Miner Legacy: Normal

We're getting closer to the conclusion of the Class Legacy series for this game, and next on the agenda is the Miner class. This is widely regarded as the worst class in the game, a role suited to hunting for treasure and not much more. The in-game class description characterizes the Miner this way: "A hero for hoarders. Very weak, but has a huge bonus to gold." And I'll be doing nothing but playing Miners here. Sounds... challenging? Let's look at the specific stat gains and penalties. Mostly penalties for this class.

Gold Gain: +30%
Strength: 75%
Health: 50%
Mana: 50%

The Miner's innate ability is an extra 30% return on gold generation. Every gold coin picked up at the start of the game will be worth 13 gold instead of the default 10 gold. If this sounds underwhelming, well, it should. The best way to bring back more gold in this game is to survive longer through the dungeon. When you live longer, you kill more monsters and open more treasure chests. Although the Miner might get more gold from each individual coin, he or she is likely to collect fewer coins in total from dying sooner. The paltry increase to passive gold generation doesn't come remotely close to making up for the massive stat penalties associated with this class. Even worse, Rogue Legacy has purchasable "Gold Gain" upgrades which increase your passive gold generation in exactly the same fashion as the Miner's default ability. Pick up three of them, and you've duplicated the entire value of the class while skipping its drawbacks. After getting all five Gold Gain upgrades, the comparison is not between 100% versus 130% gold generation, it's between 150% versus 180% gold generation. That's an increase of 20 percent, not the starting 30 percent. And it gets worse in the New Game Plus difficulty levels, each of which adds a further 50% to passive gold generation. In NG++ mode, the Miner returns 280% gold against the 250% that a non-Miner would have, only 12 percent higher. Long story short, the gold bonus is weak to start and only gets weaker as the game goes on.

The Miner class upgrades to the Spelunker in Rogue Legacy, and this class upgrade adds one semi-useful ability. Spelunkers can see all treasures chests on the map at all times, even if your character hasn't entered a room yet. This allows you to scout out the dungeon to an extent, chasing after fairy chests if desired and such. In particular, it's always possible to see where the boss door is located in each area because of the double gold chests always present outside the boss rooms. This can be useful for saving a character who desperately needs to find a chicken before getting hit again. That said, I mostly full clear every room of the dungeon anyway with my characters, which detracts from the ability to see chests on the minimap. I'd just be clearing these rooms regardless! So while this aspect of the Spelunker upgrade is nice and all, it doesn't add that much value.

Did I mention that Miners also get a headlamp? It does nothing in combat and it lights up the darkness in the basement. That will certainly show those monsters who's boss!

Now for the drawbacks. The Miner has terrible, crippling penalties to many of the most important stats in the game. Physical attack value gets reduced to 75%, although that's a bit deceptive because 75% is essentially the default value for attack. (The Barbarian, Assassin, Spellsword, and Lich also all share this value. Only the Paladin and Shinobi have higher physical attack.) The real millstones lie in the Miner's atrocious health and mana values, only 50% of the Paladin's default stat in each category. These are bad. Very, very bad. To put it in context, that's the same paltry health total as the Archmage, and the same terrible mana pool of the Barbarian, only combined together into the worst of both classes. The Miner is just like a Barbarian - only the Barbarian has TRIPLE the health - and just like an Archmage: an Archmage that has the same 50% health but one third the mana and no ability to swap spells and no innate MP siphon. Sounds awesome! Sign me up for this class. The one saving grace is no penalty to Intelligence, so spells do full damage for the Miner, and the class gets a nice selection of available spells. I expect that I'll have to lean heavily on spellcasting to make it past some of the later bosses.

This one will be a rough challenge, no getting around that fact. There's a reason why I saved this class until the end. I'll have to use all of the experience that I've picked up over the past year of playing this game to make it to a successful conclusion. Let's get started.

0) Level 0: 2340g

The Miner class is not one of the starting four jobs, and so it was up to Sir Lee again to pile up enough gold to unlock the class. I was able to get some good use out of the dagger spell on this run, at one point using it to hit a plonky (tier three star-shaped monster) in the middle of a "defeat all monsters" fairy chest room. That produced a Balance Rune from the chest, something that would be useful later. Heading through the dungeon without benefit of a dash or a double jump, or any vampirism whatsoever, it always makes for a strange change of pace compared to the endgame NG++ stuff. Most of the damage that Sir Lee took came from traps along the way, not monsters. Try doing those platforming challenge rooms with no double jump, it's brutal! I did make it through the full castle, and was making decent progress in the forest when Sir Lee ran into a sollock, the tier three flying fire mage. I accidentally hit one of those balls of fire, and they one-shotted my character despite having 70 life at the time. Whoa! 70 / 100 health and dead in an instant. That was pretty brutal. Still, it was my own fault there, I shouldn't have gotten hit.

