Over the past month I’ve played and won 20 Felid Chaos Knight runs in a row without dying (permanently). This post will be a collection of my opinions and experiences so far…
XOM wasn’t abandoned in any of the runs. I’m of the opinion that abandoning gods is lame and boring, doubly so for XOM.
Overall I’d say the benefits of XOM outweigh the downsides past the early game. Even early XOM actions are very helpful. For example a single animated club from a random enemy can clear the whole floor on it’s own, the player just needs to run as fast as they can to collect as much exp before it times out. A big gold gift can completely save the run if there are shops worth buying stuff in. XOM also love to enable stabbing by confusing, paralyzing, petrifying enemies, making you invisible or summoning allies that distract enemies. Mutations are also another benefit of XOM, you will often have many positive mutations each being a bit worse than a regular ring, but still very impactful. Thoughts on some mutations
Deteriorating body is probably the worst mutation you can get. If you have this I would consider quaffing mutation potions but keep in mind removing a specific mutation gets harder the more mutations you have (you can also just wait for thousands of turns wherever you have spare Zot clock, but this might be more hurtful than helpful) … If you cant’t get rid of it think twice about doing Orc since it has a lot of unavoidable damage and awards very little experience. In case you get stat 0, dying will reset your stats.
Teleportitis seems to be very rare from XOM for some reason. I only got it once this way as far as I recall.
Claws 2/3 were unavailable to felids since they got implemented. I noticed XOM never gave claws so I asked around and Sentei informed me of the restriction. Thanks to PleasingFungus for removing this! Now felids can enjoy troll amount of claws!
Frigid envelope is a really nice mutation early one and will save you lots of trouble in Lair where it will slow and kill cane toads and black mambas!
As far as bad XOM actions go, the truly deadly ones are getting abyssed very early (I’ve survived banishment in Orc without trouble so sooner than that), shadow creatures at an inappropriate time (like when running away from an enemy while being almost dead), lesser demon summons (you can’t escape some of them, some of them have unavoidable damage that will kill you in a turn or two) and a very unlucky polymorph into something too dangerous (just avoid death yaks and Gastronok if you aren’t ready)
I started every game by training 3 stealth. This is the only thing you will always do, being able to pick you fights is very important. Actually there is another thing you should always do, pick DEX on level up, no point in picking other stats.
If any lvl 1 or lvl 2 ranged,hex, summoning spells are found I would start training for them, if not I’d get more UC or maybe shapeshifting if I found flux form (more on forms later).
You can also train a bit of dodging for an extra point of EV or 2.
It is very important to pick up some sort of a ranged option unless you are absolutely drowning in wands and have MP powered wands mutation so you can kill ogres, orc warriors, wights and such safely. Avoid engaging orc priests, steam drakes as well as anything faster than you or anything that could potentially kill you at range (orc wizards and white imps are very dangerous early for this reason). Almost all of the early uniques are scary since a lot of them either have very high AC and damage or cast magic dart! Later on watch out for anything that can smite/airstrike/LRD if in statue form as well as any cloud using enemy, since you can’t dodge damage from those. Even catoblepas will do 1d12 damage to you every time it breathes at you!
For Lair ideally you’d want either some form (maw,blade hands, statue or dragon - last two can be used safely even at 12 skill in Lair, just be careful around komodo dragons) + some defensive jewellery (regen, gspirit, reflection amulet, AC, MP in case of gspirit, EV or DEX ring) or some useful spells. This will most likely be EH for sleeping enemies (you can combine this spell with passwall to get safe stabs from full LoS range; EH immunity is based on when you put the target to sleep, not when it woke up, so you can EH something that has been asleep for a while in case your first stab doesn’t kill), CT, early summons (hound and golem, mana viper and forest are also basically free to get and useful all game), book of alchemy stuff (petrify is like EH except it works on more stuff, irradiate is great and you will probably want to get it eventually every time you find it), frost book (Ozo’s armour is a spell you should always get, it’s kinda like getting extra 2-3 ring slots, ramparts and hailstorm do a lot of damage, hailstorm being useful even in Elf).
Vhi’s and Manifold aren’t that useful for killing stuff until you build up your mana pool but I think Vhi’s is one of the best low lvl spells right now. It’s not rare to 1 hit enemies even in Depths with it and the mobility it provides can save you a lot of times!
Statue form - in my opinion this is the best form by far. It gives you immunity to lots of nasty stuff like sleep (good way to die), engulf/drowning damage from those Shoals things (another way to die really easily). It doesn’t meld resistance mutations either so you will get free rF or rC often. In general it’s very hard to die with it, and it saves a significant amount of time. Finding it earlyish or not is about 40-60min difference, which is about 1/4 of my run time.
