Where to start? I've been playing NetHack seriously for about four months. I played a few games in 2005 and 2006 but had no idea what I was doing and died rather quickly. In May I discovered the wiki. Suddenly games on nethack.alt.org started making sense. Then NAO had its June Tournament in which I watched a lot of extremely good players ascend repeatedly over the course of the month.
I had found I did best with barbarians but I got bored of just hitting everything. I wanted to be a spellcaster, and also to build a character so overpowered that he could pretty much knock the entire dungeon over. Therefore I switched to wizards.
I also switched to playing the game on dog, the old woaf shell server. It's more fun on a shared machine with other people playing, not to mention harder to cheat. (Hence the popularity of services such as NAO. But NAO is too public, and too far away in terms of ping time. Also I'd rather prefer to run my game inside a screen session on the same machine, so a random network error doesn't lose you your game...)
However, wizards are up against it at the start. The rather counterintuitive thing you need to realise is this: you can't actually be a wizard until you're quite far into the game! You just don't have the magic when you start out. Instead get your AC down by any means necessary. You could only have cast a couple of spells before running out of power anyway so failure rates don't matter. For weapons I use the quarterstaff I start with, and collect all the daggers I can find. I enhance dagger skill to expert, the eventual idea being that I will sacrifice monster corpses on the first altar I find until my god gives me an athame called Magicbane, the guaranteed first sacrifice gift for wizards.
Okay, after a few false starts, all that has gone to plan. Firstly, I started out with a wand of death, and immediately resolved not to use it unless I really had to. Then there was an enormous ring shop on dungeon level 3 which among other things gave me levitation. Now, even the Guidebook mentions that writing the sacred word "Elbereth" in the dust at your feet can cause monsters to flee from you. But beware, because if you move around too much, you'll scuff it up. But what if you're floating high above the word..?
So I arrived at minetown having picked up some decent armour, a stack of daggers, resistance to fire, poison and sleep, and an amulet of ESP, along the way. Yes I was very lucky, I know. The minetown temple was the first altar I'd seen but unfortunately it wasn't an altar to my god. So after running round minetown price identifying stuff for a while, I said "fuck this" and used the only wand of death charge I used during the whole game, on the minetown priest. I proceeded to convert the altar, and, a few more sacrifices later, I had my sacrificial dagger with its 1-turn semi-permanent Elbereth engraving and 95% curse resistance.
(I also almost died when I got surrounded by elves and thought I could take them, they had me down to 1 hit point. I really should have died here, this was easily the closest I came to death. But I knew the spell of jumping...)
Identified a whole load of rings and potions. Did Sokoban - only had to break 4 boulders(!) I swear I will do this without a mistake one day. Polymorphed some useless rings until I got conflict - I have all the good rings now, thanks to that huge shop on level 3 I mentioned. This made the treasure zoo at the top of Sokoban easy. Got the bag of holding I was hoping for, and also a saddle as a random deathdrop. I've never had a saddle before, might be fun to play with.
Okay I'm dithering a lot because this is easily the best game I've ever played and I don't want to screw it up. Managed to identify a ring of shock resistance by using a helpful grid bug.
Finally got cold resistance. Went down as far as level 14 looking for another priest to buy protection from. I shouldn't have killed the minetown priest but so far that's the only altar I've seen and I needed Magicbane. Went back up after I nearly died to an air elemental. Found a couple of shops; having a magic whistle and about four large cats and dogs means you never have to pay for anything...
Lots happened. Went back to minetown where my army of cats and dogs killed all the watchmen. Unfortunately the captain and her silver sabre killed a few of them. I carried on down to mines' end for the luckstone, and also found speed boots, and spellbooks of identify and charm monster.
On the way back up I dragged one of my cats over a polymorph trap and it turned into a jabberwock. This seemed like a suitable steed so I fetched the saddle. Jabberwocks can fly and hit very, very hard, so they make good pets. I spent a couple of thousand turns flying around until I could enhance riding skill to basic (so you can open doors and pick stuff up without having to dismount)
Okay, let's go and do the Quest. I went to see a woman named Neferet the Green who decided I was high enough level to go and kill some guy called Voldemort - no, sorry, the Dark One, not the Dark Lord, I get them confused, these evil sorcerers are all the same anyway. This one is also a complete wimp; I stabbed him with Magicbane, my jabberwock hit him a couple of times, I stabbed him again, and he fell over. In fact the hardest thing on the wizard quest was the arch-lich on the locate level. Something jumped into a polymorph trap, I guess.
