Because it’s a randomized “hack and haul” game, Fate doesn’t need a walkthru. However, as with any game, there are some tips, tricks, and information that can make getting through a little easier.

This is written mainly for those who plan to follow basic play, descending the levels and killing off whatever monster is your fate. I’m not into the “deep delving”, where some go down hundreds, or even thousands, of levels. That’s just too boring.

It’s also a long article. I recommend saving it on your computer and reading it later offline. That way it will be handy whenever you want to refer to it.

Bugs

I’m putting this up front so you don’t miss it. Fate has run remarkably well for me, but there are a couple of things you need to know.The game crashed on me just once. I’d had a very long play session, and had also been doing a lot of quit/continue for quests. Then I went back (through the portal) to the dungeon and started downstairs. The level loaded about 3/4’s of the way and choked. I had to reboot my system.

Fortunately, nothing terrible happened. On reloading the save, I was in the dungeon, on the right level, by the stairs down.

So my suggestion is, if you’re playing for a long time, quit to the desktop now and then. I suspect a memory problem here, since it’s not happened since then, and I’ve been careful about this.

The other problem is more serious. It occurs only for those quests where you’re asked to bring back an item, which does not require killing a boss. The item would be found lying on the floor somewhere.

One of two things might happen. The first is that the item is outside the dungeon. Really. I’ve seen this several times while walking the perimeter: the item shows on the other side of the wall, where it is, of course, inaccessible.

The other possibility is that it just isn’t there. I’ve had times where I made several careful passes of the level, including the perimeter, and the item simply wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

If either of these situations happens to you, do this: portal back to town, and quit to the desktop. Then run the game again and return to the dungeon. Now you should find the item somewhere on the floor on that level.

This tactic has worked every time except one (I had to cancel that quest). I don’t know why it didn’t on that occasion, but it’s brought the item “back” all the other times.

Difficulty Levels

As you would expect, the higher modes (Hero and Legend) are naturally tougher at the start, and become harder much more quickly as you go down the dungeon.Typically, monsters do more damage, have more hitpoints, and their nasty spells, such as Slow, last longer. Elites start showing up much sooner, especially in Legend mode. You also come across more random bosses, critters you haven’t been tasked to kill, but are just as mean as any others.

You do have a better chance of finding artifacts as loose treasure as you go down the levels. Of course, there’s no guarantee that you will find many, but they do turn up more often.

Traps on chests, barrels and urns begin on the first dungeon level, where in easier modes they usually don’t start showing up until about level 3.

Otherwise, Hero and Legend are pretty much the same as the easier difficulties.

Your Character

Your first decision is what difficulty to start on. I recommend the default Adventurer, unless you’re really new to this type of game (in which case, start with Page). It will provide a decent challenge, especially lower down.Next is the type of character, either fighter or mage. Whichever you choose, the manual has the right idea: stick to one and develop it. The early levels are deceptively easy. Lower down, you can run into trouble if you haven’t built your character well.

Fighters

You have several choices here: weapon & shield; 2-hand weapon; dual-wield; archery.Whatever one you go with, for all fighter types, the crucial skill is Critical Strike. With a good weapon in hand, you can do serious damage on a crit hit.

Build this up quickly through points and buffs to the 30-33% range. Beyond that, the climb is so steep, you won’t get much better. I created a cheat character to test this. I managed to pump CS up to 372 (!), and the chance was only 45%. That’s steep.

That is also true for Shield Block, which goes up at the same rate as Critical Strike. So figure, if you take this skill, that 30-33% is where you’ll stop. For all that, the percentages are better than they look. CS in particular kicks in often.

Other things to work on are attack speed and chance to hit. Attack speed can only be incremented through buffs on items. Chance to hit can be built up with points in dexterity as well as item buffs.

The other ability you want is life leech. As you go deeper, you’ll be taking some heavy hits. Being able to get HP back with your own attacks can save your life. 20-30% is a good range to have.

In the early going, say the first ten or so experience levels, bring up strength and dexterity so you can handle better weapons and armor. After that, put points in vitality now and then, but continue with strength and dex throughout.

You may be tempted to put points in a weapon skill. Bad idea. There are many good weapons of different types, and you can easily find yourself ditching that “nifty sword” for a more potent axe or spear halfway along.

It’s best to wait until late in the game to add to a weapon skill, and then only if you’re sure you won’t be changing it for something else. There are better skills in which to invest those precious points.

Weapon & shield – Best defense, most protection, and there are some potent one-hand weapons in the game. With a big shield, such as a tower, and a long weapon, say a warpike, you can have 20 sockets to play with, and that’s a good thing. This is the best choice for first-timers who want a fighting character. It’s also my choice for any fighting character (and I’ve tried them all)

Dual Wield – Two weapons don’t always make for more damage, as you’ll note by looking at the DW skill. The real reason to take this is being able to have two different types of damage at once.

Monsters often have resistance to one sort of damage or another. By equipping say, a crushing weapon and a slashing one, your chances of dishing out damage improve a bit.

However, trying to build this up too far will stick you with the same problem as Critical Strike: diminishing returns. Eventually, the points put in will yield very little in the way of increases.

You also give up the extra protection of the shield, so good heavy armor and plenty of defense buffs are a must if you want to stay alive. DW is a choice best for the experienced players.

2-hand weapons – These are among the most powerful. However, not only are you giving up the shield protection, you also have fewer sockets for gems. In addition, many of these weapons are slow. So you attack less often, but do good damage when you hit.

If going with these polearm types, work on bringing up attack speed so you can strike more often. And, same as for Dual Wield, beefing up armor protection is a must.

Personally, I don’t see any reason to go with polearms unless you find something extraordinary, like maybe Beck’s Wolfbind. There really is a very good range of powerful one-hand weapons for melee combat.

Archery – The point of using bows is to kill from a distance. Aside from enemy archers, almost all monsters will be rushing towards you. So the thing to have is knockback, either enchanted on an item or from an installed superior obsidian gem.

Crossbows tend to have the highest damage, but are usually slow. As with polearms, you want to build up attack speed as quickly as you can. Since all bows are 2-handed weapons, again you must work on bringing up defense with good armor.

When using an archer, I found it best to have a few summons with me to keep the enemy occupied while I picked them off from a distance. This is more necessary later than earlier. At the start, work on your character as usual, and begin adding the magic around level 10 or so (dungeon level 10).

Keep in mind that damage and attack speeds can vary with the items you find. Artifact weapons or rare (teal background) may be faster than ordinary ones. Always check out new weapons carefully to see if any are faster than what you’re using now.

The most terrifying sight for any fighter is the enemy with Reflection up. Any time you see something inside a semi-opaque globe, that’s Reflection. And their spell kicks back to you 50% of the damage you do. A couple of solid crit hits, and you could easily kill yourself (ask me how I know; on second thought, don’t ask ;).

By the way, that includes archery, as I found out (painfully). Being at a distance is no protection. Any physical hit, be it melee or missile, will send the damage back to you. Ouch.

So what to do? There are several possibilities: (a) attack slowly, and heal up as necessary (not easy once you have your attack speed up); (b) let your pet do the job, healing it as needed (also not easy if multiple enemies have Reflection going); (c) use a little magic of your own (my choice).

Having a little magic is a good thing, especially as you go lower down in the dungeon. There are fewer skills in which to put “fighting” points, so bulding up spellcasting is helpful.

One of the best spells is Ringing Blast, which knocks everything away from you. That can save your life when surrounded by a mob, giving you room to move away from the horde. More on this in the magic section.

Other good spells for fighters are Dervish (lasts longer than Haste), Spectral Armor (very short term, alas), and Reflection of your own. All these, along with Ringing Blast, are in the Defense school. So it’s worth bringing that up with some points.

For enemies with reflection up – especially those like Dark Phantoms which are immune to the magic damage of Ringing Blast – consider Scorch and Lightning Bolt. They’re cheap to cast, and you don’t need a lot of magic to learn them.

For those tough encounters when you’re facing a mob, a few summons can be of help, even if their summon time doesn’t last long. A couple of points in Charm can go a long way to keeping you alive.

All fighters suffer from the same problem: you can target only one enemy at a time. There is no skill or weapon that allows for multiple attacks. If you want mass destruction, you need spells.

Magic

As with fighting, there are a couple of ways to go here: attack mage and summoning mage. Either way, the important skill is Spellcasting, which decreases casting time. It doesn’t matter how potent the spells you throw; if you can’t get them off quickly, you’re dead.Like some of the fighting skills, Spell Casting comes with diminishing returns. Build it up to about 45% with points and from there rely on buffs to increase it.

Further, you also need a large mana pool, and fast mana regen. With those three, you can stand there and chuck spells all day without worrying about running out of power.

Attack Mage – All points go into the Attack Magic skill (when they aren’t adding to Spellcasting). The Magic stat should be built up to at least 55 as soon as possible, because you want access to the high-powered area spells Fire Wall, Meteor Strike, and Lightning Storm.

Then you should invest some points into Defense, in particular for Ringing Blast. This knocks opponents away, and damages them, too. Most of the time; some enemies are resistant or immune to magic, and won’t be hurt. But everything gets pushed away.

When I run a summoning mage, this is my main attack spell. It’s also helpful for keeping additional monsters from entering the fight, and can easily kill them as they try to get at your “pals”.

You have to keep a close eye on what monsters have what resistances. Mousing over a foe, especially a “boss”, will show you this. There are at least a couple that are immune to all magic: Mimics (they look like treasure chests) and Cursed Swords. For these two, only physical attacks will work.

Otherwise, quickly scan the display and use the best spell in your repertoire, one for which the enemy has no or small resistance.