Fortunately, the 2300 gold was enough to unlock my way over to the Miner class on the upgrade tree. It took seven total unlocks to reach the class: Smithy, Health Up, Upgrade Knight, Equip Up, Enchatress, Upgrade Mage, and finally Unlock Miner. Now I'd finally be able to play as the class with the lowest stats in the game, yay! With the remaining funds, I made certain to pick up the Sprint Rune (dash) and Vault Rune (double jump) that the Enchantress always has in her inventory at the game's start. This left me with 655 gold, and some quick calculations suggested that I could buy that Balance Rune and still have enough funds left over for one Mana Up purchase as well. The Balance Rune would give me back 1 health and 1 mana per monster kill, which might even be useful given the tiny lifebar at this stage of the game. I finished with exactly 10 gold remaining, nothing wasted.

Unlock: Smithy, Health Up, Upgrade Knight, Equip Up, Enchantress, Upgrade Mage, Unlock Miner, Mana Up, Sprint Rune, Vault Rune, Balance Rune

1) Level 8 (Health 1, Equip 1, Mana 1, Miscellaneous 5): 3315g

Ambivelous and Baldness traits. This Miner would have to try his quest with backwards-tossing axes, very nice. My first Miner had a mere 55 health and 55 mana, and that was with one upgrade already in each category. The base values would have been 50 HP and 50 MP. Not a lot of leeway for error. I had an early good fight with an infernite (tier three flying cloud monster) who would have easily killed this poor fellow and his paltry 36 health if I had taken a hit. Teleporter chickens restored a mere 5 HP each, almost not worth bothering. The Balance rune that I'd purchased earlier was a true lifesaver - every monster kill restored 2% of maximum health! This sustain allowed me to continue making progress through the dungeon long after I would have been finished otherwise. For example, I dropped as low as 5 HP at one point in time halfway through the castle, but a couple of chicken drops and a whole lot of monster kills eventually had my Miner all the way back to 45 / 55 life. Somewhat to my own surprise, I did manage to get the whole castle cleared, and made good progress into the forest as well. Eventually a pair of wolves, one on each side of me, managed to sandwich me between the two of them. Their hits did 45 damage, which was 80% of my entire lifebar, and that brought this run to a rapid conclusion. I used most of the monetary haul from this run to upgrade the Miner into the Spelunker, revealing all of the treasure chests on the minimap. (And unlock the totally awesome headlamp, woohoo!) The rest went into the first Gold Gain upgrade, and a single health and mana level. I had exactly 5 gold left at the end, a perfect spending spree.

Unlock: Health Up, Mana Up, Gold Gain Up, Upgrade Miner

2) Level 12 (Health 2, Equip 1, Mana 2, Gold Gain 1, Miscellaneous 6): 2562g

Baldness and the chakram spell. This Miner was all the way up to the beastly total of 60 health and 60 mana. Better news was access to the chakram, my favorite spell in the game and a powerful tool in its own right. The ability to see all of the chests on the minimap wasn't all that useful for me, since I tend to full clear each area of the dungeon anyway. The one truly helpful aspect is the fact that you can see the location of the boss room in each area, as there are always two gold treasure chests right next to one another outside the boss doors. I could see this being useful in situations where I had to find the chicken outside the boss room ASAP. Minor benefit, but could help someday. As for this run itself, I fought a McRib in the castle early on. I almost managed to do this fight without taking a hit, only to run into the skeleton at the tail end of the engagement. That cost me 42 points of health, and my sad Miner only had 60 total. As I said before, little room for error. Managed to clear out nearly all of the castle, at which time I found the Botis miniboss. I guessed that I could kill Botis without him hitting me, since I was pretty sure that he would do more damage than the 53 health I had at the time. I guessed wrong: Botis smacked me with one of his wind projectiles, and that was the immediate end of this Miner. This was a bit of a disappointing character, and I certainly could have made more progress here. The upgrades went into the first Potion Up point, the cheap and effective Squire Sword + Knight Helm combo, and then some leftover stats with whatever was left over. 32 gold remaining at the end, another nice allocation of funds.

