An ally is a loyal creature that will fight for you and generally make your survival easier. There are several ways to acquire an ally, and all require the player's consent. The most common way is to find one that has been imprisoned, kill or otherwise neutralize its captors, and free it. Another common technique is to zap a wounded enemy with a wand of domination. Additionally, there are magical portals and a few other, even less obvious, ways to gain an ally.
You can have as many allies as you would like, there is no limit. Allies will follow you around, attack hostile creatures, and attempt to flee from combat at low health. You can move through an ally safely. You cannot physically attack it, you will merely switch places with it. A charge from a wand of empowerment increases an ally's health, defense, accuracy, and damage. It also allows the ally to learn one new trait/talent.
Although having an ally, or even better, multiple allies, is almost always beneficial, it bears mentioning that ally intelligence is somewhat less than ideal. They are not the sharpest daggers in the dungeon. If fact, at times you might find yourself pondering their mental health. Though they will never intentionally harm you, they may at times take actions that may jeopardize your well-being. Furthermore, keeping them alive is pretty much a full-time job. You have been warned.
Allies are special. Keep them alive long enough and you'll form a bond with them. You'll want to give them names, but more importantly, you'll form a literal permanent telepathic bond. Creepy, but useful. This imparts to you the knowledge of exactly where your allies are, and also the ability to see the area immediately surrounding them. There is also a less obvious bond, an invisible tether or leash, that keeps your allies from straying too far under normal circumstances. Introduced in 1.7.3, this feature has both benefits and drawbacks.
Allies do not suffer from the ever-reducing visibility that plagues the player as they descend. Allies which can throw lightning or firebolts will engage enemies at distance without dealing the extra damage that may have resulted from a sneak attack. For this reason, spell-casting allies make a stealth build difficult, as they may spot and engage enemies before you even know they exist.
Allies can also see through doors and tall foliage. If you notice that your ally suddenly breaks formation and heads off on a tangent toward a closed door, you may want to follow (if you ever want to see him again). Combined with their fearless aggression, this trait may alert you to a dangerous enemy which you otherwise wouldn't be aware of or, if you choose not to follow, they might just wander off and die.
If an ally is negated, it will forget everything it has learned as well as everything that would have been negated normally (the negatable skills the ally possessed when you acquired it). It will be able to learn a number of new talents equal to the number of times it was empowered.
The way that unaware monsters behave with regard to allies is different from how they behave in regard to the player:
- Monsters which are hunting know about you and all of your allies; a monster cannot be aware of only some of your party.
- Wandering or sleeping monsters will not notice allies unless they are attacked by them; only the player's location affects the chance of a monster becoming alert.
- When allies attack wandering enemies, they do not deal triple damage, just like the player does.
- When allies attack sleeping enemies, they do deal triple damage. A hard-hitting ally, like an ogre for example, is excellent for dispatching sleeping enemies.
Prior to Brogue 1.7.3, the wand of empowerment did not exist. Instead, allies accrued exploration experience points (XPXP) which permitted the allies to grow stronger in combat and learn abilities from fallen enemies.
Learnable traits are:
- Invisible (Phantom)
- Flies (Bloat, Pit Bloat, Vampire Bat, Will-o-the-wisp, Explosive Bloat, Phantom, Pixie, Fury, Phoenix)
- Immune to Fire (Will-o-the-wisp, Salamander, Dragon, Flamedancer, Ifrit)
- Reflection (Golem)
Learnable spells are:
- Cast heal (Dar Priestess, Unicorn)
- Cast haste (Ogre Shaman, Dar Priestess)
- Cast protection (Goblin Mystic, Unicorn)
- Cast blink (Dar Blademaster, Imp, Vampire)
- Cast negation (Dar Priestess, Pixie)
- Cast spark (Ogre Shaman, Dar Priestess, Pixie)
- Cast firebolt (Dar Battlemage, Lich, Flamedancer)
- Cast slow (Dar Battlemage, Pixie)
- Cast discord (Dar Battlemage, Pixie, Vampire, Ifrit)
Learnable abilities are:
Allies can also learn one of the above talents if it has been added to a monster by a mutation. Learning requires a fresh corpse. A corpse is left when:
- A non-inanimate/immobile/ally monster dies
- There is no corpse existing on the level (20 turn lifetime)
- It had at least one learnable behavior/ability
- It was not standing on T_PATHING_BLOCKER when it died (wall, green crystal, chasm, trap, lava, deep water, fire, brimstone)
- An ally is on the level, is 10 or fewer steps away, and has something it can learn from the corpse.
