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When is Gh UC training worthwhile? What about training Axes and UC both to primary, with UC substituting for Maces?

started GhFi Refothrer (claws)
claws is only recommended weapon
auto-training
acquired !exp

at XL3, vs elephant:
claws: 2.7 AED
War axe: 2.3 AED at similar MC
Flail: 2.1 AED via crosstraining

verdict: Claws superior.

at XL9, vs elephant:
claws: 6 AED
war axe: 3
flail: 2.5

verdict: Claws rapidly outpacing mundane weapons.

Conclusion: Early Ghoul needs a good reason to deviate from UC focus. Nice gloves and weapons suffice. However, it isn't worth starting War Axe for GhFi. Better off focusing foes down with claws, even against packs.

However, GhFi is a suboptimal combo that wastes Gh's Stealth +2. GhAs is essential. The above analysis reveals another synergy. Assassin starts with a high-accuracy +2 dagger whose low base damage scales poorly with Ghoul Strength. The dagger is great for removing pesky Bats that inhibit Ghoul's shy regen. Accuracy is 53% and AED 1.6, versus 47% and 1.9 AED for claws.

Never mind, that doesn't hold!

GhAs is looking shaky. Claws start would be better. Any background that Ghoul should switch with?

Reading background list… I could swap CeMo and GhAs!

GhMo

It makes a huge amount of sense for Ghoul to start with Claws rather than Short Blades. Furthermore, early Ghoul is self-sufficient with chunks snowball, but wants to get his god online ASAP to mitigate his one-dimensional meleeist vulnerability.

Bonus piety means Ghoul can join Yred with Animate Remains, Recall Undead, and Injury Mirror, converting his chunks reserve into offense. This provides a use for his otherwise useless MP, since he won't cast early.

CeAs

CeAs gets a fast-swinging dagger to proc kick more often. For foes CeAs can't melee, he kites with deadly blowgun.

Blowgun fits Fast 2 well, because poisonings should be spaced out over several turns. It works better than polearm kiting, even with a fast spear. XL1 CeAs blowgun fires at .85 dauts, which is great for kiting.

Centaur is much better than Ghoul at Throwing: +1 vs -1. Ce welcomes As' cloak, since Leather Armor only improves Ce's GDR. Ghoul cares less since he'll wear heavier body armors as he finds them.

With poor Stealth, Ce is also more likely to pull multiple foes, so having the blowgun to target multiple foes in a line is valuable. Ce is easily able to use his speed and the Dungeon's maze layout to set up such shots. The blowgun's poison needles make them count even if they miss the foremost foe. Unlike normal projectiles which do front-loaded damage, poison ticks over time, and thus hits back ranks hard. With normal projectiles, hitting the back rank just spreads monster regen, so one prefers to hit the frontmost foe only.

In fact, there's a rhythm to optimal XL1 CeAs kiting. Ce has Fast 2, unlike Sp Fast 3, which makes Ce's kiting a bit more difficult. Having two competitive weapons from the start significantly eases the burden. When a gap exists, CeAs can swap weapons at .5 daut to let a 10-speed foe advance and arrive with (on average) 5 less energy. In difficult fights against 10-speed meleeists, CeAs alternates between blowgun and dagger.

Pure melee kiting with a reach-less dagger still works. The goal is to deplete a 10-speed foe's energy to 71 or below before attacking him. Continue attacking until he skips a counterattack. Then kite to deplete his energy again.

How do you know his energy is depleted? Do this:

  1. Kite until gap
  2. Unwield weapon (.3 daut)
  3. If foe closed gap, kite until gap.
  4. Wield weapon (.5 daut)
  5. Foe should be adjacent. Melee until he skips a response.
  6. Loop #1.

Energy has a small random variation on movement. Watch it in wizmode with D to get a feel.

Compare melee adder vs XL1 CeAs and CeMo (spear)

CeAs: 2.1 AED 40% acc
CeMo: 1.9 AED 40% acc

However, the comparison is unequal, because CeAs can and should hit the Adder with needles at range. Plus CeAs has better AC.

Verdict: CeAs wins, of course.

There is the concern that CeAs Qaz will have a difficult time building his first pips of piety. However, blowgun synergizes with Qaz kiting by allowing CeAs to punish foe detours around clouds at range.

Also, CeAs is now free to worship a Good God before finding Qaz, whereas GhMo has no such option anyway.