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A Tour of Daggorath
(written approx 1985; retyped from photocopy & slightly edited, 2001)


With regard to "Dungeons of Daggorath", it is possible that I may be a pro. I normally play the game using the double-speed poke (a piece of tape on the cartridge pins disables the autostart), and I frequently eliminate all the monsters on the first two levels before my original torch burns out.... I have not yet been able to start the game from scratch and go all the way through to the end (to kill the evil wizard on the fifth level), without using the tape recorder, but I'm working on it....

First, in my opinion, if you are not a fast and accurate touch-typist, then you will not be able to win without a tape recorder -- so save the current state of the game often. I have been killed more times than I wish to recall because of careless typographical errors....

Second, it doesn't hurt to make maps on paper, especially of the first level. If you get lost, a map may be the only way to locate the openings to the second level. But if you are just starting a game, then this sequence of moves will take you to what in my opinion is a desirable location: T A; M; M R; M; M; M; T L; M; M; M; M; M. You always begin the game in the same place, and after this sequence of moves you will be standing in the middle of the intersection of two of the longest corridors on the first level (ignoring all doors). I find this desirable because it maximizes the chance that a wandering monster will enter one of those corridors -- after which he will head straight for you. It saves time; you don't have to hunt them down.

Third, some of the monsters are wimps. You can let one (a spider, for example) park in the same space as you are standing, and let him take whacks at you for hours (in the dark only!), and he won't be able to kill you. The reason this works is because both you and the monsters tend to miss when you take swings at each other in the dark. Well, every now and then a wimp monster will hit you and cause your heart to beat faster, but by the time he hits you again your heart rate will have slowed down again. This means you can relax, and watch your favorite program on another TV channel, while all the other monsters in that level of the dungeon line up in the corridors. None of the tougher monsters can get at you as long as you don't kill the wimp. And notice that since your torch isn't burning, it will last a long time....

When you are ready, light your torch and start attacking. If a monster drops something on the floor after you kill it, ignore it and keep whacking. Later monsters will not attack you unitl the pick up EVERYTHING on the floor; they're so stupid they'll even pick up dead torches and empty flasks. The only exceptions to this rule are the invisible scorpions, the wizard's demon on the third level, and the evil wizard himself. After all the monsters on the current level have been eliminated, THEN pick up all the items, identify those you can, and move on to the next level.

From first to second levels the way is easy, if you haven't moved from the corridor-intersection previously described. There should be a hole two paces in front of you -- but turn right before climbing down. Once on second level (is your torch off?), move forward until you bump into a wall, turn right, and repeat. Do not move too fast or you will faint -- you are carrying a fair amount of gear, and it weighs you down. Your new location after these moves will be a hole to the third level; there should be a very long corridor in front of you, and another, equally long corridor to your right (ignoring all doors). At this point drop everything to the ground except for one pine torch and the iron sword. (It is not difficult to keep track of which torch you are using, relative to all the others. A general rule is: The last item put into the backpack will be the first item that comes out of the pack; if you light a torch before stowing away all the others, then the others can be pulled out safely -- without accidently putting yourself in the dark.)

After you kill all the monsters on the first level, snakes and spiders both rate as wimps. The long corridors in which you stand provide plenty of room for the monsters, so they can line themselves up. You can safely repeat the tactics of the first level if you don't swing the iron sword too frantically. (If you attack once for each time a monster picks up an item, you will almost always kill the monster before he gets a chance at you -- and your heart rate will not climb too high. In order to know when to swing, get into the Examine mode, which displays the list of items on the floor. When an item disappears from the list, you know the monster has picked it up -- so attack.)

After mastering the second level (you may need to grab and light another pine torch before you finish killing all the monsters), pick up and identify all the items that you can. Drink the two ABYE flasks, waiting at least five minutes BEFORE each guzzle. (If you drink an ABYE flask when your heart is beating fast, you will die -- but if you drink them when it is safe, then you will avoid the risk of accidently drinking them at the wrong time.) Thus you will have two more (safe) items for the monsters to pick up.

