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Succubus (Nethack)

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For other uses of the word Succubus, see Succubus (disambiguation).


Standard Demon symbol in Nethack. Generally can be used for both Incubi and Succubi in the game.


NetHack is a single-player roguelike computer game originally released in 1987. It is a descendant of an earlier game called Hack (1985), which is a descendant of Rogue (1980). The "net" element references that its development has been coordinated through the Internet. The "hack" element refers to a genre of role-playing games known as hack and slash for their focus on combat. The player takes the part of a dungeon-delving character in search of the Amulet of Yendor.


The following is a cheat sheet on Succubi and Incubi in the Nethack game.


The Nethack Incubus and Succubus Spoiler

  • By Ray Chason
  • Version 1.1
  • Last updated: 18 Jan 2000


Some Definitions

  • "Foocubus" refers to an incubus or succubus, of the opposite sex to the character unless context indicates otherwise.
  • "Natural," when used to describe an attribute such as charisma, refers to the value that attribute would have with the character in normal form and no items worn to alter it.

Safe Sex, Nethack Style

Certain acts by the foocubus can get you in deep trouble or even kill you outright. Fortunately, they are easy to avoid:

  • Try to get the foocubus alone. You don't want to find yourself naked with a mumak breathing down your neck.
  • Do not wield a cockatrice corpse unless you are polymorphed into a stoning-resistant monster. The foocubus may remove your gloves.
  • Do not use boots of levitation to cross water or lava, unless you can teleport. If you must use boots, wear an amulet of magical breathing if crossing water, or make sure you have fire resistance and can safely pray if crossing lava.
  • (Female characters) If using a ring to levitate over water or lava, make sure the incubus doesn't replace it with a ring of adornment. Stash the ring of adornment or put it on your other hand. If you have only one ring of adornment, you'll be safe if your ring of levitation is on your left hand.
  • Level 1 characters and characters with fewer than 17 hit points should not consort with foocubi unless intelligence plus charisma is at least 34 (see section 2.3). The minimum of 17 becomes 9 if the character has half physical damage.

Risks from removal of specific armor items or ring replacement are negated if your charisma is at least 20 (see section 2.2).

Desirable Characteristics

Alignment

Chaotic characters who are seduced get +1 on their alignment. Lawful and neutral characters receive neither bonus nor penalty.


Charisma and the Magic Number 20

The probability that the foocubus will do certain things before and after the encounter is: Charisma/20.

The affected acts are:

  • (Female characters) Asking before putting a ring of adornment on your finger.
  • (Male characters) Asking before taking your ring of adornment.
  • Asking before removing each article of armor.
  • Not taking your gold after the encounter ("The succubus demands that you pay her, but you refuse...").

The probability of these acts becomes 100% when charisma is at least 20; a character who makes this number has complete control of the encounter. This, of course, requires at least a +2 ring of adornment (+4 for dwarves and orcs).


Intelligence, Charisma, and the Magic Number 34

The probability of a positive effect from the encounter is: (Intelligence + Charisma + 1)/35.

With intelligence plus charisma of at least 34, no negative effects occur. Risk to characters of level 1 or with fewer than 17 hit points is negated when this is true.

Race

The character's race affects the maximum possible intelligence and charisma as follows:

Race INT CHA
Elf 20 18
Gnome 19 18
Human 18 18
Dwarf 16 16
Orc 16 16

Desirable Items

Some of these items boost intelligence or charisma. Others defend against negative effects. Still others are used in the preparation and don't have an actual role in an encounter with a foocubus:

  • The following items may be helpful for the "magic trap boogie" (section 4):
  • Ring of fire resistance
  • Ring of conflict
  • Amulet of ESP or helm of telepathy
  • A unicorn horn will reverse loss of wisdom or constitution from the encounter, or loss of intelligence or charisma from other events.
  • The following artifacts protect against level drain when wielded:
  • Excalibur
  • The Staff of Aesculapius
  • Stormbringer
  • A wand, ring, or spell of polymorph, coupled with a ring of polymorph control, can protect against level drain (e.g. by turning into a vampire lord), boost charisma (foocubi get minimum charisma of 18), or allow the character to change sex; but it will also negate any boost of constitution.
  • An amulet of change will change the character's sex and then disintegrate.
  • The following artifacts grant half physical damage, reducing the effect of hit point damage and energy drain:
  • The Master Key of Thievery (carried)
  • The Orb of Fate (carried)
  • A ring of adornment will boost charisma; but male characters will have trouble hanging on to it unless it boosts charisma to at least 20.
  • A cornuthaum will grant one point of charisma to a wizard if (s)he can keep it on. Other classes lose one point of charisma, but can always give the foocubus permission to take the cornuthaum off.
  • A helm of brilliance will boost intelligence if the character can keep it on.
  • Characters with intelligence less than 6 will benefit from, of all things, a dunce cap. Again, the character has to keep it on.
  • Potions of gain ability may boost intelligence or charisma; they will boost both if blessed first.
  • Blessed potions of enlightenment will boost intelligence.
  • Potions of healing may be desirable to keep the foocubus alive.

The "Magic Trap Boogie"

One of the possible effects of stepping on a magic trap is that "you feel charismatic!", and gain one point of charisma and possibly some unusual pets. The "magic trap boogie" takes advantage of this effect to boost charisma; even the ugliest character can eventually get the maximum.

To do the "magic trap boogie," step or sit on a magic trap, kill any nasties that appear, and repeat until the trap explodes or you have maximum natural charisma.

The character will need to defend against the negative effects of magic traps. In particular, (s)he must have fire resistance and the ability to fight. Starvation, of course, will NOT be a hazard!

Fire resistance is a must; a tower of flame will reduce *maximum* hit points if the character does not have fire resistance. Certain corpses grant fire resistance. So do a ring of fire resistance, red dragon scales, and red dragon scale mail. Polymorphing oneself is useless for this purpose because the character's charisma will return to its previous value when the polymorph wears off.

Since the most common effect of a magic trap is to blind the character and create lots of monsters, telepathy (natural or from an item) and a ring of conflict are also helpful. If the character does not have telepathy, (s)he should have a unicorn horn to negate the blindness.

Finding a Suitable Partner

Random Appearances

Incubi and succubi, of course, can appear randomly; occasionally they may be summoned by other demons (but they cannot themselves summon demons). They are often asleep when found. The easiest way to wake one up, of course, is to hit him/her. Put away your weapon, especially if it's Vorpal Blade, Magicbane, or the Tsurugi of Muramasa: you want the demon alive and uncancelled.


Sinks

Repeatedly kicking a sink will summon a foocubus. Male characters always get succubi, and female characters always get incubi. Characters who are polymorphed get the foocubus appropriate to their polymorphed forms. Non-humanoid polymorphs attract succubi. Only one foocubus may be summoned per sink. Characters at level 1 or with fewer than 17 hit points (or 9 with half physical damage) are again cautioned against consorting with foocubi; and all low-level characters are cautioned to position themselves to run if they get a black pudding. Furthermore, a foocubus may prove a formidable foe against a low-level character, and like all demons they will follow you up and down stairs.

Chaotic same-race sacrifice

The next easiest method of creating foocubi is to sacrifice corpses of your own race on your own chaotic altar. The first two sacrifices will summon Juiblex and Yeenoghou. Take care not to anger them. After that, ordinary demons follow, which includes Foocubi. Lower dungeon levels and experience levels work better.

Polymorphing pets

Especially pacifists may find it convenient to push a pet onto a polymorph trap until it turns into a matching succubus/incubus (or something equally useful).

Demon gating

A more foolhardy method is to let water demons hit your deliberately. This will mostly summon more water demons, but also some random demons. Again, on low dungeon and experience levels, succubi/incubi are quite likely to appear. (Water demons can be attracted by dipping things into a fountain.) Don't do this unless you really know what you are doing, and make sure you have a magic whistle with a herd of powerful pets in the waiting.

