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Hellion started playing KoL on October 8, 2004.

Hellion was the leader of the clan "I Have A Life Outside of KoL", or IHALOOKOL, as it is (very infrequently) called, from December 2004 until September 2006. He joined Noblesse Oblige on September 7, 2006.

He is also a regular in /valhalla.

Hellion is the fourth person ever to complete an ascension in one day, having accomplished this feat on 28 May 2006 as a Sauceror on Mysticality day. (He was able to accomplish this feat largely due to the generosity of little lisa, who loaned him 2 hockey sticks of furious angry rage.) He took 334 turns over the course of 5 real-time hours. He did another one on 15 July 2006, taking 331 turns and about 5 hours again to ascend as a Pastamancer. (He then tried to ascend yet again on July 15, but fell short, with only 3 turns left after passing the Stone Mariachis.) He completed a third one-day ascension, on September 9, 2006, this time without the use of hockey sticks.

Hellion also became the first (and only) person ever to complete a one-day teetotaller ascension on November 4, 2006, when he managed to ascend as a Teetotaller Pastamancer in 299 turns.

He became a member of the Dev Team on 20 May 2007.

He's also working on the following guide; feel free to post commentary on the Discussion page.

PLEASE NOTE! Many things in here have been updated for NS13, but there are undoubtedly more things that should be updated, and quite a few new areas and tactics that I haven't covered at all.

Beginner's guide to speedier ascending

Before anything else, a quick note: I will frequently refer to Mr. Store items that are no longer available throughout this entire document. Please be aware that NONE of these items are necessary to successfully speed ascend; they simply make it either less drudgy or a little bit faster. Also, if you haven't ascended a few times already, you WILL have to lay out a fair chunk of meat in order to ascend speedily; a single day's worth of high-quality food and beverage for a speed run may cost you as much as 80,000 meat at the mall (for 4 hi meins and 4 superhuman cocktails). But there are other, cheaper food and drinks that are nearly as good, and much less expensive; so if your budget is limited and you can't make high-quality food and drinks yourself already, poke around some and figure out some alternatives.

So you want to ascend faster? Well, whether you've just ascended for the first time, or have done thirty 14- to 20-day ascensions, this guide should be able to help you out.

First, you need to figure out what the most effective way for you to kill monsters is. A key element in going fast is to avoid getting beat up, because losing the fight wastes a turn (and whatever HP/MP were spent during that turn). The ideal speed ascension will have every single turn producing something of value (a drop, stats, or a required encounter) to move you closer to the Astral Gash again.


There are four main approaches to beating up on your opponents:

When you're fully outfitted (cookbook + pizza cutter + toothpick + 2 pendants), you've got +65 damage. (With a navel ring instead of a second pendant, you have +110 damage.) Add in the bonuses for Jackasses', Intrinsic Spiciness, and Immaculate seasoning and you've got +97 damage. That should be enough, along with the base damage of the spell, to one-hit kill everything up to the yetis with just a single Ravioli Shuriken. For higher-level monsters, a Cannelloni Cannon or Stuffed Mortar Shell may be called for, or you may have to take a two-hit kill.

  • VCrisis: short for "V for Vivala mask Critical-hit stasis", This latest NS13-based strategy involves trying to milk your combat for extra stats by utilizing the "bonus stats when you kill with a crit" feature of the V-mask.

Before you Jump through the Gash

First, pick the strategy that works for you. If you've only got one or two ascensions under your belt, the Out-Stat strategy is probably the way to go. The absolute simplest thing to do is to acquire 3 Mr. Accessories for a quick +45 to all stats. It's amazing how much that will help out in the early part of the game. If you can't get Mr. Accessories, find some things that will boost your stats (items like Sneaky Pete's breath spray, Boris's ring, a Knob Goblin visor, or (if you've ascended a few times already) 3 badass belts; there are tons of options).

Second, plan your meals. You will need to plan out your day well enough to know what food & drink you will be able to consume. Ideally you would be able to reach level 4 solely by adventuring, so that you can consume not-a-pipes or glimmering roc feathers, and then continue on to level 6 without eating or drinking, so that you can consume Superhuman Cocktailcrafting drinks, which will get you enough turns to make it to level 7 to consume hi meins. However, this is not necessarily feasible in the earlier stages of speed ascension. Plus, since the various key lime pies give you important quest items (either outright, or parts to rebuild them), eating these pies can be crucial to reducing your day- and turn-count. You should be sure to buy (or cook) at least enough food and drink to get you through the ronin period. See the Best Foods (adventures) page for good information to assist with your meal planning.

