Originally Posted by gumpzilla
Crawl is pretty fun at the moment, although it feels quite a bit harder than ADOM and Angband... Thus far, Crawl seems to force you to keep plowing deeper, into lots of nasties that are way too strong for toe to toe combat, but with relatively few exceptions doesn't give you a ton of early game tools for avoiding toe to toe combat.
Even the best players lose a fair number of characters in the early game in Crawl... Here are some simple tips that you're prob. familiar with as a roguelike vet.
1. Use ranged weapons(usually thrown stones, daggers, hand axes, etc early on) whenever possible to soften up enemies for melee.
2. Use your consumable resources(wands, potions, scrolls) aggressively. In contrast to some other roguelikes, you need to id a lot of stuff by using it rather than ID scrolls. Here is a spoiler I typed up on the id game awhile back:
> As for CAO games, I think the usual number of blatant tactical
> mistakes I commit per level in the past five games is about 10, with
> 2-3 strategic mistakes per level. The latter is an underestimate
> since I have almost no clue what a proper use-try strategy is for
> potions and/or scrolls.
Well, perfect identification strategy is fairly complex, but I'll give
you a reasonable overview:
If you have 2 or more of a potion type, quaff it on a safe level early
on once you can handle !Poison (a good number of HP--at least 30, !
Healing or a high likelihood of having unidentified !Healing).
Use ?Identify on potions aggressively. It's a good idea to burn all
your ID scrolls on potions until you have Healing, Heal Wounds, Speed
identified at least. Try to have two items that need to be IDed and a
third that would be mildly helpful if IDed(for example, a good
identified wand that you don't know the charges on or a scroll that
you have use-tested and might be fear/recharging). This way you don't
squander an ?ID scroll on a single item.
Later on you want to continue using ?ID on potions to try and avoid
squandering !Cure Mutation or drinking a !Mutation w/o a cure as
backup. Berserker Rage and Resistance are also worth saving where
possible, but are not as critical as Cure Mutation.
Early on, don't use-ID scrolls until you get a cursed item, have
already IDed remove curse or you start to accumulate a horde of
scrolls(perhaps by the time you reach the temple). Generally, you
should be less conservative w/ scrolls than potions. Read single
scrolls before stacks so that you curse your items before you use the ?
If a scroll gives a "nothing seems to happen" and you have ?
RemoveCurse IDed and/or cursed equiped items, then the scroll is ID or
fear--read it with an empty wand equipped with a monster on screen to
figure out which. Blinking, Fear and Teleportation are the scrolls to
isolate early on. If you have an ?ID surplus, it might be worth it to
try and ID some untested scrolls early on to try and locate these. In
general, err on the side of using ID scrolls immediately.
This is by no means exhaustive. The Crawl ID game is pretty complex
and veteran players may disagree with my strategy.
3. Rest up to full HP/MP after every battle.
Centaurs seem like an interesting way to go, since they are fast and good with ranged weapons, but the enhanced food consumption forces dungeon diving even faster, I would think. I'm sure tricks will become more apparent to me with further play.
A fair number of the top players consider Centaurs to be the strongest race, but their food management is problematic for a beginner. Some strong combos for beginners to try are: Spriggan Venom Mage, Mountain Dwarf Berserker or Healer, Deep Elf Fire Elementalist or Conjurer [ice book].