On the Doorstep pt. 5

The scene of wonder overwhelming, breath snatched from lungs as the atmosphere rushed out from the old fiend’s lair and enveloped the druid.
Heat and stench and golden light emanated from the wyrm, forever seared into Embor’s eternal essence.

Embor withers in the presence of such power and newly realized place in life, that of insignificance and hopelessness.
A tear streaks across a blood spattered check.

A motion, a blur, from behind Smaug brakes the unnatural feeling of despair as a shadow rises from the lair’s floor.A dark and evil thing, twisted by wicked arcane magics. 

The sorcerer and druid’s eyes meet and Embor is faced with a choice; flee now while there is still time to do so before the alarm is risen and Smaug awakes or, being faced with such obvious mortal peril, to make a knowingly juvenile and futile gesture of impudence!

Embor exercises offense over sense.

The air above the high vaulted chamber cracks and splits as a brilliant yellow-white bolt of energy strikes the sorcerer fully.
Its thunderous shock wave practically blowing Embor out from the observation point of melted wall.

The dragons, shaken from their slumber arise…unscathed.

Smaug rushes forward chocking the breach with his enormity. His eyes dazed and crazed with rage dart about trying to gain traction on something solid, they catch upon the intruding human and narrow in fury.

Embor’s world is a now a dragon of ancient myth…and it curses the intruder.

Thief in the Shadows!
My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath DEATH!

The words strike the druid as deep as any claw, a severe graze begins to bleed.

Now heavily bloodied the druid’s panicked thoughts are on escape, IF that is even possible now.
There is a mad commotion behind Smaug as the sorcerer and young gold dragon frantically attempt to attack Embor but are blocked by the bulk that is Smaug.
A glint, reflected from a small mound of metal upon the floor, catches Embor’s eye, a tantalizing glimpse of Chain Mail Armor[
Was this the true prize the druid had risked life for?

But there is no time for such thoughts and unable to reach the armor Embor produces a scroll and reads aloud the words to enact a risky escape, a blind leap into the void of chance but certainly no worse than the druid’s current predicament.

As the scrolls magic began to unfold, there came a parting shot from Embor directed to the terrible wyrm, a final act of insolence.

Well, I really must not detain Your Magnificence any longer, or keep you from much needed rest but a fine burglar takes expert catching. Huh ha!

Embor blinks out of Smaug’s existence.



A dank, moldering corridor.

 A distant and echoing draconic roar drifts through unknown lengths of the dungeon.

Embor’s incredible luck had won the day.

The ‘Scroll of Teleportation‘ had deposited the druid safely in a neighboring, unoccupied section of dungeon.

Embor casts ‘Detect Life‘.A nearby tribe of Orcs and Snagaso‘ lead by ‘Shagrat, the Orc Captain‘ sleep, a pack of Air HoundsZ‘ lie becalmed, an Ocher Jelly ‘j‘ glistens in wait.

None have detected the arrival of the druid.

Fearing the dragon may be prowling the corridors in search of the druid thief, Embor quickly rests to heal the wound received and without delay unfurls one last scroll.

No sense in taking any MORE risks this day, best to leave while there’s still the chance to do so.
Embor reads the scroll and in few moments blinks once again from sight and away from the dungeon and its omens of death.

Safely returned to town mostly empty handed save for a couple of scrolls, but, alive to tell the tale.
The sun shines upon Embor today and that is worth more than all the treasures of all the dragons of all the worlds.

The dungeon of Angband is deep and now, thanks to a great deal of luck, there is a tomorrow to delve to even greater depths. Maybe even a return visit to Smaug’s lair…time will tell.

Angband abides.

On the Doorstep pt. 4

‘Three cheers for good ol’ Bilbo!’
 ‘Oh never mind that. What did you burgle?’

‘What the fak?’

With a cast of ‘Turn Stone to Mud‘ Embor enters the main room.

Ever alert, the lair Wolves ‘C‘ bust down an unseen door and are loosed.

The pack hunters crowd together before Embor and become a prime target for the AoE spell ‘Stinking Cloud‘ from the ‘Book of Nature Magics [Lesser Charms]

Individual wolves are dispatched in short order and the chamber becomes quiet.Neighboring chamber occupants remain asleep.

Now, with an open path to the treasure chamber and seemingly easy victory at hand, Embor intones ‘Turn Stone to Mud‘ to breach the wall and reveal…A Shimmering Potion!

