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Let's Learn to Crawl: Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup
Usht

[table of contents]
Learning to Crawl
So welcome to Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. To say this game has quite a history behind it would be an understatement, I could be here all day talking about its development, so instead we'll just jump straight into it. Note that I'm play a trunk version, AKA the beta of version 0.8 instead of the released 0.7.2, meaning that this version can be a bit unstable.

Anyway, we've got seven different choices here. Dungeon Crawl is the original and main mode where, you, a lone adventurer delve directly into the Dungeon of Zot and fight your way to the Orb of Zot and then climb back out. This will be the main mode that I will play during this Let's Play.

Tutorial is basically there to hold to hold your hand for the first time and show you how to play, the level is pregenerated and you basically can't die during it.

Hints mode is like tutorial mode but less of holding your hand and more of just dropping comments on different things like a variety of potions and their effects that you run into. This mode is also pregenerated.

Dungeon Sprint is a one floor mode that has a variety of premade maps where you basically "sprint" towards the end. They're also insanely difficult and I'll probably be doing each and everyone later in the LP.

Zot Defense is basically tower defense except it's you, a few new abilities you get per level, and an endless horde of monsters. Not for beginners at all. I'll be playing that at least once.

Instructions is basically your manual for playing. Meh. And lastly is the Arena. Here you can send two groups of monsters in and see them duke it out. We'll be seeing some of that later.

Onto character creation! This relatively straight forward, pick a race, a class, and maybe a weapon or a god. Relax, I won't unload enitrely on you yet. For now, we'll just be using the human race, which is average at everything. As I get further along in the LP, we'll be hearing more about the other races.

So now that we're Joan of Arc the Human, we now need a class. Most of them are as straight forward as they sound, with the recommended classes being brighter. Certain classes, by their nature, are better fit for some races than others. For the record, while humans are quite average, they can't use specialized classes as well as other races. For now, we're sticking to the mundane fighter, who, you guessed it, wears heavy armor and hits things with her weapon.

Anyway, since Joan is playing as a fighter, we get to pick from a few different weapons as our starting weapon. They fall under different categories and there's a different skill for each one. For example, a short sword falls under a skill called "Short blades". A spear falls under the category "Polearms". You get the general idea. Humans being humans are equally good at every type of weapon, however Joan always struck me as a spear type lady, so we'll give her that. (For the record, the actual Joan of Arc in history lead armies but never actual fought in battle. Funny thing that is.)

Onto the actual game! Take a good look at that HUD, because that's probably going to be one of the few rare times you see it in this LP since the screen is simply too big to keep capturing like this. A quick run down, in the middle in the main player view. For now, since we just entered, Joan hasn't seen much of this dungeon at all. On the top right is our stats. As you can see, we've got 15HP, quite a healthy amount at this point but zero magic. We didn't start as wizards after all. Anyway, AC is our level of defense. The higher of this is, the greater the amount of damage that is shaved off per hit and the less likely we'll be hit is in the first place. EV is our evade and is full out what determines whether or not we dodge enemies. Lastly is SH, standing for shield. Basically, this determines how often Joan blocks with her shield. Basically, AC, EV, and SH are our basic defense stats.

To the right of them is our attributes, Str is strength, or basically how muscular Joan is. Add directly to attack damage with heavier weapons and how much Joan can carry. Int is intelligence is used for casting spells. Joan being a fighter doesn't really need that. Lastly is Dex, or dexterity, which is basically how quick and flexible you are. It adds to EV as well as increasing the damage of your lighter weapons. The rest up there should be pretty self-explanatory.

At the bottom right is our inventory and how many monsters are in sight. As you can see, there aren't any monsters in sight. On Joan, however, is a piece of bread (you do get hungry and can starve in this game) and some ordinary scale mail, shield, and spear. For the record, we'll be getting much better equipment as the game progresses.

Zounds! Our first random item found in this dungeon. This is a scroll, currently unidentified but has an effect when read. We'll save it for now, I have a specific strategy for figuring out which scrolls do what. And our first enemy, the basic rat. Just kill it dead, it's not a threat at all. That being said, melee combat in this game is handled by you walking up to the enemy and running into it, which will cause you to attack it. There's a reason why this isn't a video LP, cause this game is boring to watch (but insanely fun to play).

It didn't put up much of a fight. Notice, however, that it left a corpse. There's a few things you can do with a corpse (and several more things if you're a necromancer). For now, the only use we have for it is that we can chop it up (walk over the corpse and press "c") and eat it if Joan gets hungry. Note, however, that raw meat does go bad in this game and by the time Joan actually gets hungry, the meat will have gone rotten by then. Plus, we don't even have a chopping weapon to chop it up with, so we can't exactly get the meat off the bones. For now, we just leave it.

