August 20, 1999
And now I imagine you can guess the topic of this article. This is intended for clerics either leading a formation in the catacombs, or (heaven forbid) soloing themselves.
To start off, weíre going to cut people. If you cant get at least 400 hp you cannot solo combs. If you cannot get 300 hp, you shouldnít even attempt combing in a formation. Next, Iíd like to point out that clerics (single class) are not suited to combing. They do not possess sneak, scan, farsight, or invis, so a large portion of this article will concern itself with making up for these handicapps.
Perhaps the most valuable ability to any comber is that of invis, or sneak. Catacomb mobs are primarly agressive mobs, and will attack a helpless cleric wandering around without invis. You can try to blaze through rooms and attempt not to be drawn into combat because of your roadrunner-like abilities, but I suggest doing one or more of the following:
Now that we have the invis problem solved, the next problem is SPEED. If you want to get any DECENT amount of eggs as a cleric in the combs, youíll have to get in early, and from there its cake. Try to stay at a high level, because combing deep gets you wonderful mobs like flayers and chimeras, who will absolutely adore you before they rip you into bite-sized hors d` oeurves. The good thing about combing shallow as I call it, is that its EASY. However, if youíre like me, you hate spending time and mana to kill weeds and lichens, when those heros just glide through and charm them. Solution: charm em yourself. Grab some some staffs of ruling. These have a nice charm spell for the room, so try them before you do anything to lichen/weed. These are VERY handy with regards to mephits, because you can charm a lichen and reform it behind you. I havenít been bsed by a mephit in some time! You can also have yourself an insta-tank, similar to a mageís elemental if you use these wisely, so stock up those staffs!
Well, by now youíre reading the massive amount of potions, staffs, cloaks that one should have for combing and thinking how in the world to carry your eggs! This is rather elementary, but standard combing eq is: Gryph bp, or normal bp, bag of holding/clear jar, belt container (I like spell pouch) as well as a pair of Tor key-necklaces. Store all eq/staffs in one item, and wear it constantly for maximum speed, so you can simply fill the next container when youíre done with one.
There are a thousand things Iím sure that your clannies can teach you or clue you into about combing, but if you intend to solo, here are a few tidbits. Find ore rooms. The ore is your friend. Mana regen is a real problem on the upper rooms, and these help immensely. Look for winded mobs. Anything hit by wind will make it killable, even if youíre a small cleric. Use invis right after a centipede splits the first time. You can pick the eggs up and move along unless you WANT to kill the entire thing. Find a comfortable method for prioritizing mobs with eggs or lack thereof. I know mine was: eggs on the ground, lichens, weeds, bears, octopusi, serpents. I generally didnít need to kill anything bigger than that unless I was in a form. Donít forget the best policy is the greedy policy. Solitude while combing is great, because if there are a thousand people in your general area, kiss your eggs goodbye. Try to get somewhere that no one else has been. Most combers travel in a general sort of direction until they find a likely spot, then use a kind of grid-search through the prospective rooms for eggs. Be wary of the coral rooms, they are exceedingly painful, and since rooting is a rarity in solo clericing, make sure you have an alert to notify you of coral rooms, like setting Mudmaster to highlight it. Keep your sanctuary up at all times, even when you think you dont need it. Same thing with images if you can. Make SURE you have great AC. Self-healing by clerics is great, but combs mobs hit rather hard, so try to get hit as little as possible. If you screw up, blind a mob you accidently start fighting, and look for a different LEVEL. Mobs track rather well, and there have been too many times a banshee showed up while I was killing a blood weed.
Most of all, have respect for other combers. It is absolutely appaling how little respect even high-levels have for others. Whenever I see someone dead in a random room, I generally try to help them out, because if you remember all those times you were butchered and then swearing irl.... Well, suffice to say, don't infringe on other players, or pick up the eggs in their room with a trigger. If you follow these tips, and consult others in your clan about how you can better learn the combs, then Iím sure youíll enjoy your egginí time quite a bit more!