terrified to move, lest I trip over something and fall and die.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:39 PM on June 4, 2007

Be careful when you find your pet, it may have turned feral.

Ikkyu2: Hahaha, how are you sending these messages? (Besides via the male demon).
posted by IronLizard at 9:47 PM on June 4, 2007

If you look when you login to NAO, IronLizard, you'll see an option to W)atch other people play :)
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:23 PM on June 4, 2007

Hm, found the pet and it kills the watchmen easily (and eats them!) and the others still don't attack me afterwards. Given that this is NetHack, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.
posted by Tuwa at 10:42 PM on June 4, 2007

Well, yes, but when you're watching, how do you send a message? Just type it?
posted by IronLizard at 10:44 PM on June 4, 2007

There is no shoe.
posted by IronLizard at 10:45 PM on June 4, 2007

I just quit a game after getting totally fucked, twice, by sacrificing on altars that were totally aligned on the first and third levels. "You were level 1 with a maximum of 1 hit point when you quit." Fuck that.
posted by blasdelf at 11:38 PM on June 4, 2007

Tuwa your pet can attack things that you can't. It is one of the reasons for keeping him around. He'll attack the guards if he is hungry and powerful enough.
posted by Mitheral at 7:20 AM on June 5, 2007

And even a lawful character can stand around while she watches a shopkeeper have an unfortunate accident with her pet Vampire Lord (polymorph trap) ...
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:57 AM on June 5, 2007

I just had a polymorph trap turn my cat into an electric eel which subsequently stepped(?) on a simple dart trap and died instantly.
posted by octothorpe at 10:21 AM on June 5, 2007

The game before last I saw a cockatrice coming, teleported away (no long-range weapons) and got killed by a leocrotta not long after.

On the one hand I'd like to build some skill in the game; on the other hand it seems that a lot of the game is completely random (e.g. pet killed early, then going through seven levels of dungeon and not finding an altar, figurine, or shop).
posted by Tuwa at 11:41 AM on June 5, 2007

Skill comes in the aggregate of many games, Tuwa. The randomness makes the variety from game to game broad enough that you can't really work on a specific thing, but if you take/read notes and play a few games in a row the little oopses and such start to settle in, and you get a chance to reapply some of the things that you ran into three or five games back.

I'm dying left and right and starting to remember some of the crap I had forgotten since the last time I played regularly. For one thing, there are often a lot of ways to run like hell if you have the good sense to get moving before you're surrounded and down to your last turn.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:11 PM on June 5, 2007

It's like poker. The luck of the draw plays a prominent role. But some players perform so consistently well that it's clear they have skills that usually make a bad hand superable. Look at the NAO ascension streaks and the results for the top players there, mrivan, canter, Ascension.

Ascension's record is particularly telling -- for 12 games in a row, each a different character class, Ascension lived up to his or her name. In the 13th, Ascension's tourist was killed by a grid bug on level 1.

For most situations I've found hopeless, I suspect one of those folks would have turned it around.

BTW, there are a bunch of ways to get pets. Toss food to a dog or cat (usually tames it outright, but sometimes just makes it peaceful and you'll need to throw more.) There are several magic effects that'll get you pets. And the game guarantees you an altar and shops in Minetown (in the Gnomish mines), but it doesn't guarantee the altar'll be co-aligned with you.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:31 PM on June 5, 2007

Not sure if anyone's linked it yet, but the NetHack Object Identification Spoiler is a good centralization of a lot of little tricks. It's a fun read even if you think you know the stuff.
posted by fleacircus at 7:30 PM on June 5, 2007

Fuck, I may have just wasted a djinni wish (for a blessed fireproof +2 Staff of Aesculapius), my lawful monk can't even hold it. The spoiler that recommended it must have been out of date, another one I just found says I'd have to be a neutral Healer...

Please hope me guys!
posted by blasdelf at 12:27 AM on June 6, 2007

Nevermind, my level 10 monk just died after leaving the gnomish mines -- got ambushed by a floating eye, didn't even have a chance. I just turned the corner and was instantly frozen in it's gaze. My character's clairvoiance didn't help me there at all. Fuck.
posted by blasdelf at 12:53 AM on June 6, 2007

Level 13 Barbarian in Fort Ludios. I only have 118 h/p, keep running to the portal to rest. The amulet of reflection from sokoban is the only reason I'm still alive. I need to wait till I'm hungry again so I can eat this black dragon. Still no way to protect against those damn eels, yet.
posted by IronLizard at 12:59 AM on June 6, 2007

I just died because I was blinded, low on hit points, and most likely still in prayer timeout, so I engraved "Elbereth" on the floor and thought I'd wait it out. Then I tried to look at what was written there, forgetting that I was using clairvoyance rather than actual sight. I'm not sure if it's because I engraved while blind or tried to check the engraving while blind, but what it said "EDbereth."

