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Archives: Extreme Angband


Angband, for those of you that don't know, is a so-called "Roguelike" open source computer role playing game set in Tolkien's world of Middle-Earth.

LuckyWizard has entered.
LuckyWizard: Hi all!
Nyperold: Hello.
Zup: Hi Lucky!
Sam: Hey LW!
John: You know, I don't think I've ever heard of an unlucky wizard. That might make an interesting subject for a short story.
Sam: Rincewind.
Sam: But you're right. I think he might be the only one.
Brunnen_G: Rincewind is awesome.
Brunnen_G: He's a wizard so useless he can't even spell "wizard".
Sam: No, wait. Questor Thews, in the Magic Kingdom of Landover books.
ChrisA: Are you referring to Rincewind the Chicken?
Sam: Someone plays Angband.
ChrisA: Yes.
Sam: Angband stole the name Rincewind from the Discworld books. But he's not referred to as Rincewind the Chicken in them, although he is.
ChrisA: Ah.
ChrisA: I take it you're pretty familiar with *band - no doubt made the whole trivia category yourself.
Sam: Pretty close, yeah.
Stephen: Sam: Heh heh heh.
ChrisA: The Angband Trivia collection is actually what brought me to Rinkworks.
ChrisA: Stephen: You made the rest, eh?
Stephen: Huh?
ChrisA: What was the Heh heh heh for?
Stephen: Yeah, I made all the Angband questions, actually.
Stephen: I'm recognized internationally as the 3rd Ranked Angband player.
Stephen: I'm 2,500 points at the next Angband Conference away from catching up to Mr. Norwyn Slarn, the 2nd Ranked Player from Iceland.
ChrisA: Ah. OK. That's why. BTW, how many variants have you played?
Stephen: Oh, all of them.
Stephen: At some point or another in my training.
ChrisA: List some.
Stephen: Amberband, ZAngband, Isoband, Flavor, Nangband, etc.
Stephen: As well as the original Rogue, NetHack, Moria, etc. etc.
ChrisA: Have you played Drangband? ToME? Cjaband?
Stephen: Yes indeed.
ChrisA: Got you cold there!
ChrisA: Now I have *proof* you're bluffing.
Sam: Huh?
Stephen: I am? I've played those.
ChrisA: There is no Cjaband.
ChrisA: Unless there's some really strange coincidence here...
Stephen: Ohhh, sorry, I read that wrong. I thought you said Chaband.
ChrisA: Google couldn't find it. It's my initials and I never published Cjaband.
Stephen: Which there is -- it's pretty obscure.
Sam: Charles Knox wrote it, as I recall. It was named after him.
Stephen: It only ran on the Amiga.
ChrisA: You're still bluffing.
Stephen: But one of the qualifying events at the International Angband Olympics is the "Obscure Variant" tournament.
ChrisA: What's your favorite feature of Drangband?
Stephen: Being able to play as the different colored dragons, of course.
ChrisA: Yes, but why do you want to? What's the best thing about the dragons?
Sam: Ok, this is sort of stupid. How many questions does he have to answer before you'll believe him?
Sam: What, you think I have an Angband Trivia category because Stephen *isn't* a champion Angband player?
ChrisA: No. I just had fairly good evidence that he was bluffing.
Sam: Around here, we trust each other.
ChrisA: Yup. And I trust you to rib newbies.
Sam: Stephen wouldn't say something that wasn't true.
Stephen: IIRC, they have a number of benefits and disadvantages. Massive to hit/damage bonuses, as well as wearing more rings and enhanced invulnerability. I normally play (Plain ol' Vanilla) Angband, though.
Stephen: I'm not an expert on all the variants.
Sam: Variants are for sissies.
ChrisA: My favorite feature is the hackable "racial intrinsics" - I can put a spot of code in there very easily.
Sam: Hacking source code is for wusses.
Stephen: See, I'm not a code hacker.
Stephen: Doing that stuff weakens your tournament play.
Stephen: Since ultimately it comes down to playing unhacked games.
ChrisA: The hacking of the source is in a lot of ways the best thing. Once you've slain Morgoth that is.
Stephen: True high-level players are all about killing Morgoth the most efficient way possible.
