[crawl] YAVP and some musings on Air Elementalists

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.misc (More info?)

I've been playing a lot of air elementalists, first Grey Elfs, then
Kenku air elementalists, then Kenku fire elementalists with the aim of
finding a book of Air early on. All unsuccessful. Then Erik won the
kenku race, and I went back to GEAEs. A few nonstarters, one who got a
fair bit down thanks to an early ?Acquirement, and then finally a winner,
after not too many tries. The lesson? Kenkus might look good on paper,
but I find that they combine the toughness of elves with the
spellcasting ability of orcs. But flying is nifty.

The early game had some nice things lying around, but nothing
exceptional. I was beginning to get into the early midgame and then
found a ring of Ice. That, in combination with Bolt of Cold made up for
the deficiencies in the usual AE tactic of Shock + Mephilitic Cloud +
lots of running away with Swiftness. This together with air elementals
took care of most baddies after Vehumet gave me his support.

An early dagger of distortion sent me to the Abyss, which isn't too bad
for an air elementalist - you need to keep moving there, and keeping
moving is what AEs are good at. There I picked up the running mutation
from a passing neqoxec, which suited me fine. After getting out I went
back to the stack of weapons I had been wieldtesting, and the next one
turned out to be a short sword of distortion. (It sent me nowhere.)

With a nice ranged attack and Detect Monsters I went for the Elven Halls
after clearing the mines. That isn't the usual recommended order, but my
conjurers usually find it easy enough since the deep elves go down fast
from a few bolt of fire or ice. I managed to get Ice Storm to an usable
level before the last level, and doing hit and run while fast-running
and Swifted had the most satisfying results. Nothing too good in the
loot though, although all manners of swords, spellbooks and staves were
helpful.

Somewhere around here I picked up teleportitis and didn't want to risk
removing the running, so I kept up with it thanks to "Ed" (see below)
and an amulet of the gourmand. I did the Slime Pits and the first level
of the Tomb with teleportitis, but the latter proved a bit too annoying
and far too dangerous, so I went and cured it. Plenty of Silence, Air
elementals, running, and a few fire bolts from a rod later I had my
first golden rune!

(Using the rod felt a bit cheesy, but I only used it a few times for
speeding up the inevitable. My posse of air elementals worked well
enough, but since you can't yell at them while silenced they tend to
just hang around and not attack that Greater Mummy that bothers you. And
using elementals and Silence might be the easy way, but it's definitely
the air elementalist way.)

After that everything went fairly smooth. Ice Storm took care of the
baddies, usually together with a sprinkling of air elementals. I thought
about doing the hells, but decided against it because 1) the time was
getting late Sunday evening, and 2) I'm a chicken. :) I went for a romp
through Pandemonium though and had a fairly easy time until I happened
upon a level with multiple Executioners and Shadow Fiends, which
thankfully enough had an exit to the restful Abyss.

After that - Zot. Once I got past the traps it wasn't too bad. I
basically used the Aliens technique ("Take off and nuke the site from
orbit! That's the only way to be sure!") aka Detect Creatures + Ice
Storm. The game hanged twice after an Ancient Lich muttered something.
That might be considered a very powerful attack (well, it kind of killed
the player), but I'd rather see it bugfixed. At least I got the triple
sightseeing tour of Zot. On the way out a Pit Fiend waited for me at the
entrance. Perhaps the same one as Erik ran past on his way out?

Some thoughts on air elementalists:

They are the most versatile class of elementalists, but IMO the weakest.
The initial spellbook is fine and well rounded, especially when using
combinations of Swiftness, Mephilitic Cloud and Shock, and/or elementals,
but later on they lack real punch.

The Book of the Sky does have some really nice spells, but all the
higher level conjurations are quite lacking. I don't think I've ever
used Static Discharge, Airstrike was mostly useful to dump experience,
Lightning Bolt is okay when you can bounce the zaps, but fairly bad
otherwise, and Conjure Ball Lightning is fun, but only in the same way
that Xom is fun. And not a patch on the other level 8-9 spells.

