The Tale of Iron_Tao - Taoni_the_Fell
After a first humiliating defeat on dungeon level Three to El Chupacabras (it was a small room with two exits where I thought I could stunlock entering minions from the one side. I couldnt and didnt. A minion circled around to cut off my retreat. Enter El C and company! It was all over but the bone crunching.) I had somewhat better luck in my second attempt, recorded below.
Town purchase: scroll ID
Level One -- the usual suspects. Shrines: Hidden. Drops included short bow x 3, short sword, staff HB(40), staff HB(42), Cloak 7, cap1, cap2, Staff CB(55), Staff H(21), books HB, HB, CB.
On entry, killed a
skeleton who dropped a club. Cleared the rest of the level with the club
to preserve my bow (lost only one durability). It was risky, however,
since no buckler dropped and I had to rearm with the bow at points where
my life dropped too low (can you say, life ONE) until I would level up
and refresh my life.
(From this point on, all items recorded except bows are magical drops unless otherwise noted.)
Level Two -- Corpse Captains, Zombies, Corpse Bows, Burning Deads, Scavengers. Shrines: none. Drops book H (Rotfeast), book HB (Soulpus), unique short bow (Shadowbite; bow is the Needler by the looks of it; did not ID it), Staff H(27), Cloak 6, Skullcap2, Hunters Bow, Staff FW(10), Staff FW(9),cap1,Quilt9(Boneripper), books FB, HB, CB, CB, HB, HB. Three regular short bows drop this level.
A bevy of bosses!
I used a bow on practically all the bosses, but otherwise cleared the
level using clubs and swords. Again, since no buckler dropped, a bit of
a risk involved. Would switch back to a bow if things got too dicey. With
all the grates and rooms, however, and facing no opponent who could open
a door, it was a done deal. No tense situations here.
Level Three -- Burning Dead Captains, Hiddens, Dark Ones, Scavengers, Fiends, Corpse Axes. Shrines: Hidden (again). Drops = Buckler(Warpskull) and two magic short bows, buckler on ground, books TK and FB.
Upon entering this
level, there was a medium sized room with grating across from the stairs
and to the South. There was a wall to the East, and a wall partially obscured
vision to the West. Good, I thought, clear out this grated room and use
it as an ambush point. As I walked to the room, four Hiddens materialized
inside it. Ha! My bow made short work of them! Entered the room and found
no other occupant but a Hidden Shrine. Hehe, Hiddens guarded a Hidden!
(Ok, ok, its hard to find humor in Ironman.) I walked out and turned
the corner to the West, hoping to entice foes to my ambush point. Man,
did I draw foes -- about 12 creatures heeded the call, a mixed batch of
Burning Dead, Dark Ones, Scavengers, and Corpse Axes. On my very first
bow shot, the little yellow marker sprang up in the bottom right corner.
Reduced durability! Hmmm, I should be ok. Then a tell-tale glow approaches
from the West. What the . . . .?!?! Its Warpskull and his minions,
well Ill be a monkeys . . . I finish bowing off the regulars,
but my first shot on a Warpskull gangmember and the durability warning
goes RED. Oh great, and after finishing off level one Ive muled
everything to town -- and I do mean EVERYTHING. Warpskull and company
are between me and the stairs! Im not looking forward to taking
on Warpskull with my bare hands (er, feet, in the Rogues case),
but I may have no choice. I line Warpskull up (walking until a minion
appears on either side of him, effectively boxing him in) and let fly!
His head eventually pops off with a reassuring bounce. Bow still at dur
2. Take out a minion. Check bow. Another minion. Check bow. And another.
Uh oh. Now the bow is down to ONE durability, and two minions remain.
Tao takes a deep breath, opens the door from the room, and dives out!
One Hidden blocks her, but a single shot sends it scurrying. The other
joins in, but an arrow to the chest forces it to flee, trailing blood.
A quick dash to the stairs and Ive made it! Back to town to drop
off the worn bow and pick up TWO others. Some serious retribution in order
Although I get King Leorics Burial Chamber as a quest, I feel Im
not strong enough to face the Skeleton King at this time. Ive put
every lup (of character attribute points) into Dex so far, and so havent
read any books beside Firebolt. Instead, I enter the level and take out
all the skeletons in the antechambers, and open the first of six (!) chests
known to contain magical items. Out pops a Hunters Bow and a Warhammer!
Not bad. Well come back to Leo later.
Level Four -- Horror Archers, Bone Gashers, Dark Ones, Goat Archers. Shrines: Eerie, Hidden (!!) Drops: Staff Flash(oh boy), Staff CB, Staff CB, Small Axe on the ground, Robe6 then a Warhammer (Gharbad the Weak), unique mace (Spineeater), Ammy (Goat), Ammy (Horror), regular skullcap4, Flail (Snotspill), and two books HB.
When Spineeater dropped the unique mace, I had visions of Dreamflange running through my head. Of course Bone Gashers are mlevel 8, and the Boss makes this drop be up to qlevel 12, and Dreamflange is qlevel 26. Not bloody likely! Ided it anyway -- Civerbs Cudgel, as expected. Now if either that Warpskull Buckler OR the buckler from the ground on level 3 are of blocking and Diablo will be history. Hmmmm. I wont waste an ID on Bucklers yet, however; and cross fingers hoping for a Glimmering Shrine.
Things get tense with
those large open areas housing mixed packs of Horror Archers and Goat
Archers. By the time Ive seen the Archers, theyve seen me!
Sometimes the arrows seem thick as flies as I dodge and retreat, drawing
out the Goat Archers to finish them off in private. Discretion being the
better part of valor, I break down and use my first Heal scroll -- pretty
early to have to do this, it being only level four. But again, since my
life is under 10 and I still have packs of Horrors to deal with and my
next lup in thousands of exp away, Ive got no choice. In a way its
good though, because now the pressure is off -- sometimes one gets so
frugal it gets downright obsessive! Still havent used a blue or
a red potion yet though.
Level Five -- Horrors, Goat Archers, Shadow Beasts, Dark Ones, Glooms, Burning Dead Archers, Mud Runners. Shrines: Cryptic. Drops: Hunters, Arkaines Valor, Maul (Foulwing), Leather12(ShadowCrow), Helm5.
No beast can stand
against my bow. Shadowcrows minions give me pause, however, as they
spread out and disappear. Luckily they are quite slow in movement. Since
the minions usually stand between the boss and your figure, aiming at
the boss-glow and firing madly usually leads to a dead Dark One. I thin
their ranks, then take out the boss. Leather12 drop -- nice! I ready it
and walk through the next door and WHACK! -- a little dude appears and
smacks me up side the head!
The Mudrunners guarding
Arkaines Valor arent that big a deal, except for one. I was
retreating, closed a door behind me, took five paces in a straight line
beyond it and turned. A pursuing Mudrunner opened the door and I gunned
him down within two paces of the now open door. The Runner behind this
one has stopped about four paces beyond the door inside the room, just
within my visual range. Good, I think, they never run through doorways,
and so I stand there and begin plinking away at him, scoring big time.
With a savage howl he charges THROUGH the door and smacks me! Yeow! That,
to my knowledge, was a first! Stepped back and gunned him down all the
Level Six -- Horror Captains, Acid Beasts, Glooms. Shrines: none. Drops: Ammy (Dog), Full Helm, Warhammer (Deathspit), Buckler, S.B.Bow (cant use, requires two lups to Str.). A regular Compsite and Longbow drop.
Not much of note here.
Deathspit is met in a long corridor, and since I outrange his spit attack
hes soon -- ok, sue me -- dogmeat. Another warhammer drop, sigh.
Wish I could get a decent jewelry drop from a boss. The rest of the level
is no contest.
Chamber of Bone -- Love getting this quest as so many good magic items drop. Im rubbing my hands anticipating my first ring or ammy; lets get busy! Using the Composite bow Tao pretty much blows up every single opponents she faces. By the time she gets to the room filled with the skeletons, she switches back to a short bow to conserve dur on the bigger bows (the comp and the long). The shortbow is a bit riskier, but the end result is the same -- shattered bones everywhere, along with plenty of drops, including another short bow and another composite bow! Switch to the first composite bow to get to the book of Arcaine Knowledge. With a full ball of mana I read the book -- my mana remains unchanged! Sweet, as sometimes reading that silly book drains my entire mana ball for no apparent reason. Drops from the two chests in the North are as follows: Long Battle Bow (nice), Broadsword, Mace, then Short Bow, Book TK, and Small Shield from the other. Doh! No jewelry! Stupid Chamber!