Polymorphing and Gender Bending

When the character is polymorphed, he/she consorts with the foocubus appropriate to his/her polymorphed form. Characters polymorphed into nonhumanoid monsters will not be seduced either by incubi or succubi (they're not quite that kinky).

A character who can do a controlled polymorph may wish to polymorph into a foocubus of the appropriate sex. This brings three benefits, but at a price:

  • It renders the character effectively bisexual, allowing him/her to consort with both incubi and succubi.
  • It boosts charisma to 18, if charisma would be less than 18 without the polymorph. This boost applies even to dwarves and orcs, which can not naturally get more than 16 charisma.
  • It protects against level drain.

*but*

  • As with all polymorphs, changes to constitution disappear when the polymorph ends.

Nymphs also get this boost, but are always female and hence receptive only to incubi. They are also poorer fighters than foocubi, and have poorer armor class.

This boost to charisma is not cumulative with cornuthaums or rings of adornment:

  • A wizard with natural charisma of 15, and a cornuthaum, gets charisma of 18, not 19.
  • A character with natural charisma of 17, and a +2 ring of adornment, gets charisma of 19, not 20.

An amulet of change will change the character's sex, rendering the opposite type of foocubus available to play. It does not otherwise change the character.

Beginning the Encounter

A hostile foocubus will attempt to seduce the character as his/her first attack. If this fails, (s)he will "pretend to be friendly." Peaceful or tame foocubi will not do this.

The character may also initiate the encounter; use the #chat command. This works whether the foocubus is hostile, peaceful, or tame.

Be sure to stash your gold so the foocubus will not take it.

And Now, at Last, the Good Part

(Female characters) For each ring of adornment you carry, but are not wearing, the game will roll against your charisma. With probability of CHA/20, the incubus will ask you if you want to put the ring on; otherwise he'll just put it on your hand. If you are already wearing two rings, he'll replace one of them; but he'll never replace a ring of adornment that you already wear. See section 1 for some relevant cautions.

(Male characters) For each ring of adornment you carry, the game will roll against your charisma. With probability of CHA/20, the succubus will ask you to give her the ring; otherwise she'll just steal it.

For each item of armor you wear, the game will roll against your charisma. With probability of CHA/20, the foocubus will ask you to let him/her undress you; otherwise (s)he'll just remove the item of armor. If you do not allow your cloak to be removed, (s)he will not remove your suit or your shirt; and if you do not allow your suit to be removed, (s)he will not remove your shirt. The foocubus will NOT steal any removed armor.

If, at this point, you are still wearing a cloak or a suit, the encounter ends here; the foocubus says "You're such a {sweet lady|nice guy}; I wish..." and teleports away (if the level allows teleporting).

Otherwise, "time stands still as you and the foocubus lie in each other's arms." This takes ONE turn. You then receive either a positive or a negative effect; see section 2.3 for probabilities and section 9 for effects.

Finally, if the foocubus is not tame, the game rolls against charisma once more. With probability of CHA/20, "the foocubus demands that you pay him/her, but you refuse." Otherwise, the demon takes some or all of your gold, or "It's on the house!" if you have no gold. If you are aleprechaun, the foocubus will not be able to take your gold.

The foocubus then teleports away, except on no-teleport levels.

After the Encounter

Auto-cancellation; or, I Used to Love Her, but I Had to Kill Her

After any encounter with an foocubus there is a 4% chance that (s)he develops a severe headache. If this happens, (s)he is cancelled, exactly as if by the wand, and will do you no more favors. The same thing happens if you use a wand or spell of cancellation or purge the demon with Magicbane.

If the foocubus is cancelled, there is nothing to do but to kill him/her.


Other Effects on the Foocubus

If the foocubus does not auto-cancel, and you had a positive effect, the demon "acts as if (s)he has a headache"; not a *severe* headache, just a headache. This is a temporary condition, lasting 1 to 100 turns. Let him/her rest before coming back for more. If consorting with multiple foocubi (they're not jealous :-)), have fun with another one while the first one rests.