What I'd like to see: Switch around Lightning bolt and Airstrike, of
course adjusting the damage when doing that. If the devs dislike
Lightning Bolt becoming Just A Bigger Shock spell, then an alternative
might be throwing one smaller Ball Lightning; the Air equivalent to
Fireball perhaps (and consider giving it miss chances, bouncing, and
preference for metal targets for flavour if you want that). Airstrike
I'd imagine as an alternative unresistable spell for air elementalists (
something they currently lack). Finally, Conjure Ball Lightning is fine
as it is if you could control their starting position somewhat. Having
them wander round a bit and randomly exploding retains the chaotic
element, while not making it completely useless for actual combat. (And
compared to Fire/Ice Storm the damage might be up for adjustment as well.)

Some other possibilities might be spells that push monsters around,
either away from you, like a strong wind, or randomly like a tornado.
Another thing is adding spells for in line with the archery discussions,
such as spells for enhancing ranged weapons or even creating ammo from
the air on the fly. The latter might not be too powerful if ordinary
missile breakage/shortage becomes less of a problem, and if the arrows
themselves are shortlived.

Finally, the character dump:

Dungeon Crawl version 4.0.0 beta 23 character file.

ivan the Storm Mage (Grey Elf)
(Level 27 Air Elementalist)
Experience : 27/1750704
Strength 15 Dexterity 20 Intelligence 24
Hit Points : 90/134 Magic Points : 4/48
AC : 42 Evasion : 27 Shield : 0
GP : 8734

// AC: 33 without Oz's armour, Ev: 19 without Forescry, and even lower
// without Blob. I needed Fly and might to carry all the stuff
// My richest winner by far.

You escaped.
You worship Vehumet.
Vehumet is exalted by your worship.
You are encumbered.
You are full.

Inventory:
Hand weapons
a - the +3,+4 quarterstaff "Blob" (weapon) (1856gold)
It has been specially enchanted to freeze those struck by it, causing
extra
injury to most foes and up to double damage against particularly
susceptible opponents.
It affects your AC (+5).
It affects your evasion (+3).

// found on the floor, not too long after X Pigemipix

b - a +8,+7 elven short sword of slicing (1422gold)

// to train Fighting

d - the +0 dagger "Yneterygynu" (420gold)
In the hands of one skilled in necromantic magic it inflicts extra
damage
on living creatures.
It affects your evasion (-2).
It protects you from fire.
It insulates you from electricity.
It protects you from poison.
It lets you levitate.
It lets you teleport.

// For eating poisonous stuff

e - the +1,-3 quarterstaff of X Pigemipix (198gold)
It affects your AC (+4).
It insulates you from electricity.
It partially protects you from negative energy.
It lets you teleport.
It lets you go berserk.

f - a +1,+0 dagger of distortion (80gold)

Armour
n - the +3 helmet of Limited Liability (worn) (6826gold)

v - the +2 pair of boots of Ej Dot Cog (worn) (2453gold)
It affects your damage-dealing abilities (+2).
It greatly protects you from fire.

// Very nice. Complemented the =Ice nicely.

z - the +0 mottled dragon armour of Decompression (worn) (28005gold)
It enhances your eyesight.

// Vaults

B - a +2 elven cloak (worn) (169gold)
K - a +2 pair of gloves (worn) (169gold)
L - the +1 cloak of the Untouchables (955gold)

M - a +2 jeweled helmet of see invisible (275gold)
N - the +3 animal skin of Qusiv (1128gold)

O - the +1 wizard's hat of the Barnacle (2320gold)

S - the +3 robe of the Loofah (2164gold)
It affects your accuracy (+3).

Magical devices
g - a wand of digging (13) (108gold)
r - a wand of cold (15) (180gold)
s - a wand of fire (15) (180gold)
Q - a wand of hasting (13) (162gold)
Comestibles
h - 20 honeycombs (2240gold)
Scrolls
i - 6 scrolls of teleportation (180gold)
m - 12 scrolls of blinking (360gold)
C - a scroll of identify (20gold)
Jewellery
p - the ring "Ed" (right hand) (644gold)
This ring allows its wearer to control the destination of any
teleportation, although without perfect accuracy. Trying to teleport
into
a solid object will result in a random teleportation, at least in the
case
of a normal teleportation. Also be wary that controlled teleports
will
contaminate the subject with residual magical energy.
It affects your AC (+6).
It affects your accuracy (+4).
It greatly speeds your metabolism.

// Made teleportitis tolerable in combination with a "Gourmand

q - an amulet of resist mutation (around neck) (210gold)
D - a ring of ice (left hand) (434gold)

// Didn't leave my hands much

J - the amulet of Four Winds (560gold)
This amulet protects its wearer from some forms of mental confusion.
It partially protects you from negative energy.
It protects you from magic.

