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40d:Adventurer mode

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This article is about an older version of DF.

In adventurer mode, you pick a race (dwarf, human, or elf) and start out in either a town of your race or in a previous fortress you played on. You can receive quests, venture into the wilderness to find caves, abandoned towers and other villages. You can even visit your old fortresses and find whatever riches were left to be guarded by the creatures that sealed the fate of your fortress.

The user interface differs somewhat from fortress mode; you may want to refer to the quick reference guide, or examine the detailed controls page. Site map may also prove useful.

Your first adventure[edit]

Picking a race[edit]

When it comes to picking a race, there is difference in skills. Dwarves cannot wear human sized armor, and are somewhat limited in the weapons they can wield due to their size. Elves have a slightly different set of skills. Humans are generally fairly well-balanced, and are the easiest to acquire quests from. Each race fares differently in combat; the humans also are the only civilizations with shops so it's a good place for new people to start out. You may wish to look at the races' pages for the finer details.

Choosing skills[edit]

Basically, if you want to start with a weapon, you need to avoid having the most points spent in unarmored/wrestling. If you, for example, choose to start out with most points in swordsman, you will start out with a sword. When you have chosen your preferred set of skills, you can press Enter to embark. The weapon skill you choose will also determine what armor you start out with - swordsmen, macemen, axemen, hammermen, spearmen, and lashers start with chain armor and a shield, pikemen start with chain armor but no shield, bowmen and crossbowmen start with leather armor and no shield, and wrestlers start with no armor at all.

All the skills you see can be improved through use in-game, so don't worry about spreading them out completely evenly. In general, pick the skills you think you're going to use, which are pretty self-explanatory, but it's recommended that you put at least a few points into shield user and into a type of weapon. Be warned that weapon skills generally take a while to level up, so placing a good deal of points into a single weapon may be to your advantage. Also keep in mind that your skills determine what kind of equipment you have in the beginning, i.e. high sword skill means you'll start with a sword. For information on the weapons and the other aspects of combat, please check the combat section. It is also a good idea to use a point or two for Swimming, otherwise you might end up drowning in a puddle.

Setting out[edit]

Depending on the race you chose while creating your character, you will have different starting locations to choose from (Humans may start in Villages, Dwarves in Fortresses etc.). Most all of the starting points are friendly places with different people to talk to.

Be sure to read the Adventure Mode quick reference or use the help files for more information on the commands in Adventure mode.


Congratulations, you've created a character and are now about to embark on your fantastic adventure! For now, lets focus on the bare bones of staying alive, shall we? First things first, you need food and water. If you're a human you start with some, but barring that you may need to find a waterskin. These can be bought in human towns, specifically at the shop. DO NOT STEAL THESE OR ANYTHING ELSE. (which means, do not pick anything up and walk outside the store before you trade for it. Why? Because you are currently weak and your neck is currently arrow bait.) After getting the waterskin, simply find a water source and hit (Shift+I) to interact with the object. Press the letter of the waterskin and you should be able to fill it from the water source. After it's full, press e to open the Eat menu and select the water. Food can be acquired from stores eaten in the same way. Beware, you won't be able to swim if you are hungry, thirsty or if you haven't slept for a day or two. If you get drowsy, just find a bed in a city or just find a good place to sleep. Avoid sleeping in a hostile place, if you don't want to have too much fun.

Now that you know how to work your mouth we can move on to miscellaneous tips for survival. Firstly, you are very tasty and chances are (unless you're an elf) the wildlife will soon be attempting to eat your face. A bear or cougar isn't too much of a problem because there's only one, but the real problem will be wolf packs (a single wolf is easy to dispatch, but a dozen or so can prove very problematic indeed). Beware large packs until you've gained a little experience. Secondly, do not anger the townsfolk, as they tend to have guards. Lastly, beware of taking quests or attempting things before you're ready, as you will more than likely have tons of fun.

Food and Drink[edit]

Adventurers are not picky eaters but care to eat food and drink clean water or booze. Uncooked meat counts as food. An adventurer will drink and eat just about anything: blood, vomit, worms, bugs, etc.


Elves live out in the forest, literally. Although defined to specific regions on the map, they have no structural wealth whatsoever. Prior to version, each trees within a forest retreat had a name.

Humans live in towns comprised of buildings and often a paved road. Their villages are highly modular - the small 5x5 buildings are citizen houses and are marked with an "H" on the town auto-map. Medium buildings are stores, marked with a symbol that indicates what they sell - weapons, armor, food, clothing, trinkets. You typically start in the mead hall, which is marked with an "M" on the automap. There are one or two apartment buildings which are two stories, with six rooms a story; they are also marked with an "H". There can also be a large "T"emple and a "K"eep. Temples tend to have two or three levels, and a pool of water, while "K"eeps are three or four floors high and are almost entirely empty (they will occasionally contain random smatterings of clothing though, if you're looking for things to sell.)

Dwarves live underground. Their entrances are large square pits with stairs around the perimeter, and a row of leading down into the fortress halls at the bottom. The main halls are wide and have pillars near the walls, long and occasionally turn corners. Different levels in the fortress are marked by a row of ramps with two pillars on the side (walk towards the side of the ramp that has the pillars) and, although the number of floors in a fortress can vary, they are usually little and only become deep if the lay of the land above is variable. There are two-tile-wide hallways, empty 5x5 rooms, and scant Dwarves in these pre-fab fortresses. It's obvious the computer is playing a completely different game than you are in Fortress Mode!

Goblins live in obsidian towers, usually found built in twos, though they both don't necessarily have to be built up. One could be a "tower," one could be an over-glorified "basement." There is probably a temple nearby, completely similar to human temples. Goblin towers have tight 1-wide hallways, spacious and empty rooms, and strange hall extensions that end in remote cross-like dead-ends. Like dwarf fortresses, there is rarely anything in a Goblin tower asides from Goblins, and they have a strange tendency not to attack non-Goblin visitors. They seem to have lots of children.

You may come across what the map defines as a "Goblin" city that is actually populated by Humans or Dwarves living in or around the towers.


