Scare monster is busted in NetHack 3.6.1: a story

Originally posted to /r/nethack.

I, a thoroughly wiki-spoiled but not actually very good player, finally made it to Gehennom for the first time. I am doing pretty well so far in this game, all things considered. I made dragon scale mail from a silver dragon I killed back in the Castle. I got a silver saber out of polypiling and enchanted it to +5, then found another silver saber just lying around in one of the early Gehennom levels, and now my orcish Barbarian is dual-wielding those to cut through every demon in sight.

Heading down, I bribed my way past Asmodeus no problem. Juiblex’s swamp had no Juiblex because I had wand-of-digging-ed him previously after summoning him back in Orctown with my accidental same-race sacrifice of orcs.

When I got to Baalzebub, I accidentally angered him by giving him too little cash, because the number he demanded was obscured by the prompt window in the Android port (rolls eyes). I tried luring Baalzebub across levels so I could fight him from the upstairs, and I couldn’t even get him to follow me properly because he is so slow. He has 9 speed and I have speed boots. I just left him behind in Juiblex’s swamp and am ignoring him for now.

I got to Orcus-town and was all ready to bribe my way past Orcus like I had with Asmodeus. Oops. Turns out you can’t bribe Orcus.

I figured this fight would be pretty straightforward. Once I had gotten my +5 silver saber, the peaceful Yeenoghu I had accidentally (seeing a pattern here?) angered back in Orctown had proved to be annoying but not too much of a challenge. I assumed dealing with Orcus would be even easier now that I had better equipment.

Orcus would not freaking let me stand on the upstairs! Every time I went down a staircase with him next to me, he would end up on the up staircase and I would be standing next to him. Then I would attack him and he would go right back up the stairs. I even left him behind and went exploring deeper levels, and when I came back up he still kept doing this to me. Eventually I decided I would just stand a couple tiles from the up staircase, wait for him to warp to the other side of me, then walk over to the staircase and fight him from there.

And then this happened.

Demogorgon arrives

I got to the up staircase just in time for Orcus to gate in Demogorgon on the opposite side of me.

OK, time to check the wiki. What are my options? Teleport away, or wand of digging down? Nope, this is a Wizard’s tower level, and they would follow me anyway. Cockatrice corpse? My last one had already rotted away, so I would have had to pull my wand of wishing out of my bag, wish for the corpse, wield it, and attack—that’s a lot of turns. This was looking bad…

You can also attempt to safeguard the upstairs so that Demogorgon will not attack you while on it. […] A scroll of scare monster will, in addition to this, let you attack him and will also work in Gehennom, making it the best option. — NetHack Wiki


I had been carrying around a scroll of scare monster in a spare sack for thousands of turns, just in case of an “emergency”. I decided this counted as an “emergency”.

#tip. I won.

You kill Demogorgon!

Orcus and Demogorgon waited patiently, without attacking or fleeing, while I stood on the staircase and stabbed them over and over with my dual-wielded silver sabers until they died. I could have bonked them over the head with the silver bell instead and it only would have taken a little longer. It was the most hilariously anticlimactic fight I could have imagined, even more than the rubber chicken option.

However, take note that versions of NetHack after 3.6.1 may change this scroll to be less powerful than it is now. — also NetHack Wiki


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