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Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009




Zorbus is a Dungeons & Dragons themed, turn-based Roguelike dungeon delver with graphics and sound.



It separates itself from other roguelikes in that dungeon denizens act intelligently, there are over 2000 sound effects, you can recruit NPCs to fight with you and levels are made of themed rooms (throne rooms, prisons, hidden treasure caches, etc.).



I find it more immersive and it has an easier learning curve than most roguelikes. Together these make it a lot of tactical fun.


A worrying tactical situation

I really have to remark on the AI of some of the monsters and npcs. It is great. Dungeon dwellers will fight each other if from opposing factions, shout an alarm to gather reinforcements, use items like potions and wands intelligently, and flee to fight another day depending on how cowardly they are.

There is also a dynamic lighting system which allows you to sneak around in the dark. Beware of enemies with light sources or darksight though!

In addition Zorbus has speech bubbles; meaning NPCs will comment on your kills, monsters will tell you when they are running away and why, and your companions will even remark upon your use of an intelligent weapon. Yes, there are talking weapons in Zorbus and some are very snarky and will insult your slaying technique!

All this and Zorbus is a free, stable game that has only been released for a year. The developer is a goon and is constantly improving the game. If you are feeling up to it you can tip the developer on itch.io or by donating at zorbus.net.





http://www.zorbus.net/

https://zorbus.itch.io/

Helical Nightmares fucked around with this message at 23:01 on Jun 3, 2020

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Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


Here are a few videos for Zorbus gameplay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sehSMK9DHGo March 2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL8mp7pFUjs August 2019 10 minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHhFKKyvmqo Jul 2019

Here are some very short clips made by the Dev to highlight different elements of development.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TSWraI-EGI Tiles vs ASCII

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfjzwPnO9Bk Human Wizard

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC3zvoy0ZvQ&t=5s Sentient Weapon


Zorbus Tips:

I have ascended once with a Tiefling Fighter to demigodhood (the least of three endings)

Some tips:
- You start with a crappy staff and a threadbare robe. If you are a melee character, search the first level thoroughly for weapons and armor.
- It is good to have a spell or damaging wand on your hotbar to shoot enemies when they turn tail and run. This is why I like Tieflings. They have Fire Bolt as a ability.
- You can sell some magical items and potions in Carillo.
- Save good sets of armor and weapons for NPC companions. Your companions can use potions too.
- In my experience Search is a super important skill. You reveal more secret doors which leads to greater experience and more powerful treasure gains.



- Web is a pain in the rear end to fight through. Learn it yourself or recruit a wizard companion.
- Companions have the same level as you do regardless where you have recruited them.
- Not all enemies on a floor are designed to be killed immediately. Learn to run away or stealth around creatures that can turn hostile!

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


The Moon Monster posted:

Does the game have gotchas for people not very familiar with D&D? It sounds cool but I'm not really looking for another Nethack style learning curve.

Zorbus is very transparent. It has clear mechanics like QUD (which I love) and comes with a pdf manual. Zorbus draws from 70s and 80s D&D for inspiration, not for obscure mechanics like Nethack.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


So I was tooling around with a human the other day and I had to use my starter healing potion because I got caught by a kobold and some reject goblin on level 1. Now usually I would call the run wasted unless I could keep both the initial healing potion and potion of blink until level 2. But I'm glad I didn't. This is what I found on level 1 in a treasure room with Search 2.





That weapon was packaged with a suit of studded leather armor (Resistance to Blunt/Pierce/Slash = 3) and a scroll of Vampiric weapon. What a find. I may use this weapon even in the end game because the annoying Pit Demons, Succubi, Erinyes and Slaadi are quite frequent in the lower levels, and summon their infernal friends.

The studded leather armor itself should sustain me through level 4.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


I thought this was going to be an easy run because I found a +2 named Urgosh and I cleared level 2 with relative ease but nooooo. I hit a hard wall upon venturing into level 3, which I will explain. Anyway here is what I learned.

Playing a non-magic user with ranged as your only option to hit fleeing enemies is much more difficult. Invest in arrows/bullets of poison or a poison flask to make 20 of your ammo poisonous. I was going after the kobold leader on level 2, and the creature led me on a merry chase in a circle through several rooms. I tried slime arrows but those didn't slow it down so stick to poison. I miss my tiefling's firebolt.

