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[Comments] (11) YAAP: Today, after over 15 years of playing Nethack, I finally won the game. I came back to Nethack a week ago after a year or so of playing Slash'EM and ToME, and found that my "crazy wizard" strategy was working a lot better than it used to. After a number of frustrating late-game deaths I managed to get a powerhouse of a crazy wizard who, despite (or because of) my careful planning, tore through the late game with nary a scratch. The charm monster spell is astonishingly effective in the late game.

Anyway, I've now joined the ranks of the ascended. Now to work on that foodless zen pacifist caveman.

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Posted by Riana at Mon Oct 23 2006 22:22

Congratulations on your achievement!

Posted by Leonard at Mon Oct 23 2006 22:30

There must be a category of Hallmark card for this.

Posted by Jarno Virtanen at Tue Oct 24 2006 01:47


First ascension sure does feel great, doesn't it?

Posted by Jarno Virtanen at Tue Oct 24 2006 11:03

Another interesting challenge would be a naked weaponless Samurai that wears blindfold on the first round and never takes it off.

Posted by Leonard at Tue Oct 24 2006 11:24

Yeah, that's the "zen" challenge. I might try something a little easier next, like a Tourist.

Posted by Tim May at Tue Oct 24 2006 13:08

Many congratulations Leonard. I remember my first ascension.

Posted by jacob at Tue Oct 24 2006 14:24

Man, and I still haven't started playing nethack. Gotta graduate, and all that.

Congratulations, though! That's pretty flippin' sweet.

Posted by Zack at Wed Oct 25 2006 01:25

I kinda gave up on Nethack after getting a character all the way to the vibrating square and then YASDing on a cockatrice while heading back up to wake up the Wizard. Sometimes I think about taking it up again, but I don't need another timesink.

Can you talk a little about this "crazy wizard" strategy of yours?

Posted by Zack at Wed Oct 25 2006 01:25

Oh, and, congratulations!

Posted by Leonard at Wed Oct 25 2006 08:18

The crazy wizard strategy plays a female (lay eggs) chaotic (kill everything in sight) elven (max INT 20) wizard who tries to get one of these magical advantages as soon as possible, and then uses it ruthlessly in the middle game:

* Self-polymorph, ideally with polymorph control but not neccessarily
* Charm monster spell (a new addition)
* Identify spell

In the very early game, a few force bolts in the Gnomish Mines can get you from XL 2 to XL 6 with relatively little risk. Anyway, once you have one of the advantages, you go to town.

A lucky or controlled polymorph turns you into a dragon, who can lay a bunch of eggs and get several pets capable of taking on shopkeepers. Or you turn into a cockatrice and can take on the shopkeepers yourself. If no polymorph or no luck using it, you rob shopkeepers with credit cloning.

Either way, early money and a pile of equipment comes from low-level shopkeepers. The money is donated to the Minetown priest for protection. After a certain point gold becomes useless and I stop carrying it.

Identify spell lets you keep your inventory down. I keep a cache of spellbooks near a dungeon branch (say, Sokoban or Fort Ludios). After the quest, when I start forgetting spells, I can get there quickly with the Eye of the Aethiopica.

Charm monster lets you avoid fights. A _lot_ of fights. Fights with giant ants, all the way up to fights in morgues and throne rooms in the late game. It took me a long time to discover this basic fact because generally my characters are total psychopaths who make me feel dirty writing about them, and this is out of character.

Over time I've gotten more serious about collecting useless objects of promising types and polypiling them. However the only useful things I got from polypiling in this game were a magic marker, my Hawaiian shirt, and all those backup amulets of life saving (those came from all the fake amulets in Gehennom).

Minor tactics include engrave-identifying every wand, making holy water by dipping or cancelling useless potions, and gambling a few magic marker charges on writing a spellbook you don't know (usually identify). I don't use price-iding because it's too time-consuming and makes you even angrier at all that time you wasted when you die.

Relatively recent additions to my strategy include credit cloning, switching from quarterstaff to elven dagger and trying to get Magicbane early, using the starting pet instead of abandoning it almost immediately for being too slow, and using Elbereth instead of forgetting. By the time I've done Gnomish Mines and Sokoban I'm powerful enough to avoid all but SDs.

Hope this helps. Don't know if I've said anything original. I thought I'd be Nethacked out after ascending but I'm still playing a few minutes a day, as tourists. I'm definitely done with wizards for a long time.

Posted by Zack at Sat Oct 28 2006 03:20

That's very interesting. I don't think I ever learned to take proper advantage of charm monster or polymorph self... and I was always in too much of a hurry to bother cleaning out shops.

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