For the book of the same title, see Beginner's Guide (Book).
This guide is intended to help make Elona a less painful experience for beginners by addressing common issues and questions.
Those who are new or unfamiliar with the details of the process should read the character creation guide to find out what their decisions affect when creating their character.
While you may want to start out with a well put-together character, it may be advisable for first time players to make a throwaway character with which to become acquainted with the game and the system. Without spending the time to agonize over how to build the character in order to maximize benefit and utility, you can jump in and experience how those changes would actually benefit them in the game. There is no sense spending time trying to figure out how to make the best spellcaster or performer, only to find out you don't find it any fun.
For this purpose, a Juere Warrior is a solid start. The race itself is relatively versatile with its starting attributes, allowing a new player to explore different skills more easily. They also start with the Negotiation skill which lowers prices somewhat, and they have a racial feat which decreases the rate at which they become hungry, making it less likely a new character will starve. The Warrior class gives them skills which will allow them to fight and kill monsters more easily, allowing them greater survivability while introducing them to the combat system. Golems and Dwarves also make excellent warriors, but are generally less versatile, making it more difficult to explore skills not related to combat.
It should also be noted that most characters should aim for a charisma of at least 10. For every 5 points of charisma after 10, you may have another person in your party. This becomes important when you take Escort, Before It's Too Late, and Beauty and the Beast quests, as those put an NPC temporarily in your party. As the first two are both relatively easy and well-paid, having more available NPC slots means you may do more of those quests at once to maximize gains.
After character creation and the opening story, you are dropped into your home (press the for an explanation of how to use the game, or look at the controls wiki page). Lomias will immediately initiate dialogue with you and offer to take you through the newbie tutorial. It is worth taking for those who are unfamiliar with the game or the system, as it introduces you to some basic game concepts and it would be best to follow the steps as he describes them with one exception. Most classes will find the bow relatively ineffective at killing the putits and using it exclusively could lead to your death (however, note that death isn't permanent). Your melee attack will often deal much more damage, especially if you are a warrior. When you have finished the tutorial and are done talking to them, you should ask them to leave. It will finish the quest and leave you with several items (otherwise they will leave eventually anyway without leaving items).
For those who have gone through the tutorial before, it is still worth doing. You can safely ignore his instructions to eat the corpse, use scrolls or equip items and proceed anyway. Doing so will earn you a scroll of identify, a scroll of vanish curse, several potions and a worthless fake gold bar which is often useful in quests.
It is worth noting that when Lomias summons several putits, this can be taken as an opportunity to raise several skills before venturing out into the wild. By letting the putits hit (or try to) you repeatedly, you can raise your shield, armor and evasion skills. When you heal naturally from the damage taken, your healing skill will go up. With shield, armor, and healing skill-ups, your Constitution will go up, raising your total HP. As most classes will do poorly with the starting bow, you can fire it repeatedly at the putits to raise your bow skill. As your bow skill and/or evasion raises, your Dexterity will increase as well, allowing you to dodge better. You can hold down the attack button to fire in succession, making time pass more quickly. You can also hold down the key on the keypad to pass turns without acting.
You don't want to kill the putits if you can avoid it, as the more of them there are, the faster your skills will raise. If you start to really kill one of them, you can useto change your target to a different one. If you start taking more damage than you can handle, you should run around in the cave. The putits are relatively slow and will get very few hits in on a running target. If you plan to run, do it before your health gets so low that they may kill you in a single hit. You should try to avoid being cornered, as you wont be able to escape without killing the putit that is blocking you. Don't be afraid to use the cure minor wound potions you started with to keep you going. They are relatively common and inexpensive. Dying here isn't a big deal either, as the only penalty for death before level six is gold (which you don't have enough for it to matter) and you will respawn right here in the cave, ready to continue.
It is a good idea to eat enough food to make your character at least satisfied. The process can take a long time and it is quite likely your character will become hungry during it, should you let it go long enough. Food can be eaten while being hit, but it brings up multiple prompts to continue your action. Don't ignore your hunger, as you can starve to death.