Unlock: Health Up, Magic Damage Up, Potion Up, Upgrade Knave, Architect, Squire Sword, Knight Helm

3) Level 17 (Health 3, Magic Damage 1, Equip 1, Mana 2, Gold Gain 1, Potion 1, Miscellaneous 8): 12,530g

No traits and the chakram spell again. The addition of the Knight Helm and another health upgrade had this Miner all the way up to 80 HP. He was practically a walking tank! Only four more health upgrades needed to get back to the same point as the Level 0 Sir Lee in the starting demo. The good news was another Miner with the chakram at hand, a spell that would be highly useful throughout the run. Perhaps buoyed with confidence from all those recent upgrades, this Miner had little difficulty making his way through the castle. In fact, I cleared about three quarters of the castle before taking even a single point of damage (sadly wasting a few chickens in the process). Stupid fire mage eventually hit me for 25 damage, which wasn't a huge problem. The forest was where the bulk of this run took place, and some of the most interesting fights. I ran into another sollock (tier three fire mage), and claimed revenge for Sir Lee by killing the thing flawlessly. I also found Botis in the forest, and of course that was another challenge that I couldn't walk away from. I made sure that this Miner had a full lifebar before starting the fight, which turned out to be a good thing. I played the Botis pattern extremely well, dodging his charges over and over, but the darned guy took a ridiculous number of hits to down. At only 24 damage per sword swing, it wasn't a fast process. Botis hit me at the very end of the battle, and he did 76 damage, leaving my Miner with a mere 4 health remaining! Fortunately a chakram throw finished him off at almost the same time. Whew! Good thing I'd made sure to have full life for that one. Afterwards, I grabbed all of the saved up teleporter chickens, and did my best to stay alive for as long as humanly possible. I had some more great fights in the forest, lifestealing with the minimal 1 health per kill against a bloobasaurus rex, and later doing a crazy dodging sequence against four flying mages in a small enclosed area. Both of those fights somehow left my Miner unscratched, how I don't know. Eventually the forest was fully cleared as well, and it was on into the tower where any two hits would spell my demise. I managed to get through the first half dozen rooms without taking any damage, only to screw up horribly against a painting, take two hits in rapid succession, and die. That was some terrible play there, but I couldn't complain about the run as a whole. This Miner made it much further than I ever expected to get.

The Miner's passive gold benefit did play a role here. Normally, a run that clears that castle and forest will bring in about 6k to 8k gold. I had noticeably more gold with this Miner, and the extra 30% bonus was helping out behind the scenes. I'd happily trade the gold bonus for some non-terrible stats, of course! The money from this particular run went into two Gold Gain upgrades, leaving two more to go. I could have taken a Potion upgrade as well, but opted to use some of the armor that I'd found instead. This meant purchasing the Silver Chestplate and Silver Limbs from the Blacksmith, as well as five equipment upgrades to put them on. I'd hoped to add some more health as well, but unfortunately that cleaned me out of funds. The extra armor for damage reduction would have to stand in for health. (First four character runs linked on Livestream here.)

Unlock: Gold Gain Up x2, Equip Up x5, Silver Chestplate, Silver Limbs

4) Level 24 (Health 3, Magic Damage 1, Equip 6, Mana 2, Gold Gain 3, Potion 1, Miscellaneous 8): 10,976g

No traits and the chakram spell yet again. This was another character who tore her way through the castle without breaking a sweat. Even the minimal upgrades that I had so far were enough to get through the starting area, it's just not that hard in Normal difficulty. One of the early highlights of the run was finding a Vampire Rune in a fairy chest, my first so far for these Miners. Unfortunately it was in the sword rune slot, and taking that Vampire rune would mean giving up the air dash, something I wasn't prepared to do. It would have to lie dormant for the moment. The forest area had one of the smallest layouts I've ever seen, only a handful of rooms connected together. I cleared that out easily as well, and headed into the tower. There was a tough fight right in the entrance room of the tower, an eyeball to spew out red goo along with two flying clouds and a flying skull head. They hit me once, I retreated back to the teleporters to restore health; they hit me again in the process of clearing them out. That dropped my Miner down to 20 health, and set off a wild dash to find as many treasure chests as possible before dying. I used the Miner's map scouting ability to find the boss door in the tower (with a mere 10 HP!), and one of the two chests outside had the Ranger Sword inside. Major upgrade there, going from the Squire Sword to the Ranger Sword would increase damage by about fifty percent. I died shortly thereafter while trying to clear a fairy chest challenge, could have gotten it done with better play but took an unnecessary hit and fell. With the resulting gold, I purchased the fourth Gold Gain upgrade, and had just enough left over to pick up the Ranger Sword and enough equipment upgrades to wield it. No more health and survivability, but the next Miner would have greater passive gold gain and significantly more physical damage.

