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NetHack-How many different ways can you die? (Discussion of other Roguelikes welcome)

gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
edited July 2011 in Games and Technology
nethackbig.jpg

What is NetHack?
NetHack is a roguelike from the late eighties where the player is attempting to obtain the Amulet of Yendor and ascend to become a demigod.

Being a roguelike, it's defined by frequent and permanent deaths. At the same time it rewards careful play and a smart player can escape almost any situation.

Why is it awesome?
Unlike most modern games there are an absurd number of interactions you can do, that range from killing an enemy by turning it to stone with a dead Cockatrice to polymorphing into a dragon, laying eggs, and having them hatch as tamed baby dragons.

And then there's the ways to die. Most of these have happened to me...

-Getting seduced by a Nymph who then steals your Wand of Death (that you hadn't identified yet) and zaps you with it.

-Casting Force Bolt in a store and destroying potions you can't afford, causing the shopkeeper to attack you.

-Drinking an unidentified potion to figure out what it is. It's Paralysis - something finds you and kills you.

-Trying to pickup a Cockatrice while not wearing gloves.

-Taking off you armor to climb over a boulder and getting murdered by a crazed Elf.

-Trying to get the Lady of the Lake (who apparently lives in a fountain) to give you Excalibur. Except you're doing it Minetown and the guards don't take kindly to you messing with their water supply.

-Trying to eat a giant corpse while not hungry and choking to death.

Sounds like Dwarf Fortress...
That's because it has a lot of similarities, both in terms of well over 50 different commands and an ugly ASCII interface. Fortunately, there's a pretty good GUI available (http://www.darkarts.co.za/vultures) that provides both graphics that let you tell what's going on and the context menus necessary to figure out what's happening. When in doubt right-click on something.

Vultures_eye.png

You've convinced me. Now what?
You can go one of two ways either play completely unspoiled or read http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page.

I did the latter and it still took me nearly a month and many, many tries to finally get a character entirely through the game. And even then, mostly because I got very lucky with being granted wishes from magic lamps.

What role should I play?
(Lawful Dwarf) Valkyrie and Barbarian are usually fairly easy to get started with.

Anything else I should know?
If you have a smartphone, it's pretty much guaranteed that there's a NetHack port for it. Playing without the keyboard can be a little painful though.

gjaustin on
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Posts

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Nethack is a classic but in my humble, StoneSoup/Crawl has made it obsolete in this day and age.

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  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Hmm, I'll have to look into giving that a try after I get bored of NetHack.

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  • SceptreSceptre Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I've tried to get into stone soup a few times, but it just hasn't grabbed me. Is there something I'm missing that makes it as awesome as everyone says?

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It still wants you to die, it just feels a little fairer about it. It's mainly the UI and graphics because I'm a puny man who can't handle my ASCII.

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  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It still wants you to die, it just feels a little fairer about it. It's mainly the UI and graphics because I'm a puny man who can't handle my ASCII.

    I'm with you on that. It's why I've only played about 5 minutes total of Dwarf Fortress.

    If I hadn't stumbled across an iPhone port I would never have tried NetHack.

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  • Dr.jebusDr.jebus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Entertainingly unfortunate death number 82:

    Get to the top of Sokoban, getting a bit hungry, opening a can for victory rations that smells like were-rat, and agreeing to eat it before reading that it was full of were-rat meat...causing impromptu polymorphing into a were-rat, causing me to be crushed to death by my inventory.......god damn it :P

    "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"

    -Rorschach
  • Dr.jebusDr.jebus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It still wants you to die, it just feels a little fairer about it. It's mainly the UI and graphics because I'm a puny man who can't handle my ASCII.

    I'm completely the opposite. I luvs my ASCII!!

    "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"

    -Rorschach
  • EstocEstoc Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    In Nethack, a polymorph trap is sometimes all it takes to lead yourself to an amusing death. Cue my running into a master lich in the 3rd floor of the Gnomish Mines. He had no business being there, and neither did the captain, stone golem, or minotaur the lich summoned that quickly turned my character into chunky salsa. Since this was a public server I was playing on, I hope that someone ran into the bones file, cause that would of been a good laugh too.

