Istar 4 Dummies

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Istar 4 Dummies

Post by Solanidae »


I've been wanting to do something like this for a while but ragequit the attempt last time when I lost all my progress writing & had to start over. I am as of writing this a level 52 Everlasting Maiar Istar. I like to think I know a decent amount about how to play them & hopefully I can teach whomever is reading this a thing or two. It goes without saying that there will likely be a few spoilers present, so if you like surprises this is not the place for you. Everything in this guide is written in context of being in the best position to kill Morgoth at level 50.

  • Relatively easy to play in later levels comparable to other classes
  • Probably the best class in the game at generating money $$$
  • Can share wraithform, haste, magic mapping, etc in exchange for a small investment in meta
  • Primary nuke, Fireflash, becomes holy fire at some point in your late 20s, which deals massive damage to the majority of monsters including mobs who were previously immune/resistant to fire.
  • Can completely change the layout of a level with stone prison, dig, and glyph of warding
  • Extremely fragile early on. You're almost guaranteed to die a few times while you learn how to play & what monsters to look out for.
  • Can do very little against the small handful of GOOD enemies in the game, bolt spells like manathrust and disenchantment bolt will be reflected by most dangerous GOOD monsters, which leaves you with nothing but hellfire to fight them with
  • Mana pool is very low in the early game before you're able to start getting some gear & maximize your intelligence

I picked Maiar (Corrupted) because there is a level cap of 50 until you kill Morgoth, so I figure I want to be the strongest level 50 possible when I fight Morgoth. Corrupted Maiar get a huge boost to necromancy and traumaturgy, but those skills are relatively mediocre at high level and only serve to save money on potions, which Istars have no trouble affording. The quest is relatively simple, just kill one candlebearer and avoid killing a darkling before you hit level 20. Maiar Darkvision is also very high which is the only way you can zap monsters in the dark before you get Vision (25).

Gnome is also a very strong choice for people who don't want a 400% exp penalty or don't want to deal with the initiation quest. What's more is Gnomes get Free Action intrinsically which is the absolute most important immunity you can have early on. They're a great option for somebody who isn't as concerned about min/maxing & I'd strongly recommend any players who don't have any chars above level 20 make a gnome.

Skill Build:

Maia: ... m1007-1-0p

Gnome: ... m1007-1-10

Mages are very skill point starved in just 50 levels, so I found it really necessary to cut corners in some places where I felt they were most equipped to do without. I don't put any points in magic because by the mid 30s with stat potions and magi gear you will have more than enough mana. Conveyance I skip entirely as the spells it offers are either unnecessary or inferior to scrolls which neither cost mana nor have a fail chance. I put a few points in necro/traum to save money & make the early levels more manageable, though I'd advise against maxing it out as you're going to be spamming mana potions constantly either way, and 10-20 points will make it useful against any large stacks of weak monsters. Divination I stop at 35.2 because at 24.0 spellpower your "vision" spell will be level 25 which makes it reveal and light the entire level.

In general keep Fire/Mana/Temporal maxed always. Divination can stop at 8 until you get spellpower to 24.0, by which point you should stop investing in spellpower temporarily. Udun should be maxed in later levels so you have an option however mediocre vs good aligned uniques such as Nodens & the angels. 11.2 Meta for project spells is optional if you plan on grouping with other players. Necromancy & Traumaturgy can be skipped for somebody looking to min/max. Some players also like putting 4 points in water for vapor and ent potion, the former of which is very strong in the Orc Caves.

My Keybinds:

This is by no means the most optimal way to set up all your keybinds, though it is what I am comfortable using & might give a few ideas to players who are running out of space on their keyboards trying to fit all their spells.

F1 Manathrust
F2 Fireflash
F3 Hellfire
F4 Quaff Mana Potion
F5 Sense Hidden
F6 Detect Monsters
F7 Reveal Ways
F8 Vision
F10 *Identify*
F11 Remove Curses
F12 Identify
` Wraithform
Tab Stop Wraithform
! Stone Prison
@ Fireflash centered on self (to burn cursed items)
# Dig
Z Magelock
Numpad / Elemental Shield
Numpad * Disruption Shield
Numpad - Essence of Speed
Numpad + Teleport Scroll

For any rods/potions that I don't have bound to a specific key I just use inscriptions "@z1", "@q1" etc


In general level 1-35 is going to suck and you're going to die a lot getting the hang of things. If you have a friend who is willing to powerlevel you with a fruit bat that's the easiest way to do it, but I managed to grind up solo through stairscumming. In general when stairscumming you never want to move off the stairs for any reason, and be ready to go back up at even the slightest hint of danger. You'll probably die a bunch getting the hang of it but you can easily be level 30 in an hour or two if done correctly. You could also discount this section and just go diving if you're not cozy with stairscumming, though in my experience the moment anything gets to you you're dead.

1-3 Training Tower
Kill random stuff, level up mana & divination first as they're the most useful things to have level 1-10 in the Orc Caves. Spend starting money on a lantern & a word of recall, cure critical wound potions are nice too if there are any sales.

1-15 Orc Caves -50
Maiar need to go slightly deeper around level 12-15 to kill a candlebearer, Most mobs here are melee and nonthreatening, once you get enough points in fire to use fireflash you can most likely handle the lower levels. Watch out for shimmering "O"gres, they run very fast and can easily kill you in a single round.