In towns you can find merchants inside some buildings. These merchants have the Shopkeeper profession and will trade only when they are in their respective shops. Talk to them to trade with them. After buying an item, you must pick it up manually from somewhere in the shop. look around for an item without $ signs around it. Due to these limitations, there are only "human town" shopkeepers in a pre-fab Adventure mode civilization.


You can also sell things to traders. Bones, corpses, body parts and rocks are not valuable, no matter how attached you are to a particularly aerodynamic kobold head. Small creatures discovered while Looking Carefully may be worth a small amount of money. In order to sell or buy items, stand adjacent to the shopkeeper in his store, and konverse with the shopkeeper. Select "Trade" and press enter to open the trade window.

Select each non-worthless item you wish to sell, and then set a price using the following format[Verify]:

  • a asking for 9000☼
  • s +100☼
  • d +10☼
  • f +1☼
  • g reset to 0☼
  • h -1☼ (offering)
  • j -10☼
  • k -100☼
  • l offer 9000☼

The use of these keys may seem non-intuitive, and this is further complicated by the limit on your available offers by your current financial health.

Shopkeepers are used to adventurers with inflated ideas about the value of their goods, so it may be simplest to ask for 9000☼ for your goods, or offer 1☼ for theirs and suggest a trade. The shopkeeper will counteroffer with the actual value of the goods, and will be quite delighted to accept a trade at the price they've just quoted to you. You can then purchase things with your store credit. After the trade sessions, the balance of your coins will appear on a small table next to a chest.


You may also pick up the item before buying it, but you should never walk out of a shop carrying an unbought item, as that is theft. It is punishable by death if you are caught, and excommunication if you are not. On any occasion when you have stolen goods from a store, i.e. goods bounded by the $$ signs, the game requires you to exit the site and travel a considerable distance before allowing you to travel. This may make a getaway more difficult if your adventurer is not already faster than anyone else. This only applies to goods in stores; killing townsfolk and taking their personal things, including those of the shopkeep still only requires exiting the site. The moment you are out of sight, you will be able to warp out as usual. Theft and murder remain within entities; even depopulating one country and stealing all its things will not generate ill response in another country.

Managing coins[edit]

Coins can and will encumber your adventurer, eventually reducing your speed. To reduce that effect you can try to exchange your copper and silver coins for gold ones. To do that you can purchase goods from a merchant to the sum of your copper coins, then sell them back. Check the merchant's chest to see how much gold and silver coins they have. You can delay the problem by selling your loot to many merchants, as they will try to pay you in higher denomination currency first.

A few goods are strictly superior to all forms of coinage as a store of value, most commonly giant cave spider silk items. A suitably sneaky (or powerful) adventurer can murder a few dwarves or goblins for such items for trade and sale for human goods. Giant cave spider silk is a non-renewable resource in a given world - please harvest responsibly.

Equipping your adventurer[edit]

After acquiring armor from one source or another, you'll most likely want to equip it. To do this, first make sure it is in your possession--not on the ground. You can then wear it, granted you don't already have too much on that equipment slot already. You can remove or drop inferior equipment as necessary.

Weapons and shields are handled differently. There is no explicit equipment command. Instead, they are automatically equipped when you either get them from the ground or remove them from your backpack - provided the hand that would wield them is free. So in order to change weapons or Shields you would need to put your equipped weapon into your backpack and then removing your new desired weapon. You do not need to drop weapons and equip new ones etc. Simply remember the remove command and the put into container command.

It should be noted that the world of DF seems to have a lot of left handers, so do not be surprised if your character holds the weapon with the left hand and the shield with the right hand.

Traveling the world[edit]


You can walk around the whole world tile by tile if you wish, but given its size, you might want to consider using another method. Pressing T will let you see a very zoomed out map of the surrounding area. Not only is moving about on this map much faster, it also heals your adventurer and keeps them from starving, dehydrating, or getting tired. To exit this screen and explore the area you've reached, press >.

If there is more than one feature such as a town or group of creatures on that map tile you will get to choose which one you want to arrive near.

Also, while traveling on the world map, there is a chance that your adventurer can get randomly ambushed by enemies. When that happens, you must survive by either fighting them off or hiding from them.

Jumping off cliffs is not normally advisable; however, it is possible to do so by holding Alt while pressing the appropriate movement key. Once you land at the bottom, though, you might come to regret your decision when you are seriously injured (or possibly even dead).

Finding a Quest[edit]

Quests can only be taken from people of leadership in an organization.

Human Weapon Masters: No matter what time of the day, human weapon masters will be in the mead hall, where you appear. However, if it is late they will immediately head for their homes, so you may need to intercept them before they reach the door. The human capitals are not very different from the normal towns; humans have no central leadership so each weapon master is only a local leader of their own town, even at the capital the weapon master only rules the capital itself and not the other towns. Ignore the keeps; unless you're playing with a mod, no leaders hang out in the Keeps.

High Priests: Humans and Goblins will often suggest you ask the High Priest for quests, but all this will do is allow you to join their religion. If you want to join the religion, the High Priest, as long as it is a reasonable time of day, should be wandering around the temple. Worth a visit at least, as Temples are often the most interesting parts of a town/dark fortress, because there are so many different kinds.

Dwarven Mayors/Kings/Queens: You'll generally find them on the outside of the fort but sometimes they move around; some have been known to run out of the fort and become a migrant unable to give out quests. Both Mayors and Kings/Queens can be found and both will assign Quests, which is nice. If you can't find them outside the fort you shouldn't really bother, as mountainhomes take forever to search. As one might imagine, the Kings/Queens can only be found at the Capital.

Elven Druids: Druids, who look like flashing peasants, are generally found in the middle of their Forest Retreats but it can be a bit hit and miss as well. Just keep looking; they don't usually seem to move and hopefully will be in the same place once the Quest is completed. Probably the 2nd easiest to find as you just look around the Forest. Despite people saying they dislike the Elves, in adventure mode they invariably give out the best Quests because Elves are not attacked by normal animals, so the only targets for your Quests will be Mega/Semi-Megabeasts or the leaders of enemy factions. Even though elves do have a capital there is nothing special to see there; still only one Druid who is only in charge of the Retreat, not the civ.