Leocrottas: 2, @: 0
posted by Tuwa at 1:01 AM on June 6, 2007

How long do the black dragon corpses last? Most things I've found will give me food poisoning if I wait too long between killing it and eating it.

Oh yeah, and my pet ate the chameleon corpse I was going to sacrifice. It turned into a floating eyeball, which for guided attacks is only slightly more useful than a Chia pet.
posted by Tuwa at 1:03 AM on June 6, 2007

I haven't killed him yet, I'm just wandering around him killing other things and hiding in a room, pressing (100.) repeatedly.
posted by IronLizard at 1:09 AM on June 6, 2007

Hmm, there's two.
posted by IronLizard at 1:11 AM on June 6, 2007

Ok, how do you lure these bastards away from the water?
posted by IronLizard at 1:14 AM on June 6, 2007

IronLizard, there's no food in the game that will choke you as long as you're not Satiated when you start eating it.

Except an amulet of strangulation, which you may not even realize is edible.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:05 AM on June 6, 2007

Right, but I was satiated from eating the blue dragon. Then when I was ready those two just wanted to hover over water. Anyway, I left the fort after showing on one who strayed close. Too much crap in there to handle right now. I'm going to bed sitting at level 21. Tomorrow I'll forget everything and get killed, just watch.
posted by IronLizard at 2:11 AM on June 6, 2007

err, chowing, not showing.
posted by IronLizard at 2:12 AM on June 6, 2007

I was watching you play for a good bit there... did you intentionally polymorph into a vortex, or did that just sort of happen? Seemed to be working out for you.

I myself just got totally pwned by a giant mimic in the treasure room at the top of Sokoban. Fucker.
posted by blasdelf at 3:06 AM on June 6, 2007

BTW, there are a bunch of ways to get pets.

My current game was my first start with a Book of Charm Monster ever. And holy god, I've got a whole zoo following me around. I have this fear that it's going to backfire miserably sometime soon, but for now I'm just goddam entertained.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:27 AM on June 6, 2007

did you intentionally polymorph into a vortex, or did that just sort of happen?

It was a complete and miserable accident with a polymorph trap I already knew was there (typo). I though I was dead for sure, but I #prayed and got reverted eventually. Finished the quest and now I'm at medusa trying to figure out if I should get the candles from the mines now or wait.
posted by IronLizard at 9:26 AM on June 6, 2007

I'm doing pretty good in my current game, just finished the castle. Things are all downhill from here now that i've got the wand o Wishing - just need to not screw up =) Got to go back up, do the quest (valkyrie quest is a piece o cake), finish up my ascension kit and then do gehenemon. I accidentally killed my pet rock troll though =/ He was kicking butt - and now my god is angry at me. Oh well.
posted by escher at 10:44 AM on June 6, 2007

This last one summed up my nethack career fairly well: Killed by brainlessness. That's it for me. Truly the biggest ASCII time sink ever. I'm going to quit before they find my mummified body with it's hands twisted over a keyboard and it's eyeless sockets still squinting at a screen with odd little characters burned into it.
posted by IronLizard at 10:17 PM on June 6, 2007

Master Mind-Flayer? I've had that happen before too. Helluva way to die...
posted by blasdelf at 10:23 PM on June 6, 2007

Aack. Mind-Flayers. I've used genocide on them more than once, evil bastards. Greasing you helmet helps but mostly I end up running and blasting them with the worst wands I have in my pack.
posted by octothorpe at 7:25 AM on June 7, 2007

Well, to be fair, the brainlessness was a bit of a double joke. At the time I was chasing after some A or another to sacrifice after having pissed crom off for the third time (don't attempt to write on the altar with a magic marker) when I ran into the damn thing. I didn't even look to see what it was since I'd cleared the level (it wasn't generating anything much for a long time) and it sucked my (not very big int6) brain out in one turn. Like I said earlier, it's the impatience/boredom that usually kills me. Otherwise I'd have just avoided the damn thing since I had intrinsic teleport+control. Anyway, the whole game was a comedy of errors. Hope the rest of you are doing better.
posted by IronLizard at 9:57 AM on June 7, 2007

Last death: turned invisible, ran into a nymph in a corner who stole my wand of make invisible and promptly used it then stole half of my inventory in a single turn; then I spent most of the rest of the time trying to find her again (hard since I hadn't yet eaten a floating eyeball corpse & didn't have a blindfold anyway) and, on finding and killing a nymph (not the nymph, alas), ate the corpse out of spite. Not a wise choice without teleport control. Feeling jumpy? Why yes, even so much that teleporting into a general store and picking something up can teleport me back out, calling the Keystone Kops. Got in a few hits on the storekeeper, but that was the end of it.

