Uvuudaum

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An uvuudaum, U, is a type of monster that appears in dNetHack and notdNetHack. The uvuudaum is an unknown abomination that is capable of flight and phasing, and possesses sleep resistance, stoning resistance, and magic resistance as well as displacement - it also cannot be tamed. An uvuudaum has six attacks - the most lethal by far is its polearm-ranged vorpal brain-spike attack, a main hand and offhand weapon attack, a claw attack, clerical spellcasting, and a passive wide-angle gaze that causes confusion in those who can see them, even while peaceful.

An uvuudaum has various other intrinsic abilities as well: it gains +20 to-hit due to its pre-cognitive abilities, has a passive 25 HP-per-turn regeneration, 10-point damage reduction, and an intrinsic life saving property that revives the uvuudaum when it dies, though it will activate no more than once every 34 turns. Uvuudaums also possess a unique aura that qualifies as both holy and unholy: direct contact with an uvuudaum deals +4d9 damage to holy-hating monsters such as major demons and undead, and deals +3d7 to unholy-hating monsters such as Angels and similar angelic beings. Direct contact includes the brainspike and claw attacks, as well as any bare-handed weapon attacks they may make.

Generation

Uvuudaums are an ineligible form for polymorph, and do not randomly generate in Gehennom.

Despite being listed as always hostile, randomly generated uvuudaums in the main dungeon will be created as peaceful, and will almost always remain so - see below for details. Conversely, uvuudaums in the Anachrononaut quest will always be hostile. Upon killing the Wizard of Yendor or else performing the Invocation while the Wizard is still alive, all existing uvuudaums and any subsequently generated ones will be permanently hostile.

An uvuudaums is always generated with a robe that may be either tattered or lightly enchanted, but has no other special properties in either case.

An uvuudaum never leaves a corpse upon death.

Strategy

Hostile uvuudaums are easily among the most dangerous members of their monster class, and one of the most deadly to encounter on the ascension run - the best course of action is usually to simply avoid an uvuudaum or else teleport them away.

Those seeking to kill uvuudaums must have significant amounts of persistence and preparation: high damage output and accuracy is required to counteract the uvuudaum's high regeneration rate and intrinsic life saving - their intrinsic displacement generally also requires multiple attack attempts to actually inflict damage in the first place. As their passive confusion makes them perilous to even perceive, they are especially dangerous for any spellcasting-focused characters.

Meditation

Fortunately for you, hostile uvuudaums that are encountered outside of the Anachrononaut's quest branch will lapse into a meditating state and become peaceful towards you - even if you disturb or anger them, they will eventually revert to a meditative state and become peaceful again (provided you survive that mistake long enough). Once you have become a demigod by killing the Wizard of Yendor or performing the Invocation as above, uvuudaums will cease their meditation and become permanently hostile.

Brainspike

The uvuudaum's brainspike attack can hit anywhere within 2 squares of it, similar to the range of a polearm, and deals physical damage while draining constitution, wisdom and energy as well as inducing amnesia and hallucination:

  • The severity of the wisdom reduction and amnesia, as well as the duration of hallucination, are both scaled by 16 of the physical damage dealt and is further halved by poison resistance.
  • The amount of energy drained by the brainspike attack is equal to half the physical damage dealt.
  • The constitution poison is a standard poison effect with no special scaling.

The brainspike attack is also a vorpal attack that has the standard 120 chance of causing instadeath. As with other monsters with vorpal attacks, the brainspike's vorpal effect can be fully blocked by wearing any kind of helm, though the helm will usually be destroyed as a result - if the vorpal effect triggers against a target that is unsolid or headless, the attack deals double damage rather than no damage at all.

Spellcasting

Uvuudaums can cast the following spells, with base damage dependent on their level (i.e. <ML>d6) and the final three spells being unique to them:

  • Psi bolt: Direct damage (capped at 50).
  • Warp blades: Direct damage (capped at 100).
  • Stun: Stuns the target.
  • Paralyze: Paralyzes the target.
  • Prismatic spray: Up to seven 6d6 explosions around the target, always hitting but not necessarily centered on them. The damage type is randomly chosen from physical, fire, cold, shock, poison, acid, and disintegration; disintegration does not instakill, but checks against disintegration resistance for damage.
  • Time stop: Restores 50-125 HP to all uvuudaums on the floor, and reduces their cooldowns and status timeouts by 2-5 turns. This includes the caster.
  • Temporal duplicate: Summons a temporal clone of the caster, which lasts for 2-5 turns before vanishing.
  • Nail to the sky: Gives the target intrinsic levitation for (d4+1)*100 turns.

