Yes, it's true, I've played enough Nethack to have another ascention. This is my first ascention on the alt.nethack.org server, though, so some would argue it's my first "real" ascention.
Yep, that's me, in the middle of that pack of monsters. I'm the "E".
Everything looks strange because I was hallucinating. I think one should always
quaff a potion of hallucination before ascending. It's a shame that the
endgame messages don't change any, but really... if you were about to
become a demigod(ess), wouldn't you? What is really standing around me is:
a tame Ki-Rin named Elbereth, being ridden
a tame purple worm named Aesculapius
a tame Olog-hai named Vlad
a tame Olog-hai named Kaen
a tame silver dragon named Greyswandir
a tame titan named Mjollnir
a tame ice troll named Frost Brand
a tame fire giant named Hippocrates
a tame soldier ant named Picnic
the peaceful High Priest of Hermes
Which ones are which? Who can tell? Such is the fun of hallucination in Nethack.
Technically, only Elbereth, Aesculapius, Vlad, and Kaen ascended with me. It seems like there should have been a minimum of six critters ascending with me, even assuming that one of the creatures standing immediately next to me was the priest, but perhaps the game only allows you to take four pets with you to eternal glory. I had also had one additional purple worm just a few turns before, but at the last minute he ate Famine - which, it turns out, is a bad idea, even for a purple worm.
The game started auspiciously enough, finding a pair of speed boots and a cloak of displacement within the first four levels of the game. It was looking even better when I found a pair of gauntlets of power a few levels later. However, as I finished Sokkoban and STILL did not have even a plain old sack, not to mention a bag of holding... nor a magic whistle, nor a SINGLE scroll of enchant armor or even destroy armor, nor a key of any kind, nor an aligned altar or any holy water... I was beginning to wonder if this game was really going to go anywhere. Arrival in Minetown did not improve my opinion, as it had exactly three shops - one lighting store, one deli, and one tool store which contained a large box (which did at least have a spellbook in it), a blindfold, and two mimics. The altar was, of course, cross-aligned, and my pet dog (named Demigorgon) wandered off with the ONE potion of water that was in the deli and managed to find a pyrolisk before I could get it away from the little bastard. He managed to get himself killed by a watchman shortly thereafter.
To make matters worse, I'd picked up a case of teleportitis, and forgotten to turn off my autopickup when I walked into the lighting store. Suddenly the Keystone Kops were after me! Luckily, I had a wand of teleport, and was able to keep the watchmen and the Kops out of my way long enough to get back to Izchak and pay him the 8 gold pieces that I had accidently collected from the floor of his shop.
Mine's end did at least contain two touchstones as well as the luckstone, which explains the vast quantity of gems I was able to ascend with.
Level 23 finally had an aligned altar, the only one in the game.
Level 28 was the Castle, and I did manage to come up with a bag of holding and a key, but I was still seriously lacking a magic whistle, scrolls of enchant armor, enchant weapon, and destroy armor. Since my speed boots, cloak of displacement, and gauntlets of power were all thoroughly burnt, rotten, or rusty, it was getting to be an urgent situation. In addition, I was really starting to feel the need for a spellbook of identify, a scroll of genocide, some sort of magic resistance, a ring of slow digestion... and a saddle would be nice, too, as I had hoped to eventually ride a ki-rin to victory. Certainly, I wasn't going to go try to take on my quest nemesis with an AC of -1. The castle always contains a wand of wishing, and the obvious answer to all of my troubles was a wand of polymorph.
I was short on rings, scrolls, and potions in general, so I decided to set up a pudding farm. Puddings will divide when you hit them with an iron weapon, so if you can find a wimpy iron weapon (preferably a -4 knife or something) and be prepared to heal them when you've damaged them too much, you can generate lots of monsters in a short time. Puddings are slightly more likely to carry rings than other monsters, too, so it's a good way to get rings if you're short on them.
On my way to find a suitable pudding, I remembered that most of the time when you step on a magic trap, it will blind you and generate a couple of monsters. Monsters carry stuff, and so I jumped in and out of every magic trap I could find. They also leave corpses, so hunger isn't a problem for this game.
Afte the "magic trap boogie" and pudding farming, I had plenty of source material for polypiling.
I did manage to polypile up much of the gear I needed, although I STILL didn't get a magic whistle, despite having about a dozen unicorn horns and nearly every other tool I could collect from the entire dungeon in the pile. So I wished for a magic whistle, and the Eye of the Aethiopica, and the Orb of Fate. As a bonus, I got rings of polymorph and polymorph control out of the polypiling. Still no teleport control, though, and I was about to give up and wish for a ring of teleport control when a tengu showed up and conveniently left a corpse for me to gain the intrensic.
I went back to throw meat balls and lichen corpses at all the dogs, cats, and horses I had left alive along the way, and collected them all up in the Big Room next to a polymorph trap that I had found. (I've made a habit of hitting "s" instead of "." any time I have to wait for something. It increases your wisdom, and occasionally you find something really important, like, YOU'RE STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO A POLYMORPH TRAP!!!) A few hundred turns of patiently whistling, checking the result with a stethescope, taking it upstairs if it's a D or an & and whistling some more if it's an M or a :, yeilded a green dragon (Arthur), a white dragon (Gehennom), a purple worm (Croesus), a baby purple worm (Asmodeus), a balrog (Neferet), and most importantly... an incubus named Hippocrates.
