User:Flag On The Moon/Firefighter quest

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Home level Ash Mountain Lookout
Locate level Backdraft Lodge
Goal level Ash Mountain Caves
Leader Hotshot
Guardians volunteers
Nemesis Wildfire
Quest Artifact The Helm of the Rescuer

My conceptual Firefighter quest sees you traveling to Ash Mountain to recover your lost quest artifact, while investigating a mysterious forest fire that seems to have a will of its own.

The Ash Mountain featured in this quest is fictional, but possibly located somewhere in northwestern North America. According to Wikipedia, there are real locations named Ash Mountain in British Columbia, California, and Montana. The real-life (not extinct or fantastic) animals represented in the quest are generally consistent with the Pacific Northwest.

Levels

Random monsters on this Quest are generated with the following frequencies:

  • 96/175 (55%) hellhound
  • 24/175 (14%) random d
  • 24/175 (14%) rothe
  • 6/175 (3%) random q
  • 1/7 (14%) normal random monster

Most levels also contain fire elementals and fire vortices, but there is no bias in favor of generating either monster.

Ash Mountain Lookout

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The island forms the center portion of the level, with blank space on either side. The portal is located on the left side, which is randomly seeded with trees, and the downstair is located on the right side, which is seeded with trees and fog/vapor clouds. The island itself is in the shape of an international firefighting symbol.

Hotshot, your quest leader, stands on a chest inside the lookout in the center of the camp, with three quest guardians (volunteers) placed on either side. There is also a peaceful nurse located somewhere on the level, and possibly (with a 50% chance of each) a peaceful coyote, lynx, raven, and garter snake.

Throughout the level are eight fire elementals, four fire vortices, four dust vortices, and one air elemental. There are also two bear traps, two arrow traps, and two pits—the work of hunters. In addition, there is a giant mimic disguised as one of the four fountains around the lookout.

The entire level is no-teleport, and has undiggable walls.

Upper filler level

This is a woodland level, a mines-type map with trees instead of rock. There are four canines, two quadrupeds, two random snakes, two sasquatches, six fire elementals, and four fire vortices. There are also four bear traps and four pits. There may be (with a 75% chance of each item) two helmets, two axes, two rubber hoses, and (with a 25% chance of each) two volunteer corpses.

Backdraft Lodge

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The upstair puts you outside the resort. Directly in front of the doors is a statue of a sasquatch over a fountain.

Contents of the lodge:

  • In the large room at the left end: statues of a lynx, a raven, a woodchuck, and a wolf. Also a bow on the wall (i.e. embedded in it), flanked by two spears.
  • In the center of the hallway: an out-of-place statue of a mumak, which has a 90% chance of being a statue trap.
  • In the room just above the mumak: the lodge office, with three books of "records" (i.e. spellbooks).
  • In the other eight small rooms:
    • Four chests with random contents.
    • A peaceful kitten in distress.
    • The corpse of a volunteer, with an axe, a helmet, and a respirator (an amulet of magical breathing).
  • In the longer room to the right: the kitchen, with a sink and an icebox.

To continue on your quest, you must find the entrance to the wine cellar at the right. This is a secret door to the long corridor at the top of the map, which may be located in any one of the six marked locations (behind the raven statue, in one of the four rooms flanking the "records" room, or in the kitchen). There will be a stash of gold hidden behind a secret passage at the left end of the corridor.

The wine cellar contains three potions of booze with three random potions hidden underneath them, and a giant mimic imitating the downstair. The true downstair is in the cave below it.

Throughout the lodge building are twenty fire traps, ten falling rock traps, and twelve random objects. Throughout the entire level are twelve fire elementals and eight fire vortices. There is also an iron piercer generated in the corridor between the wine cellar and the cave with the downstair.

The entire level is no-teleport and has undiggable walls and floor.

Lower filler level

This is a cavern level, with four bats/birds, four spiders, eight piercers, eight fire elementals, and up to four earth elementals (with a 50% chance of each). There are also four falling rock traps, six pits, and two webs. Scattered around the level are four tools and four other random objects.