  • Foolish ChaosFoolish Chaos Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Dr.jebus wrote: »
    It still wants you to die, it just feels a little fairer about it. It's mainly the UI and graphics because I'm a puny man who can't handle my ASCII.

    I'm completely the opposite. I luvs my ASCII!!

    Same :P

    That GUI in the op is blasphemous

  • shalmeloshalmelo sees no evil Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Ewwww, what's this isometric shit in the OP? Graphics are one thing, but that? Is just wrong...


    Topic: I've probably played more nethack than I have any other game. It took me 15 years of trying before I got my first ascension.

    Steam ID: Shalmelo || LoL: melo2boogaloo || tweets
  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Estoc wrote: »
    In Nethack, a polymorph trap is sometimes all it takes to lead yourself to an amusing death. Cue my running into a master lich in the 3rd floor of the Gnomish Mines. He had no business being there, and neither did the captain, stone golem, or minotaur the lich summoned that quickly turned my character into chunky salsa. Since this was a public server I was playing on, I hope that someone ran into the bones file, cause that would of been a good laugh too.

    On the other hand, if you had a Scroll of Taming that Minotaur would have made a very nice pet.

    I ran into a shapeshifter in my most recent run (Elf Priestess) early in the mines, but fortunately it cooperated and only once went to a form that had a serious chance at killing me. I still used a lot of wands, darts, and crossbow bolts on it though.

    Also, starting with the Identify spellbook makes the game so much easier.

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  • citizen059citizen059 on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeamRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Most of my roguelike experience has been with stone soup, but I've started to dabble with nethack since finding it free on the app store. Now that I can take it with me on the iPad I tend to play it more often.

  • ColorlessGreenColorlessGreen Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    How I thought it was going to go:

    Me: Ooh, a wraith corpse. Free level! *presses "e"*
    Game: There is a wraith corpse here, would you like to eat it? (y/n)
    Me: *presses "y"*
    Game: Free level!

    How it went:

    Me: Ooh, a wraith corpse. Free level!
    Game: A wraith corpse has rotted.
    Me: Herp derp. *presses "e"*
    Game: What would you like to eat? [fhmyAFG*?]
    Me: *presses "y"*
    Game: You eat a cockatrice corpse. You turn to stone.


    edit: also, if it isn't ASCII, it isn't nethack.

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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I play NetHack in ASCII... but DF with graphics. At least NetHack uses clean ANSI and not random cluttery stuff.

    Also, cockatrice corpses should never be n or w (ww is wield w) or any of the movement keys and preferably a capital to prevent even more screwups. My favourite cockatrice screwup: outside the wizard's tower, wield a cockatrice corpse, move 2 steps, fall in a pit, stoned. Yes, I did have levitation. No, I wasn't levitating because I was dumb.

  • ColorlessGreenColorlessGreen Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Phyphor wrote: »
    I play NetHack in ASCII... but DF with graphics. At least NetHack uses clean ANSI and not random cluttery stuff.

    Also, cockatrice corpses should never be n or w (ww is wield w) or any of the movement keys and preferably a capital to prevent even more screwups. My favourite cockatrice screwup: outside the wizard's tower, wield a cockatrice corpse, move 2 steps, fall in a pit, stoned. Yes, I did have levitation. No, I wasn't levitating because I was dumb.

    Personally, at this point, my policy on cockatrice corpses is that they are allowed to be in one of three places:

    (1) in a bag
    (2) in my hand, while gloved, for exactly as long as it takes to stone the monster, and then immediately back to a bag
    (3) in a pit under a boulder

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  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Ok, for all the ASCII purists I've added a screenshot to the top.

    Also, it's Friday the 13th! Watch out for that -1 Luck penalty.

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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    NetHack: Always keeping you up to date on the important things, like Friday the 13th and the phases of the moon

  • Dr.jebusDr.jebus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Phyphor wrote: »
    I play NetHack in ASCII... but DF with graphics. At least NetHack uses clean ANSI and not random cluttery stuff.

