Drunken HC Randomness (Take Two)

Mar 16, 2020
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Introduction
  • I like to drink
  • I prefer to play hardcore
  • I like variety
The first version of this outing, sadly, cannot be continued due to the loss of all my characters from a hard drive crash. That's okay though, because it let me refine how I wanted to approach this challenge anyway.


The Rules

I will be playing one character at a time this go round.
  1. I will be playing single-pass, untwinked HC.
  2. Players setting will be my choice, though this will probably always be Normal and NM at p8 (excepting Act Bosses/NM Council/NM Ancients) and Hell at p3/p1.
  3. Items are unrestricted. If I find it, I can use it.
  4. Any mercenary is allowed, and may be switched at will.
  5. Collect all waypoints, complete all quests. Kill the Cow King each difficulty.
  6. I may use any skill I wish, including those granted from items.
  7. Skill point placement will largely be defined by what random build I roll (see #10), although I may use personal judgement about getting any utility skills I feel like.
  8. Respec must be used at the start of NM and Hell difficulty and a new build will be rolled (see #10).
  9. Character class will be determined by a random 1-7 roll.
  10. Build will be determined by a random roll, using all of the HC guardians for that class listed in the S/P/G build compilation as possible choices. Due to rule #8, this means each character will play as three separate builds assuming they make it to Hell difficulty.
  11. Build must be different for each difficulty
  12. Oh, and yes...I must be drinking before I can play.


This first post will in the future contain the list of all characters I have killed, and maybe even some that make it to guardian status.

I hope you enjoy the second iteration as much as you did the first one, I plan on keeping this going for quite a while.
 
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Mar 16, 2020
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I rolled a Paladin for my first victim. Rolling a 22 (out of the 65 listed guardians), means that for normal, he will be using DX-Crawler's zealot for his build. No skill point allocation was given, but I think it's safe to assume this guardian was a standard physical zealot using Fanaticism. Picking a random name gives us:



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Cameron, Level 1 Tipsy Zealot, Rogue Encampment
 
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Act I has been completed with no issues.

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I decided to crop all my drops into one image (including the countess's rune drop), and I think this will be how I show the finds for these characters:

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Stoutnail replaced a gambled Flail as the main weapon until the Tir rune for Steel can be found. I also tend to hold off even using Zeal until then, since I seem to have a strange aversion to using mana pots.

Andariel's drop here. I was quite happy to see a Topaz, and will hold on to it until I get the cube, hoping for a possible shrine upgrade. Dimoak's Hew went to a Defiance mercenary, likely soon to be replaced by a nice gambled Pike.

Until next time!

Cameron, Level 20 Tipsy Zealot, Lut Gholein
 
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Stoutnail replaced a gambled Flail as the main weapon until the Tir rune for Steel can be found. I also tend to hold off even using Zeal until then, since I seem to have a strange aversion to using mana pots.

I think I spent 5 seconds in the sewers of Lut Gholein before deciding to go ahead and just start using Zeal. Tir ended up being found before Radament was killed, which was very nice!

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Crushflange was a very nice find, allowing me to not have to worry about lowering players settings for Act bosses. The rings were Cathan's and Angelic's, the Cathan's from Arcane Sanctuary was sorely desired and I was very happy to see it finally drop.

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Duriel gave me the final bit of experience to hit level 29, and Cameron is off to the jungle.

Cameron, level 29 Tipsy Zealot, Kurast Docks
 
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Act III was very enjoyable, especially since we quickly hit level 30 and started putting points into fanaticism. Cameron has had pretty crappy luck finding good socketed paladin shields, so he ended up eventually cubing up his diamonds to get 3 normal diamonds and stuck them into a 3os Rondache with native +8 all res (giving a total of +41 all res). He has a +10 all res Targe on standby for Rhyme, but is secretly hoping to find a better base with a higher native resistance, as well as finding another decent 3os base for Ancient's Pledge (still waiting for an Ort rune). He also spent the majority of the Act gambling circlets, trying for a couple circlets of luck. This took quite a while to achieve, though he did gamble a pretty decent circlet that might do in a pinch if he is really hurting for resists. At level 31, he finally managed to score two plain circlets of luck (26% and 30%), and decided to settle on that while trying to focus on belt upgrades and boots of luck. The boots came pretty quickly, plain but with perfect 35% MF. He also found a pretty sweet pair of boots with 24 MF as well as fire, poison, and cold resist that may see use later on. The belt was a rare with fire resist, which is what he was looking to shore up. Future gambles will probably be focused on boots, gloves, and then circlets (as they only have MF on them) before trying for amulet gambling. All in all, his gear is looking pretty good--138 MF, maxed fire and lightning resists, life and mana leech. This helps make him super safe to play while drinking adult beverages.