Third, stock up on other important ascension items. See the checklist under Ascension Aids or the Hardcore Checklist for a complete list of things you may need to complete the Lair of The Naughty Sorceress. The eighteen possible tower items, for example, include many things that tend to drop in low-level areas that you may not spend a lot of time in on a given run; building up a stash to pull from now could save you a lot of time later on.

Besides the tower checklist, however, there are several other items that may come in very handy:

Fourth, make sure you have all the Familiars you need. Don't be caught at the Sorceress' Chamber with no Levitating Potato in your terrarium. This is particularly true of hardcore, but it's a good thing to remember regardless.

Finally, you need a plan of attack. Have at least a rough idea of what you hope to accomplish for the day, and a list of what items you expect to pull from Hagnk's. Of course, the RNG may deal you a major setback, or it may whisk you well past your target, but you've got to know where you're going in order to get there.

Jumping through the gash

There are a few things you need to figure out as you head through the Astral gash:

  • What familiar do I take?
    For a beginning ascender, a volleyball-class familiar is the best choice. Ideally, instead of just a blood-faced volleyball, you would be able to take a Cheshire Bat, a Cymbal-Playing Monkey, or a Nervous Tick. A pygmy bugbear shaman is also nice, but requires a lot more effort to keep him stocked with MP. An Ancient Yuletide Troll is also very helpful, with its drops of carols and its HP and MP restoration. The Llama Lama, which is a half-weight volleyball, takes some extra effort to fully exploit, since the bulk of its awesomeness comes from the llama lama gongs that it drops, but with proper management it is quite capable of holding its own with a full-weight volleyball type.
    For a seasoned ascender looking to speed up, the hovering sombrero is generally the better choice. If you are able to use the Shieldbutt strategy, and can boost monster level consistently, the sombrero will work out to give better returns over the course of the run. (This is true even with the advent of NS13's sombrero-formula nerf, which cut its gains almost in half, but the sombrero's advantage is much narrower.)
  • What class should I become?
    To go fastest, the best thing to do is to choose a class that corresponds to the upcoming stat day. For example, if today or tomorrow is a Myst day, choose pastamancer or sauceror. Be sure that you know what skill you intend to keep from the run; aim for skills that will support your chosen strategy.
  • What Zodiac sign should I choose?
    • The Opossum sign had been the sign of choice for speedier ascensions. The benefits of Opossum were two-fold:
      1. Access to the Super-Secret Canadian Mind-Control Device ("the MCD"), for extra stats from all monsters (and bonus drops from the bosses)
      2. Extra adventures from food
    • However, with the advent of the Annoy-o-Tron 5000 and the detuned radio to match the joys of the MCD, a Muscle sign may be the preferred option, for the dead simple completion of the Degrassi Knoll quest and the Untinker, and the extra assistance in completing Cap'm Caronch's Orcish Frat House blueprints sub-quest. The Wallaby sign is generally considered the best of the 3 muscle sign options.
    • If you're ascending into a Muscle class, the Mongoose sign may be desired, for its bonus muscle stat points.
    • Similarly, the bonus stats from Platypus or Wombat signs would be good for Mysticality or Moxie classes.
    • Also, going Packrat or Wombat on a day when the Micromicrobrewery is known to be stocking Especially salty dogs can be a good way to get your run off to a faster start.
  • Should I take a path?
    Choosing Teetotaller for your path used to be a good strategy. (Once you got Stomach of Steel so you could eat that fourth chow mein or hi mein, you would then drop the path and start drinking your booze.) Unfortunately, shortly after NS13 this process was nerfed by the admins; now if you drop path, you lose all benefits of that path (including any acquired Organ of Steel, or any item granting you an Organ of Steel), so don't bother trying that.
    However, there is now the "Oxy-Drop" trick; you choose the Oxy path, spend 1 turn adventuring somewhere (specifically, somewhere that uses "adventure.php"), and then drop Oxy. This sets your first semi-rare adventure counter in the 100-115 range instead of the default non-Oxy range of 160-190. This is both earlier and more predictable, and so is generally considered desirable.

Starting your new life right

Okay, you're now a level-1 character again. What should happen now?

First of all, you might as well get that visit to the Toot Oriole out of the way; it takes 0 turns.

Open the envelope, too. There, that's better.

