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What's your strategy of surviving the first few levels?
I have been playing this game for nearly two decades now, yet every time I start a new run, I am surprised how punishing the first couple of levels can be. No matter how well you play, you are essentially at the mercy of the twenty-sided dice. Going toe to toe with anything is a huge gamble - one unlucky roll and even the measliest gibberling will drop you in one hit. You barely have any equipment or spells worth mentioning, and even the best warrior has the THAC0 and APR of a blindfolded sloth. Run into something even slightly tougher and your chances of survival drop to almost zero.
Now, saving and reloading is an obvious strategy, but what if one is playing a minimal or no-reload run? I'm currently in the Nashkel mines and it seems that every second kobold encounter leaves someone in my party dead. All my gold is being spent on raising my dead comrades and the constant jog between the nearest temple and the spot where I left off is getting tedious. Have I missed something, or is there really no easier way of getting your characters through the first two levels?