Knights start with the following equipment:
- +1 long sword (Knights are the only role in SLASH'EM to start with a long sword)
- +0 lance
- +0 plate mail
- +0 helmet
- +0 large shield
- +0 leather gloves
- 10-20 apples
- 10-20 carrots
Knights start with the following techniques:
Knights start the game extremely well-equipped and with strength maxed out at 18/**. However, their equipment is very heavy, and they are likely to become burdened quickly unless you swap out the plate mail and large shield for some lighter options. Due to the high strength, Knights start the game with a large damage bonus, which makes SLASH'EM's usually challenging early game quite manageable. Additionally, Knights are the only role with reliable access to Excalibur, the Valkyrie's long sword having been replaced with a spear. On the whole, the early game is much the same as in Vanilla; Knights have a strong offense but weak HP growth and other stats (other than strength). Due to Excalibur's enhanced strength, Knight is probably the easiest role to play for the early game.
Because corpses become moldy in SLASH'EM, it is much easier to keep the knight's horse fed than in Vanilla. When you are Satiated or have enough food rations, leave corpses lying around rather than eating them, and ensure that you lay corpses out next to each other rather than allowing them to stack. This will allow you to "farm" for fungi, as when you return to previously cleared levels you will find an abundance of lichen, red molds, brown molds, shriekers, black molds, and disgusting molds that you can feed to your horse. Lichen corpses in particular can be carried with you indefinitely and fed to your horse later; other fungi will revive from your knapsack.
In the mid-game, Knights will want to acquire another strong artifact such as Grayswandir, the Sword of Justice, or Snickersnee for two-weaponing. Additionally, Knights should #pray or sacrifice to get minions. As early as level 7, they will have access to powerful movanic devas; at level 10 they can get more-powerful monadic devas, which coupled with a magic whistle, give the knight a powerful retinue that can mow down even powerful foes like trolls and dragons.
In the later game, SLASH'EM knights do suffer from a distinct disadvantage as compared to Vanilla. While the Magic Mirror of Merlin still doubles damage from magic missile, knights cannot gain skill in attack spells. Combined with armor penalties for wearing any armor, including dragon scale mail, a level 30 knight with maxed out stats (including a +5 HoB) will have a 57% failure rate for that spell. Removing body armor reduces this penalty to 12%. The only way to get to a 0% failure rate for the spell is a robe of power, which can be found on aligned priests or obtained by polypiling, upgrading, or a wish. Since robes are body armor in SLASH'EM, and a shield of reflection will further interfere with spellcasting, a Knight who uses this strategy will need to rely on an amulet of reflection, wielding Nighthorn, or repeatedly putting on and taking off a shield of reflection to get the valuable reflection extrinsic. Knights should continue to sacrifice for minions in the late game, as they can get ki-rins, astral devas, archons, planetars, and solars, the last three of which will clear out hordes of nasties with no effort whatsoever.
A good ascension kit for a Knight is:
+7 Excalibur +7 Grayswandir, +7 Sword of Justice, +7 Snickersnee, +7 Frost Brand, or +7 Fire Brand ki-rin that has a +5 shield of reflection, an amulet of life saving, +7 elven boots, and +5 gloves (of any kind) +7 elven boots or +5 jumping boots, or +5 fireproof water walking boots +7 cloak of magic resistance +5 gauntlets of dexterity
If you plan to cast attack spells:
If you don't plan to cast attack spells: