Vampire (starting race in UnNetHack)

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For other uses, see Vampire.

UnNetHack offers a new playable race, Vampire. Vampires are always chaotic and can play as a barbarian, convict, rogue, or wizard. Vampires offer a very different play experience from the other races.

Starting properties

Vampires start with the following attributes:

Note that all of these intrinsics are actually properties of the base vampire monster form. As a result all of these intrinsics will be temporarily lost if you polymorph into another form.

Vampires also have an extra attack – a bite – which can drain life if it hits. Since this second attack is available from the beginning, vampires start out as very good fighters.

Vampires generally have superb stats, particularly their physical stats. The following table outlines their maximum (unaided) attribute levels.

Character
race
Strength Dexterity Constitution Intelligence Wisdom Charisma
Vampire 19 20 20 18 18 20

For all of these advantages, vampires are set back by their difficulty in obtaining nutrition. They cannot eat food in the way that non-vampire adventurers can:[1] the vampire's only source of sustenance is blood from fresh corpses, potions of blood, and of vampire blood. On the upside, they can eat a corpse and still sacrifice it (e. g. for altar farming). Also, vampires are restricted in the two-weapon skill.[citation needed]

Vampires also start with a small penalty to luck and alignment, -1 and -5 respectively.[2] This means that vampires should not wish or pray before turn 600, and will need to kill a few monsters to gain positive alignment. If you wear an Opera cloak, You will get a +1Charisma bonus "You look very impressive in your opera cloak"

Strategy

Nutrition

The early game as a vampire is primarily about nutrition management. The vampire can only drink fresh blood for nourishment. There are five ways to gain nutrition as a vampire: draining the blood of freshly killed corpses (you have 3 turns before the blood coagulates and becomes useless), draining blood with the biting attack ("You feed on the lifeblood"), drinking potions of blood or vampire blood, #praying to fend off starvation, and polymorphing into a form that can eat. This means that for most of the early and midgame, the comestibles you find in the dungeon (food rations, tins, etc.) will be useless to you. Since nutrition drawn from sucking blood is much less than that gained by eating a corpse, avoiding starvation is the primary challenge for a vampire until you can get your hands on a ring of slow digestion.

Vampires only have a 20% chance to gain intrinsics from draining corpses;[3] all corpses drained are subject to the 20% chance before considering any additional restrictions on gaining the intrinsic. For example a vampire draining a newt corpse has a 20% chance of possibly gaining power, but then must also pass the 33% chance a newt corpse has of conveying extra power. It is possible to gain strength by draining giant corpses, but one must pass both the 20% test for being a Vampire as well as meeting the 25% chance UnNetHack imposes on increasing strength. Combined with the vampire's inability to eat tins, the vampire's maximum strength of 19 will prove difficult to achieve without enhancement.

On the upside, you are exempt from the penalties of cannibalism, like cavemen.[4] You will face no penalties for eating cats, dogs, and humans, whether in your normal form or polymorphed (vampires are way beyond that level of evil). Additionally there is an alignment bonus for draining the corpse of another vampire if you are still chaotic. In practice this is only possible with the corpse of a vampire bat.

Non-vampire players polymorphed into a vampire have the same restrictions on eating as a player vampire,[5] but cannot commit cannibalism (unless they are normally a caveman or orc) - draining the corpse of a cat will still result in the normal penalties.[6]

If your character would start with food rations, you will start with potions of vampire blood instead.[7] These are obviously much more difficult to replenish and also have the disadvantages of being heavy and susceptible to boiling. Later in the game you will find these potions as well as potions of blood on enemy vampires. Players coming to UnNetHack from SLASH'EM should remember that UnNetHack does not have #techniques or medical kits, so UnNetHack vampires, unlike their SLASH'EM counterparts, cannot use the draw blood technique to acquire vampire blood.

If you choose to play as a vampire, you will want to pray to alleviate hunger often. Beware the vampire's starting alignment and luck penalty. This means waiting until you are weak before calling on your god. You will find yourself doing this often. (An atheist vampire would be an extremely challenging conduct.) A ring of slow digestion will help you out enormously, eliminating the need for regular prayer altogether. In fact, the combination of one of these rings with the "life blood' draining passive attack (to gain nutrition), one could go the entire game without eating, and thus fill the requirements for foodless, vegetarian, and vegan conducts.