And now for our first real threat of an enemy. And by real threat, I mean still a total push over for a fighter. A hobgoblin can equip weapons (like a club here) and armor that they find and is generally the bane of all squishy magical types. These guys have a tendency to run into wizards when they run of a MP and bash their brains in. Also in online Crawl, they have the highest kill count of any enemy in the game. Chalk it up to the number of noobies wizards who get their faces smashed in. Anyway, Joan just pokes a couple of holes in him with her spear.

Ah, a random hand axe lying about. Why is this here? Did the previous owner just forget about it or did that person die and leave the weapon laying her as his or her corpse rot away? Who cares? The axe qualifies as a chopping weapon, which I need to get my hands on raw meat to eat. We're grabbing that sucker for later use.

Weclome the giant cockroach. It's another early game pushover that you really shouldn't be dying to. They're just like the rat, except a bit tougher. Joan pokes a hole in it. Shortly after that, we run into our first goblin. This guy is basically like the hobgoblin but wussier and no where near as many people die to this guy. Anyway, you'll also notice he has a short blade of some sort in his hands, but still, nothing to really worry about.

Oh hey, delicious bread. The thing to note about raw meat and just about any ration you can find on the ground is that rations never go bad and thus should be saved for emergencies and places where raw meat can not be found. We'll be picking that guy right up. Just beyond that is a kobold. These guys are about as dangerous as goblins but have the added bonus of possibly carrying around darts that they will throw at you and tend to be biased towards carrying short blades over clubs. Again, just kill it.

Two things to note in this picture. First off is the giant bat. These guys move very quickly and can attack you multiple times per turn... if they can reach you. The kobold is currently in its way. Anyway, they're more annoying than anything since they're quite elusive and barely hit you for any damage. Second, see that flask of liquid down there? That's a potion. Potions, assuming you aren't in sight of any enemies, are usually a safe bet to drink since harmful potions don't start appearing until later and by then, you've the got the status ailment curing potion.

You kill the kobold! You have reached level 2!

Woo hoo! Like most roguelikes, you gain experience per kill and after so much experience, you level up. This means more HP, MP, and sometimes an attribute increase. Now Joan has 21 HP, 1 MP, but no attribute changes.

Anyway, drank that potion, it was a potion of healing and was auto-identified upon consumption. To see what you've identified in a game, just press backslash (top right of keyboard) for a list of stuff. Once you've identified an item, you will always recognize items of the same kind for the rest of the game. For example, I now will see all potions that are potions of healing labeled as just that. Anyway, potions of healing restore some HP and cure you status ailments. You want to keep a few on you in the mid to late game.

It's a dart trap! A trap is basically a tile that, until you notice it or walk upon it, is hidden and shoots X at you when you walk over it. X, in this case, is a dart. Other traps can have axes, spears, arrows, etc. There are also non-mechanical traps like teleportation, alarm, and Zot Traps. More on those later. Anyway, you can attempt to disarm a trap by walking up to it, holding down "ctrl" and clicking on it. A few attempts should be enough to disarm it (or have it run out of darts). Or, you know, don't bother.

This is a small snake. It's pretty wussy and quite easy to kill, but can poison you rarely if it hits. Still not much of a threat compared to its much more dangerous cousin, the vanilla variety.

FFFFFFFFF- Those two guys are gnolls. They're as dangerous as early enemies get and rarely ever appear on floor 1. For the record, one is carrying a halberd, is a step up in the polearm ladder and would be great if Joan manages to survive and nab it. IF Joan survives. Worse, they travel in groups and carry nets. Nets basically immobilize and keep your character from using melee actions until he or she gets it off. Long story short, running into a group of gnolls on floor 1 is insanely bad luck and very bad news. Anyway, Joan is dead. Meh, I figure that's a decent introduction to the mechanics of the game. In the next update, we'll actually make it to floor 2 and not get killed by an unlucky spawning of gnolls on the first floor.
24th Apr '11 6:51:40 PM flag for mods
comments
This is looking interesting, and the prose style is very enjoyable. Keep it up, wouldja?
SabresEdge 25th Apr 11
Keeping up with this as well. Also playing along. Pretty fun, though I died about as quickly (to a named character nonetheless. Terence he was.)
Ratix 26th Apr 11
Ah, Terence. We'll eventually see him whenever he shows up I suppose. He typically comes with a heavier weapon, some lighter armor, and if you're unlucky, a wand. If you're a wizard, you should be able to take him if he's far enough away, but some of the early fighters won't have gained quite enough HP to take him on and should, say, get to level 3 or 4 depending on your race before you try to take him on.

And don't worry, this time I've learned my lesson and have updates in a queue.
Usht 26th Apr 11
I have a *ton* of crawl videos on my youtube channel, including a series on how to start a Dwarven berserker (Melee) or a Spriggan Wizard (Caster), which are targetted at people who are just picking up the game, but having a tough time. Feel free to check it out :)!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2h-GKkSDH8&feature=context-chv

BountyHunterSAx 17th Jun 12
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