Oh, wow.

I've been playing nethack on and off for more than twenty years now. I started with 2.x on my Atari ST back in university and occasionally came back to it. I've never become good at it, mostly dying between the early game and the middle (i.e. shortly before going to the quest) because of stupidity, slipping fingers or - most of the time - because of overconfidence.

A few months ago I decided to go with the Wizard role and stick with it until I'd finally make it. I started a game shortly after christmas and got lucky, as in really lucky. Found a wand worth 600$ in a shop, bought it and it turned out to be a WoW. I decided to go for armor to counter my built-in foolishness and soon I was wearing SDSM, Speed Boots and a Helm of Brilliance to go with my starting Clock of Magic Resistance. I went for the HoB as as an orc this was the only way to achieve hungerless casting.

The whole game took place over the course of three weeks, mostly being played on weekends and repeatedly interrupted by reading the nethack wiki.

Apart from the WoW the only notable event of the early game was my cat stepping on a polymorph trap and turning into an ice troll, which then went on to kill all shopkeepers and the (not-coaligned) priest in mine town. I converted the altar in minetown and camped there until I was granted Magicbane which became my primary weapon until the end. Sokoban contained a BoH.

Met one of my better former selves and knew it had been killed by an Aleax but this time around it posed no problem due to my armor. Even though Stormbringer and Mjolnir were part of the former Stefan's heritage I decided to ignore them and go for a "real" Wizard run (i.e. trying to rely on spellcasting and Magicbane). Unfortunately I failed to find any attack spellbooks apart from force bolt and magic missile I started with.

I carried a box up the stair to Sokoban and left most of my stuff there, which was good as I managed to fall into water - twice - due to the stupid errors I always make and lost valuable scrolls, but not too many as there were some backups in my stash.

The Dark One managed to pick up the Eye of the Ethiopica before I could kill him but I had pushed a boulder onto the upstairs and managed to kill him using Magicbane with a few hits. Wore the Eye for the rest of the game.

I learned the identify spell and this certainly made the game a lot easier.

Before entering Gehennom I thought I should learn cone of cold and finger of death and wished for the fomer spellbook; got myself crowned for the second. While sacrificing I encountered Jubilex and killed him from the inside. In retrospect I think I have used cone of cold three times and could have easily gone without it.

What I think is normal for people new to Gehennom and beyond I was carrying way more stuff around than I needed. When I finally ascended there were lots and lots of wands in my BoH that I had never used.

I had polypiled a few things and found enough scrolls of enchant weapon to enchant up Magicbane and a silver dagger to +7 as well as my stack of daggers that I almost never used. I learned the silver dagger was superior to Magicbane when fighting demons and vampires.

Gehennom mostly was uneventful if not boring. In particular since Scrolls of magic mapping were scarce (I found two in the whole game) as were magic markers. Used the pickaxe to pave the way back up. Only Asmodeus managed to escape upstairs. Killed Orcus by climbing up and paralyzing him before he could use the WoD. Vlad was a joke (two hits with a +7 silver dagger), found the vibrating square and decided to return to Sokoban once more preparing for the ascension run.

The Wizard fell victim to the Wand of Death, and wouldn't come back before I left Gehennom. The high priest of Moloch was dispatched with a single cone of cold spell. Ran up and went to Sokoban again, was disturbed by the mysterious force twi or three times, which didn't cause too much trouble. Met the Wizard four times in total - twice on the plabe of earth - and used finger of death each time. Wearing the Eye power regeneration never seemed to become an issue.

I teleported the air elementals out of my way on the plane of air and levitated directly to the portal on the plane of fire. The water plain took some time but only because it took so long until the portal finally showed up.

On Astral plane I again was really lucky. A master lich cast create monster and the cockatrice next to me left a corpse that led to a trail of statues. The altar to the right was guared by Famine so I went for it, killed him with the WoD before he was getting close enough to touch me. It turned out to be the chaotic altar, the high priest gave me "two bits for an ale" and there I went.

stefanb, chaotic male orcish Wizard

                                                         -- --..A|.......|
                                                       `   .`.@.A-A..@...|
                                                     `      --...|.....V.|
                                                    -%-      --..--------- A
                                             ------- /        |...       @
                                             |`   `           -----
                                             -`  -----

Stefanb the Necromancer   St:18/50 Dx:18 Co:18 In:20 Wi:20 Ch:11  Chaotic
Astral Plane $:2  HP:236(236) Pw:263(263) AC:-31 Xp:25/51461489 T:55454 Satiated