[Stephen->Sam,Brunnen_G] I have played Angband *once* for about 20 minutes.
Stephen: Fewest number of turns, etc.
ChrisA: With no artifacts, etc?
Sam: Fewest turns, shortest time, win with the lowest XP.
ChrisA: Lowest XP, eh? Sounds like fun! What about the weirdest race/class combination?
Sam: Weirdest race/class combo isn't really done. It's sort of an arbitrary kind of handicap.
ChrisA: Ah. So is "no artifacts"?
Sam: What's wrong with artifacts? Yeah, artifacts.
Sam: Real artifacts, not random ones.
ChrisA: It's an artificial limitation.
Sam: But that's dumb.
Sam: Why play the game less than the best you can?
ChrisA: For more fun.
Sam: Bah, fun. Serious players don't play for fun. They play for trophies.
Stephen: Playing blindfolded is the best arbitrary challenge.
ChrisA: Ever played blindfolded then?
Stephen: There's a tournament version of Angband called "BeepBand" that makes beeps to let you know what's happening. It's extremely difficult.
Stephen: Because you can't ask it to repeat the beeps.
Stephen: So you have to be able to mentally picture the screen.
Stephen: And keep all this in your head.
Sam: Stephen and I usually go to the Angband tournaments together. He's the expert, but I do pretty respectably. Last year I came in 443rd, with a 1789 rating.
Sam: Since you seem to be in with these frivolous sorts of things, there *is*, actually, a sort of joke prize for most creatively named slime mold. Last year, this Swedish guy won the prize for "Bert Lollygagger."
ChrisA: LOL!
Sam: Speaking of this, Stephen, do you know when and where the next ones are being held? I need to make plans with my job.
Stephen: The International Angband Olympiad is being held in Stockholm this year.
Stephen: I think in August.
Stephen: Nationals will be in Houston in May.
ChrisA: I don't think I'll go. Plane tickets aren't cheap.
Stephen: Oh, I'm sponsored actually.
ChrisA: By whom?
Stephen: Logitech pays for me to fly, so long as I use their keyboards while I play.
Stephen: And I have a link to their Web site in my .sig on
ChrisA: And they effectively pay for you to tell me that you use Logitech keyboards?
Stephen: Yeah, exactly. I only allow them to sponsor me because they make such fine keyboards.
Stephen: The Cordless Elite Duo is the keyboard I use at home.
Stephen: I use the standard Elite on the road, though, as it's a bit more durable.
Sam: I wish I were good enough to be sponsored. I'm getting there, though.
Stephen: I'm sure you'll be sponsored eventually. Your main competition is Rjeyk "Dragonsbane" Flortal. Damn Icelanders.
Stephen: If it wasn't cold there 99% of the year, they wouldn't spend so much time playing Angband and beating us Americans!
ChrisA: Quite so. Nor us Australians.
Stephen: But Dragonsbane is way off his game lately. I hear he's been slumming it at the NetHack championships!
Sam: I am so ready to whip him. I hear he's been training on kobolds, like everybody is since it's new in 3.0.0, but I think that's a serious mistake. I've been strengthening my play with the more familiar races.
Stephen: Oh, I totally agree. Kobolds are a waste of time.
Sam: Still, he's beaten Morgoth at level 41, and I've only ever been able to manage level 43.
Stephen: I've looked at the statistics tables for them, and you're far less likely to face them than all the commotion would make you think.
ChrisA: They have too few hitpoints.
ChrisA: I like the slower-advancing races, the ones where you can get lots of hitpoints even at level 5 or 10.
Stephen: I rarely get hit.
Stephen: Smart playing makes HP irrelevant.
Sam: If you're interested in tournament play, you might want to practice up. Stephen, believe it or not, has beaten Morgoth with a level 33 character. It's actually a world record, but since he was playing with a paladin, it took longer to win than the first and second ranked players took with their mage and warrior.
ChrisA: I'm not interested in tournament play. I play for fun.
Sam: Of course, a lot of the reason for that level 33 win was finding Soulkeeper out of depth early on.
ChrisA: Soulkeeper? The Adamantite Plate Mail? Joy!
Sam: I'm so jealous. Although at the nationals two years ago, I found Bladeturner 22 levels OOD and proceeded to smash my opponent to little bits.