Summoning Mage – Should you be wanting an easier time of it, the best choice is a summoning mage. Having your own small army of seven (six summons and your pet) can really help when things are rough.

You also have to decide if you want Attack or Defense spells. For me, no question, Defense is the one. Why? Ringing Blast, which I consider the best spell in the game.

You also get handy spells such as Reflection and Spectral Armor, although the armor doesn’t last long, even at high skill levels, and of course, healing. Minor Group Heal is good for patching up everyone, including summoned critters. In fact, it’s the only way to heal them.

By the way, you can always mouse over a summoned creature to see how much time remains before it dispels. If you’ve been running around awhile with your gang, it’s a good thing to check this now and then, so you don’t find yourself suddenly alone with kitty when facing a mob.

If you prefer variety, go with Attack spells, and get up to area effects as quickly as possible. Trying to target a single monster in a mob is often difficult. Area effects do not hurt your own allies, so fire away.

Experienced players might want to try the hybrid fighter/mage combination. In this case, you’d be looking for Elven Swords and Maces. Both of those always come with bonuses to the magic skills: +5 for swords and +10 for maces.

The advantage of those weapons is they are one-handers, so you can equip a shield. Even a straight mage may want one of these for the extra protection.

The downside to a hybrid is that points need to be split among strength and dexterity as well as magic. So you may want to work on one first, say strength/dex so you can handle the sword or mace, then move to building up magic.

There are some enemies that mages must be on the watch for, as they are dangerous. Brain Beasts can drain your mana, not only to zero, but below. That means long regen times. Try to keep away from them.

The Gryphoness is the bane of the summoning mage. She can – and will – banish all your summons if she gets the chance. Kill any gryphoness as quickly as possible.

Some spellcasting monsters are able to cast Muffle Magic. This is almost as bad as mana drain. In fact, it can do both at once. There is nothing you can do while muffled except wait for it to wear off. I suggest a strategic retreat to as safe a place as you can find and wait it out.

NOTE: There is a problem with Ringing Blast and Knockback: it’s possible to push some monsters – the large ones – right through a wall. This can happen when you do repeated hits in rapid succession and the enemy can’t move away (in a corner, for instance).

Be aware of this, and try to avoid backing enemies into walls with RB or Knockback. If they do go through, and there’s a room or passage on the other side, you can go around and find them there.

Your Pet

Kitty (I always take the cat) can be a valuable ally, but many players tend to treat the pet as just a sort of pack mule. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, kitty can be quite helpful. Especially with its secret weapon: spellcasting.

First, though, the basic pet. Kitty has stats, but no skills. So everything must come from enchanted items. Yes, the pet can have skills from enchantments, including critical strike. If you can build that up, kitty beccomes much better in combat.

NOTE: If kitty’s items have any “% extra gold” or “% extra chance of magic items”, those only kick in if your pet gets the kill. These buffs do not stack with any of your own.

What you want most, of course, are buffs to strength/damage, vitality/life, armor, dexterity, attack speed, and to-hit. Good numbers in those areas make kitty a better fighter, whatever form it’s in.

It’s a pity there are no “elite” versions of fish to give kitty extra buffs in the higher difficulties. That would certainly go a long way to keeping your pet useful longer. As it is, you must make do as best you can.

You can reduce fleeing time by socketing all kitty’s jewelry and putting superior amethysts in them. This gives +30 HP regen. When reduced to 0, your pet will start running, but only for a short time. Then regen kicks in and it will come back.

Of course, that’s not much, but you may then have the time to heal it up. At the very least, when it stops fleeing, it will get the experience from any of your kills.

And speaking of that, if you send your pet to town to sell stuff, it will not get any experience for what you kill in the meantime. Only when kitty is with you and not fleeing does it garner experience. Which, if you need to know, is half what you get. A critter worth 100 points to you is worth 50 for your pet. The maximum experience level for your pet is 81, but only deep delvers will ever see that.

However, if you’re in town and your pet’s pack is full of identified items, you can hold down the shift key and left-click on any merchant. Kitty’s pack will open and you can sell all the stuff from there.

Should your pet be holding something you want, open both inventories, hold down the shift key, and left-click the item. If you have room in your pack, the item will transfer automatically. It works the other way, too, from your pack to kitty’s.

If you want your pet to cast spells – and you should – then you also want magic, mana, spellcasting speed, and most of all, buffs to the magic skills of Defense, Attack, and maybe Charm.

Kitty, if it has the abilities, can throw spells in any form, including the original. However, the best form for fighting/magic is the Gryphon. It has the most magic of any transformation (+100), plus good adds to the other stats.

Now there are some things to keep in mind when adding magic to your pet’s repertoire:

  • Spell effectiveness is based on skills, so you should try for as high numbers as possible on item buffs; remember kitty has no skills otherwise.
  • Both you and your pet must have the necessary magic stat to learn the spell. You don’t have to know the spell, your magic just just has to be high enough so you could learn it.
  • Kitty will remember the spells only for the current session. When you save/quit, all spells are forgotten, and you have to feed your pet the spells all over again. Leaving/entering the dungeon has no effect; it’s quitting the game that does it.
  • You have no control over what spells your pet casts, except for choosing which ones it knows. However, kitty isn’t dumb, and usually picks the right ones. Note that your pet will only cast in combat situations.

So, what spells to use? I find a small selection works best, since you have no control over which ones kitty will cast. There are five I always use: Meteor Strike, Draining Aura, Reflection, Spectral Armor, and Dervish.

If you’re starting your pet off with magic early, then Scorch and Lightning Strike, along with Spectral Armor, are good spells to have while you work up to Meteor.

These are from the Attack/Defense disciplines. When I’m not running a mage, then I add Summon Frost Beetle, which is the toughest critter you can call up that comes more then one.

Note that your pet will not summon additional critters while any are still around. And there is a caveat here, too: DO NOT leave the dungeon until all of kitty’s summons have been dispelled.

First, the game may crash when you go back in. If not, you’ll find that the summoned monsters will now be hostile (kitty summons do not go back to town with you as your own would). Also, you cannot use the dismiss spell to dispell anything kitty calls up. I know. I tried. It didn’t work ;)

NOTE: If kitty’s charm skill is high, you may want to forego the summoning spells. I’ve had a couple of occasions when the dungeon was cleared except for the last of a “kill N critters” quest, and on finding the last one – you guessed it – kitty called up some friends. Then I had to twiddle my fingers and wait until their time expired.

Giving spells is simple. Just pick up a spell scroll from your inventory and drop it on the “feed pet” icon, upper left screen. For some mysterious reason, your own spell book will open. I don’t know why, it just does.

Ignore that, close it (hit b), and drop another spell on the icon, etc. That’s all there is to it. If the spell won’t “take”, then either kitty’s magic isn’t high enough, or he’s got one memorized already.

I first got serious with pet spellcasting a few games back, on Hero, about 10-12 levels from fate. I spent a lot of time with Rikko (he’s up next) and finally got enchantments that added to magic skills: +9 on Attack and Charm, +8 on Defense (I was running a fighter here).

Not great, but better than 0, and wow, Scratch (my kitty at the time) was something to see. He wasn’t shy about casting spells. Vroom! Meteor Strike! Zip! Dervish! Pow! Reflection! Suddenly, reinforcements!

Yeah, he was darn good and hardly ever ended up fleeing, unless there was a real mob around him (unavoidable at times). This kitty ain’t no pack mule.

But it does take time and effort, which brings us to the next part: buffing your stuff.

Everyone Comes To Rikko’s

Enchanted items are the key to having a powerful character (and pet!). Finding or buying good stuff is one way to have them, but that isn’t enough. You have to get your items buffed by Rikko.That is going to be time-consuming, and often frustrating. Rikko is, like everything else, a random factor. And whatever happens – good, bad, or nothing – you pay his price.

Any item, except gems, can be enchanted. I don’t know what the limit is, or if there is one, for buffs. They can go beyond what you see on the screen (28), and that is a bad thing.

Because you don’t know what you got until you look, and there is NO way to see anything past the screen; there is no “second panel”. So you might get “12% strength penalty” or “22% (your) life drained on hit” or maybe a “10% increased item requirements”. All quite nasty, and no way of knowing until much too late.

So it’s important not to go overboard with the enchanting. Keep it to the first screen. Besides, with items able to hold so many buffs, there’s no need for massive numbers of enchantments on any one of them.

Things to know about enchanting:

  • Wait until you’re up in at least the 10-15 level range. Low-level characters get wimpy enchantments and waste their money, because the buffs are based on character level.
  • Better quality items escalate rapidly in price as enchantments go on them. An ordinary plate belt cost 3950 for the first buff (10% mana). The second one cost 37,411, and gave me a socket. The third one cost 56,305. And it just zooms up from there.
  • Spread your buffs out over time. Trying for too many on too many items at once will make you dizzy. Really. Get something enchanted, do a couple dungeon levels, then do buffs on another item.
  • Don’t put many buffs on items early on. As you go deeper in the dungeon, you find better stuff. Better equipment shows up in merchant stock, too. It’s too expensive and time-consuming to recreate 20 enchantments on better equipment, so stick with a few on each item. Buff up more when you have the good stuff.
  • The least expensive items to enchant are rings and amulets. For whatever reason, you can get a lot of buffs for less on these than anything else.
  • Artifacts can be enchanted only for sockets. No other effect can be placed on them. Artifacts always have a sort of yellow-brown background.
  • You should always work to getting the maximum number of sockets an item can hold. This is important for getting extra boosts from the many gems (regular and artifact) in the game.

An item can have as many sockets as it is tall. Belts, rings, and amulets, therefore, are one-socket. Boots, gloves, and helmets are two-socket. Body armor is either two-socket or three (mage robes). Weapons and shields can be two, three, or four-socket. Just count the vertical boxes and you’ll know the max number of sockets. The maximum number of sockets possible is 21.

The basic problem with enchanting is that you never know what, if anything, you’ll get. That’s where the frustration comes in, especially if you’re trying for a particular buff.

“Hey Rikko, I need some sockets in these gloves”
Whoosh! “Look, I gave you 10% dex bonus”
“Nice, Rikko, but I need sockets”
Whoosh! “Here, +5 critical strike”
“Okay, but I still want those sockets”
Whoosh! “How about that, 12% vitality bonus”
“Sockets, Rikko. S-o-c-k-e-t-s!”
[Many iterations later…] “SOCKETS!! I need SOCKETS, Rikko!”
Whoosh! “Oops, so sorry, I just wiped all the buffs”
[Sounds of anguished screaming and rending flesh]
“Mother of Mercy…is this the…end…of Rikko?”

Actually, getting sockets isn’t that hard, but you get the idea when it comes to obtaining what you want otherwise. So you’re wondering: how do I get good buffs and avoid bad ones? After all, just imagine putting that Neato Ring with seventeen nifty bonuses on his anvil, and having ALL enchantments removed! (and that can happen with artifacts, too!)

Easy. You cheat. It’s bad enough to pay Rikko for nothing; it’s worse to pay for a curse. Especially if he’s asking for millions (and yes, that’s quite possible). Some may want to live with that. Fine with me. For the rest of us, there’s a way around the problem.

If you get a bad enchantment, or all powers removed, or you just spent a couple million for “nothing happens”, simply hit the Windows key on the left between ctrl and alt. That minimizes the game (at least in XP; I don’t know about 2K). Then use ctrl-alt-delete to bring up Task Manager and kill the game.

Nothing was saved, so you can reload now and you’ll be back where you were before the bad stuff happened. And by the way, DO remember to save every time you get a good buff. You never know when the next one will be nasty.

One other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, a lesser item with a good enchantment can be better than a more powerful one. In one game, I had an elite plate belt with AC 103 and a small defense bonus.

As a quest reward, I received a plate belt AC 50, but the defense bonus was a large one. Just for laughs, I equipped the belt, and was shocked to see that my defense actually improved, even though the new belt was only half the armor class. So keep an eye on the numbers.

The Heirloom

This is one of the best features in the game. On retiring your character, you hand down one item of your choice. It gets a 25% boost to all powers, and that’s potent. That includes any buffs from a gem in the item.By the third descendant, the original abilities will double, and by the fifth descendant, the original abilities will triple. One reason is that all fractions are rounded up, a nice touch.

Further, all descendants get special boosts of their own. Each will come in at level 2, thereby receiving free experience. Fame is the biggie, though. The first descendant gets 2 levels of fame free. The next one gets three, and so on. The advantage of coming from an illustrious family!

Of course, it’s obvious that heirlooming is meant especially for going into the higher difficulty levels; every character starts at level 1, even in Legend mode. So having those extra points and level at the start is helpful.

The best way is to go through Adventurer a few times to build up power, then head to Hero and later, Legend. So what item to hand down?

No question, jewelry. See, if an item has requirements, those will escalate along with the item’s powers. A few generations, and the heirloom can become unusable until very late in the game, or maybe never unless you go deep delving.

Rings and amulets, though, have no requirements. They can be equipped by any character, regardless of stats or fame. So one of those, with hefty buffs, is the thing to pass along.

The one thing to beware of is the movement speed buff. Don’t heirloom an item with that, especially if you plan to go through several generations. Your character will end up moving so fast as to be uncontrollable.

Many players, including me, prefer a ring. This keeps the other ring slot and the necklace slot open for found goodies or items you later enchant with Rikko.

Since I’ve been working on making kitty a really good spellcaster, he’s been getting the heirloom ring each generation. It’s now up to a great +75 on magic skills, and the next hand-down I’ll be taking him to Legend and see how he does. I don’t mind, because there’s always plenty of good stuff to be found for my characters anyway.

Fame

Fame comes quickly early on. After you get to around 11th level Fame or so, the uphill climb starts. Then, if you want more, you have to pay Rollo, and he becomes expensive very fast.The following list shows the fame levels, with the points needed for each, and what you’d have to pay for the next one. In a typical game, figure you can reach (with some effort) Fabled.

Keep in mind that the cost is “from scratch”, if you never garnered fame points, but just bought the levels. Prices are slightly lower if you’ve been picking up points from dungeoneering and quests. The closer you are to the next fame level, the less you have to pay.

The first number is how many fame points you need, and the second is Rollo’s charge for raising you to that level.

  1. Unknown: 0/0 (free!)
  2. Tolerated: 500/5000
  3. Unremarkable: 1,000/10,000
  4. Respected: 2000/20,000
  5. Local Hero: 4000/40,000
  6. Local Legend: 8000/60,000
  7. Well Known: 12,000/100,000
  8. Folk Hero: 20,000/180,000
  9. Rising Star: 36,000/340,000
  10. Distinguished: 68,000/500,000
  11. Prestigious: 100,000/820,000
  12. Famous: 164,000/1,460,000
  13. Renowned: 292,000/2,740,000
  14. Glorious: 548,000/5,940,000
  15. Legendary: 1,188,000/16,180,000
  16. Fabled: 3,236,000/36,660,000
  17. Mythic: 7,332,000/77,620,000
  18. Immortal: 15,524,000/118,580,000
  19. Demigod: 23,716,000/200,500,000
  20. Unattainable: 40,100,000/200,500,000

So now you know what gold is used for in this game: enchanting with Rikko and buying Fame at higher levels. However much you have, you’ll always be needing more, much more. ;)

Merchants

Regardless of what they sell, all merchants – including the gambling guy – will buy anything from you, and they will all pay you the same amount: one-eighth of list price. You’d think that a high Fame would get you a better deal, but no. So don’t bother “shopping around” when selling stuff; you won’t get more from one person than another. It’s the same for buying: two merchants with identical items will have identical prices.Merchant inventory turns over each time you leave town or quit the game. If you have your eye on something, get it while you can, if you can afford it. When considering weapons and armor, always check both Dell and Getts before buying, as one may have something better.

All inventories are one screen. When you sell an item, it will appear among the merchant’s stock, if there’s room. Otherwise, the item is gone. So, if you sold something by mistake, you may be able to buy it back (at 8 times what you received, of course).

As you get higher in level, better equipment will start showing up in merchant stocks. Like everything else, this is random. For the most part, they won’t have many, but there will be some.

That includes both enchanted and unenchanted items. Be sure to check carefully each visit, and mouse over anything that would be useful to you. That ordinary-looking plate mail might just be superior with a 300 AC.

If you look close, you can see that better items are marked: a star in the upper right, or a “medal” in the center of the item. Watch for those as you go up in experience and fame.

Zim the gambler is a special case. You never know what you’re buying from him. His stuff is always good, but may not be very good. Typically, the more he wants for something, the better it will be.

I don’t usually bother with him, though once in awhile, I give it a try. One time, I did get a very nice bow that I used for a long stretch.

However, you can be disappointed, too, and end up with an item not as good as what you already have. It really is a gamble to buy something “sight unseen”. Deal with him at your own risk.

Quests

Questing is what moves you along quickly, especially at the beginning. The jobs provide extra experience, fame points and cash, along with the occasional item.They’re always bizarre, which adds a fun touch to the game. “Footmangler, the notorious Legendary Flamenco Dancer, and his army of Elite Out-of-Tune Spanish Guitars, stole my mother’s brother’s horse’s double gold-plated nosepicker. Retrieve it, and I’ll give you this Unspeakably Impotent Backscratcher Of The Ages”.

Note that all quest items are marked with a “Q” in the upper left corner, so you can distinguish them from other stuff in your pack. That, no doubt, is to help keep you from selling them by accident (but not always; don’t ask me about the six-million dollar shield ;).

To get the most from quests, you should always take the maximum, which is three, for the next level you’re going to. You can receive a task only for a level you haven’t visited yet.

Unfortunately, like everything else in the game, quests are randomized, and can be for any of the next three levels down. So at the start, for instance, you could be offered jobs on any of the levels 1-3.

So what can you do to get three? Quit and continue. If you’ve asked all six quest-givers and don’t have your three, just save and start up again. Doing that resets everyone who hasn’t given you a job with new tasks.

Then make the rounds again, and keep doing this until your quest list is full. Yeah, a little boring, but not so bad as dealing with Rikko. Still, there will be times it’ll take longer to get the quests than to do them. At the start, particularly, though, it’s worth the effort.

Once in awhile, you’ll retrieve an item that is just so good, you want to keep it. Go right ahead; I’ve done it myself when something tremendous came up. You will lose the rewards for cancelling out, but it’s a fair exchange. And remember, if you can’t use it, maybe kitty can.

Fishing

There are two main reasons to fish: food for kitty and artifacts to use or sell. Especially early on, the only way to obtain artifacts (and a decent amount of starting gold!) is by fishing. So the first thing to do in the game is buy a fishing pole and get started at the spot next to the graveyard.When starting a new character, I would fish in town three times. That was more than enough to pull up some good fish, along with a decent selection of artifacts to sell, and maybe even one or two to use.

Of the four kinds of fish (fingerling, small, lunker, and flawless), fingerlings are useless except to sell. I’d keep those in my pack and put the better fish and artifacts into kitty’s inventory. Then, I’d sell all the “junk” fish, along with any artifacts I didn’t want, transfer the good stuff to my pack and stash them in my chest.