15-30 Mordor -50,
Free action is mandatory to go here, ghouls can paralyze you from a distance and you won't be able to do anything but watch your character die, potions will not save you, and you can be paralyzed while standing on the stairs You will probably die if you move off the stairs for any reason, but "T"roll pits are amazing experience at lower levels. I'd advise staying away from hounds too or anything that breathes/casts spells, These new hounds hit way harder than the wimpy ones in the Orc Caves. Once you're starting to get into your late 20s you should be about ready to actually start diving Mordor. At some point your identify will upgrade to affect the items on the ground below you, I found I would make a few hundred thousand gold every time I left Mordor which was more than enough to afford potions and scrolls, as well as enough to start gearing myself up at player shops.

Particularly dangerous mobs:

Any "Q" - Quylthulgs, can't be ESPed or detected, they blink around the level randomly and summon swarms of monsters onto you or summon you to them. You can blast them if you're quick but the safest bet is to just evacuate the level immediately if there is a greater or master quylthulg lurking.

p - Grand Swordsmasters, not to be confused with any other warriors. If you're like me then you are probably skipping out on ESP so you can wear a magi crown for that extra resist, which means you have absolutely no way to see these guys coming. They move extremely quick, can kill you in a few rounds, may force you to drop your staff, and can spawn in both Lothlorien & Khazad Dum (though they seem far more common in the latter than in the former, I've only ever seen one in Loth).

h - Dark Elf Warlocks, not particularly dangerous later on, but a single mana bolt from one of these guys might just obliterate you if you're under level 30, they spawn in packs too. If you're feeling brave they do have a tendency to drop stat potions, definitely something to look out for when you are diving.

Unmakers - Unmakers are shapechanging breeders that burrow through walls & breathe chaos damage. Need I say more? It's not uncommon once you start diving into angband for one of these guys to be asleep in a vault, then as you are clearing the level you notice half the dungeon is gone.

Any high level A - Just avoid sky/solar/star blades. You probably can't kill them without a lot of teleporting away & close calls.


A stack of Cure Critical Wound potions to heal you or remove confusion/blindness. By the time you're actually diving into mordor & not stairscumming you also want a stack of manapotions & teleport scrolls both of which can be bought from the black market usually.

Long Rods of Recall & Zirconium Rods of Disarming are extremely important as well, make sure to identify every rod you come across.

In terms of resistances, Free Action>Blindness/Chaos(confusion)>Base>Sound/Nexus/Nether>Anything else

I found Disenchantment, light, & dark damage to be fairly uncommon or harmless when I was exposed to them. Depending on what dungeons you choose to dive in that may differ.

If you have the extra money lying around, you might be able to find a climbing set in a player shop for around 100,000 gold. It's extremely useful in Mordor or the Orc Caves as it allows you to mountainwalk, and it's not like you were going to use a pick anyway. Worth noting however that some dungeons (Angband included) do not include mountains.

Pay a lot of attention to the weight of any items you find. Istar are the wimpiest when it comes to the weight of their equipment. Going over said limit will penalize your mana pool. It is however worth noting that tools, weapons, & jewelry do not factor into equipment weight, you mostly only have to worry when you find a really nice pair of gloves or boots that also happen to weigh 8 lbs

Most Everlasting player shops are located around Gondolin, I'm pretty sure unworldly players can shop around Bree. There is also the occasional odd shop around Lothlorien, though for the most it and the other towns are completely empty.

Pressing "C" then "h" twice will give you a very condensed list of all your resistances, immunities & susceptibilities as well as what is giving you them. Kind of makes potions of self knowledge obsolete.

I find it helpful to use inscriptions "{" on your codexes to keep track of what spells are in them. You can also look inside with "b" but I find it easiest to keep track of what spells I lose should I lose one of my codexes for any reason.


I like istars, it's become really hard for me to play other classes because I've become so accustomed to moving at +60 speed and being able to see & modify every aspect of a level to my heart's content. I encourage anybody who disagrees with me or has anything they'd like to add to post in the comments, as it can only be beneficial to less experienced players.
Last edited by Solanidae on Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:54 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: Istar 4 Dummies

Post by PowerWyrm »

"In general keep Fire/Magic/Temporal maxed always"

Here, read "Mana".

A bit of advice: ALWAYS carry at least 20-25 teleportation scrolls at all time. There are monsters that can dispel or prevent magic (unbelievers, ...), you want to get away as fast as possible.

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Re: Istar 4 Dummies

Post by Solanidae »

PowerWyrm wrote:"In general keep Fire/Magic/Temporal maxed always"

Here, read "Mana".
Doh! Fixed.

PowerWyrm wrote:A bit of advice: ALWAYS carry at least 20-25 teleportation scrolls at all time. There are monsters that can dispel or prevent magic (unbelievers, ...), you want to get away as fast as possible.
It's generally good to have an overabundance of any consumeable items you might need, I like to have about 40-50 mana potions & at least one insanity potion everytime I go diving just in case I run into a vault or pit I want to clear out. My Inventory

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Re: Istar 4 Dummies

Post by lunitin »

Another tip, if you scribe your spells into multiple Codex/Spellbook/Grimore in the same order, they will be able to stack. With this, at least you can carry a couple to avoid a fragged book ruining your run.

a) 2 Codices of Fireflash/Reveal Ways/Vision {+,5} {!*U=}

Posts: 27
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Re: Istar 4 Dummies

Post by Solanidae »

Skill build is a bit outdated given the recent Istar spell changes. ATM I have 41.6 divination for a radius 2 Identify with 50 spell-power. 40 minimum for vision II.

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