Unlock: Gold Gain Up, Equip Up x3, Ranger Sword

5) Level 28 (Health 3, Magic Damage 1, Equip 9, Mana 2, Gold Gain 4, Potion 1, Miscellaneous 8): 12,379g

Gigantism and Coprolalia. This Miner had the enormous Gigantism sprite graphic, which made dodging enemy projectiles significantly harder. The Miner doesn't have any innate abilities to avoid attacks, and I definitely noticed myself taking more damage with this character. The castle was not nearly as routine as it had been with the previous Miner, and I was relying on the tiny sustain from that single Balance Rune for health restoration. I will say that having an extra large sword was nice when dealing with the wolves in the forest, easier to hit them and push them back before taking damage. The true highlight of the run came midway through the forest, where I came across the dagger-tossing minigame. I've done the dagger minigame successfully on many previous occasions, but this time I went 8 for 8, hitting every target perfectly without a single miss. That's something I had never done before, and it was pretty slick indeed. Sadly the reward for winning was the Squire Cape, a weak piece of equipment that I had no intention of using. What a shame. More battles lay ahead, including a nice one against a sollock (tier three fire mage) in a "defeat all monsters" room in the forest. That produced another Balance Rune, something I'd have to consider after this run. It might be worth purchasing. Anyway, I dropped as low as 4 HP at one point in the forest. Eating all the saved chickens only took my Miner up to 22 health, but fortunately I managed to avoid taking more damage and extended the run considerably. Add in a fountain and the chicken from the forest boss door, and I was back near full health when entering the tower. That turned out not to matter, as a random bouncing spiked ball took me out in the very first room of the tower. Whoops.

Nearly all of this gold (9880 of it) went into finishing off the final Gold Gain upgrade. Maxed after only five characters, that was excellent stuff. I'd be getting 18 gold for each coin now, thanks to the Miner's innate gold passive along with this maxed upgrade. Given the lack of usable Vampire runes thus far, I went ahead and purchased that second Balance Rune. At least now I'd be getting 2 health and 2 mana back per monster kill. There was enough gold left over for minimal health, mana, and attack upgrades. I had all of 9 gold pieces left at the end, that was 1 / 1375th of my starting total. Nothing wasted.

Unlock: Gold Gain Up (maxed), Health Up, Mana Up x2, Attack Up, Balance Rune

6) Level 33 (Health 4, Attack 1, Magic Damage 1, Equip 9, Mana 4, Gold Gain 5, Potion 1, Miscellaneous 8): 19,188g

Nostalgic and EDS traits. The grainy washed-out Nostalgic filter on the screen had my Livestream viewers straining to see what was going on. Painful on the eyes sometimes. At least it was nice not being so huge anymore, and the doubled sustain from the second Balance rune helped out markedly in erasing mistakes that I made over time. This made the castle easier than ever, and my Miner was able to clear it out with few issues. The castle was worth about 5k gold too, more than a non-Miner could ever hope to get here in Normal difficulty. I found Botis in the forest, defeated him without taking any damage, and found a Mana upgrade in the resulting chest. Very worthwhile, nice. The rest of the forest was mostly uneventful, and there were more treasure chests than usual inside. I had 15k gold in hand before even entering the tower. This Miner made further progress into the tower than any of her predecessors, finding the tower boss door along the way and clearing out a dozen rooms. I was sitting at full health and even had a fountain saved up for a health refill when I needed it. And then it all came crashing down, as I was hit twice in a small room with two ball and chain monsters, and that was that. I can't overstress the fragility of these Miners. This had been a fantastic run, and it still ended in a matter of seconds when I was hit twice in rapid succession. 88 max health left almost no margin for error. Everything looked great so long as I could avoid damage, but one or two minor errors would mean the end of a promising run. What a shame, this lady Miner could have achieved even more than she did. With the 19k gold, I was able to purchase three Potion upgrades, then stack up some "real" stats with the tidbits left over, including a much-desired triplet of health upgrades.

Unlock: Potion Up x3, Magic Damage Up x2, Health Up x3, Mana Up x3

7) Level 44 (Health 7, Attack 1, Magic Damage 3, Equip 9, Mana 7, Gold Gain 5, Potion 4, Miscellaneous 8): 9198g

