So … that felt good!
I made a lot of stupid mistakes and still got there with some resources to spare.
Orc Rogue - I'd been doing a lot of orc rogue/orc monk as they seemed to be pretty strong. I'd read the VVGT post so set myself the rule that I wasn't allowed to try vampires (though I imagine it'd still be really tough even knowing the basic strategy). I dabbled a little with gorgons and priests but had most success with rogue/monk.
Dragon Shield - Orc Rogues seem powerful until they get to H, this seems a strong item as it's very good in the final fight and really useful until then.
Attack Booster - seems obvious.
Translocation Scroll - some runs I would prefer the makesmallifier but usually this seems better.
Heroic Items - Goes with previous pick.
10% damage badge - Because inventory space is tight and seems good with orcs.
Extra Gold - I'd been using patches a lot and I've completely changed my opinion on him. Being able to see what he's just done is really nice and he was my usual pick before this run. Patches is great (except that mine really loves +3 gold and manaburn ). The gold worked out pretty well.
No Gods - I've been enjoying playing out some runs with whatever god has been on lvl1. I'm continually getting surprised by the power of seemingly bad combinations/starting gods. I guess I forgot to get the extra altar as I believe that just adds a random one to the ground floor which certainly would have been nice - even if only for the extra piety round it.
[Aside about Gods]
My opinion on gods has changed now that I know the game more. They all have a place and there are a lot of nice interactions that I'd been completely unaware of before.
Taurog is actually pretty sweet (design-wise). His main role seems to be as a transition god that you move both into and out of but the timing of doing so and how many items to take/pick up is interesting.
I still feel like JJ needs a change. Just some weird extra ability for 20-25 or so piety that has some odd niche applications would probably do it. Something like - switch gold and piety or switch enemy locations or replace random item in inventory with another random item of the same size.
[/Aside about Gods]
Lvl1 had a dracul altar. This seemed bad to me at first but as I said, I've been enjoying trying out new combinations so picked him early and went for a ride.
It was great.
Life steal into resists into 100 piety to convert out was a really strong and easy start. I didn't get sanguine as I wanted to save the blood pools and the -5hp would have really hurt at early levels.
With rogue it seems like if you can get just enough hp/resists to survive one hit and otherwise max damage then you are in the perfect spot. Dracul helped so much with this. Resists are obviously great but overheal from life steal often provided that extra 5-10 hp needed to survive a warlock hit.
I stupidly translocated some berserkers gloves early and then found a shop selling the amulet of yendor which I paid full price for. I used it early (on second floor I think) and it saved me loads of resources. It also meant I was at a peak in my power level just as I hit the first strike floor so got through that with minimal pain.
The god progression in the game was interesting.
Dracul - lifesteal + resists + late sanguine + 100 piety until about the 7th floor.
Taurog - Blade + Armor + eventually Shield + kill lots of undead left around + lots of piety until the final boss.
Tikki Tooki - Poison + Dodge - both were amazing in the final fight + enough money for a potion.
Pactmaker - Concensus and Scholars as I had exactly enough popcorn for 1 level up in final fight.
Earthmother - The plan was to use the bloodpools for piety and max vine form. I did this in the altar room with the 5 blood pools there saving enough piety for plantation in the main room. Then I went to hit the boss so that I could make use of clearance if I needed it in the main room. The observant will have already realised the problem with this plan… lifesteal… - so I had to use up all the blood pools to get enough piety to convert out - YAY.
Dracul again - He could fully heal me still and seemed my only choice left.
Then I really stupidly desecrated earthmother and spent my last money on corrosion wipe potion to get enough piety to get heal from dracul before (fortunately) reading the bit about the curse - with no way to remove it.
I made some really stupid mistakes but still got there!
I need to update my answer about how long I take to play a dungeon. 109mins…
That felt as good as beating nethack/crawl/tome and took less than 1/5th the time - an impressive achievement in game design. I've always wanted to play a game like that.
I'm off to do other things with my spare time for a while (won't be attempting the rest of the gold challenges after all). I'll be back at some point to play this game again though. Thanks for making it!