Ash Mountain Caves

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This level is a kind of obstacle course that must be passed if you want to have the first strike against your quest nemesis.

The first room contains 20-24 randomly located traps. (Four have only a 50% chance of being generated.) Six will be fire traps, and the rest will be random. Only one of the three secret doors will actually be generated, so you will have to search around to find the passage to the next room. In front of the center door is a statue of a red dragon, which has a 90% chance of being a statue trap.

The next room contains a lava maze, which can be bypassed if you have levitation or fireproof waterwalking boots. Twelve gas spores will be generated in the maze. These cannot attack you but may block your path. Bear in mind that their explosions are noisy and may cause the nemesis to warp to your side while you are surrounded by lava.

Your quest nemesis, Wildfire, occupies the throne in the final room, with the Bell of Opening, the quest artifact, and a guard of four salamanders.

Scattered throughout the level are twelve gem-class items.

The entire level is no-teleport and has undiggable walls.

Messages

Entry

First time:

Ash Mountain!  The name awakens up memories of the forests
where you played as a child and, as an adult, kept
fires under control.  Though the Amulet of Yendor 
remains on your mind, you can't help but feel happy
to return to the place where you served for so many years.
You wonder why the sentinel of Ash Mountain called you
back so soon.  

With a keen appetite, you take a deep breath, to savor
the old familiar fragrance of evergreen.  But what you
smell is not evergreen.  It's smoke.

And it's close.

Next time:

Once again you approach Ash Mountain Lookout.

If already rejected twice due to bad alignment:

You feel a sudden thrill of sorrow, as though you will
never see Ash Mountain again.

Quest guardians

If #chatting before the quest is complete:

"Is this the end?  Are the gods determined to wipe us out?"
"If the flames don't kill us, the smoke will."
"I swear I'm dead.  I died.  We all died.  This is Gehennom."
"I haven't slept in days.  My head is about to explode."
"There was nothing like this in our training."

If #chatting after the quest is complete:

"Many brave volunteers lost their lives in these flames.
Their sacrifice will never be forgotten."
"When we're done here I'm taking a cruise."
"Watch your step!  Ashes could still be hot."
"As soon as the flames die down we will bury our dead."
"The fireweed has begun to sprout from the ashes.  It
will be a long time, but the forest will return."

Quest leader

When you first meet your quest leader:

You find your mentor silently watching the efforts
to keep the flames at bay.  As you approach him,
he speaks without facing you:

"You have been a long time away, <playername>,
but you are not to blame.  None of us could have
foreseen this disaster.  With you, we have a hope
of ending it.  But first I must see if you are
prepared for the task."

When you return, having been rejected due to lack of experience:

"Let me see if you are the warrior we need."

This message is not currently used:

"I hope that you are ready now, <playername>."

When you are expelled from the quest for having failed the alignment test seven times:

"I cannot wait for you any longer.  If you have
not reformed by now, it is clear that you no 
longer serve our cause, and if you are not with 
us, we have no need for you.  Go back to your 
Dungeons of Doom and seek your glory there,
for one of your rivals will have the honor
of being our champion!"

When being rejected due to lack of experience:

"Your firefighting skills pass muster, but
the task at hand requires expertise of a
different kind.  We are not up against an
unthinking, unfeeling force of nature;
these willful fires are guided by a cruel,
calculating mind.  What we need is not
one more volunteer to step into the breach,
but a champion who can track down our
unknown foe and destroy it.

"Surely you've had a taste of this kind of
work in the Dungeons of Doom.  Go back there 
and continue your training.  Return to 
Ash Mountain Lookout when you have become a 
Smoke-eater."

When being rejected due to having worse than pious alignment:

"I have heard bad reports of your conduct, 
<playername>.  The welfare of many depends on 
this mission, and we can only assign it to one 
who is worthy of the charge.  Remember the boy 
who was entrusted with the sun, but grew 
impatient and let it burn up the earth.  
Perhaps you have the skills we need, but 
do you have the integrity?