Stow everything but the torches, then light a LUNAR torch; stow the rest of the torches, and climb down to the third level. (From now on, pine torches are only worth the time the monsters waste in picking them up.) A handy trick here is to have one useless item in each hand; when the warning "PREPARE!" appears, enter these commands: D R; D L; P R SW. (Make sure an iron sword was the last sword stowed in your pack.) Then work as accurately as you can, trying to unload your backpack onto the floor. If a scorpion appears (a vague outline in the lower-left of the screen), attack it at once -- usually one swing will kill it, but sometimes you will miss...and he can kill you with only one sting. If a smiling blob appears, ignore it -- at this stage he is a wimp, especially if you hold onto a bronze shield. If a stone giant appears, ignore him also. If you are not too slow at the keyboard, you can pull items out of your pack faster than he can pick them up -- and the critical thing at this point is unloading yourself. THEN kill the giant; it should only take four or five whacks. (One thing to keep in mind: The monsters do not recover from the injuries that you inflict upon them -- even though YOU can recover from the damage they do to you. For example, if you hit a monster three times and, through experience, you have reason to believe that it will die on the fourth attack, then even if that fourth swing comes an hour after the third, it will still kill the monster.)

If a knight bearing a shield appears before you unload everything, then you may be in trouble. Only a good typist will be able to drop things faster than the knight can pick them up, so be prepared to hit him as many times as you can; then move on down the corridor most of the way to the end (it is more than thirty paces long, ignoring all doors). After you have done this, turn around and wait -- and do not drop more than three items. By standing there you will draw that knight towards you; hopefully he will appear before any other monster (especially another shield-bearing knight!). Remember that you can ignore blobs, and you can kill stone giants and scorpions with only a few swings of the iron sword. When the desired knight approaches, run past him back to your original location on the third level, and finish unloading. Save the magic rings for last; if you are unlucky, you may have to use one. Normally, however, you will be able to kill the first shielded knight that you meet with about twenty whacks of the iron sword -- and you can always try the hit-once-and-move-twice tactic if you are skilled with it. Try to save the magic rings; they are only worth three shots each, and there are monsters that are harder to kill than the knights....

If the wizard's demon appears before you have killed all the other monsters on the third level, do not hesitate to run. If you carry a VISION scroll with you, then you stand a chance of losing him -- once you and he are no longer in the same straight corridor (ignoring all doors), he will begin moving randomly. Then make your way back to your pile of goodies, and wait for the other monsters. When you are sure that only the demon remains on the third level, DO NOT try to kill him at this time (it cannot be done at all with the iron sword, and if you do not make yourself stronger, it will take three shots of ring-power.)

The thing to do at this time is to gather up all the items on the floor -- and there will be a lot of them -- and then make your way back up to the second level of the dungeon.... In the booklet that comes with the game cartridge, it states that if the evil wizard senses you retreating up a level, then he will send his most fearsome creatures after you. This is largely true -- but they are not so dangerous that you cannot deal with them. As before, find a good place and drop all your items to the floor. The wizard (the computer) will randomly create several monsters and put them on that level of the dungeon. These monsters may be of the following categories: stone giants with clubs, blobs, and knights without shields (all of these are now wimps); knights with shields and wraiths (not wimps at all, and roughly equal in strength); and galdrogs (these are very tough, and the first one will take more than thirty whacks with the iron sword to kill). There will be no spiders or snakes (if you meet one, then that means you missed him on your way down), and no other demons....

None of these monsters will bring you any goodies -- but that is no longer the object. By now you should have acquired enough stuff that you should be able to kill even a galdrog (which looks like a very large, very ugly bat), before he picks up the last item from the floor. But, if your situation looks doubtful (a galdrog appears before you have emptied your pack, for example), a HALE flask can help you, if used right. Your goal at this time is to build up your strength to the maximum possible. There is an important reason for this: When you reach the fourth level of the dungeon you will have exactly three items with you -- whatever is in your left hand, whatever is in your right hand, and whatever torch you happen to have lit at that time. Thus you will not be able to use the trick of putting items on the floor....

