II. First Steps
a. The Overworld
b. New Attnam
c. The Underwater Tunnel
III. General Tips
Inspired by our recent "Complete N00b's Journey", I wanted to put together a sort of starter's guide to IVAN. I'm no good at this sort of thing though, so advice, suggestions, additions, and help are welcome and encouraged! --Izzy
So you've just picked up IVAN, and you're about to venture into the Underwater Tunnel for the first time. But wait! You have much to learn...
Here I will bring together as many tips, tricks and bits of advice as I can, while leaving out spoilers as much as possible. Even if you're a veteran of roguelikes, who has conquered ADOM, NetHack, and *Angband, this guide is meant to help orient you to the mechanics of IVAN as quickly and painlessly as possible.
II. FIRST STEPS
In this section, I will orient you to the first few areas of the game and the basic mechanics. We'll learn what to eat, what not to eat, and how to defend ourselves.
II.a. The Overworld
There's not a lot to say here; the Overworld is where are when you are moving between locations. At the start of the game, after a bit of exposition, we find are confined to a tiny island consisting of the prosperous town of
New Attnam and the nearby entrance to the Underwater Tunnel. This is a pretty standard roguelike convention, so I won't dwell on the Overworld much. Note that time passes more rapidly when you move on the overworld, and food is much harder to come by, so make sure you are well prepared before you go exploring... For now, lets stop in and take a look around your home town, New Attnam!
II.b. New Attnam
is the first town you have access to. Passing over a few story elements, you will find here three things of value: Zolku's Banana Emporium, the Temple of Silva and attendant priestess, and the Arena and it's champion Huang Ming Pong. I'll discuss each of these in turn.
While Zolku offers food at a very reasonable price, it is cut-rate food very close to its expiration date. Almost as soon as you finish paying for it, it will begin rotting, so eat it fast! It is advisable to treat Zolku's as only an emergency food source, not a primary satiation solution.
Huang Ming Pong offers the valuable Belt of Levitation, if you can beat him in hand-to-hand combat in the arena - but this is no mean feat for a
beginning adventurer such as yourself. You will probably not be able to win a fair fight with Huang until you have progressed further into the game.
The Temple of Silva is possibly the most beneficial part of the entire town at this stage of the game. It offers two things: an altar to Silva, which grants you the ability to pray to the Goddess of Nature, and the temple's resident priestess. The priestess offers several healing services - for a fee of course. She can re-attach a missing limb, if you have it handy; she will grow you a replacement, if you don't; and she will cure you of diseases, if you are sick. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you were infected when you lost the limb, the limb itself may still carry the disease! For this reason it is strongly suggested to handle any missing limb issues before
curing any diseases you might have contracted. Fortunately, as long as you are carrying said limb, the Priestess will offer to attach limbs before offering to cure leprosy.
That's it for this
fine city of culture, lets go back to the Overworld and begin our adventure proper - to the Underwater Tunnel!
II.c. The Underwater Tunnel
Here is where the game gets a little more dangerous - finally, we are encountering enemies! There's a lot to unpack here. In order to preserve some of the mystery and give you a chance to learn on your own, I will only take you through the first level of the Underwater Tunnel. However, in true rogue like fashion, the map is randomly generated, so I'll only really be able to offer you general advice.
You start in a small room containing a lantern, the stairs up, and your
loyal companion. Grab the lantern - you'll need it, it's dark underground! With that accomplished you should start exploring the dungeon. Since you are currently naked, your first priority is going to be getting some equipment. Just about anything will do; porcupines, one of some of the more dangerous enemies here, can damage your limbs if you punch or kick them, so using some sort of weapon (even a wooden spear) will make them much safer to engage. This danger can also be mitigated by wearing gloves/boots. (You probably do more damage barehanded than you would with a balsa spear, so this might be a better route in some cases.)
The first level should be fairly safe. Your main enemy will be hunger here, so don't dawdle, but make sure you are reasonably equipped before you head down to UT2. A wooden spear might get you through UT1, but it won't be enough on UT2. Keep in mind also, that monsters (including your dog) will happily drink potions and eat food that they find, so staying mobile and trying to grab all the consumables before the kobolds do is advisable. Of course, like many roguelikes, time is paused when you aren't on the level, so don't be afraid to flee the dungeon and recover in New Attnam if you are injured.
III. General Tips
Here I will list a number of helpful, miscellaneous tips to help you proceed from here.
On equipment: It is very rarely a good idea to go without a weapon, even if it's a wooden spear. Likewise, armor is better than no armor. Cloaks in particular are very valuable, even if they offer very little protection. Cloaks provide protection to every body part, and take damage from e.g. explosions before any of your other equipment does. This can save you from having your fine wooden spear catch on fire.
Speaking of fire, any liquid will put out fire. I wouldn't suggest dipping your scrolls in potions of healing, but poison will do in a pinch if you don't have water. In addition, if you are having stamina problems, water can reduce your fatigue level. There are a lot of liquids in IVAN, ranging from the mostly benign (such as water), to the highly beneficial (if you find anything in a bottle that came from an ommel, you should consider consuming it immediately), to the extremely dangerous (DO NOT DRINK SULFURIC ACID). Even the dangerous ones, however, can be useful - for example, acids can be used to melt walls if you don't have a pick axe, and most alcohols are flammable and can be used as makeshift low-yield landmines. And, as you might expect, a weapon dipped in a liquid will transfer that liquid to whatever you strike - useful for poison and liquid fear, less useful for troll blood. They will also act on the weapon - wet iron tends to rust, and acid-covered weapons tend to melt as quickly as walls.
On food: most
corpses are edible. However, some pose ... challenges if you try to eat them. In particular, very rotten flesh (especially zombie corpses) are very dangerous to eat and can leave you diseased. Likewise, poisonous monsters, and those with acidic blood, should generally not be eaten. However, almost all other animals (hedgehogs, bats, jackals, and so on) are safe to eat. Mutant animals can be eaten too - but this is a dangerous practice SPOILER ALERT. Click here to see text.
unless you've been lucky enough to find a certain ring
. Goblins and orcs are also quite tasty.
If you have survived long enough to reach the third level of the UT, you may have collected a few gods along the way. Don't be shy about praying to them. Unlike gods in other roguelikes, in IVAN, the gods actually like it when you pray to them... as long as you aren't annoying about it. Most gods will help you as long as they have a non-negative opinion of you. Further, prayers provide a small amount of piety both to the god you prayed to and to similarly-aligned gods, while deteriorating your relationship with non-aligned gods. But like people, the gods don't like it if you call them too often - if you pray more often than once every three hours, your relationship will be negatively impacted. The benefits of a successful prayer can be very useful, however, ranging from free food to enhanced equipment. Moral of the story: Pray frequently, but don't be a nuisance.
To be continued... I hope...