Even when the old northern desert empire still existed, this structure was considered both ancient and unassailable. Tackling a souped-up version of the tower is nothing short of madness. Dungeon veterans, give this one your best shot.
The exterior of Gaan-Talet contains the shops, glyphs, and boosters of a normal dungeon. There are no altars (on the outside), and there is no normal subdungeon, although the Smuggler's Den will appear if you prep it. Ordinary monsters from level 1-7 appear on the outside; there are no level 8+ monsters or bosses on the outside. The inside of the tower begins revealed.
To complete Gaan-Talet, you must enter a series of special subdungeons inside the tower. Once all enemies in each level are defeated, the next becomes available.
The dungeon will host all unlocked basic monsters (as well as some special monsters, see below). Monster difficulty on the courtyard (main map) is 100%.
The towers get progressively more difficult, each having a cumulative +10% difficulty. i.e. first tower is +10%, second is +20%, all the way to +90% in tower 9 of Vicious Gaan-Telet.
If you prepare the Vicious Token, it will overwrite all of these monster stat bonuses with the usual +60% Attack / +100% Health, making the courtyard and the earlier towers significantly more difficult; but later towers not necessarily so. Horatio only gets the attack boost, his health remains unaltered even with the Vicious Token.
The final boss is the Goat-shaped Horatio the Immortal. Despite his form, he does a relatively modest 75 damage; however, he has 5000 HP, Physical and Magical restances of 50%, and Berserks at 50%. He only gets attack bonus from Vicious Token, bringing his damage up to 120, or 180 if berserked.
The stairs to the first tower subdungeon are accessible from the start. However, in order for the stairs of the next tower to be revealed, all five monsters must be defeated in the previous tower.
Each of the nine altars are accessible once the stairs to its respective tower is revealed. Any altars prepared (or granted by the Martyr ability) appear in the courtyard as an extra copy of the given altar. Furthermore, a special copy of the currently worshipped altar spawns close to the tower entrance. So it is possible to have up to three copies of the same altar. Any deities not yet unlocked will not spawn an altar (their tower will still show up, just without the altar).
Unlike the Hard version of the dungeon, the Vicious version has all 9 towers; and each must be cleared to access the tenth tower where Horatio resides.
Each subdungeon is a small level, initially unexplored, containing several tough monsters (one of which is exotic), an altar, and a exotic, useful item. This means that every unlocked altar will eventually be available. To make life even harder, most levels will give you some kind of penalty when you first enter. (A few, including the first, do not.) You can travel freely between the current subdungeon, previous subdungeons, and the exterior.
The first, second, and third subdungeons contain monsters of level 8, 9, and 10, respectively. The 10th level monsters are not bosses, simply scaled-up monsters (for instance, the 10th level Goo Blob has Physical Resistance of only 50%, not 75%). Subdungeons 4-9 also have 10th-level monsters; on each level, the monsters get a progressively larger Health and Attack bonus.
These will occur in a random order when you first enter each subdungeon.
- The subdungeon is completely revealed when you enter, providing no exploration healing.
- All monsters in this subdungeon gain No Experience.
- All monsters in this subdungeon gain Bloodless (Lifesteal doesn't work, and they don't leave a blood pool.)
- All monsters in this subdungeon gain First Strike.
- All monsters in this subdungeon gain Retaliate: Fireball.
- You are afflicted with Poisoned, Mana Burned and one stack each of Weakened and Corrosion.
- You gain three stacks of Cursed.
There are also (up to) three subdungeons that do not give any penalty. So there are a possible 10 penalty events (the 7 penalties and 3 no penalty results), and one is chosen for each tower. Which means that in a lucky case, one of the penalties listed above will not be encountered. The first subdungeon will always have a "no penalty" event.
Exotic Monsters and Items
Again, these will occur in a random order; however, the monsters and items are linked.
- Goblin Miner (Knockback, Mana burn) with 2 Wall Crushers. The Wall Crushers may be used to break edge walls to give access to 1-2 extra tiles, or may be converted for 25 CP each.
- Dancing Blade (1 Death Protection/level, Blink) with the sword "Penance". Penance grants 2 base attack and 1 base mana, but grants a penalty of 1 base attack and mana if you convert it from inventory. Converting right from the ground does not induce the penalty.
- Burn Viper (Blink, Mana burn) with a Cracked Amulet (when consumed, 5 XP).
- Golden Statue (1 damage only, but has No XP, a lot of hit points, Weakening Blow, and Corrodes) with the Long Rant (when consumed, afflicts 3 stacks of Corroded on all enemies on the level).
- Gelatinous Thing (Retaliate: Fireball) with Nom Nom (when consumed, poisons you but acts as a health booster).
- Bridge Troll (50% Physical and Magic Resist, Fast Regen, Berserk at 50%) with a Sensation Stone (convert for 150 CP). The Bridge Troll is one of the more difficult monsters, but it drops a second Sensation Stone, making this a mixed blessing level.
- Monster: Dragon Elite Dragon Elite (50% Magic Resist, Poisonous, Curse Bearer) with a Compression Seal
- Illusion (50% Physical Resist, Weakening Blow, Retaliate: Fireball) with the Ritual Scroll (when consumed, +1 Mana and +5% Physical and Magic Resist, but 3 stacks of Cursed).
- Monster: Immortal Yin Immortal Yin (no XP) with Yang's Sword (small, +3 damage, consume for a level of Death Protection). This is one of the best pairings to find, because Yin is not difficult and the item is small provides a good power boost.
Although Vicious Gaan-Telet is similar to its hard version, it requires a unique strategy. Vicious Gaan-Telet has a number of challanges unique to this map, and a successful strategy will have an answer to all of these:
- There is a shortage of blackspace. An average tower will have maybe 40 black tiles, and require you to defeat five very tough monsters.
- The monsters in later towers can deal very high damage. For example, a tower 9 Warlock will deal 192 damage.
- You will be afflicted several times with Poisoned, Mana Burned, Weakened, Corrosion and Cursed.
- The final boss is very durable - without bypassing its 50% resistances, it takes 10 000 points of damage to kill it.
So all things considered, Vicious Gaan-Telet is an endurance run that requires you to be able to defeat lots of very tough monsters with very limited resrouces and several malicious afflictions. So most successful builds will have high physical resist; sanguine; and high damage.
The recommended races are Human or Orc. These races allow you to boost your damage, which is essential to reducing the number of hits you need to take from monsters. Dwarf can also work for some builds, though are generally more difficult to play. Unfortunately the other races don't have much to offer in this endurance environment.
The easiest class to beat Vicious Gaan-Telet with is the Vampire. Other good picks include the Crusader who can ignore a lot of the malicious afflictions; and the Rogue whose Dodge and First Strike trait make her surprisingly efficient in melee. Monk has high resist cap and starting physical resist, regens efficiently regenerate between runs, and has good synergy with certain items such as Martyr Wraps or Vampiric Blade, but he suffers from the golden statue. Paladin also has a natural physical resistance and start with most useful glyph HALPMEH but should be dedicated a mono pantheon plus Pactmaker. All of those are proven to have enough power to beat VGT with Vicious Token, which is considered as one of the hardest badge to obtain in the game.
The best deities to worship in Vicious Gaan-Telet are:
- Taurog is a surprisingly good initial deity, because his boons can provide both resistances and bonus damage.
- Glowing Guardian offers bonus damage and health through (and is often worth converting through just for that one boon); though he also offers and , a few shots of which can help a lot in dealing with mana burn / poison and giving a little extra help for a level-up.
- Dracul is arguably the single best deity for Vicious Gaan-Telet, offering both Sanguine and resistances. While his quirkiness makes him better to convert into late-game to reap his many benefits, he is the most critical of the deities.
- The Pactmaker offers to round up resistances as needed, though it is more expensive than either Tarog's or Dracul's boons. Only get it when you will not lose much piety on it (resistances are capped).
A successful VGT run can easily use all four of these deities (for example, starting in Taurog for his resistance/damage boosts; then tripping through Glowing Guardian for ; then ending up in Dracul for and ; and taking when needed for extra resists).
- Binlor Ironshield can function as a generous source of piety, and can therefore be used in conjunction with the The Pactmaker to build a high level of resistances. This is the recommended approach for the Rat Monarch, who finds it difficult to keep a lot of resistance-increasing items in their inventory. Or, if you are facing Horatio and you can't erode his resistances, you can convert to Binlor to get Stone Soup and Stone Form. Wallbreakers works wonderful.
Some items to keep an eye out for in Vicious Gaan-Telet:
- Soul Orb is really useful to avoid Mana Burn.
- Viper Ward is only needed if you don't have HALPMEH. But in that case it can be very useful.
- Tower Shield can give much-coveted physical resistance, and can help get close to the resist cap.
- Platemail is a good item to increase durability, though bear in mind that damage reduction happens before resistances are considered.
- Vampiric Blade gives you a layer of Lifesteal without having to sacrafice maximum resistances.
- Martyr Wraps helps immensely with the boss fight.
- Stone Sigil can give a steady piety flow thanks to the large number of monsters available.
- Troll Heart, if purchased early, can give a bit of extra help, and then a bit of extra CP when converted at L10.
- Gloves of Midas can help earn more gold to purchase more conversion fodder.
- Dragon Soul extends the amount of spells the character can cast.
- Anything that increases damage - like the Fine Sword, Hero's Helm or the Badge of Honour - is worth a consideration.
Other than these, items that give a good conversion value can become useful purchases.
- Compression Seal is recommended as inventory space can become very tight.
- The extra Apothecaries preparation is a prudent safeguard against the many afflictions of VGT.
- Quest Items may be worth it for some builds as most of the items that are really good for VGT belong to this group.
- Perseverance Badge gives damage bonus for a small slot item, and is arguably the best blacksmith preparation for VGT.
- Bear Mace takes up more space and its use is more conditional, however the damage bonus it gives is also greater.
- Really Big Sword is a reliable way to pierce Horatio's resistances, however not all builds can afford the drawback of having slow strike.
- Taurog is a good starting deity for most general strategies.
- Glowing Guardian is a good alternative for more glyph-dependent builds, especially those that start with high resists.
- The Earthmother can be worth in some cases because preparing her altar means two separate altars will be present on the map, and both can be desecrated.
- Dragon Shield is the most commonly used preparation thanks to the huge resistance bonus it gives.
- Platemail is a good alternative for those builds who don't mind having slow strike.
- Draining Blade is an interesting choice; although it requires an immediate corrosion clear, it leaves open the possibility of finding a Vampiric Blade, which together give the character two levels of Lifesteal without having to compromise on resistances.
- Extra Attack Boosters is almost always the best preparation. Some specific builds may benefit from one of the other two boosters, though.
- Patches introduces a degree of randomness that is not welcome, however the benefits it gives can be huge, so most runs will risk taking him.
- An alternative can be Black Market, given how money can buy at least more conversion points.
- Builds relying heavily on blackspace may benefit from Smuggler Den instead.
- Burn Salve and Fortitude Tonic are very useful given the amount of afflictions present in VGT.
- Can of Whupaz shortens the boss fight considerably.
- Schadenfreude Potion will almost always be useful, though the basic Health and Mana potions should also not be underestimated for their ability to clear Poison/Mana Burn.
Most glyphs will end up being converted thanks to the shortage of inventory space, and the need for extra damage. There are some glyphs that can be very useful, though, and picking the right glyphs to keep can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
- BURNDAYRAZ is an effective way to round up damage and finish a monster; and it is especially useful against the Dancing Blade. It is recommended to keep it at least until that monster is defeated.
- HALPMEH greatly extends melee potential, and can also cure Poison. One of the best glyphs to keep until converting into Dracul.
- GETINDARE is a really effective way to finish monsters, and is a great way to conserve resources. Excellent glyph.
- BYSSEPS is not very useful during most of the run, but can be very effective in stripping Horatio's resistances. It is often worthwhile to keep it on the floor, and pick it up for the boss fight.
- CYDSTEPP is a bit expensive, but can be very useful to land a killing blow.
- WONAFYT is a bit counterintuitive, but especially on the bigger tower maps it can be a good way to conserve blackspace.
Most other glyphs can be converted on sight. Keep in mind though that different characters may also find some other glyphs useful. Builds relying heavily on Knockback would benefit from keeping WEYTWUT; builds that require lots of blackspace could access a few extra tiles with LEMMISI; etc.
 : a useful online tool to track the floors, monsters and penalties of Vicious Gaan-Telet