Goblin Weaponmasters/Demons: Probably the hardest to find; most Dark Fortresses are multitowered making it very difficult to find the leaders as there are several multifloored towers with twisty passages. Generally they will be in the tallest tower but this is not a definite fact. Sadly, they move around sometimes and are very difficult to find. The Demons are only in the Capital while weaponmasters exist in every Dark Fortress as local leaders. The goblins often have fun Quests as they generally seem to be at war with other civs.

Kobold Weaponmasters: Often hanging around the middle of a kobold cave camp; however, these guys cannot talk to you and as a result cannot give you a Quest (although you can use them to train your Sword skill).

Finding quest locations[edit]

After receiving a quest, you will be able to track its location using the Quest log. Initially it will just give you the location on the Travel map, though a lesser-known feature is its use in finding the cave entry (or other such target) once you're already in the local map. Bring up the quest log again, highlight the quest objective you're after, and zoom to it. It should then provide you with a local map of your current area, complete with a 3x3 box of flashing squares. This box indicates the general location of the cave's mouth. You'll still have to do some searching, but at least it's narrowed down for you. You can bring up this map at any time that you're in the local area of a quest objective.

The compass on the left of the screen will also greatly help you in finding the entrance; the direction indicated should place you within one screen's distance of the entrance before it turns into "---".

Visiting abandoned fortresses[edit]

If you start an adventure in a world with one or more abandoned fortresses, you can take your adventurer to see the sites of your previous endeavors. When you find one of your old fortresses, you will find that everything is a mess. Items are scattered about, things are smashed up and there are probably new hostile inhabitants that you will need to fend off. Visiting your old fortresses might prove to be rewarding, since you can find armor and weapons you made (if you made any). The best thing to be found in your fortress would probably be any left behind artifact weapon or armor. This is also the only way to get artifact-quality weapons and armor.

Also remember to check out any engravings you made while in fortress mode. When checking out engravings in adventure mode, they reveal a lot more specific information about the event that is engraved.



Weapons are divided into axe, sword, spear, pike, mace, whip, bow and hammer, with various versions of these taking up the gray area. Swords are your jack of all trades weapon, doing reasonable slashing damage. They come in short, long and two handed varieties, with the two handed doing the most damage and the short doing the least. Axes are similar to swords and do slashing damage as well. They come in 3 types, battle axe, great axe and halberd. The battle axe does slightly less damage than the long sword while the halberd does the same damage as a two-handed sword. The Great axe is generally too large to use, but it does slightly more than the halberd in damage. The spear does piercing damage and is ideal for damaging internal organs and causing heavy bleeding and unconsciousness. It has no variations. The spear is much more likely to become stuck in its target, which can be a great benefit if used right and a curse if not. The Pike is, for all intents and purposes, the same as a spear. The mace and the hammer are generally the same thing, simply a big metal thing to club your enemies over the head. As expected, they do high damage but their bludgeoning attacks tend to be slower and less effective, if more hilarious, ways to dispatch your foes. The Maul, a hammer, is the highest damaging weapon in the game. The last weapon is the whip, which does gore damage. It's relatively weak but has its uses. The bow shoots arrows, which act as tiny spears. Basically, a bow and crossbow is like having a very slow, long range spear.

Weapon Tactics[edit]

  • Sword: Once again, your general fallback weapon. It's good against almost everything, if not being that great against almost anything. Works well against both living and non-living enemies as it actively dismembers them.
  • Axe: Pretty much the same as a sword, though some people believe it hacks off limbs more commonly. Good against organics, acceptable against anything else.
  • Spear/Pike: Ok, here's where we get a little bit more advanced. The spear is most effective against organic creatures because of two abilities, pierce damage and stuck-ins. Piercing damage does major harm to internal organs, causing pain, bleeding, vomiting, unconsciousness and death. Stuck-ins are when the weapon becomes stuck in the target, allowing it to be twisted. Twisting increases bleeding and causes extreme pain. Because of these two factors spears and pikes are ideal for single combat against organic targets. The are less effective against multiple enemies (because of the stuck-ins lowering kill-to-turn ratios) and are even less effective against non-organic enemies (i.e. bronze colossus).
  • Mace/hammer: These weapons rely on their ability to turn your opponent into a tasty pulp through repeated whacking. They break bones and bruise flesh, meaning that aside from a critical hit they generally are less likely to inflict mortal wounds quickly. They are great for crippling organics and non-organics alike, but when it comes to a swift, efficient death they are generally less than perfect. The exception to this is high strength and mace/hammer skill which allows for instant head crushing.
  • Whip: The whip inflicts gore damage, which is similar to a cross between slash and pierce. It can cut off limbs but is more likely to slice up organs and cause extreme pain and bleeding. A few hits will generally render an opponent unconscious and perhaps even badly injured enough to eventually bleed to death. However, the whip is a slow outright killer, sometimes needing dozens of blows to actually finish its target.
  • Bow (and arrows): Arrows are much like spears, because of their piercing damage and all the benefits it has. The benefits it has however are its range and its ability to target multiple enemies. They are most effective against organic targets. You, unfortunately, are organic, which makes archers one of your biggest problems.

Non-weapon tactics[edit]

Besides your weapons you have two other major forms of attack: Wrestling and throwing.

Wrestling: Wrestling can be performed by standing next to an enemy and pressing (Shift+a) and then (enter) to switch to wrestling. You can wrestle any enemy, however things such as wolves, bears and big cats do not allow you to perform the more advanced moves. After catching hold of a body part you can perform a lock, which allows you to further sprain, break or cripple an opponent. With a free hand you can perform even more advanced moves, such as gouging out eyes and stealing weapons. To gouge eyes, grab a head with an open hand, and to steal a weapon, grab the weapon and then check your inventory with (Shift+I), press the button corresponding to the weapon, and finally press 'a' to gain possession of it.

One of the best tactics for fighting high level weapon masters is to either break his weapon hand or to steal his weapon, essentially making him no more dangerous than a normal peasant.

