YAVP: 8-rune (all Hell) Stoat Soup 0.23ish GhBe of Trog

This took me a while - 52 games getting through a dozen random combos (I play each one until I reach the Lair), picking up half a dozen deaths with runes. I was not best pleased to get a berserker who can’t berserk, but Trog was surprisingly helpful - Trog’s Hand gave me a way to regenerate in combat with no chunks to eat, they kept me in Throwing ammo, and after a while they dropped me the Thermic Engine. I suspect Hypothetically Optimal Man would have swapped gods after a while, but I decided to stick with Trog and see how it panned out.

I started out as a punch ghoul but found the Fencer’s Gloves on D:9. I didn’t realise they let you riposte with Unarmed Combat - fortunately, since this was a factor in me saying, well, there’s a reasonable scimitar of flaming, maybe I’ll swap to Long Blades. This worked out reasonably well - in the Lair I found a +8 rapier with {pierce, rN++ MR++ Int-4} which I used to patch over my terrible MR for a while; on D:14 I acquired a vampiric demon blade which, riposting two times in three, made it very hard for living monsters to hurt me seriously (indeed it meant I could heal up running from fast monsters); and finally Trog dropped the Thermic Engine on V:4 which was ideal for monsters that couldn’t be vampirised.

I got to the end of the Lair without much trouble, getting the gold to buy a randart plate - +15 {rCorr Stlth+}. Joy! I’d wear this all game. I did find a GDS later and had plenty of scrolls to enchant it, but wanted the rCorr far more than more rF or rC (indeed, by the end of the game I had three pips of each…).

Orc was fine but had almost nothing to buy (a problem which went on all game; I finish with thousands of zorkmids even after buying, eg, some wands it was incredibly unlikely I might ever use). I found Ignorance on D:12 (in the orange crystal statue vault which got really hairy) but at the time I was using a cloak with Int-3 (so why did I even mess around in the vault) - I accidentally brainlessed myself, rearranged my gear, but then found Resistance on D:14 which was a much better fit. I also found a randart long sword with rElec and SInv which for a painfully long time was my best source of both.

Spider and Swamp were a walk in the park with poison immunity, flying, and basically every monster being vampirisable and chunk-filled. Vaults wasn’t much worse (Abyssed by a deep elf sorcerer but got right back out), and scooped up the Thermic Engine.

Depths was not so much of a walk in the park, with a U:3 encompass vault with about half a dozen caustic shrikes - teleported on a mostly unexplored level (bad idea!) into another pile of monsters, getting down to HP: 7/206 in the ensuing excitement. I thought that was quite enough of that and went to Elf.

Elf was not too bad but I didn’t get much out of it except more XP, but that was enough to let me clear the caustic shrikes, finish Depths, and clear V:5. Next was Slime - immolated TRJ - then Crypt. I cleared the first part of Tomb:1 after that but it was pretty clear Tomb was not a good idea with almost no chunks to eat and no real way to avoid being Dispel Undeaded to bits.

Hence I went off to Hell; the Vestibule was fine and Gehenna tolerable (the Serpent of Hell turned up, which was good because then I could stop worrying about it), However, I got brainless from hell effects on Tar:7, which was pretty bad timing, and went to Zot to work it off, killing my first OOF and spotting the dig-for-victory transporter vault.

With my tiny ghoul brain working again I went back to Tar - moderately nasty tangle with Tzitizimiteh, but Ereshkigal herself posed little problem. Cocytus was no problem (curared Antaeus, who was probably the worst Hell lord); Dis:6 had one pretty nasty moment but Dispater themself very cooperatively appeared at the edge of LOS to get steel javelins to the face… then summoned demons rather then close down the range so I could throw javelins of penetration. I had to go about two melee rounds with Dispater.

At this point I had 8 runes and not many heal wounds, so it seemed like time to go for the win. I bought a few hex wands for draconians but they were so easy to mash up with the vampiric demon blade it never came up. Three orbs of fire stacked up getting into one of the lungs but I had rF+++, an antimagic weapon, and more javelins of penetration, so that wasn’t a problem.

The orbrun had one panlord on Z:5 which was just fast enough to catch me at the stairs (so I beat it flat with the Thermic Engine), three more on Z:2, U:1, D:10 (avoided), and one on D:1 which rather rudely turned up in the final corridor leading to the exit (so I beat it flat…)

Next combo is Centaur Chaos Knight. Hm.

2 Thanks

Nice job. Did you manage to get to the bottom floors of hell branches in one go, or did you have to go back up and dive several times?

If memory serves I did them all in one go. Of course, that’s easier on a ghoul who won’t find they’ve just been tormented three times in a row and not want to rest back their entire health bar with more hell effects zapping - and there aren’t many chunkular monsters in Hell, but there are enough you have a decent chance of being able to eat back to full HP after a big fight.