Vampires can draw sustenance from their bite attack against certain monsters. Note that since your to-hit ratios will improve as your level increases, and since you will be fighting monsters that take longer to kill, you will find yourself adding nutrition the more you fight. In order to mitigate this, vampires should plan to fight weak monsters hand-to-hand or with a weak weapon they are unskilled in (such as a knife) in order to get in as many bites as possible and thus maximize the nutrition they gain from every monster encounter. A vampire player should think of every monster she encounters as an essential source of food, and avoid killing large numbers of weak monsters at once via conflict, spells, wands, etc. Vampires should also avoid wearing rings unnecessarily.

Projects like retrieving stashes, farming, and returning to the minetown temple are all much more risky when you need to be constantly fighting to survive. Take advantage of the vampire's intrinsic regeneration to drain corpses before you finish a battle. Sleep magic is also extremely useful. Carnivore pets will be useful only for a very brief segment of the early game – they will eat corpses that you need to drain.

Blood vs. lifeblood

There is a difference between "blood" and "lifeblood". "Blood" is what certain monsters have in their corpses, available for draining after they are killed. Draining blood will give you approximately 20% of the nutrition of eating the entire corpse.[8][9] Additionally, blood can be poisonous, acidic, or hallucinogenic as the corpse would be. "Lifeblood", on the other hand, is the nutrition that is drained through the bite attack during combat and provides 2d6*6 nutrition (42 on average) on a successful drain.[10] It is always safe to eat (never poisonous or acidic) and is extractable from anything with life force, even if it doesn't leave a corpse or contain blood (such as flaming spheres, elementals, and grid bugs, but not undead).[citation needed] Vampires will automatically disable their secondary bite attack when fighting petrifying, disintegrating and sliming monsters, unlike in vanilla NetHack.[11]

Magical breathing

By the late game the nutrition problem will mostly have resolved itself as you fight larger monsters with greater frequency. Hopefully you will also have access to a ring of slow digestion which you can equip permanently or intermittently to keep your hunger under control.

Since vampires do not breathe, they cannot choke. As with the amulet of magical breathing, overeating may cause you to vomit and lose nutrition. It is always safe to choose "Yes" when asked if you want to continue eating when already overstuffed. This is important because you will almost always be eating lifeblood when you are fighting as a vampire. If you are overstuffed you will not die, but you will simply not drain with your bite until you can handle the nutrition. This is unlike in SLASH'EM, where you are at risk of occasionally losing a few turns in the midst of battle to alarm when you "choke". ("You regain your composure.")

Intrinsics

Since you will have a difficult time accumulating intrinsics as a vampire, getting oneself crowned is very useful. On the other hand, crowning will also increase prayer recovery time, which will put you at greater risk of starvation in the early and middle game. Note that vampires are immune to magical instadeath attacks like the touch of death, but will also take double damage from Sunsword, e.g. in the hands of an Archon.

Flying

Flying is fun. Whereas levitation allows you to avoid traps, water and lava, but keeps you too high up to pick things up or otherwise interact with objects on the ground, flying gives you the best of both worlds. You will sail over traps and water and across the Plane of Air without having to mess around with boots, spells, rings or the amulet of flying. This is particularly convenient in the endgame as you race for the starting staircase.

To enter a pit (to pick up items from inside) or use a hole (to escape) you must descend with >.

Stoning

While in vanilla NetHack players polymorphed into vampires have to be extra careful around petrifying monsters, UnNetHack's vampire's are intelligent enough to "turn off" their bite attack against such creatures.[12] However, any other action which would stone a normal player (kicking a cockatrice without boots, attacking it bare-handed, etc) will still stone a vampire.

Vampires do have one additional difficulty around stoning monsters, though. Since they can only feed on fresh corpses,[citation needed] this makes lizard corpses all but useless: vampires cannot drain them if they are more than a few turns old. It is still worth it for them to carry one, if only for the protection they provide on the new moon. However, vampires will also need to find a potion of acid or spellbook of stone to flesh as a means to reverse stoning.

Silver

Vampires can wield and wear silver items, but it blocks their natural regeneration ("You feel itchy"). Wearing gloves will negate this ("You feel relief"), and you can wear and weild these items without penalty. Thus a shield of reflection is of much less use to a vampire character without gloves. Also beware enemies with silver sabers, as you will be subject to the additional silver damage.

Other avoided targets

In addition to choosing not to bite petrifying monsters, UnNetHack's vampires also have built in protection against Riders, green slimes, Medusa, and disintegrators.[13]

References