Familiar Management

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Familiar Management

Post  ShadowWolf on Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:00 pm

See Announcements forum if confused

In the "Preparation" section, I talked about what familiars you should have already acquired for your terrarium (so you don't have to bother collecting them as needed during your HC run itself). Now I'd like to spend a little bit of time talking about which familiars to actually use, and when, during the HC ascension.


Just so we're all on the same page, I'd like to discuss a couple of terms.

When I say "fairy" or "fairy type", I mean any of the variety of familiars that provide bonuses to item finding percentage ("+item find" or "+items"). This comes from the original +item find familiar, the baby gravy fairy. Also in this family of "gravy fairies" are the five elemental gravy fairies: spooky gravy fairy, stinky gravy fairy, sleazy gravy fairy, flaming gravy fairy, and frozen gravy fairy. This group also includes a bunch of Mr. Store familiars like the green pixie or the fairychaun types.

When I say "volleyball" or "volleyball type", I mean a blood-faced volleyball or any number of other familiars that give a fixed bonus to substats gained in combat (such as the Crimbo P.R.E.S.S.I.E., llama lama, volleychauns, and others).

General Use

Obviously since I spent some time above discussing fairies and volleyballs, those are the two main types of familiars you're going to be using during a HC ascension. But the rule is a little more general than that.

There are going to be two main modes of operation for you during a run, A) when you need to farm specific items for any number of reasons, and B) when you don't. You may need quest items, such as getting lion oil or a bird rib for the Mr. Alarm portion of the level 11 quest, or Wand of Nagamar letters from the three places where they drop. You may need to get pieces of an outfit, such as the pirate's outfit for the levels 9 and 11 quests, the mining outfit for the level 8 quest, or the harem outfit for the level 5 quest. Goat cheeses from the Goatlet for the level 8 quest. Pixels to make the digital key. I could go on and on and on. Or you may just need food or booze for daily consumption.

And then there's the time when you -don't- need items to drop (though they may be nice when they do) such as whacking around in the Deep Fat Friar's grove waiting for quest noncombats or doing the Organ of Steel quest, whacking around in the Airship waiting for the Immateria bits, or when you're done with this level's quest and are grinding and waiting to reach the next level.

So when you need to farm items, strap on the fairy. When you don't specifically need to farm items, you should probably be strapping on the stat gaining familiar (volleyball or sombrero, which I'll go into next) unless you have a pressing need otherwise. I'd guess that I'm using volleyball/sombrero or fairy for 85% to 95% of my run.

But What About Other Familiars?

Well, that's the remaining 5% to 15% isn't it? Sometimes you desperately need meat, and may want to farm a little with the leprechaun. Of course, if you have a volleychaun (the Mr. Store familiars that cost 2 Mr. As that give volleyball + leprechaun abilities) then you're golden. I also usually put on the leprechaun when I'm fighting in the Boss Bat Lair, because his henchmen drop a ridiculous amount of meat for a level 4 zone and every little bit helps at that point. There are other meat-dropping familiars, like the cocoabo or the NPZR and they can also be used when you're low on meat.

Also, grabbing a +MP or +HP familiar can be useful in a pinch when you're low in either of those areas and meat for MMJ/seltzer/soda or Galaktik/herbs is in short supply. But you should only be spending a couple turns with these familiars, enough to get your MP or HP back up to full and then swapping back to your default (fairy or volley).

I also mentioned the exotic parrot, who gives you elemental resists based on weight, which can be very useful in passing the various elemental resist tests (trapz0r and cold resistance, the daily dungeon resist tests).

But familiars that are not a volley/sombrero or a fairy should be used sparingly and only in specific, limited situations.

Volleyball vs. Sombrero

People much, much smarter and spadier than I have spend a lot of time analyzing when you should switch and that analysis has been done here. But seriously, don't read that. It's got enough math that you haven't seen since college, or won't see until you get to college, and it's enough to shatter bones and burst eyeballs.

The punch line is this: around ML 100 is the break-even point for an equal-weight volleyball vs. an equal-weight sombrero, meaning around the time you're in the Haunted Gallery, or doing the Valley of Rotflmao quest with a little +ML (like the Mind Control Device, or the Annoy-o-Tron 5000). But here's the catch ... your volleyball and sombrero will -not- be equal weight. You've been running for a number of days with your volleyball and it's probably up to 10, 12, 14 lbs. or more and your sombrero's been gathering dust in the terrarium since level 1.

So here's what I do. When I start the level 10 quest, visiting the Airship and beyond to the Castle in the Clouds and Hole in the Sky, that's when I do the crossover. I take a bit of a stat gain hit because a 14# volleyball is still going to give more stats than a very low-weight sombrero, but your sombrero will pretty quickly beef itself up in 20-40 turns and then it's all gravy. So take the hit at the front end and enjoy the sweet, nourishing stat points later on.

To Arena or Not

Some people like the Arena, grinding 10 turns there to take a 1 lb. familiar up to 5-7 lbs. and getting familiar equipment to boot. Me? I hate it. I think it's a meat sink and a turn sink (1000 meat for 10 turns training) during a time when adventures are very very precious and meat even more so. If you spent those 10 turns adventuring, you also get substats and meat and items and food and maybe a little further along on your to do list. And you don't have to -spend- the 1000 meat so that's meat towards more important things. So your familiar might be a little less experienced as a result, no big deal.

The only time I've used the arena is putting some extra weight on my tower familiars (mosquito, potato, goat, lime, barrrnacle) when I've gotten unlucky and don't have enough +familiar weight to get them up to 20 lbs.

The only argument that I buy in favor of the arena is if you get a lead necklace, which all your familiars can use for +3 weight. But is it worth 10 turns and 1000 meat? I don't think so, but I can see the benefit.

A Word About Brother Corsican

Remember that once per day after you have finished the level 6 quest (Deep Fat Friars) you can visit them to get a 20-turn blessing. Brother Corsican's blessing gives 20 turns of +2 familiar experience per combat, which is a good way to pad weight onto a familiar that hasn't hit 20 lbs. yet. If you don't plan on farming any booze (and would want Brother Smother's blessing) or food (and would want Brother Flying Burrito's blessing) on a given day, and have familiars that need weight, grab Brother Corsican's blessing and grind combats somewhere you need to grind combats for 20 turns and say BEEFCAKE!
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