Class of Heroes

From Before I Play
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- Never go into a dungeon without having that dungeons map on-hand. The game won't let you access the automap in a dungeon until you do so. Even then, it starts of blank and only fills out as you explore.

- Apart from the top floors of each dungeon, all the floors you can encounter in dungeons are symmetrical. Exactly what floors you get is randomised, but they'll always be symmetrical.

- Feel free to keep on rerolling for bonus stat points during character creation - about 18-20 is a good number, and should be enough to make a character into almost any class you desire. The game can be fucking evil so the more advantages you have the better.

- Remember that characters in the back row cannot attack with melee weapons, which can be confusing at first since newly created characters don't have ranged weapons on them.

- Your magic supplies will be limited, but that because it's devestating. Entire rows of monsters can be wiped out with a single spell, so always have a black magic user or two in your party.

- Clerics (I think?) can identify items. This is a lot more convenient than getting them identified at a town/school.

- No, you don't suck, the game can be really unfair at timesforever.

- In addition, feel free to savescum. It won't be long before it's entirely possible that you get jumped with a lucky Deathgan for an instant wipe. I have honestly counted 11 consecutive surprise attacks before. The game is a Wizardry clone.

- You can run multiple parties at the same time if you want. Have them back each other up in the same dungeon or let them explore separate paths or dungeons. But remember that recovering bodies requires empty spaces in the rescue party!

- In the same vein, it can be useful to have an ID monkey and his devout helper hang out at the recycle bin in novice road. Any time you discard an item in a dungeon, it ends up in the bin. From anywhere! Inventory full? Toss some stuff, station your party, switch to your 2 man ID party and pull all the stuff out of the recycle bin! If your inventory is full when you try to loot something, the loot is gone forever.

- You can get incredible mileage out of the worthless clothes you start with if you upgrade them in the laboratory. Every upgrade adds 1 defense. That's... what? 45 defense on a fully upgraded set? I forget. It's not a reasonable cost at first due to the Hard Rock required, but keep this in mind.

- I don't know what the student ID is for and I can't find a definitive answer. Toss it.

- Try to use your tension meter often. Spending tension increases the affinity of your party members. This raises your max tension and the rate at which it's generated.

- Bosses will eventually one-shot your entire party so hard that they skip death entirely and just turn to dust. The answer to this is usually the Burst Fire gambit. It always goes first and has perfect accuracy. The sheer number of hits is belts out is likely to stun anything. Spend the round after that unloading every non-gambit you have. Repeat this as often as you're able. And maybe pray a little.

- Races. Erdgeists are not immune to instant death traps. That race in general can be damn hard to use, but they're really fun when you crosstrain them into psychiceers with white and black magic on the side. Dwarves make fantastic monks. Also valkyries, if you're so inclined. Sprites can't use most equipment and fall over dead if you look at them wrong, but they get some fairly awesome unique stuff. Drakes, you want in front. DO IT. Warrior, paladin, samurai, whatever. Celestians I have a bad record with. The others I haven't played nearly as much.

- Paladins. You want one. They learn Cover, which causes them to take most attacks in place of others. Shields usually go in the off-hand, but there are some main hand shields for dual wielding tank action. They also have one of the highest experience curves. You may want to raise it as a warrior at first for lots of quick levels and big HP bonuses. Then you can change majors to paladin. This will reduce his level to 1 and cut his max HP in half, but he'll still start out well ahead of the curve.

- The level of an evoker's summoned monster depends on the evoker's level at the time the contract is made. If you want a particular summon at a higher level, you have to raise the evoker's level before going back to reform the contract. Evokers are neat, but I can't recommend one alongside a paladin. Some summons will try to use Cover and it conflicts in nasty ways with a paladin trying to use Cover.