Effects

Positive Effects

If the effect is positive, any of the following may occur with equal probability:

  • "You feel good enough to do it again."

Add 1 to constitution; exercise constitution.

Maximum natural constitution is:

  • Human: 18
  • Elf: 16
  • Dwarf: 20
  • Gnome: 18
  • Orc: 18
  • "You will always remember <the monster>."

Add 1 to wisdom; exercise wisdom.

Maximum natural wisdom is:

  • Human: 18
  • Elf: 20
  • Dwarf: 16
  • Gnome: 18
  • Orc: 16
  • "You feel restored to health!"

Heal all hit points; exercise strength.

  • "You feel raised to your full potential."

Add 1-5 points to maximum energy; restore all energy; exercise constitution.

  • "That was a very educational experience."

Gain one level; exercise wisdom.

The level boost is the principal reason to bother with foocubi. The character can achieve a maximum level of 30, but further level boosts still award extra hit points and energy. There is NO LIMIT to the number of hit points you can gain this way; and since one in five positive effects will be a level boost, and each foocubus will seduce you 25 times on average, a character with 100% positive effects can gain an average of five levels per demon! My all-time record is 836 hit points, thanks mainly to succubi.


Negative Effects

If the effect is negative, any of the following may occur with equal probability:

  • "You feel down in the dumps."

Subtract 1 from constitution; abuse constitution. Minimum constitution is 3 for all races. To reverse: use a unicorn horn, a potion of restore ability, or a restore ability spell.

  • "Your senses are dulled."

Subtract 1 from wisdom; abuse wisdom. Minimum wisdom is 3 for all races. To reverse: use a unicorn horn, a potion of restore ability, or a restore ability spell.

  • "You feel exhausted."

Lose 10-16 hit points (subject to half physical damage); abuse strength. To reverse: wait until you heal; or use a potion of healing or extra healing, or the equivalent spells.

  • "You feel drained of energy."

Lose all magical energy; reduce max energy by 1-10 points (1-5 with half physical damage); abuse constitution. The loss of maximum energy cannot be reversed; energy can be restored to the reduced maximum with rest or with the gain-energy positive effect (section 9.1). Players, especially those playing wizards or other good spellcasters, should rely on the laws of probability to deal with this effect. Characters with half physical damage should have intelligence plus charisma of at least 17, and those without should have intelligence plus charisma of at least 22.

  • "You feel out of shape."

Lose one level. This is equivalent to a vampire's attack. Characters who resist level drain, whether by artifact or polymorph, "have a curious feeling" and get no effect. To reverse: kill something before coming back for more. Don't kill the foocubus of course, unless (s)he has auto-cancelled (section 8.1).

Keeping Your Mate Alive

Often the foocubus suffers damage; this may happen if you hit him/her by mistake, if (s)he uses a wand and you have reflection, if (s)he is in the line of fire from another monster's ranged attack, or if you wear a ring of conflict. Of course, you want him/her alive at least until (s)he auto-cancels. Here are some tips:

  • Put away your weapon when not fighting, unless it is Excalibur, the Staff of Aesculapius, or Stormbringer. Put these away too if you have 100% positive effects. This is especially important with Vorpal Blade and the Tsurugi of Muramasa (which can instantly kill) and Magicbane (which can cancel; see section 8.1).
  • Foocubi resist fire and poison but not other ray or breath attacks. In some cases you may want to remove your shield or amulet of reflection or your silver dragon scale mail. This one is a judgment call.
  • Throw a potion of healing at the foocubus if (s)he is hurt. This will heal him/her to max. Extra healing, full healing, gain ability, and restore ability also do this; but there's no additional effect, so you may as well save them or drink them.
  • Avoid wearing a ring of conflict when the foocubus is near.

In spite of all of the above, remember that your own safety comes before that of the demon. You'll get another foocubus but you won't get another you. Don't suffer YASD.

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