Throwing: Throwing is the skill of... well, basically throwing stuff. And vomit. And bugs and spears and rocks so on. Just about anything can be thrown, sometimes with devastating results. While it seems like weapons (and arrows) tend to be more reliable in their damage causing abilities when thrown, just about anything can potentially be lethal. Picking up a worm and hucking it right through a dragon's skull is not only possible, but has been done on multiple occasions. A warrior with a high throw skill is oftentimes more dangerous with an arrow than a trained archer is.

It is worth mentioning that a thrown arrow or bolt does not break upon impact with the ground the way that the same ammunition fired from a bow or crossbow would. Meaning that those masterwork adamantine arrows you picked up can be thrown and recovered ad infinitum.


You or your enemy are going to get hurt in the course of your adventures and its pretty useful to know exactly what's happening when you are. Here's a quick guide to the various aspects of wounds.

Wound indicators[edit]

Wounds come in several colors and are indicated on the status screen (press z to see your own status screen while pressing (l) to look at your enemy's). The status screen will list your body parts in different colors to indicate how damaged they are.

  • White: unhurt and feeling fine
  • Light gray: slightly damaged, think a nasty scrape or cut.
  • Brown: moderately damaged, such as a mild sprain or the like
  • Yellow: broken. Applied to joints it means literally broken, while applied to upper and lower body it generally means organ damage.
  • Red: mangled. If you got this then chances are you're in bad shape. Severely broken bones or ruptured organs. If this status is affecting anything even remotely vital you're more than likely on your way to the grave.
  • Gray: lopped off or cut out. This is when you completely lose a body part. Effects include massive pain and bleeding along with ruining your promising juggling career. For some body parts (noticeably the eyes) it will cause constant pain and unconsciousness. Should you lose an important body part, you may want to consider reverting to a previous save backup (or starting over entirely), as fast travelling will not heal injuries of this type.

Wound effects[edit]

Hands: Damage to the fingers or wrists can cause you to drop your held items, but usually only with yellow level damage. Losing a hand entirely gives you a serious handicap, which will more than likely lead to fun in the future.

Feet: Causes slowed movement and falling. If removed can cause permanent slowed movement. Removing both can cause a continuous on ground effect.

Legs: Similar to feet, though often has increased bleeding and pain effects. Loss of one will usually result in death by bleeding out. Even if you survive, you're more than likely on your way to death. Severed legs do make a lovely club though.

Arms: Damage to almost any part of the arm can cause items to be dropped. Loss of an arm is perhaps even worse than the loss of a leg, due to the loss of weapon and wrestling capabilities. Loss of both arms is both tragic and hilarious.

Head: Contains the brain, ears, mouth, nose, eyes and throat. Ears, nose and mouth are officially useless and can be cut off in an effort to appear cool. The brain, eyes and throat are however less disposable. Damage to the eyes results in loss of vision, permanent if the eyes are removed, and terrible pain. It's usually not possible to bleed to death from eye loss, though. The throat is highly sensitive and damage causes both extreme bleeding and suffocation effects. The brain is the most important thing you've got, and damage to it is an almost instant death. Any wound it receives will more than likely cause instant unconsciousness and severe bleeding.

Upper body: Contains the heart, lungs, upper spine, liver and kidneys. Both the kidneys and liver have similar effects; namely, heavy bleeding and pain upon injury. Damage to the spine can leave you incapable of using your arms or legs even if they are otherwise intact. The lungs control breathing, so piercing them can cause suffocation. The heart is the main organ of the circulatory system and damage to it is almost always fatal through bleeding.

Lower body: Contains various organs like the stomach and spleen, all of which have the same effect of bleeding, pain and nausea. Nausea leads to vomiting, which makes the wounded creature unable to attack. There is also the lower spine, which has similar effects to the upper spine.

Attack types and their wounds[edit]

Pierce: Dangerous to organic creatures, you included. Often, objects with the pierce effect will become lodged in their target. Removing the weapon from its lodged position causes both increased pain and bleeding but can alleviate certain symptoms the piercing has caused.

Bludgeon: Breaks bones and cripples joints. Generally less dangerous to the internal organs than other damage. The danger comes from its ability to incapacitate you and then turn your head to mush.

Slash: Dangerous for its ability to sever limbs and cause bleeding. Beware its habit of decapitation.

Gore: Shreds internal organs, causing all sorts of nasty side effects. Almost worthless on non-organic enemies but can cause severe problems for you living sorts.

Dealing with wounds[edit]

In adventure mode your wounds will heal if you travel (shift + t) and they'll recover just about anything except a lopped off limb. If you can't travel the best thing to do is try and run from battle if you're badly wounded, since running will give you time to stop bleeding and suppress the pain. Beware dropping your weapon and make sure to pick it up before you make a run for it. If an arrow strikes you in the chest its best to leave it there while an arrow to the extremities can be removed.

Living Shields Companions[edit]

If you recruit some new members to your party, you'll not only gain extra damage output, you'll also have someone else to take the damage instead of you!

When you first start out, the easiest human shields friends to recruit are the drunks. They are found in human towns inside the tavern with the Mayor (the building you start in if you play a human). They will gladly come with you and block some blows for you. Drunks will usually attempt low-skill wrestling and (mostly) damage-less punches. Don't expect them to last long when you meet that Giant you are supposed to kill. Drunks are much rarer in the current version of the game, so it's unlikely that you'll find one.

To recruit someone into your party, press talk, move the cursor over them, and press enter. Then in the conversation that follows, simply pick 'Join' from the list of options to ask them to accompany you. Children, the Mayor, and Guards don't want any part of this silly adventuring malarkey, but the occasional peasant might be bored enough to join you.

More detailed searches of towns of various races can yield other adventurers with some actual skills. The generally have a single weapon skill (Maceman, Swordsman, Spearman and so on) and some armor appropriate to the wealth of the town they were occupying. You will also find Guards around towns, and while they are combat-capable they will not shirk their duty in order to accompany you on your adventures.

Some otherwise eligible companions may rebuff your offer of becoming a living shield for one of the following reasons:

If the prospective meat shield considers himself more skilled than you are, he may rebuff you with, "Ha! Such enthusiasm from one such as yourself." This can be remedied by training your skills until he judges you a bit more skillful than he is.