I didn't realize you can outfit your undead followers with gear too! I had extra so I slapped some chainmail on my skeleton and gave him a longsword. He lasted a few extra turns against a nasty Roper on level 3, seen below.


Not pictured: Wizard who was spamming summon animal running away to the north, Ettercap with web to the east also fleeing

So because I didn't have firebolt I couldn't shoot over enemy monsters to finally kill the fleeing Wizard and Ettercap. Thus experience gain was somewhat arrested and I found myself fighting a Roper and two Thri-kreen. As you can see everyone was injured. I tried to make it back to the upstairs because my companions would be teleported upstairs with me and it would be simple to wait and heal them. Unfortunately I lost my Elven Archer and Skeleton companions on the way to the stairs up. That Roper and all those injured enemies are now at full health and just waiting for me on the third floor.



My saving grace is that I have a bullet of dismiss (very nasty when used against you), several bullets of poison and a wand of charm with 4 charges. I can use those to get to the miniboss goblin leader on level 3 I wager.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


I successfully conquered level 3...with a little help from my friends.

On level 3 I managed to find and recruit one of two giff and not far from there I found a rogue saint in a room of statues to other Zorbus players.



So I was loaded for bear with fully equipped companions. Everyone that could equip (ie not the rogue saint) had a +2 weapon and the archer had a longbow.

With this team I took on the horde of goblins and the goblin king without too much of a problem.

With my search boosted by Goggles of Seeing +2 courtesy of the corpse of the goblin king I began finding secret doors literally everwhere.

I found one with a throne and here is the result:



I did not know thrones could permanently boost your stats.

Moving right along, my archer and rogue saint got separated from me and killed by a wizard (who then mocked me and said I was responsible for their death); but then I found my favorite Zorbus character: a mini-Beholder, the friendly Spectator.



Thanks to all the treasure rooms I found in levels 2 and 3 I have a number of weapon enchant scrolls and two enchant armor scrolls. The latter is outstanding because I have often had runs where I never found an enchant armor scroll.



So I'm saving the enchant armor scrolls for endgame where I might find a Mythril Plate or something similar.

For the weapon enchants, I've got a nice +1 bastard sword saved up that I can gamble with to see if the weapon enchants will stick to the weapon or destroy it. I also have a +1 rapier so I might use that as well.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


Hmm. You have Plate Armor, a Golden Helmet and Dodge of 3 with a Body of 14...that's pretty good for venturing into level 4 with a posse of dudes.

I would guess that if you take your time and run away from mobs of enemies like a throne room or crypt full of undead nasties, you should do well. Good luck!

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


I beat dungeon level 4, but there was a cost.

Shortly after entering the steps down to level 4, I got tied up with some enemies and my favorite character, the spectator was slaughtered.

Below is just before I reach the upstairs to save all my companions. I pushed my luck too much.



Fortunately I found a Witch on level 4. I equipped her with chain mail and a closed helm. The result of that was that her spells would sometimes fail. Evidently it wasn't worth it because she succumbed to the denizens of level 4 not long after I found her. drat.



Though by the time I found a undead raising room I was feeling pretty good about my chances, because of the addition of three wights to my party.



They came in handy when I ran into this trap room. See those floors covered with lines of slime? I didn't bother with that at all. I just used a blink potion and got the hell out of there. The damage I was taking is from the archers that ambushed me.



So I discovered that a ring of animal friendship, or the perk, is pretty baller. If only for the fact that you can recruit unicorns. High level paladins are great once you get further down in the Zorbus because they can summon two unicorns at the beginning of a fight and unicorns have leap attacks that allows them to close quickly with enemies that are fleeing.



My merry band of misfits ran into an undead vault and I really wish I had kept my wand of chain lightning for situations like this one. Oh and I couldn't move backwards (west) for some reason. I think it was web but I'm not sure. So I blinked out of there. Seriously keep a stash of 7 or so blink potions. They are your emergency run away button. Thought I was going to die right here.