Your inventory
  A - the blessed Eye of the Aethiopica (being worn)
  x - a blessed +7 silver dagger
  F - the blessed rustproof +7 Magicbane (alternate weapon; not wielded)
  b - a blessed fireproof +5 cloak of magic resistance (being worn)
  l - a blessed fireproof +2 pair of speed boots (being worn)
  n - an uncursed fireproof +2 pair of leather gloves (being worn)
  w - a blessed greased rustproof +4 helm of brilliance (being worn)
  N - a blessed +2 Hawaiian shirt (being worn)
  V - a blessed +4 silver dragon scale mail (being worn)
  j - an uncursed cockatrice corpse (weapon in hand)
  I - an uncursed lizard corpse
  L - an uncursed lembas wafer
  s - an uncursed ring of conflict
  t - an uncursed ring of levitation
  u - an uncursed ring of free action (on right hand)
  c - a wand of death (0:4)
  f - a wand of cold (0:3)
  g - a wand of fire (0:4)
  k - a wand of teleportation (0:6)
  v - a wand of fire (1:14)
  z - a wand of digging (0:2)
  E - a wand of digging (0:8)
  H - a wand of slow monster (0:2)
  M - a cursed wand of teleportation (0:4)
  a - the uncursed Candelabrum of Invocation (7 candles attached)
  o - an uncursed brass lantern
  p - an uncursed sack named emergency
  B - a blessed bag of holding
  T - an uncursed towel
  U - a blessed +0 unicorn horn
  e - a blessed luckstone

Contents of the sack named emergency:
  2 uncursed K-rations
  an uncursed lizard corpse
  a blessed scroll of remove curse
  a blessed potion of full healing
  2 potions of holy water
  a wand of wishing (1:2)
  7 blessed wax candles
  a +0 unicorn horn

Contents of the bag of holding:
  2792 gold pieces
  an uncursed amulet of life saving
  23 blessed +7 daggers
  2 uncursed pancakes
  10 uncursed C-rations
  5 uncursed K-rations
  2 uncursed lizard corpses
  an uncursed lembas wafer
  2 blessed scrolls of stinking cloud
  an uncursed scroll of teleportation
  a blessed scroll of taming
  a blessed scroll of remove curse
  an uncursed spellbook of sleep
  a blessed spellbook of finger of death
  an uncursed spellbook of identify
  an uncursed spellbook of magic missile
  an uncursed potion of polymorph
  an uncursed potion of oil
  3 uncursed potions of full healing
  2 uncursed potions of paralysis
  7 potions of holy water
  a wand of magic missile (0:4)
  a wand of teleportation (0:4)
  a wand of teleportation (0:4)
  a wand of teleportation (0:5)
  a wand of teleportation (0:4)
  a wand of magic missile (0:4)
  a wand of polymorph (0:2)
  a wand of cold (0:5)
  a wand of fire (0:6)
  a wand of cold (0:4)
  a wand of fire (1:4)
  a wand of fire (0:7)
  a wand of cold (0:4)
  a wand of magic missile (0:4)
  a wand of teleportation (0:7)
  a rusty wand of magic missile (0:8)
  a blessed wand of fire (0:7)
  an uncursed oil lamp
  an uncursed oil lamp

Final attributes
  You were the Glory of Arioch
  You were piously aligned
  You were fire resistant
  You were cold resistant
  You were sleep resistant
  You were shock resistant
  You were poison resistant
  You were magic-protected
  You saw invisible
  You were telepathic
  You were warned
  You had infravision
  You were invisible to others
  You could teleport
  You had teleport control
  You were protected
  You were very fast
  You had reflection
  You had free action
  You were extremely lucky (13)
  You had extra luck
  Good luck did not time out for you
  You survived 

Spells known in the end
      Name               Level    Category     Fail
  a - force bolt             1    attack         0%
  b - magic missile          2    attack         0%
  c - detect monsters        1*   divination     0%
  d - detect food            2*   divination     0%
  e - light                  1    divination     0%
  f - jumping                1    escape         0%
  g - knock                  1*   matter         0%
  h - haste self             3    escape         0%
  i - detect unseen          3*   divination     0%
  j - stone to flesh         3    healing        0%
  k - slow monster           2*   enchantment    0%
  l - cure sickness          3*   healing        0%
  m - identify               3    divination     0%
  n - restore ability        4*   healing        0%
  o - cause fear             3*   enchantment    0%
  p - sleep                  1*   enchantment    0%
  q - create monster         2*   clerical       0%
  r - protection             1*   clerical       0%
  s - healing                1    healing        0%
  t - cone of cold           4    attack         0%
  u - finger of death        7    attack         0%
  v - cancellation           7    matter        89%
  w - extra healing          3    healing        0%
  x - drain life             2    attack         0%
  y - wizard lock            2    matter         0%
  z - charm monster          3    enchantment    0%
  A - remove curse           3    clerical       0%
  B - dig                    5    matter        29%