(Prior to entering Level Seven I ID Arkaines Valor. From this point on Ill wear it upon entering each level (wary of ambush), switching to a lesser armor after a hallway or door gets cleared, doing this latter due to durability concerns.)
Level Seven -- Mace Goats, Bow Goats, Mudmen, Familiars, Illusion Weavers. Shrines: none. Drops: Maul, Quilt9(Blighthorn), regular Lbow, regular Sbow, books HB, TK, Flash.
This turns out to be a serious level. First off, my short bow -- doing 9 -12 damage -- isnt stunning boo as far as the mace Goats (Night Clan) are concerned. There are SEVERAL times where a single goat surprises me and absolutely pummels my poor rogue mercilessly (read, stunlock). Its simply by mere luck and fast drinking that I last to a point where they interrupt their attack either to spin around (animation) or for no apparent reason pause and Im able to run away! run away! Then I can shoot em down as they walk back to attack. I drink my first red this level, and continually stumbling upon large rooms filled with Night Clan makes me acquire a real taste for that Potent Red Drink!
By the time Blighthorn shows up Ive acquired a very cautious attitude and have geared up a Composite Bow for scouting, switching to the short bow for Mudmen, Familiars, and Goat Archers that get frozen in position beyond doors. His minions peel off and charge attack me one at a time. And one at a time I dodge them, run after the attacking minion, and gun him down! Repeat the cycle until Blighthorn himself is left. Although his movement AI is a bit trickier, in the end its over -- he drops Quilt9. Sigh Still no jewelry. . . .
At least kind of,
because I do get the Hall of the Blind quest. Taking no chances, I change
to a Composite bow and Arkaines Valor after having read the prerequisite
book to activate the quest. Walking slowly back to the Hall and very careful
movement brings the Illusion Weavers against me in manageable numbers.
The Optic Amulet drops. I choose to ID it both so that I can read more
books and to help me in the casting of Heal on myself. (Of course I dont
ready it on any active level as that increased light radius really bites!)
Level 8 -- Familiars and Fire Clan Mace Goats. Shrines: Blood Fountain!! Huzzah! Drops: SBow, Lbow, Club(Zhar the Mad), books HB and Inf.
of bow switching here, with Compys and Lbows for the Fire Clan, and short
bows for the Familiars. When Zhar the Mad shows up I take off the Leather12
and put on the Arkaines Valor -- the room is VERY small, about 3
x 3, with Zhar occupying a spot next to the entryway. Im hoping
the higher AC of Valor will make those Fireballs miss -- if not, the reduced
damage should help, since my resistances are all zero. I activate him,
he drops a book HB. I go to the bookcase and get a book Inf to drop, and
two fireballs nearly fry my behind! I dash out of the room and turn a
corner, casting Heal on myself. Checking Arkaines Valor I see it
is durability 38/40!! Jeez, with just two fireballs I lost TWO durability
from my armor! Man! Walking back carefully Tao peeks around a corner and
positions herself where she can target Zhar while his fireballs impact
against the wall. Come on, jewelry drop! He plops out a club. Wah! Reviewing
the shrines, no Glimmering, no Religious, no Eldritch! Double Wah!! But
a Blood Fountain -- :)
(From this point on my recording of magic drops I will never ID/use is getting spotty. I get tired of stopping game play to record all those stupid axes and mauls! I will record them if they come off an armor rack or boss though.)
Level Nine -- Night Clan Archers, Poison Spitters, Blood Claws. Shrines: none. Drops: book Inf, regular Hunters, regular Short, and Long Battle Bow (from the Slain Hero).
I can pretty much
position myself to take out the Night Clan Archers without receiving return
fire, so they are no problem. The Blood Claws move so slowly and predictably
that I use Short Bows on them. The Poison Spitters are the only challenge,
and so I scout with Composite Bows at the ready. If a single spitter shows,
I can usually stunlock him and finish him without getting damaged. If
two or more show up, its fleet feet and a fast firing retreat. The
level is cleared without incident.
Level Ten -- Pit Beasts, Slayers, Obsidian Lords, Night Clan Goat Archers. Shrines: none. Drops: regular hunters, Short Battle Bow, Dagger (Blackstorm), Axe (Plaguewrath), Elix Magic, regular Comp bow, Claymore, Anvil of Fury.