Finds this Act:

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I tried out Bloodrise, as it's minimum damage is higher than the Steel flail, but it was noticeably slower. It or the Blood Crescent could make a decent exceptional upgrade for Act V if I want the extra damage and have the crafting ingredients. Cameron also now has the complete Cleglaw's set. I doubt I'll ever have the desire to use the full set, but I can see him using the sword and gloves at some point if needed. Another nice find was a rare ring.

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I'm highly certain this was a drop and not his Gidbinn quest reward.

Bremm Sparkfist provided the only real challenge, mainly due to his Fanaticism aura.

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He was still no match for the team, and Cameron and Neraaj both made it out of Kurast with no close calls and no deaths.

Edit: While Cameron is still wielding the Steel Flail, Neeraj has upgraded from his Dimoak's Hew to a Brutal (41% ED) Pike. I'll probably just let him use this and look to craft an Insight stick in early NM. Though it's unnecessary for a zealot, who knows what builds I'll roll in the next 2 difficulties.

Cameron, level 32 Tipsy Zealot, Pandemonium Fortress
 
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LAST CALL! BONUS ACT!!
Seeing how I finished my Act III session (last bit of the sewers and then Kurast Causeway +) rather early during my night, I went ahead and kept going into Act IV. Nothing much to say here, as we pretty much steamrolled our way through all the way up to the Chaos Sanctuary. Our Crushflange is still in the offhand spot to take care of pesky demons with too much life. Did some gloves and boots gambling before clearing the River of Flame, but nothing good was found.

Hellforge

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Finds this Act:

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Yep, no S/U whatsoever this Act. We found a few more runes, however. 1 Thul and 1 Ort, along with some Tals, Tirs, and another Ral rune. The Hellforge perfect emerald puts us a Sol rune way from a unique weapon upgrade if desired.

The Chaos Sanctuary was the most exciting part of the run, obviously. Full rejuvs ended up being needed for the Lord de Seis and Infector packs, but the team is still death free!

Cameron, level 35 Tipsy Zealot, Harrogath
 
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I have a nightly ritual of Jager Bombs. Usually 1 to 2 cans of Red Bull's worth. Occasionally a beer for a nightcap. It's been a long while though since I've had so much to get "drunk," however, I usually prefer to just get slightly tipsy.
 

OldSoldier

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I prefer it this way as well. I'm such a chicken that I refuse to get out of the easy areas of the game (i.e. before A5NM) if even slightly tipsy myself. I really enjoy not having a headache the next day so that restricts my fluidity.
 
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I totally agree about not wanting to wake up with a headache. Then there are days when work sucks more than normal and I want to just get intoxicated as fast as possible and to hell with how I feel in the morning. That's about how it's been this week thanks to my shift operating with almost half the crew out due to illness and such. That means Cameron and SC characters have been getting extra play time and my tournament characters have been pushed back to weekend-only status for now.

Also, I'm up for suggestions for different mixed drinks. What are some favorites? The last couple years I've grabbed a bottle of Captain Morgan's Long Island Iced Tea for summer, but I'd like to add even more variety. Whiskey's probably a no-go. I've tried Rum and Coke and I can't stand the flavor. Hit me up with your suggestions!
 

OldSoldier

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Aug 19, 2020
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My only mixed drink is a mild whiskey one, so if whiskey is out, I got nuthin. Otherwise I like Yuengling.

My wife has me make her one that's kind of a modified old fashioned. You put a few ice cubes in a glass, put a couple of spritzes (that's a technical term!) or shakes of bitters on them, a shot of whiskey (don't use the good stuff, Evan's cherry or Crown work good, or maybe Southern Comfort if you're really into a sweet drink) add about six ounces of ginger ale (we like to use Vernors but dang if I can find it any more due to covid) in a glass, take an orange slice and smash it up so the juice goes into the drink, add a marachino cherry and gently stir it once through to mix everything up. It is a good sipping drink and you never really get drunk. The 12 oz can of ginger ale does two drinks and the orange and cherry at the end are like dessert bonuses.
 
