On the Doorstep pt. 1

‘And how do you intend to enter Smaug’s chambers?
Through the front gate? As a house guest?
You would be ashes before you took your seventh step.’

Several weeks ago I was presented with an interesting and quite unexpected situation while playing Angband.

I had at the time started to play a Druid class character, in part because I was intrigued to see how the class would play in Angband and also to take a small break from a Priest character I had been leveling for the past month or so.
Now, playing the Priest took place during a break from playing my Ranger and, playing the Ranger took place during an even longer break from playing my ‘iron man’ Warrior character and, is a story for another post.
I am currently on a break from the Druid and playing a Paladin which is a break from a Mage but, this story concerns the Druid.
So many breaks and yet, always playing.

The Druid had been (still is) a learning experience in the application of cautionary movements and selective engagements. Though I relied heavily on spell casting they weren’t abundantly offensive or overly powerful. Ranged weapons helped little and melee was an act of desperation most times.
I was just starting to get a feel for the classes subtle control and wary exploration type of play when the adventure presented itself.
I didn’t recognize it initially, I think I was a bit stunned by what I was looking at.
I laughed and pshawed out loud for certain.
I stared at the screen for 10 or so minutes trying to figure out some way to salvage the level.
I wasn’t sure the Druid had enough ass in his pants to tear into the mess I was looking at, not like the Priest anyhow.
So I continued to look at the screen.

I was ready to call it quits, ‘shift <‘ and head back up the stairs, reset the level and return when, I recognized what it was I was looking at, something familiar, and thought…maybe?

Here, before me was the chance to burgle from the ‘Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities’…Smaug!

And I was going to do it Bilbo style!

Well, I was gonna attempt to rip the old wyrm off and run away…at the very least.

Continued Here:
On the Doorstep pt. 2


This week I mark 2 years of sobriety and the last of the small dates to note it.

After this there are only the large dates at 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and finally 40.

I wasn’t sure if quitting would take or not and honestly I was concerned that I couldn’t.
I had no idea what the extent of my addiction was or if I would need to seek outside help to quit, which would never have happened. I had managed to quite tobacco years before, that was brutal, so I wasn’t sure what getting off the booze would look like. I just felt, deep down, that I needed to quit.

Anyway, for me it began after a particularly rough night of excess. I wouldn’t call it ‘hitting rock bottom’, just another random week night of too much cheap vodka from a plastic bottle.
The early morning commute in traffic to work the next day with a raging hangover, the recovery during the day in a dingy beige cubicle lit in cold fluorescent light and an even longer commute home in more traffic was my tipping point.
I started that night.

I set small goals and kept adding to them.
I told myself that if I could do 1 day without drink, then I could probably do 2 days.

And if I could do 2 days, I certainly could do 3.

If I could do 3 days, I could make the effort to do a week.

1 week then 2.

2 weeks then a month.
This was a big one and I felt that at this point the real hard part was over for me.

1 month turned into 3 months.

3 months turned to 6.

6 months, a year.
This felt like an accomplishment.

Last year, the covid year of job loss, home loss, moving, lifestyle upheaval and so many other things offered many excuses to get off the wagon, to say ‘Fuck it!’ and tip up a bottle again.
But it didn’t happen.
And this week is now 2 years.

I’ll check back again at 5.


Angband the Unforgiving

I’ve been playing Angband since November-ish of 2020, not my first go around with the game but definitely the longest serious stretch of play.
It has captured my attention.

Recently a very interesting situation presented itself in game, a unique and unexpected encounter that I’m chomping at the bit to get into and will post later. Before I get into those upcoming posts I feel I need to give a very brief, bare bones description of the game to maybe pique your interest and look into it for yourself.

If you’re not familiar with Angband it’s not your fault. We play in a world drowning in games and Angband is an OLD GAME, built on a OLDER GAME, inspired by a SLIGHTLY OLDER GAME which places us somewhere around 1980.

It’s a dungeon crawler based on Tolkien’s legendarium but it feels like old school D&D to me…imho.

In short, the game is:

‘Angband is a roguelike game set in a high-fantasy universe. The game world is made up of levels, numbered from zero (“the town”) to some maximum depth. Levels are increasingly dangerous the deeper they are into the dungeon. Levels are filled with monsters, traps, and objects. Monsters move and act on their own, traps react to creatures entering their square, and objects are inert unless used by a creature. The objective of the game is to find Morgoth at depth 100 and kill him.’

The Angband Manual 

Angband Is Low Tech
No big tits, big pecs characters with unique glowing armor sets.
No community gathering place to show off your rare epic mount.

Just you (@), the drooling village idiot (t) and your little home (8) in an ASCII world.
There are options to play with very basic tile set graphics but I perfer ASCII.

Angband Is The Devil In The Detail
This game may seem simple but it’s more complicated and difficult then you may expect.

You will need to manage the limited resources you carry, watch your encumbrance, eat, and maintain a light source.
All those pesky little details that have been removed from so many modern games are in play here and may kill you if you’re not careful.

In contrast, I had a character in WoW with a quiver that held 28,000 arrows and as unbelievable as that was, those arrows also weighed nothing. What’s the point in keeping count at all?
Arrows in Angband take up space, have weight and they break…often.

Angband Is Unforgiving
It’s a difficult game that punishes stupidity and mistakes.
Don’t believe me? Roll up a Human Mage as your first character and see how far you get.
This poor bastard didn’t even make it to the dungeon, killed in town, level 0…there’s 100+ levels to this game.
May as well have died during character creation ala Traveller.

And while were looking at this gravestone keep this in mind when playing. When your character dies, it’s dead. No re-spawn points, no resurrection, no do-overs…just dead.

Permadeath abides.

Angband Is Imagination Heavy.
A player must engage with this environment, especially when playing in ASCII.

Imagine that this: S

Is actually this:

Lazy Lob, Attercop!

Or this: ‘j

Equals this:

And this: ‘D‘…

Well, here there be dragons!

I suppose it’s no wonder that this and others games of similar ilk (Dwarf Fortress) mostly go unnoticed in the world or are, in general, ‘unknown’.
They’re too hard, require too much thinking and reward you with…text?

But I was promised unique, oversized spaulder skins!!!

This game will challenge you.

You will yell.

You will die…repeatedly.

It may be the most skillful bit of gaming of your life.

I invite you to explore the game on your terms and make your own opinions.

Download it here from the curators: Angband
Very Helpful: User Manual and Strategy Guide

Luck friend!