Great! Now let's really get going. First up: Let's pull a few things from storage. In general, unless you're at the bleeding edge, you'll want to pull your familiar's equipment; a palm-frond toupee, a funky brass fez, a smile-sharpening stone, some tiny maracas, or (if you're rich and/or lucky) some wax lips, a plastic pumpkin bucket, or a Mayflower bouquet. Then, pull whatever else you KNOW you're going to need. The Rock and Roll Legend, Mace of the Tortoise, 5-Alarm Saucepan and facsimile dictionary are all good initial pulls (assuming you have the right types of spells available to cast). An ice sickle, a V for Vivala mask, a naughty fortune teller, a navel ring of navel gazing, or three Mr. Accessories might also be useful. Depending on your strategy, you may wish to pull some other good weapon, or a good hat and pants--the jewel-eyed wizard hat and the Travoltan trousers are certainly nice options. But don't pull something that you're likely to get as a drop, and don't bother to pull something before you can wear it. (For example, pulling penguin shorts right off the bat is not recommended, as you probably won't have 45 base Moxie for quite a while.) Don't pull anything now that you MAY need later (for example, Knob Goblin perfume)--you might get that as a dropped item, so don't waste a valuable pull slot on it. Wait until it's clear that you'd rather pull it than spend more adventures looking for it. Make sure that you have enough pulls to get whatever food, booze, and spleen items you plan on consuming (but you may want to wait until you're the right level to consume them before pulling them, in case you hit a streak of bad luck and have to settle for lower-level food.)

If you chose a Mysticality sign, you should also go and set the MCD immediately; for Muscle signs, you have to wait until you receive the Bitchin' Meatcar Quest to buy and set a detuned radio, and for Moxie signs, you have to wait until you complete the meatcar to set the Annoy-o-Tron 5000.

You might now consider doing whatever things you can do that you don't need buffs for; there's no point wasting MP on buffs if you're going to be spending turns in places where those buffs don't matter.

However, since you're starting out with only 40 turns, you may want to rush up to level 4 before doing anything else (except visiting the council, of course) just to be sure you didn't spend turns that you actually needed to level up.

Finally, with all that out of the way, you should autosell your big meat item, buy a bunch of Magical mystery juices or soda waters, buff up, and start working on a few quests.

Skills, Buffs and You

There are a few skills that you'll want to keep early on, regardless of your strategy, in order to improve your turn counts. Foremost among them is Amphibian Sympathy; a permanent +5 pounds to your familiar is free stats every fight from your volleyball-type familiar. Along those lines, Leash of Linguini and Empathy of the Newt are a close second and third. Finally, Aloysius' Antiphon of Aptitude, while expensive, is 3 extra stat points per fight.

With just those four skills, you should get 5-6 extra stats per fight. The only time you don't need these buffs going is when you are doing something that you know will be largely or solely non-combat, for example when you open your Guild, dip into the Sewer, visit the Shore, or open up The Hidden City or The Oasis.

There are many other buffs you may want to put on, but those will depend on what skills you've saved and what strategy you're using; see the LTSynergy page and the Stasis page for more details about those.

Intelligent Adventuring

Now your goal is to complete all the quests as quickly as possible, while gaining as many stats as possible. One thing to remember is, you MUST open your guild to get the Bitchin' Meatcar Quest. Don't be one of those people saying "I'm level 9, why is the Untinker telling me to come back later when he's less busy?" or wondering why you can't adventure in Degrassi Knoll. And don't be one of those people going to the Untinker with the abridged dictionary, only to discover that you now have to spend more turns finding the screwdriver for him.

You will want to get your Liver of Steel on the first day. That is a primary goal. So, you need to get the mosquito larva, then complete the Typical Tavern, and then make it to level 6, as quickly as possible. Depending on how long the mosquito larva takes and where the rat faucet is, you may still be level 4 when these quests are done, or you may already be level 6. If you're not level 6 yet, choose whether you want to level up at the Bat Hole, in Cobb's Knob, or at Degrassi Knoll. (For the best speed, doing the Bat Hole first is probably the optimal choice; it has all combat adventures, so you don't risk wasting turns getting lousy stats.)

Once you've got your Liver of Steel, the next consideration is, when is the next stat day? There are only 4 choices for this: today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or in 3 days.

NS13 UPDATES NEEDED: alternative leveling places (Spookyraven Manor, the Pirate Ship?)