I should say at this point when I picked up the Eye of the Aethiopica I was pretty certain that unless I did something really stupid this game would go all the way. A high-level wizard with the Eye, Magicbane, and a decent bunch of spells is nigh on unstoppable. I wasn't missing much besides reflection...
So, to that end, let's make some silver dragon scale mail! Recipe: First we make unholy water using a blessed scroll of remove curse read while confused. The water is used to curse a scroll of genocide. Read the scroll, say "silver dragon", and 4-6 are created around you. The third one to die dropped a nice set of shiny scales and my source of reflection. The final step - enchanting the scales into scale mail - would have to wait until I found another scroll of enchant armour, as I've run out.
I tamed the remaining three silver dragons and used them, a green dragon I'd picked up on the quest from that arch-lich's summon storm, and of course my jabberwock, to kill all the shopkeepers for protection money. Except Izchak, obviously.
Okay I've explored all the way down to Medusa's Island and there are no priests anywhere, so I guess I'll have to head for the one in the Valley of the Dead. Using a mummy wrapping I temporarily became visible for a moment to allow Medusa to stone herself, skipped the following couple of levels, and arrived at the Castle. Predictably there was another purple lich there, so I sat on the stairs waiting for it to teleport to me. Then I flew around to the back, dismounted, and jumped down a trapdoor.
I proceed to jump my way across the valley, teleporting monsters out of the way with wands of teleport as necessary. This would have gone fine had a demilich not cast aggravate monsters and woken everything else up.
So at level 14 I bought 9 points of protection. I then investigated a scroll in the corner of the temple, which turned out to be enchant armour, so I turned my dragon scales into scale mail. The two combined to drop my armour class down into the negative twenties.
However. I had reached the priest all right, but now the temple entrance was filled with monsters that that blasted demilich had woken up, and there was no way I was getting back. Completely surrounded by wraiths, vampires and zombies I posted a screenshot entitled "Time to use the emergency cursed potion of gain level?" into #warwick and left it.
Didn't play. Did some "research" instead. I'd worked out some useful results to do with experience levels, spell skills and spell levels, and did lots of testing in wizard mode.
Used the Eye to gate myself out of the valley back up to the castle. I was toying with the idea of using the valley wraiths to gain levels but luring them onto a different level where they might actually leave corpses turned out not to be worth the effort.
Having been reunited with my pets I cleared out the castle. I didn't even bother using the drawbridge technique, I just barrelled in and killed everything with spells and Magicbane. An ogre shot me with a death ray but it bounced off my shiny armour and killed him. Idiot. Those things should come with a safety warning. Picked up the guaranteed wand of wishing, which had two charges.
Went back into the valley, got myself surrounded by wraiths, then Eyeported up to Sokoban. Their corpses gained me a few levels. Hello, teleport control! Time to deliberately contract teleportitis by eating a leprechaun.
Raised attack spells to expert and escape and matter spells to skilled. I can now cast finger of death, and if my calculations are correct I need to be level 21 to cast polymorph and teleport away. Or I could go for level 22 and then I'd have enough skill points to raise both escape and matter spell skill to expert.
Used my remaining wands of polymorph to turn my collection of useless spellbooks of slow monster and detect food into more useful ones. Got detect treasure, which will be good in Gehennom. Didn't get magic mapping or teleport away though. (You can't get a spellbook of polymorph via polymorphing spellbooks, so I wasn't hoping)
Tracked down a grey unicorn and maxed my luck out by throwing gems at it. Preparation for some marker abuse later. I also have 30 blank scrolls and 20 potions of water.
Okay fine, let's break wishless conduct and get some magic markers. One of the many advantages of a wizard is that if he maximises his luck by throwing gems at unicorns or sacrificing, he can write unknown scrolls and spellbooks with a 98% chance of success. So I wrote myself a book of magic mapping.