Any gems less than superior, along with cheap rings, were also sold. Jewelry is common in the dungeon, and there’s no need to hold on to anything unless it’s good, or socketed.

Just before entering the dungeon, I put three fish on my belt, and had several more in my pack. Early on, the Creeping Widows, Timberwolves, Tunnel Spiders, Basilisks, etc. are fine.

As you go deeper down, sell those and concentrate on the more powerful forms. In particular, if you have kitty doing spells, you’ll want those with magic adds: Gryphons(100), Brain Beasts(80), Abominations(60), and Dire Unicorns(50).

The flawless fish give a “permanent” form, but that simply means there is no “expiration date”. You can change your pet again anytime by feeding it another fish of any kind. You don’t need the dogfish.

Sooner or later, you’ll want to give kitty a permanent form. Which one is up to you, but you want something powerful: Gryphon (even without spellcasting, it’s tough), Shrike, Venomous Wyvern, Vile Tarantula are all good choices.

In the dungeon, fishing holes are random. You could go five levels and find a hole on each one, then travel down ten levels and find none. So it’s best to fish at least once at each hole you come across. It’s also possible to find more than one fishing place on the same level. Do at least one session with each of them.

When you find a fishing hole that yields up a good number of artifacts – at least five – stay with it. Sell everything and come back for another round. Sometimes I’ve done as many as three sessions with a pool in the dungeon. On the other hand, if you’re not getting much from one, it’s not worth fishing there again.

One thing I’ve noticed, along with a friend of mine, is that there’s a cutoff with artifacts. The number you find tends to drop sharply at the deeper levels (which is odd, when you think about it).

This happens sooner at the higher difficulties. For some reason, they become more rare once you get past about level 25. So do your fishing when you can and get the most you can from it.

By the way, it’s possible to pull up the same artifact more than once. One time in town, I got the same artifact (Mindchewer) twice in the same session, and then again in the third one. Ah well, more to sell!

You may have heard about the “fishing cheat”. It’s not so much a cheat as a way of ensuring you pull up something with every cast. What you get cannot be controlled. There is no way to manipulate catching an artifact.

Go to any fishing hole. Open your inventory. Click on “go fishing”. As soon as you hear the plop, open your pet’s inventory (P) and wait for a splash. Click on any square at least 3 in from either side in the pet’s bottom row. Close the pet inventory and see what you pulled up.

Once in awhile, this won’t work. Usually that happens when the “!” shows over your head before you can open kitty’s pack. But at least 95% of the time, you’ll get something.

Artifacts

Some items are fixed from game to game. These always have a yellowish-brown background, the same names, and the same stats. There is a small variation with armor (the AC can vary by a small amount), but otherwise nothing else changes.A few artifacts – like Auntie’s Gift and Amelia’s Eternal Conflict – are mainly for comic relief, and should just be sold. Then there’s Peronto’s Cheesehead of The Emerald Bay.

Yes, it looks like a block of cheese, and is a helmet. It gives an enormous boost to gold and magic find. It also gives a whopping 75% vitality penalty.

A friend of mine swears by the following tactic: equip the cheesehead, go down to the next level, re-equip your good helm and heal up (fast). She says she finds more items this way. Dunno. I tried that a couple of times and saw no difference myself. But I mention it for the daring out there ;).

Artifacts also have Elite and Legendary versions (except gems), which can be quite powerful, especially as regards weapons. Most of these, and even many of the “ordinary” ones, require some level of fame. YOu may need to save up for a session or two with Rollo to use them.

All artifacts come with buffs. These buffs do not increase with the higher level items. If the regular weapon has, say, +10% attack speed, they will all have that. What goes up is the damage done for weapons, and the AC for armor.

The one drawback to artifacts is that they can be enchanted only for sockets. Which means if you have a piece of armor or a weapon with many good buffs on it, you could lose a lot by switching to an artifact, even if the AC or damage is better than what you have. Decisions, decisions.

Artifacts never show up in the shops. Early on, you can get them from fishing. As you go deeper down in the dungeon, they will start turning up as treasure. Your chances of snagging one are better with some magic find, and also in the high difficulty modes.

The Dungeon

The first thing to know is never leave the dungeon except via town portal. If you exit a level any other way, you will lose it.One time, deep down, I was in a bad spot. I couldn’t cast spells (muffled), my mana was drained below zero, my summons were banished, and kitty was fleeing. So I ran for the stairs up to level 33.

It was unmapped. Completely. The same level I’d left just a few minutes earlier. And a welcoming committee was waiting for me, too. I had to run around the stairwell until enough mana regenned so I could portal out and regroup.

Each level is generated at the time you walk down the stairs, and the game auto-saves your position at the entry of the new level. At that time, all treasures are fixed (except possibly what comes up from the fishing holes; that I’m not sure about).

This can be very handy if you die; see the Death section a little later for details.