  • Stat day Today (day 1 of your run): your goal is to make the absolute maximum use of the stat day. Don't worry too much about the other quests, focus on getting the best possible stat gains. After you've got your Liver of Steel, you should work to get to Mt. McLargeHuge and the Icy Peak. Clearing The Cyrpt is actually a good way to spend much of level 7, and adventuring at the Cobb's Knob Harem, while somewhat sub-optimal in the immediate term, is both necessary for a quest and likely to open up the Cobb's Knob Laboratory Menageries, which are a much better place to adventure between levels 5 and 8. So you might start at the Spooky Forest, then the Tavern, then the bathole, then the Friars' Gate; then, with Liver safely in hand (so to speak), move to the Harem, the Menagerie, the Cyrpt, and finally on to the Tr4pz0r. Pull the required ores, clear the goatlet, and then spend the rest of the day on the Icy Peak. (You may, however, wish to smack down the bonerdagon, in order to open his chest on your stat day.) Tomorrow you'll go back and finish off the Goblin King, the Boss Bat, the meat car, Baron Rof'lm'fao, and as much else as you can.
  • Stat day tomorrow (day 2 of your run): your goal is still to make the absolute maximum use of the stat day, but that's not today. So your goal for today is to get as much drudge-work done as possible, while banking the maximum number of turns to spend tomorrow. So, once you've got your Liver of Steel, take stock of how many turns you have left, and how many turns you expect to get from rollover. If you have turns to spare today, try to do as many necessary things that do not give good stat gains as possible, so that you don't waste stat-day turns on them. For example, build the meatcar and get your 5 shore trips done, defeat The Knob Goblin King, and acquire the Swashbuckling Getup. If you expect to get only the base 40 adventures from rollover, end your day with as close to (but not more than) 160 turns as possible. Then, hopefully, you will spend day 2 at the Cyrpt, Mt. McLargeHuge, the Valley, the Airship, and the Castle.
  • Stat day the day after tomorrow (day 3 of your run): not surprisingly, your goal is STILL to make the most of your stat day, but you've got plenty of time before it comes up. You don't even need to be thinking about banking turns today; you can do that tomorrow. Today you should focus on getting as many quests done as possible. Tomorrow you will continue to complete quests, and roll over the maximum number of turns into your stat day; then, hopefully, you will spend day 3 entirely at the the Castle, the Macguffin Quest, the Frat/Hippy war, and hopefully the Tower; or have an easy finish on day 4.
  • If you ascend on the day after Moxie Day or the day after the Mysticality day that's after a Muscle day, the next stat day is in 3 days. If that's the case, then either you want to crank through a 3-day ascension with no stat days, or you want to take 4 days to ascend. In either case, the plan is basically the same: do everything in approximately the order presented. There's no need to rearrange anything, since there's no stat day to drive your behavior. If you take 4 days, the fourth day should be spent entirely on the Frat/Hippy War and the tower, and then you can farm for meat or items with the rest of your turns before you ascend again.

Pull Management

It is important to consider carefully what you will pull from Hagnk's on a given day. With only 20 items per day, wasting a pull or two may end up preventing you from reaching an important milestone when you can't get another item you need. On the other hand, there are some things that you should plan to always pull, every run, because trying to get them to drop either too turn-consuming (e.g. the Star items), or too low-return (e.g. spending 10 turns and getting no stats for a 50% chance at 1 key).

Of course, if you're expecting your run to take 4 days or more, pull management is not so bad; in a 4-day run, you get 80 pulls, and you should be out of ronin and get all your stuff before you're done with the run. For a 3-day run, though, pull management is very important.

What you should always pull from Hagnk's:

General things you may want to pull:

Things to pull for the Out-Stat strategy:

Things to pull for LTSynergy:

Things that may be worth pulling, if they don't drop for you (or you can't make them):

Finally, some things you should NOT pull:

  • 3 sonar-in-a-biscuits for the bat hole; their drop rate is high enough to be farmed reliably. (You may have to pull one for the Tower, though.)

A Compendium of small tips

(needs work) Each of these ideas, when considered individually, is a pretty small thing. Taken altogether, hopefully they will contribute significantly to your overall speed.

