2 5767252 kchen-Sam-Hum-Mal-Law ascended to demigod-hood. 252 
Oh my fuck. I just did what people who have played this game for decades have not been able to do. I am the second person to do this in the history of the OCCS nethack server. (The other one is mvomacka. How the hell did you get nine million points, mvomacka? Grrr.)
At first it seemed as if all was lost. I was at the Astral Plane, and had just killed Pestilence, when aragorn spontaneously rebooted. I logged in on gandalf, and instead of restoring my save file nethack asked me what class I wanted my new character to be. Despair! Oh well, I thought. So close, and yet so far--story of my life.
But when nferrara heard of my plight, he insisted he do something about it. I looked up the nethack recover-file utility on Google and asked Nick to use his public-usergroup powers to restore my save. And after much consternation, and some fiddling, we got it to work. Less than an hour later I was listening to the invisible choir.
In his honor, I ascended with a tin of nferrara meat.
For those of you who play, details behind the cut.
Stats: Level 25. 18/** (+1) STR, 18 (+3) DEX, 18 CON, 11 INT, 10 CHA. Don't remember what my starting stats were, but they were considerably lower. Yay for blessed potions of gain ability and tins of giant meat!
Conduct: 8 wishes. 11 species genocided: liches, demiliches, master liches, arch-liches, rust monsters, disenchanters, mind flayers, master mind flayers, cockatrices, chickatrices, and pyrolisks. (Took no chances.)
Turns: Around 75000. I play slow.
Monsters killed: Over 3300, including a barbarian (kchen), a valkyrie (mvomacka), a wizard (nferrara), another barbarian (ceatinge), 125 soldiers, 30 vrocks, 5 mind flayers, 10-20 of most kinds of dragon, Pestilence (twice), 37 Olog-hai, 7 Nazguls, and the Wizard of Yendor (3 times).
Weapons: A blessed +7 Grayswandir in one hand, a blessed +6 silver saber in the other, and 18/** natural STR (+1 from ring of increase strength) means asskicking machine. Add Expert level in two-weapon combat and you have what is almost undeniably the best reason to play as a Samurai. In Moloch's Sanctum I was killing balrogs in two turns, and mumaks in one hit! I wore an oilskin cloak for the krakens outside the Wizard's Tower, but it was never necessary because they never got a chance to grab me. I also had my +0 yumi from the beginning of the game and a decent supply of arrows, but in the endgame I only used them to kill green slimes and mind flayers.
Armor: -33 AC (+5 GDSM, +3 dwarven iron helm, +3 gauntlets of dexterity, +3 elven cloak, +3 speed boots, +2 Hawaiian shirt, and natural AC 0 from donating to priests). Got a bag of holding from Sokoban and an amulet of reflection from a wish. Not much could hit me between the midgame and endgame, and the ones that did had trouble chewing through my 300+ HP, so I genocided most of the monsters that were capable of instakilling me. (Including cockatrices--laugh if you want, but I randomly got stoned in Gehennom once, and I didn't want that to happen again.)
Other items: I threw lots of cheap gems to unicorns and sacrificed a lot of corpses, so my luck was pretty mad ridiculous at the end--in Gehennom I found two wands of wishing, two wands of polymorph, three amulets of reflection, one amulet of life saving (not from wish!), two blessed magic lamps, and two dilithium crystals. I also found about seven or eight wands of death, only one of which I generated by polypiling. Spent two of my eight wishes on magic markers, to compensate for the dearth of scrolls of enchant armor--it was rough having AC -17 and no reflection at the Castle.
By merit of having a blessed touchstone to identify my gems with, I think I managed to get at least one of every gem in the game. Thanks to the Gnomish Mines, Fort Ludios, and the Castle, this count includes about 19 rubies, 23 emeralds, and 14 amethysts, which were responsible for a good portion of my score. I also found a total of three dilithium crystals, and from sacrifices and random discoveries I had eight or nine artifact weapons, most of them useless.
My amulet of poison resistance saved my ass so many times in the early game. It was completely useless once I got intrinsic poison resistance (from eating a tin of green dragon meat), but early on, when orcs were shooting poisoned arrows at me and I was falling into spiked pits and corpses became rotten the moment they hit the ground, it was invaluable. A ring of free action, identified early, also prevented many "killed by a foo while helpless" deaths. Had a few close calls at the Astral Plane when I forgot to put it on.
Lots of scrolls of enchant weapon early in the game, which was awesome. Not too many scrolls of enchant armor, which was not. My armor took a nasty beating in the Castle and in Gehennom before I got fed up and wished for a magic marker so I could write my own.
I found a blessed magic lamp in the Gnomish Mines, and instead of rubbing it I just kept it with me until the end of the game. I knew I was guaranteed to get more wishes later on, and I figured that a permanent light source would ultimately be more useful. Seems I was right.
Strategy: I learned pretty recently that you could use holy water to make more holy water, and I took advantage of this feature whenever possible. Once I got water walking boots I had a pretty good farm of 6-9 potions of holy water in my bag of holding at all times--never saw much point in wasting potions, even crap ones. Made a bunch of potions of gain level from levitation and enlightenment, which helped a lot. When I got my first magic marker from a wish, it was the same with scrolls. I got most of my ascension kit filled out in the midgame, and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. (Fort Ludios is almost hilariously easy at level 20, with reflection and magic resistance.)
For shits and giggles: I learned about two dozen spells, though I couldn't feasibly cast any of them since I was a samurai with 10 INT wearing metal armor. (Remove curse is shit at unskilled.) I also brought a mvomacka corpse back to life just so I could kill it, for the sake of gloating--in retrospect, I should have tamed him and brought him along for the journey. Found a mind flayer figurine, which was pleasant--too bad it was at Jubilex's swamp, where the tame mind flayer got stranded on an island. I made two tins of Wizard of Yendor meat, which for some reason makes me giddy with delight.
Notes on specific levels:
In my previous game I wasted three wishes on trying to get Grayswandir, and failed. I didn't want this to happen again, so I skipped the quest to get to the wand of wishing at the Castle before I could come across any other artifact weapons, and sacrificed on altars only as much as I felt was necessary to get good luck. From the few sacrifices I made I still managed to get Snickersnee and Demonbane (d'oh), but I also got gifts of stealth and divine protection, so it was ultimately worth it. And I still managed to get Grayswandir on my first wish! This turned out to be a good move, as the Quest was absolutely littered with useless artifact weapons, like Trollbane and Ogresmasher.
Ashikaga? Wand of death. Wizard of Yendor? Wand of death. Jubilex? Wand of death. Pestilence? Wand of death.
Had some trouble in the Plane of Fire--too many damn fire traps. Took me a good fifteen minutes to find the portal, even with cursed scrolls of gold detection. Should have thought of wielding the Amulet of Yendor.
Got lucky at the Astral Plane--first High Altar I found was the right one. Wand of deathed Pestilence (twice), cleared out the weaklings in the anteroom with a scroll of stinking cloud, and blazed a trail through the rest with a wand of teleport.
And the rest is awesome.
Ascension cannot be far off!
- Me, after first reaching the Castle in 2005