Gehennom thus became a breeze, rather than a boring, repetitive slog. Having locked my pets in separate rooms in the Castle - I knew they'd go feral, but I could just charm them again later - I ran down Gehennom, casting magic mapping and detect treasure on entry to each new level. Firstly I investigated any interesting-looking objects with the farlook command, then I dug a path between the staircases and moved on.
Every so often in Gehennom you find the lair of a named demon. These were all easily dealt with - dug out of Juiblex, took Baalzebub down a level so I was on the upstairs and he couldn't keep teleporting away from me, dug past Orcus, came back up and hit him with a chickatrice corpse before he could waste any of his wand of death's charges on me. I left Asmodeus alive, because there was something I wanted to try...
Oh, and Vlad, of course. I beat him to death with a towel. It's traditional to use something stupid to kill Vlad, as he is ridiculously weak for a guardian of one of the cornerstones of the entire game.
Also today I finally got a wish from a djinni - I'd been blessing and drinking every smoky potion I could find. Fortunately since smoky potions were potions of extra healing, they were both abundant and otherwise beneficial! Treated myself to a helm of brilliance.
More research. Turns out if you bless the book of the dead it can make liches peaceful. Maybe worth a try. Or I could just kill them.
Finished exploring Gehennom. Finally found the Vibrating Square, the only location in the game you need to find which there is no clever way of detecting. Went back up and cleared the rest of the valley. A wraith surprised me by leaving a corpse.
Walked - well, teleported from staircase to staircase - from Medusa's up to dungeon level 11, casting magic mapping on each, just to make sure I hadn't accidentally missed the entrance to Fort Ludios. Sadly, I was right - the portal simply hadn't been generated.
Back in Sokoban, I wished for another magic marker and wrote a spellbook of polymorph. Polymorphed a load of useless potions. Got more extra healing, and another wish! Used that on yet another magic marker, and wrote a spellbook of teleport away. I now have all the good spells. I also polymorphed and wrote some scrolls of enchant armour, and have an AC of -38.
Okay, I slipped up here. I was killing time waiting for some of my spells to run out, so I could re-read them before going off to kill the Wizard of Yendor. So I thought, okay, I'll go camp on an altar for a while. This is where it gets complicated so bear with me:
I didn't want to get crowned. I already had all the resistances, and I knew finger of death, so the only effect of being crowned would have been an increased prayer timeout. So I broke a load of mirrors to lower my luck. However, sacrificing when your prayer timeout is zero can raise your luck again. So the idea was, sacrifice until you get "a feeling of reconciliation", then pray again.
You've probably guessed what happened - I prayed too early, annoyed my god, and lost all my protection. Okay fine I'm now on AC -29. But it's a fuckup and I'm not going to accept it.
I spent the whole day scouring the entirety of Gehennom for every piece of gold it had to offer. Thank goodness for detect treasure. I managed to buy all my protection back eventually, having drained myself back down to level 19.
Amusingly, the valley priest now has pretty much all the gold in the entire dungeon...
Okay I have basically nothing to do except the ascension run. I've done everything I wanted to, I've built the most insanely overpowered character ever. I feel a certain reluctance to ascend, as in a sense, ascension is just a fancy way of dying, and I'd have to start over again. I know I'm going to do it eventually, but...
Okay, fine, let's do this. First, let's get the amulet.
- I went up to the top level of the wizard's tower, dug through his wall, and cast finger of death. Rodney didn't even see it coming. Unfortunately I pressed the direction key for slightly too long and fell in the moat. Oh well I didn't really need those 16 cursed scrolls of teleportation.
- Go back to vibrating square. Put candles from Izchak's shop onto Candelabrum I stole from Vlad the Ineffective, and light it. Ring the Bell I stole from the Dark One. Read Rodney's Book of the Dead. Half the dungeon around me collapses. I love this part.
- Okay, now check this shit out. I go and fetch Asmodeus who is conveniently stashed on the level above me the vibrating square (I didn't want him interrupting the ritual) I drag Asmodeus down into Moloch's Sanctum. Being a high-level covetous demon prince, he detects the presence of something he really wants on the level, and teleports. I burn Elbereth on the stairs with a wand of fire and cast detect monsters. Over on the other side of the level a purple & is dancing around a white @. A few turns later the white @ disappears and the purple & reappears next to me. "Asmodeus? What's this? The Amulet of Yendor? Oh, how did you know?" At this point I'm laughing so much I have to stop playing for half an hour and calm myself down.
Now I have to carry the amulet upstairs to the surface. It's a curse; everyone's after you, it drains your magic so your spellcasting takes up to three times as much power (okay you just drop it before you cast but still) and there's this thing called the mysterious force which when you attempt to climb a staircase you might end up several levels back down instead. When I finally reached the castle, I re-tamed my jabberwock. Further up, Rodney showed up a couple of times, but I dispatched him with more death rays. Magicbane absorbed all the random inventory curses. I stopped off to show the amulet to Neferet the Green - completely pointless but I was feeling sentimental - and sorted through my stash in Sokoban one last time.
One final check on dungeon level 1 - plenty of scrolls of gold detection, sources of levitation, conflict, free action, unicorn horn etcetc., and yes, that is the real amulet - and up the stairs we go to the planes...
- Earth was easy. Rodney makes one guaranteed appearance here, but is dispatched as usual. The confused scroll of gold detection routine revealed the portal to be only a few squares away, so I zapped one of my dozen or so wands of digging, and ran for it.
- Air was... sad. First of all: don't put on a ring of conflict while riding! Your steed will throw you off. Okay fine, that was stupid. But then a black dragon incinerated my jabberwock! Destroyed the saddle as well so I couldn't get a new steed! Damnit all, I was going to ascend on him! I dropped the amulet and hung around for a while, killing things just out of spite.
- Fire, well I just ran across, I didn't feel like hanging around. The portal was a long way away but I just levitated across all the lava and ran in pretty much a straight line. Fortunately there were no Archons creating summon storms.
- Water, well, the portal moves around on water so I needed to use confused gold detection a couple of times but I found the portal fairly easily. I was pretty lucky here I guess, I've seen people get stuck on the plane of water for hundreds of turns because of an inscrutable portal.
Right, astral. I am very powerful, so I'm not going to do this the usual way of just getting to the right altar as quickly as possible. I've been promising myself for days that I'm going to nuke the place. I dump the amulet in the corner of the room and go to town.
Of the three liches only one of them was purple. This is why I waited until after the map had been initially populated, before quaffing all my potions of gain level and getting up to level 30. (I only wanted to be level 30 because it makes your magic missiles stronger) Then, priests and player monsters are mostly susceptible to finger of death; angels have magic missile immunity so I had to stab them with Magicbane. Then there are the riders; Famine and Pestilence can both be deathrayed but Death gets stronger if you deathray him, so I used magic missile. Death was nasty, actually, he took 50 hit points off me in one go. Don't ever melee the riders.
Along with the guardian angel which spawned on entry to astral I also managed to tame an Archon. I've always wanted a pet Archon. I also tamed a ki-rin; wish I still had my saddle... Actually I had spare wishes, I should have wished for one, oh well.
Don't know why I haven't ascended yet, apart from not wanting to lose the character. But I can't do much else with it...
Killed the riders a few more times and tamed another Archon. However, it's getting to a point where any monster that spawns immediately picks up one of the many shields of reflection lying around, and I'm fed up of meleeing stuff. Let's get this over with.
