Lord Surtur

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Lord Surtur, H, is the Valkyrie quest nemesis. He is generally considered one of the easier to defeat. Lord Surtur respects Elbereth. Novice players should still beware, however, as Lord Surtur may be the first enemy they encounter who teleports to the upstairs to heal. He is generated asleep at the center of his lair, surrounded by fire giants and a handful of squeaky board traps. A valkyrie starts off with the stealth intrinsic, so if she doesn't wake the nemesis by stepping on a squeaky trap or in any other way, she can clear out the fire giants before facing Lord Surtur in single combat. The player should stay on Elbereth on the upstairs themselves to keep Lord Surtur from teleporting away or from escaping upstairs. He has fire resistance but not cold resistance, so any cold attacks will do 50% extra damage. A wand of death is also effective. He is not a spellcaster, so magic resistance is not necessary, but the Orb of Fate does not grant it, either.

It is popular to tin Lord Surtur's corpse, whether to eat for the strength gain or simply to keep as a trophy.

Strategy

Lord Surtur can be defeated easily by any Valkyrie player of a high enough level to enter the Quest. There are several ways one might go about doing this:

  • Lord Surtur does respect Elbereth, so one can engrave it on the upstairs and stand on it, rendering Lord Surtur unable to escape to the next level or teleport away to heal.
  • Zapping Lord Surtur with a wand of death can put him down quickly.
  • Lord Surtur will take additional damage from cold attacks. Zapping him with a wand of cold or a cone of cold spell will quickly finish him.
  • If you feel confident in your melee capabilities, or have a sufficiently low AC, you might be able to engage him by standing on the Orb of Fate. If you can deal a significant amount of damage to him without waking him (consider #twoweapon with an artifact weapon or otherwise highly-enchanted non-artifact weapons), his first action will be to teleport to the upstairs to heal. He will not, however, have time to pick up the Orb of Fate. If you stand on the Orb of Fate and engrave Elbereth underneath you, he will move next to you in an attempt to retrieve the Orb of Fate and will usually remain next to you without teleporting away to heal. You can then proceed to melee him down.
  • Make sure you take out his fire giant and fire ant minions before engaging him, if possible. Lord Surtur will hit fairly hard if he does hit you, and you don't want to be dealing with other enemies at the same time.

Mythology

The spelling of the name "Surtur", comes from his marvel comics incarnation. Where he is a villain alongside other characters like the more famous Thor (of marvel comics). Otherwise, the mythological name is normally spelled Surtr.

The Nethack Surtur/Surtr, draws directly from the source of Norse mythology, as suggested from the encyclopedia entry. The Prose Edda is an unnamed collection of old Norse poems. In the Norse mythology, Surtr is an important giant of Ragnarök, the Norse end of the world.

Encyclopedia entry

Yet first was the world in the southern region, which was
named Muspell; it is light and hot; that region is glowing
and burning, and impassable to such as are outlanders and
have not their holdings there. He who sits there at the
land's-end, to defend the land, is called Surtr; he brandishes
a flaming sword, and at the end of the world he shall go forth
and harry, and overcome all the gods, and burn all the
world with fire.

[ The Prose Edda, by Snorri Sturluson ]

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