- Each major can only learn a certain number of spells of each level and of each type. Look at rangers. They can have up to 2 out of 4 psychic spells of every level at any given time. The ones they learn are random. If you don't like what they get, you can choose to forget any number of them. Next time the ranger levels up, the empty slots are filled with more random spells! So uh, cheese that part by saving first. On a related note, be sure to prune your list of magic before changing majors if you're switching to something that won't remember as many spells. Otherwise they're deleted at random.

- Infirmary donations! Donating gold rewards the character with experience at a 1:1 rate. This is fantastic later on for new recruits or old favorites that just changed majors. ALWAYS save before donating for a level up. Stats will go up and down, yes. That's normal. They all tend to end up at about normal levels in the end. It's the HP and spell gains you want control over. This game will not hesitate to give you 1-3 HP per level regardless of vitality. I was settling for something around 12 for my squishiest casters most of the time. I've seen a 24 vitality drake warrior get 40 many times.

Party Composition

There are some basic things you probably want in your party: Someone to identify items. A way to deal with treasure chests. Levitation. Ragnarok. Phase/Teleport.

As mentioned, you want someone to ID items. Either a cleric or an alchemist. Alchemists are generally worthless in combat on top of having a very high experience curve. The primary benefit of an alchemist is the ability to perform item crafting for free. Unfortunately, this requires keeping his levels up if you want to do more than the most basic combinations. A cleric learns white and black magic, but at a slower pace than a devout or wizard. They can identify right off the bat and soon gain the ability to instantly kill an entire row of undead enemies. It helps if someone other than your cleric learns the Calm spell (level 2 white) so you can easily remove the debuff caused by failing to ID things too often. This will let you ID things in the field without worry. I'm pretty sure success depends on the user's level compared to the item's level. On top of all this, clerics also do normal damage to a few of the most annoying enemy types in the game! The only other easy alternative for that is a drake or diablon's breath attack. Those tend to lose their punch after the first use in a fight.

TRAPS. These soon become another source of instant wipes if you don't learn to deal with them. Ideally, you want a thief or ranger to check chests for traps. Rangers are more useful later on, but I hear thieves are slightly better at checking and disarming. True or not, this is moot due to "thief+" equipment which improves your success with those actions. Even a decked out thief can fail to properly identify a trap. You'll learn from experience what kind of traps you can expect to find in a given area. If your level 2 ranger tells you there's a stone gaze trap on a crappy old chest on novice road, it's safe to say he's wrong. Most traps in the game are going to be in the left column of the disarm list which is full of results that tend not to be immediately fatal. If you aren't sure, use Scan (level 2 white) for a 100% accurate result. If it really is a potentially deadly trap and you don't have enough faith in your disarming chances, use Unlock (level 6 psychic) or give up on it. A neat thing to remember is chests which are found laying around on the floor can be canceled out of and rerolled as much as you want. Keep retrying that silver chest and you may have it turn up a grade higher or lower!

Levitas (level 2 black) lets you avoid floor traps and walk over water! I've never had a random encounter while levitating over deep water. Do remember that anti-magic spaces cancel it.

Ragnarok (level 7 black) does a number of extremely powerful and useful things. If you're doing some major switching to get someone to learn it, remember it will fail when cast by anyone under... 14, I think? Also turns out the spell is bugged and can not restore lost stamina. Stamina has a hand in your stat growth on level up and goes down naturally at such a slow pace that you may never see it happen.

Phase/Teleport (5 psychic/7 black). Phase lets you teleport anywhere you've already been on the same floor. Such as to the opposite stairs if you haven't found the right magic key yet. Teleport will move you anywhere you've already been on ANY FLOOR. Such as to the exit.

I think my main party is still something like:

Dwarf valkyrie (formerly monk). For using Bold Move safely under...

Drake paladin (formerly warrior). Cover.

Drake samurai. Access to 2 breath users AND dual wield Runslash is fun!

Elf ranger. Utility. Bows get pretty good. Elf wasn't the best choice.

Human cleric. Can't overstate her usefulness.

Erdgeist psychiceer (formerly devout/wizard). Throws every spell ever. Psychiceer last for the use of Barrier.