This is a tense level as practically all the opponents Tao faces force her to move, exposing her to more Goat archers and further opponents. I keep the Arkaines Valor armor on for the entire level, and lose another durability from it. With very slow movement and no stair ambush Im able to carefully clear the level in a long, boring Search and Destroy mission. Then again, as long as its them that are destroyed, not me, I wont complain.
The Stairs are at
the far North central end of the map and Ive got a major North-South
running corridor cleared on the East side when I decide to go North and
then West -- past the entry stairs -- to see whats there. Almost
immediately I run into Plaguewrath and company, and they start coughing
up a storm! I dash back to the long North-South corridor and dive through
a gate at the top and slam it behind me! The dogs have to stop, and by
carefully positioning myself next to a wall and opposite the gateway door,
most all the dogspit gets blocked (mostly by the closed gate) while I
can effectively return fire. Really wish I had Firewall here, but no book
has dropped -- and I lack the magic necessary to read the book anyway!
Nevertheless with some precise pugilistics, Plaguewrath and his buddies
bite it. And speaking of biting, he drops an axe. Grrrrr. (Gotta wonder
what would have happened if I had initially chosen to go West from the
stairs at the start rather than East. I would have run into Plaguewrath
with nowhere to retreat to. Ah, the vagarities of the maze! And a tip
of the hat -- or a curtsey -- to you, Lady Luck.)
Level Eleven -- Flayers, Magma Demons, Pit Beasts. Shrines: none. Drops: regular Long War Bow (cant use, not enough Strength), Leather12, Broad Axe on ground, regular Plate 45.
Near constant use
of the Arkaines Valor and Composite bows due to the monster mix.
I can switch to Short Bows when Flayers show up, especially behind gates.
Pit Beasts can still be stunned by Compy fire. Nothing really interesting
about this level, but as an aside, I use up my last Short Bow on this
level. From now on my weakest bows will be Hunters and Longbows.
Level Twelve -- Vortex Lords and Fire Drakes. Shrines: none. Drops: regular Short Bow (oh no!), Longbow, Ammy (Viperflame) and Ring (Windspawn). Can you say Yeeeeee Haaaaaaw?!
The stairs are again at the far North and central end of the map and empty out onto a long East-West running lava river. Thinking that since on level Ten there was a Boss to the West(Plaguewrath), then that means simply by random law of averages the West direction should be the safer route to take, with less chance of a Boss being there.
Tao take about two steps to the West and activates three Vortex Lords. Shes got nowhere to run, a Comp bow at the ready and Arkaines Valor girded, and no choice but to stand toe-to-toe, dishing it out, taking it, and drinking. She goes through three reds but in the end the three bads boys are reduced to ashes. Im about to congratulate myself when I see a moving Boss-Glow threading its way toward me from the South. Errant bow shot activation or what??? Jeez, I pull up the inventory and restock Taos belt as Viperflame and company turn a corner! All those snakes! They are on the opposite side of the lava river for now -- if there is a way across it that they can access, Im dead meat. Very much like a bird in a snakes stare I stand frozen, not daring to move, watching what the pack does. They move East, then West, then settle down! Oh yes, the bridge leading across must be too far away for them to see! Without moving Tao carefully begins picking off Snakes, aiming for the ones in front of Viperflame first. This eventually brings him to the fore, and with minions on either side of him effectively pinioning him, hes a sitting duck -- er, Snake! After that, its a matter of simple subtraction as the remaining foes fall. And Viperflame drops an amulet! Lordamercy, finally a jewelry drop! Now if I can only figure out how to get across the lava river to retrieve it (dont have enough magic to have read TK yet)!
Eventually I figure my way around the Northern reaches of the map, finishing foes in the process, until I finally reach the amulet! Yessssss! Not even waiting to go to level 13 and the free town portal/stair, I burn a TP scroll and grab an ID scroll from my remaining inventory of eight. Cast it. Oh wow! OH WOW! Its an Amulet of Stars, +9 all! What a BEAUTIFUL ammy, what a wonderful ammy, what a fantastic ammy for a Rogue! Tao is just about dancing on her feet -- this ammy ALONE increases the damage her bow does by one! Sweet! Plus, it brings a bigger bow and about four more books into range, and she quickly polishes off CB, HB, H, and Inf.
Feeling VERY pleased
and a bit stronger, Tao goes back to the task of clearing out level 12.