I giggled every time it said, "You feel very attracted to Hippocrates."
It was as great a love as has ever been between a gnome and a demon.
Since the LAST time I went on the Healer's quest I had been level 17 with 150 HP, reflection, all the usual resistances, teleport control, etc. and STILL got killed by Cyclops and the Staff of Aesculapius level- draining me to nothing... this time I had a plan. My original plan had been to quiver up a ton of +5 elven daggers, but since I had polymorph control I had another idea. As soon as I found the bottom Quest level, I stood at the top of the stairs, took off all my armor, and polymorphed into a black dragon. I flew down the stairs and made a beeline for Cyclops. Before he woke up, I fired a couple of blasts of disintigration and turned him to a little pile of one-eyed dust. Nuke them from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.
With the Staff of Aesculapius and the Eye of the Aethiopica, the rest of the game was largely a cakewalk. I spent much of my time trying to raise up a pet that I thought would survive the trip through the elemental planes, but one by one my pets met their demise. I got a spellbook of charm monster on the quest, and so I aquired a silver dragon (Stormbringer), a ki-rin (Twoflower), and a titan (Ahriman).
Incubi, it turns out, have a 1/20 chance of becoming cancelled every time you consort with them. My experiences with Hippocrates had brought me to 23rd level when Hippocrates said he had a severe headache, and wouldn't #chat with me any more. It was only a few levels later that I caught him trying to take out his frustrations on a blue jelly, and got himself killed before I could get there to heal him.
Stormbringer ate a doppleganger and turned into a gas spore. He didn't last long enough for me to try to polymorph him into something else.
Twoflower never seemed happy. Every time I would #chat with him, he would whinney, no matter how often I healed him. I even tried zapping a wand of create monster, to make things to beat him up so I could heal him, and it just never seemed to work. By the time we got back up to my chest on Level 23, he was avoiding me entirely, and I simply could not get him to pick up and wear any of the good armor I'd been saving in the chest. Of course, in Nethack, this is a good way to get killed, and a couple of dragons took him out shortly thereafter.
Gehennom ran into a trapper... and where there had been a level 24, 176 HP dragon there was suddenly only a saddle. The others went one by one, in similar fasion.
Ahriman fared better. He actually stayed with me all the way to the Plane of Fire, the second-to-last level of the game. For some reason he didn't follow me through the portal to the Plane of Water, though. I had him leashed, he was standing next to me... but when I got there, he wasn't.
Sadly, that means I still haven't managed to bring a pet up from the dungeon through the elemental planes, much less keep one alive from beginning to end. That's the trouble with Nethack - there's always *one more thing* that you'd like to try... I don't think I'll go for the pacifist extinctionist game, though.
The final statistics:
You and Vlad and Kaen and Aesculapius and the invisible Elbereth went to
your reward with 6940893 points.
Frost Brand (worth 3000 zorkmids and 7500 points)
Orcrist (worth 2000 zorkmids and 5000 points)
Giantslayer (worth 200 zorkmids and 500 points)
Vorpal Blade (worth 4000 zorkmids and 10000 points)
Werebane (worth 1500 zorkmids and 3750 points)
Sunsword (worth 1500 zorkmids adn 3750 points)
Sting (worth 800 zorkmids and 2000 points)
Trollsbane (worth 200 zorkmids and 500 points)
The Staff of Aesculapius (worth 5000 zorkmids and 12500 points)
The Bell of Opening (worth 5000 zorkmids and 12500 points)
The Book of the Dead (worth 10000 zorkmids and 25000 points)
The Eye of the Aethiopica (worth 4000 zorkmids and 10000 points)
The Orb of Fate (worth 3500 zorkmids and 8750 points)
The Candelabrum of Invocation (worth 5000 zorkmids and 12500 points)
34 amethyst stones (worth 20400 zorkmids)
26 jasper stones (worth 13000 zorkmids)
24 turquoise stones (worth 48000 zorkmids)
24 topaz stones (worth 21600 zorkmids)
19 sapphires (worth 57000 zorkmids)
17 black opals (worth 42500 zorkmids)
17 emeralds (worth 42500 zorkmids)
17 jade stones (worth 5100 zorkmids)
16 rubies (worth 56000 zorkmids)
16 amber stones (worth 16000 zorkmids)
15 obsidian stones (worth 3000 zorkmids)
14 jacinth stones (worth 45500 zorkmids)
12 garnet stones (worth 8400 zorkmids)
11 diamonds (worth 44000 zorkmids)
11 jet stones (worth 9350 zorkmids)
11 chrysoberyl stones (worth 7700 zorkmids)
8 agate stones (worth 1600 zorkmids)
7 citrine stones (worth 10500 zorkmids)
7 aquamarine stones (worth 10500 zorkmids)
7 opals (worth 5600 zorkmids)
6 fluorite stones (worth 2400 zorkmids)
5 dilithium crystals (worth 22500 )
4 cheap plastic imitations of the Amulet of Yendor (worth 0 zorkmids)
3 amulets of life saving (worth 450 zorkmids)
and 96728 pieces of gold, after 141333 moves.
You were level 30 with a maximum of 478 hit points when you ascended.