Here is another tricky situation. A wizard's home. Try to avoid (or have your companions tank) the incoming Web spell and the line of Fire Wall. Also stay the gently caress away from the Iron/Adamantium golem. Those things do massive damage even if you are wearing plate mail. Try to head for the wizard first as he is the primary threat with his repository of crowd control spells. Even if the wizard blinks away you are doing alright because you have separated him from the golem. Kill the golem and summons first then track down the fleeing wizard.




Onward to level 5.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


Cleared level 5, but like level 4 there was a cost.

My +2 Fiendbane urgrosh (spear-axe) really starts to shine at this level because it does double damage against all fiends (Demons, Devils and Slaadi). And on level 5 there were Slaadi, Bone Demons and Hellcats.

Here is where I lost my very useful unicorn companion. It was a wizard vault treasure room with 4 enemies inside (usually it is just 2 the golem and the spectator). The unicorn got too far inside the vault and was swarmed by enemies.


Pictured, one of the THREE types of mimics I've found in this game

Here is a ghost blacksmith room. The ghosts are pretty dangerous and you can see that the ghost blacksmith is all geared up for bear. The trick is I want those items, specifically the large shield +2. Usually there is also something nice in the chest/weapons rack. So I engaged the ghosts but lost my lion. It was expected. The lion did not have too many hit points anyway.



After this fight I revised my weapons, putting Fiendbane away and equipping the Large shield +2 and a Bastard Sword of Cold +2. At this point I need the extra defense and playing with a two handed weapon (Fiendbane) can be dangerous to my health.

At this point I revised my opinion about phase spiders. When I was dungeon delving with my Tiefling, I could throw firebolts at enemies that were running away and usually kill them with this method. Goddamn phase spiders blink all over the place and poison you. It is not too bad when there is one, but I ran into an ambush room (like in the post above in the room with the slime everywhere) and there were four of them.
To make a long story short the drat poison and blinking around killed two of my companions: the archer and the giff. That was a blow. I did learn that the phase spiders tend to not blink if you engage them at ranged, however this may be a coincidence. I had to finish them off by using the charge talent.


So I got to level 6, just me and my longtime companion from level one, the aasimar paladin.


Aasimar Paladin loadout on level 6

I shifted my playstyle to being very cautious and conservative with my resources. I would stop chasing down fleeing enemies and make sure the paladin had full stamina when she started conflicts.

In a vault room I found what I think is the most useful item in the game. I have found it over three playthroughs.


Yep, search is king.

Here is another tricky situation. I opened a secret door without resting to regain stamina for my companion and this is what I see, an entire war party of Githyanki.



I thought I would lose my lone companion at this point because she was too far in the room. Do note the Githyanki sorcerer. He nasty.

So to deal with this situation I used a horn and a spider figurine to summon two allies. The spirit warrior was a useful fighter, the spider was a meat shield.



Fortunately I was able to do two things. I damaged one of the Githyanki warriors so bad he fled the room, then I continually charged the Githyanki sorcerer until he blinked out of my sight.



Then I was able to mop up the remaining Githyanki in the room and then track down the fleeing sorcerer and warrior. Divide and conquer.


The spoils of my battle. Better than Plate Armor.

Githyanki are great to fight because they usually drop +2 to +3 weapons and have enchanted armor as well.


After that successful battle. I used an Elixir of Experience to get to level 12. Look what the paladin gets!


It's unicorn time baby!

So now I feel a little more secure about fighting on levels 6 and 7 but I really do need more companions. Some of the enemies further down are nasty and summon their friends. So I would like my own army to support me.


Gooch181 posted:

Nice!
I haven't picked my playthrough back up because I've been distracted by some other stuff for a few days, but I'm looking forward to trying to finish level 4. I'm pretty sure it was either that wizard house or the undead crypt that took out my allies, but I can't recall which. Both were rough fights and they were pretty much back to back. I found an orb of dismiss and that saved me from two other tight spots, that wand you have with 5 charges is a serious boon.

Yeah I'm saving my orb of dismissal, wand of dismissal and arrows of dismissal for deeper levels. They function as a blink however so it is possible that the enemy dismissed will blink nearby and track you down in a few turns.

