::LP01, Part One: Beginnings

Hello, and welcome to my very brief and shitty pictoral Let's Play of Nethack. I've only just started actually 'playing' Nethack quite recently, though I've tried it out once or twice before and immediately given up. More often than not, the experience went something like this:

"Alright, 'Net Hack', show me whatchoo got. Why is there an 'at' symbol? Why is it telling me all this shit about a pony? Okay, hell with this, I quit."



"................. HOW THE FUCK DO I QUIT!!!!!?"

I've since matured and developed a taste for the finer things in life, finer things meaning Roguelikes of course. So let's dive right in.

I've decided to play as a Ranger (neutral, human, male). I've always liked Rangers for some reason, even before I got a hold of any Salvatore novels. My friends tell me it's because I'm an asshole who likes dumb things, and I guess that might be true. Moving on.

This session began as all do:

After logging in and creating the character anew, I'm greeted with this:

It is written in the book of Venus:  After the Creation, the cruel god Moloch rebelled against the authority of Marduk the Creator.  Moloch stole from Marduk the most powerful of all the artifacts of the gods, the Amulet of Yendor, and he hid it in the dark cavities of Gehennom, the Under World, where he now lurks, and bides his time.  Your goddess Venus seeks to possess the Amulet, and with it to gain deserved ascendance over the other gods.  You, a newly trained Tenderfoot, have been heralded from birth as the instrument of Venus.  You are destined to recover the Amulet for your deity, or die in the attempt.  Your hour of destiny has come.  For the sake of us all:  Go bravely with Venus! Hello James, welcome to NetHack!  You are a neutral male human Ranger.

Oh, why thank you Nethack! What a friendly game. Jeez, after all the stuff people say about this game, you'd expect it to be much less cheerful about introducing itself to me. For those who are curious, the little '@' is me, and the highlighted 'd' is my pet dog, who shall soon be named 'Molly'. Most (all?) classes in Nethack start out with a pet of some type. Knights get a horse, Rangers get... well, dogs apparently, and other classes get other stuff. I made a Barbarian who started out with a pet kitten once, which frankly was goddamn ridiculous and adorable.

Oh, and that '`' thing is a statue. I can't remember what it was a statue of, and I don't quite know how to interact with statues. I guess I could try kicking one, but honestly, I'm kind of afraid it'll come to life if I do, so I leave them be.

Before long, our valiant hero (me) is set upon by a vicious goblin. I make short work of him with my Blessed bow, and set about two important tasks: Taking anything of value from its body (in this case, an iron skullcap), and then of course IMMEDIATELY DEVOURING THE CORPSE FOR SUSTENANCE.

There is a goblin corpse here; eat it? [ynq]

Yes, in NetHack (as in many Roguelikes), your surest source of nutrition will be the freshly-slain bodies of your enemies. You don't have to eat them of course, but you'll save on non-perishable food items if you do, and since starving to death can and does happen in a Roguelike, you'll want to keep well-fed and save those rations for when you need them.

Not long ago, I faced this problem with a character in Crawl. It might just be my imagination, but NetHack seems a bit more generous with foodstuffs than does Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, not to mention that in Crawl, depending on your race, you can't even eat corpses when you're not already on the way to starvation. I was giving a Minotaur Berserker a run through the dungeon, and he was actually doing quite well before he starved to death. Alas, poor Minotard the Minotaur, we hardly knew ye.

Back to our hero's (James the Ranger!) tale.

After making my way through dark corridors and no doubt bravely slaying some monsters with my awesome bow, I come upon a room with a most glorious bounty!

Some type of silvery potion, some type of food thing, and some money. I actually recorded what it was in a text file, but stupidly did not save the file and so it is a mystery. Meh. I think the blue right-parantheses is some darts, but I've got a bow so fuck that noise. Darts are for chumps without +2 arrows.

I continue exploring this level of the dungeon, occasionally being taunted by noises of a shopkeeper that I can't find. Soon enough I stumble upon the altar of my goddess, Venus, and kneel at the foot of it to offer a quick prayer.

You feel that Venus is displeased.

Yeah, well, I'm none too thrilled with you either, bitch. Women, who needs 'em.

If you're curious, that 'I' trapped between two '`'s is a monster trapped between two boulders. As far as I can tell, an 'I' like that is where you imagine a monster to be depending on however you perceived it. In this case, it was struggling against me as I pushed against either boulder, so our brave hero came to the obvious conclusion that something is there. Probably a wise call.