When the level is about 3/4 done she runs into Windspawn, the Vortex Lord.
He and his gang lead her on a merry chase that uses the ENTIRE length
of the dungeon, even the last 1/4 that were previously unexplored. This
happens as Tao (me) gets confused while running, takes a wrong turn, and
ends up either having to retrace her steps and face Windspawn and his
entire group or venture into parts unknown. I figure that there cant
be a THIRD boss in this dungeon, as there are only TWO types of opponents
on this level anyway, and Tao opts for the Wilderness Run! Rather than
stop to face the new opponents she meets, she simply runs past them and
heads North back to Terra Firma. The new opponents pursue and get in the
way of Windspawns group and all -- even Tao -- have to pause at
a string of barrels baring the way. In a split second Tao chooses one
barrel, destroys it, and runs through! Now EVERYONE has to go through
this single tile choke point! What luck! Tao turns and begins firing furiously,
and takes out about seven opponents before a Snake finally slips through
and forces her to abandon her firing point. From there its merely
a matter of LOTS of running and shooting until all lie dead in a heap
at her feet. WHEW! And Windspawn drops a Ring! Huzzah! Back to town, burn
another ID scroll, and a Ring of the Giants +19 Strength is Taos!
Yes! This Ring brings both the Plate45 and LongWar Bow into her range.
Another nice drop!
(Just as an aside, up to this point the AI for the opponents has been pretty linear -- they see you and make a direct bee-line toward you, which is just what a Rogue likes to see. Plus both the Snakes and Balrog-type demons so far encountered stop and pause in their movements, making running away from them to successfully attack from a distance a surefire tactic. Im sure things wont be as easy in Hell, but those two sweet jewelry drops are going to even the odds too!)
Level Thirteen -- Steel Lords, Gold Vipers. Shrines: Purifying Spring! Drops: Kite Shield, Broad Axe (weapons rack), book Teleport, AND Breast Plate, Unique Breast Plate, Broadsword, Large Axe, Club, and Long Battle Bow at the Warlord of Bloods site.
The movement AI of
the Steel Lords is very linear, so I use up my last (again) short bow
taking them out. The Vipers are more of a challenge, but the entry stairs
are next to a wall which narrows the movement path down to one tile width
for a distance of about three tiles. I use this area as my own private
abattoir and slaughter a slew of snakes. The Warlord, for all his life
points, simple walks in a straight line too, as do all his henchmen. Its
a cakewalk for a rogue.
Level Fourteen -- Steel Lords and Gold Vipers again! Shrines: none. Drops: Tower Shield, Scimitar (Fangskin), Elix Mag, Staff Phasing (Steelskin the Hunter).
Ive cleared out a total of two rooms in the shape of an L with the stairs at the corner of the L when my next scouting expedition activates Fangskin and company. I dont have much room at all to run, and gun down only two opponents when they force me to a far leg of the L which is also a dead end. Just before they reach me, I set a TP and disappear! Back in town I get my best bow (Of Accuracy) and a few more TP scrolls, then walk back down to level 14. There I show up behind the mob and again kill two more snakes before having to cast another TP and doing it all over again. The third repetition is indeed the charm as when I kill off two more of their number, the remaining numbers are so few I am able to run circles around them and eventually kill them all. After all that effort, a silly scimitar drops! Bah!
Steelskin proves a
bit more formidable, or perhaps I was simply more careless. Yes, his movement
AI has him go straight for you, but he hardly ever stops and pauses! Add
to this the fact that my bow shots dont stun him, and I have two
serious episodes where he walks right through my withering bowfire and
dealts me a tremendous blow that drops over 1/2 my life! I run and cast
Heal, but its scarey when it happens again, and you begin to worry
it youll be able to take this opponent down. However, he eventually
explodes, leaving a Staff of Phasing in his wake. Pah!
Level Fifteen -- Steel Lords (AGAIN!) and Soul Burners. Shrines: none. Drops: Longsword, Elix Mag, Comp.Bow, Helm, Full Helm, Ring (from a Soulie) Kite Shield.
The Steel Lords are
getting tedious, not that Im truly complaining. By the end of the
level when I run a cursor over one, I see the message 226 killed.
Sheesh. The Soulies are much worse. Since I have no resistances, a SINGLE
hit from one takes over 1/2 my life and stuns me to boot! I have to move
very very slowy as even a pack of two is a life threatening experience.