Another reason for someone to refuse to die protecting you is that you already have the maximum of 12 companions, and they will rebuff you by asking, "With a band so large, what share of the glory would I have?" But look at it this way, at least your total party size is 13 when you count yourself! Now that's lucky!

Another possibility is to ask your old, retired adventurers for help. They'll never say no unless your party is too big. They should be pretty capable since you trained them.

You can ask the Prisoners of goblins to join you, and they will always say yes, regardless of the size of your party. Being nothing more than children, they have less fighting ability than drunks. However, if you have no moral reservations, they make excellent distractions for that particularly troublesome wolf pack that you come across on your travels. (Note: Elven prisoners will not attack any "normal" creatures or ones that do not attack them. That includes wolves.)

The Perils of the Wild[edit]

D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, pop culture references, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.

You'll face many creatures on your travels, several mega and semi-mega beasts included if you're taking quests. Here's a quick look at the more dangerous beasts (sentient or not) that you'll meet.

Mega and Semi-mega beasts and the sentient races[edit]

  • Bronze Colossus: Probably one of the hardest beasts to combat due to its massive strength, impressive natural armor and complete ignorance of pain, fear and bleeding. Bronze Colossuses are basically walking, dwarf crushing statues that will never stop unless beheaded or outright obliterated. They have no organs and do not bleed, making them impossible to knock unconscious. Their immense strength makes them unlikely to give in to wrestling moves (though if you can manage to lock and break a limb it will snap off rather than just becoming useless.) Because of these resistances all you can really do is hack / shoot and hope that it dies before you do.
  • Dragon: The main danger of these beasts is their massive fire breath, which can consume dozens of spaces. A high block skill is recommended before you fight them. A spear is a great weapon here, as it allows you to potentially knock them unconscious within a few turns by piercing their heart and lungs in one strike, mangling and thus, dooming them. Arrows are also good, though staying at a distance can be dangerous because of the fire breath. Beware their bite, as it can cause major damage.
  • Hydra: a joke really, as it seems to lack the regenerative powers of its mythological cousin. It has 7 heads, but damage to one is as serious as damaging the head of a one headed beast. More than likely you'll have it unconscious in a few turns regardless of what you use due to the high probability of targeting one of its many heads.
  • Titan: basically an organic bronze colossus. It is essentially a larger, stronger human, with all the weaknesses being the same. Piercing and goring damage can quickly weaken and incapacitate these beasts, but keep an eye out for its wrestling, which can cause some bad joint damage.
  • Cyclops: A weaker, smaller titan with one eye. Eye+arrow=No-clops. They are very often given as quests to beginners. This leads to foolish adventurers thinking they're easy and trying to take him/her on without meat shields party members. This is inevitably followed by Fun, in the form of explosive gore.
  • Ettin: A two headed giant. Basically a stronger human, usually unarmed. Just hack it until it dies.
  • Giant: Just a giant human like thing. Stab it in the neck or break its limbs for massive damage.
  • Minotaur: Only thing really dangerous about this guy is his horns. Pretty good wrestler but nothing that should give a reasonably prepared adventurer any problems.
  • Humans: Should you wander into battle against a human force its in your best interest to disable their archers first. The only real danger humans have is their numbers and their use of items. Disarming or crippling dangerous guards or weapon masters is highly recommended, since as soon as they are weaponless they are essentially as good as dead.
  • Elves: They have wooden equipment, making them laughable most of the time. Once again, the only real threat is their archers and even then they are less dangerous than humans. Elves are generally known for being annoying so it's recommended that you slaughter the lot. If you are an elf it's recommended that you have tons of fun.
  • Dwarves: Their advantage is their steel weaponry and crossbows. Their disadvantage is that their mountain homes are generally so large that you'll only rarely fight more than one or two. Disable their weapon masters and archers then throw their own axes at them. Juggle their heads in front of their children.
  • Goblins: Like weaker dwarves, with less armor and less skill. They have a feeble sense of morals, meaning that they will only sometimes attack you after you hurt one of their friends. You can basically cleave right through them with somewhat relative ease as they still have weaponmasters as well, including master archers and crossbowgoblins.

Other Humanoids[edit]

These are creatures that in shape resemble something human, but have no society.