"Return to the Dungeons of Doom and continue
to help those there who are in need.  Then 
return to us when you have proven your character."

When finally assigned the quest:

"When we received the first reports of a fire near
Backdraft Lodge, nobody expected anything out of
the ordinary.  But when my fighters began sighting
elementals moving among the flames, we knew
there was something wrong.

"Suspecting foul play, I sent the best fighter
at hand to the lodge to investigate, entrusting him
with our strongest protection, the Helm of the Rescuer. 
He returned the next day, crazed with
horror and without the artifact I had given him,
and fell dead at my feet before he could tell
what he had seen.

"But before he died, he raved about the caverns
under Ash Mountain.  There is a secret entrance
through Backdraft Lodge.  You must go there, find
whatever it is that commands these flames, and
destroy it, before our land is devastated beyond
recovery."

Encouragement

If you subsequently chat to your quest leader, you are encouraged:

"Be quick!  This mountain will survive, as it always
has.  But we may not be so fortunate."
"Fire is one of humanity's oldest servants, but it is
not our friend."
"Be careful in the lodge.  Fresh air gives new life
to dying embers."
"Many promising young fighters fell to these flames."
"Take anything you need from our camp."
"Don't forget your hard hat.  You may have to reckon
with falling debris."
"If you don't have a container for your flammable
goods, I advise you to find one."
"The fire has driven strange creatures out of hiding.
Be prepared to defend yourself from them."
"Some of my crew say they have spotted the sasquatch
running from the flames."
"If you aren't moved by the acres of woodland that 
have been burned, think of the cities that lie in
the fire's path."

Locate and goal levels

When first entering the locate level:

After a long trek, you <see/sense> the frame of Backdraft 
Lodge before you--a building that has seen better days.

The exclusive hunting retreat is now a blackened shell,
so badly burned that you wonder how its walls remain 
standing.  You see no flames, but the heat radiating
from the building is so intense that you tremble at 
the thought of entering.  But behind those doors is the
entrance to the caves your mentor described, so you 
have no choice but to enter.

You mentally review your structure training, and
move toward the lodge.

When returning:

You return to the burned-out shell of Backdraft Lodge.

When first entering the goal level:

The heat in this cave is almost beyond endurance.
You hope the target of your mission is not
far away.

When returning:

The air in this cave seems even more stifling
than before.  If you don't find your enemy soon,
it may become too much for even a firefighter
to handle.

Quest nemesis

When first encountering the quest nemesis:

"Where is that damned cold coming from?

"Another puny endotherm!  I suppose you are here
to destroy me, too?  

"But you are unlike the one who came before--you 
are the one who seeks the Amulet.  My masters 
on the Plane of Fire warned me of you.  You might
be a serious threat to our plans.  You must be
destroyed.

"Prepare to be snuffed out!"

Upon further meetings:

"Too late!  This fire will never be quenched!"

And on the 4th and subsequent meetings:

"If you run away now, you may escape with your life--
if not your sanity."

When you have the quest artifact, but Wildfire is still alive:

"The Helm of the Rescuer cannot protect you.  
It did not save your predecessor!"

Discouragement

Wildfire will occasionally utter maledictions:

"The Helm of the Rescuer amuses me.  I'll make it part of
my monument to mortal presumption."
"Some call the discovery of fire the beginning of
civilization.  But it was a premonition of its end."
"Soon our foothold on the Prime Material will be
complete.  Then the invasion can begin."
"All will be laid bare."
"Fire will cleanse this mountain of the mortal
parasites that infest it."
"I destroy mansions and hovels.  None is too lofty
or too humble to escape the licking flames."
"You will never win the Amulet.  Yield to the
flames and spare yourself the suffering."
"You were born in dust and you will end in ashes."
"Your puny spark of life will become one with
the flames." 
"Perhaps I should seek the Amulet myself.  My
masters would be very pleased with it."