Storm form - I only used this form once. The high skill requirement as well as no HP bonus doesn’t help you with your weaknesses but the damage is so good it’s still the 2nd best form probably!
Dragon form - this form will completely kill your EV, but provide a nice damage boost. I suggest combining it with Manifold Assault later on. There were times when I opted to use blade hands over it.
Blade hands - felid form but you get claws 4/5 in exchange for losing stabs. Depending on your spells it might be better or worse than no form.
Flux form - same as blade hands except much worse damage but you can kinda kite enemies with it, I’m not sure if it’s worth using even in Lair.
Beast/Death form - I didn’t use these, beast form is like a slay ring that takes some exp to wear, ok if you can spare it but not amazing, death just comes too late
Maw form - this spell has no drawback for felids and will give you very nice damage boost as well as healing when dealing with pack. Perfectly fine to use all game if you haven’t found statue form.
Snake form - the worst form for felids (and overall?), not worth using at all unless it’s some randart that gives you something you can’t go without (you probably can go without whatever it’s giving you)
A lot of the runs were done with skill restrictions due to title collection. 7 runs were done with no skill above 14.9. Even with those restriction you can get all the useful stuff up (irrad, statue form, vhi’s, mana viper) and you are completely fine.
Often during the runs dying is a strategic choice. If you are close to a level up and have a life saved up it’s probably never worth using consumables to try and get out. Also if you die you can often come back and finish the enemy off since they will still be damaged. Keep in mind you can resurrect in bad spots!
Like here where I resurrected a tile away from my fresh corpse… But at least my flux form stacks were ready! I think it would be a good change if it always took 1.0 XL worth of exp to gain a level at least, dying with 99% exp and then finishing off whatever killed you to get the life back feels a bit cheaty.
Game 9 - a formless run that found a harm amulet in Shoals. Being an advocate of harm I had to use it. I didn’t feel like I was dying more quickly, but my hailstorm was very mean, often killing elves in 1 or 2 casts!
Game 13 - I died very stupidly on D15 twice. This was the closest I was to losing this streak so far, and doing Shoals with 0 lives was very exciting!
Game 17 - This run was the closest I was to dying and I hope it stays that way. D2 Natasha killed me after I managed to drag her back up. D4 had demon layout which meant lots of white imps which almost killed me every time and cost me most of my resources. D5 had all 3 upstairs and downstairs withing 20 tiles and there was a gnoll pack, D&D, ogre, sleepcaps and polymorphed Ribbit into raiju, thankfully my only tele landed me on a downstairs with use of my butterfly… At this point I had nothing. Next floor had double priest orc pack and I also died here to an iguana that chased me into a centaur + hound. So I had to run to D7 to avoid this stuff and that floor had Menkaure right at stairs and Pikel nearby. I killed them somehow and slowly cleared floor above. Later on D7 Joseph chased me down again… Floor below ant alarm trap triggered… the floor had Jeremiah, Erica, steam drake, yak pack and Maurice with iceblast, all on a fully open layout! I killed some, but left a lot and went to D9… and got shafted to D12 where I ran into a centaur pack that killed me and I resurrected in a terrible spot so I had to go down to D13 where I died to manticore + cyclops + polymorphed basilisk + lesser demons summon from Xom… Resurrection landed me near another centaur pack that was barely survived! When I went up to D12 I almost died to ynoxinul [1 HP, 0 lives remaining], but somehow managed to climb up where several cyclops and wraights chased me until I got to D10 that had a centaur pack and the Lair entrance… After this I managed to stabilise but Xom gave me teleportitis in Snake and 4 mut pots didn’t remove it! Xom scummed for 7k turns in D to get rid of it… Then died again in Shoals 1… But after this I managed to get going and stop dying all the time!
These runs have been very fun and I intend to keep going for a lot more if I can make it. When I started out I had a few goals and I managed to reach most of them already. This is now the longest XOM streak (pedritolo previously had it at 8), longest Ck streak (lightli at 12), my new personal best (previously 15). Sadly my name is not gammafunk so hellmonk doesn’t have to do batform only extended…
Next goals I have in mind is beating Kagerou’s (FelidMasterRace) and Kanra’s (Maud) streaks at 21 and 24.
Thanks to all the nice people who spec me and Flugkiller and Sentei for their help as well as people in #dcss!
If you notice any typos or mistakes let me know so I can fix them. Also ask any questions, I probably missed a bunch of stuff, didn’t want to make this post too long.