Speed running is a type of informal conduct designed to test a player's skill, creativity, resourcefulness, or, perhaps most importantly, luck. There are two types of speedruns: real time (clock time) and turn count. Either way, you try and ascend with the fastest/lowest time possible.
How Fast is Fast?
Ascensions are typically completed in 60,000 to 160,000 turns and can take a few hours to days depending on the play style. A speed run in real time will aim for less than 3 hours of play time. Turn count speed runs are typically below 30,000 turns. This, of course, is where you obtain only 3 runes.
- Melee is heavily prefered - Spells are just way too thoughtful, and MP runs out too quickly, to really consider. Meanwhile, melee has access to Axes, whose 8-tile cleave mows down monsters even in the most crowded situations. Traditionally "overpowered" species like Minotaur and Gargoyle reign supreme.
- Autoexplore and autofight are your friends!
- You don't have to explore every level; even when autoexploring, it wastes valuable time.
- Use macros and rc file options in order to automate less useful tasks. For example, you can set emergency items like scrolls of blinking and potions of haste to specific keys with either
item_slot ^= <item>:<letter>or
autoinscribe += <item>:@<command><key>.
- Don't be afraid of dying (unless this is for a tournament). The best runs were done over and over again, hoping for a good enough RNG to pass through.
Top Runs & Version
- Deep Dwarf Fighter of Makhleb of 0.26 and earlier is a popular choice, and one that currently holds the world record, by EnegeticOcto. It lasted 17:37 and was done on Nov. 5, 2020.
- Deep Dwarves' stats and heal wounds ability lets you win fights otherwise much too out of depth, Fighter gives immediately strong gear and a one time out in a potion of might, and Makhleb makes up for your lack of passive regeneration. Deep Dwarf was removed in 0.29.
- " Turns out d4 arga into d7 gauntlets of war is good... who knew :) "
- 0.27 buffed monster weapon speed & damage (most impactful early), but more importantly, halved Makhleb's healing rate.
- 0.26 was the latest trunk version at the time, but also removed the marginally annoying food system.
Low Turn Count
- Health is an incredibly valuable resource; resting takes up hundreds of turns normally. Try to avoid that as much as possible by exploring, potentially at floors you've skipped, at low health. Meteorae regenerate rapidly by exploring, and dominate as a result. The fast-regenerating Vine Stalker is helpful, but most other melee races can still do fine. Jiyva, if you are lucky enough to find it early, greatly boosts regeneration.
- For normally regenerating species, bread swinging - or swinging a non-weapon over and over - will cause you to waste more time (regenerating more) for the same amount of turns.
- Cheibriados lets you explore to the same effect, with a noticeable stat boost and LOS-wide attack in Slouch. However, its impact matters less for a 3 rune game.
- Careful movement is a must; autoexplore is very inefficient.
- Even when scrounging for resources, it isn't good to travel over half the floor for a few segments of unexplored dungeon.
- Skipping floors is even more important than during real time runs. Floors will always take hundreds of turns to clear.
- Try to avoid backtracking. The best runs should try and go from the Lair immediately to the rune branches, with all the skill/items that requires.
Top Runs & Version
- The current world record run, done in 0.29.1 by Sapher on March 11 2023, was a Meteoran Earth Elementalist. Sapher won in 4603 turns, improving the previous world record by 239 turns.
- Meteoran is a species that focuses on turn count, due to its ultra-fast explore regeneration of HP and MP and, also, amazing stats and aptitudes.
- Cheibriados was used for boosting the stats and for Slouch/Step from Time abilities.
- Unlike the previous world record, this run had only 33 casts of Simulacrum. Sapher didn't use allies much and relied on Storm Form and Manifold Assault for dealing damage instead.
- Extensive use of Passwall and Passage of Golubria allowed to shave the number of turns even further.
- The Slimy rune is often the most reliable 3rd rune. Even low level players can tackle The Royal Jelly with items like throwing nets, javelins, and/or a scroll of immolation. See TRJ's page for more details.
- The Abyssal rune is convenient if you happen to get banished. Forceful banishment (including from distortion) also plunges you deeper into the Abyss. If you've preserved a few scrolls of blinking, grabbing the rune should be possible. Finding the rune itself is a measure of luck, but its potential speed might make it even faster than Slime.
- Most of the time, the Silver (Vaults) rune is inefficient. Not only do you have to go through all 5 floors of a fairly large branch, but even if you cleared Vaults:1-4, V:5 isn't easy to skip. Vault wardens might lock out the stairs above, while fake runes serve to deter ninjas even more.
- For an up to date list of speedruns see the following links:
- Score - turn count speedruns, for all 15 runes.
- Top Runs:
- 0.29 Removed Deep Dwarf, added turn-count focused Meteoran. Ranged weapons reworked and no longer need ammo. Abyss' rune location now sensed instead of being pure RNG. Lair shortened a floor. Introduction of attacks of opportunity as well as background/consumable drop buffs and a few new items.
- 0.28 Reworked Jiyva gives regeneration, even to DD. Spider reworked. The Depths shortened by a floor. Fixed quiver bug.
- 0.27 Makhleb healing dramatically nerfed, impacting the heavily reliant Deep Dwarf. Equipment now autoidentified, curses and negative gear removed. Weapon-wielding monsters don't attack slower anymore. Throwing ammunition reduced in quantity.
- 0.26 Tedious food system removed. Addition of Delver, which skips the first 5 floors of the Dungeon. New quiver introduces bug where a quivered god ability can be used even if you switch gods (say, to Uskayaw). Swamp reworked. Removal of Sticks to Snakes (and immolation "snakebombing"), Summon Butterflies. Scrolls of blinking usable as an escape while in Zot/orb run.
- 0.25 All summons can be immolated. Removal of (most) dangerous amulets.
- 0.24 Throwing rework gives javelins piercing and boomerangs returning, further buffed with the silver brand.
- 0.21 Borgnjor's Vile Clutch introduced; in this version only, was stronger and available to the Necromancer start.
- 0.19 Lair shortened 2 floors, Slime Pits shortened by 1.
- 0.12 introduced cleaving to all Axes.
- Autoexplore was conceptualized in the roots of Stone Soup, while 0.6 introduced autofight.