Care and Feeding of Semi-Rares

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Care and Feeding of Semi-Rares

Post  ShadowWolf on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:27 am


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I was writing up a treatise on food and booze, and found myself talking at length about semi-rares and how they relate to good eats and drinks. When it occurred to me that I should probably just write a bit about semi-rares themselves because there are probably a lot of n00bs who are either unaware of the concept, or are vaguely aware of it but don't know how to manipulate it for their own benefit.

Firstly, the wiki has a great and very detailed description of semi-rares here. But that's a lot of reading so I'll digest it for you.

Semi-rares are helpful to anyone, not just Hardcores. But they're of increased importance and vitality to Hardcore ascenders (and even more so to Bad Mooners but that's a story for another time).

What are Semi-Rares?

Semi-rares are adventures that occur ... semi-rarely. Every 160-200 adventures you spend, to be exact. So during the course of an ascension you can probably expect to have 8-12 opportunities for semi-rare adventures. Note that I said "opportunities" because that's very important to understand.

A short time after ascending, the game starts a "semi-rare countdown" at a random number of adventures between 160 and 200 (roughly). This countdown is started the first time you spend a turn actively adventuring in a zone (such as the Sleazy Back Alley or Noob Cave). It won't -start- if you spend an adventure doing a variety of other things like crafting or resting. You actually have to adventure to start the counter, or restart the counter. But I'll get into that more later.

What this countdown means is, when your countdown hits zero the next adventure will be a semi-rare if you adventure in the right place. You will then receive the semi-rare adventure and your countdown will restart at 160-200 after the next adventure.

Semi-rare adventures frequently give you a very very good bonus or item that can be extremely valuable to a hardcore run. Some of the best foods and boozes come from semi-rare adventures, as well as valuable combat items and equipment. I'll get into the "good" ones later, but first I want to talk about fortune cookies and managing your semi-rare countdown timer.

Fortune Cookies

Fortune cookies can be bought at the Demon Market in town and give 1 adventure for 1 fullness. Not great. But they also give you the fortune cookie message, which contains a hint vaguely relevant to your current situation, plus three numbers.

Those three numbers are important, in that one of them is your current semi-rare countdown timer value as of the moment you eat the cookie. The other two are completely 100% random.

For example, if you eat the cookie and get numbers of 11, 203, and 98 that means that your next semi-rare could theoretically happen in the next 11, 203, or 98 adventures.

The trick? Eat two of them without spending any adventures. Your countdown timer doesn't change between cookies but the random numbers do. So if your second cookie has 77, 98, and 158 then you know that 98 is your countdown value. WRITE IT DOWN SOMEWHERE.

Managing the Timer

Here's what I do during a run. I'll start adventuring for a couple of turns then buy and eat a cookie. Let's say I spent 10 turns before eating my first cookie. That means my countdown timer should be somewhere between 150 and 190. If any of my cookie numbers are outside this range, I know they're not real and they're one of the random two numbers. Let's say my cookie gave me 103, 119, and 181. The first two numbers are outside that range, so I know my value is 181 without having to eat a second cookie! But I recommend until you get the hang of this, eat two cookies and you'll see what I'm talking about easier than I can explain it.

Once I get the number, I WRITE IT DOWN SOMEWHERE. Your "quest notes" section is good for this, but I also use a piece of scratch paper next to my computer. Then I go to my character panel (you get this by clicking on "character" near the top of KoL) which shows all your important info. Look for "Turns Played (this run)". Add the counter to that number. That's the adventure count you're looking for for your next semi-rare.

Example: I've determined that my timer value is 140. My "Turns Played (this run)" lists 339. My next semi-rare shows up when my "Turns Played (this run)" is at 479 (140 + 339).

Here's the key part: The semi-rare shows up the next adventure. When my "Turns Played (this run)" is at 479, that means that the next adventure (putting "Turns Played (this run)" at 480) will be my semi-rare. I strongly recommend experimenting with this a few times to get the hang of it, and adventuring in the desired semi-rare zone for 2-10 adventures before your counter hits zero, just to get familiar with the process. So in my example, if my desired "Turns Played (this run)" is 489, maybe around 480 I start adventuring in the semi-rare zone and then I know I won't miss it.

No Double Dipping!

Here's another important point ... you CANNOT get the same semi-rare twice in a row. If you went to the Sleazy Back Alley and got 3 bottles of distilled fortified wine, you can't get the Sleazy Back Alley adventure the next time around. You'll actually waste the next semi-rare if you try it, so don't.

What you can do is get a different semi-rare, and then come back and get the first semi-rare again on the third semi-rare opportunity.

For simplicity, here's an example. On "Turns Played (this run)" of 180, I go to the Sleazy Back Alley and get 3 distilled fortified wines. On "Turns Played (this run)" of 360, I go to the Haunted Pantry and get 3 tasty tarts. On "Turns Played (this run)" of 540, I can go back to the Sleazy Back Alley and get 3 more distilled fortified wines. If I went to the Sleazy Back Alley on "Turns Played (this run)" of 360, I get nothing but a regular Sleazy Back Alley adventure and I STILL can't get the Sleazy Back Alley distilled fortified wines on "Turns Played (this run)" of 540 because I still haven't gotten a different semi-rare yet.

The Good Ones

Here's a list of what I consider the good semi-rares. All of the semi-rares have their own usefulness, but some I feel are better than others.

1A) Sleazy Back Alley, 3 distilled fortified wines
1B) Haunted Pantry, 3 tasty tarts
1C) Outskirts of Cobb's Knob, knob goblin lunchbox

These three are the consumable trifecta. The Lunchbox itself gives three foods or boozes (knob goblin coffee which is a booze, or knob pasties which is a food), and the other two adventures give all food, or all booze. Each of these items gives a large number of adventures per fullness, and rank among the best possible food and booze. Very very good consumables for low-level adventurers.

2) Limerick Dungeon, cyclops eyedrops

This gives +100% item find for 10 adventures, which can be extremely useful when you're trying to farm certain quest items. I like them for the Orchard / Filthworms side-quest during the level 12 quest but they're also useful for any number of farming situations.

3) Knob Kitchen, full set of Knob Goblin Elite Outfit

The outfit itself lets you enter the knob laboratory to buy items that are themselves very useful, such as pet buffing spray (+5 to familiar weight, crucial for the NS chamber quest), knob eyedrops (+item find), and knob seltzer (a better MP restorer than soda water from the Demon Market, but not as good as Magical Mystery Juice).

This semi-rare is different because it has a combat; you need to beat a guard captain who can be challenging for a lower-level adventurer. I've found that level 6 is usually good enough to beat him, earlier if you have good equipment or skills.

4) Knob Harem, 3 scented massage oils

This item heals you to full, no matter how many HP you're down. Very nice for the shadow fight in the NS chamber, or for getting yourself out of some tight spots.

5) Hidden City, shrinking powder

Combat item that hits your enemy for 1/2 his HP (only works once per combat). If you're having trouble beating the Big Wisnewski or The Man in the level 12 quest, this could be a lifesaver. Not sure if it works against Her Naughtiness.

There are probably other semi-rares worth mentioning, but I strongly recommend reading the link I posted earlier, also posting it here so you don't have to scroll up.

Summary

For the love of Sneaky Pete, please ask questions here if you don't quite grok what I'm laying out. It's a weird little mechanic but very powerful if used properly, and a lot of these semi-rares can save you a lot of aggravation and time.

I'll get back to more general advice for Hardcore, but so much of that advice is going to use stuff I've mentioned here (especially the food and booze advice) that I feel it's important to talk about first.

A good way to get the hang of this mechanic is now, while you're farting around in your SC run or post-prism. Try some cookies, get some semi-rares, get the feel for how it works, before you dive into HC. Good luck!


Last edited by ShadowWolf on Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Care and Feeding of Semi-Rares

Post  ironhorn on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:00 am

menagerie lvl 2 gives a good semi-rare too

irradiated pet snacks, they give +10 famlvl for some turns. Excellent for the naughty sorceress and her giant pets Smile
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Re: Care and Feeding of Semi-Rares

Post  ShadowWolf on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:13 am

Yeah, that's a good one. I knew I'd forget some!

The other thing I forgot was to add an appendix at the bottom for exceptions to the stuff that I mentioned. Namely:

1) Oxygenarian - both SOxy and HOxy have a truncated counter. It's something like 105-120 adventures instead of 160-200 for other ascensions. Since Oxys can't eat fortune cookies, this is important to know.

2) Semi-Rare Override - make sure your ten-leaf clovers are all disassembled, because a clover adventure will override a semi-rare adventure. Also, holiday special adventures (Feast of Boris, Dia de los Borrachos) and Bad Moon adventures can also override semi-rare adventures if you're extremely unlucky.

3) One Cookie'll Do Ya - as I hinted, once you get the hang of it, you can do this with only one cookie. Knowing about the 160-200 window, you also can tell which numbers are invalid if they fall outside the window. If you can eliminate two numbers, great! If you can only eliminate one number, no sweat. Mark down both numbers, and do the "Turns Played (this run)" calculations for both numbers. And hit the desired semi-rare area around both "sweet spots" and maybe you get lucky that it was the closer one.

4) Fighting a semi-rare monster, and losing, still counts as getting that semi-rare adventure. If you lose to the Knob Guard Captain, you still have to hit a second semi-rare next time before you are able to come back and fight the Guard Captain again.
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