YASD: HOWn Prince of Secrets goes the way of all flesh in excruciating misery


This was probably my most frustrating, yet most satisfying YASD ever. It was both caution and hubris, both careful consideration and blatant ignorance.

Currently on a losing streak (only temporarily broken by a FeFE of all things), I was just messing around with some wanderers. My inital goal with this particular HOWn was only to try out Ashenzari’s new perfect mapping, as mentioned in the changelog (it’s awesome).

But then the almighty RNG kept throwing ridiculous artefacts at me. This char lacked for nothing, except a good shield. But still, over a 100 of combined defences. Those +17 GDS, the consecrated labrys, the slick slippers, mutation resistance. Thanks to Ash I also had more exp than I knew what to do with. I (almost) maxed out Invo, just for the title.

Long story short, I decided to go see what the labrys and Manifold Assault can do in Tomb.

Tomb 1 has never been easier. Such fun to be immune to net traps.

On Tomb 2, I was tempted to just stay in the center, and safely clear the floor with scrolls of vulnerability, Discord and Disjunction. But I was set on lignification + labrys. At least try to get into a corner, I thought, so I read tele.

I materialised in a nice little room with only a few baby mummies, with the big central room just around the corner. The location seemed as save as Tomb can get. So I quaffed lig and proceeded to chop all monsters in sight.

My first small error was, that with the slippers melded, I was no longer immue to nets and my physical defences in tree form were WAY less impressive than before. Hadn’t thought of that. But that didn’t kill me.

I’ve always regarded Boris as a pushover. Weaker than a regular ancient lich. Didn’t think much of it, when he suddenly rounded the corner and I dispatched him easily enough, again. But he has learned a new trick in trunk. March of Sorrows creates clouds of excruciating misery. The name alone should have been warning enough. But even reading the descriptions and standing in this new kind of cloud, I didn’t worry.

I can handle a bit of draining, I thought. Only later, when I looked up the commit, I understood what had really been going on: Buff?: Clouds of negative energy -> clouds of excruciating misery · crawl/crawl@d47e5fa · GitHub

Tree form provides immunity to torment but no rNeg at all. And while misery clouds kinda work like torment, they ignore torment resistance. When I finally realised that I wasn’t being drained and instead was losing big chunks of health every turn, I still wasn’t sure how much of that was from the cloud. I could have just cancelled tree form and lived. Wouldn’t even have needed to step out of the cloud, the rNeg+++ from the GDS would have negated the misery completely. But I didn’t know this and didn’t pause and look it up.

As it was, I tried to outlast the cloud by chugging heal wounds. I didn’t dare cancel tree form because of many false assumptions: Surely with Boris gone, the cloud won’t linger much longer. Without tree form, this cloud might hit even harder. I can’t afford to lose the extra health from tree form…
Well, next time I know. Glad I learned this before the tourney, not during. Also, in hindsight, I think the descriptions are accurate enough. But still, highly misleading.

And the satisfying part? I killed Boris twice (Crypt and Tomb) and laughed at him, but the true Master of Life and Death, he still got me in the end. He patiently bid his time, while I fought through Pandemonium and all the Hells. Then he returned, just before I had reached my ultimate goal, lulled me into a false victory, again, and vanquished me even from beyond the grave.

This char was too lucky, too strong to win. How this ended, it’s epic.

edit: typos

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Great AAR! Makes me want to fire up a char and check the new Ash. I love the notoriety that some of the different uniques get, and the shifting nature of trunk in an ever evolving game…

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