Only good from that game: I found Sokoban and solved the first level, though I moved just two boulders on the second before realizing the second moving was a mistake and I'd made the puzzle unsolvable without cheating.
posted by Tuwa at 10:26 AM on June 7, 2007

Sigh. I just finished the castle level and grabbed a few things on the way out, like that second bag of holding I left near the stairs up to minimize the chance I'd accidentally put it in my primary bag of holding.

And then I did anyway. But not until after I'd but my (unused!) wand of wishing in.

Easy come, abruptly go.
posted by coined at 2:01 PM on June 7, 2007

Er, "put", not "but".
posted by coined at 2:01 PM on June 7, 2007

I'm down in Orcus-town now and I'm beginning to suspect my two greatest desires, a can of grease and a saddle, are to be found nowhere in the entire Dungeon.

If you ask me it's about time to fire up this here menorah, give a little dingy-lingy on the bell, tear the phone book in half and blow this subterranean taco stand.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:24 PM on June 7, 2007

I'm watching you play, ikkyu2, and damn are you doing well! Two pet dragons, you're level 28! with an AC of -21, 300hp an 200mana, Grayswandir...

I'm playing monks, and liking it, even if I'm not getting much past the mines + sokoban.
posted by blasdelf at 11:57 PM on June 7, 2007

My last run was the furthest I've gotten so far... Level 11 with 81k points, having completed the mines + sokoban, I died dealing with obnoxious quadrapeds whilst doing the stairwell dance (going down, striking, going back up to heal) to the big room.

Is digging a hole elsewhere on the floor above a good tactic once the stair on the floor below is camped out by strong dudes?
posted by blasdelf at 4:24 AM on June 8, 2007

blasdelf, I've fallen in holes before which are just a few steps from the stairs but lead to somewhere far away from the corresponding stairs below. So I'm not sure if there's just no correspondence between the locations on the maps or if we're meant to think that the stairs between levels are long and winding.

Digging a hole to the level below might work, but I'd also be curious if it would drop you somewhere far from where you want to be (which could be more or less of a problem depending on if you've already cleared the level otherwise).
posted by Tuwa at 6:29 AM on June 8, 2007

Each time you drop thru a hole it puts you somewhere random on the level underneath. At least this holds for holes you dig. Trap holes can extend several levels but still randomly place you on the destination level.
posted by Mitheral at 7:28 AM on June 8, 2007

The spoilers seem to be saying that you can kick a pudding out of a sink only once; is that right? (I thought I had a great plan.)

Impatience killed me again last time: turned into a werewolf, god displeased with me, unwilling to continue playing as a werewolf until I could find some wolfsbane or holy water (or have some created).
posted by Tuwa at 7:49 AM on June 8, 2007

Yay, i just scored the first ascension for team mefi. 1/1 on the tourney for me - I guess i better not screw up now!

Tuwa: yep, only one pudding from each sink. But what was your master plan? Pudding farming is a way to get many many items, but is frowned upon by some(not me personally, i just find it boring).

blasedelf: as previously stated if you drop down a hole you might end up right next to the baddies as when you land it's randomized. So it might not help at all. But if it's your only option then you might be able to bypass the baddies that way. Generally speaking i'd spend time going back up and beefing up before doing that.
posted by escher at 12:36 PM on June 8, 2007

Tuwa, once you get that one pudding out of the sink, you can cleave it repeatedly with a weapon, such as a -5 uncursed thoroughly rusty orcish dagger named Puddingbane. That dagger will do 1 point of damage to the pudding, splitting it without killing it.

Pudding farming is too boring.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:47 PM on June 8, 2007

I was going to use it as a way to level up and get the shock resistance intrinsics so that I'd feel like I had a fighting chance in the game. Might be boring, but perhaps less so than repeatedly not getting anywhere.