Once you know this fact, you must decide which two items you will have in your hands at the crucial moment. WHEN is the crucial moment? When you kill the demon on the third level, you will be magically transported to the fourth. Thus one of the items in your hands MUST be a ring, since the demon can only be killed with ring-shots -- and on the final shot, that ring will be in your hand....

I generally prefer to have one ring and an iron sword in my hands at the moment of transportation to the fourth level. I also prefer to move up and down between the first, second, and third levels until all my lunar torches, and one solar torch, have been used up. Then I light my final solar torch and attack all the remaining monsters between me and the demon on the third level. ZSAVE the game before attacking the demon! By this time as many as twenty galdrogs will have been killed (not to mention lots of other monsters), and it becomes possible to slay the demon with a single shot of a ring (the three shots of the other ring will have been put to the good use of eliminating -- or helping to eliminate -- the first three galdrogs). As a side note: The reason I am sure that the demon cannot be destroyed with an iron sword is that I have been tough enough to kill a galdrog in nine whacks -- but even so, more than 200 whacks failed to eliminate the demon....

On the fourth level of the dungeon, you will be randomly placed, and may end up in a space already occupied by a bad monster. Also, you may be facing a wall, and therefore you cannot immediately move without taking the time to find out which way you can go -- and this means that the monster will have a free attack upon your helpless body. Furthermore, whenever you use a ring to kill a monster, your heartbeat soars (the power of the ring derives from your constitution, so the tougher YOU are, the more effective the ring-shot). Thus an immediate attack by a monster, in this situation, can kill you pretty easily, no matter how tough you were before you shot the demon. You simply have to be lucky to survive the entry into the fourth level of Daggorath.... The types of monsters on this level are scorpions (at this time they qualify as wimps, but not if you meet one the moment you arrive), knights with shields, wraiths, and galdrogs. If you had killed the demon with three ring-shots, without first building up your strength on the upper three levels, then you will have almost no chance at all on this level. And even if you ARE strong, the trick here is to avoid the galdrogs, and concentrate on the knights and the wraiths, because most of them are carrying items. After you collect a few of those items (on the floor, of course), it is relatively safe to allow the galdrogs into your clutches....

Among the items you can collect are a third magic ring, a SEER scroll (which will let you know when you have killed all the monsters on the level), and an ELVISH sword, which is part-magical and can let you kill a galdrog in one-fifth the whacks -- but you really have to watch your heartbeat! If by some chance you waste all your magic-ring shots before you meet the evil wizard on the fifth level, you can still kill him with this awesome sword -- but it may take twenty or more hit-and-run whacks, and if you enter your keystrokes a little too slowly, or if you make a typographical error, then you will be dead, because the evil wizard, the Master of the dungeon, is NOT slow...and he only needs one swat.

After you climb down a hole leading to the fifth level of the dungeon (once you get to the fourth level, the ONLY way you can go is DOWN), you will encounter every type of monster that has previously appeared, including spiders and snakes (except that there was only the one demon on the third level). You will have a fair collection of items from the fourth level, and can just about double that pile after you kill all the monsters on the fifth -- saving the wizard for last, of course. Alas, there will not be another ring-weapon for you to obtain on this level....

The ONLY way to tackle the evil wizard is hit-and-run. If you use your rings, your most powerful weapons, and if your body is at maximum toughness, then the task will require at least four shots -- and more if your aren't so tough (I've used as many as seven ring-shots, spread among all three rings). And if you run out of ring-power before you kill the wizard, then you will have to use the ELVISH sword....

Assuming you manage to kill the wizard, the game is not over yet -- and things become strange.... With the death of the wizard, everything in the dungeon disappears -- all your weapons, torches, rings, flasks, etcetera. But you no longer need any of those things; even with no torches, the corridors are clearly visible...in a different way: The hidden/magic doors become more visible than the normal doors....

There is just one item that remains after the wizard dies -- a ring that he was carrying. You will be able to REVEAL this ring, but the game does not end until you identify its nature and INCANT it.

Of course I won't give away the answer; even though this has practically been a guided tour, some things should be left to the adventurer....

Vernon Nemitz