Tourist

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The Tourist is one of the roles in NetHack. Since the Tourist has low starting stats and can only reach Expert in three weapons, running a Tourist is quite the challenge. Tourists always start as a neutral human in NetHack. In SLASH'EM, Tourists may also be Doppelganger or Hobbit.

The Tourist is inspired by Terry Pratchett's Discworld books; Twoflower, the tourist from these books, stars as the Quest guide for the Tourist role.

The guidebook has this to say about tourists:

Tourists start out with lots of gold (suitable for shopping with),
a credit card, lots of food, some maps, and an expensive camera.
Most monsters don't like being photographed.

Starting equipment

Intrinsics

Skills

Tourist skills
Max Skills
Basic
Skilled
Expert

Tourists start with Basic skill in Dart. Depite not starting with a melee weapon, they start Unskilled in Bare hands, because only roles which can reach Master start with Basic skill in Bare hands, and Tourists can only reach Skilled.

Compensating somewhat for the Tourist's poor starting equipment is the fact that a Tourist can advance to basic skill in every type of weapon except clubs. Therefore, a Tourist can make use of almost any weapon without restriction.

Special rules

Shopkeepers recognize tourists below experience level 15 as suckers and charge them an extra 1/3 markup when buying and only offer 1/3 the base price of sold items. (The same problem will be experienced by other roles when wearing a visible shirt and/or dunce cap.)

Strategy

Early game

Objectives

Tourists tend to start with comically low HP and Strength, and no real armor to speak of. Thus, the early game must be played with extreme caution. Unlike most other roles, Tourists need to rely heavily on items that they find.

It is critical to find armor as soon as possible. Tourists should use their starting pet to curse-test every weapon and piece of armor that they find. Non-cursed armor should be worn immediately, unless it encumbers you. It is worth noting that in the early game the most common source of magical armor items is an armor shop, and Tourists typically start out with enough gold to be able to buy most of the good items in the shop.

Heading directly for Sokoban or Minetown are valid strategies, but the monsters may get too difficult too quickly. An overly cautious strategy is to wait somewhere around dungeon level 3 or so and kill easy monsters until you gain a few levels, then descend deeper.

Weapons

The initial stock of 21-40 +2 darts should be viewed as a bridge to a better weapon. Each dart will, on average, last for 4 throws (given that each dart has a 1/4 chance of breakage per throw), which means that Tourists will get about 84-160 dart throws before the supply is exhausted. Once a better weapon is found, any remaining darts should be kept for use in attacking monsters from long range.

At low experience levels, it is difficult to hit anything with a weapon in which you are unskilled, since unskilled usage confers a -4 to-hit penalty. Hence, unless you find a high-damage weapon such as a dwarvish mattock or two-handed sword, or find a highly enchanted weapon, or are facing wimpy harmless monsters, it is much safer to kill things by throwing your darts in the very early game. Once you do find a weapon that you want to train, you can use it on non-threatening monsters (such as lichens, fog clouds, and grid bugs) and save your darts for true challenges.

By the time you reach experience level 5 or thereabouts, you will often have found a better weapon (such as a dwarvish mattock, two-handed sword, long sword, silver saber, or unicorn horn), which you can start using in place of the darts since your experience level is now high enough to partly offset the unskilled to-hit penalty. Of course, your weapon will not stay unskilled for long; you should advance it to at least basic as quickly as possible.

General

The most useful starting item for a Tourist is the expensive camera. The camera, when applied, will blind any monster standing in the way of the flash. This is a good survival tactic, since you can then run away while the monster is blinded. If they lack a towel or blindfold, tourists can also flash themselves for temporary blindness to use telepathy or avoid a gaze attack.

A last-resort survival tool for the early Tourist is to write Elbereth in the dust. This may scare single monsters away, allowing your pet to kill them while you retreat. Keep in mind that monsters blinded by your expensive camera will not respond to Elbereth!

The credit card is useful for opening locked doors and chests without having to kick, bash, or pry them open. A key is still better if you can find one, because it can also re-lock them.

Tourists tend to start with a high charisma, which allows them to consort with foocubi effectively.

Midgame

Objectives

Once you are able to bring your AC down below zero, and you obtain a better weapon than the starting darts, you have a reasonable chance at going after the Mines' End luckstone and the prize at the end of Sokoban. After that, continue down the dungeon until you find the portal to the Quest.

The Quest artifact for the Tourist is the Platinum Yendorian Express Card. This artifact is so useful that in most cases a Tourist should try to complete the Quest as soon as possible. The most important intrinsic to have for the Quest is reflection, because the Quest locate and Quest goal levels contain several large rooms filled with soldiers armed with attack wands. The Master of Thieves, the Quest nemesis, is not particularly difficult compared to other Quest nemeses, and any character capable of dispatching the soldiers should have no special trouble with him.

Weapons

In this part of the game, the best single melee weapon for a Tourist is a unicorn horn. Even though the unicorn horn does slightly less damage per hit than an equivalent dwarvish mattock, the unicorn horn can be advanced to Skilled, whereas mattocks can only be advanced to Basic. Also, dwarvish mattocks are quite heavy, whereas a unicorn horn is something that you should be carrying around anyway for the healing properties. Typically, a Tourist with a well enchanted unicorn horn should have no problem completing the Quest and the Castle. Tourists can also become skilled at two weapon combat, so another option is to wield a pair of good one-handed weapons (e.g., two silver sabers).

General

Tourists should seek out the same types of armor that a warrior-type character such as a Valkyrie or Barbarian would use. In most cases, it is not worth avoiding metal armor to improve spell casting rates, because Tourists suffer enormous spell casting penalties from even one peripheral piece of metal armor, and it is not practical to avoid metal armor entirely. Typical armor for a well-off Tourist would be a mithril-coat, iron shoes, a dwarvish iron helm or orcish helm, and an elven cloak or dwarvish cloak, with perhaps one or two pieces of magical armor.

Late game

Weapons

In the advanced stages of the game, a Tourist should have several artifact weapons available from which to choose. Because Tourists have no weapon restrictions to speak of, any artifact weapon which is good in general is good for the Tourist. Thus, Tourists do not usually need to be too discriminating in choosing an artifact weapon. However, if one has a choice, the following weapons are especially desirable and are worth pursuing if your character has the opportunity (e.g., via a wish):

  • Grayswandir - Tourists can advance sabers to Skilled. In most cases it must be obtained from a wish, since Tourists start out neutral. It can then be dual-wielded with another silver saber; this is the most powerful melee weapon combination for an endgame Tourist.
  • Magicbane - Tourists can advance daggers to expert and can get this by sacrificing.
  • Mjollnir - Unless the enemy is shock resistant, this weapon inflicts the most damage out of all the aligned weapons that a Tourist can obtain by #offering (sacrificing).

Tourists can become skilled in two-weapon combat, but this only becomes useful late in the game, when good weapons are available. Using two weapons is preferred unless the character requires a shield for reflection. For ranged weapons, highly enchanted darts, daggers or a crysknife also work well, since Tourists can get to Expert skill in daggers and darts, and Skilled in knife.

General

With regards to armor selection, a Tourist is no different from any other role and should follow the same guidelines as any other character in terms of assembling the various pieces of armor that form a typical ascension kit.

The main function of the Platinum Yendorian Express Card is that it can be #invoked to charge wands and tools like a scroll of charging. Properly exploited, this function gives the Tourist the equivalent of a blessed scroll of charging every few hundred turns, a feat which is not possible with any other role. This makes the Tourist role one of the easiest to ascend once the Quest has been completed.

Wands have an increased chance of exploding each time they are charged, so a post-Quest Tourist will usually want to keep several of each type of wand on hand to maximize the number of recharging opportunities. For rare wands, such as wands of death, a small number of such wands will last an entire game if properly managed. For common wands, such as wands of digging, it is a good idea to maintain a rotating stock of such wands, discarding the ones which have been charged many times and replacing them with newer ones.

The Platinum Yendorian Express Card can also be used to charge tools. This is especially useful because most tools, unlike wands, can be recharged infinitely many times. For example, a horn of plenty combined with the Platinum Yendorian Express Card means that a Tourist can get by with carrying very little food. A bag of tricks can be used to create monsters indefinitely. Other useful chargeable tools include brass lanterns, crystal balls, tinning kits, magic harps, magic flutes, fire horns, frost horns, the Bell of Opening, and even the expensive camera that comes in the initial inventory.

Because the game will not display the number of charges and recharges on an unidentified item, a spellbook of identify may be a valuable item for a Tourist. Tourists can reach basic skill in Divination spells, which is more than enough to cast identify.

Rank titles

The status line shows you to be one of the following ranks when you reach the specified experience level:

  • XL 1-2: Rambler
  • XL 3-5: Sightseer
  • XL 6-9: Excursionist
  • XL 10-13: Peregrinator/Peregrinatrix
  • XL 14-17: Traveler
  • XL 18-21: Journeyer
  • XL 22-25: Voyager
  • XL 26-29: Explorer
  • XL 30: Adventurer

Quest

Main article: Tourist quest

The Tourist quest sees you fighting the Master of Thieves for the Platinum Yendorian Express Card.

Variants

SporkHack

Sporkhack offers a wider selection of races for various roles. An orc tourist is an interesting choice that starts with potions of sickness and thus offers an instant kill attack from the second move.

UnNetHack

In UnNetHack, items in shops are automatically identified when playing as a tourist, regardless of whether the player has seen them before or not. Similarly, selling unidentified items will automatically identify them. Enchantments (for weapons, armors, and stat-raising rings) or BUC status are not identified.

Encyclopedia entry

The road from Ankh-Morpork to Chrim is high, white and
winding, a thirty-league stretch of potholes and half-buried
rocks that spirals around mountains and dips into cool green
valleys of citrus trees, crosses liana-webbed gorges on
creaking rope bridges and is generally more picturesque than
useful.
Picturesque. That was a new word to Rincewind the wizard
(BMgc, Unseen University [failed]). It was one of a number
he had picked up since leaving the charred ruins of
Ankh-Morpork. Quaint was another one. Picturesque meant --
he decided after careful observation of the scenery that
inspired Twoflower to use the word -- that the landscape was
horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the
occasional village through which they passed, meant fever-
ridden and tumbledown.
Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the discworld.
Tourist, Rincewind had decided, meant "idiot".

[ The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett ]