EDIT: Sorry that this took so long. Recording here.
185,755: D40: Ascend +25!Equipment:
The almighty wand of domination! 0 enchants, 3 scrolls of recharging. Would have been 4 but I ID'd the first one a few turns before finding this.
+10 staff of tunneling: 7 enchants
+3 ring of awareness: 2 enchants
+5 obstruction: 2 enchants
+6 firebolt: 3 enchants
14 total. I imagine that several were burnt up by my firebolt casting allies.
I will be able to post a recording later tonight that goes down to D33, but didn’t have time this weekend finish and will not be able to upload the rest of the run from this computer.
I have decided to only swing for the fences in these contests and started this off with an ally run in mind. By the first vault I already had a +3 staff of tunneling and obstruction which make for my second favorite ally build set up. I also found a monkey on D3 which I decided must stay alive as it could potentially be the only ally that I get for the rest of the game, if only I had found the turd on D1 instead… 2 levels of XPXP makes an enormous difference in the survivability of a monkey companion.
D6 is when this seed starts getting really serious, with a pack of vampire bats and a goblin mystic gobo party. Luckily I have IDd all positive potions except fire immunity at this point and my health and strength have been improved. The only equipment that I’ve found by this point is a set of javelins, which at 14 strength are a huge improvement over the starting dagger. Unfortunately I was too oblivious to think to equip them yet. I have to use obstruction for the first time to keep my stupid monkey alive and then tunnel him out so that we can rest.
D7 is where I realize that I might really have a shot at ascending as there are 2 non-nested vaults, one has a ring of awareness and the other has a +3 staff of firebolt. I used to consider rings of awareness as a waste of inventory space, but I find them to be almost a necessity for me to ascend with an ally build in 1.7.2. The synergy between firebolt, obstruction and tunneling is freaking amazing and I put 2 enchants into each by the end of level bringing them all to +5. Also my monkey learned protection from a goblin mystic on this level. A protecting monkey, 6 enchants and having a strategy to use them by D7 has historically meant that I have very high chance of ascending in a contest and I am starting to get the feeling of “flow”
. On monkeys
: In the past and on the rare occasion that I bothered to keep them alive long enough to have them learn something I would go for strength sapping. Oh, what a fool I was. In a complex game of subtlety, opinion and style I feel that the statement: “Protection is THE correct first ability to let a monkey learn” is objectively true regardless of context. The most important reason is that it slows those clowns down enough so that you can overcome their primary disability, you start controling the location of battles instead of their "charge first" AI. The next reason is that it buys you an enormous amount of time to delay using your enchants or to find enough of them to get your build up and running. A single monkey with protection will give you reasonable odds of taking down an ogre with starting equipment. Mix this combo with nearly any single unenchanted staff and you can almost certainly take an ogre. You’re pretty much able to avoid using enchants until D10 when you have a reasonable chance of running into wraiths.
EDIT: Actually, you can take wraiths this way as well if both you and your monkey can attack the wraith at the same time. Even better if your monkey has also learned strength sapping by D10.
On D9 I am overwhelmed with joy at finding a captive ogre. Now I have a team that can handle lone wraiths and I haven’t spent a single enchant on melee gear! My emotional response to this cracks me up because in the past I would typically leave ogres chained when I find them this deep, considering them more of a liability then anything else.
D11: I find a wand of domination. Now the question isn’t IF I’ll ascend, but with how many lumenstones. I can’t wait to find a troll.
D12: I start the level telepathic hoping to find a troll to dominate and I find something at least 10x better, a seriously out of depth dar priestess & pink jelly pack. I start exploring hoping to find a good path to her so that I can avoid a pink jelly explosion and find that she is walking directly to the start of the level. I back track and search hoping for a secret door. I don’t find one but remember that I have a +5 staff of tunneling in my pack and open up a path to her. I negate the jelly immediately and stab it a few times to stop it from blocking the hallway, but she’s healing it. I tunnel a path around and take a few hits from the jelly as I walk past. I contemplate hitting the priestess with the +5 firebolt but worry it will kill her and then realize that my javelins will likely do the trick before she kills us all with lightning. With the new acquisition, team ggoDeye should be able to steam roll the dungeon until dar parties start showing up. I’m feeling good.