In the corner of the chamber, in a small alcove rests an eerie, purple potion. The liquid, languid in motion, stirred weird eddies within its crystal prison. Pinpricks of fine silver light trapped in the viscous flow. Preternatural.

A deep breath then Embor extended a gloved hand forward to grasp the prize but…the prize grasps first! Embor’s perception shifts, realizing boon had become bane as it morphed into creature of deception, one that preys upon materialistic desires…a Mimic! A critical error, a mistake realized too late as fleshy purple claws slash Embor’s face.

The druid struggles to remove the life of the deceptive horror affixed to hand and problems compound as the once secret door bursts open.
A rogue ‘p‘, alerted by the commotion within, enters the robbery gone awry.

After frantic minutes Embor gains the advantage and beats back the foes, but it is a hollow victory.
No great treasure to claim, only a lifeless mound of purple flesh, the once anticipated prize…now smashed.Dejected, Embor turns to leave the chamber and is caught mid stride as the Blackguard ‘p’ from the east chamber enters…a scout, in an oncoming attack.

The group from the north as well as the east chamber empty and funnel into the room Embor now holds.

A protracted skirmish with wolves and men ultimately ends with the druid victorious and, once again, left mostly empty handed.

Exhausted, Embor searches the dead, all for naught. Common, all of it. Common trinkets and magics to be had in town at a small price, not the mighty treasure the druid had expected to be strewn about a dragon’s lair.

Embor slumped down to the floor, back against the wall.

Long minutes passed as the druid rested in the quiet chamber, weird eerie minutes that dragged in mind.

Had avarice clouded the druid’s senses so completely to be fooled by such an obvious ruse?A damned mimic?
‘Of course it was a trap, you fool!’

Long, eerie minutes linger.

Exhaustion overwhelmed the druid.

Then slumber.

Embor dreamed of golden fire.


Then confusion.

A granite wall, vanquished foes.

How long had the druid dosed? Minutes…hours?

Regaining position in reality and shaking the sleep from mind Embor arose and slowly walked to the opposite wall placing a hand upon the ancient granite.

‘Just a glimpse at the beast, a brief look at the very least.
To say ‘I, Embor, druid of Obad Hai have gazed upon the legend…and lived.’

Dungeon madness.
Weird minutes began to sneak in once again and…as the words of the spell slipped easily from the druid’s tongue 
‘and lived’ evaporated from mind as a section of stone wall was transmuted to mud.

And there, before the child of a serf lay
Smaug the Golden.

The Conclusion Here:
Angband: On the Doorstep pt. 5

William Shatner: Common People

‘Common People’, created by the alt-rock band Pulp was released in 1995.
In 1995 there would have been zero chance that I would have ever, ever been exposed to it…zero.

10 years later however…

I would discover it on William Shatner’s ‘Has Been’ album,
which makes far more sense.

Produced and arranged by Ben Folds, spoken word by Shatner and vocals by Joe Jackson.

The song kills.
By the end of it you’ll be on your feet, punching the air and playing it again, and again, and again…

William Shatner
‘Common People’
Has Been

She came from Greece
She had a thirst for knowledge,
She studied sculpture at Saint Martins College
That’s where I
Caught her eye.

She told me that her dad was loaded
I said, “Well, in that case I’ll have a rum and Coca-Cola”.
She said, “Fine”
And then in thirty seconds’ time, she said
“I want to live like common people
I want to do whatever common people do
I want to sleep with common people
I want to sleep with common people like you.”
Well, what else could I do?
I said “Oh, I’ll see what I can do.”

I took her to a supermarket,
I don’t know why, but I had to start it somewhere
So it started there.

I said, “Pretend you’ve got no money.”
And she just laughed and said, “Oh, you’re so funny.”
I said “Yeah?
Well I can’t see anyone else smiling in here.

Are you sure?
You want to live like common people
You want to see whatever common people see
You want to sleep with common people
You want to sleep with common people like me?”

But she didn’t understand,
She just smiled and held my hand.
Rent a flat above a shop.
Cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.
But still you’ll never get it right,
‘Cos when you’re laying in bed at night,
Watching roaches climb the wall
If you called your dad he could stop it all

You’ll never live like common people.
You’ll never do whatever common people do
You’ll never fail like common people.
You’ll never watch your life slide out of view
And then dance, and drink, and screw
Because there’s nothing else to do.

Sing along with the common people.
Sing along and it might just get you through.
Laugh along with the common people.
Laugh along even though they’re laughing at you
And the stupid things that you do.
Because you think that poor is cool.

Like a dog lying in a corner
They will bite you and never warn you
Look out
They’ll tear your insides out.

‘cos everybody hates a tourist
Especially one who thinks it’s
All such a laugh.
Yeah and the chip stains and grease will come out in the bath

You will never understand
How it feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere left to go
You are amazed that they exist
And they burn so bright whilst you can only wonder why.

Rent a flat above a shop.
Cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.
But still you’ll never get it right
‘Cos when you’re laying in bed at night
Watching roaches climb the wall
If you called your Dad he could stop it all.

You’ll never live like common people!
You’ll never do what common people do!
You’ll never fail like common people!
You’ll never watch your life slide out of view
And then dance, and drink, and screw
Because there’s nothing else to do!

I want to sleep with common people like you
I want to sleep with common people like you
I want to sleep with common people like you

On the Doorstep pt. 3

‘Well, you are the burglar.
Go down and…burgle something.’

Having screwed up enough courage to make an attempt at snatching a bauble from Smaug,
Embor moves off into the empty room to the east of the ascending staircase ‘<‘ and puts the quest into motion.

‘Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks,
and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s Day
will shine upon the key-hole.’

No, no, none of that here.
Hidden keyhole and secret entrance be damned…we’ll do it ourselves! 

Embor turns again to Druidic powers found within the
‘Book of Nature Magics [Gifts of Nature]’,
‘Turn Stone to Mud’

The spell makes short work of the granite and quartz veins that lay between rooms, hallways and chambers within the dungeon.
A tunnel begins to take shape.

And, in a few quick turns Embor is secretly in place for ingress into the foul chamber.

 Before removing the last bit of granite and entering the main chamber Embor again casts ‘Detect Life‘.

Other than the newly revealed group of creatures to the north, of which Embor hopes to avoid altogether:

11 Forest Trolls ‘T
9 Wolves ‘C
1 4-Headed Hydra ‘M
3 Eastern Dwarves ‘h
1 Dark Dwarven Lord ‘h
1 Blacklock Mage ‘h
1 Ironfist Priest ‘h
1 Stonefoot Warrior ‘h
1 Rot Jelly ‘j
1 Black Naga ‘n
1 Tengu ‘u
1 Blood Falcon ‘B
1 Giant Red Scorpion ‘S
1 Giant Red Frog ‘R

there appears to be 1 new entity in the east wing, a Werewolf ‘C‘.


Before I crack into it, let’s take a quick look at what’s inside the chamber.

Outer Chamber

A Rogue ‘p‘ in the outer chamber area.

West Wing

Six Wolves ‘C‘ occupy the west wing, easy to alert but more nuisance than problem.

East Wing

1 Blackguard ‘p
1 Soldier Ant ‘a
1 Werewolf ‘C‘The Werewolf is a bit of a fight but, no real problems here.


Smaug ‘D‘…’nuff said.

Sorcerer ‘p‘…Bad magics, 18 levels out of its normal range.

Young Gold Dragon ‘d‘…because one dragon isn’t enough, imho.

I imagine there’s some weird arcane shenanigans going on in this chamber, but I really don’t feel the need to investigate it.
My intention is to avoid this area at all costs and not wake the occupants.
Best to let a sleeping Smaug lie.

North Wing

The prize…?

Continued Here:
Angband: On the Doorstep pt.4

Godspeed little druid.

The Vandals: I Am Crushed

One of my favorite songs by The Vandals,
there are many, this is one.

It’s paired up with such an excellent video that I must insist you watch and listen here:
The Vandals: I Am Crushed

Who among us has not felt this way?
None I say.

The Vandals
‘I Am Crushed’
Hollywood Potato Chip

Oh, I am crushed.
And I am devastated.
And contemplating suicide but I don’t have the nerve.
And what’s the rush?
It all should end real soon.
And so I’ll just keep waiting and I’ll listen to them say,
“You’ve got your life in front you,”
and so I must reply.
“That is just more bad news ’cause I’d really rather die.”
Than limp around in agony,
reliving all the tragedies
and face another day.