Dementia trait and the scythe spell. This Miner was the first one to top 100 health, if barely at 103 HP. I felt almost like a Barbarian with that kind of beefiness! The big downside to this character was the replacement of the chakram with the scythe, a major downgrade in the spell slot. It was very noticeable during this run, as there were a couple of places where the chakram would have decimated the enemies (particularly in one fairy chest room that had gun boxes firing away at a distance) and I took hits that I could have avoided otherwise. I decided to try a riskier strategy with this Miner, heading immediately up to the tower and alternating clearing the tower with clearing parts of the castle, using the easier areas to restore health from monster kills. This can lead to greater overall progress, albeit at the risk of getting wiped out immediately with easy parts of the dungeon still left to clear. I was forced out of the tower initially by infernites (tier three flying cloud enemies), who did 53 damage when they hit me. That was half of the total lifebar, so I couldn't absord too many blows like that. The plan at this point was to use the castle to restore health. That was the PLAN, at least. I took two hits from the shooting gun boxes in rapid succession, and they dropped me down to one hit point. 1 / 103 HP! So much for the castle being easy. I used the Miner's minimap scouting to find the castle boss door, ate that chicken, and slowly rebuilt my healthbar. I actually fought off three sollocks in here without taking a hit, they probably would have killed me if any of their fireballs had landed. Eventually I was back to 89 / 103 HP, and it was time to return to the tower. Well, the next room in the tower had Botis inside, and although I did manage to kill him, the big guy also hit me and dished out 83 damage. Back down to a mere 8 health again. Worst of all, the Botis fight dropped the useless Blood Bracers, argh. All that work for nothing. Back to the castle and then the forest to restore life once more. This did work out, except that when I returned to the tower a third time, I was hit almost immediately by a wolf (for 48 damage), and then in dodging the wolf I jumped into a fake painting, and that was the end. Argh. Should have realized that the painting would come to life. This poor Miner seemed to be star-crossed in the tower, every time I went in there something bad happened.

The reality was that I needed more health or armor. Some kind of extra survivability to make it through the tower. It was asking too much of me as a player to keep running the tower in a state where any two hits would kill my character. I was hoping to work on that, but I only had enough gold to finish off the final Potion upgrade, and then take a single Magic Damage point after that. It would have to wait for the next character to get more health. (On the plus side, finishing all the Gold Gain and Potion upgrades with only seven characters was an excellent poisition to be in, and doing it with freaking MINERS was far better than I'd ever expected. Some good runs up to this point.)

Unlock: Potion Up (maxed), Magic Damage Up

8) Level 46 (Health 7, Attack 1, Magic Damage 4, Equip 9, Mana 7, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Miscellaneous 8): 12,528g

Alektorophobia and OCD traits, with the flame barrier for a spell. The Alektorophobia trait causes any random chickens to pop up as zombie chickens, and they appeared in large numbers in the early portions of the castle. I found five of them in the first three rooms, all of them sadly wasted. There was a fight against the duo skeleton miniboss early in the castle, where my Miner took a single hit for 39 damage. Not too bad. The drop was the useless Blood Helm though, wasted. Once again I tried to alternate working the tower with the castle to recover health, and this was somewhat successful. There was a room in the tower with lots of vertical pits, one of my least favorite room layouts, and that sent me back to the castle twice on low health for a refill. Still working with zero Vampire runes at this point as well, which wasn't helping overall sustain on long runs. I did full clear the castle in between dips into the tower, and much of the forest as well. Gold from this run would have been higher if I hadn't picked up Hedgehog's Curse from a secret shrine, causing me to lose gold with every point of damage taken. This was a very promising character run, and I thought it stood a good chance of being the first one to clear the entire tower. Unfortunately, I died when two gun boxes hit me in rapid succession, one after the other, leaving my Miner no opportunity to go back and heal from the saved up recovery items. It was a real shame. Hedgehog's Curse also cost me thousands of gold, probably close to 5k over the course of the run. I really detest that one.

I used the gold to unlock the two best pieces of equipment at the Blacksmith, the Guardian Helm and the Ranger Chestplate. This mandated four equipment upgrades, and there was enough money left over for some health and attack levels as well. The paltry 103 max health of these Miners was their biggest roadblock to further success. I needed more health (or more effective health from armor damage reduction) if I were going to make it further.

Unlock: Equip Up x4, Health Up x3, Attack Up x3, Mana Up, Guardian Helm, Ranger Chestplate

9) Level 57 (Health 10, Attack 4, Magic Damage 4, Equip 13, Mana 8, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Miscellaneous 8): 7578g

Ectomorph, your character gets knocked back a huge distance when taking damage. This character was all the way up to 115 max HP; better, I guess. A secret shrine on this run produced Charon's Obol, which wouldn't do a whole lot but at least wasn't a negative like Hedgehog's Curse. Another attempt to alternate between the tower and the castle had mixed results. While this Miner had enough health to survive two hits in the tower without dying, I continued to be stymied in my attempts to make more ground up there. I was still taking too many hits, I guess not playing well enough in that area. In any case, this run came to a premature conclusion when I fought Botis in the tower. Two hits would mean certain death, but I've done the Botis fight innumerable times without taking damage. Not this time; he hit my Miner twice, and that was the end of his life. Whoops. The resulting gold went to general stat increases, nothing special.