RjY, neutral male human Wizard --------------- |.............| |..---------..| |..|.......|[.| --------------- |..|.......|..| --------------- |.............| |..|..._...|..| |.............| |..---------..-- --------- |..|.....%.|..| --------- --._---------..| |..|.......|...-- --....(..-- |..|.......|..| --.......-- --)..|.......|..| |..|.......|....---[.....)%.--|..----|----..|--.........---...[|.`@A...|..| |[.|..._...-...)%% .(?)......||.%...%....%..||....```.[....[)..-)..@A..|%.| |..|.......|....---...[.....-----...(.[%.`-----......./.---.[.[|..A.A..|..| |.%|.......|...-- --...).??-- -----.----- --$...../-- --...|.).....|..| |).---------..-- ----[---- --.*...+.-- ----.---- --.%---------..| |..$%.%.%%....| |.)[--------........"--------..%| |..........%..| --------------- |.).[[..`.|...%.`.....|.)[...%.`| --------------- -------...--.........--...------- |...[--.......--..+.| --.%.----%----*.)--- |.....$.).....*.| ---------------- RjY the Mage St:18/** Dx:22 Co:18 In:23 Wi:23 Ch:18 Neutral Astral Plane $:0 HP:472(472) Pw:587(587) AC:-38 Exp:30 T:97971 Satiated Your inventory Amulets N - an uncursed amulet of life saving (being worn) e - the blessed Eye of the Aethiopica Weapons a - the blessed rustproof +6 Magicbane (weapon in hand) Armor K - a blessed fireproof +5 cloak of magic resistance (being worn) E - a blessed rustproof +5 helm of brilliance named wish 2 (being worn) U - a blessed fireproof +4 pair of gauntlets of dexterity (being worn) M - a blessed fireproof +4 pair of speed boots (being worn) J - a blessed +4 silver dragon scale mail (being worn) H - a blessed +4 T-shirt (being worn) Comestibles Q - an uncursed lizard corpse named f p sl c sh st di Spellbooks A - the blessed Book of the Dead Potions X - a blessed potion of extra healing Rings C - an uncursed ring of conflict G - an uncursed ring of free action (on left hand) L - an uncursed ring of levitation V - an uncursed ring of regeneration (on right hand) S - an uncursed ring of searching Z - an uncursed ring of slow digestion Wands I - a wand of cold (0:2) W - a wand of death (0:2) D - a wand of digging (0:6) v - a wand of digging (0:5) f - a wand of digging (0:1) O - a wand of lightning (0:5) p - a wand of lightning (0:6) Y - a wand of probing (0:3) n - a wand of secret door detection (0:2) y - a rusty wand of teleportation (0:4) q - a rusty wand of teleportation (0:3) Tools b - a blessed bag of holding j - the blessed Bell of Opening (0:2) c - the blessed Candelabrum of Invocation (7 candles attached) x - an uncursed leash w - an uncursed magic whistle R - an uncursed oil lamp l - an uncursed oil lamp B - an uncursed sack named Davidbane k - an uncursed skeleton key s - an uncursed stethoscope P - an uncursed towel named Vladsbane u - a blessed +0 unicorn horn Gems r - a blessed luckstone named v27 j30 a33 b34 o37 vl39 w40-42,44,46 VS47 Contents of the bag of holding: an uncursed amulet of life saving an uncursed amulet of magical breathing an uncursed +0 oilskin cloak 13 uncursed K-rations 2 uncursed lembas wafers 8 uncursed scrolls of blank paper 8 cursed scrolls of blank paper 5 blessed scrolls of blank paper 2 uncursed scrolls of genocide 2 uncursed scrolls of gold detection 7 uncursed scrolls of teleportation an uncursed spellbook of polymorph named 1 79594 an uncursed spellbook of teleport away named 1 79809 2 uncursed potions of extra healing 10 blessed potions of full healing 9 potions of holy water 6 potions of unholy water a cursed ring of invisibility named nazgul 1 a cursed ring of invisibility named nazgul 2 a cursed ring of invisibility named nazgul 3 a cursed ring of invisibility named probably nazgul 4 a wand of death (0:5) a wand of death (0:8) a wand of death (0:4) a wand of digging (0:8) a wand of digging (0:8) a wand of digging (0:6) a wand of digging (0:8) a wand of digging (0:5) a wand of digging (0:6) a wand of digging (0:6) a wand of digging (0:5) a wand of digging (0:6) a wand of digging (0:5) a wand of digging (0:6) a wand of digging (0:6) a wand of digging (0:5) a wand of fire (0:7) a wand of fire (0:6) a wand of fire (0:2) a wand of fire (0:5) a wand of secret door detection (0:14) a wand of teleportation (0:0) a wand of teleportation (0:4) a wand of teleportation (0:7) a wand of teleportation (0:6) a wand of