Following this process, it is reasonable to earn enough skill-ups to hit level 3, possibly even 4. The levels themselves mean little, but the skill-ups in defense-related skills and constitution will make your character much more survivable early on.
Leaving Your Home
Before you leave, you may want to pick up several of the items that have been strewn around the floor on this cave. Garbage, junk stone and dead fish are common items asked for in certain quests. As these items are low in weight, they can be brought along easily. Most of the rest should be left behind, as items left in your home will not disappear.
When you are ready to leave, the exit is to the south. Your first stop should be Vernis, a small city you can see to the southeast of your cave, directly along the road. It is worth following the road, as encounter levels tend to be lower on the road than off it. At lower levels however, the character is generally pulling from the lowest tier of possible encounters, so off-road encounters will not necessarily mean a death sentence, but caution is advised.
When you arrive, a dialogue will pop up about a reunion with your pet. While you may feel free to choose any of them from the list, the little girl is one of the best pets as she has more equipment slots to work with and better starting skills.
At this point, the game essentially opens up and sets you loose without much sense of direction. Your character will generally have poor gear at the point however, so the first step you take should be to improve it. At this point in the game, quests are the best way to earn money. While you can talk to NPCs individually to ask about quests, the quickest and easiest way is to go to the job board. There is one in every town and in Vernis it is a hair northwest of the well in the center of town.
Low Level Quests
As a low level character you should stick to delivery quests (Ecologist, A Present, Book Delivery, A Small Token), certain escort quests (Before It's Too Late, Escort), and supply quests (Birthday, I want it!). Delivery and escort quests will take you outside the city, so make sure you know where the destination is before you accept them. Use the world map to figure out where you're going so that you don't accept quests which will take you in opposite directions. Likewise, if two cities are in the same direction (Yowyn and Palmia for example) it is often worthwhile to take quests into both destinations at the same time.
Most Delivery and Escort quests have reasonable time limits to reach their destination, just be careful not to let those limits expire, as there are penalties. All Delivery quests have karma penalties associated with them (you are effectively stealing the item by not delivering it). This is especially important with Before It's Too Late quests, as they have the shortest time limits and it is sometimes impossible even with travel enhancing items to meet the deadlines. Consequently, they are also the most profitable missions to take.
Cooking quests should mostly be avoided unless you know what you're doing. The Harvest Time quests will be very difficult for new characters. However, harvesting plants is excellent for raising several stats and taking these quests can be worthwhile even if you're unable to complete them. Also, low level Harvest Time quest maps have smashable pots which contain random items, and a selection of some of the weakest enemies in Elona, which make decent combat training for a new character. All but the lowest level hunting quests are usually too difficult when first starting out. Beauty and the Beast is also often a difficult quest, as it is an escort quest with special random encounters built in, which can be very challenging. Party Time! should generally be avoided unless you have a high Performer skill. When taking supply quests, you should already have the item before accepting the quest unless it is something that can be gotten easily from a random area (junk stone, garbage, animal bones).
Doing quests will earn you money relatively quickly which you can spend on better gear. When you finish a quest, don't forget to pick the reward up off the ground! It is almost always worthwhile to keep the scrolls given as rewards, as they have no weight. Rods and spellbooks are also often worth keeping, as they are frequently used in supply quests. You'll want to save the Platinum coins you receive for buying new skills or training the potential of ones you already have.
Items and Gear
In the beginning, you should focus on filling empty slots with items that increase PV or speed. DV is also useful, but at this point in the game, PV is more likely to keep your character alive. Speed is helpful as it lets you take your turns more frequently. With a high enough speed, you may be able to act several times before the enemy does. Glass items can be a good investment as a result, although these have poor PV. After gathering enough money by clearing low level quests, your gear at this point should be almost entirely made up of equipment purchased from vendors.
Once you have something in every slot, you should try to incrementally upgrade your gear. Go to blacksmith vendors and ask them to reinforce your weapons/armors. Every reinforced level increases damage and accuracy for weapons, and DV/PV for armors. Increasing everything to +2 or +3 should be enough for now. Reinforcing is also useful for repairing gear that was damaged by acid. You should also look up to blackmarket vendors in Derphy and Port Kapul, since they sell higher quality gear that may also grant magic resistance and other attributes, even if it's not a priority for now. With a decent set of gear, you are in much better shape to take on monsters.