  • Antman: A half man half ant hybrid which lives in chasms. They have higher natural armor than a man, but rarely use tools. As long as you're armed they should pose no problem.
  • Batman: Half man, half bat that lives in caves and chasms. They can fly and use weapons, though they rarely do. Attacks with punches, and bites, and sometimes boomerangs; the bites are the most potentially damaging because they cause gore damage. He is the night.
  • Blizzard man: Frosty's brother. Blizzard men are creatures of pure ice that strangely still have organs. They can bite and punch, with biting doing the most damage. They will melt in normal temperatures so they are only found in freezing areas.
  • Dark gnome: Mischievous mountain folk who enjoy hard liquor. They‘re basically dwarves but smaller and nowhere near as dangerous. Its rare that you'll even find them, but if you do they should pose no threat to you. They usually come in packs and make a beeline toward your alcohol reserves in order to drink as much as they can. They get scared off easily enough though, and their punch and bite attacks are rather weak. More annoying and a potential drain on resources than truly dangerous.
  • Fire imp: Little gremlin-like things that are either constantly on fire or made of fire. They're found only in subterranean lava pits, meaning that you'll have to go searching for them if you're ever gonna see one. They only bite (does burn damage rather than gore), but their real danger comes from their ability to set you on fire. Ranged combat is recommended, though darting forward, attacking and then jumping away might be effective if you have no other choice. They like to throw fireballs at you from a distance, which can be a big problem if you're fighting in a grassy environment
  • Fire man: Like the fire imps, but better. They have the bronze colossus syndrome of having no organs, not bleeding, feeling pain or being able to have weapons stuck in them. They too can set you ablaze, but they're much harder to kill before they do it. Bludgeoning can break and hence sever their limbs. Recommended that you fight from a distance. Luckily these things only live in underground lava, so you'll never find them without going into very specific places.
  • Frogman: Half-man half-frogs that live in underground water. They can't equip weapons and are very small, making them almost completely non-threatening.
  • Iron man: They are basically smaller, less dangerous Bronze Colossuses. When killed they leave a valuable iron statue. They appear only in chasms.
  • Leechman: Half man, half leech. They have no bones, but curiously do have arms (but no legs). They can suck blood, but considering they have no bones and every blow will almost always strike a vital organ its a lot more likely that blood will be coming out of it than you.
  • Lizardman: A staple creature of virtually every adventure type or RPG type game ever. Half man, half lizard; lives in underground water. Punches and bites along with the ability to use items.
  • Magma man: A man made of pure magma. Everything about this guy is exactly the same as the fire man, with the exception that he can't breathe fire. This makes him less dangerous at a distance. Stay back and throw stuff at him.
  • Merpersons: Tiny little mermaids and mermen. Not dangerous at all, and relatively rare to boot. They can equip items but you'll probably never see one anyway.
  • Mountain gnome: The same as a dark gnome, but less evil. Same things apply here.
  • Mud man: Like Ironman but made of mud. Can't equip items and only has a weak punch as a form of attack, making it about as threatening as a mudpie. Lives in underground water.
  • Ogre: The middle ground between giant and human. Their punches and bites do a surprisingly small amount of damage, though they can use weapons. As with any big, organic moron its recommended to try and damage their organs to quickly incapacitate and kill them. Piercing damage is very useful.
  • Olmman: Half man, half blind cave salamander. Their bites are surprisingly strong. Found only in subterranean water and even then only rarely.
  • Ratman: These guys tend to come in packs and are capable of biting and punching moves, despite the group mentality, they tend to be rather substandard on the threat scale.
  • Slugman: Do I even have to say? it's a slug man, do you think its dangerous? It's not. Just stab it in its deformed face.
  • Snail man: Think slug man, but with a shell that doesn't actually offer any protection.
  • Snakemen: The only real threat these guys pose is their ability to inject poison by biting. If it does bite you, your best bet to try and quickly kill the snake man before the poison takes effect. But even then it's easily cured by [T]raveling. If you're going to be on the local map for some time though don't worry too much, all it will do is temporarily render you stunned. If you get the opportunity to talk to one, it will speak with a "lissssssp".
  • Troglodyte: Your stereotypical caveman. Not dangerous unless they attack in swarms and even then they are easily beaten. Use organic combating techniques to deal with them.
  • Troll: There's no real difference between this thing and an ogre. Kill them both the same way.
  • Werewolf: Or wolfman. Attacks alone and only bites with a goring attack. Bite can be dangerous but the fact that there is only one of him makes it a lot easier to fight. Fun to wrestle for experience.


Here's the rundown of all the mundane beasties that you'll run into.

  • Beak dog: Basically what happens when a parrot gets combined with a velociraptor. They're a little smaller than a man but quick and use their beaks and claws effectively. Try not to get caught in the center of a group of them, backpedal and cut them down as they give chase.
  • Black Bear: These will only ambush you one on one, and given their relative small size and forgettable strength they should pose little threat unless you're completely unskilled and unarmed. Because there's only one they can be useful for wrestling practice since you can focus all your attention on them.
  • Bonobo: Ape like things of dubious certainty. Considering their squishy organs it would be best to stab them in the groin.
  • Camel: It's... a camel. You'll probably never see one.
  • Carp: Carp aren't too dangerous in adventure mode. They are often found in the river and the only way they have a real chance of killing you is if you have not trained in swimming and you wind up dodging one of their attacks and land in the river, which can not be climbed back out of.
  • Cougar: Like a kitty, but bigger. Cougars are good wrestling practice and good shield training as well, what with the fact that Cougars suck so hard. If you get killed by this thing it was either insanely lucky or you have no arms.
  • Deer: You might see these running away from you in the woods. They're harmless but good wrestling practice if you feel like strangling a defenseless animal.
  • Donkey: Pulls wagons and things like that. You might see one but it's not really worth attacking them.
  • Elephants: In prior versions, elephants were murderous berserkers, but thankfully they've been made a little more realistic. They're just as big and strong as you'd expect, but won't bother you unless you walk up and stab'em a few times. Reasonably dangerous, so don't poke them unless you're ready.
  • Elk: Much like deer, though a little bigger and usually solitary
  • Fox: Another small animal that you'll most likely never see.
  • Giant bat: Bigger than a minotaur and more dangerous at times. Often encountered in low visibility areas where they can take you by surprise. Its best to avoid caves until you're confident in your blocking and combat skills.
  • Giant Cave Spiders: You'll only rarely encounter these, because of their limited environment. You'll know they're near from the webs which hang around their homes. They are NOT to be meddled with. First and foremost, they do not feel pain and will never stop unless killed. Their high number of legs makes it likely that you'll pointlessly hack away at the limbs while the mouth bites your head in half. Beyond these aspects the spider uses poison and sticky webs to ensnare you. Your best bet is to throw/shoot at it from a distance. If you can't do that, use other piercing or goring weapons to damage its organs. Despite its ignorance toward pain, it still bleeds like any other animal, so a pierced heart is very effective.
  • Giant cave swallow: Like the giant bat, they can be deceptively dangerous, so try and knock it out of the air via throwing so it'll suffer falling damage before you close the distance.
  • Giant Desert Scorpion: These great beasts are a special terror, not only because of their chitinous exoskeleton and poison sting, but also for their ability to pull a stuck battle axe from their own bodies, and begin hacking you to death with it.
  • Giant Eagle: A major problem in fortress mode is little more than a pesky annoyance in adventure mode. If they are giving you trouble though, attempt to wrestle and break one of their wings. This should ground them and make them a much easier target.
  • Grizzly Bear: A little bigger than the Black Bear, though basically the same. Good for both wrestle and shield points. If they're really giving you a hard time try catching both hands and its throat. This should not only make it impossible for it to attack, but also give you wrestle points.
  • Groundhog: Little rodent thingies. Zombie ground hogs are useful to strangle for wrestling experience. Besides that they're only really good as golf balls for your putter.
  • Hippo: Fairly large beasts who like to gather near rivers to eat fish. They are not too hostile, but are thick-skinned. Be wary about getting your weapon stuck in them, as they might flee with it across the river, never to return.
  • Hoary Marmot: A tiny forest dwelling creature. As harmless as it is delicious.
  • Horse: A beast of burden sometimes seen in human towns. They have an odd habit of going rogue and kicking children to death. Not to mention they're some how smart enough to pull crossbow bolts out of their own legs. May cause random insanity if they attack an influential citizen.
  • Naked mole dog: Think enormous naked mole rat. They are capable of landing a lucky blow and causing serious damage, but otherwise, easy to fight off.
  • Mountain Goat: It's a goat, that lives in the mountains.
  • Pike: The fish, not the weapon. They're nothing close to the carp and should be little more than particularly squishy speed bumps to you.
  • Rhesus Macaque: A nettlesome trickster in fortress mode, they are almost never seen in adventure mode. Even if you see them they're very skittish and a single blow will send them running. Give'em a good strangle if you can catch one.
  • Unicorn: The random homicidal tendencies of the horse mixed with a dash of magic and a horn. They're very aggressive for some reason, though not too hard to bring down. Watch out for that horn and stay away until you're at least competent.
  • Whale: Big aquatic beast. Not dangerous unless in skeletal mode.
  • Wolf: And last but not least, the humble and numerous wolf. This is an all too common ambush predator and you'll ALWAYS fight them by the pack. They can be dangerous in the first few ambushes if you let them surround you, however, with a few brothers-in-arms and personal experience they can quickly become trivial. Great for training up armor and shield, as they attack in packs and hence hit you many times, often with no effect. Early on, just be careful not to get caught in the middle of a pack and you'll be fine. They have a random chance to rip your throat out. The most dangerous aspect about them is that when they ambush you, you have a fairly decent chance of being caught in the middle of the pack.


