Sooner or later your character will end up being sent to the
Abyss. If you're just starting Crawl, then don't worry about this
just yet, but you may want to come back and read this when it
happens to you!
The Abyss is definitely survivable, even with a low-level character.
There are two things you need to remember:
- *never* stand and fight
- teleportation and blinking send you to a new Abyssal level.
If you have a moment or two to breathe, optimise your character for
defence: improve your AC and EV at the cost of any offensive power
(wield weapons of protection, for example). Then start running. Each
level of the Abyss is wrap-around, so don't just run due south or you'll
go in circles: head slightly off a compass direction and you should end
up covering more-or-less all of the level eventually. Avoid open areas
if possible, however, and be VERY careful not to go into a dead-end.
You'll soon pick up an entourage of demons of one sort or another.
Ignore them and keep running: if they only have melee attacks then they
won't have time to hurt you, while if they stop to throw spells at you
they'll fall behind with time. If you get too damaged, now is the time
to use up your potions of healing!
If things start to get too dangerous (eg a type '1' demon appears and
blows away 60% of your hp with one spell), then use tactic (2). If you
teleport or blink in the Abyss, it will generate a complete new level.
So, if you get surrounded or there's a real nasty you can't shake off,
then read a scroll of blink or teleport, cast a spell of one of these,
or zap a wand of teleport at yourself. Bingo: you're in a new area!
Start running again :).
If you get sent to the Abyss at a low level with no healing potions, no
scrolls of teleport or blink, and with no real armour, then you're
probably dead. Otherwise, keep running and if you're lucky you should
sooner or later find a portal out. I estimate that 2/3 of my level 10-15
characters who end up in the Abyss survive.