The other option is to admit that I don't have the patience for this game and my time is probably better spent doing half a dozen other things.
posted by Tuwa at 3:48 PM on June 8, 2007

Yeah, I've had enough of this.
posted by Tuwa at 4:32 PM on June 8, 2007

You'll be back!

Seriously, you will be. This is fact. This is the nature of the nethack. It may not be right away, or even "soon" in any reasonable sense of the word—but there will come some quiet evening when, at a loss for how to busy your restive mind, you will think again of the hack, of the quaffing and #enhancing and the very many things that the devteam seemed to have thought of, and you'll give. You'll telnet. You'll say no, no, no, dammit: I want to pick my class, and race, and gender.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:09 PM on June 8, 2007

Or you'll download the windows version with the cute little sprites that replace the ASCII graphics, or even the 3D one. In this way you can keep your shame private while you hone your Puddingbane.
posted by IronLizard at 8:38 PM on June 8, 2007

That didn't sound quite right.
posted by IronLizard at 8:41 PM on June 8, 2007

Mastery is not to be obtained quickly, Tuwa-san.
posted by fleacircus at 9:53 PM on June 8, 2007

You'll be back!

Yea, I've quit this game for years and always come back to it. For some reason I keep thinking that I'll ascend some day.
posted by octothorpe at 4:34 AM on June 9, 2007

I just watched Eidolos (the organizer) ascend a level 14 Cavewoman. Dude types comments to the peanut gallery as extended commands i.e. "#whew". Insane.
posted by blasdelf at 2:30 PM on June 10, 2007

71243 blasdelf-Mon-Hum-Mal-Cha turned to stone in The Dungeons of Doom on level 8 [max 11]. Petrified by a cockatrice corpse. 80 [80]

OMFG I hate myself. I just took off my gloves to grease them, as I couldn't grasp the can of grease with them on, the can of grease turned out to be empty, and then I accidentally hit comma instead of W. Instadeath. Totally my fault. FUCK. I know I could have gotten to Medusa at least with that character.
posted by blasdelf at 2:45 PM on June 10, 2007

Yeah, Eidolos is one of the better players out there currently. He and Rast are neck and neck for ascending with the lowest number of turns - I think Eidolos has the latest record. He's made a few "instructional ttyrecs" where you can watch him doing certain things like: clearing the castle using only the drawbridge, fast moving on the elemental planes, etc.

The drawbridge technique is quite helpful if you've gotten to the castle without magic resistance or reflection because if one of those soldiers is wielding a wand of death then it's one zap and you're dead. I prefer to have magic resistance before that point, but sometimes you don't have a choice.


blasedelf: bummer. It's quite annoying when a typo is what brings your death. I've made a point of it that when i'm around cockatrices i am extremely careful about every key that i press. I generally am too careful with them but then again my preference in nethack is to be too careful rather than not careful enough. My cockatrice rules:

- always have a lizard corpse in inventory before getting into melee range of a cockatrice
- never burdened when facing a cockatrice in melee range or else you may not get a turn to unstone yourself. drop some gear and get unburdened fast.
- always double check for gloves before picking a corpse up
- never carry them burdened. unless i put them in a container to rot away.
- never walk around with a c corpse in hand. i break this one every now and then if i'm levitating.
- never let a c corpse sit on the ground while you're around - another monster may pick it up and use it against you. either #offer it, or put it in a box or bag, or leave that level for enough time so that it rots
posted by escher at 11:14 AM on June 11, 2007

Cockatrices are extraordinarily dangerous. You must take the precautions. I have learned to also always check that I have boots on when I am around them; I believe if you step on them while blind you can be stoned.

Taking off your gloves while standing on a cockatrice corpse, or even while having any knowledge that a cockatrice is around, is simply reckless. I have used wands of death and scrolls of genocide to deal with levels that had coexistent cockatrices and succubi, because succubi can de-glove you, and because I know that the cockatrice was put into my game by the Dev Team to end it prematurely.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2007

ikkyu2: yep, you can die if you don't have shoes on and you step on a c corpse. You can also get stoned if you don't have gloves on, and are blind, and try to walk over a c corpse because when you're blind "you try to feel what's on the floor...". So basically, i hate cockatrices.

