Followup 10 - Solo Victory for Hardcore Paladin
When last we left
off, Simba, the Hard Core Paladin, had defeated the Vile Countess and
had to face the Smith and Andariel to earn the coveted title of "Count."
The Smith, for all his work on the anvil, was known to hit HARD, and so
Simba waited until he was 12th lvl. Although he would soon want to push
Zeal (if he lived that long), Simba reasoned that lvl 1 Charge might be
more useful than lvl 2 Zeal, which is all he would be able to muster by
the time he would reach Andariel. Charge was of great benefit vs the Smith.
The short stun and knockback meant that Simba was virtually untouched.
The downside to the skill is very high mana cost, so many potions were
used (but hey, it's a tough single boss battle for a HC).
Simba's companion, Elly, had been slain by the Countess, but her good
sister, Hannah, agreed to accompany and comfort Simba. It was a very good
move actually... on entering the Inner Cloister one game on a resume,
he was mercilessly ambushed by a Boss pack of upgraded Quills. Brave Hannah
"took the bullet" and saved his life, as Simba escaped up a portal with
scant few hit points left. (Safety tip: Don't ever forget to switch to
Defiance before entering an unknown area!) The Paladin was delighted that
the mercenary Gaile would now join his side, firing elemental arrows.
On this next two level ups Simba learned Zeal and Cleansing (for the final
battle), and pushed a little on Vitality. I call VIT the lag stat, in
that it is the one most likely to save your life when an episode of lag
hits - the extra hp are nice. Down finally to Catacombs 4, the abode of
Andariel. There were a myriad of fallen ones (much tougher than D1, mind
you) and shamans and other nasty beasts outside the main chamber. The
wicked shameless monsters slew poor Gaile, and resulted in a very nervous
merc with fire arrow being hired. Simba felt great remorse at his inability
to protect the sisters, but he would just have to train harder.
The last battle required Simba to steel his nerves, and grip hard on his
Deadly Trident of Alacrity. As he opened the doors to the inner chamber
he heard a dreaded 'whoosh' (not unlike fairy tales he had heard of the
'CD spin up' beast). Before he even saw her, his health globe was green
and falling fast. He sprinted for the portal to regroup - he reached it
with *one* hit point left, and Andariel just about to deliver the killing
blow. There is nothing like a totally empty health globe to reach out
and squeeze the heart of a player with a Hardcore character, especially
on what would be his final battle! Fortunately, poison can drain you down
to one hit point, but not kill, and he had run just in time. The single
point of Cleansing was utterely insufficient to protect him - it reduces
not the damage from poison but the length of time it is active. He decided
to walk down the stairs again, and not take the portal. He did so with
Defiance and Charge ready. Since Andy did not repeat her speech, entrance
was much more smooth, and Simba was able to initiate a charge. Now I'm
sure Andariel had seen many adventurers slain at her feet before, but
she had never quite seen Simba, King of the Jungle, Charging at her with
a deadly Trident in hand and a defiant attitude. After closing in, he
decided to stay close, to take the swings rather than the ranged poison
attack, and so he switched to Sacrifice. (Zeal was too low level right
now, but in a few levels would have been preferred) Great drops of his
own blood dripped from his brow as he put all his might into the blows
(Might aura activated). The damage was oppressive, and in short order
Andariel was slain and the monastery itself erupted - with joy or anguish
he could not tell.
Long live Count Simba!!