SilverSliver's Guide to Ivan
This article is a work in progress by SilverSliver. Please contact on forums if problems arise
Many, many years after the creation IVAN, I have decided as to also add my 2 cents on the topic of how to progress through Ivan. Despite me being generally new around the community, I believe even the best of players can learn something from this. It also will be a compilation of several pages of other work, so if you're ever feeling too lazy to search up a specific page, you can take a look here. This is meant to be a generalist guide detailing my opinions on literally everything and tips/trick for progressing through stages. I will go through each topic with its corresponding subtopics, then add a unhelpful TL;DR for lazy people. This guide doesn't not contain exploits, save scumming and code modification, which I don't bother to link as it completely takes the fun out of the game (I consider exploits are addressed like this: If the devs knew about it, would they allow it?)
Many of these general tips are applicable through all versions. Remember, wiz mode is great for testing out all your odd ideas (note that wiz mode in later version may allow some rules that aren't possible normally, such as wishing for ommel materials or cloning certain scrolls, so do be careful).
Enjoy ;p (and mind the humor, I don't mind)
- 1 Keys
- 2 Weapons
- 3 Danger Level
- 4 Training
- 5 Prayers and Gods
- 6 Scrolls
- 7 Wands
- 8 Traps
- 9 Healing
- 10 Miscellaneous
Though many people may simply not mention them because of how simple they are and that they can be accessed simply by clicking the '?' button, I feel that all keys need to be mentioned because not having the knowledge about one important one can hurt a run a lot. That said, let's go through the most important keys:
*Please message me in the forums If I get any key wrong, or I missed some vastly key changing game*
up, down, left, and right Arrow: Self Explanatory, Movement keys.
Home and End (Located in the top right corner of the keyboard), Page Up and Page Down (Located in the bottom right corner of the keyboard): Not so self explanatory. These keys, which aren't mentioned for whatever reason, allow you to move diagonally. Homes moves you up and left, End moves you down and left, Page Up is up and right, and Page Down is down and right. Importantly, it's counted as a single move. Even more importantly, it allows you to interact with otherwise non-interactable objects, most notably being 2 of Haathbar's bookshelf. MOST IMPORTANTLY, and I cannot stress this enough because it makes your run so much safer, being at a diagonal greatly decreases damage from certain entities, including trapped door explosions, zaps from Wand of Fireballs and Wand of Lightning, and the Enner Beast scream.
a: This key is used to apply objects. More specifically, it is the game's interaction with wands, tools, and certain miscellaneous items (chests and traps). With wands, 'a' will not zap, and instead break, releasing all their stored energy onto the user, namely you. This is useful for the wand of teleportation
Weapons are an invaluable component in IVAN, dictating how much damage you are able to do to your enemies (unless for some reason you want to smack people with a frog head or wield 2 shields).
What is this? A challenger approaches! Cue story time:
You looked around, making sure nobody was watching you, then picked up the yellow ring off the ground and slid it onto your finger. Finders Keepers! Suddenly, an uncomfortable uncertainty of who you really are overwhelms you. Your body grows in a crimson light as you turn into-a valpurium golem!? Very cool. You flex your uber-powerful limbs and run amok, absolutely obliterating your enemies when suddenly, your body is hit by a spell of electricity. It barely hurts you, and you charge towards the source, full of confidence, when you turn back into yourself. Uh-oh. You body is annihilated out of existence by Ischaldirh, the dark archmage and his octiron quarterstaff +12. What just happened?
This unusual appearance of strong enemies despite your apparent weakness is known as Danger Level, which spawns enemies for you based on how strong the system thinks you are. The code behind it is very complicated, but it basically compares how long it would take for a monster to kill you compared to how long it would take you to kill them. The better your armor, weapons, and proficiency are, the more dangerous monsters are spawned. This does not mean you should avoid getting stronger, as enemies naturally get stronger over time, and once you get strong enough, you basically become invincible. Virtually all items are worth picking up, beside the ones listed below (most of which have to do with boosting your endurance), with the least danger-level increasing at the top and the most lethal at the bottom. Later in this guide, I will also include a section on how to beat the danger curve and what you can use when you do so (see miscellaneous).
Along your journey (or by praying to Mellis and rarely Nefas), you may find containers holding various excrements of an ommel. These liquids or solid are in fact not harmful (so don't throw them at enemies for the love of god), but when consumed provide a boost in stats! Very powerful stuff, as it not only saves times but usually ends up giving more xp than grinding can. Ommel substances can be cloned also, which can lead to sky high stats (see miscellaneous). However, if you consume too much ommel snot before you're prepared, a kamikaze dwarf could easily end your game. Otherwise, feel free to binge on all the urine and sweat you want.
AOGH, short for the Armor of Great Health, is a special type of torso armor which enchantment corresponds with the stats to it's endurance, so if you had a phoenix feather armor of great health+2, your endurance would be boosted by 2 points. In the very early game when you have little health or alternative, it's a good idea to pick this up. But as you continue on, know that the AOGH not only dramatically increases the danger level, but also provides less AV and weighs more than normal armor. It's generally a meme in the IVAN community.
Ahhh, the days when you found a FLAMING VALPURIUM SWORD+10! What a simply incredible weapon lying around. High attack, burn damage, top tier material, what's not to like? Wait... where did it go? This is a cruel trap of one of the Ivan developers, a mirrored item that temporarily shoots your danger level sky high and keeps it there when it disappears. While you might find other mirrored items in the game (See section 4.5 of traps), they are generally safe to use for the time being. It is highly recommended not to use unless you are very confident of your survival.
Level 64 Skills
In older versions of IVAN (feel free to ignore this if you play a more current version), the devs forgot to patch improving weapon skills, so if you train with an item for long enough, your skill level with it will jump from 19 to 64! Of course, you've turned your effectiveness to +325%, tripling your damage, making enemies all the stronger.
As mentioned in the example, polymorphing into other creatures doesn't bode well. If by some chance you end up with a strong monster/golem, you've also artificially boosted your danger level greatly, but once your return to your true form, the danger stays high but your strength goes, leaving you in a lot of trouble. This can destroy runs if you end up spawning named enemies with your high health.
Something more dangerous than polymorphing? Yes. With a rare scroll of change material or a good prayer (see gods), you gain the ability to change a limb into another material. These materials usually have Astr/Lstr multiple times stronger than human flesh, are much harder to damage... and shoot your health sky high. Since the limb is so helpfully hard to remove, and since your life depends on individual body parts rather than your total health, this is a easy way to get screwed. Try not to go with anything stronger than phoenix feather if you want to go the artificial limb route.
So that you've read all these unfortunate traps. Is danger level something to be noted? Absolutely. Remember above all that health above 65 makes kamikaze dwarfs start to spawn, health above 78 starts spawning weak named enemies, and health in the hundreds is when you'd best be armed to the teeth. But fear not, see miscellaneous for how to beat the danger curve. Once you do, you can begin toying around with all sorts of power.
Outside of weapons, training abilities and weapon effectiveness is important to becoming the all-powerful Ivan player you were meant to be. Many of these stats can be trained without much difficulty, but beware it is also easy for them to drop. Do note that while you can train stats as much as you want, your gains will become nominally smaller over time, and they is only a shadow the power of cloning ommel liquids and artificial limbs bring.
AStr, or the ability to wield heavier weapons and do damage, is important for maximizing attack power by being unburdened by weapon weight. They also allow you to dig faster and fatigue slower, but that is harder relevant in most scenarios. Many of the top tier weapons mentioned above require two handed usage, but if arm strength is high enough, one can wield them in one hand without any problems. Here is a chart of arm strength required to wield heavy weapons.
- Chart- To be inserted*
To train arm strength, it's best to use heavy weapons to be able to use heavy weapons (See what I did there?). Halberds, Polearms, and Large swords all work wonders if made of heavy materials, particularly ones in the iron family. So don't throw away that large, inaccurate 2 handed iron sword just yet, it may kick up your level a notch. Outside of heavy weapons, digging also helps to train Astr, but it requires a constant and large food supply, and isn't necessary.
LStr, or the ability to hold more items and buff up these scratches, allows you not only to hold more items, but also to escape from certain traps more easily (which won't be a problem if you are able to acquire a belt of levitation). Being burdened and stressed decrease your combat ability by a whooping 25% and 50% percent respectively, not even including being overloaded, so avoiding such unfortunate circumstances are life-saving. Surprising, this attribute does not matter as much as others, as it can be mitigated by carrying only essential equipment (see miscellaneous for more info). Despite that, it's still a good idea to keep LStr at a respectable level, enough so that losing use of one leg won't bother you too much.
To train leg strength, the simplest method is carry as items until you are stressed, and run around with them. Train leg strength before agility if you can, because running around stressed hurts your agility while the reverse is much less notable. You will require a steady stream of food for this too.
Dex, or the ability to attack accurately and quickly (arm agility), allows you to have a greater chance of hitting your enemies and being able to escape certain traps. Despite not having many applications, this is a vastly important ability as it ends fights much quicker, leaving you more likely to be alive.
To train dexterity, use fast attacking weapons to attack enemies, with the former being too weak to damage the latter, and the latter being to weak to hurt the wielder much. The perfect balance for this seems to be banana peels and greater carnivorous plants, both which can be easily found every game. Pick up the peels from Huang Ming Pong's hut, then take them to UT3 and let Jenny spawn the greater carnivorous plants. Whack on them as you please, but beware your Stamina<-- Seriously, I mean it
Agi, or the ability to do things faster (leg dexterity), speeds up your actions and allows you to chase or flee (but mostly flee) enemies. It can also increase your dodge chances.
