Ironman - by the Forge regulars
The original rules have not been updated in some time, and 'practical' questions have arose and been heavily discussed. Tournaments may (and should) continue to enforce stricter rules, but the "Forge revision" here lays out the rules of Ironman, what are 'acceptable' practices, and what are not. They are designed for real people, with real lives, but do not give up any of the challenge. (On the other end of the spectrum is 4 sessions for 4 areas, no mule/carryover of any kind.)
Also you can find here the semi-official rules for Continuing to NM and Hell difficulties.
You can see the D2 ironman rules here.
You will find here rules which are not universally agreed on or 'liked' - these are marked as "footnote" points - they are considered completely valid rules for non-tournament play, but should be "footnoted" in any victory post so readers can cheer or boo according to taste :)
scoring rules are:
Forge clarification: Town may be used as long as no visits to townsfolk made (e.g., store excess gear)
Footnote point: At the very start of a normal IM game, basic items may be SOLD if desired.
Footnote point: Leo is sometimes skipped and returned to later - it is commonly done in solo IM, but uncommon in team play..
ALL monsters must be killed, all barrels, coffins, and chests opened.
Footnote point: Some play clear all of 16 except Diablo's room. If Diablo is killed early, to continue on to higher difficulties, quadrants not cleared must be done in a reset game.
Forge clarification: If a dead player lags out he may rejoin in town and when his death site is cleared, may have a res scroll burned on him. If "item desync" occurs such that a living player cannot pick up items (and hence can't find a needed res!), then and only then should the dead player restart in town - a res must still be used, after death site is completely clear.
Footnote point: All dead players get a 'free res' when Diablo is killed, for the purpose of moving on to a higher difficulty. They may, for purpose of 'dot', go down to 16 and die in a non-interfering way. Should they die again for any reason after this free res, they must be res'd by a scroll or may NOT go to the continuation game.
Forge clarification: For Real life purposes, and for slow players, this may take far too long. A game may be stopped for continuation at the END of any dungeon level. To continue, if not at a section end, a high level "clearing character is used to clear a path from the section entrance to the END of that last dungeon level cleared. The clearing character throws a portal, one or more Ironman characters come down and throw an admin portal. Should they die to respawn on this already cleared level, they may freely restart. (In normal game play, respawn is typically part of life, to be dealt with.) The clearing character may not throw a portal on the 'new' lvl they're going to, just the old one cleared.
The *overriding* principle in continued Ironman games is to have the continued game as close to the original as possible, as if they were actually continuing it after a long AFK break.
Practical tip: Don't bother with total junk - if one player can do all the muling, it's good. For easy restore, have a mule filled with the 'best' unid'd items you have - only very lucky games with multiple glimmering shrines could hope to identify more than this.
Forge clarification: To reduce need for mules, drop and keep and accurate count of rebuyable materials: potions, identify scrolls, res scrolls, and town portals. If this is done, often no mules, or just one mule, can be used. In a practical game, if many short bows are found, buying one at start of continuation game is easier than trying to mule. This should not be done for better or singular items, where durability is a concern (would be full dur if rebought).
Purifying Spring - "town pool" of blue potions maintained in a separate area from normal drops is kept close to portal, or just over the bridge to Adria.
Blood Fountain - "town pool" of red potions, or walk to Pepin for heal (honor system, obviously)
Glimmering Shrine - easily recreated with use of Cain for all on one character's body
Religious Shrine - easily recreated with use of Griswold for all on one character's body
Eldritch Shrine - easily used by exchanging same size red/blue for yellow at Pepin, or if you keep a running count of pots instead of muling, adjust r/b/y count.
Enchanted Shrine - can't really be recreated - use it or lose it
Footnote point: Clearly the recreated "Pools" are the biggest timesaver for real-life, saving a walk to a spring and many clicks. It is the most open to abuse by the unsavory player - but gosh, why the heck are you playing Ironman if you're a cheating loser?? Honest players should not feel bad about using and recreating a shrine they've found. Do use the spring as needed, but if that gets to me more than a dozen or so trips per dlvl, just footnote to not keep the reader wondering if your whole game hinged on PS use.