P - an amulet of conservation (175gold)
R - an amulet of the gourmand (105gold)

// Helped with the hunger from Ed

T - a ring of protection from fire (210gold)
Potions
c - 2 potions of cure mutation (300gold)
k - 4 potions of healing (80gold)
l - 6 potions of heal wounds (180gold)
y - 3 potions of might (75gold)
Magical staves
w - a staff of cold (250gold)
x - a staff of conjuration (250gold)
F - a rod of destruction (250gold)
// Fire

I - a rod of destruction (250gold)
// Iron bolt

U - a rod of striking (150gold)
// It's only when playing a spellcaster you find three rods in the
// wild

W - a staff of air (250gold)

// ?Acquirement

Orbs of Power
o - the Orb of Zot (10000gold)
Miscellaneous
j - a demonic rune of Zot (5000gold)
t - a silver rune of Zot (5000gold)
u - a decaying rune of Zot (5000gold)
A - the horn of Geryon (5000gold)
E - a golden rune of Zot (5000gold)
G - a slimy rune of Zot (5000gold)
H - a serpentine rune of Zot (5000gold)
Z - a deck of wonders (500gold)
// Not used

You have 22 experience left.

Skills:
+ Level 5 Fighting
- Level 5 Short Blades
- Level 3 Staves
+ Level 14 Dodging
+ Level 10 Stealth
+ Level 2 Stabbing
+ Level 1 Traps & Doors
// Got it in Pandemonium. Waited all the game for Detect Traps, but it
// never showed up. Blundered into Zot traps a few times.

- Level 23 Spellcasting
+ Level 25 Conjurations
- Level 14 Enchantments
+ Level 11 Summonings
- Level 1 Translocations
+ Level 8 Divinations
+ Level 21 Ice Magic
* Level 27 Air Magic
// I dumped ridiculous amounts of XP into this, mostly by Airstrike.
// Probably not the optimal way of playing.

- Level 1 Poison Magic
// Mephilitic cloud

- Level 12 Invocations
+ Level 1 Evocations
// Late

You have 9 spell levels left.
You know the following spells:

Your Spells Type Success
Level
a - Iskenderun's Mystic Blast Conjuration Perfect 4
b - Fly Air/Enchantment Perfect 4
// Nice together with the running mutation. I almost qualified as
// honorary Kenku. :)

c - Repel Missiles Air/Enchantment Perfect 2
d - Ozocubu's Armour Ice/Enchantment Perfect 3
e - Summon Elemental Summoning Excellent 4
// Mostly Air elementals, but some digging every now and then too.

f - Bolt of Cold Ice/Conjuration Perfect 5
g - Ice Storm Ice/Conjuration Excellent 9
// My favourite. :)

h - Blink Translocation Great 2
// To get past the traps in Zot, used i 2-3 times otherwise.

i - Abjuration Summoning Excellent 3
j - Detect Creatures Divination Excellent 2
k - Forescry Divination Great 5
// Towards the end. I had the levels to spare.

m - Deflect Missiles Air/Enchantment Excellent
6
n - Detect Items Divination Excellent 2
o - Projected Noise Enchantment Perfect 1
p - Shadow Creatures Summoning Excellent 5
// Fun in Zot: "The tentacled monstrosity hits the tentacled
// monstrosity."

r - Silence Air/Enchantment Perfect 3
t - Selective Amnesia Enchantment Perfect 3

Mutations & Other Weirdness
You are agile (Dex +1).
You are dopey (Int -1).
// Had +2 for a while
You cover the ground quickly.

You can spit poison.
You are partially covered in purple scales (AC + 2).
// Orb of fire
// Mostly lucky with mutations. I had deteriorating body and 1 level
// of herbivarious for a while, but a passing nexoqec in Pan
// got rid of them, helpfully enough.

(Do I qualify for the Erik Piper Wordiness award now?)

--
/Johan
4 answers Last reply
More about crawl yavp musings elementalists
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.misc (More info?)

    aioe is acting up, so it's off to Google I go...

    Johan Strandell wrote:

    [first air elementalist win and GE win since a looong time, thoughts on
    air elementalists]

    Congratulations!

    > (Do I qualify for the Erik Piper Wordiness award now?)

    I don't know, but I enjoyed every word of it.