Voluntary challenges
  You never genocided any monsters
  You polymorphed 206 items
  You never changed form
  You used 8 wishes
  You did not wish for any artifacts

Your skills at the end
  Fighting Skills
  Weapon Skills
    dagger             [Expert]
    quarterstaff       [Basic]
  Spellcasting Skills
    attack spells      [Expert]
    healing spells     [Basic]
    divination spells  [Skilled]
    enchantment spells [Basic]
    clerical spells    [Basic]
    matter spells      [Basic]

Goodbye stefanb the Demigod...
You went to your reward with 2990872 points,
The Candelabrum of Invocation (worth 5000 zorkmids and 12500 points)
The Eye of the Aethiopica (worth 4000 zorkmids and 10000 points)
Magicbane (worth 3500 zorkmids and 8750 points)
       1 amulet of life saving (worth 150 zorkmids),
and 2794 pieces of gold, after 55454 moves.
Killer: ascended
You were level 25 with a maximum of 236 hit points when you ascended.

You made the top ten list!

 No  Points     Name                                                   Hp [max]
  1    2990872  stefanb-Wiz-Orc-Mal-Cha ascended to demigod-hood.     236 [236]
  2     103416  stefanb-Ran-Orc-Mal-Cha died in The Gnomish Mines on
                level 8 [max 22].  Killed by a fire vortex.             -  [73]
  3      73635  stefanb-Rog-Orc-Mal-Cha died in The Dungeons of Doom
                on level 10 [max 11].  Killed by an Aleax.              -  [90]

path: /en/games/nethack | #

Yesterday I had to travel to "the big customer". This involves about four to five hours sitting in trains and at train stations each way plus waiting time between meeting and my train back home (yesterday this summed up to a fourteen hour day for a three hour meeting).

I was lucky to pick seats with a desk and power supply for the longest part of the journey, so I had enough power for my notebook all the way. After some light Java hacking on the way to the meeting, I decided it was time for some entertainment on my way back, so I started nethack with a new random character.

Even though different GUI front ends are available - even for the iBook - I prefer to run nethack in tty mode. So soon enough my screen contained an xterm that looked like this

The priest of Mitra intones:  "Pilgrim, you enter a sacred place!"--More--

     |.....##########   --------------------------------
     |....|         #  #......................%........|
     |..<..#        ##`#|.------|--------------..-----.|
     |....|#          ##|.|....|..|...|....|.[-..-...|.|
     |....|#          ##..|....|..|...|....|..|..|...|.|
     |....|#           #|.---|----|...||------|..|...|.|
     ------#           #|......|..|...|.|..|%%|.-----|..####    -------
           #           #..----.|..|-|--.|.)|%%|.|..[.|.|#`######-..^..|
           #         #%#|.|..-.-|--..{..-)-|..|.|..@.|.|#  ###  |.....|
           )         #  |.|..|.............-+--.@..j.|.|#` #####...>..|
         ###       ###  |.|----|--.----|--......|....|.|#    ###|.....|
         #------   #    |.|((|...|.-..|.%|--|--------|.|#      #+.....|
         #|....-####    |.|((|(((|.|..|.%| ...|#.|...-.|        |.....|
         #.....| #      |.|..|(((|.---|[%|....|..|.!%|.|        -------
          |.....##      |.-|------..{.---------|------.|
          ------        |..............................|

Bodewig the Bandit         St:18/02 Dx:16 Co:18 In:7 Wi:8 Ch:6  Neutral
Dlvl:7  $:633 HP:99(109) Pw:25(25) AC:-6 Xp:9/2656 Burdened

That's me entering the minestown temple.

It is not the first time that I had people watching with a very puzzled look in their face while playing nethack. My wife by now knows that "me" is that little "@" walking around, that my pet is the small "f" (I prefer cats over dogs) - and that the rest of the game couldn't be of any interest to her.

This time it hasn't been any different, just that yesterday marks the first time that a complete stranger asked me to explain what was going on. I could have told him I was running a network monitor, but we know how that would end.

It was funny to explain, in particular as he really seemed interested and kept asking question. I ended up playing a lot slower and more careful than usual (which could explain why my Barbarian hasn't died yet) and enjoyed the conversation at the same time. It was one of my most pleasant train travels so far.

path: /en/games/nethack | #