YAVP (Stoat Soup 0.23ish): 6-rune DDNe^Makhleb

In August 2016 I got my first win, a deep dwarf of Makhleb. That one was a heavy-armour monster-whacker; when the RNG handed me DDNe I decided to see how far I could get with spells, especially since we’d just taken vanilla’s Necrotise spell. That was pretty painful - Vampiric Draining was obviously a huge boon in the early game but drops off, if you’re trotting around in a robe you’re prone to take big occasional big hits and that’s got long-term consequences on DD, and while Heal Wounds is obviously amazing you’re just bleeding away your MP gradally.

Around the Lair this started to get really painful with the feeling the character wasn’t really very good at anything - undead minions were doing OK but aren’t always around, melee was painful with rotten defences, didn’t have enough evocables to lean on them any harder, didn’t have much in the way of directly offensive spells… but after that things seemed to gradually turn around. (Mind you, a spark wasp had me at 2 HP on Spider:4…)

Partly because that was because I normally regard Minor Destruction as eminently spammable - it’s about HP-neutral during a fight and then you can heal up afterwards - and it was pretty clear it was gradually bleeding me out as a DD. At the point I realised this a lot of my XP had gone into Invocations - I had Invo 10 before Orc, but only finished with Invo 11 - so after that I could put more XP towards things I wanted. Partly it was down to finding a book with Borgnjor’s Vile Clutch, which was comfortably the best-performing spell this game.

I hit an ice cave on D:12 which dropped two manuals of Ice Magic - if only I’d had some spells to go with them! Much later I’d find Ozo’s Armour and then could get very solid spellpower on it.

The S branches went OK aside from the aforementioned spark wasp debacle; then I found a trove on V:1 which wanted to be shown the abyssal rune. After V I had a bit of a problem - no rF save by swapping out a good ring, no rC likewise - and didn’t much fancy Depths with its masses of fire/frost giants and dragons. I’d got enough MR to clear Elf (and buy a ton of consumables in a bazaar), then thought Crypt would be tolerable. I got Iron Shot online there.

So, I thought, I’d better try for the abyssal rune? It had not yet struck me that the entrances to the Abyss tend to be, well, in the Depths. I sighed and stuck my nose into U:1 - a truly horrible welcoming committee, but I survived it, went to the Abyss, and got the rune without too much difficulty. This paid off - the trove gave me a lot of extra armour options, but particularly a tower shield of resistance.

With that I could clear Depths without too much excitement, and then went to V:5. I’d learned Shatter for it and got it online with brilliance. I’d keep pumping Earth Magic and had Shatter at 1% failure at the end of the game - which I then hardly ever used because of the noise. (This wasn’t too much of a waste, given the spellpower on Iron Shot and BVC).

V:5 down I went to Slime. Some nasty moments with slime creatures on the way down, but TRJ itself was easily beaten with a lamp of fire and lightning rod.

Now I had to get an extended rune; I always get at least one. I did Hell last game, and torment is horrible for DD and I think there’s less of it in Pan, so off to Pan it was. After killing four random panlords I teleported away from a fifth (who basically seemed to have no other attack except casting Fire Storm at me, rude) and snuck back into their little house to find the demonic rune and no panlord. I scooped it out and scarpered, and was out via the Abyss almost immediately.

Zot wasn’t too bad - I saw ten or so orbs of fire but they could be hammered on with Iron Shot or iceblast zaps (24 Evo, and it doesn’t miss) and I had gobs of consumables in reserve. The orbrun was mostly uneventful apart from one seraph (which I dropped a scroll of summoning on and ran away from).