D15: I dominate a troll. I contemplate picking up a centaur as well but remember that they are useless against golems which make up well over 50% of the enemy HP pool in the deep dungeon.
D17: Ah, the sweet moment that I’ve been waiting for 5 levels: My first acidic jelly encounter. I wonder if it’s worth it this late in the dungeon as I’ve never tried an acidic jelly run and I know that they can start showing up at least as early as D10. Are they worth an incredibly valuable domination charge 7 levels of XPXP late? As you’ll find out, the answer is a “YES!” On D18 my troll steps towards an ogre when he has the tiniest sliver of health and dies. I still have absolutely no idea why it did that as I was at full health and it had another square to move to.
By D19 I had 30+ jellies and the ability to isolate and destroy dar parties. At some point I freed a captive dar priestess & a dragon. The rest of the run goes about the way you might expect. The biggest challenge was keeping my mobile healing battery alive until a jelly learned healing. At the very end of D32 and at the end of the recording that I will post I had lost all healers. I was so exhausted and frustrated that I took all of Sunday off from playing so that I wouldn’t do something stupid and blow my first real shot at a max lumenstone run in a contest. After resuming I ran back up above D20 and spent over an hour hunting for dar priestesses for my jellies to feed off of. I then spent about another 30 minutes making sure that there were at least 15 of the buggers before I made the final push to D40. In the recording you will notice that I only picked up the first 3 lumenstones. I’ve started clearing the deep dungeon and only locating the lumens to make sure that I don’t lower my maximum survivability by clearing my inventory of consumables. I go as deep as I think I can survive and then start hauling the lumens. In this run I cleared all the way to D40 before going back for them.
Throughout this run I gained valuable insights into what I think of as jelly “herd physics.”
- Low HP allies can essentially teleport to the other side of the herd by shifting the herd’s inertia through shifting its center of mass (you). I once noticed a dar priestess move 20+ squares in a single turn as the direction of the herd reversed and higher HP jellies continued to displace her. I used this phenomenon to keep crucial allies alive when they were low on HP.
-High HP, fast moving allies can stick to the center of mass (@) better than anything else.
The result of the last point combined with an enemy AI’s melee target preference for the lowest HP ally in reach is that dragons compliment jelly builds in devastating ways. You can control the dragons relative position by controlling where you are as they generally want to be directly near you unless engaged in melee or are at low HP. Combine this with being hasted and you can get devastating offensive power where you want it when you want it while the enemies attack jellies leaving your dragons unharmed.
One unfortunate thing that I learned is that flying jellies with higher HP and with nowhere else to go will push other allies around regardless of their starting positions. This means that traps, lava and chasms are fair game. My poor monkey from D3 made it all the way to the amulet and back down to about D23 before getting shoved into lava by a flying acidic jelly. I don’t know if this officially meets the criteria for the monkey challenge, but I’m personally counting it. The monkey was on D23 because I went back up to pick up gold and consumables that were left behind before I made my push for D40.
While I have always enjoyed jelly master builds, I had not come anywhere close to fully grasping their true power and utility before last week. 1.7 has introduced bloodworts and superior ally AI and has really opened the doors on making this a reliable and predictable build option for securing max lumenstones. I’m fairly confident that I can turn just about any seed with a wand of domination and either a staff of tunneling or a charm of shattering (all before D17?) into a max lumen run now. However, I am certain that I will never be willing to do it again with a staff of tunneling. This run took me over 16 hours to pull off and I would not recommend it to anyone who wants to continue enjoying this game for the foreseeable future. This ended up being the most mind-numbing and eye-straining gaming experience of my entire life. I believe that this would have taken less than 7 hours with a charm of shattering instead of the staff of tunneling based on a test run I made last week aiming for the Max Lumenstone Challenge
EDIT: Sorry that this took so long. Recording here.