    A heretical thought: maybe it's OK that air magic is the way it is.
    Consider this rough-and-dirty comparison of the elemental schools:

    Air: Great support magic, mediocre damage, fairly wide immunities.
    Cold: Good support magic, great damage, fairly wide immunities.
    Earth: Mediocre support magic, good damage, no-one's immune.
    Fire: Poor support magic, great damage, narrow immunities.

    So there *is* a balance; it's just that Air expects the player to
    either develop other schools or pick up a weapon... and it assists in
    both of these (though the "other school" supported is Cold, with
    immunity problems of its own).

    I *do* like your thoughts about missile-support magic, and they would
    fit the typical enchantments theme of Air spells well. Of course
    swiftness/levitation already provide support right now. But
    speed-branding for launchers as a high-level spell would be interesting
    and themeful, though you'd have to either close it off to Enchant
    Weapon III or make it level 9, I guess. Lower down on the scale, a
    magical gust of wind that makes missiles hit harder would make sense, I
    think.

    > Kenkus might look good on paper,
    > but I find that they combine the toughness of elves with the
    > spellcasting ability of orcs.

    Oh, I *agree*. Abso*lute*ly. Can we make that "deep elves?" ;-)

    Erik
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.misc (More info?)

    In <1119431279.076310.120920@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com> Erik Piper
    wrote:
    > Johan Strandell wrote:

    > [first air elementalist win and GE win since a looong time, thoughts
    > on air elementalists]
    >
    > Congratulations!

    Thanks! Didn't know that AEs hadn't been ascended, so that's a nice
    surprise.

    > A heretical thought: maybe it's OK that air magic is the way it is.
    > Consider this rough-and-dirty comparison of the elemental schools:
    >
    > Air: Great support magic, mediocre damage, fairly wide immunities.
    > Cold: Good support magic, great damage, fairly wide immunities.
    > Earth: Mediocre support magic, good damage, no-one's immune.
    > Fire: Poor support magic, great damage, narrow immunities.
    >
    > So there *is* a balance; it's just that Air expects the player to
    > either develop other schools or pick up a weapon... and it assists in
    > both of these (though the "other school" supported is Cold, with
    > immunity problems of its own).

    I can see your point, but I do think that Air gets a bit shortchanged
    compared to the other schools. The other three has spells that are
    usable the whole game, including the end game. Air has nothing
    comparable, and is not as self-sufficient as the others.

    It's good that the different schools have different flavours, but any
    level 8+ spell should be quite awe-inspiring, which Conjure Ball
    Lightning is not. In fact, I only see it as really usable in one or two
    places: Vaults 8 and Tomb 2. And like I said earlier, Lightning bolt is
    bad compared to the other bolts (higher cost, less damage) and Airstrike
    isn't very good either. A decent mid-level conjuration would help a lot,
    especially for those who doesn't like summoning elementals.

    Perhaps I'm too much of a roleplayer, but I had to dump lots of
    experience into Air to have it stay ahead of the other skills. I'm not
    expecting Air magic to become the equal of Fire or Earth magic in
    destructive capability, but with some tweaking Air could be a lot nicer
    without upsetting the balance. Who knows, then there might even be more
    wins with Air Elementalists? :)

    --
    /Johan
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.misc (More info?)

    Johan Strandell writes:
    > I can see your point, but I do think that Air gets a bit shortchanged
    > compared to the other schools. The other three has spells that are
    > usable the whole game, including the end game. Air has nothing
    > comparable, and is not as self-sufficient as the others.

    Air is my favorite element, and it has numerous spells that I use from
    the moment I can learn them until after I have the orb (or more likely,
    die). Swiftness and levitation are fantastic. Take you pick between
    repel and deflect missles, they're great. Haste isn't that bad either.
    And silence is one of the big four things that gets called
    overpowered.

    Air is probably the worst for conjurers, but it's the best for everyone
    else. Since conjurers are just one playstyle, air is really the best
    element for most characters.
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.misc (More info?)

    Igor D. WonderLlama wrote:

    > Air is my favorite element, and it has numerous spells that I use from
    > the moment I can learn them [...] Haste isn't that bad either.

    Unfortunately, it's not an Air spell. OTOH it's an enchantment spell,
    and if you're intensively using the best parts of the Air school, you
    are GONNA be training Enchantments, so it's easy to see how one can get
    confused.

    Erik
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