Plane of Air

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Plane of Air
Location Level -2 of the
End Game
Bones No
Mappable Yes
Teleportable No
Diggable floor No
Diggable walls Yes

The Plane of Air is the second of the Elemental Planes. It is reached by a magic portal from the Plane of Earth. Only monsters that can fly (excluding trappers), can float, are amorphous, are noncorporeal, or are whirly will be randomly generated.[1]

The Plane of Air is ineligible to leave bones files. The entire level is no-teleport.

Map

The Plane of Air.

The level consists of open air, with multiple opaque moving clouds scattered throughout. You will enter the level somewhere in the left side and the portal to the Plane of Fire will be somewhere in the right side of the level.

Movement on the Plane of Air without either levitation or flying is hard; there is a 3/4 chance of failing to move, with equal chances of exercising dexterity, abusing it, or neither. Every turn, there is a 1/8 chance of lightning strikes. If you are inside the clouds when lightning strikes, you will be paralysed for three turns.

Even if you are not levitating at will, some of the effects of levitation apply. If you throw objects or kick monsters you will be propelled in the opposite direction, in accordance with Newton's third law.

The level contains eleven air elementals, three floating eyes, three yellow lights, a couatl, three djinn, nine fog clouds, five energy vortices, five steam vortices, two jabberwocks, five random dragons, and three random E, all placed randomly.

Strategy

There are two main challenges on the Plane of Air - controlling your movement across the level and surviving the monsters and lightning strikes.

As you note upon entering the plane, there is no gravity here. It is highly recommended that you bring some means of levitation or flying so that you can gain control of your movements. If you do then movement across the plane is essentially no more difficult than walking around on the ground. Note also that if you want to escape a situation quickly you can throw junk objects to propel you even if you have control of your movement (although you will then be left helpless for a number of turns equal to the distance you moved, so this does not increase your average speed).

If, for whatever reason, you don't have access to levitation or flying then movement across the level will be difficult. If you try to move by struggling through the air you will spend a long time on this plane. You will also spend longer in the cloud banks than you would otherwise have done. This is a Bad Thing.

One way to travel without control of your movements is to throw objects in the opposite direction. This is reasonably expeditious and for this reason you might want to bring some light junk objects to the planes if you don't have levitation. Another option is to get engulfed by a steam vortex and let it ferry you around. Assuming you have fire resistance you won't be damaged and, with a little luck, your host will eventually take you where you need to go.

The monsters on this plane are fairly tough. The air elementals move much faster than even a very fast player monster and can dish out damage quickly. They are also generated much tougher than the air elementals one might encounter in the dungeons. While a wand of slow monster or wand of opening will make an air elemental expel you, possibly allowing you to escape, the elemental will likely just reengulf you before you can move away. They are also susceptible to wands and spells of sleep, polymorph, death, teleportation and so on. Another way to deal with this health loss is to be engulfed by a v for which you have resistance, so you can recover your hp.

As this plane has air instead of normal floor, you cannot use Elbereth in emergency situations; scrolls of scare monster still work normally. Tooled horns and leather drums can be very useful here to make the monsters avoid you.

It is highly recommended that you use conflict to distract the monsters from yourself. As on all the elemental planes the goal is not to kill everything - the goal is to get to the portal. Use every turn to move towards that goal. If you get engulfed by an air elemental watch your HP and be prepared to expend resources to get out. Be especially wary of being engulfed near the clouds - the engulfing elemental can move into them while you are inside.

The cloud banks are not good places to be. The lightning strikes can paralyse you even if you have free action. Even well prepared characters can succumb surprisingly quickly to the beefed-up air elementals if they get trapped in a cloud bank. For this reason, you should either break through the cloud bank at the narrow point near the middle of the map or go around it altogether at the top. If you find yourself engulfed by an air elemental intent on dragging you deep into the clouds, do your best to break out as soon as possible.

As with the other elemental planes, you must locate the portal; it is not immediately visible. The usual methods work nicely. Also, as the area the portal can be placed in is relatively small, it is easier than usual to find it with the Amulet. The moving clouds, however, limit the feasibility of a wand of secret door detection. Although this now resembles the Plane of Water here the portal is stationary.

UnNetHack

In UnNetHack, the escape portal can be located on either side of the Plane, even a few steps from your arrival point.

References

  1. makemon.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 60

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