    Also, cockatrice corpses should never be n or w (ww is wield w) or any of the movement keys and preferably a capital to prevent even more screwups. My favourite cockatrice screwup: outside the wizard's tower, wield a cockatrice corpse, move 2 steps, fall in a pit, stoned. Yes, I did have levitation. No, I wasn't levitating because I was dumb.

    Speaking of ASCI reminds me of this excellent idea

    A new twist on an old classic!

    "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"

    -Rorschach
  • RizziRizzi Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Is there a gui for nethack that isn't hideous? :P

  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Dr.jebus wrote: »
    Phyphor wrote: »
    I play NetHack in ASCII... but DF with graphics. At least NetHack uses clean ANSI and not random cluttery stuff.

    Also, cockatrice corpses should never be n or w (ww is wield w) or any of the movement keys and preferably a capital to prevent even more screwups. My favourite cockatrice screwup: outside the wizard's tower, wield a cockatrice corpse, move 2 steps, fall in a pit, stoned. Yes, I did have levitation. No, I wasn't levitating because I was dumb.

    Speaking of ASCI reminds me of this excellent idea

    A new twist on an old classic!

    Oh hey squidi is still around.

    Eh, something like that gets into trouble where you have 1 tile corridors going through the level, after all you can't see squat in the left and right corridors; if the focus moves with you (which would be kinda neat) you wouldn't be able to see details in the rest of the map (important when using telepathy).

    I like the ASCII because it's clean and every character/colour conveys information; the letter/colour combination can (with certain notable exceptions) ID almost every different type of monster there is.

  • Dr.jebusDr.jebus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    as a concept, it's nifty but needs work. I don't believe it would work on your traditional ascii either, what with characters overlapping, different font sizes, etc.

    But what if as you moved, instead of immediate movement, the view would gently pan between where you were standing, and where you are now standing? Just brainstorming. It would need a lot more work than just that.

    "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"

    -Rorschach
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Oh man I love roguelikes. I've been playing dwarf fortress a lot lately, but in the past I played ADOM, Crawl, and UnReal world. I would recommend all of those, especially unReal World it is pretty unique and not really like any other roguelikes I've played.

    Never tried Nethack, but I just downloaded it. That those Vulture graphics look interesting.

    Edit: OMG how could I forget Elona. Not quite as unforgiving as traditional roguelikes and pretty damn funny.

  • Alistair HuttonAlistair Hutton Dr EdinburghRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I love POWDER. Originally for the Game Boy Advance it has now been ported to everything.

  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    A GUI? Graphics??

    help buttons? easy to use interface???

    THIS IS NOT NETHACK!!!

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  • TheKoolEagleTheKoolEagle Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    nethack really has a fun learning curve, i mean all the ways you can die, its ridiculous.

    although when i originally played the first few characters all died from starving or dehydration, but damn I still fear drinking from any fountain or sink.

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  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    After managing to ascend an Elf Priestess this weekend, I had a pretty fun game as a Ranger.

    I found a +4 pair of kicking boots on the second floor, so I was doing 1d3+9 with kicks. So I ran around kicking everything to death! Then I died of course, but that's the end of most of these stories.

    Then last night I tested out a potion and it turned to be Polymorph so it destroyed my cloak of invisibility :( But it turned me into a Gray Dragon so I went and ate the two shop-owners nearby to get all of their stuff. Then it wore off at a bad time and I died :(

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  • ColorlessGreenColorlessGreen Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I think nearly all of Nethack could be summed up as: "I was doing this neat thing, and then this other neat thing, and then, suddenly, I died."