Under no circumstances should a potion bought town be carried down in the name of pool recreation!
and HELL Ironman
- Free 'res' of any dead players when Diablo dies, as long as someone is alive. (If Diablo is the last creature alive and both he and you die, say in a Fire Wall, you have a victory but do not get to continue.)
- Full ID of all items (via Cain) between games. Once the material is ID'd, each character may carryover all he can fit on his body and inventory (potions come separately via count). Here's how it works: with new victors, start an admin game: bring in mules, and ID all items. *NO* items may be bought or sold.
Then decide what as a party to carryover and discard the rest. The gold, and either the potions or a count of potions, may be muled over to the continuation game. (If the thought of 'using Cain' is appalling, then think of it in an RPG sense as the killing of Diablo and retrieval of the Soulstone giving you full and complete knowledge of your items! You'll need all the help you get in a NM game :)
What if a character is TOO LOW LEVEL to enter the new game?
They MAY use up any resources (staves, bows, scrolls...) which they do not plan to use in the continuation (i.e., in paragraph above were to be discarded). They may use items newly found in the training game, just not carry them over to the real continuation game. Party items may be shared, but the low level characters must go it alone. They may enter, clear, skip any dungeon sections they wish. Any death in a training game would require use of a res found and carried over from first game if there is only one character in the game, he then dies in training, and does NOT get to enter the continuation. As soon as the character reaches the level required for the next game, he must stop.
Example: the 18th mage in question was cautious and went through parts of the cats, and a decent part of the caves, in order to reach 20th lvl. His warrior partner was lvl 24, too high to join him, but he did supply a ring of the tiger to help out. (If the mage died, the ring would be lost.) The mage used up two lightning and fire staves he was not planning to bring to the continuation game. He could not read the Book of Holy Bolt found in the training game. The idea is to "catch" up in levels without giving an unfair advantage.
- The transition between normal and hell realms is one you can imagine that communication with town is briefly established, until the time they set foot in the new dungeon. So you may buy any and all items available in town, for sale to the IM players when they enter the new difficulty game.
Since you can't leave game or enter dungeon, there is no 'resetting' of shop offers in any way.
ALL Wirt, Griswold, Adria, Pepin services are all fine.
- The town however, is cash poor, and will NOT buy any items you would like to sell (i.e. no selling items to buy that AFP for sale). You are limited to the cash you bring to the game from the earlier one(s).
If gold was not collected, use a 'typical value' of 64K (total for party) for purchases. (Tip: Books are great, resistance items, maybe a good staff...) The money may be used for repairing.
- Using a mule to carry over all items is an alternative for those who prefer self-made characters, instead of shopping. Another alternative is free repair of items by a grateful Griswold. Both of these are minor modifications to rules which should get a 'footnote'. They are not imbalancing. One further option which was discussed with no consensus is free carryover of all staves - on the premise that
those who conserve well should be rewarded. If you feel strongly, do so, and make a footnote.
- The only restriction is on purchase of resurrection scrolls and potions. Note there is a maximum number of items which can exist in town, which adds a practical limit to number of items purchased. Keep in mind that danger and death in NM and Hell are swift - having 50 potions in reserve is NO guarantee that aparty will survive. Purchase of potions: limited to two full belts (8 per belt). Res scroll: 1 per player.
So the number of potions you start with is # left at end of last game + 16 per player.
- Other points: Clearly any shrines, pools in first game are gone... a new game seed or random game must be used...
- "Strict" IM might impose further limitations on themselves, as they see fit. This brings them greater glory but does not diminish in any way a victory which follows "standard" rules. For example they may turn down the right to free res, free ID, and one round of buying in town. (Decide this before seeing what Griswold has to offer! :)
IMUP - "Ultra Pure" Ironman - marathon game, no external programs, play in one long session, same game start to finish, tough luck if lag out. No contact with townsfolk whatsoever. No carryover since only one game anyone. Coffee addiction may be helpful here.
