Serfuzz's Ogre Hunter guide
- Early Game -
Immediately unwield your short sword. Train Stealth to 1 and Dodging to 2 or 3, then turn both off. Once you find a club or whip, wield it and disable all training except Fighting, Maces, and Throwing. Your primary concern is your low AC. A ring of protection is the most valued item in the early game, otherwise an enchanted robe, cloak, and hat can give a +6 as well. Should you find an early shield, wear it and train skill to 9.
Make liberal use of large rocks in the early game. You're frail enough that even a hobgoblin can be deadly in close combat. Carry javelins as a backup if you can find. Switch to progressively better maces along your path to the Temple, until you get a giant spiked club from a monster Ogre. Enchant it to +2, vorpalize if you find a scroll. Save the rest of your enchant weapon scrolls for a potential treasure trove fee. Eat chunks only and save your permafood until you start sacrificing corpses to your god.
- Trog or Okawaru? -
You will want to worship a God that improves your physical combat. Okawaru may gift armour, including much demanded Dragon armour later on. Plus, he doesn't forbid spellcasting in the late game, for which you have a good aptitude. However, his main combat invocation, Heroism, costs piety while Trog's Berserk does not. That means with Trog you generally have a shorter waiting time for the one gift that really matters - an artefact giant spiked club.
So the recommendation is to worship Trog as a default unless you see an early (before D:4) Okawaru altar.
- Progression -
Once you have Berserk/Heroism and ~100 hit points, you may become more daring in melee combat. Follow the standard progression - Dungeon down to Lair entrance, then clear Lair, then the Orish mines. Your main concern is still to get used to heavy armour. Cut up every troll or swamp dragon corpse in hope for a hide (the sewer with Purgy is probably the earliest opportunity). Request strength at every level-up unless you need to counter negative stats from an artefact. Train Fighting and M/F all the way up to 27 but leave Throwing on as well - it helps in the end game. Turn off evocations and invocations at skill level 6.
Standard safety precautions apply to Orc:4 - skip for later if it appears tough. Then clear Swamp and Pit 1-4 if applicable (poison resistance recommended - ideally through swamp dragon armour) and the Dungeon until Vault entrance.
- Mid Game -
At this point, you should be wearing a dragon armour - fire dragon preferred. Train Armour to 14, then turn Dodging back on.
Getting the decaying rune should be easy unless it's the undead ending. Make sure you have an emergency escape like blinking, and lure out the Dragons and Hydras one-by-one.
Then tackle the serpentine rune. Brothers in arms will assist you with a lot of kills, alternatively try digging a side entrance into the rune chamber.
Clear Shoals 1-4 if generated, skip if you encounter a Kraken. If you can see invisible and have life protection and conservation, do Elven Halls 1-4 as well. Next, visit Vaults 1-7 and Dungeon to D:26. When you have Throwing, Armour, and Dodging at skill level 18, activate Traps&Doors. If you worship Okawaru, learn Spellcasting and the spells Blink and Apportation. Also, if you find a cloak of preservation, enchant it to +2 if necessary and wear for the rest of the game unless you have a really good artefact.
- Third Rune -
Here's the recommended experience and equipment for getting a third rune.
Barnacled: XL22, make sure you have two out of Haste, Levitation, and Invisibility on before opening any vaults on Shoals:5.
Slimy: XL24, need preservation and cold resistance. Best to unleash a Brother in Arms on the Royal Jelly and teleport away.
Silver: XL25, need life protection and isolation. Make good use of stair-dancing in and out V:8.
Abyssal: You need XL16 for a solid chance of escaping from the Abyss; XL21 for extended wandering and collecting loot as well as the rune. Wear an amulet of the gourmand or a ring of sustenance to deal with food issues. Fortunately, demonic creatures give piety so you can use your God abilities extensively.
- End Game -
Mutation resistance is required from this point on. Good treasure on Elf:5 but you will probably get drained more experience than you gain from that floor, even with resistance. Clear D:27 which varies greatly in difficulty. Then off into the Realm of Zot.
This is where large rocks come in handy again, as tentacled monstrosities and orb guardians can deal quite some damage up close. For the dreaded Orbs of Fire, silver javelins help as well. Eletricity resistance is essential against electric golems and black draconians but potions will generally do. Once you find a gold dragon hide, blow all your enchantment scrolls on it and wear. You'll need an additional source of rF though against the OoF and draconians. Also, life protection is recommended when dealing with Liches and curse toes.
In the orb chamber, proceed with extreme caution. After each step forward, search for 10 turns in order to spot traps and attract wandering monsters. If too many monsters attack at once, distract them with summons and retreat out of the chamber, haste and semi-controlled blink if you can. Teleport only as a last resort as it may land you even further in. If you have Apportation, you can try to "apportate" the orb a little closer to you so you don't have to fight all the Guardians in the innermost chamber.
Once you pick up the orb, ascension starts. The newly-populated levels on the way up are not harder than say D:27 and definitely easier than Zot:5. Still, you want to fight as little as possible since monsters spawn faster than you can kill them. Always move towards the closest stairway up, fight only if a monster is directly blocking. Digging is your most powerful tool here, bring two charged wands and create lots of shortcuts to the next staircase. Haste and teleport can help, but are not as essential as digging. Do not rest to regenerate, use Trog's hand instead. The resistances you brought into Zot should otherwise suffice.