Fort Ludios

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Fort Ludios
Location Level 1 of
Fort Ludios
Bones No
Mappable Yes
Teleportable No
Diggable floor No
Diggable walls No

Fort Ludios is a branch of the Mazes of Menace in NetHack, consisting of a single special level. The code internally refers to the level as Fort Knox.[1] Fort Ludios is ineligible to leave bones files and is no-teleport.

The branch is accessed through a magic portal found in a vault between dungeon level 10 and Medusa's Island. Any vault generated in this range has a 13 chance of containing the portal to Ludios, if it has not already been generated - the Rogue level and the Big Room cannot contain vaults, and a vault on the quest portal level will never contain a portal to Ludios. As such, it is accessible in 74.9% of all games.[2][3]

Map

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  #   |........}-----}.........D..........}-----}..........--+--+--@@@|..|
  # ---........}|***|}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}|***|}.................|@@@|..|
  # |..........}---S------------------------S---}.................|@@@|..|
  # |........@.;}}|$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$|tttttttttt|;}}.................+@@@|..|
--S----.........D}|$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Stttttttttt|}........@..........|@@@|..|
|zzzzz|..@.......}|$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$|tttttt@tttS}D.......@..........|@@@|..|
|zzzzz+........;}}|$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$|tttttttttt|;}}.................+@@@|..|
|zzzzz|........}---S------------------------S---}.................|@@@|..|
|zz...|...@....}|***|}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}|***|}...@.............|@@@|..|
|zz-S----.@....}-----}.........D..........}-----}...@......--+--+--@@@|..|
|zz|....|......}}}}}}}....................}}}}}}}..........|@@@@@@@@@@|..|
|zz|..^.|...................@.@.......@.............@......|@@@@@@@@@@|..|
-----------................................................------------..|
          |..............................................................|
          ----------------------------------------------------------------

Entering Fort Ludios through the magic portal will place you on the other end at the bottom-left of the map, which is also used to exit the level. The zoo (with inhabitants marked "z"), fort, and barracks are lit; the other areas are unlit. All walls and floors are undiggable, but all walls and the solid rock at the outside of the level are phaseable. As soon as you enter the floor, an alarm will sound, waking up all monsters on the floor - this will continue to happen every time you enter until Croesus is dead.

The barracks and zoo have typical monster and item generation for those room types, as does the central throne room - the inhabitants are marked with "t", and Croesus himself sits atop the opulent throne. Additionally, 16 soldiers and one lieutenant are generated in the courtyard around the fort; four dragons are around the moat; and four giant eels are in the moat. There is a secret passage between the zoo in the southwest and the room in the northwest, which contains a single stone giant.

The four corner rooms of the fort contain precious gems: rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and amethysts. The left half of the fort is filled with gold (600–899 zorkmids per square), but also with traps. Each square has a 13 chance of containing a trap; of those that do, 23 are land mines and 13 are spiked pits. Levitation will allow you to locate the traps with relative safety; otherwise, it is recommended to search all squares before moving in this area. There are no other traps anywhere on the level.

Strategy

Using the door to your advantage (DECgraphics are enabled)

It may be prudent to obtain reflection before entering in order to better handle the hordes of monsters, particularly the dragons and the Yendorian Army fighters armed with wands. If you have a strong pet, such as a vampire lord, you may choose to whistle it across walls to have it fight the zoo monsters and soldiers without exposing yourself to them - monsters will not use their wands or other ranged attacks against your pet, preserving the wands' charges, though doing this will also make it difficult to monitor their health.

You can also use a source of conflict to have the zoo monsters and/or soldiers thin their own ranks - be careful not to get your pet caught in the crossfire, and mind your own health as well. A scroll of stinking cloud is also quite useful from a reasonable distance. Leftover wands from clearing out the soldiers can then be used against the giant eels in the moat, as can any leftover polearms and lances. See also Movement tactics § Doors for other general crowd-control tactics.

The fort has no drawbridge, so you will need some means of crossing water:

  • Fill the moat with boulders using a spare scroll of earth. The guaranteed giant in the stone passage also has a 50% chance of generating with a boulder, though you will want to draw them away from the north wall if you plan to push it into the main area.
  • If you are jumping across, you can blast through the door from afar with a force bolt from the spell or a wand of striking, or raze the door with the spell or wand of digging. Additionally, if you detect the door with a wand of secret door detection or the detect unseen spell, one of the throne room inhabitants will open it shortly after.
  • Use a wand of cold to freeze the surrounding water. The soldiers are likely to have at least one spare wand, though it may prove difficult to obtain them before all the charges are used up.
  • Levitation or flight (e.g., using a flying steed) can carry you across fairly easily - in the former case, be mindful of any remaining giant eels and potential rays of lightning if using the ring of levitation.

Croesus hits hard in melee combat, and the throne room monsters accompanying him can be quite dangerous and tough themselves - depending on when they were generated, the horde can include powerful trolls and dragons. The tactics mentioned above can be useful in clearing out the throne room, and Croesus himself can be easily dispatched with ranged attacks via wands or polearms from across the moat, as indicated by the map to the upper right. Alternatively, you can use a wand of cold to form a bridge, then melt it with a source of fire, e.g., a wand of fire, as he crosses to attack you - though beware his 15 speed, especially if you are encumbered.

Come with a bag of holding if you plan on leaving with all of the gold. Fort Ludios contains around 50,000zm on average, which is about half of a strong character's total carrying capacity.

History

Fort Ludios first appears in NetHack 3.1.0. The secret passage and the stone giant dwelling in the room on its other end were added in NetHack 3.6.1.

The level was subject to a bug where entering with a lit candle lit up the entire entry room except for a corner spot beyond the candle radius; other spots further away than this corner were lit up as well. This was fixed in NetHack 3.6.2.[4]

Messages

You have penetrated a high security area!
An alarm sounds!
You entered Fort Ludios while Croesus was present. The message will no longer print once he is killed.

Variants

UnNetHack

In UnNetHack, the portal is much more likely to generate as of version 5.1.0 - the portal will always in the first vault below level 10, on a floor that does not contain the Quest portal. There are also two new maps for the level.

SLASH'EM

In SLASH'EM, the four dragons generated can also include baby dragons as well as any of the newly added species, such as the life-draining deep dragons - drain resistance will prove quite important in this scenario. Additionally, soldiers in SLASH'EM carry firearms and throw grenades, making them quite a bit more dangerous than their vanilla brethren. The building containing the barracks is now a graveyard with headstones, though there are no undead and the soldiers are still generated inside at the beginning. The tombs have no loot, but generate a corpse or an undead monster if you dig them up.

While much of the strategy used in vanilla NetHack also applies here, the frag and gas grenades you will encounter deal fire and poison damage respectively, making fire resistance and poison resistance ideal as well. More pressingly, they can destroy armor, scrolls, potions, and ammunition - they can also set off other grenades on the ground or in other soldiers' inventories, causing a chain reaction that can destroy both the enemy soldiers and potential loot. Those looking to maximize their gains from Ludios, including guns and ammuniation should quickly pick up and throw armed grenades far from the group of soldiers.

EvilHack

In EvilHack, there are now three different potential maps for Ludios.

References

  1. The file knox.des contains the map for Fort Ludios, as shown in some of the references below.
  2. Ludios exists in 74.9% of dungeons
  3. Ludios?
  4. doc/fixes36.2 in NetHack 3.6.6, line 334