Do you want your possessions identified?

The first rule of NetHack is: if you’re having a good game of NetHack, don’t brag about it to anyone!

So after not having played NetHack for about a year, I decided to sign up for the annual /dev/null/nethack Tournament. Amazingly, the first game I played was going pretty well. If you’ve ever played NetHack before, that’s pretty surprising, because it’s not at all unusal to lose a few dozen games in a row without getting very far at all.

Things weren’t going fantastically, but they weren’t going too bad either. My pet kitty Ta-kun died on the first turn by walking into a falling rock trap. I got a bag of holding early on, and Sokoban had an amulet of reflection, so that went well. I nearly died to an army of soldier ants in Minetown, but managed to escape up the stairs with only 1 HP left! Scrolls of identify were few and far between, and even though I blessed every one I read, none of them identified all my inventory. I found some gauntlets of power, but not much else in the way of good armor, although I did manage to score some black dragon scale mail in Ludios (and almost got killed by Croesus there, if it weren’t for a trusty wand of teleportation).

The main annoyance was levelling up. Did they make this harder in 3.4.2 than in other versions? The game won’t let you take the Quest until you’re at experience level 14, but I spent a lot of time at 13. Getting level-drained a couple of times certainly didn’t help build experience.

So I finally did manage to go on the Barbarian Quest, which doesn’t have a reputation of being too hard. Amazingly, I find several scrolls of identify along the way. I planned to go back to my base (a cross-aligned temple in the middle of the Dungeons) to identify some more stuff, until I came across a cockatrice that left a corpse. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I decided to head right down to the bottom of the Quest and defeat Thoth Amon by thwacking him with the cockatrice and turning him to stone.

Lessons learned from that experience:

  • Thoth Amon is stoning-resistant.
  • Thoth Amon can teleport to the stairs to heal. (Like any other quest nemesis, I suppose, but remember, I was a year out of practice.)
  • Thoth Amon can summon monsters.
  • Thoth Amon has a destroy-armor attack that works pretty well if you don’t have magic resistance. Which I didn’t.

In the course of battle, he managed to destroy most of my armor, including my nice black dragon scale mail. I did kill him, but I ended up with half a dozen hit points and surrounded by monsters he summoned before he died. Not bothering to pick up my reward, I headed up the stairs. A troll followed me up and, thanks to my greatly reduced defensive armor, delivered the final blow.

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