  • Zombie: Zombie animals are just like their normal counterparts, with a few major exceptions. Firstly, they are no longer affected by pain or bleeding and their organs no longer matter. They are also much slower. This combination of increased difficulty in killing and decreased speed about evens out their threat level. Not too dangerous, unless the creature they're based on is already strong. (Note: Since they do not perish by strangling, breaking all of the limbs of a zombie and throttling it constantly is a great way to gain wrestling experience.)
  • Skeletal: All of the advantages of Zombie with none of the bad effects. Skeletal creatures are all immune to pain and do not bleed, but they remain just as quick as their living counterparts. Large skeletal beasts, such as dragons or whales are truly a terror to face.

Avoid the impossible[edit]

Some things are harder than others. Decide for yourself if this is due to unbalancing of the game, realism or simply to add to the variety of challenges.

Shelob's in-laws, aka Giant Cave Spiders[edit]

Unless you are a legendary bow-/crossbowman, you should at all costs AVOID giant cave spiders (Unless, of course, you enjoy Fun)!! They shoot a web at you, making you immobilized while they rip your limbs off one by one. Then when you finally break free from the web, and can attack again, you've probably lost your arms while lying on the floor and the spider is about to throw you by your head up into the roof. Cave Spiders bleed to death eventually, but they know neither fear nor pain, meaning they will not black out even if you manage to inflict serious damage including severed limbs. They are also capable of surviving red-level wounds to the body and legs and multiple severed limbs for long enough to eviscerate an adventurer. Leave these for the living shields to deal with while you slip out the other way, ideally from the cave entirely, never to return.

Even if you are a legendary projectile weapon user, reconsider attacking a giant cave spider because in the tight quarters of a cave you might be shooting it from stealth when a giant rat or something similarly stupid walks next to you and triggers your loss of cover. The spider would then punish your arrogance immensely.

Note: If absolutely required they ARE killable, but you need luck, and lots of it. Adept swordsman + Proficient shield user + Skilled ambusher manages to sneak up on it and then counterstrike + block does the job, but you might still get unlucky.

To conclude: Basically, as long as your shield wielding hand is intact (and shield skill is high of course) you have pretty good chances of survival in 1 on 1, otherwise you're dead. Any extra armor also helps in glancing off their bites.


Don't take on quests where you need to kill elite bow-/crossbowmen! Generally, avoid flying arrows! Why? Because bow/crossbowmen have the tendency to see farther than you can. They are therefore able to fire at you from beyond your sight, making it hard to see where the arrow(s) are coming from. You may therefore end up chasing the shooter in the wrong direction, giving the shooter even MORE time to turn you into a pin-cushion. Of course, this is only the case if you manage to survive the first 3-4 arrows, because arrows are BAD for anyone but the shooter's health. Piercing hits like arrows are much more likely to damage internal organs, and while you might shrug off a moderate blunt hit to the chest a similar piercing hit could directly damage one or both lungs or your heart and instantly kill you.

One extremely useful survival tip is to immediately drop prone (with the s key) as soon as you notice you are being shot at. Prone targets move more slowly, but seem to be much harder to hit with ranged attacks than standing ones. This is also worth noting to avoid wasting ammunition on fallen targets.

Another solid solution is to get behind something as quickly as possible and try sneaking. Even when caught in the open cover as flimsy as a single tree may be sufficient to begin sneaking. Sneaking around trees can also sometimes act as a compass for determining the direction of the shooter. By checking when and where sneaking is possible, the approach vector of any given observer or close cluster of observers can be extrapolated.

Finally, since archers are generally sentient, most (besides mayors) can be killed in their sleep.

If you do accept a quest against an elite bowman or crossbowman and manage to reach melee range, immediately grapple its weapon, ideally by dropping yours and pulling the weapon out of its grasp entirely before throwing it away.

Training yourself[edit]

Gaining stats (strength, agility, toughness) helps a lot when fighting. How to best train yourself?


To find rocks simply hit l and look at any rock-coloured tiles, some of these will be simply called by the rock name (e.g. limestone) and cannot be picked up but some will be called pebbles. Rocks are practically free ammo. When you find a tile with pebbles, pick up a lot of them (there are infinite rocks), and start throwing them. You can simply throw them at the tile you are standing at. Every throw will gain you 30 points toward the skill "Throwing", and will after a while increase your stats (Strength, agility, toughness). You will need to throw 600 rocks to reach legendary Thrower (starting with no skill).