I decide to put an end to the exploration on this level and make my way to the staircase (the '>'), where I descend to the second level of the dungeon, and shortly thereafter, ascend to character level 2.

You kill the lichen!  Welcome to experience level 2.

Oh, why thank you game! How nice. I don't know why this game gets such a bad rap. Incidentally, a lichen is some type of mold-monster. I'm not even sure if they move around or not, but hey, it's blocking my way so it has to die (and be devoured, by me). My dog and I continue slaying our way through the level, each of us eating a corpse every here and there whenever appropriate. Soon we encounter an Acid Blob, which sounds unpleasant so I decide to kill it. Neither my dog or I are going to risk dining on this particular bit of carrion for reasons that should be obvious, so we continue on.

You see and acid blob corpse.

Hmm, that's strange. I don't remember killing this one, and I've had a pretty close eye on Molly as well so I don't think she ninja'd this thing while I wasn't looking. Maybe she did, though... Dog works in mysterious ways, as they say.

Alright, what the hell is going on? Where are all these acid blob corpses coming from? I'm becoming concerned. For the uninitiated, all of the percent signs ('%'s) are food items (or corpses, but corpses are food items, so...). This particular level seems to be full of what I assume are harmful-to-eat corpses, so it's not doing me a hell of a lot of good. I decide to continue to the right and go down the first staircase I see.

The especially observant will note, however, that my character is nowhere near the right of the screen. This is because I'd picked up a spellbook earlier, and upon attempting to memorise a spell, my character felt 'a wrenching pain' (or something, I can't remember the exact wording) and teleported to where you see him now. That's... hm. Well, I've heard of people getting teleported into walls and instantly dying, so I guess I should feel lucky.

Being the smart chappy that I am, I decide to immediately read the spellbook again in an attempt to glean some insight from whatever arcane wisdom it holds. So yeah, I guess I learned a 'detect treasure' spell. That's pretty cool. I tried using it, but the game told me I don't 'have the energy'. I don't know if this means I need more food, or mana, or what have you. I suppose I'll have to try again later and hope for the best.

Since I'm over here, I decide I might as well use these stairs instead of the other ones. I'm not picky. I wait around for the dog and we head onward.

The dwarf thrusts her broad short sword.  The dwarf hits!

Well, this is new. This room seems to be all dark, and before very long at all I run into a nice Dwarf lady that stabs me with her sword. No worries, I've got a quiver full of deadly arrows with her name on each and every one. She is dead in short order. ...Eh? Ehhhhhh? Short order. Thank you, thank you.

Sadly, no dwarf corpse to messily consume, but there is a pretty decent haul otherwise. Pickaxe (with which to dig), a pair of shoes (in which to walk), a hard hat (with which to protect myself from random falling rocks... yes, that's a thing that happens), and a pretty mee-thrill coat to wear. Unfortunately, after grabbing and wearing all this crap, I can no longer slip into some areas that require me to go diagonal. Meh.

Molly picks up a +2 arrow.

No! Bad dog. Drop the ammunition.

My dog and I continue fumbling around in the dark, slowly (and I mean fucking slowly, this level took me like 25 minutes to get through) mapping out this part of the dungeon as best we can. In short, the process mostly entails walking in any given direction as far as I can before running into a wall. I then change direction and repeat until I find a goddamn staircase to leave this unlit hell-hole.

We continue doing this for quite a while, slaying the occasional Dwarf, Gnome and Gnome Lord along the way. I eat a few corpses, Molly eats one or two, everybody's happy. I fall into a pit at one point, but crawl out eventually. Molly does the same thing. Stupid goddamn dog, WEREN'T YOU PAYING ATTENTION?

Suddenly, from out of the dark floats a hideous, giant levitating eyeball. It catches me in its terrible gaze and I find myself frozen and helpless against it! Is this the end of our hero!?

You hit the floating eye.  You are frozen by the floating eye's gaze!

No! Molly destroys the eyeball whilst I stand paralyzed and helpless. Awww, what a good little puppy.

The two of us continue exploring this black labyrinth for a while until, finally, we come upon a staircase leading down.

Sweet merciful Venus, I knew it had to end eventually. Come Molly, let's leave this pitch black wasteland and find our way to more hospitable environs.

more darkness

Fuck you, Venus.

More next time.