  • Early on in your ascending career, your pulls may include a variety of items to increase the number of turns you get per day, like a meat maid/Clockwork maid or the Time Trappings outfit. For longer runs, this will maximize the odds of you completing a run in a given number of days. As you improve, your focus should shift to things that will help you complete the run in fewer turns.
  • A Clockwork maid is actually a useful pull in NS13 since it not only gives you at least 16 turns, but can also be disassembled to access the meat engine for your bitchin' meatcar and then reassembled once your access to the Beach has been granted. (The meat maid can also be used in this manner.)
  • Your off-stats do not need to be 70 until you reach the top of the tower. (Not likely to be an issue with NS13, although it's still true.)
  • Switch to a hovering sombrero for your trip up the Sorceress' Tower. Even a 1-pound Sombrero will give you as many stats as a 40-pound volleyball on your way up.
  • If you are taking damage because you can't one-hit kill the enemies in an area, there are a couple of places where a specific order is preferred: namely, the Friars' Gate and the Cyrpt. For the gate, you should start in the lower left (The Dark Heart of the Woods), hoping you get infernal insoles to gain hot resistance and combat initiative (and also because the Fallen Archfiend is the weakest of the three "tough" monsters in the areas). For the Cyrpt, you should start in the top right (The Defiled Niche), hoping you get a lihc face for spooky resistance. Make sure you note what you'll have to unequip in order to use these items before aiming for them, as you may end up less powerful after the exchange. And don't forget that skills like Elemental Saucesphere reduce the damage in each of these areas as well.
  • If you have a single TPS and need to conserve pulls, note that for 14 drunkenness, 1 TPS drink plus 2 of the DB drinks that you got for completing the Tavern Quest yields almost the same adventures as 2 TPS drinks and 2 ice-cold beers. This should save you 2 pulls (TPS-base drink and fruit) and 2 turns mixing.
  • If you need 2 points of drunkenness to fill up, you should drink some of the Ice-cold Sir Schlitz, ice-cold Willers, or Imp Ales that you find rather than pulling any other 1-drunkenness drinks such as a shot of grapefruit schnapps.
  • If you have the Summon Snowcone skill, you should generally use a blue snowcone at either The Valley Beyond the Orc Chasm or at the Goatlet. A red snowcone is useful in ronin to build up your meat supply at the Icy Peak or the Haunted Gallery, especially if you are stuck using soda waters to power your buffs; or it can be very useful for doing the Nuns sidequest in the Frat/Hippy War. A purple snowcone, an orange snowcone, or a black snowcone would best be used anywhere that gives 100% combat adventures, such as the Cobb's Knob Menagerie levels, the Goatlet, or the Valley.
  • Save one green snowcone, if you get it, for the Sorceress' Tower. Remember, you want to get maximum use out of it, i.e. both as +5 pounds for your sombrero on the way up, and as +5 pounds for your familiars vs. the Sorceress' familiars. Make sure that you have the means to get your off-stats up to 70 without running out of Green Tongue, and remember to count the extra turn to fight your Shadow (the familiar battles don't take turns).
  • A Mr. Accessory Jr. or a Jekyllin hide belt may save you several pulls by getting more things to drop.
  • Don't forget to change your outfit back to your normal fighting gear after you defeat the Goblin King, acquire the abridged dictionary, and complete the F'c'le.
  • Don't forget to equip a familiar after the reassembled blackbird flies away.
  • Don't heal more than necessary. If you're getting tagged by the Yetis for just more than half your HP, find a way to reduce their damage that little extra bit. A can of hair spray may be all you need to bring their damage down to just less than half your HP, meaning that you can cast Cannelloni Cocoon every 2 turns instead of every turn.
  • DO heal as often as necessary! If you're really riding the edge, you don't want to risk losing a fight (and therefore a turn) because you were too cheap to spend 20 MP or a couple hundred meat for the HP buffer against some RNG hate.
  • It may be worthwhile to pull an item or two to complete the Knob Goblin Elite Guard Uniform. The combination of Knob Goblin pet-buffing spray and Knob Goblin learning pills will add another 3.25 stat points per adventure.
  • If the l33t tr4pz0r asks for chrome ore, instead of pulling 3 chrome ores, pull 2 ores and a heavy metal thunderrr guitarrr. Untinker the guitarrr into a chrome ore and an acoustic guitarrr, thus saving yourself a pull.
  • If you have a tiny plastic sword and need to mix drinks, stocking up on fruit baskets can also save you a pull or two; each basket will contain 2-3 TPS fruits. Pull a single basket, and then pull the appropriate base drinks for the fruit the basket gives you.
  • One of the Crimbo 2007 items (set of jacks, handmade hobby horse, and ball-in-a-cup) may be worth a pull to jumpstart your run (use it to become level 2 immediately) and provide extra mainstat gains while equipped.