Whew! Anyway the rest of level 6 awaits.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


Helical Nightmares posted:

So now I feel a little more secure about fighting on levels 6 and 7 but I really do need more companions.

See that? That's the theme of our show today.

So I and my aasimar paladin buddy (with summoned unicorns in tow) carefully divided and conquered level 6. I cleared all of it except for a wizard's lair and an adjacent golem vault with a clay and stone golem that get angry at you if you hang around or steal the treasure. I left those alone until I got stronger.

I found a portal to Carillo and I had enough cash to buy the only endgame weapon there.



I only have an Archery skill of around 4, but this longbow +4 in addition to my +1 eternal arrow should make a dent into fleeing enemies.

Onward to level 7 right? Yes, but carefully. When my companion and I were at full stamina I did the time-honored roguelike practice of "stair dancing;" namely going down stairs, aggroing creatures from the lower level and going up stairs so that the enemies follow you so you can kill them off when they are isolated.

So I did this a couple times and I managed to get a couple of yuan-ti and the duregar king to follow me upstairs to level 6 where they were eliminated.

Stair dancing is dangerous so when I pushed my luck doing it a third time...


Far too many enemies

...this is what I saw. This is a yikes moment. And this...



...means I am in big trouble. Two dragons and a drow wizard that can run all over the place? Not good.

I fled initially (away and trying to chase down that damned wizard) and this is what happened.


The chime of doom rings

This is bad. Losing my last companion means I don't just lose one ally. As mentioned previously the two unicorns that can be summoned by the paladin are gone too. So that puts me down three allies. And I need more allies to fight that damned wizard and the two dragons (who have long range breath weapons) who are tooling around the area.

I tried using a wand of dismissal to get rid of the dragons. It didn't work. What did work was using the orb of dismissal. Unfortunately over time the two dragons and the wizard converged in the same area again. So what am I to do? Well I turned to Carillo for answers.



This might work. A clone of myself (equipped with plate armor and a rings of cold and fire resistance) might be able to hold the line against two dragons. I don't have the gold to buy the elixir, but I've got plenty of magic items to sell.

So is this the end of my run? I'll find out next time.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


Getting Lucky: A Zorbus Tale

The last time I left off I had a problem. Specifically there was a white (frost breath) and black (acid breath) dragon hanging around a stairs down on level 6 with a drow wizard.

Bereft of companions, I can't take on those three enemies. Thus I sold some +3 equipment in Carillo to buy an Elixir of Cloning for about 1500 gold.



I made my clone (90% of my stats and everything), slapped the best equipment I had left over onto him and headed down to level 6 to confront the dragon twosome and drow wizard.



The above image depicts the first encounter. Got swarmed again and I rescued my clone by using my last charge from an Orb of Dismissal. Dragons, wizard and summoned creatures got thrown around the level again.

My clone and I carefully searched the level and the first enemy I found was the drow wizard. We engaged him from ranged and the wizard was nice enough to hang around within arrow range so we could snipe his candy rear end
down to dead.

One down, two to go. I engaged the white dragon but then around the corner comes the black dragon. My clone got too far ahead of me (again overconfidence on my part) and then got ripped apart in melee by both dragons.

So I decided to take a different stairs down to level 7 and explore very carefully. Look what I found.


Back in business baby!



The first dragon I encountered (on level 7) after obtaining the Orb was a poison dragon, so I charmed them. Turned out to be a good choice because their poison is relatively potent and it killed more than one fleeing enemy, which means more experience for me.



Oh and I also used the wand of Animate Dead to raise three skeleton meatshields. I equipped them all with plate mail, helmets and weapons so they were not exactly pushovers.

With my dragon buddy and skeleton backup I was able to kill enough enemies on level 7 that I eventually found these two items:





In a given game of Zorbus I have noticed you will usually come upon one rare armor. I'm guessing the Gorgon Plate Armor +1 is my one rare armor. Which is great because with that acid resistance I should be able to take care of the black dragon on level 6.

Then I found the Scourge of the Slave Lords +3 after killing the slaver leader. This looks like an awesome weapon but look closer. See that Melee defense modifier of -3? I can't be having that, I need all the defense I can get. So into the weapons stockpile in Carillo it goes.