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zemaj

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Earth
Also, I'm up for suggestions for different mixed drinks. What are some favorites? The last couple years I've grabbed a bottle of Captain Morgan's Long Island Iced Tea for summer, but I'd like to add even more variety. Whiskey's probably a no-go. I've tried Rum and Coke and I can't stand the flavor. Hit me up with your suggestions!

For those especially rough days, there's one I've always liked called a BFK, it's a great starter, or if you like it, it's a very effective finisher as well:

.75 shot peppermint schnapps, chilled (I like Rumple Minze/Lingus)
.75 shot cinnamon schnapps, chilled (I like Goldschläger)
.5 shot unrefined grain spirits (Everclear)


Fruity drinks:

Tequila Sunset - in an iced shaker
Tequila
Splash of amaretto
Grapefruit juice

Slow Comfortable Screw - in an iced shaker
Slo Gin
Southern Comfort (1.5-2x as much as Slo Gin)
Orange juice


Beer drinks:

Black and Tan -
.5 pint pale ale
Over a spoon float .5 pint stout on top

Monk's Collar -
Fill a pint glass 85-90% with pear cider
Over a spoon float stout to filled

Irish car bomb (Belfast Breakfast) -
.5 pint stout in a glass (Guinness works best)
Shot glass filled to 75-80% with Irish whiskey
Over a spoon float Irish cream to filled
Drop shot into beer & DOWN IT QUICKLY (can curdle if left to sit)


And any list would be incomplete without The Dude's favorite:

White Russian -
Vodka
Kahlua (1.5x as much as vodka)
Half and half (or at least whole milk, skimmed milk won't work as you need the fat to bind it properly)
Stir with ice.


Many others, just ask... Does it show that I bartended for several years?
 
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The first drink you listed is quite close to another couple favorites of mine: the Starry Night and Liquid Heroin (among other names). I will never do Everclear or other variants again. I had a bad experience.

 
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Act V has been completed. Cameron pretty much steamrolled through the whole thing with barely any danger involved. The only real challenges were a champion pack and boss pack of frenzytaurs in the hell gates. Neeraj saw his massive pike upgraded to a brutal pike. While heading to Nihlathak, some white War Scepters were found, and I had the resources to try to cube socket one, hoping for an upgraded Steel, or possibly Malice or Holy Thunder. It got one socket. All was not lost though, as a 3 socket War Hammer as also found, and Cameron swapped out his trusty Steel Flail for a Malice War Hammer. The damage increase was pretty good. And then I remembered I'd found a Bloodrise, and saw I had the items necessary to upgrade it to exceptional quality. Oh my stars was it wonderful! Much faster than the War Hammer and with extra life leech as well!

Finds this Act:

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I was definitely excited to see Goldwrap, and Baal dropping Chance Guards (37%) was just icing on the cake. Cameron is now sitting at 181% MF, which is pretty sweet. I only did a couple of gambling sessions to try to upgrade his circlet/boots/gloves, hoping for some extra resistances on top of MF heading into NM. No luck really, though I did get a pretty sweet set of boots I'll be hanging onto for later:

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After vanquishing both Baal and the Cow King, it was time to re-roll his build. I rolled a 39, which gave jiansonz's Flea, a Random Tournament paladin. Since I'm only looking at the skills and not gear restrictions, this means I only have access to the following skills:

Conviction, Conversion, Concentration, Redemption, Vigor, Smite, Vengeance, and Might​

I went with the final skills @jiansonz had available, as I feel this makes the most sense. After all, had I rolled a guardian that finished Hell difficulty as a Hammerdin, while doing normal/NM as something else, I would have gone with Hammerdin as that was the final build as well. I will confess that I screwed up somehow and ended up putting points into Holy Shield, so going forward I will make sure to un-hotkey that skill and just not use it.

I kind of figured I'd end up rolling a mana hog build next, but thankfully I have the runes needed to make an Insight from the first available candidate!

Destroyer Cameron, level 48 Tipsy Avenger, NM Rogue Encampment
 
Mar 16, 2020
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Act I NM is done.