Luckily the stairs and the shish-kebob men and the invisible wall
overhangs provide various ambush points where I can sit and shoot
them and they cant hit me. The Staff of Lazarus is located and taken
to Cain. I ID the soulie Ring drop since I still have a Ring position
to fill. Its Of Sorcery +19
The Chamber of Lazarus -- you know the foes. No shrines. Drops Ammy (Hellspawn), Breastplate (Hellspawn), Broadsword (BlackJade), Ringmail (Red Vex), Staff of Golem (Lazarus).
Since the witches
can be lured to ambush points near the doors due to their AI, they give
me no real problems. Laz and his bunch fall for much the same reason.
No tense points here, Tao rocked their world. The drops are lukewarm --
I wont ID the Ammy as I am so pleased with the one I have now anyway.
Nothing else to ID at this time.
Level Sixteen -- the Usual Foes. No shrines. Drops: Ammy (Advocate), Elix Str, Book CL, Tower Shield (Sir Gorash), and TWO ID scrolls! Now Im up to SEVEN ID! Woo Hoo!
The Blood Knights, due to their linear movement, are again a piece of cake. The Advos are much more difficult, and I get some severe practice time with happy feet while returning fire. Since Ive got so many blues in stock, I decide to use some mana shield scrolls and use up blues instead of Reds, which I plan to use versus Diablo. Seeing that the Long War Bow and the Long Battle Bow of Accuracy are similar in damage (range 26-39 versus range 27 - 36 respectively) I scout with the Long War Bow to take out Advocates, and switch to Hunters and Longbows for the Blood Knights. This speeds things up a bit as it takes at most three Long War Bow shots to take down an Advo, and the shots pretty consistantly stun them too. I clear all the rooms except Diablos without incident.
Now prior to the Diablo room I want to use some ID scrolls. My jewelry spots are ok, and I dont have another high level Ring to ID anyway (to replace the Of Sorcery Ring). My bows will stun Diablo about 50% of the time, so thats ok. I am hoping that with a good hat ID (say, another of Stars) and a good body armor ID (same type) Ill be able to add two to my bow damage and stun about 66% of the time.
Ah, wishful thinking.
7 ID scrolls. First I go for the Full Helm from level 15 -- its of Sorcery +17 Magic. Nice for the Mana Shield, but it wont increase bow damage. So I burn another ID scroll on the Helm from 15 and get an Ivory Helm. Bah! Next comes the body armor. I seriously want to ID the Unique Breast Plate which I know to be the Scavengers Carapace -- the minus 15 damage will prevent stunlock (I hope), and the +5 Dex might add to bow damage. Might. But first I ID the Ringmail Red Vex dropped from Lazs Lair, hoping for better. I end up with Garnet Mail, +45% resist Fire. Doh! I use another ID on the Scavengers Carapace. Readying it on my character, I find to my dismay that the +5 Dex it bestows does NOT up my bow damage. Sigh.
Down to three ID. Looking over my bows, I decide to try one final attempt at getting a superior bow, something with either a nice prefix or a swiftness suffix. I go for the Long Battle Bow from the Warrior of Bloods weapons rack on Level 13. Its a Ruby (+56% fire resists) Bow of Precision +16 Dex. Slightly better than my bow of Accuracy, but again when I ready it I find that it does no more damage than the bow of Accuracy. Bah! Plus, the durability is 15/50, making using it for anything other than Diablo a risky affair. Double bah!!
Down to two ID. Time to go back to Sixteen and see what Diablos room has to offer in the way of drops.
But first, oh my goodness, I forgot about King Leo. So its back to level 3 to pretty much slaughter that group, no contest. Drops include the Undead Helm, a Book FB, a Buckler, dagger, and Longsword. Interestingly, with me at only character level 25, these foes give NO experience. But I guess that thats for the best, as otherwise you could dodge Leo forever, killing the skeletons that he raised, and using then in a chessy effort to lup. As it is, they die quite nicely.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . .
Throwing the two levers I open up the fourth room. Preliminary scouting using the Long War Bow and mana shield take down about ten Blood Knights and six Advocates. These are the easy ones. I set up a portal to the West of the third (two lever) room (this being far away from the stairs, a good place to park Diablo), ready a sword and shield, step to the middle of the East opening of the third room, and cast a bolt lightning due East into the fourth room. I hear the telltale grunt of Diablo in answer, and immediately begin taking incoming Apocalypse. Oddly, I dont block them, but they dont stun me (the Scavengers Carapace at work here?) and they only eat about 1/3 my mana each. I have to sit and wait and take four Apoc blasts before Diablo himself decides to make his appearance. As he gets within arms reach, I dive up the portal.
In town I make the amazing discovery that somehow I forgot to ready a shield, just had the sword in hand! So thats why I didnt block those Apoc blasts! Then again, they didnt stop my movement at all, and they give me a bit of confidence in dealing with Diablo using a bow (since I wont be able to block those Apoc blasts either) and mana shield. Unfortunately, Im down to my last mana shield scroll, so this one will be it.
I gear up as much as I can, taking a horde of red and blue and yellow potions with me, then its a long walk back to sixteen to reenter via the stairs (away from Diablo, parked). I finish off the last of the bodyguard, hoping for a nice ring or bow drop. Sorry, Charlie. Just a Mace and an Elix Str.
Im down to my last two ID scrolls. Seeing how well the Mana Shield / Scavengers Carapace combo seemed to handle Diablo, I opt for going the bow route to take him out. This means the last two IDs will go for ammys, as opposed to bucklers (of fast block) paired with the Civerbs Cudgel.
I save the game at this point.
The ammys end up being Of Giants +18 Str and Of Vigor +16 Life; neither one is as good as my existing ammy of the Stars. Sigh.
Stats Prior to Diablo
of Iron_Tao, level 25 Ironman Rogue
Take the TP back to 16. Use the last Mana Shield Scroll. Lay down nine red potions near the third room, just in case. Walk to the West edge of the third room, peek around the corner to activate Diablo, and run back to the corner (so his apoc blasts wont knock be back and stun me). Begin firing furiously.
Diablo rounds the corner and immediately begins taking hits. It takes him a bit of time to close the distance as he is getting stunned often and sometimes he pauses to let off an apoc blast. The damage, as previously noticed, is about 1/3 my mana shield each. As he gets adjacent to me, he starts swinging. The damage with his hands is about the same as the apoc. Im shooting and drinking. Drink the first small blue. Shooting and drinking. The second small blue. Shooting and drinking. The first small yellow (skipping the large blue; the damage wasnt severe enough) and then the blood-spewing-fiend animation begins. The whole combat took less than 20 seconds. Not bad.
When I alt-Tab out and reboot the game, Im at the save spot just prior to IDing the last two ammys. Just as a what if exercise, I choose to identify two Bucklers, searching for the elusive fast block shield. I get a Buckler of Zest +6 Vit and a Buckler of the Sky +2 all. Using the Sky Buckler and Civerbs Cudgel my stats are almost the same -- to hit drops to 118%, but damage is 27-34 and then this will be TRIPLED when I connect with Diablo. Back down to try again, lets see what happens.
Repeating the procedure, I peek around the corner then dash back to one of the corners of the third room. Diablo pursues and quickly engages. The Civerbs Cudgel, when it hits, consistantly stuns Diablo. In turn, his swings and Apoc blasts are ALL blocked by the buckler?! I certainly wasnt expecting this! The combat lasts longer (about thirty seconds) but Tao doesnt take ANY damage and the Fiend finally falls! I drank nothing . Odd, as I was expecting him to do much more damage as I had no fast block and no Harmony/ Balance/ Stability items on. Ill take the end result, however, as the Demon Lord dies again.
And thats it. The game started Friday April 5th and ended Friday April 12th, with play time grabbed here and there (thank goodness for the save game feature in single player!). Thank you for suffering through the read, and I hope you enjoyed the write-up.
PS I kept track of the bows as I used them and discarded them. The entire game used ten short bows, five hunters bows, two long bows, three composite bows, one short battle bow, and one long battle bow for a total of 22 bows used up. There were at least seven bows remaining to be used on the ground in town.
PSS As another what if exercise, I IDed the Needler and tried to take out Diablo with it. Its damage was 27-29, below stun range, and Diablo chewed me to bits! So much for fast attack with unusual damage. Although I didnt actually die, I would have had I stuck around to the end -- I went through all 8 belt potions and then ran up the portal, discretion being the better part of valor and all that.
April 21, 2002