Stairdancing is the practice of, in a roguelike, using the property of stairs separating you from monsters to pick them off one by one or retreat to a safer place. While in Brogue monsters are capable of hunting you across levels expertly, there are nevertheless ways to exploit stairs (and chasms!) to your advantage.
Monsters Follow When...Edit
For a monster to follow you when you take the stairs or a pit, the following must be true:
- The monster must still be 'Hunting' (which means it must not be: entranced, paralyzed, affected by magical fear, confused)
- If you used a chasm instead of the stairs, the monster must be flying (or be an ally with 11+ hp)
- If the monster is non-flying, it must not be standing on AND have a route it can take to you free of T_PATHING_BLOCKER (walls/green crystal, a chasm/pitfall trap, a trap, lava, deep water, fire, brimstone)
- If the monster is flying, it merely not be encased in green crystal AND have a route it can take to you free of walls/green crystal
If all these are satisfied, the game calculates how long it would take the monster to walk to where you were (not to the stairs, to where you were), and it will appear that number of turns later.
Leaving Them BehindEdit
So, for a monster to NOT follow you when you change levels, you must make one of the conditions not true.
Try one of these:
- Throw it off your scent. Cross or create T_PATHING_BLOCKER (green crystal, chasm, trap, lava, deep water, fire, brimstone) so it has no scent it can follow to you - Get out of LOS and wait long enough, and the scent will become so old that it will go back to Wandering and not follow you across stairs, even if there is an unobstructed path it could use to do so. Increasing your Stealth will make it give up sooner since the perceived distance will be larger.
- If it does not fly, take a chasm, or use a potion of descent/pitfall trap/pit bloat/staff of entrancement so your opponent takes the chasm instead!
- Use status effects: entrancement, paralysis, cause fear or confusion (from a trap or consumable). These status effects prevent it from hunting and thus following you.
- Use incineration/firebolt/a flood trap/obstruction. If it is either in T_PATHING_BLOCKER or has NO path free of T_PATHING_BLOCKER when you take the stairs, it will not follow. (If it flies, only obstructions will work)
Exploit Monster Following BehaviorEdit
Perhaps you would like to exploit some useful properties of monsters following stairs:
- Taking stairs costs 0 turns. When you take the stairs, even if there was a monster next to you, you have a whole turn where you can do whatever you want, THEN the monster will show up. You might use this to pop consumables or blink into a better position to flee.
- If a group of monsters is following you, when the first one appears up the stairs it will be alone and easier to pick off than if it had spellcasters buffing it and debuffing you at every moment.
- Perhaps the terrain on the other side of the staircase/pit is more favourable to you. It might have a door/corridor/other chokepoint/exploitable trap/pool of water/lava/brimstone/chasm you can exploit to your advantage that the other level either didn't or you couldn't reach safely.
- 'Parking' monsters - Lure a monster onto an earlier, cleared level, get it into a situation where it can't follow you back and then resume clearing the level you were on. You won't have to deal with it until after you have the Amulet, that way.
- Splitting up monsters of different speeds - When you take the stairs, it calculates how long it would take using its movement speed to have arrived on your tile, and so weak but fast monsters like pixies will race ahead and allow you to dispatch their piddly 10 hp with ease.
Like abusing terrain? Read on: