JoKe's Guide to Elpuri
There seemed to be some interest in gameplay guides from the community, so here's one for those of you still struggling to get a freedom victory.
Over the course of this guide, I will cover most of my tactics for reaching and successfully taking down Elpuri in 0.50. The guide will focus on strategies for certain levels, locations and enemies, plus go through possible equipment choices, item usage and some stat training. Note that this guide is not the be-all and end-all for beating IVAN, but rather my own personal way of attempting to do so. I will also assume you have some degree of understanding of the game's mechanics and stats.
All of the info presented here is based on personal experiences or the community's findings. While I am fairly certain there are no gross inaccuracies, I may recall some things wrong - take any numbers or similar with a grain of salt.
Note that banana kicking, library shoplifting and elite guard taming are no longer valid in the latest versions! The guide remains up to date otherwise.
- 1 Short rundown of the general strategy
- 2 Equipment and items
- 3 Danger Level
- 4 Upgrading your equipment
- 5 Training stats
- 6 Named NPCs
- 7 Various hints, tips and recommendations
- 8 Walkthrough level-by-level
- 8.1 Starting the game
- 8.2 New Attnam training
- 8.3 Underwater tunnel 1-2
- 8.4 Underwater tunnel 3, part A
- 8.5 Huang Ming Pong, the Sumo Wrestler
- 8.6 Underwater tunnel 3, part B
- 8.7 Attnam
- 8.8 Gloomy Caves 1-4
- 8.9 GC5: The Enner Beast
- 8.10 GC6: The zombie level
- 8.11 Gloomy Caves 7-9, random elements
- 8.12 GC7: The dark frog level
- 8.13 GC8: Ivan & Vladimir
- 8.14 UT4: The crystal cave
- 8.15 Liberating New Attnam
- 8.16 GC9: The dark level
- 8.17 Final notes
Short rundown of the general strategy
- no artificial limbs
- no ommel cerumen exploit
- new attnam banana kicking
- library exploit
- elite guard taming
Equipment and items
When choosing armor, you should aim to strike a balance between enough armor value and mobility. Leather branch armor is very light and doesn't limit your stats too much, whereas iron alloys weigh a ton and cause a large hit to your stats. Arcanite alloys come between the two - they are decently strong while remaining light and flexible enough to not be a hindrance. For the most part discluding UT1-3 and the end-game, you are usually best off with the third option. Leathers should be avoided except for when nothing better is available, as the loss in AV in comparison to arcanite alloys is too high for the few points of agility or dexterity. Likewise, iron alloys tend to be too restrictive and heavy for the AV they provide over the arcanite branch. Iron alloy chain mails lessen the effect on stats and can generally be safely used as an alternative to arcanite. However, since the gap between meteoric steel and adamant intelligence requirements is so large, arcanite alloys pull ahead with the possibility to upgrade into mithril or octiron.
For very high-end materials, the best choice for armor is valpurium + golden eagle feather for cloaks at 55 INT for a SoCM. One tier down, octiron + spider silk at 45 INT for a SoCM (40 for harden from mithril). Two tiers down, dragon scale + angel hair at 40 for a SoCM (35 for harden from phoenix feather - dragon scale). Three tiers down, mithril + phoenix feather at 25 for a SoCM (20 for hardens from arcanite - mithril and ommel hair - phoenix feather).
Note that when using phoenix feather of any sort, you will need to take care to not get acidic substances spilled on your equipment. PF breaks very easily on contact with dark frog blood, slimes or even vomit.
Always look to have equipment that boosts your stats, with the exception of armor of great health. More info on why in the section on Danger Level. For boots, agility is preferred. For gauntlets, get the stat you've got less of.
In early game, use whatever weapon is best. Some considerations on choosing a weapon with end-game in mind with very spotty reasoning:
- Daggers are fine initially, but don't do enough damage to be worth enchanting later on.
- Shortswords are very similar to daggers, don't enchant them unless you absolutely have to. Saal'Thul only gives you invisibility without much additional damage, which is already readily available through the use of a ring or wands. Don't waste your time with it.
- Mundane longswords are good enough to be used if nothing else is available. Try to get your hands on the flaming variants for the late-game weapons instead if you can.
- Bastard swords are better than longswords, provided you have the arm strength to dual-wield them properly. If you can't, leave them.
- Two-handed swords are too heavy to be dual-wielded, and do not provide any true advantages over other choices. They deal rather heavy damage, but not enough to warrant being wielded with two hands.
- Two-handed scimitars fall into the same category as the normal two-handed swords, not worth the weight.
- Mundane spears are not very damaging, and should be avoided. Vermis can be used, if you don't mind having your opponents teleport all over the place just as you're about to kill them.
- While mundane halberds are not effective enough for a two-handed weapon, Mjolak is an excellent candidate.
- Hammers are like blunt daggers with a bit more damage and less accuracy and generally shouldn't be used. Thunder hammers can be used as main weapons as long as you take care to not get hit unnecessarily by the bouncing bolts of lightning they occasionally emit. Position yourself diagonally in relation to walls when fighting if you can.
- Maces function as more damaging but less accurate versions of longswords, and can be used if nothing else is available. Note that adamantine maces require a high ASTR to dual wield. Neerc Se'Ulb is arguably the best weapon in the game, while Turox should generally be left alone due to its propensity to break your wands and burn your scrolls.
- Staves cannot be dual-wielded properly and do not provide enough damage, skip them. Same goes for staves of wondrous smells.
- Normal and runed whips shouldn't be used and chameleon whips are too risky, but whips of thievery are very good weapons when enchanted and cloned.
The best choice for weapon material is adamantine (45 INT for SoCM). For whips you should strive for golden eagle feather at 55 INT for SoCM. Octiron is a workable choice as well for weapons that would be too heavy as adamantine. Accuracy should not be an issue once you enchant your weapons high enough.
While I generally despise the manner the so-called danger level is portrayed as a horrendously dangerous thing to be avoided at all costs, it is absolutely something worth mentioning.
Danger level is a hidden statistic that attempts to portray the current combined strength of your character's stats and equipment, which is then used to tweak the difficulty of the game. This is best visible through the generation of tougher NPCs. Most of the time it works rather well, by giving you NPCs that remain challenging yet are not impossible to overcome through either direct confrontation or disposable resources like traps, mines, wands etc.
However, there are some actions the player can take that will raise the danger level disproportionately high in relation to your actual strength. You should take care to avoid the following:
- Spending much time polymorphed into very strong creatures or moving to a next level as such. I once went down to UT1, drank from a fountain right next to the stairs and got polymorphed into a valpurium golem. UT1 was piss-easy that way, of course, but the moment I went down to UT2 and the morph ended, I died to an errant fireball from Ischaldirh. Case in point, polymorphs are bad when you're weak.
- Stacking endurance. While having enough HP is essential, endurance is one of the primary stats danger level scales by. You will not want to have any more than around 250 HP at any point during a freedom run.
- Armor of great health. This ties very much into the point above: increasing HP causes danger level to shoot up. The actual gains you get from using one of these are too low to properly account for the increase in danger level to be worth using. Moreover, the armor values of these are lower than their respective mundane counterparts.
The use of amulets of life-saving is debatable early in the game, as these too cause an increase in danger level without actually giving you a bonus in combat. They are very valuable for taking on dangerous named NPCs and other risky things, but you should try and use an amulet of ESP everywhere else.
Most importantly, don't ever pass up a piece of equipment other than the two mentioned here for "too high danger level". Every single one of them gives you enough bang for your buck to be absolutely worth it.
Upgrading your equipment
To efficiently upgrade your gear, you need a several things.
- Good base equipment (see sections above for recommendations)
- Wand of cloning/mirroring (2-3 charges)
- Scrolls of charging, more the better
- Scrolls of enchant weapon/armor, 2-3 each
- Scrolls of harden and/or change material (latter is better), enough to upgrade each piece of equipment to desired level
- Enough intelligence for material changes
- A safe, quiet place
Enchanting and upgrading equipment properly requires a large amount of scrolls. Normal bones file-less playthroughs do not have enough naturally for it, so the only possibility is to make more. This is what makes 3-charge wands of cloning and scrolls of charging the most valuable items in the game.
You should strive to start enchanting as soon as you manage to find all the necessary stuff. Find a nice safe corner, dig one if you have to, then drop a total of 5 scrolls in an otherwise empty square. Only the top 5 items of any stack will be cloned, newly cloned or mirrored items will go on bottom of the stack in the same order as the original items were.
If you're cloning and aren't overflowing with SoHMs or SoCMs, clone enough to upgrade every piece of equipment (armor+weaponry). Rest of the scrolls should always be enchantment scrolls. Take a step back from the stack, stand next to it, then zap it with the wand. Revise the stack order to suit your needs (pick up everything if you have to), then zap again. Continue until you've got only one cloning charge remaining.
Wands of mirroring aren't as effective for upgrading equipment, as they are incapable of copying scrolls of harden material or change material. This also means you can just dump your 5 enchantment scrolls in your desired ratio on the ground and zap a wand dry without worrying about the stack order. Pick up and read the mirrored copies between each recharge, as they will disappear after a short while if unused.
- 6 scroll of enchant weapon
- 4 enchant armor
- 4 harden material
- 1 change material
- 2 charging
- 3-charge wand of cloning
- whip of thievery as main weapon
- 45 INT
- Clone 2 EW, 2 EA and 1 CM -> stack is now 4 EW, 4 EA, 2 CM -> pick up 3 EW, 2 EA (6+2 EW, 4+2 EA, 1+1 CM)
- Clone 1 EW, 2 EA, 2 CM -> stack is 2 EW, 4 EA, 4 CM -> pick up 2 EW, 3 EA (8+1 EW, 6+2 EA, 2+2 CM)
- Clone 1 EA, 4 CM -> stack is now 2 EA, 8 CM -> pick up 8 CM, drop 1 EA, 2 EW (9 EW, 8+1 EA, 4+4 CM)
- Recharge wand
- Clone 2 EW, 3 EA three times -> stack is now 8 EW, 12 EA (9+6 EW, 9+9 EA, 8 CM)
- Recharge wand
- Clone 2 EW, 3 EA two times -> stack is now 12 EW, 18 EA -> pick up 12 EW, 14 EA (15+4 EW, 18+6 EA, 8 CM)
- Change materials on armor to octiron + spider silk, whip to spider silk
- Enchant all armor to +5 first, then all stat-boosting items to +6, then armor to +6, then rest to +6, repeat until 4 scrolls left
- Use all SoEW on the whip
- Clone 4 EA, spider silk whip +11
- Read rest enchant scrolls, you've now got two spider silk whips of thievery +11 with other equipment octiron +6 to +7.
This may sound difficult, but in practice it's very simple. Just drop scrolls, make sure you're cloning the right ones, clone enough of everything and bueno, you're well-equipped.
This section will cover the main methods to increase your leg strength, intelligence and wisdom naturally without the aid of ommel supplements. Training agility and dexterity will be covered later in the level-by-level walkthrough.
Leg strength is an important stat to increase to the point where your chosen equipment and basic supplies no longer cause you to become encumbered. Fighting with the burdened status reduces your combat effectiveness by 25% (to-hit and block chances at least), while being stressed increases that to a whopping 50% decrease. Being encumbered also causes your agility to steadily decrease over time.
To effectively train your leg strength, you will require a good, stable source of food like Mellis, Seges, polypiling and to some extent Silva while in Attnam or New Attnam or Nefas if you're strong enough to kill and eat the mistresses. This is because the only real way to increase your LSTR is to move and run while stressed, which wildly increases your metabolism rate. Once you've secured a way to keep yourself from starving to death, pick up enough items to go stressed and run around in a safe environment like a small room or above ground. Dug out stones for polypiling are excellent for this purpose, as polypiling always results in a large deal of food. Eat whenever you become hungry to not lose stats to starvation.
Training LSTR takes time, and you're very likely to lose agility in the process. The lost agility can be regained later by running while unencumbered.
Aside from the natural stat gains from praying or reading scrolls and books, you can use so called sci-talking to gain points in both intelligence and wisdom. This is the act of repeatedly talking to certain neutral or tame NPCs, which with high enough stats occasionally engage you in a stat-training conversation. For more information on sci-talking, head over to the article on Science Talking.
The named NPCs of IVAN are without a question the toughest opponents you will face during any run. Luckily, most of these can be defeated using a variation of the same tactic: kiting. See the following gif for how to do it properly: Media:kiting.gif (The thumbnail doesn't seem to work for a real preview, Cap?)
Rondol is rather weak, but very capable of killing you early on without good enough armor. Easily killed with the elite guard's equipment. Cannot see the invisible, so use that to your advantage. Drops a nice wand of polymorph for some hot polypiling action.
Guugzamesh, like Rondol, is not a match against a properly equipped player. Cannot see the invisible. Drops nothing of real value.
Xinroch is the first rather dangerous unique NPC. His flaming longsword does damage through armor, so wear some fire resistance for him. Landing a hit on him can be difficult due to his very accurate shield, so you may wish to hit him with wands instead of melee. Note that being undead, he does not regenerate HP and as such is vulnerable to hit-and-run attacks and traps. Can see through invisibility. Drops a wand of resurrection.
Ur-Khan is a very powerful melee combatant that can and will one-shot you given the chance without very good equipment and HP. He is also relatively fast, but can still be outrun with a haste/slow combination and about 16 agility. Do not use offensive wands on him, as this compromises the very nice stash of ommel liquids he's carrying. Can see through invisibility. Drops some bottles full of various ommel substances.
Golgor Dhan is very close to Ur-Khan in power, but is slightly more dangerous. Like with Urky, avoid getting hit. Danny does not have fragile drops, so feel free to blast him with striking to break his equipment from afar. The scrolls can still burn if you use fireballs, on top of them being very ineffective against him in general. Can see through invisibility. Drops some enchantment scrolls.
Experiment ZQ-29 is a spider silk golem that's completely invisible and undetectable. The only way to know it's around is to get hit by it. Unlike the other high-end uniques, he's actually not all that powerful. On the flip-side, he receives the evasion and hit-bonus benefit from being invisible to you and thus is rather tough to hit and accurate. Can see through invisibility. Drops a few wands including a wand of cloning, a SoCM and a rather useless spider silk plate mail.
Sherarax is the unique NPC with most kills on me personally. She's evil. Very strong and very fast, she will ruin your day if you let her. She has a high tendency of knocking you unconscious on the first hit if not outright kill you, plus she very often rips off a limb or two in a single turn. If there's something you don't want to get hit by, it's her. To make matters worse, she's too fast to be outrun even with the haste/slow combo. Oh, and her whips can both steal your weapons and polymorph you. And like that wasn't enough, she's also wearing an amulet of life-saving, meaning you need to kill her twice instead of just once.
There's a few tactics you can employ to take her down.
- Multiple very strong bear traps in a row can damage her legs enough to take one off, at which point she'll be slow enough to kite normally until she dies the first time.
- Wands of striking do respectable damage to her. Combine them with bear traps to get more zaps in before she closes to melee range.
- Instead of running, you can zap yourself with wands of teleportation to stay ahead her while kiting. This can take multiple wands, so be prepared. Make sure to teleport far enough to not let her catch up after the zap.
- Get the fuck away.
With any luck, you won't need to have to face her during a freedom run.
Ischaldirh is the final unique NPC the game can throw at you. He's basically an elder dark mage on steroids, peppering you with both fire and lightning from afar and summoning high-end golems to fight you.
I've never managed to actually meet him myself during any of my runs. To get him to spawn, you'll need to sport around 400 HP. Which is why you don't sport that much HP. Seriously, don't do it during a freedom run.
If you somehow manage to get him to spawn and want to take him on, here's how it should probably be done:
- Scroll of detection on human flesh
- Teleport next to him
- Hope he doesn't teleport away before you hit him
- Hit him.
- Read another scroll to find him again
- etc. until dead
Various hints, tips and recommendations
- Always be aware of how much damage an NPC is capable of doing. Often this is sadly something you can only reliably tell with experience. Use 'l'ook to check the gear of tough humanoids like orc squad leaders or mistresses, and adjust your tactics accordingly. Keep that chance of a one-shot death to minimum.
- Only fight on your own terms! Skip any risky NPCs for later if you can't safely take them on, and fight as few at once as you can. Avoid being surrounded.
- Always have a way to escape when SHTF. Everything from safe escape routes to teleports with telecontrol works, as long as it's reliable and takes you out of combat the moment things go to hell.
- Learn to notice when shit is about to hit the fan. Mostly this just means taking combat slow and reading through the messages for hits and misses when in high-risk situations.
- Wands of teleportation are excellent for escaping, but require at least one usable hand to work. If you can't pray to Sophos for a getaway, reading a scroll of teleportation does not require hands. Note that unlike zapping, the effect of scrolls is not front-loaded - it takes a few turns to read one out.
- If you can't take kamikaze dwarves down before they blow, hit them with a wand from afar.
- Every run has a limited amount of items spawned. Use polypiling to increase this amount for more chances at those great items like ommel substances, scrolls, wands and magical equipment (5*5 items in a row for 25 per zap). Get a pickaxe and mine out some rocks for easy items and a safe room for polypiling.
- Pick up the first small chest or lockbox you find, and keep your fragile items like wands, scrolls and ommel liquids in it. Lockboxes are smaller than chests, and in my experience do not seem to provide any additional protection. When you find a normal sized chest, start keeping most of your fragile things, foods and such there and only keep the bare necessities on your person in the smaller box. Keep the larger stash on the previous level you cleared on the stairs down to avoid possible spoilage, accidental explosions and such.
- Carry those valuable stones to the Attnam shop early on, you may need the cash.
- When exploring a new level, fully search it before doing anything time-consuming on the level. You may miss out on some food, potions, carrots or ommel substances if you don't.
- Don't drink from fountains in GC.
- Carefully consider whether or not you can skip drinking from fountains in UT.
Health and stats
- Don't eat kobolds, zombies, snakes, giant spiders, skunks, anything mutant, werewolves, orcs or frogs. Everything else is edible and should be eaten before those cans of banana flesh or meat loaves.
- If you catch a parasite ("You feel you are no longer alone"/"You feel something violently carving through your intestines"), vomit repeatedly until you receive a message about a dead tapeworm coming out.
- If you're hurt and can get above ground easily, consider going up and jogging around until you regenerate instead of abusing your agility by sitting in one place.
- Avoid being satiated/bloated/overfed, this hurts your agility.
- Avoid being burdened/stressed (unless training LSTR), this hurts your agility and combat effectiveness.
- If your limbs start falling off, you've caught leprosy. Drink an antidote to get rid of it in dungeons. If you can, you may also wish to use the New Attnam priestess or the Attnam priest to first attach the limb and only then cure the disease. Remove all equipment from your limbs if using the Attnam priest, or you'll lose it if one falls off in the cathedral.
- Telecontrol is what makes teleporting awesome.
- You can gain permanent ESP or telecontrol by eating at least 3 floating eyes or blink dogs in a row, respectively. Permanent haste is also possible to gain by praying to Cleptia first for her buff, then emptying multiple wands on yourself and applying them.
- Being resurrected (wand/AoLS) clears all status effects not provided by equipment.
- Lawful gods are often of situational use only, while chaotic gods give more consistent bonuses. The neutral gods are always useful.
- As long as the gods are content with you, you can safely pray to them every 3-4 hours. Praying too early will still grant the reward if they're happy enough, but this will increase the prayer cooldown dramatically and cause a hit to your standing with them.
- Never pray to Valpurus or Mortifer before you're hailed as a champion when offering. They also have extensive prayer cooldowns, you will need to wait a few days before praying again.
- Once reaching champion status with Valpurus, praying to him grants you either an unenchanted valpurium two-handed sword or a shield of the same material. The shield is worthless, the sword can be useful if you haven't found anything better yet. Terrible rewards compared to Mortifer.
- Praying to Legifer causes a large explosion around you, which becomes less useful the further in you are. Mostly useful for reliably and quickly clearing out physically weak but dangerous opponents like mystical dark frogs. He can also replace missing limbs with illithium ones. Very rarely gives out helmets of piercing perception and scrolls of detect material.
- Atavus can very rarely give out scrolls of wishing or oil lamps. More often than not, you won't get any during a run. Often enough only useful for the arcanite plate mail he always gives once hitting champion status, which is worse than the mithril +2 one from an elite guard when reaching Attnam. Does not replace missing limbs.
- Dulcis can charm enemies around you. Other than that, he's useless not counting the possibility of getting magical whistles or horns of bravery/panic. Does not replace missing limbs.
- Seges is arguably the most useful of the lawful gods, capable of providing sustenance, healing, curing and new limbs. Effect priority as follows: limb replacement > curing if poisoned > sustenance up to satiated > healing. Make sure to eat up to satiated and to have all limbs on if you need the healing effect. Very useful in conjunction with school food. May possibly give out healing liquid if no other effect can happen.
- Sophos prayers are a good, instant emergency teleports that do not require limbs to use. They're too strong to be controlled by the player with telecontrol, which limits its usefulness outside of SHTF-situations somewhat. Replaces limbs most often with hardened leather, but can also be of stronger materials like arcanite or mithril.
- Inside dungeons, Silva causes earthquakes that open new pathways, set off mines/traps and break doors and fragile objects like lanterns and bottles(!). In NA and Attnam, she summons a pack of friendly wolves. Replaces missing limbs with natural materials like stone, wood or most leathers. Not a very useful god.
- Loricatus is one of the most useful gods, with free repairs for broken equipment and occasional hardening for weapons that does not depend on your INT. Item to be repaired needs to be equipped in any slot, hardening only works on items wielded as weapons. Replaces limbs with iron alloy metals.
- Mellis exchanges a total of 5 empty containers (bottles/cans/banana peels) to filled ones, make sure you've got enough empty ones before praying. Naturally this results in a whole lot of healing liquid, troll blood and banana flesh along with rather often school food. School food is poisonous, but has a chance of increasing your endurance. This synergizes very well with Seges, who cleanses poison. You will probably also receive ommel substances at some point during a run. She will also often grant you knowledge of other gods. Replaces limbs with commercially valuable materials like expensive fabric, gold or gemstones.
- Cleptia grants haste, invisibility or ESP, along with rarely rewarding you with enchanted daggers or shortswords. The buff duration is slightly shorter than the prayer cooldown. Does not replace missing limbs.
- Nefas spawns friendly mistresses and torturing chiefs, which are very strong early in the game. If you lack some piece of armor, you can pray to her and grab the missing gear from the mistress. Does not replace missing limbs.
- Scabies will most often attempt to polymorph you into a strong monster, but may also rarely spread leprosy around the level. Unlike with Sophos, the effect can be controlled by the player with polycontrol. When standing near hostile NPCs, she may drench them in poison. Replaces limbs with mushroom flesh (and possibly something else?).
- Infuscor grants you ESP, telecontrol and polycontrol. She may also grant you three scrolls of teleportation or very rarely enchanted staves of wondrous smells. Does not replace limbs.
- Cruentus most often gives you a bottle of troll blood, or causes panic in hostiles nearby. May also somewhat rarely enchant a wielded weapon or increase your standing with Mortifer. Does not replace limbs directly, but can regrow them through troll blood.
- Like with Valpurus, Mortifer only grants his reward when you're a champion. His rewards is Neerc Se'Ulb +6, a very powerful mace with a life stealing attack.
- If possible, I suggest praying to everything from Seges to Cleptia if you do not wish to go for Valpurus's or Mortifer's rewards. The Mellis-Seges combination is too strong to pass up easily. Having a broader range of gods to pray is possible, but requires you to carefully manage your standing. If going fully lawful or chaotic, you can safely pray to all aligned gods.
Starting the game
Yes, this is very much worth mentioning.
So you've just started the game, skipped through the intro as quick as possible and spawned a fresh character just outside New Attnam. Before you do anything else, take a look at your stats. Which of them are high (>11), which low (<10)? In general if more than two stats are below 10, you should just quit the game and reroll a new character. Furthermore, if you're lazy and don't wish to spend that much time on training stats, you should look to have at least 12 leg strength with decent stats everywhere else. If you are willing to put more effort into training, you should instead look to have high intellect and wisdom scores.
Each character has a set of possible stat aptitudes, which causes certain stats to increase faster than others. These are arm/leg strength, agility/dexterity and intelligence/wisdom. You can often identify these by looking at the stats upon starting the game. If any of the combinations have higher scores than the other stats, chances are your character will gain those faster than usual. This also means that by choosing a strong character, it will be easier to train your leg strength, something that otherwise would take a large deal of patience and a good source of food. However, picking an intelligent character will increase your natural gains from reading and dealing with gods, letting you reach better materials naturally through hardening and material changing without ommel cerumen. I personally rarely have the patience for proper training, and usually take a strong character.
Once you've managed to generate a suitable character, proceed to enter New Attnam for the first bit of training.
New Attnam training
Training agility naturally is rather slow and takes a large amount of food to do properly. Even then it's only possible to reach a certain cap determined by your character's aptitude for agility, which in general will be around 16. Some characters may go as high as 19-20, some will be stuck at a mere 14.
Luckily, the easiest way to reach this cap is doable right in the start of the game. Enter New Attnam and find the levitating ostrich landing platform in the south-eastern corner of the map. See how growers drop bananas on the platform, while the ostriches take them away? As long as you do not break any bananas, you can safely kick them off the platform at which point they will no longer be counted as the town's property. Done right, this essentially means you have an endless source of food. Do note that this is somewhat exploit-y and was likely not intended by the devs - use it if your conscience allows. To make this more efficient, follow the ostriches to the location from which they leave the map, then stand on that square. This will block them on the map and cause them to clump up, which increases the window of opportunity for kicking bananas. Once there are three ostriches standing next to you, run back to the platform and start kicking the bananas off. Anything from 60 to 90 is usually enough.
Once you've got your bananas, take them all and leave the town and come right back. This will place you back at the entrance to the town. Drop all your bananas here, and leave the town again. Once outside, toggle running on and run back and forth around the island until you reach the hungry-status. Eat just enough bananas to get satiated, take all the banana peels, drop them out of the town and repeat until the cap or you get bored. Reaching the cap may take anything from 3 to 4 days in-game.
Once you're done, get back to town, command your dog to stop following, wield a banana peel in each hand and enter the first level of the Underwater Tunnels.
Underwater tunnel 1-2
The first two levels of UT will be used for dexterity training, something which the banana peels are excellent for. They do very little damage, but are very light and count as whips, meaning you will get a lot of hits in for each opponent for large amounts of experience in dexterity. Pick up and use any equipment you find, even 0 AV armor is better than nothing. Do not replace your peels yet, but pick up the best weapons you can for the situations the peels aren't good enough for. Take extreme care around intact zombies and humanoids with weapons better than balsa spears. If you've taken more than a couple HP worth of damage, retreat back to the stairs, drop your peels next to them to avoid spoilage and return above ground to run around while your health regenerates.
If you find a plate mail made of metal, you may want to consider taking it to give it to a limbless zombie. Drop it on the ground next to one and hide, and the rolling zombie torso might equip it. If it does, you've got an almost invulnerable punching bag that cannot harm you in any way for very efficient training.
If you find bottles of healing liquid or troll blood, you can split them into smaller portions by dipping them into empty containers. Even half of a bottle is enough to fully heal you early into the game.
Other than the dexterity training, UT1 and 2 are rather unremarkable and shouldn't prove too difficult. Exploring every corner to not miss any usable equipment is crucial. UT3 will be your first challenge.
Underwater tunnel 3, part A
The constant plant spawns by Genetrix Vesana can make life on UT3 a bit dangerous. While the normal carnivorous plants are not a threat, it does not take long for greater plants to start spawning. Upon entering the level, ditch your peels if they still haven't rotted away for some unarmed training, but keep real weapons close. Greater plants are rather dangerous in large numbers without anything to block their attacks with. If you haven't yet found body armor and/or a cloak, make exploring the level quickly your priority. If you find Genetrix's room, leave her be for now.
As the plants can only spawn next to you, try to keep the amount of spawnable squares as low as possible as you make your way through the level. This is especially important when facing greater plants: you will not want to be stuck in middle of 8 of them by having them spawn while standing in an open room. When two or more different variants spawn, always kill the weakest one first, then reposition to only take on one at a time to minimize incoming damage.
If you need to rest but are unable to head back upstairs for some reason, you can use a wand of door creation to close yourself off from the rest of the level. If there are no spawnable squares next to you, there won't be any plant spawns. Lacking a wand, even a dead-end tunnel is better than a random corridor or room.
Once you reach unarmed skill around 6-7 or start facing too much greater plants, head back up to New Attnam. You're now ready to get the belt of levitation.
Huang Ming Pong, the Sumo Wrestler
Once you reach NA again, if you haven't got enough bananas left to get you to bloated + about 20 extra, kick some more until you do. Grab all the bananas, and head to Huang Ming Pong's house. Drop one banana 8 squares south from his door, then one 4 squares away, then one on the door. Get inside and while the sumo runs out after the banana trail, vomit 14 times on the spot he usually stands on. You shouldn't lose strength doing this. Once the sumo comes back, eat up to bloated and wait. The sumo's legs will start dissolving. Once he panics or loses both legs, challenge him by going downstairs. The fight will be very easy. Drop the shirt Richel Decos gives you somewhere, equip the belt and head back to UT3.
Underwater tunnel 3, part B
If you managed to explore the whole level before heading back to NA, there isn't a lot left for you to do here. If you didn't, keep exploring.
Some people like leaving Genetrix alive for training on the spawning plants, but personally I can't be bothered with it. If you wish, you can skip her for now by just flying over the sea from the NA island and come back later with proper gear. If you don't, head to her room now. The fight should not be too difficult if you've found at least a troll hide armor, cloak and some weapons, but can be a hassle if you haven't. Kill the two greater plants near the entrance first, then focus on beating Genetrix herself. If you take enough damage to go red, back off and heal up before continuing. Wands of lightning and acid rain are useless against plants, but striking and fireballs works if you're really lacking in equipment. You can also confuse the plants by throwing and breaking a bottle of vodka or valdemar on them, causing them to fight against each other. Lacking everything, remember that you can always just skip her with the belt of levitation.
Once Genetrix is dead, finish off the rest of the plants in her room, eat up to barely satiated if necessary and head up.
Before you go off wandering in a random direction, 'l'ook around for Attnam if you can't see it yet. This saves you from an embarassing end by starvation on the world map.
Upon reaching Attnam, first things first: take that encrypted scroll to Petrus. There's nothing more annoying than doing everything else, forgetting to give the scroll to him and leaving.
If you've managed to find a scroll of taming, head to one of the seemingly empty corners of the cathedral and read it. Assuming no patrolling frogs get too close, you'll now be able to take the invisible elite guard's equipment for yourself. Worst comes to worst, the armor especially should be enough to carry you through all the way to Elpuri.
Regardless of whether or not you got the equipment, go find Haathbar's library in the SE corner of the map for the library trick. Like with the bananas in NA, this can be classified as an exploit so use as your conscience allows. You should have some scrolls from UT on you, so drop them all on the doorway to sell them. Next, buy any scrolls and books of your preferred gods you can and sell them on the same spot again. Repeat until you no longer have enough money, then kick the items out while making sure no NPCs are in the way directly to the south. You can re-sell the kicked items and repeat the process until you're in possession of the whole library and its money. If you didn't have a scroll of taming yet, chances are you'll now have one. If that's the case, go back to the cathedral and tame that guard.
Once you're otherwise all done, sell any extra stuff you've got to Hulbo's general shop and buy any useful things in there. If you like pets, you can buy the slave in the shop for 50 gp.
You should now be ready to enter the Gloomy Caves, so head out of town and 'l'ook for it before moving on.
Gloomy Caves 1-4
The first level of GC has nothing special about it outside of being the first of the larger levels. Explore around quickly to avoid losing possible carrots or ommel substances to hungry hungry hedgehogs, but stick around for some skill training on new spawns after finishing. Once you feel there's nothing new spawning, head downwards. If you've been doing well, you're also likely to face Rondol as your first named NPC here.
GC2-4 are the first more interesting levels. There are four main elements randomly generated around them: the wolf room, the chest room, the dwarven minefield and the dungeon shop. Outside of these, they're still rather plain and do not differ from GC1 much gameplay-wise.
The wolf room
Upon entering a level, you may get a message of hearing wolves howling. This means the wolf room has been generated somewhere on the level. The room itself is a small-ish oval-shaped room full of wolves and a single werewolf carrying some enchantment scrolls. Assuming you've managed to get the armor from an elite guard back in Attnam, it's not going to be a problem, but with poor armor on your limbs you may have a hard time. Fight in a tight corridor, don't get surrounded and keep a means of teleportation handy. Remember that you can still read scrolls if you lose both your arms, so keep one easily accessible if you've got one.
The chest room
The chest room is a rectangular room with a 3x3 steel box in the middle. Inside is a large steel chest with some goodies. You probably don't have a pickaxe capable of digging through it at this point yet, so you've left with a few choices of breaking in:
- Two teleports with telecontrol
- Acid (sulphuric or vomit)
Sulphuric acid is obviously the preferred method; it doesn't have that many uses to begin with and it eats through the wall like nothing. Teleportation is another easy way to get to the chest, just tele in, grab the chest and tele out. Lacking either, you can pile explosives (mines, used wands of fireballs, backpacks of gunpowder, vodka) near the wall and blow them up with a fireball or striking. Last option is to vomit on the wall, wait for it to rust and dig through with a pickaxe.
The chest inside is locked. You can force the lock by kicking it with enough LSTR, throwing it at a wall with ASTR or by polymorphing the chest. Polymorphing only affects the chest itself, so the contents pop out intact. Other ways include changing the material to something softer either by praying to an angry Loricatus or (god forbid) using a scroll of change material.
The level the minefield is generated is larger than normal, with very large rooms and long corridors. The minefield itself is located in the largest of these - a massive room with many active mines and backpacks of gunpowder scattered around it. Luckily for you, you should already have the belt of levitation and as such should not have to worry about blowing yourself up. The room has plenty of loot due to its size, so explore it throughoutly.
If for some reason you do not have the belt, you can use a ring of searching instead. This will slow your progress through the room massively, but you should still be safe enough doing so. Before taking each step, 's'earch around you eight times with the ring equipped. This should reveal any mines or traps around you. Without the ring, you can still attempt to explore the room by 's'earching around 16 times between each step. Doing so obviously requires a large deal of patience, but the consequences of stepping on a mine in the minefield are very often lethal with any explosion setting off a chain reaction of explosions. If you don't feel safe enough for it, feel free to skip it for later. You can pray to Silva to cause all mines on the level to explode, but this risks breaking useful bottles and burning scrolls.
Outwardly, the dungeon shop does not differ from any other room. This makes kicking locked doors somewhat hazardous - if you break a shop door by accident, Merka the shopkeeper and the guards will become hostile. If you can, use keys to unlock doors on GC2-4 or use ESP to sense the NPCs inside before breaking in.
The shop usually has some useful equipment inside, like stat boosting gauntlets, boots or helmets. You're also guaranteed to find a wand of striking. Buy anything you need, sell any gems or useless items and move on for now.
If you manage to anger the shopkeeper when first encoutering the shop, run for it or teleport away. You're very likely no match for the inhabitants just yet.
GC5: The Enner Beast
You've now cleared out GC4 and are ready to move on to the next level. Before entering GC5, you will want to fill some empty cans with healing liquid and drop any glass items on the stairs. Flaming swords, oil lamps or other permanent light sources are now going to be very useful as well. Take out a scroll of detect material, two full wands of fireballs and a few wands of teleportation, then empty a wand of haste on yourself and break it by 'a'pplying it. You're now ready to face the Enner Beast, the first true player killer.
The Enner Beast periodically lets out a devastating scream, which deals damage to everything in range. The closer to it you are, the more damaging the effect is. At around 40-50 squares, the damage is very minor and mostly blocked by armor, but at >10 the damage is rather heavy and almost always instantly lethal at melee range. For any normal run, you will want to kill him from a distance with wands.
Enter GC5. You should receive a message about wailing screams notifying you of the presence of the Enner Beast. If you can't immediately see him anywhere, read the scroll of detect material and search for "enner beast flesh". This will reveal his location and help you in killing him as soon as possible. Press 'u' to toggle running on and sprint towards him. You should attempt to have a straight line of sight to him to be able to zap him with a fireball. If you can, teleport with telecontrol to be faster. When your health reaches bright red, quickly drink a can of healing liquid and continue searching.
Once you have the opportunity to blast him, do it. He's rather frail physically, and 2-3 direct fireballs should be enough to take him down. Do not use wands of striking, as they are less effective than fireballs against foes without armor. If everything went well, you should now be a proud owner of an enner beast corpse. Pick up the horn of fear he carries if you don't have one yet and explore the rest of the level as normal. Don't forget to get the things you left on GC4.
GC6: The zombie level
The zombie level is either very difficult or very easy depending on whether you have a source of invisibility. In this case you should be in possession of a ring of invisibility from the elite guard you tamed in Attnam. Just make sure you've got that on, then go down to GC6.
GC6 is just a massive open room filled with monsters of all kinds. Only some of them will have infravision, so take the ones coming for you down and explore the level. As long as you're invisible, you won't get swarmed. After a while, necromancers will start spawning and begin to fill the level with skeletons and zombies, hence the name. It's a good level to train your weapon skills, stay around for a while until you're bored.
The two main dangers on the level are the veteran kamikaze dwarf that always spawns, and the master necromancers with their electric attacks. The dwarf you can easily avoid or blast from a distance, but you will need to have some degree of electricity protection for the necromancers. They will teleport away if you approach them, so you'll need to be quick about taking them down. Run up to them, or if that's not enough, teleport next to them.
Once you're done, go down to GC7.
Gloomy Caves 7-9, random elements
Much like with levels 2-4, the latter GC also has its randomly placed elements. These are the golem room, the orc room and the hidden chest room. Note that during a freedom run, the first two are not guaranteed to be generated - their possible level range extends past GC9 to GC12.
The golem room
Much like the wolf room earlier, the golem room is a specifically shaped room filled with golems. These wary from the very basic expensive fabric golems to much more deadly phoenix feather, adamantine and valpurium golems. Only one golem of each material will be generated, with the valpurium one carrying a scroll of golem creation.
Assuming you've made it this far without too many difficulties and have upgraded your equipment, most of the golems will be very easy. The only golems you will need to take care around are the adamantine and valpurium ones. The adamantine golem takes a beating and hits very hard, but is very slow. The valpurium one on the other hand is everything the adamantine one is, with the exception of being rather agile.
While normal hits from either shouldn't do too much damage, it's not unheard of for them to suddenly land an utterly devastating crit that instantly kills you through even highly enchanted octiron armor and 200+ HP. For this reason you should avoid being hit at all. Luckily this is rather easy, since normal golems lack any sort of means to detect invisible characters. To safely fight them, you should try and let them move near you, land a few hits the moment they do, then take a running step in some direction and wait by 's'earching. As they can only determine the direction from which they were hit, they will attempt to retaliate in that direction and end up hitting air, which translates into a move action into your previous square. You can then repeat the process and dance around the golem without danger as long as you don't risk being hit before moving out of the way. Continue until the golems are dead.
The orc room
Like any other monster room, the orc room is filled with orcs. Most of them will be either harmless normal orcs or butcherers, but among them is also a few squad leaders and an orc general. The squad leaders should not give you too much trouble assuming your gear is up to snuff, but the general can be very deadly.
If your equipment and stat points are not on the very end-game level at this point, you should treat the general like a slightly easier version of Ur'Khan. Do not get hit without at least 30 AV chest armor, equivalent other armor and plenty of HP. While he rarely one-shots characters with mithril armor +2 and at least 74 HP, you shouldn't risk him critting if you can avoid it.
Like Ur'Khan, he carries a bunch of ommel liquids. Unless you've already got plenty of urine, sweat and tears, refrain from using offensive wands on him. He's not very fast, so with some agility and a haste/slow combination, you should be able to kite him.
