SavageFantastic the Slayer (level 27, 150/230 HPs)
  Began as a Centaur Wanderer on June 27, 2018.
  Was the Champion of Ashenzari.
  Escaped with the Orb
  ... and 3 runes!
  
  The game lasted 03:57:02 (121635 turns).

This Centaur Wanderer of Ashenzari was the quarterstaffingest, lajatangingest horseman of the modern era. I do so love lajatangs, mostly for the name and the roleplay, pretending I am Donatello from TMNT or Kilik from Soulcaliber. With horse legs.

I wandered into the dungeon with little other than a +2 quarterstaff and my wits. Luckily, a quarterstaff is an excellent starting weapon and I'm sort of obsessed with them. In spite of my negative aptitude, I hoped to reach the endgame with staves.

D:2 Ashenzari was an obvious pick; she's probably still my favorite god, even though Dithmenos and Qazlal are also giant piles of fun. Then, on D:5, I found a quarterstaff of draining in a shop and I was confident I had secured my way through Lair.

In fact, so smoothly was I cruising that I forgot to identify my scrolls and potions, and by Lair I was hoarding twenty scrolls of identification! I wasn't quite at the point where I could leave a rock on the tab key, but Lair was pretty easy. I was wearing plate armour which mitigated hydra threat.

Agnes in the late dungeon dropped a lajatang of distortion, which I rebranded into freezing and enchanted to +9, securing my endgame if I played smart. I suppose I would have preferred an electrocution or speed brand, but freezing got the job done. Except for an overly excited St Roka, the Orcish Halls were quite easy after this power spike.

I decided to clear the Spider Nest before Swamp, because Ashenzari's gifts of clarity and SInv diminished the minor and major threats of tarantellas and ghost moths, respectively, and because I wanted to gain more experience before meleeing Swamp hydras with a non-flaming edged weapon. I was still quite ahead of the power curve with my +9 lajatang, and both S-branches felt trivial.

Early Vaults was more humbling, but with my growing awareness of the unique skills of Vault Wardens, Convokers, and Sentinels, as well as a centaur's ability to flee dangerous situations, it was still a straightforward clear. Notably, I saw one of the most exciting randarts in my playing history, the +9 heavy crossbow "Sniper" {velocity, Acc+∞ SInv}. I didn't use it, because I was a lajataur!

In early Vaults I swapped into some quicksilver dragon scales. This is my second ascension moving from a light armour (Ashenzari considers light armour to have an encumbrance rating of five or less) to quicksilver dragon scales, and I love the intention of eventually stepping into qds because I won't guilt myself over using early enchant armour scrolls on auxillary armour slots (or troll leather). The medium armour also meant Ashenzari would assist my armour skill, rather than my stealth, which is very important to a Centaur.

Depths was more of playing carefully and being cautious with an ascension-likely character. The final floor took ages to clear with an amazing floor-sized grid vault, and enemies who kept forgetting me the moment I rounded a corner. I am a sneaktaur! Of course, that made it sometimes frustrating to use killholes.

Since the game spawned a Ziggurat, I thought to do my usual easy-floor clears, but found the Pandemonium Lord "Fosoan" on the fifth floor. I proudly fled the Ziggurat in an amazing display of discretion. Had I not been making a video for the Yet Another Victory Project, I almost certainly would have died trying to clear that floor.

I almost forgot to do the final floor of Vaults, but Zot was rune-locked, which reminded me to go back. I did the scroll of teleport, descend strategy, and got the most perfect teleport that has ever been. Playing around a four square, four door room with Ashenzari's Scrying ability as a sneaktaur was great fun, and from there I quickly picked the floor apart.

Shallow Zot was easy, especially with a decision to skip an unnecessary teleport vault, but I spent fifteen realtime minutes clearing a jam-packed Z:$, followed by a very hairy, very scary Orb run. Emerging from Depths to D:$ put me in an undiggable vault with a Pan Lord between myself and all three up staircases.

But I survived! And I ascended. The character was altogether fun. I love Centaurs, I love stealth, and it was fun to combine them. I think Centaur as a race is strong enough for these suboptimal decisions to still work quite well. I'm also toying with the idea that a great use of Ashenzari is to shore up poor aptitudes -- she's not just for building a hybrid character.

My biggest lesson learned: next time I emerge into an undiggable vault on an Orb run, I'm reading a scroll of teleportation immediately.

morgue