Talk:Protection racket

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Suppose you can't afford all 9 points of protection when you reach the temple, what do you do? Do you go on playing as a pacifist for as long as it takes, or do you switch to normal play after buying your first substantial chunk of protection? Ekaterin 15:42, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

If you have a pet, it isn't hard (but is usually time-consuming) to credit-clone and make up the cash you need. With an Archeologist, I have an easy time extorting the general store for all it's worth (no one else will accept my gems), which is usually enough for the +9. If you absolutely can't raise the funds, switch to normal play -- it's dangerous to stay at XL1 so long. Just my two cents. --Mogri 17:57, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I have tried many, many times to do the protection racket as an Archeologist. I have only made it to the priest twice, and both times with XL = 4. I let my pet (or pets) do all the killing possible, but eventually I usually have to level up after having to fight under dire circumstances. At XL = 4 I could only get 1 purchase of protection. After selling gems, the general store shopkeeper has no more money. It seems nearly impossible to do the "steal & sell" with commestibles and candles to make much money without starving. This likely leaves only one store owner with available gold. I have two questions:

1. Besides digging to vaults in the main dungeon (which I do) and killing shopkeepers (I don't), how do you quickly obtain it? Do you extort money from every shopkeeper?

2. How low should your XL level be? Is XL=4 is too high as not enough gold is available in minetown?

Being level 4 means you have to spend at least 1,600 gold per point of protection. In order to get the entire amount, you will need to have 12,800 gold (1,600 gold 8 times). 12,800 might be possible, but it's much harder to get than 3,200 at level 1. --MadDawg2552 04:28, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

I just tried this seriously for the first time because I was lvl1 when I found the Gnomish Mines...and made it! I'm an Arc and didn't bother to try and get money, I thought I'd get that from shoplifting with my doggie. It was all going fine for the first two levels of the Mines until I fell into a trap door right into Itzchak's. The way up was quite harsh as I refused to use any other weapon than Elbereth and I had 2 levels to ge through to get back to my pet, including going across a beehive, but whan I finally got to him the way back was fine, I collected some 1000g from a bone file along the way and I was back to the temple in no time. Remember guys: Elbereth! I'll post the link to my ttyrec file from NAO when I'm finished... 82.124.106.37 20:57, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

part 1, part 2. You can read them with termplay 82.124.233.111 08:04, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I am an old expert as this game, and have done in tournaments with the most conducts, including pacifist. Their are ways to make protection racket more viable as all classes, which include praying to raise your max hp and going up to lvl 3 before going into the mines. The best bet is to do sokobon first, and then go into the mines. Should i put this in?

I consider Protection Racket with a healer who has <5 mana to be roughly the same as with other non-healer classes, except that with a healer you do have the opportunity to quaff a couple of potions to get your HP into the 20s and keep more for emergencies. An Arc is a good choice because of the starting pickaxe with which to dig out some vaults, but then again you can go into the mines and let your pet eat gnomes and dwarves until you have one, which won't be that long, then head back upstairs likewise to go digging. I can't say exactly what I've done that has made it easier for me, but over time I've become fairly comfortable with PR. Initially it was abject terror; now it takes either pretty bad luck or serious operator error for me to get killed doing it. Ironically I think the most dangerous place is probably Minetown, because that's usually where a pet gets killed trying to take on one too many watchmen. If you're not a healer, your pet probably will be killed in Minetown by a watch captain, unless you find a magic whistle, so hurry up and get that protection while you can.
I go all the way down to Minetown as Level 1, or if I don't, I don't bother until I've cobbled up some huge amount of gold elsewhere.
As an experiment, I just ran PR with a samurai. First one got to Minetown with about 2400 gold cloned/looted from vaults/etc., at level 1, got the protection, and then was blown away by an orc pointblank with a wand of lightning coming around a corner. Oh well. Second try, got to Minetown with about 2000 gold, hacked around till about level 4, cloned enough for a couple more chats. Not a problem really. It's all in keeping the pet in the way, and both of you alive. Joe n bloe 10:26, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Knights good at protection racket?

An anonymous user added:

Some classes have a comparatively good chance, such as Knights due to their horse's ability to kill the mines' denizens (and not stop to eat each corpse), their ability to jump, and having lots of starting armor, but even so, it is still difficult.

Can't say I see it myself.

horse's ability to kill the mines' denizens
While it's true that horses can gain one more level, get faster and have an extra 1d2-4 attack, this really is a negligible advantage. If you're regularly so close to death that one more attack from a monster before your pet killed it would have killed you, you're doing it wrong. Also, who's to say another class won't find veggie food and a pony, or the knight's pony won't die or get lost and need replacing with a random dog or kitten?
not stop to eat corpses
This is more disadvantage than advantage. It forces you to rush before your horse gets hungry and turns on you. Conversely, you can always keep the monsters at bay with Elbereth until your pet finishes eating and a player can always pray to fill his stomach, once his alignment is positive (e.g. kill a suitable 1XP monster - we're not talking pacifist here).
their ability to jump
This is a slight advantage, but the downside is jumping increases hunger. You're going to need those extra corpses. Also, Elbereth is more important than fast movement for the protection racket. Better from this standpoint are probably Monks, with intrinsic speed; unlike knights they get more chances to dust-engrave Elbereth.
having lots of starting armor
Only really an advantage up to the point you find your first set of mithril; typically earlier on, in the easier part of the protection racket. Helmets are plentiful and shields relatively common so really only the gloves make any difference at all, and 1AC is not that big an advantage. It's not unusual for me to have negative AC *before* buying protection as a healer on the protection racket (I don't bother with the heal spell even if I have the mana to cast it at level 1). Valkyries are probably better than knights here as their +3 shield is useful at least until they decide to start hitting stuff.