Oh I am crushed.
And I am devastated.
And it’s something I can’t mend,
it ain’t going away, soon.

I hurt so much.
And I cannot explain it.
It seems like there’s a purpose but I still don’t understand.
But that’s my luck.
So I’ll just wait in pain.
And though it doesn’t help I have to listen to them say,
“keep looking at the bright side,”
oh that just hurts my eyes.
And if you really care then you would simply let me die.
And leave here with some dignity
but it just keeps on making me face another day.

Oh I am crushed.
And I am devastated.
And it’s something I can’t mend
and it ain’t going away, soon.


On the Doorstep pt. 2

‘What now?’

So, here then is the Human Druid, Embor.Child of a serf and black sheep of his family.

In pack and on person are carried small treasures.

Modest but honestly earned gear wielded.

And, after descending a flight of stairs to level 22 is now On the Doorstep, in the dungeon that is Angband.

Entry & Starting Map on Level 22

What appears to be a normal start map.
Your results will vary as Angband randomly generates all maps.

The Bad Feeling

On the Angband scale of feelings a character gets upon entering a level ‘Omens of death haunt this place.’ is number 9…on a scale of 1 to 9.
In contrast, number 1 on that scale reads ‘This seems a quiet, peaceful place.’

Druidic Powers and Magic Devices

Druids have the ability to ‘map’ a portion of their surroundings with the use of the spell ‘Sense Surroundings‘…aptly named. 

It is incredibly helpful as you can imagine and is found in the Book of Nature Magics [Gifts of Nature].

With a quick evocation of nature magics Embor is able to sense the environment within the dungeon.

Nothing out of the ordinary as of yet, I am intrigued by the door-ed small chamber to the north west and the cross shaped chamber to the north east.

Embor now employs a helpful magic device taken from a blackguard on level 21, the Rod of Treasure Location.

And, with a quick zap…

Lovely ‘*‘ populate the chambers that contain objects, magic items or weapons and ‘*‘ denotes buried treasure such as coins or jewels. The chambers I was interested in contain loot and only a short distance from the start location. Promising.

Now for the last of my starting actions before moving I cast ‘Detect Life‘ from the Book of Nature Magics [Lesser Charms], an incredibly useful and potentially lifesaving spell, especially when you feel that omens of death haunt the place you stand.

‘Obad Hai, reveal to me those living denizens of this sunless deep!’

A crushing blow.
A long list of foes and at the top a beast of legends,
the old wyrm himself…Smaug ‘D‘!

Smaug is no joke and running into him on level 22, 40 levels above where he’s normally found is, to say the least, unexpected. The experience gained upon killing him is insane, just one catch there, you have to kill him.

The chambers to the west look just about as bad with a number of long fights and 3 named, unique monsters; Ibun ‘h‘, Uglúk ‘o‘ and Lugdush ‘o‘. 

Ibun, Son of Mim

Meow, Meow?

Meow, Meow, Meow!

The ‘Plan’
 I’m not sure Embor is up for this fight, having struggled with smaller fights in the past. I’m more concerned with aggroing the entire lot and simply be overrun.
I suppose if I’m clever enough and, with a little luck, I could pull the groups out individually and work my way through them, taking short rests in between to recover hit and spell points before moving to the next…might work.
Or, I could simply bypass all of it and pick my way through the remainder of the level without getting mixed up in this mess at all. Could be some good loot scattered about this level. Or, I could call the level a wash and head back up the stairs to start over.

Anyway, while mulling it all over, I take another look at Smaug not knowing if or when our paths would cross again and grabbed some screen shots to send to a friend for a laugh or two when I notice something about the cross shaped chamber.
There, the small northern chamber, an object all by it’s lonesome, unguarded.

Also, no doors…anywhere.
Now that doesn’t really mean anything as secret doors reveal themselves only when you get up next to them but, maybe I could access that north chamber without having to fight Smaug and grab whatever that object was.
My imagination begins to run away with thoughts of mithril shirts, magic rings or, dare I think it, the Arkenstone. What could possibly be stashed away in the chamber behind a dragon’s chamber?
‘Probably something good,’ the burglar in me says ‘something shinny’.  Thoughts of leaving evaporate as I now start looking at ways to ‘Bilbo’ a trinket from Smaug and bring it back to my waiting company of dwarves.

Continued Here:
Angband: On the Doorstep pt. 3