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[23/16/11/1/0] - Mancubus Major (


A short guide to DoomRL


Combat, combat. What's to say that hasn't already been written? Shoot them before they shoot you. Even better, shoot them when they can't even shoot you back. You can wing it on HNTR, but only your best build will get through HMP without being careful. By the time you get to UV, tactical defense (corner shooting, radar shooting) is absolutely necessary.

Of course, tactical defense is counter-intuitive to the way most people play games, and certainly different from the way Doom itself is played. But if you want to win, this is the way to do it. You can learn more at Thomas's excellent guide to DoomRL.


Primary: x4 stacks
Rockets: x1, at least
Secondary: x2-3 (if needed)

As Thomas quoted from someone else, you can get through a level without medpacks, but you sure as heck won't get through it without ammo. The exact amount depends on what type of build you're using, but the above can serve as a guide. Finding the right amount is a tough balance, because you're screwed if you run out, but you often end up carrying more than you need.

One thing you can practice is situation ammo use. Keep an eye on any ammo you're walking past as you go through each level. If there's extra cells, whip out the BFG; extra shells, plink guys on the edge of your vision. It takes some presence of mind, but can work wonders.

Ammo boxes are, naturally, a great addition. They always hold at least double the amount of a normal stack, freeing up at least one inventory space. They also make your reloads ultra-fast. This allows certain otherwise unwieldly weapons to be used even by characters that aren't built for them (rocket launcher, double shotgun, etc.) Once you obtain enough to keep your ammo stocked, you should start equipping them, as otherwise they simply go to waste.

There are only two problems with ammo boxes. One is that they hit a point of diminishing returns. Since they can't be added to like regular stacks, eventually they hold less than a normal ammo stack. At this point, you can either use it up, or unload it into normal stacks. The other is that Shottyman does not load from shell boxes. This can be also be used to your advantage, however...


Active min: x2
Passive min: x4

Next to ammo, armor is the most important item in the game. Armor is essentially a secondary health meter you can swap out at will that takes damage for you. It even has its own health source. (Armor shards.) And if it runs out, you keep on playing. When you realize that each armor you have represents its own mini-health bar, why wouldn't you want to have as much as you can?

Since active builds rely more on not getting hit in the first place, you can get away with less armor. But keep at least two extras at a minimum. On the other hand, passive builds are helpless without armor. Keep as many as seems reasonable.

There are two major dangers to your armor supply: barons and arch-viles. Barons deal acid damage, which deals double damage to your armor durability. Hell Knights can take off 20% blue armor per hit, Barons can do even more to your red armor. Archviles attack so quickly that your armor can be reduced shreds before you even realize it's happening. You should carefully manage your armor, taking off any specialty armor and replacing it with something low quality whenever you face these enemies.


Large/small medpacks: x4

Medpacks aren't really there to restore your health. Any healing you need can almost always be obtained from powerups on the level itself. If you get drained to the point where you need immediate healing, it's usually due to sloppy playing. Therefore, medpacks are really just there to give you a second chance when your health has been unexpectedly drained.

Large med-packs restore you to 100% health; Small medpacks restore only 25%. The small variety stop being useful past a certain point. Once enemies get too dangerous, they don't restore health fast enough to save you if you're a tight spot. However, they're still useful, since they can always be used to bring you out of tired condition.

On lower difficulties, small med-packs stop being useful past the Hellgate. On UV or above, it happens around Level 5. I always keep them around anyway, just to fill out my reserved 4 slots. The exception is on ITYTD and N! There they restore 50%, which is significantly more useful.

Phase devices

Phase devices: x2

Phase devices belong to the previously-mentioned category of second chances. However, they function in a different sort of way and thus deserve their own segment of your inventory. It may happen that you find yourself so thoroughly surrounded that enemies dish out damage as quick as you can heal. This is where having a phase device is the difference between winning and losing.

If you're used to playing on HMP or below, phase devices may still appear as novelties to you. UV vets will know exactly why they matter. UV has a tendency to start you in the middle of monster packs which can only be survived via phasing. Hold on to at least two, and you may even wish to swap out one or two medpacks for them, depending on how things are going.

If you realize that you're stuck in a no-win situation, it's best to phase out sooner rather than later. If you wait until your health is low, you may end up being insta-killed anyway when you land. Homing phase devices give you slightly better chances of survival, since if you end up in another tight spot you can take the stairs next turn. Of course, if you need to phase out and you're already near the stairs, it won't help much.

Since homing phase devices always transport you to stairs, it's best to carry one of each device...or else if you get stuck in a fight near the stairs, the HPD might only get you killed and/or cost you your 100% kills victory.

Envirosuit packs and boots

Envirosuit packs serve a pretty limited function. Now that rivers are guaranteed to have bridges, they're not as critically necessary as they once were. Rocket launchers can also work wonders in helping you to avoid hazardous ooze. There are two situations where they are guaranteed to be useful however: grabbing the Supercharge in Hell's Armory, and surviving the Lava Pits. I don't carry more than one, space permitting.

On a related note, there's rarely any need to carry more than one pair of boots. You decide when they take damage, so you should be able to keep them in one piece. I generally upgrade as soon as I can, though I prefer to slap an agility mod on protective boots and a power mod on plasteel boots. Tactical boots used to be a clear winner, but now that they only provide a speed boost of one agility mod, and now that armor shards and bridges are more prevalent, that's not the case.

Mod packs

Yes, mod packs, the monkey wrench in your careful inventory management. These can change the entire course of your game, so you'd be foolish to pass them up. Nonetheless, you can go crazy hoarding them. It's best to simply use them as soon as you can, but if you're saving up for a specific assembly, you'll just have to cut inventory from somewhere else.

Extra bulk packs can be slapped on BFGs to store more ammo; agility can go on armor or boots. I'm sure you'll find your own ways to use any other spare mods.


I'm not really sure what place shockwave packs and their ilk have; haven't used one yet in combat.

The various skulls are very useful in the Mortuary, but are less reliable in normal levels. The only one I could really recommend is the hatred skull for some emergency berserk.

Thermonuclear bombs are strictly necessary only in one situation. Otherwise, often they just take up space. However, they do let you go for a partial win on the final boss...and occasionally (i.e., Unholy Cathedral) they let you take out a pesky level if there is a conviently placed Invul sphere. I usually end up lugging one around. Just remember: any nuclear-powered weapon is a bomb that shoots enemies too.

I'm not sure how useful the Arena Master's Staff is. If you're not planning on cracking the vaults, it may not be worth lugging around. I just never remember to use it in battle and it simply ends up taking up space.


There are few exotics that aren't useful in some way. Many of them can be modded to provide a serious advantage that you wouldn't gain otherwise. For example, properly modded (and traited), the Minigun can do an average 120 damage in a single hit. If you know what to do, most exotics are game changers if you find them, and you should alter your plans accordingly.

On the other hand, uniques can only be modded by technicians, so they are not as flexible.

Other Writings

Rocket Launcher
Red Armor

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