YAVP: 8-rune (4xPan) Stoat Soup VSWz^Usk


I was pretty pleased to get this combo home first time; I’m not a big fan of vine stalker book starts where when your starting MP are cast away you’re horribly fragile with no help from potions. Of course, it’s another matter once you’re up and running and biting is constantly topping up your MP for casting, but you’ve got to get there…

I found a selection of gods on D:2 and took Usk as the best-looking choice. A D:6 orc arrior was the best performing monster of the game - HP 1/40 - so this could easily not have been a win. I had about three near-misses with that orc warrior, even assisted by a FDNe ghost, before polishing it off.

D:7 gave a +7 randart longsword of freezing, which was well ahead of any short blade I had; learned Searing Ray, which was a mainstay for a while; found a D:9 armour shop with all of boots, cloak, gloves, dwarven roundshield. (This was too much shield, and I’d struggle on with poor spell failure before finding a buckler later, then a decent kite shield).

Lair gave me a quick blade, Fulminant Prism (another spell that performed well early), and HP 4/61 to a black mamba… then Snakebite! This was clearly amazing at this stage of the game (although I wondered for a bit about it versus a +0 QB) and I’d be glad I’d trained the M&F when I got a sacred scourge much later in Pan. Hit a labyrinth on Lair:5, getting a decent randart ring {EV+4 Str+4 Int+4}.

Orc was not too much trouble with meph cloud to confuse the orcs, OTR to nibble away their HP, and fulminant prism to blow them up as they blundered around, and I bought the robe of Vines in a shop. This was very solid for a while - regenerating 4 HP a turn is amazing any time you’ve got a clear line of retreat; I’d find the moon troll leather on D:13 and dither over that for a bit (but stuck to Vines) - much later found a +11 randart scale mail on V:1 but it would take me a while after that to decide I actually wanted to wear it, perhaps only around the time I got Regeneration (the spell) online.

Down the main dungeon to be Abyssed by a wizard on D:14 - nervous but I got out OK - and peeked into D:15 but decided it was too nasty and went to Snake. Snake:1 had five shops and around here I started to wonder just how many shops this game was going to have - I’d already seen 11 in the Dungeon. (There were nine more coming, and I finished with a huge number of consumables…)

Snake was moderately nasty with no very good way to deal with shock serpents and a bad tangle with salamander firebrands on S:4 (fortunately the longsword gave rF+, which was my only source of rF) - Swamp by comparison was quite straightforward, and I had two runes.

After this I cleared D:15 and learned Ignite Poison and Velakast’s Superior Radiance (a Stoat Soupism - level 6 Hexes/Poison, tries to make everything rPois- as a hex before an OTR-like toxic radiance) - it was a while before I’d get Velakast’s online but it turned out even OTR and Ignite Poison is amazing, especially since I went to Elf first where nearly everything nasty isn’t resistant. I can’t believe I haven’t tried this before - duvessa’s spell guide says ‘“roughly 2x to 3x” as much damage as just letting the poison run its course’ but you get it right away, killing things and building Usk piety. OTR (or Velakast’s) then Ignite a few turns later was a mainstay for the rest of the game, right up to drac packs in Zot.

Elf, as such, was cleared with little effort - the Hall of Blades was the worst bit, and it wasn’t awful. I’d learn Insulation there but shortly afterwards I hit the Fleshworks on Vaults:2 and found the hat of the Alchemist. I’m not usually a fan of the hat of the Alchemist, but when all the resistances you have is rings of poison and fire resistance (and two good stat/AC/EV rings to wear), it looks pretty attractive. It also served to discourage me from unwisely wearing the Ponderhat.

Vaults to V:4 wasn’t too bad, although I did have to remember Ignite Poisoning a hell knight just does it a favour. Then to Depths, buying a randart scarf with {RMsl, rPois Int+4}, finding the Spriggan’s Knife (which I decided I didn’t want, but did have to consider), and learning See Invisible clearing up the one thing the Alchemist doesn’t do. (I had been wearing a helmet of see invisible, and was rather missing it).

V:5 was no trouble at all and I’d learn Orb of Destruction, slightly feeling the lack of straight up damage spells. Next was Slime, Grand Finale-ing the Royal Jelly and then blinking out, getting another decent randart ring.

Now I wanted at least one extended rune. I cleared out the Vestibule of Hell (Murray turned up, but wasn’t a problem) but actually I thought Pan would be better (and I did Hell last win). I did notice I hadn’t cleared out the Crypt - no problem, even with Bai Suzhen.

Pan started with Mennas, who it turned out I could just tab down; he dropped a sacred scourge and I regretted enchanting up a second QB (of freezing, so not useless, but the scourge was clearly going to be far more use). I did get it up to +6, but there was a missed opportunity there.

The demonic rune turned up in the ghost moth / eye of draining vault (no real issue) and almost next was… holy Pan. I did consider just bailing out of it with no rune to find, but I decided to have a crack at it, found I could pretty easily beat down corroded daevas (and I finished with 11 wands of acid thanks to the huge numbers of shops), Grand Finaled the seraph, and used the exit from holy Pan to drop off various goodies I’d found (my inventory was pretty full).

Back to Pan, learning Iskenderun’s Undoing (a Gooncrawlism, level 9 Conjurations, fires 8 orbs of destruction one in each direction but all targetted on one victim, hilarious fun) which I hoped to get online for Zot. (In the end, I didn’t use it much - but I did use it on almost every OOF I saw and it made pretty short work of them).

Lom Lobon turned up soon… but sportingly had positioned just enough guards outside their door that I was on full faith the turn I spotted them. Boom. Quite a few panlords went down to Grand Finale but this was the most satisfying.

Cerebov was not much more trouble; I exited through the Abyss very quickly (again, to make some inventory space) and plunged back in. As usual, Gloorx Vloq’s pet curse skulls were more problem than the panlord.

Finally, to Zot! The first draconian pack was surprisingly nasty (I find this is often the case) but after that it was pretty easy going. The lung of the orb vault I picked was almost suspiciously empty - a bunch of Orb Guardians, an electric golem, Killer Klown, drac pack, and a handful of orbs of fire, but nothing to really trouble me. Grabbed the Orb and off I went, seeing two panlords both of whom I killed.

Next is MDAE (old MD), who will be hoping books with Fire or Earth spells turn up…

1 Thank

I always enjoy reading your write-ups.

OTR+Ignite is so good. The alchemy changes in trunk made it even cheaper to get going in mainline.

Thanks! I’m afraid I am rather mediocre so they don’t turn up all that often. :-)