Unlock: Health Up x3, Attack Up x2, Magic Damage Up, Mana Up

10) Level 64 (Health 13, Attack 6, Magic Damage 5, Equip 13, Mana 9, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Miscellaneous 8): 16,009g

Tunnel Vision and the flame ring... at least to start. I found a spell altar with the chakram almost immediately, and happily made that swap. The chakram has all sorts of uses throughout the dungeon, and I would make use of it many times with this character. Lots of these Miners rolling the chakram as their default spell or finding it along the way, very good stuff. This run was making excellent progress through the tower, and the increase to 130 max HP definitely made a difference there. My Miner could take two hits now without dying, as long as they weren't against the highest-damaging monsters at least. That's not to say that the Miner wasn't still frail though. At one point, I'd gone through about five or six rooms without taking any damage, then two of the flying clouds hit me back to back for 47 damage apiece. Instantly my character was down to 36 health, and a single hit away from death. There wasn't much room for error. I was able to extract myself from that mess and go farm up more life in the castle and the forest. I had about 75% of the tower finished when I needed to head back to the forest for another refill trip. However, instead of grabbing one of the numerous saved up chickens at the teleporters for safety's sake, I tried to work my way through the forest on very low health... only to die in the most humiliating way possible, falling to an easily avoidable fire trap in a room devoid of monsters. Ummm. That was not supposed to happen. (I checked the footage, the fire trap did 36 damage and my Miner had 34 life. Good grief!) This was really embarassing, not helped by having the whole thing broadcast to a live audience over the Internet. Sigh. I'm far from perfect at this game.

This time the money went to unlocking various utility upgrades. I unlocked my way over to the Mana Cost Down and Invuln Time Up areas, and grabbed some points in each of them. Both are pricey but useful additions to any character class, and I was doing a lot of spell casting with my Miners due to their tiny health bars. There was only enough gold remaining for an Attack upgrade after that.

Unlock: Mana Cost Down x3, Invul Time Up, Attack Up, Unlock Spellthief, Upgrade Spellthief

11) Level 71 (Health 13, Attack 7, Magic Damage 5, Equip 13, Mana 9, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Mana Cost Down 3, Miscellaneous 11): 3474g

Stereo Blindness and the conflux spell. This was a character run where absolutely everything went wrong that could go wrong. That started with the random draw of the conflux spell, the worst possible option from the ones that the Miner can roll. Low damage, high mana cost, almost impossible to aim. Then I found a secret shrine in the second room of the castle, only to produce Hedgehog's Curse again. This would cost me thousands of gold even across the short duration of this run. Again and again I found my character in positions where a different spell would have helped enormously, and the conflux was all but useless. That forced me into dangerous melee range, causing me to take more damage. While recovering health in the castle, I found myself in a room with fire shooting down from the ceiling, and I was unable to dodge it properly. Two hits and I was dead after a pitiful haul of 3.5k gold. There's not much to say about this one, the run fell apart early due to a combination of poor play on my part, a terrible spell in the conflux, and the painful gold loss from Hedgehog's Curse. Argh! (Go here to check out the humiliation.)

Unlock: Invuln Time Up

12) Level 72 (Health 13, Attack 7, Magic Damage 5, Equip 13, Mana 9, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Mana Cost Down 3, Miscellaneous 12): 29,646g

Eid. Memory and the scythe for a spell selection. My hope for this Miner was to get a full clear of the tower for the first time. This run started off well in the tower, although I was forced to retreat after about six rooms to restore health. There was no reason to risk getting killed in a single hit up there. 31 HP left no room for error. I slowly worked my lifebar back up to full at 2 health per monster kill. Halfway through the castle was a fairy chest "defeat all monsters" challenge, and that produced another Vampire rune upon completion. Excellent! That would be a certain purchase after this run was over. I'd find quite a few other runes before the end of this run, although none others as significant as that first one. I spent a lot of time in the tower with this Miner, slowly working over the rooms one by one. The tower boss room was also near the tower entrance, which meant a lot of lengthy backtracking to reach the upper portions of the tower any time that I had to retreat for extra health. I'd have to clear out almost the whole of the forest in the process, but finally it was all done. Full clear of the castle, forest, and tower for the first time. That was a major achievement for this character. Now it was time to enter the basement, where I could finally make use of the Miner's headlamp to light up the darkness! Well - not really. The headlamp costs mana to use in this version of Rogue Legacy (it was changed in the most recent, easier patch) and I needed that MP to cast spells. So it was the same normal blackness once more, denying the Miner even that trivial advantage the class would otherwise have. Oh well. I had a very nice basement run here, even finding the axe in a spell shrine at one point. That allowed me to backtrack into the forest and unlock another fairy chest that had been unreachable earlier with the scythe. Eventually I died in literally the final room of the basement, for 99% of a full dungeon clear. Just short! I'd used up all of my health recovery items, and I simply ran out of HP. This had been the most successful Miner to date.

I poured the bulk of the funds from this venture into the final two Mana Cost Down upgrades, which together ate up almost 20k gold. All of my future spells would have the full 25% cost discount though, which would be very useful. I also upgraded equipment from the Silver Limbs to the Sky Limbs, and made use of that Vampire Rune that my Miner had found in the fairy chest. (I also needed to buy a Vault Rune, the air dash rune, in order to preserve that ability.) There was still enough cash left over to get some health upgrades and other modest stats. Magic damage on spells had gone up notably with the extra levels and the upgrade to the Sky Limbs, I think damage increased from 55 to 71 per casting.

Unlock: Mana Cost Down x2 (maxed), Health Up x3, Magic Damage Up x2, Attack Up, Mana Up, Equip Up, Sky Limbs, Vampire Rune, Vault Rune

13) Level 82 (Health 16, Attack 8, Magic Damage 7, Equip 14, Mana 10, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Mana Cost Down 5, Miscellaneous 12): 21,384g

Endomorph and the chakram spell. Yay, my beloved chakram back again! Now that I was getting 4 health back per monster kill instead of 2 health, I seemed to have crossed some kind of tipping point. My Miner had enough sustain to take random hits here and there while still progressing onward, rather than having to rush back into easier parts of the dungeon to restore health. The addition of a Vampire rune really did make that much of a difference. I was confident enough to fight Khidr when I found the castle boss door, and he was taken out with minimal fuss, one hit taken during the short engagement. Vampirism sustain eliminated that damage in a couple of rooms. The most interesting battle that turned up was against the duo flying mage minibosses. I managed to fight this skirmish without taking any damage, with the chakram helping out a lot. Sadly the drop was the useless Sage Chestplate, bah. There wasn't that much to say about the rest of the tower, it was handled without issue in rather routine fashion. A secret shrine also gave my character Hermes' Boots, allowing her to walk on spikes. Nice. I cleared the castle with ease after the tower was done, leaving the forest as a place to retreat for health if necessary while clearing the basement. This should have been my first character to get a full dungeon clear, and I had two fountains plus all of the teleporter chickens saved up for health recovery while fighting the bosses. Unfortunately, I ran into the flying mage minibosses again in the basement, and this time I messed up the battle. They hit me twice in succession, and that was that. Each hit did 60 damage, and I wasn't at full health going in. (I'd been at 114 out of 148 max HP. That was a mistake on my part, whoops.) So this run came to a bit of an abbreviated end, even though it did result in 21k total gold. Not a failure therefore, but somewhat underwhelming.

The finding of another Sprint Rune (double jump rune) allowed me to use the other Vampire Rune from earlier, the one that had been blocked due to a need to preserve double jump and rune status. Now I would have two Vampire runes and one Balance rune in operation for the next character. I also purchased the Sky Chestplate that I'd found on this run, and used the rest of the money on double Invuln Time upgrades. I had 4/5 points in that category now, and that would be the last of the utility upgrades. Finally I was getting close to focusing purely on stats.

Unlock: Invuln Time Up x2, Mana Up x2, Equip Up, Upgrade Barbarian, Sky Chestplate, Vampire Rune, Sprint Rune

14) Level 88 (Health 16, Attack 8, Magic Damage 7, Equip 15, Mana 12, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Mana Cost Down 5, Miscellaneous 15): 50,094g

Baldness and Stereo Blind along with the scythe. While I wasn't thrilled about that spell selection, this Miner had an extra Vampire rune for more lifesteal than any predecessor (5 HP per monster kill) and increased armor. The huge drawback remained the tiny health total, only 148 HP to work with, and that wasn't much. I did the tower first, having to retreat out of there one time to rebuild health in the castle. The only thing that I wasn't able to kill was the double plant miniboss, and that was because they managed to knock me backwards out of their room when one of the plants was on the verge of death. Unfortunate knockback there. Most of this run's playing time was spent down in the basement, either clearing it out or retreating to rebuild health. The weirdest part of the run came in the forest, where one of the duo flying mage minibosses somehow turned invisible during the fight! I think that was due to the Stereo Blindness trait acting up, very strange stuff nonetheless. Their battle produced a Mana Up crystal for victory, nice. Eventually this turned into the first full dungeon clear with a Miner character (after the near misses with earlier heirs) and an excellent run. I found five or six runes along the way too, including another Vampire Rune.