teleportation (0:5) a wand of undead turning (0:5) a wand of wishing (1:3) a magic marker named wish 1 (1:8) a magic marker named wish 3 (1:6) a magic marker named wish 4 (1:5) a magic marker named wish 5 (1:2) 16 uncursed tallow candles a tinning kit (0:38) an uncursed amethyst stone named Boozebane 2 uncursed rubies named guaranteed valley rubies 2 uncursed rubies named guaranteed wizard's tower rubies a blessed touchstone Contents of the sack named Davidbane: a wand of cancellation (0:7) a wand of cancellation (0:0) a wand of cancellation (0:3) Final attributes You were piously aligned You were fire resistant You were cold resistant You were sleep resistant You were disintegration-resistant You were shock resistant You were poison resistant You were magic-protected You saw invisible You were telepathic You were warned You were invisible to others You were stealthy You could teleport You had teleport control You regenerated You were protected You were very fast You had reflection You had free action Your life would have been saved You were extremely lucky (11) You had extra luck Good luck did not time out for you You survived Spells known in the end Name Level Category Fail a - magic missile 2 attack 0% b - force bolt 1 attack 0% c - cone of cold 4 attack 0% d - finger of death 7 attack 0% e - magic mapping 5 divination 0% f - fireball 4 attack 0% g - dig 5 matter 0% h - charm monster 3 enchantment 0% i - detect unseen 3 divination 0% j - jumping 1 escape 0% k - knock 1 matter 0% l - light 1 divination 0% m - detect monsters 1 divination 0% n - identify 3 divination 0% o - wizard lock 2 matter 0% p - polymorph 6 matter 0% q - detect treasure 4 divination 0% r - remove curse 3 clerical 0% s - sleep 1 enchantment 0% t - teleport away 6 escape 0% u - protection 1 clerical 0% v - turn undead 6* clerical 28% w - cause fear 3* enchantment 0% x - drain life 2 attack 0% y - restore ability 4* healing 9% z - detect food 2* divination 0% A - create monster 2 clerical 0% B - clairvoyance 3* divination 0% C - extra healing 3 healing 0% D - slow monster 2* enchantment 0% E - invisibility 4* escape 0% F - cancellation 7 matter 0% G - cure blindness 2 healing 0% H - cure sickness 3 healing 0% Vanquished creatures [abridged] Asmodeus [Thanks again for getting me the amulet! I won't forget it!] Baalzebub Orcus Juiblex The Wizard of Yendor (4 times) Death (12 times) Pestilence (10 times) Famine (11 times) 4 arch-liches a high priest Medusa 11 master liches 4 Nazguls [I always have to harvest their rings. Collect all 9!] The Oracle [I need to keep better control of my pets!] 3 erinyes [extinct] 120 killer bees [also extinct. There were many beehives in this game] 3749 creatures vanquished. Voluntary challenges You never genocided any monsters [Magicbane makes genoless quite easy] You polymorphed 333 items You never changed form You used 5 wishes You did not wish for any artifacts Your skills at the end Fighting Skills riding [Basic] Weapon Skills dagger [Expert] quarterstaff [Basic] Spellcasting Skills attack spells [Expert] divination spells [Skilled] enchantment spells [Basic] clerical spells [Basic] escape spells [Expert] matter spells [Expert] Goodbye RjY the Demigod... You and the guardian Angel of Thoth and the invisible Archonia and the invisible Archonel and the invisible Kirino went to your reward with 5092236 points, Magicbane (worth 3500 zorkmids and 8750 points) The Candelabrum of Invocation (worth 5000 zorkmids and 12500 points) The Eye of the Aethiopica (worth 4000 zorkmids and 10000 points) The Bell of Opening (worth 5000 zorkmids and 12500 points) The Book of the Dead (worth 10000 zorkmids and 25000 points) 4 rubies (worth 14000 zorkmids), 1 amethyst stone (worth 600 zorkmids), 2 amulets of life saving (worth 300 zorkmids), 1 amulet of magical breathing (worth 150 zorkmids), and 0 pieces of gold, after 97971 moves. Killer: ascended You were level 30 with a maximum of 472 hit points when you ascended. You made the top ten list! No Points Name Hp [max] 1 5092236 RjY-Wiz-Hum-Mal-Neu ascended to demigod-hood. 472  2 379651 graeme-Wiz-Hum-Mal-Neu died in Gehennom on level 29. Killed by a baluchitherium. -  3 322884 davidf-Mon-Hum-Fem-Neu died in The Dungeons of Doom on level 27 [max 28]. Killed by a minotaur, while helpless. -