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  • Dr.jebusDr.jebus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    bamjo wrote: »
    Never tried Nethack, but I just downloaded it.
    You can also play NetHack online
    You can use PuTTY (or any telnet client really) and telnet over to server address: nethack.alt.org

    related stuff:

    Big Instruction Manual (should be spoiler free)
    a tutorial on using PuTTY with nethack (ignore the part that says to set the number pad to "NetHack" mode. It doesn't work unless I have it set to Normal)

    When you are logged in to the server, you can benefit from coming across other users' corpses. The way it works is when you descend to a new dungeon level, the NetHack server will randomly generate a new floor, or it will load a copy of a floor another guy died in (the entire level on which they died is called the "bones file" in NetHack vernacular). You will come across the player's ghost, who will be standing on his/her inventory.

    You can also join the IRC server irc.freenode.net and /join #nethack to dabble with the friendly nethack community. The bot Rodney will broadcast player deaths (mostly) and player ascensions, as well as noteworthy player achievements.

    One of the neatest features of using Telnet is that you can watch other players' games in progress. Likewise, you might ask for advice in the #nethack channel, and somebody can load up your game and watch you play, while walking you through a tricky bit.

    Finally:

    Big Spoiler Wiki

    "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"

    -Rorschach
  • LorkLork Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Nethack is a classic but in my humble, StoneSoup/Crawl has made it obsolete in this day and age.
    Not really. Crawl is more "balanced" but it achieves that at the expense of pretty much everything that makes roguelikes interesting or fun. If you're going to go down that route, you might as well go all the way and play Diablo.

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  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Oh man, just started a Wizard with Polymorph Control.

    Please, please let me find some way to polymorph myself. I still haven't gotten to trying eating rings and amulets.

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  • ColorlessGreenColorlessGreen Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    gjaustin wrote: »
    Oh man, just started a Wizard with Polymorph Control.

    Please, please let me find some way to polymorph myself. I still haven't gotten to trying eating rings and amulets.

    Nosedive to the mines. Look for polytraps.

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  • LorkLork Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    If you're a real man and can deal ASCII graphics, nethack.alt.org is by far the best way to play. It's cloud gaming! Yeah, that's right, it's the fucking future, and people were doing it back in the 80s!

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    Gamertag: Clorfhanger
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    gjaustin wrote: »
    Oh man, just started a Wizard with Polymorph Control.

    Please, please let me find some way to polymorph myself. I still haven't gotten to trying eating rings and amulets.

    Nosedive to the mines. Look for polytraps.

    Also the shops might have something. Even if you don't have the cash, there's not much a shopkeeper can do when you drink a potion, turn into a black dragon and disintegrate him

  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    An early wish for Platinum Yendorian Express Card and a Fire Horn is a pretty awesome combo.

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  • r4dr3zr4dr3z In between the moon and you.Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Lork wrote: »
    Nethack is a classic but in my humble, StoneSoup/Crawl has made it obsolete in this day and age.
    Not really. Crawl is more "balanced" but it achieves that at the expense of pretty much everything that makes roguelikes interesting or fun. If you're going to go down that route, you might as well go all the way and play Diablo.

    Diablo isn't turn-based and doesn't have the strategy or thought involved in playing. That, and I can download and install Stone Soup on just about any computer anywhere.

  • ColorlessGreenColorlessGreen Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    gjaustin wrote: »
    An early wish for Platinum Yendorian Express Card and a Fire Horn is a pretty awesome combo.

    An early wish for blessed rustproof +2 gray dragon scale mail and blessed rustproof +2 boots of speed is pretty much a guaranteed ascension.

    edit:
    r4dr3z wrote: »
    Lork wrote: »
    Nethack is a classic but in my humble, StoneSoup/Crawl has made it obsolete in this day and age.
    Not really. Crawl is more "balanced" but it achieves that at the expense of pretty much everything that makes roguelikes interesting or fun. If you're going to go down that route, you might as well go all the way and play Diablo.

    Diablo isn't turn-based and doesn't have the strategy or thought involved in playing. That, and I can download and install Stone Soup on just about any computer anywhere.

    You are so wrong about that that there just isn't enough wrong on the internets to explain how wrong you are. Wrong.

    This is true if you follow the cookie cutter guides and do things in the most obviously boringly easy way. The exact same thing is true about nethack.