Defeating uvuudaums

A player planning to kill any amount of uvuudaums should be prepared with the following items:

  • A means of high damage output, which you will usually have by the point uvuudaums become actively hostile.
  • A towel, a high drunkenness level, a source of confusion resistance, or a source of gaze resistance (such as an amulet versus evil eyes) to deal with the uvuudaum's confusing gaze.
  • Several potions of full healing.
  • A ring of sustain ability or other source of the property to prevent your stats from being compromised.
  • A source of fast or better speed: uvuudaums will retreat to and through far walls as you chase them, making them difficult to kill outside of open levels - they will often try to remain a knight's move away, meaning that you can chase one to the edge of an open level map and stand vertically or horizontally next to them to force a confrontation. Standing at a diagonal while doing so will often cause them to continue fleeing.
  • Blessed potions of levitation or the effects of artifacts such as the Rod of Seven Parts can counteract being nailed to the sky, allowing you to exit your levitating state.
  • A Silver Flame weapon will bypass displacement, allowing you to more reliably hit the uvuudaum. However, this is only an option for lawfuls, Anachrononauts, Binders, or unaligned Madmen, unless you want your god to smite you.
  • A misotheistic pyramid can be used to temporarily block all clerical spellcasting. However, it will potentially anger your god, give you darkvision (as with a Drow), and make you unable to use pray or use altars for its duration.
  • Above all else, wear a helmet whenever possible to avoid an instakill from brainspike attacks.

For Anachrononauts encountering hostile uvuudaums on their quest as well as during the ascension run, there are additional or altered requirements:

  • A hypospray with ampules will be preferable to potions, as they cannot be diluted and are much lighter - though you cannot use them if you are stunned.
    • For reference, one hypospray weighs 15 aum, and with 5 ampules weighs the same as a single potion.
    • Full healing ampules can keep your health up, and paralysis ampules are reliably effective against uvuudaums.
  • One or more lightsabers - particularly including the Anachrononaut quest artifact, the Annulus - can generate high enough damage output to sear through an uvuudaum's defenses in melee. Make sure to use a lightsaber form with decent to-hit or damage against single targets rather than crowds.
  • Uvuudaums are not immune to disintegration, which makes rayguns a viable weapon - however, the uvuudaum's very low AC will make actually hitting quite difficult.

Additional factors to consider:

  • Avoid using a wage of sloth or the Garnet Rod's time stop invoke effect - uvuudaums are effectively immune to any form of time-stopping, gaining the same bonus movement points that you would.
  • Some spirits can remove monsters from the game without killing them under certain conditions, bypassing all forms of lifesaving including the uvuudaum's. This includes Tenebrous's Echoes of the Last Word, Eden's Recall to Eden, and both Ahazu's active and passive Abduction.
  • Uvuudaums are also not immune to cancellation, though their 80 MR will make successfully cancelling one very difficult.

Characters must also be able to weather any of the uvuudaum's multitude of monster spells, and should be prepared to withstand and ignore any temporarily summoned uvuudaums in favor of focusing on the summoner themselves. However, if you are overwhelmed by summoned uvuudaums, you may need to retreat until the summons time out - multiple uvuudaums casting the time stop spell will cause healing spikes that can out-recover even setups with the highest damage outputs.

Origin

The picture that inspired the dNetHack implementation.

The uvuudaum originates from the 3rd edition Epic Level Handbook of Dungeons & Dragons, where they are a race of malevolent creatures from an alien plane of madness known as the Far Realm. Uvuudaums are rumored to be lords of the Far Realm, and their appearances are just as chaotic and bizarre in nature as their home plane: an uvuudaum has a humanoid torso with two largely-normal humanoid arms, and their lower body consists of six arachnid-like limbs with loose clothing worn over it; in place of the head on a humanoid, the uvuudaum has a long tail-like appendage tipped at the end with an iron-hard spike. The equally-bizarre mooncalves serve as minions of the uvuudaums.

Uvuudaums are strange and malevolent creatures that delight in revealing the existence of their horrifying, madness-inducing home plane to more structured realities - their mere appearance could instill insanity and confusion in observers within 30 feet (9.1 m) of them. Uvuudaums were capable of detecting other beings through a form of blindsight, and could telepathically communicate with anyone capable of language from a range of up to 500 feet (150 m). They were highly resistant to electricity and healed very quickly from most injuries outside of those caused by fire, severe cold or holy weapons.

Uvuudaums attack with their head-spikes to drain away vital senses and stability of the mind from a victim and heal themselves - those not driven insane by their mere presence, or else not killed by the head-spike, must then contend with the venoms left by the spike and the uvuudaum's spell-casting abilities (or replication thereof, given their alien nature). Among various other spells, uvuudaums can make use of contingent resurrection, nailed to the sky, time duplicate, and time stop once per day each, and also utilized their displacement and stoneskin talents when possible - uvuudaums also have an ability known as spell stowaway, which allows them to benefit from known spells if they are used near the uvuudaums (hence their ability in dNetHack to heal all uvuudaums on the level).

Encyclopedia entry

Strange creatures with long, claw-tipped tentacles in place
of heads, Uvuudaums hail from a far realm beyond the known
planes. It is said that they are the lords of those realms,
although evidence for this is thin at best. As with all
supposed facts about that place, that claim is more likely
a gross anthropomorphism, if not an outright falsehood.
The merest glimpse of their form drives men mad, and they
are capable of crushing a man's head with a single flick
of their headspikes. Even if the victim escapes this fate,
their long spikes run with strange venoms.