Victory

When picking up your quest artifact:

As you pick up the Helm of the Rescuer, an exhilarating
sense of courage wells up within you, together with a 
refreshing coolness that conquers even this infernal heat.
You wonder how your predecessor could have failed when he
had this in his possession--with it, you feel you could 
quench the flames of Gehennom!

When killing the nemesis:

Wildfire's flames are rapidly turning to smoke.
Recognizing that his life will soon be extinguished, 
he issues a final taunt:

"You have not won, <currentrank>.  If you seek the 
Amulet, you face a far hotter hell than this.  
May you suffer eternally in its deathless fire!"

With these words still crackling in the air, your foe 
collapses into glowing ashes.  

You stamp the embers out until they are dead.

When returning to your quest leader:

Hotshot's mouth curls in a hard-earned smile of approval.

"When the rage of the flames subsided, we knew right 
away that you had triumphed.  Now we have a fair 
fight before us, one that I trust we will soon win.

"But you must return to your own quest.  The bell
you found is one of the keys of Moloch's Sanctum,
where the Amulet of Yendor is to be found. 
Once the Amulet is safe with <Kanigyilak/Omeatl>, we need
no longer fear attacks from the likes of Wildfire.

"Take the Helm of the Rescuer to protect yourself
on your quest.  Your mission is more than worthy of
the power it contains."

When subsequently throwing the artifact to Hotshot:

"I would keep this, <playername>.  The path
to the Amulet lies through many dangers.  
The Helm of the Rescuer will guide you through them."

Post-quest

When talking to Hotshot after the quest:

"Welcome back, <playername>.  We have made good 
progress healing the ravages of the fire.  How have 
you fared in your own mission to retrieve the Amulet?"

When talking to Hotshot after getting the Amulet:

"You have wrested the Amulet of Yendor from Moloch--
an undertaking worthy of <Kanigyilak/Omeatl>.  Now you
must deliver the Amulet to the <lawful/neutral> high altar
on the Astral Plane.  But beware: you will have to pass
through the Plane of Fire first!"

Monsters

Hotshot

Your quest leader is Hotshot (@), a sort of ersatz Smokey Bear. He uses the human or elf symbol for ease of recognition, but has the animal monster attribute.

  • Level 20, speed 12, 0 AC, MR 30, alignment +20
  • Animal, omnivorous, large
  • Resists fire, poison, sleep, and petrification
  • Attacks: Claw 2d4 physical, Claw 2d4

Volunteer

Your quest guardians are volunteers (@). Each is generated with an axe and has a 50% chance of getting a rubber hose as well.

  • Level 5, speed 12, 10 AC, MR 10, alignment 0
  • Resists fire
  • Attacks: Weapon 1d8, Weapon 1d8

Wildfire

I envision Wildfire (E), the quest nemesis, as a sort of sentient fire vortex, an intelligent being composed of fire that can adopt or discard humanoid features like arms as necessary. He is huge, headless, breathless, and unsolid, but also humanoid and strong. In concept he can both engulf the player and swing a two-handed sword, which could make fighting him an unusual experience.

Because firefighters are intrinsically fire-resistant, only his passive attack is fire-based, and is intended to be more of a nuisance than a threat, damaging any unprotected items in the player's inventory.

  • Level 16, speed 12, 0 AC, MR 40, alignment -14
  • Flying and infravisible
  • Resists fire, poison, sleep, and petrification
  • Attacks: Weapon 2d8, Claw 1d6 steal artifact, Engulf 1d12 physical, Passive 2d6 fire

Artifact

The Helm of the Rescuer

  • Lawful-aligned helm of telepathy
  • While worn, provides magic resistance, teleport control, and half physical damage, in addition to ESP
  • While carried, functions as a luckstone and increases the probability of disarming traps (as with the Master Key of Thievery)
  • When invoked, detects all traps on the level (as with a confused scroll of gold detection)