The hidden chest room is a 5x5 room with metal walls (material? adamantine/mithril/octiron?) filled with mines, octiron traps and an adamantine treasure chest. If you made it in the earlier chest room and managed to open the chest, the only hard part of the hidden one is actually finding it. It's generated somewhere inside the dungeon walls with no paths to it, altough Silva earthquakes may open ones to it. The chest has even better loot than the earlier chest room.
If you have excess scrolls of detect material, you can try to search for "adamantine" to locate the chest. Alternatively, another neat method is to descent into GC8, recruit Vladimir and take him for a tour of the caves. He will eventually uncover the room by accident. Third method for finding the room is to simply look for any unknown spaces on the possible levels the room could fit on (minimum 7x7), then dig into each of them.
I have had runs during which I failed to find the chest room anywhere. It's possible the room does simply not spawn during some runs, maybe due to interference from bones files. I've also got a feeling the room can in fact be found even earlier in GC; if you can't find it on GC7-8, go back up and look for possible places there. In addition, there may be even two variants to be found.
GC7: The dark frog level
Once you reach GC7, take out a scroll of detect material again and look for "frog flesh". This will give you the location of the frog room on the level. The frogs themselves aren't very dangerous, but the mystic dark frog located in the same room can be very annoying. Not only do they damage you with lightning spells, they also haste their allies and turn them invisible, teleport away from danger, disenchant your gear and teleport it away from you. Take note of the location of the mystic frog. If you can, teleport next to it now or as soon as possible.
Outside of the usual beating, there's a few effective ways of killing the frog instantly without giving it a chance to teleport away. Easiest one would be a prayer to Legifer, but you can also zap a wand of fireballs or even just break it if you've got good enough gear and fire protection. If you've got two or more scrolls of detection left, you can also just risk the teleport and go whack it. If it escapes, you can just finish the rest of the frogs, read another scroll and go after it again.
Once the mystic frog is down, explore the level as normal.
GC8: Ivan & Vladimir
From the latter Gloomy Caves, GC8 is special in that it does not have a level-specific challenge. Rather, it's home to initially neutral Ivan and his friend Vladimir. You can befriend them by having stats/equipment/danger level high enough (I do not know the exact method) and simply chatting with Ivan.
Even though GC8 is a relatively safe level otherwise, it seems to have a high chance of having either one of the latter NPC rooms generated on it. Ivan and Vladimir can be of help against Elpuri, provided you can keep them alive.
If you haven't cleared UT4 or liberated New Attnam yet, now would be a good time for them.
UT4: The crystal cave
The entrance to UT4 is located in UT2 embedded into a pillar of rock in a large rounded room, something you should have found early on in the game. UT4 always contains three light crystal golems, which at the start of the game are very much lethal. If you're clearing UT4 after GC8, they shouldn't be too difficult. Like with any tough golems, try avoid being hit when possible with invisibility dancing.
The main danger of UT4 at this stage usually comes from the possibility of named NPC spawns. They are not any more likely to appear here than anywhere else, but as you are likely close to reaching the end-game equipment and stats by now, any fully new level has a very high chance of generating one. Explore carefully.
There is not much in the way of loot or other valuable stuff here, but if you're lacking a permanent lightsource, you can pick one of the light crystals here. There's also a guaranteed altar of Silva located somewhere on the level.
Once the level is clear, move on back to New Attnan.
Liberating New Attnam
You should be rather well equipped by now. If you aren't, take some time enchanting and upgrading your gear now if you can.
You can free New Attnam from the capitalist oppressors by killing all the guards, Decos, the shopkeeper, grower encourager and the tourists. This doesn't provide anything useful, but is rather something I tend to do regardless for the fun of it.
The only even remotely dangerous NPC here is Decos himself. Even he's not that tough, but you should still take some care around him especially if you're not very well equipped. Haste/slow etc as you see fit.
Take care to not hit any of the villagers or damage the infrastructure; doing so will anger the whole town and force you to kill everyone instead. Avoid offensive wands if you can.
Once New Attnam has been liberated, there's only one level remaining before a freedom victory.
GC9: The dark level
Gloomy Caves 9, the home of Elpuri. If you're only planning on taking a freedom victory, you should use whatever enchantment scrolls you have and boost your equipment as high as possible before going down. Anything you have remaining after Elpuri is dead will be wasted.
Get yourself hasted (at least empty a full wand and break it), drop all wands and glass potions except one wand of slow and 2-3 teleports. and read a scroll of detect material and look for frog flesh again right after coming down the stairs. Make note of where most of the frogs are located, and memorize the location of the single mystic dark frog on the level. You will want to kill it as soon as possible, just like on GC7. You may also notice a large-ish gap between all the frogs; that's where Elpuri will be located. If you're in range, teleport to the mystic frog now, kill it and escape back to the stairs. Make sure you won't be too close to Elpuri's location when going in. With any luck, you'll make it in and out before he gets in range.
Once the mystic frog is dead, you're free to clear the level a bit. Try to look for long, straight corridors: these are the ones you'll want to fight Elpuri in. Keep making your way towards Elpuri while clearing the level. When you find him again, slow him a few times and kite him like any other NPC. More than ever, do not let him hit you under any circumstances, especially if carrying wands! He will break any and all openly in your inventory with one bite, plus seriously danger those held in chests or lockboxes. You will not want wands of haste, slow, polymorph or the likes exploding on you here, not to even speak of fireballs or striking. If you get backed into a corner or otherwise cannot keep kiting by running, teleport ahead or back a bit and keep going. It may take a while to burn through his 3000 HP, but he will die with enough hits provided you do not screw up.
If all goes well, Elpuri should now be dead. Clear out the rest of the level, don't touch the portal, remember to pick up the head and bring it back to Petrus in Attnam. Talk with him with C for chat, not V for vomit.
If you've managed to get your first freedom victory with the help of this guide, congratulations and well done! I'm pleased putting this many words together paid off. Go brag of your victory on the official forums!
In case there's anything missing, false or you just otherwise need additional information on something, hit the forums and drop us a thread. I'll be happy to answer any further questions.