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Old 06-02-2021, 06:59 AM   #1
Overshadowed Eagle
Huinesoron's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,798
Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Sting How to Kill Morgoth: Playing Angband

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaitlyn VII - Hobbit Blackguard

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

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

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

Cheri III - Dwarf Warrior

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

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

Waterlily I - Half-Orc Paladin

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

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

Celebestel II - High Elf Mage

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

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

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

Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera
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