The game picks a random ally in range that could learn something, then that ally has 20 turns during which it will move towards the corpse. If it reaches it, it will start studying or devouring it, and after another 20 turns (if it is not interrupted), it will gain one random ability/behavior from the corpse. Being attacked by another creature or pushed off by the player will cancel a studying attempt, but your ally can start again within the original 20 turn countdown. No other ally can use that corpse, and it can't be preserved in any way for later, nor can you determine or influence what ability it will give in advance.
Invisibility is a risky ability for your allies to have, if you have more than one ally. Your allies will not see their invisible comrades, and may accidentally hit the invisible ally with a ranged attack. It would be unfortunate if your ally cast negation or discord on its comrade. This is especially risky for allies that prefer melee combat.
Reflection is not a good skill to learn if another ally casts buffs, such as haste or protection. The caster will make many attempts to bypass the reflection, wasting the caster's time (when the caster could be buffing you or other allies).
Ally tactics from mirth23 Edit
Control where your allies go Edit
- Never let your allies get too far ahead of you. Keep an eye on where they are headed, and if it’s not the direction you are going, consider a course change.
- Never let your allies get too far behind you. Backtrack or wait for them to catch up if you’ve raced on ahead.
- Never let your allies split up, and if they have to (e.g., poison gas trap), wait for them to reconvene before you press on.
- Never let your allies learn flight, because it gives them too much mobility. Fire resistance can also be a problem when you get to lava fields.
- Keep an eye on enemy/turret locations, because your allies might try to rush them.
- Use doorways to control the advancement of your allies; consider pulling enemies to the door rather than allowing allies out into an open room with enemies all over the place.
- Avoid crossing dungeon features that your allies will not travel through. If you pass through deep water, your allies will start taking the long way around.
Manage your allies’ health Edit
- If you unchain an ally with low health, backtrack to a bloodwort if you don’t have another means of healing them.
- Allies have relatively low maximum health until they have been empowered. Tank for them at least until they have a bond with you, and preferably until they are ready to learn an ability.
- Pay attention to the game messages. It's easy to ignore the fact that your allies are taking damage, especially if it's from enemies that you can't see.
- Get regen, transference, healing, and protection into the mix of your army's abilities. That way, they can take care of each other and require less maintenance.
Manage your allies’ abilities Edit
- Aim to have a balanced combination of allies with complementary strengths.
- Force your allies to eat only what you want them to so that they fill a sensible role in the group. This is especially important because ally behavior changes with their abilities. A sapping/vampiric/juggernaut tentacle horror can decide to hang out in the back of the party because it's just learned protection and just wants to buff its friends.
- It is sometimes a better idea to leave tempting allies chained up if they don't compliment your party well (e.g., salamanders are powerful but also set fire to foliage and gas, one more ogre late in the game might just block your casters from buffing your more powerful melee, etc.).
Avoid/eradicate the top ally killers Edit
- confusion: Allies will kill each other and walk off cliffs and into lava. As a result, searching for traps is important!
- negation: All your hard ability maintenance work is for naught in one fell ranged hit.
- discord: All your allies will gang up on and kill their discorded friend.
Ally traits by Mercury (for 1.7.3) Edit
There are five kinds of allies.
- Fighters with strong regeneration: Ifrit, Troll, Tentacle Horror. They should fight; never teach support traits unless you’ve got way too many of them. Prefered traits: vampirism, strength sap, blink.
- Fighters with normal regeneration: Ogre (regenerates slowly), Dar Blademaster, Naga. There are two ways to use them effectively. 1) Turn them into more potent fighters with transference/strength sap/staff of healing/healer allies. 2) Turn them to mages (healing/protection/negation), as they are very beefy and won’t die easily.
- Support mages: Goblin Mystic, Dar Priestess. Let them be, don’t overload mages with spells. Because support mages aren’t particularly beefy, teach them to blink.
- Mooks: Monkey, Goblin, Goblin Conjurer. Turn to support mages, unless you have got more interesting ways to spend empowerment charges.
- Golem. Reflective and almost unupgradeable.