Don't forget to equip your pet: use the two-handed or else will lose a lot of accuracy and damage when wielded with an offhand weapon or a shield (this is true for every weapon weighting 4.0s or more). You can check your pets' character sheet while gene engineering or by paying 1000 gold to informers.key to interact with your pet, then choose Inventory to give and take items. While pets often start out weak, they will gain experience just as you do and can be very effective with the right gear. Likewise, without gear, they will be mostly useless. If nothing else, a pet should be equipped with hand-me-downs, since equipment sells so poorly to vendors. You should also make sure your pets' equipment doesn't hinder their fighting ability. For example, a claymore should be
Should you find equipment dropped from enemies or quests, it should mostly be sold or left unless you have the Sense Quality skill. Most items, even those of exceptional quality, sell for almost nothing to vendors, even when identified. Most gear you find will fall in that category and thus be a losing proposition. The Sense Quality skill will give you hints as to how good an item is. Unless you really need a particular item slot, it's generally not worth identifying anything with quality less than Great, and those items only when you are shopping around for an upgrade to a particular slot.
It may also be worthwhile at this point to make a trip to the slave master in Derphy. You can purchase pets here to add to your party permanently. In fact, the Little Girl you start with is weaker than the one that can be bought here for roughly 1500 gold, if you want to drop the original and go with an upgrade (though if you have been in many fights, your original may be stronger). You can purchase slaves up to the number limited by your charisma. Keep in mind however that the more pets you have, the fewer escort missions you may undertake at one time. An engagement ring gives enough charisma to have another pet (only in Elona+).
Any item listed as "a potion, a spellbook, a scroll, a rod" (a mossy scroll, a sapphire rod, etc) should be identified. Northeast of the Vernis baker is a building with an NPC, who you can pay to identify your stuff; you can also use scrolls and rods of identify. Once the first item of that particular type is identified, you will recognize all items of that specific type. So if you find a single scroll of teleport, you will recognize that even unidentified scrolls of teleport are just that. It is important to note that this will not reveal the blessed or cursed status of an item, only its type. It still needs to be identified to find that out.
You should always carry in your inventory identified food (rations, api nuts or chestnuts), scrolls or rods of teleport (use them on yourself for escaping from strong enemies), and a blessed potion of restore body/spirit (since it also temporarily increases stats, give them to pets too).
Note: Blessed and Cursed items do not stack with their regular counterparts, even when unidentified. With normal items being the most common, one can generally infer that with a stack of 10 unidentified scrolls/potions and two smaller stacks of the same item, that the largest stack is unblessed/cursed and the other two contain either blessed or cursed items. Rods, identified or not, will only stack if they have the same number of charges.
With some decent gear and gaming experience behind you, it might be time to start tackling some of the other aspects of the game. Shena in the Vernis bar (in the southeast of the town) offers a quest to clear out some robbers in the northeast part of town, which is a reasonably easy task even with poor gear; once you clear out the robbers hideout you can use it as a place to store items. A child NPC in a house directly west of those stairs offers a quest to find a puppy, located in the appropriately named Puppy Cave. This should be your first real dungeon experience. These quests are unique in that they can be only done once and are offered only by these specific NPC's. There are other similar quests offered in other areas.
The Puppy Cave is a relatively easy dungeon with the kind of enemies you should be used to from fighting random encounters on the overworld. Despite that, it is possible to get overwhelmed here, as the frequent death messages from this dungeon over Elona chat testify. Take it slow and try not to get in over your head. Don't be afraid to use potions or scrolls if necessary to survive, or to run away if necessary.
It is often preferable to dying. That said, with any degree of preparation, the dungeon should be a cakewalk and you should have no problem getting to the bottom of it. It is important to note that each floor of this dungeon resets as you leave it, so when you go down a level and back up, the level layout will change and the enemies will be repopulated. While this can be inconvenient, it is also a good source of scrolls, spellbooks, potions, and random items to use to improve sense quality. There are also plenty of monsters to kill.