That left the bosses to be done. Alexander was first on the docket, and he wasn't all that bad. My character had enough lifesteal to heal back from killing the small flying skull heads, and I finished the battle with full health despite taking one hit from the boss. Low damage output from the Miner was the biggest issue, too many hits needed to take down Alexander. It was a similar story against Ponce de Leon, my Miner was doing 48 damage per swing, and that meant that I needed dozens of successful attacks to win. The bouncing spiked balls were in favorable positions, and I ended up getting hit one time before taking down Ponce in an explosion of flame. Not bad at all. This left Herodotus, and I knew that battle would be all but impossible with such low life. It went fully as bad as expected, and my Miner died without making much progress. The scythe wasn't exactly helping a lot either, it's not a very useful boss weapon. Nonetheless, a great run that left me with 50k gold to play around with. I would turn this into the Sky Sword, Guardian Cape, a third Vampire Rune, and then 24 additional levels, including 11 of them in health. That should help out a great deal.

Unlock: Health Up x11, Equip Up x4, Magic Damage Up x5, Attack Up x4, Sky Sword, Guardian Cape, Vampire Rune

15) Level 112 (Health 27, Attack 12, Magic Damage 12, Equip 19, Mana 12, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Mana Cost Down 5, Miscellaneous 15): 66,874g

Hypergonadism (super knock back) and the flame barrier spell. I hoped that I would get a chance at the final bosses with this character, since Hypergonadism works extremely well against Johannes. All of those health upgrades had this Miner up to 210 max health, almost 50% higher than the previous one, and that made a giant difference indeed. I actually played the tower area in sloppy fashion, the larger healthbar (and three Vampire runes = 6 HP per kill) allowing me to overcome these mistakes without any real problems. With substantially more health and greater sustain, I had few issues methodically working through each region en route to another full dungeon clear. The basement in particular was noticeably easier with this character. There was only one miniboss fight along the way, Botis appearing once more in the tower, and he produced an Armor Up bonus upon victory. Excellent stuff, it was almost like revenge for the two Miners Botis had killed on earlier runs. I found another four runes on this run, leaving my Miners sitting at a total of 38/55 overall. The leisurely full dungeon clear resulted in 35k gold before taking on the last few bosses.

Herodotus was a long and extremely tense battle for this character, one of the best that I can remember ever fighting in this game. The flame barrier worked pretty well here, except that the tiny mana pool of the Miner class had me running dry early in the engagement, and there was no way to get additional spellcasting power back. The Spellsword class this ain't. That left the bulk of the fighting up to melee swordfighting, and each one of the Herodotus blobs took 4 hits to defeat. That was... a lot of sword swings! The boss clash went on and on for long minutes on end, over seven minutes according to my Livestream's count. Three different times my Miner was a single hit away from death, each time lifestealing enough hit points to survive another tick of damage. I had a mere 9 HP remaining when the final blob went down. What a close victory.

Fortunately there was a whole castle's worth of health recovery items to ensure that I would be back to full life and mana for the last boss battles. Johannes wasn't that bad due to the super knockback trait, I've written many times before how Hypergonadism is a dream trait against him. This was still a lengthy duel, however, and the need to get in so many sword slashes meant that I took two hits in the process. That was half of my Miner's lifebar, I had to grab the chickens that Johannes dropped immediately to get back to full. Against the Fountain, I ran the flame barrier and roasted him with some excellent spell damage. In fact, the flame barrier removed more than half of the Fountain's healthbar in the brief few seconds before it ran out. If only the Miner class didn't have such a huge penalty to mana! The rest of the fight came down to more meleeing, and I took two hits in rapid succession when the boss was on death's door. Note that I could only take three hits TOTAL against this boss before dying, there was truly almost no room for error. But at the very last moment, with a mere 13 HP remaining, I managed to tap dance on the Fountain's head for the last few blows. Victory by the slimmest of margins!

That wrapped up the Normal difficulty run, with 15 total Miners needed thus far. I was highly pleased with the progress to date, I thought it would take a lot more characters to make it through the dungeon for the first time. Aside from a few silly blunders, I'd been playing these Miners at a high level despite all of their weaknesses. It was only going to get that much tougher, however, as my characters moved on to New Game Plus and eventually NG++ difficulties. Stay tuned.