I was also lucky enough on level 7 to find an Elixir of Experience. I think these grant you one free level per elixir so save them until you are at a high enough level to benefit from your exp bar filling.

Not pictured is another Elixir of Cloning I found on level 7 as well. This is great. I need more troops and who better now than another clone of myself? I may even given him the +3 Scourge of the Slave Lords. So the exploration of level 7 continues.

One last tidbit. I don't think dragons can open doors. I was able to hide in a room adjacent to the white and black dragons and recover all of my stamina just fine.

Next time I'll finish clearing level 7. Or I'll just die. Who knows?

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


Zorbus: In which I make several mistakes.

Yes it's that time again. Time for Yet Another Stupid Death.

Well, it didn't start out that way...



I was clearing out the rest of level 7 when I found another guarded wizard's treasure vault. See that, that's an Iron golem. At this depth I expect Iron or worse Adamantium golems. I decided to skip the treasure (likely a bunch of potions anyway) because Iron golems are pretty tough and can damage even dragons for a decent amount.

Speaking of dragons, here is the stats screen for my Green companion, the stats for my clone I made by drinking the Elixir of Cloning and my stats as reference.






Remember the Clone has 90% of my stats

I also equipped my clone with the best secondhand gear I had stashed in Carillo.


My Clone, fighting fit.

So I successfully cleared level 7 with merry band. Onward to level 8, by doing, you guessed it, stairdancing.

I think I discovered a feature of stairdancing in Zorbus the hard way. Namely if you escape up the stairs to a higher level, not only do the monsters in a certain radius of the downstairs (in the same room?) climb up the stairs, it is possible that monsters from all the downstairs on your level may climb up the stairs.

This is how I explain running into two out of depth (?) monsters, a blue dragon and a beholder, in a neighboring room that had stairs to level 8 on level 7. I am certain the dragon and beholder were not there before when I was cruising around level 7.

So a long story short I was a bit tired in real life and I was not fully recognizing how much damage the lighting bolt breath weapon from the dragon was doing to my hp along with the damage from the beholder's
spell spam. I was taking about 20-25 damage a round. I was sure I could flee to the nearest available room (to the south) and shut the door to block the blue dragon's breath weapon and the beholder's gaze.

No dice.


Blue dragon is North East of the skeleton. Beholder is further East, not shown

I was a little bit shocked when I died. I had a lot of equipment and potential countermeasures. What I should have done was saved the game and come back to it later upon the first sign of serious enemy resistance.

When I updated and restarted Zorbus I found a book called Tips and Tricks...


Don't get cocky

...Yes Zorbus, good advice.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


WarpedLichen posted:

Started playing this game a bit and I'm quite new so these are just my first impressions but:

1. Wizards are total assholes
2. Being a fighter feels pretty hopeless
3. Difficulty scales really fast

Like after level 3 every wizard enemy will take pot shots at you and teleport away constantly. I have no idea how a melee character is supposed to deal with that.

Yeah wizards are difficult because they are cowards. This is why I talked up the Tiefling in the summary of play, above. Tieflings have firebolt which is great for terminating fleeing enemies. Otherwise you are going to have to rely on the warrior talent Charge or have a good ranged weapon you can switch to.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


IronicDongz posted:

I have won most of my fighter runs and I don't use ranged weapons very much(past the earlygame anyways, where finishing enemies often requires it) and I never get charge. My methodology revolves around getting dual wield immediately(much easier with lone wolf) and dual wielding spears as soon as possible, which are a fantastic weapon with high damage, decent speed, boosted crits, and reach, all on top of being 1-handed.

Having the motion required to dual-wield also makes running down enemies noticeably easier.

Web still really sucks for melee characters though.

Very interesting. I'm going to have to try this strategy.

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Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


Found some good Zorbus tactics chat on Reddit. I've edited out the endgame spoilers at the beginning.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/roguelikes...rambling_guide/

All credit to ObnoxiousVRtuber. Bolding mine.

quote:

...

In less anime terms, overspecialize in a skill, and make every challenge a test of that.