Whenever you are ready, your goal in the cave is to get to the bottom of the dungeon which is four levels down from the first (fifth level). Once there, you will see a little puppy who you can initiate dialogue with and invite to join the party. From there it becomes an escort quest where you must take him safely back to town. There is no penalty for failure in this quest, as you can simply go back down to the last level and pick up another copy of the puppy if he dies.
Things to keep in mind
- For game-time months which are evenly divisible by 3 (March, June, September, December) the Etherwind will occur sometime during the first ten days of the month. See the Etherwind page for tips on how to deal with it.
- If your karma drops to -30 or lower then the guards in town will attack you on sight, and the shopkeepers won't deal with you, so make sure to keep your karma up.
- When you reach character level 6 you'll have to start paying taxes every game month. If you fail to pay your taxes too many times in a row your karma will lower to the point where guards will attack you.
- As you complete quests you'll gain fame. Fame increases your taxes, increases the cost of traveler's food cargo, and makes rogue boss ambushes harder, so you don't want it to get too high. You can keep your fame down by taking quests and purposefully failing them. The Harvest Time and Party Time! quests are good for this.
At this point your character should be in good shape to start moving in the direction you want to go. The platinum coins you save up from doing those quests will allow you to learn new skills if you want or need new ones. The gear will let you tackle more difficult fights and more easily level up your combat skills. You may continue to build up your character or start investigating other quests and pursuits in the game.
Some specific things you'll want to pursue:
- You'll want to find a god to worship.
- You'll want to join a guild.
- The Main Quest of the game happens in the Lesimas dungeon, southwest of Vernis. The main quest happens in stages, and by the time you finish the Puppy Cave quest you should easily be able to complete the first stage.
About Guilds: If you have difficulty finding good weaponry, you should consider joining the Fighter's Guild, at least temporarily. Their quests reward non-unique artifact weapons (quality varies depending on guild rank), are the simplest to complete and can be easily cheated (see page for details).
Things which will get you killed
This is a list of common ways new characters get killed, sometimes unexpectedly.
- Starving to death. Bring food with you to prevent this from happening. Cargoes of traveler's food work fine on the overworld, and can be eaten in dungeons by placing Portable Shelter and entering in. Api nuts and Healthy Leaves never rot and are commonly found on random maps, so they serve as good emergency food. Note that eating cursed and rotten food makes you vomit, making you more hungry. In Elona+ you can eat Cargo of traveler's food without Portable Shelter.
- Fighting bandits. If you don't have a means of teleporting, give up your gold and cargo. These guys will tear up low level characters very quickly, often before you can run away. Be careful if you have a pet, too - if you don't get away fast enough they will try to fight... and most likely be obliterated. Using a leash on your pets may reduce the risk.
- Being overweight. Your backpack will squash you, dealing damage if you are carrying too much. Low levels of this can be mitigated by a decent healing skill, but it will quickly become insufficient. Overweight characters also often trip and fall down when attempting to use stairs, which may also deal damage. Overweight characters move more slowly, which may prevent them from escaping from enemies. The Weight Lifting skill can help you carry more items without being overweight.
- Using the performer skill in public. Higher level NPC's (Shopkeepers, guards, adventurers) require high perform skill in order to be satisfied. A general guide is 25+ skill. With lower skill, these NPC's are likely to throw rocks, which will almost certainly kill you.
- Reading spellbooks. You can fail to read a spellbook, especially at low skill. Upon failure, these often summon monsters which you will often be unable to deal with. For this reason, it is advised to read them in the corner of randomly generated areas so you can flee instantly or in areas with high level guards. Certain types of monsters can cause near-irrevocable problems in towns however, so be aware of the risks. Also be careful to have a full bar of mana points before attempting to read spellbooks; if you fail and have your mana absorbed, and you don't have your mana points filled, HP will be subtracted instead ("Magic reaction hurts you!") - and it can very easily kill you.
- The tightrope.....DON'T use the tightrope unless in jail!