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- Melee combat is going to be immensely frustrating. You can walk backwards and sideways to dodge dogs long enough to smack them but the timing is tricky. It only gets harder from there. Use traps.
- There's a useful secondary melee attack bound by default to mouse3 that's faster (doesn't require charging up) but uses more stamina.
- Make and keep a lantern equipped during the day in new areas, shiny rocks will glint and sell for $$$. Lanterns last 1-2 days if you manage equipping it only when in new areas.
- Don't cook on the stove until the second or third house, if ever - the benefits are not necessarily worth the downsides. Focus on affording better workbench, inv and belt space instead of gathering things to cook.
- You don't have to run the generator in the first safehouse if you don't use the stove so just sit quietly in the dark rearranging your workbench inventory
- If you survive the night you get free reputation with the trader (+100 at the first safehouse, +150 2nd, +200 3rd, etc.). If you die you don't get it for that night. This isn't a massive deal so don't sweat dying.
- When you die you drop half your inventory but things on your belt are safe.
- Make and sell torches for money, don't let that vendor go away with empty inv spots
- You can hoard nails and boards but you can go overboard on this, once you lose places to put it maybe stop buying them.
- Make a pistol asap and buy magazines, they aren't that expensive since you get 6 shots for 40ish, and if you are bad at melee this is a must. The pistol is the most cost efficient weapon by far.
- You only need one pistol (and other weapons) and it never gets damaged so sell parts you don't need.
- Answer the knock at night.