I have not been able to win and get back to Sarsdell with a magic-user (Eztar a pregen 3rd level) or elf (Kayen Telva - yeah, him!). I did make it through recently with Hewer, my 3rd level Fighter. It was a close shave and my aura is not clear about it, if you get my meaning. For one thing, it's against cannon as a Fighter could never be Sargon's heir. I just wanted to see if it could be done. I tried a couple of different elf and M/U roll-ups, but no go. I don't know why they included level 1 magic-user pregens; it seems to me they'd be toast practically immediately.
This time, I encountered a high number of ferrets, and notably routed a Giant Black Widow Spider without being bitten. I only survived as I took liberal advantage of the bed for exploring and went through on a treasure run the last go-through. I thought by picking Orcish language I could avoid some fights but it didn't happen at all. I didn't see nor smell an orc.
The first monster I encountered was a Giant Ferret, in the field just outside the postern gatehouse in which Eztar was killed (a couple of iterations before) by a Giant Ferret. Hewer kept his spell book and his +1 dagger. I'm not sure if I re-vengeanced Eztar, and I'm not sure if his gear counts as treasure - but I like to think yes to the former and no to the latter. It would give me a +1 dagger in the long run.
I think I will shift Hewer over to a 2nd level bald (from the barber room) Wizard in Dungeon Crawl Classics and have him be some kind of cat-conjurer with Sargon as a patron. I gain a level by completing the adventure auto-magically, but I feel bad about the whole "I'm a fighter" thing. I could just forswear the sword and devote myself to the study of the hunting cats and their magics. Sargon as Patron. Hmm.
Hmm. That's worth a thing, there.
On the random encounter chart, the lower your roll the more dangerous the encounter is. The lion in Sargon's study almost took me to pieces in a couple of rounds. Claw/claw/bite 2-5/2-5/1-10! with an 8 needed to hit my chain mail!. Thank some god below for my last iron ration to distract it - cowardly, yes, but I think it's okay RAW. I have rarely been so worried about the outcome of a battle - you can't drink healing potions in combat in these rules! My heart rate was a little up for a couple of minutes!
( Following up with this thread in which a Nithian Automaton is discussed. I don't know what that is, yet.)