ChrisA: Were these OOD items found in vaults?
Stephen: My best find (sadly, out of tournament play) was the time I found the Bladegnasher on level 3.
ChrisA: Bladegnasher? Never heard of it. New since version 2.8.2? I haven't studied the artifact lists in 3.0.1 yet.
Stephen: You're out of date, my friend.
ChrisA: What version brought in Bladegnasher?
Stephen: It's a great two-handed axe.
Stephen: Just a phenomenal weapon. I killed Morgoth at the 35th level, that game. My turncount wasn't bad either.
Sam: 8d9 [+5,+20], resist acid, fire, cold, light, dark, shards, nether, nexus. See invis, regen., +1 attack, fire brand.
ChrisA: Whoa.
ChrisA: What's the deepest you've ever been?
Stephen: All the way, baby.
ChrisA: All the way to where?
[Sam->Stephen] I think the max level is 255, but I'm not sure. Morgoth is 100.
Stephen: IIRC, there's a bug that prevents it from going deeper than 255. But that may have been changed in later versions; I haven't bothered going deeper for a while.
ChrisA: You're not *supposed* to get below 127, but I have been. How do you go about getting to 255?
Stephen: It's called BEING A MAN and not wussing out.
ChrisA: And finding staircases?
Stephen: Duh, no.
Stephen: I'm not some freaking newbie, here.
Stephen: I am HARDCORE.
Sam: Creating them, you mean.
ChrisA: Sorry, yes. But not if you're a paladin I think?
Sam: Then you do teleport level.
Sam: What the heck are the questions for?
Sam: If you've been lower, you know.
ChrisA: Because I like chatting with the experts, that's why.
ChrisA: I've been lower than the official limit, and wondered how deep a real hardcore player could go.
Brunnen_G: I've been so deep this staircase took me right out through the bottom of my keyboard and under my actual desk.
Stephen: 255 is the hard limit, from what I remember.
Stephen: Basically, my real strategy for the game is simple: Don't wuss out.
ahmoacah: How come when I don't wuss out I die on like level 2.
Stephen: The way to be the best Angband player is to be confident.
ChrisA: Yep. I do that.
Stephen: I know technically the game doesn't know if you're confident or whatever, but I'm telling you, when I play the monsters know me.
Stephen: They remember my name.
ChrisA: And do they back off or come in droves?
Stephen: They run like hell.
ChrisA: Then you're not a real man! You're not fighting them! You can't chase them all I hope.
Stephen: Unless I want them to come. They freaking obey me.
ChrisA: Ah. That's how.
Stephen: I don't WANT to fight them all the time.
Sam: Yeah, speed is important in tournament play.
Stephen: The less XP the better!!
ChrisA: I do. I *love* fighting them.
Stephen: My goal is to get down there as quickly as possible and rip out Morgoth's heart.
Brunnen_G: It's like Zen. You get beyond the mere game and into this sort of higher realm where it's all a mental thing.
Stephen: Exactly. And that's what makes human players better than computer bots, still.
ChrisA: My liking is seeing how high a clevel I can attain at dlevel 1.
Sam: The idea is to see how high a dungeon level you can go to at character level 1.
Stephen: Exactly, Sam!
ChrisA: No, I just don't play tournament. It's not as if I go slaying lice and stuff.
ChrisA: My personal goal is always to find the next staircase before I reach the next clevel. It's not easy. And keep in mind that I don't have Teleport Level at that clevel.
Stephen: You don't even need levels if you're good.
Stephen: dlevel, clevel, etc. All the same to me.
Stephen: The game is the thing, not your current statistics.
Stephen: And, my friends, the game is 100% mental.
[Brunnen_G->Sam,Stephen] Both of you guys are 100% mental.
Sam: It's too bad you have to kill Sauron to get to Morgoth. If you get down to Sauron good and early, while it still doesn't take much XP to level up, killing Sauron bumps you up a lot of levels, which sucks if you're trying to kill Morgoth at a low level.
Stephen: Yeah, I know. I wish you could reject all of that.
ChrisA: Hack the game then!
Stephen: No thanks. I'm not a cheater.
Sam: Hacking the game is CHEATING.
ChrisA: I know, but you wanted to discard the XP...