To train agility, just run around. Even normal dungeon exploration will train agility, but remember that being burdened or worse hurts that training, and being satisfied or higher also hurts that training. For the greatest results, run around in the world map with little materials except for necessary food, which should only be used to raise you up to barely satisfied every once in a while
End, or the opposite of the beginning, the step after the middle, the... you know, is the ability to take a hit. It also increases your stamina and overall regeneration rate. This stat is easily the most controversial one, as having high health does make fights safer, but also dramatically increase your danger level to annoying enemies like dwarves(ugh), mages(eugh), and named enemies(aeiou) that can make fights for unprepared adventurers a nightmare. However if you do manage to break the danger curve (*See Danger Level above), leveling up endurance as high as possible is a great idea.
If you must train your Endurance, taking damage and healing it up generally will increase your health over time. Do not think this means you should chug sulfuric acid or take a fresh breathe of mustard gas, instead, take light damage from enemies and just heal it over time. School food is also useful increasing Endurance, but know that it only has about a 1/3 chance of success and will poison you regardless. At least it doesn't spoil...
Intelligence and Wisdom
Int and Wis, or how smart you are, have been grouped together because training Int almost always trains Wis at the same time. They do have different purposes though. Intelligence allows you to transformed items into a higher quality, see farther with ESP, read faster and teleport farther. Wisdom increase the rate at which your relationship will gods change. From reading, intelligence is obviously more helpful, but since both are trained at the same time, consider it a combined benefit.
To train the two, Science Talking will be the main method of slowly but surely upping your stats. reading scrolls and praying to gods will also help, if you have enough (See miscellaneous for maximizing scroll reading).
Cha, or the ability to scam the scammers, allows you to sell items in shops for higher prices and buy them at lower ones. That's it
Prayers and Gods
Oh Mortifer... explaining gods are no easy task. Mysterious in their ways, and only known through the representatives sent to you, the abilities of gods will greatly benefit your run with resources, enchantments, and even powerful weapons. Yet learn to fear their divine wrath-just kidding, any god's anger can easily be mitigated if you understand cooldowns. This section will detail the various gifts of the gods and their tiers (imho), and will start from the most lawful to the most chaotic. This guide will not go over the punishments of most gods (you'll see), as it assumes you've read enough to understand when and how to pray.
Books and Alters:
Before we really explain gods, it's good to know to know gods in the first place. When you run around the world, you might find a yellow, red, or blue book lying on the ground, or if you're lucky, a room with a strange symbol on one of the tiles. These books and alters, respectively, are the path between you and a god. The owners of books are easy to recognize, and the owners of symbols might be tricky, but they will be explained below, and you'll learn them in due time. Once you have read a book or stood on an alter, you can 'p'ray to the respective god/goddess. Note that reading a book will shift your alignment, but simply discovering an alter will lead to minimal effects. You can also 'o'ffer stuff to gods (but only on alters) to increase your relationship to them.
As the last paragraph began insinuating, alignment and relation are critical in praying to gods. Each god has it's own alignment, and their relationship with you will be based on how lawful/chaotic you are yourself. You can usually pray safely with other gods of similar alignment. Obviously, the Kings of Gods and the Destroyer of Worlds will be pissed for having affairs with the other, but even if gods are the same alignment, they can become displeased with you. It is best to limit gods to only 2-3 levels away from each other (for example L++ to L,L- to N, or C+ to C-) to ensure positive relations with all of them, knowing that more is possible but risky. By positive relations, or a god's happiness, ranging from being 'A champion of the cause!' to extremely angry, dictate their rewards/punishments, the latter of which can be quite severe. Praying to a happy god will increase not only your relationship with them, but also closely aligned gods. As is such, this allows you to slowly change your alignment over time, shifting from lawful to chaotic and vice verse.
Your alignment will be displayed in the bottom left corner next to your name. Besides the two common ways mentioned earlier, you may also change alignment by doing evil deeds. Note that all alignment changes outside of the ones in the previous paragraph only shift your alignment towards chaotic, so you'll need some other method to gain lawfulness, especially if you want to attempt the high priest ending.
You've understood to pray to Gods only in close alignment. You've offered all your loot to your chosen god/goddess, and they declare they are extremely pleased with you. You pray to them and receive a game-changing powerup. You offer something small at the alter, and find they declare you 'A champion of the cause!'. Giddy, you pray once more... and the god is displeased? What's going on here?
This most common pitfall is known as cooldown, which all gods have. Like a puppy to its master, nagging to it too often will cause annoyance and eventually kicking. Cooldown for most gods is almost 3 hours, so after praying successfully to a god, wait for about that long before praying again. If your standing with a god is particularly good, you may pray to them more than one in the time interval, but decrease your relationship greatly (making it likelier to have punishments) and create anger, which is a timer based outside of relation, and is about double the normal waiting time between prayers. Also note that prayers to Valpurus, Mortifer, and Atavus after you receive their championship gifts take much longer before you can pray to them again safely, 50 hours to be precise.
Finally, we begin actually rating gods. Lawful gods generally award a boon that work instantly and tend to be more situational. All except Valpurus give limbs of their aligned materials.
Valpurus (L++,C tier):
The King of the Gods, the ruler of worlds, the one who carries the weight of the world on his back... yeah he's pretty useless. He requires Champion level to be prayed to in the first place, and even after all that he only gives you a sword and shield. Valpurium sword and shield, yes, but with no enchantments or special capabilities. Even worse, you must become his champion to acquire the hardest victory, which doesn't help that killing Petrus decreases your standing with him. The only reason that he's not below C tier is that any angels gifted to you by him are permanent. Note that Inlux cannot be summoned because they are used to defend Attnam.
Legifer (L+, C+ tier):
The god of law and order, Legifer does nothing special but call upon Inlux to save you by surrounding you with an explosion of fire. The explosion power is proportional to your relationship with Legifer and will not damage you or anything you hold, but may end up breaking nearby equipment or worse, setting off traps. It is helpful for putting down weaker monsters and breaking down weak walls, but that's about it. Since glass is one of his aligned materials, it's easier to reach champion status with him compared to most other gods, as lanterns greatly please him. This strategy ends up being helpful for getting into good terms with Valpurus. He does give aligned materials for limbs are half decent, notably |illithium and orichalcum.
Atavus (L+, B- tier):
The god of charity and munificence, Atavus use to be lackluster in older versions, but what makes him good now though is his constant enchanting of armor, easily buffing your gear up if you have the patience. He can give random chests full of random goodies or very rarely a scroll of wishing, but don't count on it in a run. His most notable award is from is reaching champion level with him and acquiring an Arcanite plate mail (Av 18, 3200 g since the wiki page for him doesn't mention it for some reason), a very strong early game armor that can also be sold for a great price once you get something better. His aligned materials are unnoteworthy.
Dulcis (L, A+ tier):
The goddess of love and art, Dulcis is good with people by making friends wherever [I] go. She will attempt to charm anyone with her music when you pray to her. The success rate is higher based on your relation with her, but don't try charming any named enemies stronger than Rondol, as the chance of failure is either extremely high or guaranteed. In later versions, she will also train your charisma a lot. The reason she's considered so good (at least by me) is because she essential offers an infinite army of allies, and the strength that comes in numbers (or at least in cannon fodder) is worth a lot. She also offers a variety of musical instruments that will provide food, cure and inflict status effects, transport allies, and even heal you. Her aligned materials have become pretty strong in the recent updates, notably angel hair and dream cloth.
Seges (L, B+ tier):
The goddess of health and nutrition, Seges can be a lifesaver, feeding you to almost bloated, curing diseases, and even occasionally healing you. So why is she so low tier? For one, her aligned materials are rather unnoteworthy, mainly being food, but also the fact that she simply gets outclassed by other gods and her benefits can be eventually found in the dungeon without much difficulty. *Cue world's smallest violin*
Sophos (L-, A tier):
The god of knowledge, magic, and handicrafts (so long OWO), Sophos is basically an emergency teleport. If you're ever surrounded by dangerous monsters, missing the arms to zap a wand and missing the time to read a scroll, his teleport can seriously save your day. The one downside to this is that his teleport cannot be controlled by telecontrol, so your destination is very luck based. With that said, why is Sophos so high in tier (especially when Seges got the short end of the stick)? Because her aligned items for limbs are very, very, good. They notably compose of lightweight, unrustable metals such arcanite, mithril, and occultum or top tier cloths including spider silk, gossamer, and spirit cloth. And if you're really lucky, you might recieve a large, scrumptious limb made of ommel cerumen.
Neutral gods, the smallest category, do very different things each. All may give limbs of their aligned materials.
Silva (N+, C tier):
Loricatus (N, S tier):
Mellis (N-, S tier):
Chaotic gods give more long lasting, but still temporary boon. All except Mortifer may give limbs of their aligned materials.
Cleptia (C+, A tier):
Nefas (C, B+ tier):
Scabies (C, D tier):
Infuscor (C-, B tier):
Cruentus (C-, B+ tier):
Mortifer (C--, A tier):
This section contains various non-cheating tips that will just make your life 27% or more less frustrating, guaranteed.