There are four main skills of note; melee, magic, bow, and friendship. Melee specialization means you can thwack everything to death frightfully easily as long as its right next to you, magic means that you can shoot lasers or do anything till you need a breather, bow means you can plink things farther away than melee, and friendship means friends. 6-8 of them, when normally you fight alone. And they can have friends(summons)of their own.

An important note is that most enemies and companions are balanced, and the d20 system. That is, they are equally passable at most skills(offence and defence), but do not truly excel in any, and combat checks are resolved by skill amount+1d20 opposed checks. Thus, someone with just 10 points more in a skill will win it 90% of the time, and twenty points difference is a skill gap that guarantees victory every time. You should aim for 20-30 points endgame for magic/melee/bow builds.With the power of friendship, give everyone the biggest sticks that can be spared, and anything that increases their numbers.

The main problem is that your glaring weaknesses will be exploited. Constantly. Which is why you need to force enemies to confront you on your own terms, ones on which you will win.

Melee: You hit things up close. In 1v1's you are nigh invincible, in group melee's you are still highly resilient and can murder dozens if your cards align. But you can't hit things from afar except very early game or with godly high modifiers. Everything else probably can, so get creative. Don't charge across a brightly lit hallway filled with wizards or stand still when 3 archers are pelting you during a duel. In fact, you probably shouldn't engage with melee guys until at the end of an engagement, when victory is already assured. You are assuredly lethal towards anyone who comes into contact with you, so kill the people damaging you first. Use charge with spears to oneshot casters that blink away on low health. Reposition often.

Bow: You plink someone for 2 damage. And again. And again. And again. And then they keel over. You are more reliant on enchantments to deal good damage than near everyone else, but in return you can pull all sorts of shenanigans, mostly "you can't touch me" and "shoot everyone on screen, meatshields be damned" In return, shields block you and ammo is constantly changing until you get an everlasting bullet. Upgrade ammos and bows either with a super elemental damage array, or focus on just pluses and vampiric scrolls. Run away often and preemptively. Kill enemy archers and web spewers first, as they can put an end to your shenanigans.

Magic: You're a wizard. Shoot lasers. Fart acid. Summon meatshields. As soon as you run out of stamina, you're boned. Before that happens, blink away, turn off the lights, and pray nothing comes near while you rest. Alternatively, play the game like you're a one man S.W.A.T. team. Slowly clear out areas, establishing escape routes and dangerous areas before even initiating combat. Use radar (True vision and clairvoyance) obsessively to never be taken by surprise. Possess enemies/summons and use them as recon drones/trap absorbers. Be jumpy around every corner and open each fight with crippling the opposing side. Completely ignore the hack and slash and turn the game into magic spy sim.

Friendship:You kinda suck. But you and your companions suck together. And no matter your stats, your companions will be decent enough. And if you care for them and outfit them enough, then you will outnumber your foes both in power, numbers, and friendship. And eight guys with clubs whaling on one guy will, due to the games flanking mechanics, kill them in short order. The problem is that all of them are idiots, all of them need weaponry and equipment, and you're the only one competent enough to function on your own, let alone survive against overwhelming numbers. Which they will throw themselves upon and promptly die. And without friends, you'll promptly waste a bunch of potions and or die. So micromanage them, clothe and arm them, and make sure none are being gnawed on before resting. Only then will you have power, and only through the willingness of others will it be maintained.

Edit:Also, there is one spell of note that every build would benefit from, and it requires just two levels of magic to get. Summon 2-3 animals.

Exactly what it says on the tin. Summons 2-3 animals, of varying quality. When you can consistently cast it, enemies can kill them in 2-3 blows each, 1 for the lucky competents. It costs six stamina, being one of the cheapest talents in the game to use. And its one of the most effective from start to end due to the sheer versatility and utility offered. Punch way above your melee weight with flanking allies, each of which can also deal damage. Summon meatshields of your own, which you can fire over with multishot. Maul a wizard while you deal with meleers. Summon endless waves and laugh as the sheer cost efficiency of the spell utterly depletes the stamina and arrow reserves of the gods themselves while you're still fresh. Post other shenanigans below.

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