Sam: Oh yeah, yay, I beat Morgoth at level -5, because I hacked the game. WHAT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT.
Stephen: I'll bet you savescum, too.
ChrisA: No.
Stephen: In case your precious character gets killed.
ChrisA: I use the Esther philosophy: "If I perish, I perish".
Stephen: I *seek* death. Bring it on.
Stephen: If I die, then my character's time is up. He wasn't meant to survive *anyway*.
ChrisA: But making a variant is more fun once you've slain Morgoth a few times (which I have).
Stephen: I've killed Morgoth over 100 times. Still interesting to me.
ChrisA: Why?
ChrisA: You do different things each time?
Sam: Being better is never boring.
Brunnen_G: I still beat you, because I'm in a continuous state of never having started, which means on a higher plane of thought, I'm like in a constant state of having won.
Stephen: Whoa. Sweet!
Stephen: See, BG would be the ultimate Angband player. She's got it down. The game has a definite spiritual side.
Stephen: If you ignore that, you've lost already. It doesn't matter how technically perfect your play is. You can find every artifact you want on dlevel 5 but if you don't have the spirit of a warrior, you're sunk.
Sam: Life ain't nothing but BIG BUCKS and a BIG BAD BATTLE OF BALROGS.
Stephen: WORD!
Stephen: Anyway, Chris, I don't know who this Esther is (I don't think I've seen her around the tournament scene) but she sounds like she'd be a good Angband player, too.
Stephen: If you don't have the fortitude to play unhacked games, though, maybe you'd be better of with NetHack.
Stephen: Angband is a man's game.
ChrisA: Esther from the book of the same name, the book before Job.
Stephen: Uh, okay. I'm not much into books.
ChrisA: Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs... Got it?
Stephen: Oh! Is that that Robert Jordan series?
ChrisA: No.
Stephen: "Wheel of Time" I think. A friend said it was pretty good.
Brunnen_G: I think it was based on Angband.
Stephen: I've long had an idea for an Angband novel based around my character Zoraknab.
Stephen: Basically, it would be about this master warrior who keeps getting reincarnated and fighting in dungeons.
Stephen: I think they should write an Angband book.
Stephen: I'd read that.
Brunnen_G: Like Tolkien's stuff was.
Stephen: REALLY??
Brunnen_G: Tolkien is pretty derivative of Angband if you read it.
Stephen: I haven't read "Tolkien."
Stephen: Like I said, I don't read very much.
Brunnen_G: It's by a guy called Peter Jackson.
Stephen: Huh, that sound pretty good.
Brunnen_G: I guess. I'm not really into the Jacksons though.
Myrth: Tolkien even named his main villain "Morgoth"...
Stephen: Really?
Sam: The writers of Angband threatened to sue Tolkien over that, actually, which is why Tolkien later changed the name of his villain to Melkor.
ChrisA: Esther, for those who still haven't got it, is in the Bible.
Stephen: Ohhhh. I haven't read that.
Stephen: I've read the Angband Bible though.
Stephen: Good Web site!
Stephen: Excellent in-depth tournament analysis, among other things.
Stephen: Sadly, it's been down for a while. :(
Stephen: The maintainer, Freyjak Rivinar (Finnish, not Icelandic) is currently battling scurvy.
TalkingDog: What's the URL?
Stephen: But it's down now.
Stephen: Has been for a while. As soon as Freyjak gets better, it'll be back up and fully updated.
Stephen: There's a special charity event at this year's IOA to benefit him. Entry cost is an orange, and they'll all go to him.
ChrisA: OK, the discussion's largely turned away from Angband; also I have several other things I'm trying to do. I'll have to leave. Bye!
Selah: Bye!
Counterpoint: Bye.
ChrisA has left.
Sam: Oh my goodness.
* Counterpoint collapses in his chair.
Ria: That was funny and painful at the same time.
Selah: Extremely.
ahmoacah: Amazing.
* Brunnen_G tries to breathe.
* Sam dies.
* Myrth undies Sam.
ahmoacah: I don't think Sam needs undies.
* Stephen has, for the record, played Angband once. ONCE.
Brunnen_G: But that was at the world championships, right?
Stephen: Totally. Against Icelanders.
Sarya: Did I miss something funny AGAIN?

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