Risen

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  • The game has three main starting paths. Bandit camp, monastery and harbour city. These shape your character class however the game retardedly does not tell you this. If you go the bandit camp path you can choose a melee or ranged type of character. If you get into the monastery path, you become a mage type character. If you go to the city path you become a monk type character.
  • A couple of crucial game mechanics for some fucking stupid reason are not ever explained. For example, you can dig for treasure in small areas of cleared ground (need a shovel). You can uncover doors by clicking on some rings in dungeons or clicking on some rock walls with a pickaxe in your inventory (usually look like doorways and will take a slight highlight when you place your cursor on them).
  • Get good at dodging and blocking. For real, dodge is key for many animal and beast enemies.
  • Keep all the stat boosting herbs. These can be made into potions which make them more effective.
  • Alchemy is a must.
  • Smithing only lets you make jewelry and swords. Still useful however.
  • If you get high enough into the axe or sword mastery tree, you can wield 2H axes/swords in one hand.
  • The highest that trainers can train your STR & DEX is 100. You can get above 100 through stat boosting equipment and potions. The cap is 200. Any stat boosting equipment counts towards both these caps. Eg you have 95 strength and wear a +5 ring for 100 total. A strength trainer will not let you add +5 strength until you take the ring off. You can only raise wisdom through reading bookstands and stone tablets.
  • As a corollary, keep all your stat boosting potions until you have trained up to 100 STR/DEX without any +stat items on.
  • Only certain weapon trainers can get you to the maximum mastery.
  • STR & DEX add directly to your weapon damage. STR for melee, DEX for ranged. Crossbows require STR to equip however get a damage bonus from DEX. Not sure how WIS works.
  • Sneak is pretty much only good for stealing things in people's houses or moving undetected through off-limits city zones like warehouses, however there are several points in the game where there are geometric bugs that interrupt your sneak. It has ZERO effect on hostile NPCs (but not neutral NPCs, like the aforementioned warehouse guards) or enemies. You can get a ring that gives it to you in the mid game. On PC, enable sneak with the LCTRL key (not sure what it is on console). Again, for some stupid fucking reason the game doesn't tell you how to do this nor does it list this button in the key config in options.
  • Acrobatics doubles the distance before you take fall damage and halves said damage, good for jumping off cliffs to reduce travel time. Again, you can find a ring that gives it to you in the mid game.
  • Jumping while you travel generally allows you to move faster than running. Exceptions are traveling up or down sleep slopes.
  • When you are lockpicking chests/doors, the number of left/right actions for each lock is always equal. Eg. an easy lock has 4 actions (2L, 2R), medium has 6 (3L, 3R), hard has 8 (4L, 4R). So if you have a hard lock where the first four actions are LLLL, you know that the last four are RRRR.
  • You don't have to choose a side until Harbour Town. The best way to build your character is to go to the Don's Camp, do most of the quests there, then jump on over to Harbour Town. This'll give you the most possible experience if you choose to side with the Order. Even if you will end up going Don though, the quests from the camp that send you to the city give some really good exp you don't want to miss.
  • Ranged weapons are bugged. The Bow/Crossbow skills don't apply the effects until r6/r10. This makes going "ranged" pretty difficult. You can still do it, but it'd probably be best to grab a Crossbow for your main weapon, then just pump Dex early. That'd give you tons of damage upfront, which you can use to clear out some monster camps/buy up the skills.
  • Nothing respawns in the game. Instead at the start of every chapter they seed in new tougher enemies. The problem with this is they don't remove the old enemies, so you can end up with packs of 12-15 wolves in Chapter 3 if you didn't explore the area to keep clearing them out. Because of this, it's extremely important that you keep wandering around killing enemies along the roads/forests. Not doing so can cause the game to become unwinnable, since you'll be caught in a catch 22 of not being powerful enough to clear that huge group of mobs anymore, yet need the exp to level up enough to clear other groups of mobs.
  • 90% of the skills are worthless. Pickpocketing won't even pay back it's investment, and you can just pick the locks you'd be stealing keys for. There are Acrobatic/Sneak rings in the world you can find that give you those skills. The 20 learning points asked for Prospecting/Smithing, plus the 2000 gold investment just gives you a single ring that's 3 points better then what you'll find exploring, and a few "better" swords prior to Chapter 2. Gut Animals won't pay back the investment, even if you skin every animal on the island. Only Pick Locks and Alchemy are worth the asking price ( PL opens up a ton of different paths during quests, and pays itself back fully just by cleaning out Harbour Town. Alchemy gives you + skill point potions. )
  • Explore everything, always. You need the Hero Crowns in the forest anyways, so go off the beaten path and find stuff. You'll find tons of weapons and armor just wandering around.
  • General rule of thumb is Strength/Dex 1-30 fight Wolves/Stingrats/Vultures, Strength/Dex 30-50 fight Gnomes/Boars/Talon Moths. Once you get armor in Chapter 2, start fighting Skeletons/War Crickets. Only once you get around 75-100 Strength ( and around level 15-18ish ) should you start fighting Ghouls/Lizardmen.
  • Axes are slow but do high damage. Swords are fast, have better reach, and still do alright damage. Staffs are the inbetween weapon that have decent damage, speed, and range. Swords are always the best weapon to use due to the speed/reach, since 90% of this game is about counterattacking or hitting them during small openings. Also you can't use shields with Axes until r6, and can't use shields with Staffs at all.
  • Being a "pure" Mage is pretty pointless. You can technically cast the spells off of "Runes", but they eat absurd amounts of mana to do so. The biggest issue is your Rune spells ( levitation/polymorph/healing ) take the same mana as your combat spells ( bullet/frost/fireball ), and you cap out on mana rather quickly. Because of this, you'll probably end up scribing a couple dozen scrolls over the course of the game as you need them. Considering the tradeoff for Mage/Warrior of the Order is that Mages can cast Runes, while Warriors have to scribe them ( and Warriors get two sets of much better armor right when you need them, while Mages need to wait until the last 30 minutes of the game for their next upgrade ), it makes Mage a bit pointless.