Level size can be small, medium, or large. Depth and difficulty mode have no effect. You could get one big room this time, and next level down, a few small rooms connected by long, winding, corridors.

You cannot lose your pet or your summons by going too far from them. They can move as fast as you and are able to keep up. However, they could get stuck on something, or go down a parallel corridor and become separated from you.

If that happens, just keep going. When you get too far from them, the game will teleport them to your location. There’s no need to go back and pick them up.

Aside from monsters, there are other things you may come across as you trek through the levels. As usual, they are all random, so there’s no telling when any of these will show up.

  • Magic Anvils – Like Rikko, they can enchant an item. Also like Rikko, they may give a good buff, a bad one, nothing, or remove all enchantments. One use only.
  • Shrines – may boost a stat, may subtract from a stat. Use at your own risk.
  • Fate Statues – may give you a pair of gems (both the same, ordinary or artifact) or may call up a “protector”. This is a boss monster. Killing it nets you experience and fame.
  • Fishing Holes – Could be water, could be lava. If you see the fireflies, go fish.
  • Fountains – Healing, Wellness (heals and cures poison), Stamina, Mana. One use only. Your pet can use them, too. Just hold down the shift key and left-click on the fountain. One use only, of course.
  • Pikko The Fisherman – Or, as I call him, the “fish guy”. He sells fish ;) Usually his offerings are better the lower down you meet him. Like all merchants, he will buy anything from you at the usual cheap price.
  • Getts The Traveler – Yep, he shows up now and then. His stock on the dungeon level is different from the one in town, and it will not change if you portal out and return.
  • Crates, barrels, and urns – Could be empty, could hold treasure. Often trapped, blowing up in your face or poisoning you. This is mostly annoying, as the damage tends to be light, and the poison doesn’t last very long. Unfortunately, the only way to break them is with a weapon; spells don’t work. Sorry about that. And no, you can’t get kitty or your summons to do the dirty work for you ;)

The best way to handle a mob, especially if you don’t have Ringing Blast, or they’re very tough, is to run, preferably back through an area already cleared.

Each monster has an “attention area” where it notices you. Get far enough away, and it will “forget” you. That can thin out the herd, and leave you with only one or two to fight. Then you can tip-toe back for the others.

This can also work with knockback, if you have one that’s powerful enough, and you’re using a bow. You can push a critter so far away offscreen it just stays there until you get close again.

In rooms, always do a slow check around the perimeter. Often, a monster or two will be lurking in a small alcove or niche. You may find some chests or barrels, too.

Mimics look like big treasure chests. The only way to find out for sure is attempt to open it. Sometimes, you may see two or three chests close together. You can be sure they’re all mimics.

Often in the narrow corridors, an enemy will be lurking along a side wall where you can’t see it. This is annoying. Try using Ringing Blast to push it out from the wall, or back up and make it come to you.

Death

Sooner or later, you will bite the dust. Doesn’t matter how that happened; what matters is the choice you make after dying.The game presents three in big letters. All of them will cost you in fame, experience and gold. And there’s the fourth, in the lower right corner: Quit. That’s the one I always take.

Quitting has advantages. A death isn’t recorded in your journal, for instance. But the big thing is that, since the dungeon was fixed on your first entry, everything is still there.

It’s just as though you had first entered the level. So if you broke open a barrel, and found Elite Deathbite, it’s gonna be in that same barrel. You will, of course, have to redo everything, but all you’ve really lost is some time. Items, gold, experience – they can all be recouped with no other penalty.

So the next time you end up dead, just quit. It’s the best choice to make.

Misc. Tips

None of these are exactly cheats. However, some of them could make life a bit easier for you.Spellbooks – If you rely on books for Town Portal and Item ID, you can get these spells cheaper. When a merchant’s screen is open, pick up a scroll from his inventory, and drop it on the appropriate book.

The price of the book will go up by only 50 gold instead of 100. Either books holds 20 scrolls maximum. You can also drop in scrolls found in the dungeon.

Pause For Life – At times, especially deeper down, combat can be hectic. You and/or your pet may be in desperate need of healing. When that happens, quickly open both your and your pet’s inventories.

When both are open, the game is paused. Now you can click on healing potions or antidotes for yourself or your pet (remember it’s shift-right click for kitty). This can be a lifesaver for you, and keep your pet from fleeing.

Safe Killing – Here’s a handy way of removing monsters (sometimes) without putting yourself at risk. The Ringing Blast and Firewall spells can go through some walls.

If you can see small circles on the other side – indicating unfriendlies – stand near the wall and let loose. With a few shots (or more, depending on the spell’s power), you can eliminate some of the enemies, taking no damage.

Speed Up – While Haste doesn’t last all that long, it can be useful in town when you’re running from one quest-giver to another. However fast you can run, this spell still gives you a boost. It’s also useful in dungeons when backtracking to the stairs down, especially on one of those “long corridors” levels.

So, now you have all this information…don’t just sit there, go kill something! ;)