I generally don't genocide them though (although it's not necessarily a bad choice) because they are very powerful weapons when you need them. Almost all of the most powerful monsters will fall to a c corpse.
posted by escher at 2:57 PM on June 11, 2007

It was such a retarded typo -- I was trying to be prepared!
posted by blasdelf at 10:38 PM on June 11, 2007

137179 ironlizard-Bar-Hum-Mal-Neu turned to stone in The Dungeons of Doom on level 22 [max 23]. Petrified by a cockatrice. 149 [149]

What cruel fates...
posted by blasdelf at 8:56 AM on June 12, 2007

Second time, too. I kept applying the unicorn horn, but to no effect. I'd forgotten that being poly'ed into a giant had destroyed my armor.

Just when I'd gotten killing the mindflayers down to a science.
posted by IronLizard at 10:26 AM on June 12, 2007

OK, I'm not playing in the tourney, but I have nowhere else to put this, so: I ascended! W00t! Sadly, I was playing in Explore mode, so this is mostly a testament to my stubbornness -- and free time in the summer -- rather than any skill. Still, sixteen years after my first game (on a Mac SE/30 in a friend's dorm room), I've finished the damn game. And only ("only") died 20 times. So consider this a sort of YAFAP.


  • Killed the Wizard for the first time when he was just outside his Tower, over the water. Sploosh-sizzle went the Book of the Dead, and me without any way to go down and get it. Had to stand around waiting for him to reincarnate, hoping against hope that he'd have the Book with him (he did).
  • Dropped my bag of holding in the hallway of Moloch's Sanctum, so as not to be burdened. Some hill giant heaves a boulder at me, and I get swallowed by a vortex of some kind, which moves me exactly one step to the left before I can kill it. Now my bag's under a boulder, wedged in a corner where I can't move it. Had to stand around waiting (a theme emerges) for another giant to happen by, happen to pick up the boulder, and happen to pitch it somewhere else so I can go retrieve my bag.
  • Typo leads to wearing a cursed amulet of restful sleep, rather than the Amulet of Yendor, for the entire endgame. I was sleep-resistent, but still. Made it a pain to find the portals in the Planes.
  • The only time I #quit and re-started from a save point: I decided Magicbane wasn't dispatching the baddies on the Plane of Fire fast enough, so switched to Mjollnir. Three moves later the Archon (where'd he come from?) has destroyed all my armor, my AC has jumped from -25 to -3, and the touch of death is at the tip of my nose. Oh, right, magic resistance.
Wouldn't have even come close without being spoiled to within an inch of my life: the NetHack wiki and I finally arrived in Gehennom, now what?.

Whew. Now maybe I should check to see whether my son's been born yet.
posted by gleuschk at 10:47 AM on June 12, 2007

Hopefully he wasn't born during this new moon, gleuschk. That's a bad time to enter the dungeon.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:06 PM on June 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Anyone still hacking? I need to take a break after my kick but Monk got gacked by the touch of death from a Lich.
posted by octothorpe at 12:47 PM on June 18, 2007

After the new moon passes, I might be back.
posted by IronLizard at 12:52 PM on June 18, 2007

I'm still in, and still on the same character, but playing rarely -- and only at work. It turns out my home ADSL doesn't really allow for nethack playing. Inconsistent latency or something.

Still, my tourist is level 27, 487 hp, AC -26, currently dual-wielding frost brand and a silver saber for expediency, but I'll go back to magicbane + shield of reflection for anything serious. I've found the vibrating square, and I'm now back upstairs doing my quest.

One of the difficulties I have with this game (well, more specifically, with ascension) is that I keep wanting to advance, gain levels, hp, enchantment points on my equipment, etc even when that will no longer directly contribute to ascension. And generally just explore and mess around. It's a little like a game and a little like a sandbox, really.
posted by coined at 3:51 PM on June 19, 2007

Playing more regularly got me more interested in making code modifications to it, which wind up spinning around in my head pleasantly but producing little. I hope we can see how we all did by the time it's over.

Go, cortex, ascend! One of us has to...
posted by fleacircus at 10:30 PM on June 19, 2007

I did actually modify a copy of nethack once, to make the levels larger and the dungeon deeper, add more special rooms, etc. I wanted more to explore prior to the endgame. It didn't work out very well -- make the dungeon level four times as large and you'll have a host of monsters spawned on one end by the time you kill the ones at the other. But it was interesting.

I was also tempted to make "really sadistic nethack", with more abrupt and arbitrary deaths. :)
posted by coined at 2:01 PM on June 20, 2007

"really sadistic nethack"

It's called Slash'Em.
posted by IronLizard at 4:42 PM on June 20, 2007

What, like nethack isn't sadistic enough to begin with?
posted by octothorpe at 8:12 PM on June 22, 2007

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