I had a nice week-long break from Cameron, but now he is back in action! I definitely miss the speed he has as a Fanatic Zealot, but Vengeance + Conviction is no slouch. I found a regular 4os War Scythe rather quickly, and made an Insight stick for the merc. I did not really find a better base later on. I found a 4os Poleaxe in the catacombs, but I figured I'd just hold out for an eth exceptional base as it's not an issue at the moment. I will probably have to swap out a piece of gear on the merc to give him some life leech as well, as he took quite a few potions to stay upright. Insight wasn't really helping with the mana cost of Vengeance (as it was costing 1/10 of my mana per swing), until I found this sweet shield while on the way to rescue Cain:

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I quickly put the runes for Spirit in this and mana is now a non-issue! I also have the runes for Rhyme, but the only paladin shield I've found with 2os only has +10 @res, so I'll just wait until I find better. The circlet of luck was replaced with an Artisan's Great Helm of the Wolf once I had 2 perfect topazes to put in it, with a 3rd following shortly thereafter. MF is now sitting at 228%, and that's with zero MF on the ring slots (I'm beefing us some resistances with those) and rare boots with triple resistances rather than the 35% boots of luck.

Finds this Act:

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The ring was a Manald Heal, which I replaced Cathan's with to help with mana issues until I made the Spirit shield. Only 1 exceptional S/U so far, hopefully more will start rolling in!

The play sessions were still pretty smooth sailing with no real issues. I did have to do some adjusting after picking him back up after playing a HC character going through normal difficulty, and quickly remembering it's a bit more dangerous now! The only dangerous foes were those with double elemental damage, and of course Might and/or Cursed enemies. If you're expecting bone-headed moves made from a totally blitzed player, you will be disappointed. I rarely ever drink enough to really affect my judgement, so at the worst you can probably expect just slower reactions. This will probably mean characters should be relatively safe until Hell difficulty.

And now I'm just rambling, so I'll just wrap up with my Countess drop.

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Upon reaching Lut Gholein, I dismissed Neeraj and hired Emilio for his Holy Freeze aura.

Destroyer Cameron, level 52 Tipsy Avenger, NM Lut Gholein
 
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Work has been hell lately, but I finally managed to finish up Act II.

Finds this Act:

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Gear has pretty much stayed the same. I did gamble circlets for the mercenary and got one with 5% LL and 33 lightning resist. I cube socketed 3 eth exceptional polearms, but got 1, 5, and 5 sockets, so Emilio is still rocking a regular War Scythe Insight. The Ginther's Rift caught my eye, but I needed 2 more levels to boost strength to equip it. The Bloodletter you can barely see behind the cursor in the lower left I got almost immediately after and used it until I could equip Ginther's. I love Bloodletters, but the repair costs are crazy. Another very nice find was in the form of this Grand Charm:

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The sewers, Tal Rasha's tombs, and a few other tough spots required the use of Conversion to help Emilio stay upright due to unleechable skeletons.

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A skeleton archer pack with its own conviction aura definitely needed some Conversion to take the heat off the team.

Once I cleared the palace, I made a judgement call. I never really intended to include tournament guardians (especially those with random skill allotments) as build choices when rolling builds. I was also definitely feeling the lack of Holy Shield. I decided to go ahead and use my NM respec to re-roll builds. I could have just gone with a standard Vengeance set-up, since I had already accidentally put the points in Holy Shield, but I felt since I decided to do a premature re-roll, I figured it needed to come at a price--namely, the chance of missing out on a Hammerdin build for Hell difficulty. Chance gave me a roll of 42 out of the 65 paladin guardians, which gave me Lprman's Theoden, who happened to be an Avenger! At least I get to keep continuity throughout NM I suppose.

So, for future reference, if I roll a tournament guardian with random skill sets, I will be re-rolling. For this project, the randomness is only supposed to be in the build I get, not random skill points/skill sets. I just use the M/P/G archive to roll builds because I'm too lazy to make a master list for each build (and variants). So, for Hell difficulty, I will go ahead and clear the Blood Moor and Den of Evil as an Avenger, and then re-roll to determine which build I'll be playing with for the remainder...assuming he survives that long, that is.

From the AS onward, Holy Shield gave a definitely noticeable increase in survivability, as well as ease of play (which, when drinking definitely is important!). All six of the false tombs were taken out during the same play session that started with the Arcane Sanctuary (last night), and I wrapped it up tonight clearing the True Tomb + Duriel.

Destroyer Cameron, Level 60 Tipsy Avenger, NM Kurast Docks