In summary, I don't see knights as significantly better than any random class; you could dress up many other classes' starting abilities and equipment similarly. I propose reverting this edit. What do others think?

--Rogerb-on-NAO 00:55, 14 August 2008 (UTC)


Safer alternative: Level drain

I removed the below because if you can pull this off, you don't need the protection racket anymore. Also, becoming low-level exposes you to most of the risks of the early game again, which is what you want to avoid.--Tjr 00:24, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree that your character is exposed to the "most of" the risks that an ordinary protection racketeer faces. After buying the AC, you might be level 1, but you have a great many advantages over a character who is just starting the game. Obviously, you now have the AC you just bought, but that's not even your biggest advantage. You also have the equipment of a few thousand turns of playing (likely, since you had enough gold to do this), better ability scores and resistances, you have mapped and cleared the levels above you (for that matter, there _are_ now levels above you), you have identified some useful items, and have a pet much much stronger than your initial pet. Additionally, even the stronger monsters around you can be viewed as a partial advantage. Though they're dangerous, they also grant you an enormous amount of XP for your low level. Now that you want to gain levels, you can kill them with abandon to get back to around level 6 before resuming normal play. --Thefifthsetpin 23:31, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Additionally, imho, the protection racket remains a lot of fun even if you don't still "need" it. Sure, the whole exercise might not be the best idea for winning, but elsewhere in the article it is made clear that this is a metastrategy. I'd vote that this entire section be restored. --Thefifthsetpin 23:31, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Some players recommend becoming level 3 before entering the mines to avoid death by traps and give you a hit point cushion.

If you do not want to risk a near-pacifist playing style or have already leveled up somewhat, you can still drain yourself to experience level 1 near the temple. The drawback is you can usually drain yourself only once you have already survived the most dangerous part of the game. You might want to unlock the stairs down from the quest beforehand if you are more than about level 10. First, get the gold, obtain a good pet for protection, lure most of the watch to a different level or lock them away, and clear out all monsters in mine town while you are still powerful.

Next, drain yourself to level 1 near (in) the temple. Feasible ways:

  • dance with randomly generated wraith in a small, locked room on a semi-permanent Elbereth.
  • lure up a vampire or wraith from the maze version of mine's end
  • reverse-genocide wraith
  • pray too often if you only need to drain 1-2 (more) levels
  • cast drain life at yourself, provided you can still do so at low levels
  • more esoteric: do it in the Valley of the Dead; transport wraith from the wizard or priest quest; throw Stormbringer or the Staff of Aesculapius up <.

Even low levels of magic cancellation encumber this process - know what to take off. Make sure your hit points after the level drain will be enough to cover the maximum physical damage from the drainer's attack.

After you "donate" the gold, level back up very cautiously, and fix any remaining anger if applicable.

If you are considering level-draining yourself, you may also want to take a look at the "Drain for gain" strategy to get a boost to your maximum HP and power when you level back up.

I think there might be something to be said for a wizard who starts with drain life draining him/herself to level 1 from maybe level 3 or so, given how much the extra power and hit points can make the difference between life and death (going to level 3 will generally triple your power or so). Overall, though, I agree, it seems more a strategy for people who want to unnecessarily maximize their AC in the mid- or late-game. -Ion frigate 17:57, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Those last few levels are exactly the most dangerous ones, unless you've already alchemized piles of full healing and don't really need the protection anyway. --Tjr 17:59, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Alternate Roles

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:
"Someone with practical experience needs to review the following for balance. I think it leaves the impression the protection racket is easy for any role. Some advantages (knights jumping but starving, wizards pawning starting equipment versus credit cloning, arcs starting vs. anybody finding a pick-axe) are vastly exaggerated."

This comes down to the definition of protection racket. Most roles can level up to 6 and still afford 4-6 points of protection if they loot every vault and shop down to the oracle. This can be followed up with a few more protection points by rushing Fort Ludios while saving foocubi and level gain potions (at least in 75% of the games). If they are lucky with the number of shops and vaults generated, a knight can hit level 5 and dip for Excalibur while still being able to afford 7-9 points of protection.

If the focus is on accumulating tons of money before getting to Minetown, the question is "how many levels can I shave off and still feel comfortable in the mines?" For some races and classes, this is more than others. Most non-chaotic roles can avoid a level or two and still navigate the mines successfully though. Giving your pet a lot of kills early is usually a good idea anyway.

It comes down to definition though. Do you think protection racket is shooting for 4-9 extra AC early on, which most non-chaotic roles can do? Is it shooting for 9 AC? Then, you'll want a Gnomish healer. Or maybe its shooting for significantly more than 9 AC, which practically demands level draining.

I start every single game that I play as a protection racket by simply robbing everyone and letting my pet level more than me at first. Then, I choose to level based on how the game is progressing. A very early wand of wishing can turn any race/role into a protection racket race/role.--Deek (talk) 00:45, 15 May 2017 (UTC)