Roguelike Roulette [slot 3]

The next game in the line-up was one of several added after the first post. It is not even a roguelike, but I have been generous enough to offer it tentative inclusion in the category 'roguelikelikes', although in this case that could be a little unfair. (Edit: since the developer announces releases at, perhaps it is fair enough) Slot #3: Privateer: The ASCII Sector The link explains it pretty well, but my understanding is it's a free-form space-based game in which your character attempts to accrue wealth by means fair or foul. As far as I know it is an extremely open-ended game, so perhaps I better hope it is easy to die or this could take a while. ASCIITitle First Sight My first challenge is deciphering the control scheme. Neither '?' or 'F1' produce help screens; nor is there a control configuration screen in the game menu. So, trial and error. Most buttons I push seem to be either movement or 'do nothing'... with a little testing I discover I am the green flashing dot at the bottom right of the screen, and the green # next to me is my ship. Aha! 'h' for help. Going to use that a lot for a while. Bumbling around town, I find a ship dealer who offers me a ship I can't afford (incidentally... how much cash do I have?) and a commodity market that looks daunting, complete with handy local and global price graphs. Chatting with random NPCs, one of them offers me a job. Since I am feeling tentative about trade and quantities I take that up and hope I meet the deadline for delivering the item I'm given. So I race back to my ship and enter it, which brings up a cute little interior screen. Apparently like everything else you aren't actually controlling your ship until you enter the bridge and access the computer there. There is a little animation of taking off, and suddenly space with planet below! There's a battle going on and space controls are different to walking controls, so I panic and fire off a few random shots accidentally. Fortunately no one is shooting at me and the battle dies down after a few seconds. Space Combat After some poking around at different screens I work out broadly where I am supposed to go and set off in the wrong direction. Work this out and fix it after a couple of minutes, and fortunately I was only slightly wrong instead of very wrong. Eventually discover the autopilot button makes tedious travel go faster and arrive at my destination. Zooming to Warp Well, at the jump point which takes me to my destination system. There is a fun animation effect and suddenly am there. I flail around looking for a planet to make my delivery at, wondering how I land, when I realise maybe I am supposed to delivery to one of the ships floating around the jump point with apparently nothing better to do. I flip between local targets until one registers with the name of my goal and I hail em, announcing my possession of an item for em. This prompts the other vessel to come along beside me, cueing a couple of minutes of panicked searching for how to actually deliver the item. On the manifest screen 'transfer' is greyed out and doesn't do anything... do I press 'jettison'? Surely not. Fortunately simply being alongside each other seems to do the trick, as I receive a Mission Complete pop-up without doing anything particular. Yay At this point I feel in need of a break and choose to Quit the game... which unfortunately does not save, thus abruptly ending the brief career of Millicent Skade, Privateer. But next time... Next time I will do better, or be unlucky. However I have also acquired myself a PS/2 / USB converter and now have a proper keyboard and mouse at least occasionally attached to my laptop. Which means by my own rules I should probably put this Roguelike Roulette on hold until I've finished with those other games I was going to play. Probably no more frequently played, but I hope I will have fun writing something about those too. I also played a few more Angband games to entertain myself before starting up Privateer: The ASCII Sector, mainly because it was fun and quick and saveable. I learned that the monster memory seems to be linked to character - when beginning a game you can load an old file and (if that character is dead) play eir clone or roll anew, or start a new character file, and information on things encountered seems to be tracked separately in each character file. Most of those time-passing games were very short-lived, but a clone of the character I wrote about last time, Sellisrekh the dwarven paladin, became the new top scorer. She had a slower game than her predecessor, mostly because carrying many items meant many returns to town to sell and clear items. She took to selling one item from unidentified stacks to learn what they were without risking use - mainly I was worried about discovering something that would permanently curse or damage my gear, but that didn't happen. She found helpful wands of Magic Missile and Slow Monster, but also Heal Monster and Haste Monster (neither of which could be turned on herself), and tried to make potions of Sleep, Confusion and Poison useful by hurling them at her foes, but those seemed to only do small damage and break, no helpful magical effects, so she just dropped them. She was fortunate to find early a magical sling and magical stones to fire in it. I have been quite enjoying the pseudo-ID system in Angband. Despite my caution described above, current design goals among the developers include making ID-by-use non-fatal and minimising the use of identification magic. When an item is carried around for a while (armour, ammunition and weapons only I think - as far as I am aware scrolls, potions and food are never cursed) the character eventually gets a feel for it. If it feels ordinary the item is immediately identified as a regular one of its kind. If it feels magical, one can use it to discern more clearly its properties (and probably before getting that feeling too). Most of the magical items Sellisrekh found had negative enchants, but weren't 'sticky' like I am used to for negatively enchanted items in roguelikes, and could be removed - I believe a distinction is being made between negatively enchanted and actually cursed. The only cursed item Sellisrekh found were Arrows of Backbiting, which were quickly rid of, and most of negatively enchanted items could be sold still. As I said, she found a sling with good enchantment, and usefully magical and non-magical stones to fire with it too. Later, she defeated the hobbit Bullroarer and found an even better crossbow too. The quiver system was interesting, and seemed to provide space for holding ammunition separate to the main inventory, which was very handy, as well as being smart about which weapon was being used and which ammunition worked well with it (this quiver design was imported from NPPAngband). Bullroarer also dropped the war hammer Sellisrekh used the remainder of her life. That one turned out to be an 'ego item' and got a pseudo-ID of {special} and on use was found to be even better than the dagger she'd been using (because daggers are fast, the two attacks she got with that were better than the single blow she got with her original broadsword), but even after that use-testing it was still described on inspection with "You do not know the full extent of this item's powers". After a while I felt I was getting the hang of Sellisrekh and needed only pruning of which items seemed essential to keep around so as to enable longer dives (probably potions of Frost Resistance and scrolls of Treasure Detection would be the ones to go), but despite being pretty full on inventory decided to take the stairs down one more time and read the Scroll of Recall from there so as to have a new base depth to return to. That put Sellisrekh on level 8, the same depth the first Sellisrekh had perished at. Of course the level feeling there was "You feel there is something superb here", so we went exploring before returning to town. Roaming around, Sellisrekh chased a wounded lizard into a room and an orc stepped out into the corridor behind her from a side door. That's new, never saw an orc before. Apparently they come in groups. Then a snaga followed it; snagas, apparently, being another kind of orc. It seemed judicious at this point to kill the lizard at range rather than be attacked from two directions. Another snaga. Huh. Sellisrekh casts Detect Evil and becomes aware of, in addition to those visible, another 92 orcs in a chamber just north. Right, Angband also gives level feelings like that for out of depth monsters, as well as good items, and our first encounter with any orc seems to be via orc pit. Last stand time? Sellisrekh Blesses herself, drinks a potion of Speed and another of Heroism, and makes sure to be wielding her best weapon. She also puts on a ring she'd been carrying for ages with no hint to its quality, and quickly identifies it as one with a very bad Dexterity hit before removing it. Even so buffed up and enhanced she's brought down to half health before downing just the first orc sighted, and more are pouring in through the room behind. The Word of Recall scroll is read, then fighting continues while waiting for it to take effect. Sadly Sellisrekh fights one more round when she should have read a scroll of Phase Door for a chance at safe teleport, and she is brought down. Looking over identified possessions post-mortem, it turns out the hidden property of that war hammer was dragon-slaying. Not very useful at any depth she'd achieved.