JtRH: Clog Monsters

Since I’m still stuck on the 7F:1E challenge, let’s take a brief look at what’s happened on the floors I’ve glossed over. A couple of new monsters were introduced — well, not new to me, and not new to people playing Journey to Rooted Hold as DLC for Gunthro and the Epic Blunder, which also had them, but they were new once.

Floor 5 is the first appearance of the puffy marshmallow-like Wubbas, an entirely new concept for a monster in this game: they don’t attack you, but neither can they be attacked. Your sword just passes right through them without harming them. As such, they’re not counted as monsters for the purpose of conquering a room. They’re dangerous all the same — it’s just a danger of being surrounded and immobilized rather than killed. Wubbas tend to come in quantity, and they chase you like anything else. Their one weakness is that they’re a little stupider than most monsters, and get stuck on obstacles easily. The standard movement algorithm for most monster types is:
1. If the player avatar is due north, south, east, or west you, just try to move in that direction.
2. Otherwise, try to move diagonally towards the player.
3. If there’s an obstacle in the way of moving diagonally, try to move around it north or south, whichever brings you closer to the player.
4. If you can’t do that either, try east-west.
(Some monsters, such as Goblins and Wraithwings, embellish this with special behavior when they get close to you, but use the standard algorithm from a distance.)
Wubbas omit steps 3 and 4. If they can’t just move straight towards you horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, they give up. Just as they try to block your path, so are they especially vulnerable to having their path blocked. In some rooms, though, this serves to split the Wubbas up, so they can keep coming at you from multiple directions as you move hither and thither.

Floor 6 introduces Rock Golems, which, I only realize on preparing to write this, are essentially a variation on the same theme as Wubbas: things that clog your path and don’t go away. The mechanics are different, though. Rock Golems can be killed (and can kill you if you’re careless), but once you kill them, they turn into impassable piles of rock. So where Wubbas are all about outpacing the herd, Rock Golems are best handled by luring them one by one to an open area and murdering them where their corpses won’t cut off any passageways. (Unless you want to cut off a passageway to keep the Slayer away or something.) Curiously, they have the same diminished movement algorithm as the Wubbas, the better to get them stuck on each other’s remains, for good and for ill — after you’ve led a few of them to your chosen killing grounds, it can become difficult to get more down there.

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