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  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    gjaustin wrote: »
    An early wish for Platinum Yendorian Express Card and a Fire Horn is a pretty awesome combo.

    An early wish for blessed rustproof +2 gray dragon scale mail and blessed rustproof +2 boots of speed is pretty much a guaranteed ascension.

    Ehh, Silver is better. Magic Resistance is much easier to get than Reflection. Especially since I'm playing a Wizard :)

    And I didn't wish for the Fire Horn (that would be silly), just the PYEC. I've been really wanting to give it a try and I was fortunate enough to get something really good to charge with it. I like to use an early wish on an Artifact, since I can always get a Dragon Scale Mail later.

    Now I just need to get my luck up to 10 and write a Polymorph spellbook to go with my Ring of Polymorph Control.

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  • ColorlessGreenColorlessGreen Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    gjaustin wrote: »
    gjaustin wrote: »
    An early wish for Platinum Yendorian Express Card and a Fire Horn is a pretty awesome combo.

    An early wish for blessed rustproof +2 gray dragon scale mail and blessed rustproof +2 boots of speed is pretty much a guaranteed ascension.

    Ehh, Silver is better. Magic Resistance is much easier to get than Reflection. Especially since I'm playing a Wizard :)

    And I didn't wish for the Fire Horn (that would be silly), just the PYEC. I've been really wanting to give it a try and I was fortunate enough to get something really good to charge with it. I like to use an early wish on an Artifact, since I can always get a Dragon Scale Mail later.

    Now I just need to get my luck up to 10 and write a Polymorph spellbook to go with my Ring of Polymorph Control.

    50% chance of an amulet of reflection in sokoban (which in my games is a subjective 90% because I'm almost always hoping for a bag of holding), IIRC 50% chance of a shield of reflection on perseus (actually I think it was 50% chance of a 25% chance, and 50% chance of a 75% chance, but whatever). If you're not playing a wizard, where are your non-random magic resist spawns? Also, MR protects you from basically everything that reflection does except for having crap in your inventory get pwned when you get hit with beams of fire or whatever. However, if you get the bag of holding from sokoban instead of the amulet of reflection, well, it also does a pretty good job of protecting crap in your inventory from getting pwned when you get hit with beams of fire or whatever.

    However, I will definitely concede that if you are playing a wizard, silver is usually a much better choice.

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  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    If I'm wishing, every alignment except Chaotic has an artifact that provides Magic Resist without using up a slot, so I feel like that's a much better choice. Even Chaotic can go for Magicbane.

    As for the Amulet and Shield, those are both nice if you find them early. But I much prefer Life Saving to Reflection in my amulet slot. And by the time you get to Medusa you're basically at the Wand of Wishing so you can go ahead and wish up whatever you want.


    I do agree that Speed Boots are probably the best boots, though an early Kicking can be hilarious and Jumping has some nice uses.

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  • ColorlessGreenColorlessGreen Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    gjaustin wrote: »
    If I'm wishing, every alignment except Chaotic has an artifact that provides Magic Resist without using up a slot, so I feel like that's a much better choice. Even Chaotic can go for Magicbane.

    As for the Amulet and Shield, those are both nice if you find them early. But I much prefer Life Saving to Reflection in my amulet slot. And by the time you get to Medusa you're basically at the Wand of Wishing so you can go ahead and wish up whatever you want.


    I do agree that Speed Boots are probably the best boots, though an early Kicking can be hilarious and Jumping has some nice uses.

    I will completely concede the artifact point. I never think about that because I basically always play no-wishing-for-artifacts.

    I also prefer life saving (or ESP) to reflection in my amulet slot, but I usually handle it by just not having reflection. I definitely prefer displacement to magic resistance in my cloak slot, though, which is another reason I tend to go for gray.

    Regarding the timing of Medusa, I don't really find that I give much of a crap about reflection before I'm up against fully grown dragons anyways. It's mostly useful later in the game anyways IMO.



    Goddamnit now I'm going to have to play nethack when I get home.

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