Brogue: monkey, monkey, burning bright

, | Game diaries

The first level presents little challenge. At this point, I’ve led enough doomed adventurers into the dungeon that I know there’s not much that can kill you here except inexperience and poor judgment. I’m taking a more cautious approach than usual, though. I’m deliberating over each choice, rather than barrelling through the early levels.

After the jump, the monkey business commences

After I fully explore the first level, I’ve gained a pet monkey and ten potions, three scrolls, and some armor and weapons that I’m too weak to wield effectively. I have two approaches to potion-identifying, neither of which has proved to have a clear advantage: either I consume every unknown potion as soon as I safely can, or I amass a pack full of mysterious flasks and wait until I’m forced to start experimenting. My pack is full, so….

The first potion turns out to be a potion of hallucination. Possibly the worst potion in the game; it won’t harm you directly, but it makes it very difficult to make good decisions about which monsters to fight and which to avoid. And unlike all the other harmful potions, throwing it at enemies has no effect.


I spend a long time in an empty room waiting for the hallucinations to pass.

Out of boredom, I try another potion and get Telepathy. Knowing where the monsters are should make up for not knowing what they are, so I head for the stairs. There’s at least one creature that I can still identify, though — eels. Five of them. I can tell they’re eels because they’re swimming around in the two large pools on this level.

I skirt around the two eel-infested pools and wind up accumulating another scroll along with some splint mail and a suit of leather armor. I stick with the definitely non-magical leather armor I started with and wait for a chance to identify any items before I use them. I head to level 3.

My pack is full again, so I read another scroll, which turns out to be Remove Curse. A malevolent energy disperses from something in my pack. Was it the leather armor? I decide to put it on, knowing I’ll be able to remove it now if it was cursed. It will still carry a negative bonus, but I won’t have to burn a scroll of Enchantment just to remove it. After wearing it for 1000 turns, it will reveal itself to be cursed, magical, or just regular old leather armor.

A monkey steals a key from an altar and runs into a room with a bloat. One of my favorite ways to dispatch monsters in Brogue is environmentally, although technically, I’m not sure if a bloat counts as part of the environment, but whatever. This one explodes in a cloud of caustic gas when I hit it with a dart. I leave the monkey to die in the gas cloud and explore a bit while waiting for the cloud to dissipate.

The key leads to a loot room, and I choose a Ring of Stealth. I have to ditch some heavy armor to pick up the ring, so I start experimenting with scrolls and potions. I don’t want to leave the armor behind until I’ve established that it’s not some magical suit of Beating the Game. The first is a scroll of Enchantment, which I use to enhance my new ring. Next up, I get potions of Life and Speed. I’m really hoping for a potion of Detect Magic.

The third potion, though, is Confusion.


More time is wasted while I wait for the confusion to pass. I decide not to press my luck and continue exploring the level.

I find another loot room behind a statue, but I can find no locked door or other obvious means of ingress. I spend a lot of time scouring every room for a secret door or a hidden lever, finding nothing. I accomplish nothing except becoming familiar enough with my leather armor to know its bonus: -1. Eventually I give up on the room and move on to depth 4.

I find some chain mail, which I’m still not strong enough to wear without penalty, and I’m nervous after the -1 leather armor. So it just goes in the pack, which is now full, so I try another potion: Creeping Death.

The monkey and I spend some time trapped in a room between the creeping death and a room filled with bloat gas. While we’re waiting, I discover that my Ring of Stealth is +2. So that’s something, at least.

I need to make room in my pack for some potions I’ve spotted. Next potion: Descent! I’m curious that the potion, which opens a pit and sends you down to the next level, always seems to deposit you on a safe tile. I mean, relatively safe — it might drop you into a room full of Trolls, but it doesn’t seem to ever drop you onto magma or a chasm.

The upward staircase is nearby, so I head back up for those other potions. The first one I try is Paralysis, but there is nothing nearby to dispatch me while paralyzed, so, no real harm. The second is Strength, finally — now I can wear that chain mail, which is not cursed, after all. I still don’t know if it’s enchanted, but at least it does not constrict painfully around me when I put it on.

The next potion I try is a potion of Darkness — great. Probably the longest-lasting negative effect in the game. I figure I have some time to kill while the darkness wears off some, so why not try another potion?

Because it could be a potion of Incineration, that’s why.


At least now there’s only one harmful potion I have yet to identify. The monkey doesn’t see the bright side, since it burns to death in the ensuing conflagration.

(If you would like to try your hand at Tony and Brian’s Brogue dungeon, use seed 0000000245.)

Tomorrow: Tony ascends with the Amulet! j/k