IMP - "Pure" Ironman - clock freeze game, allows game resumption at later time. No recreation problems since you use the actual shrines and pools you found. 'Clearing' character is ok if needed. Initial contact with townsfolk for buying is allowed. This is close to most 'tournament' rules.
IMUIOLI - "Use It or Lose It" Ironman - as above, but you do the game in four 'full section clear' games, continuing on a later date, and any shrines/pool/excess items do not carryover.
IM, or IMRF - "Relaxed fit" - Basically, the rules described here - a fully 'legit' Ironman game with the described concessions to real life and pool, shrine, item carryover to try to simulate a single long game.
(Charis adds:I prefer calling this 'Standard' or 'Baseline', and prefer these rules for my own games.)
LOCK IN: Strict Ironman Interpretation By Nystul - Added March/16/2005
1) 3 brand new characters, one of each class, meet in town of fresh game. They may buy and sell items as long as nobody has entered the dungeon.
2) When one characters enters a dungeon level, the others must follow promptly.
3) Upon entering a level, the characters are locked in. They may not exit the level by going upwards. They may only go downwards once the level is cleared of all enemies and barrels.
4) A character may not go to town via a town portal, exit the game, or "Restart in Town". If a character dies, they must be resurrected by the party.
5) If a player is forced out of the game by disconnection, computer problems, etc., that player must return directly to the party (either by walking or taking a TP) without any interaction in town or previously cleared dungeon levels. If the player's character was dead when the computer problem occurred, one of the other party members must cast ressurection before the character can return to the active level.
6) If the party reaches dungeon level 16, Diablo may not be killed until all other enemies are dead.
7) When a party has access to down stairs (the active level is clear and all members are alive), they may opt to suspend the game and continue later. In this case, the characters must leave the game directly. No mules are allowed, and nothing may be taken from town or previous levels. When the team meets on a later date, they go directly to the next level they would have played. If that level does not have a town entrance, a non-party character must enter the game, find the stairs to that level, and set a portal for the party.
8) The game ends when A) the entire party is dead, B) the party cannot progress down because members are dead and no form of resurrection exists on the active level, or C) Diablo is dead. If level 16 is cleared of all monsters, the game is won (even if some or all party members are dead).
Variations for Ironman
Immortal heroes, variants, living-off-the-land, One-Life-Only (OLO) games are just examples. Of course, anyone is free to play however they want, but here's a partial list of variations that have been used or proposed which can no longer be considered "Standard Ironman."
- Self-res. Popular for solo play, if a character dies with a res scroll available, even if last survivor, he may restart in town and burn the scroll. It's not that isn't challenging, or less frustrating for a novice, or a solo player, it's just that is SO MUCH easier than Ironman.
- Restart in town. Some have played with a fixed number of free town restarts. Again, it's fun, and it's challenging, but it's just not 'Ironman'. It will help a new player learn the game faster and experience life beyond the church, but at the same time it is likely to delay life-saving skills that make experts.
- Free ID. Free Pepin heals. Less frustrating, but MUCH easier to achieve a victory.
- Beginning with old characters. This is the basis of living-off-the-land, avoiding townsfolk services and being self reliant. A great change of pace... but it's LoL, not IM. For 'regular' characters, you might also look up the Prisoner of War quest of the Amazon Variant - drop all gear in town, enter church naked, and escape the dungeon by killing Lazarus. On NM or Hell, a MAJOR challenge :)
- Use of town at end of each dungeon section. A nice 'goal' to aim for (clearing a section, earning a town visit). and a fun diversion for those not wanting the full smack-your-head-against-a-wall IM sensation.
Victories achieved to-date included FriarFuk(S)-Gumby(R)-Kshira(W) (only known tournament win, and one other victory leading to NM-12), KingOfPain(S)-Charis(W) (death on NM-11), KingOfPain(W) (including first NM victory!, and Hell 7), Roede and Taoni (death on Hell- 13 )
Still want to read more? There are many, many other reports, discussions, and strategies on the backpages of the Forge Forum, where most of the victory reports were posted and these rules were hammered out.
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