For best efficiency, drop all of your gear (including held but not worn items) and empty out your backpack near your throwing location. This is done in order to keep your inventory simple for the rock-throwing portion. Then pick up a ton of rocks by pressing g-a over and over - ideally one would pick up 600 rocks at a single time, but you will probably get bored before then. Then, mash t-a-enter over and over until all of your rocks are thrown back at the floor. If you are not a legendary Thrower after this, repeat. Afterwards, remember to pick up your gear and re-fill your backpack.

Alternate way : It could be difficult to repeat the t-a-enter sequence without making mistake. So you can just alternate t-enter quickly : The first t will open the inventory, the second will chose the rock which is in "t" position, and enter will throw it. In the same fashion, when collecting rock, prefer a tile where the rock is on "b" position : If you quickly alternate g and a, sometime you will open the [a]nnouncement panel, which will slow you down. Another solution to this is to switch the pick up and announcements keys, so you can press a to pick up an item and a to pick up rock.

Thrown objects are also a cheap way to injure enemies before they reach you if you are a melee fighter.

You can also throw other stuff you find, like flies, beetles, worms, and even vomit or sand. If you have a tendency to chop off enemy limbs, you can even throw these limbs. Killing zombies with their companions' severed heads and feet is always good for a laugh. Iron men are fun, because they leave behind a nice statue for the taking which can be thrown. Arrows and weapons seem to be particularly deadly when thrown because they deal the same damage as they would in melee, including piercing or slashing damage type, but even the most innocuous or silly items can come up with a kill.

Most thrown objects deal blunt type damage, so they will break and bruise limbs, but arrows and weapons can deal their normal damage types. This is particularly useful to consider when trying for a desperate one-shot kill on a giant cave spider that's about to web you and shred you into little chunks, as piercing attacks like thrown arrows and spears damage internal organs (making them more likely to get a one-hit kill, as an enemy can live through having the outside of their head moderately damaged but not from having the same amount of damage done to their brain) and thrown axes or swords can sever body parts and leave deep gashes (leading to massive bleeding or slit throats).


This skill trains in the same fashion as throwing. You gain skill per shot, not per hit. This is a more expensive skill to train than throwing because you need to buy (or find) arrows/bolts, but is also a much more deadly skill. Fired projectiles do much more damage than thrown ones, and are also piercing type weapons which can do crippling damage to internal organs. The majority of thrown weapons are blunt and will do much more superficial bruising and bone-breaking damage- at best, a lucky hit will break someone's spine or damage internal organs to a small degree. Shooting arrows at enemies is fun, because it is very efficient and will destroy enemies quite easily.

Sadly, this also goes for enemy bow/crossbowmen. You will often be shot in the leg and crippled by an enemy you can't even see, who will then proceed to shoot you in the face until you die - which won't be very long afterwards unless you manage to find something to hide behind. This is somewhat avoidable - train in sneaking to avoid being seen by enemies that could otherwise perforate your skin, and get a good shield and armor to better keep arrows. (See below for both skills).

Make sure to take extra meat shields companions along with you if you're planning on using ranged weapons, it'll take time before you level the appropriate skill to bash things with your weapon in melee so it's imperative you stay out of the fighting till then. Drunks are particularly useful here, as they love to dive on things and collapse into a massive wrestling pile which you can take pot-shots at. Don't worry, you can't hit your guys. Not that you'd care.

Metal bolts are quite heavy and expensive, so if you wish to train in this skill it would probably be a good idea to raid an old fortress of yours first and get all the wooden/bone bolts there.


Since melee weapon skills are hard train because not every hit gives points towards the skill, why not train your wrestling? When you are alone with an unconscious enemy, why not break some limbs before finishing it off? Monsters often try to break your arms and legs, so having a bit of skill in wrestling will help break those locks a lot, and breaking that legendary swordsmans sword hand at the beginning of the fight will make him laughably weak. Also, training wrestling is a quicker way to better stats (strength, agility, toughness) because gain points per move instead of per "hit". Wrestling also handles dodging skill which is very handy to have.

A good way to train wrestling is to find an undead region on the map, preferably Sinister if you remember the map layout from Fortress Mode. Locate a pack of zombie herbivores therein, preferably of small size (do not attempt this with zombie elephants). Slaughter every zombie in the vicinity of this pack of herbivores but the one that you think is the most crippled, making sure to pick one with a throat to leave alive.

Press c and change your combat preferences from Strike to Close Combat. This means that your default attack when you press towards an enemy to making a random wrestling move, or the continuation (joint lock, break) or (strangle) if you have a break/strangle-able area held.

Then, walk over, and grab the zombie's neck (yes, with your weapon or shield- it is quite optional to drop what you're holding) and begin strangulation by holding the direction the zombie is strangling in. You will make several strangles per second and gain approximately 15 XP (tentative measure) per strangulation. Zombies cannot die from this, so you will earn enough XP to become legendary within a few minutes.

When your character becomes tired, break off from strangling and walk it off - you become less tired by ambling about aimlessly. If you become too hungry or thirsty to continue, just run away or destroy the zombie, Travel, and then repeat after moving a square and back.

Alternatively, wait until nightfall, and wrestle a sleeping enemy. Sleeping enemies are unconscious, and cannot detect you if you sneak. The autocombat will cause your adventurer to break limbs, grab and release bits of clothing, and other nonlethal attacks. Occasionally random chance will cause a chokehold; simply step back a tile and then resume. In this manner, you can train wrestling extremely quickly without the dangers of wandering in an undead zone.

Yet another alternative is presented by fish. No harmful wrestling moves can be performed on them so cornering a carp, tigerfish, or milkfish will raise wrestling quickly, while training swimming. Avoid hippo-infested waters.

A final option presents itself when exploring caves, there are many weak enemies to be found here, choose one (say a ratman) and walk up to it, grabbing it perform a takedown. Before it can stand up grab its arm and try to break it, as soon as it gets up perform another takedown, continue to break all the joints in both of your toy's victim's opponent's arms and then move on to legs, finally gouge out its eyes and begin strangling it to death. This gives you plenty of wrestling exp with very little risk as the enemy will only get in one or two strikes before being taken down after which it will prioritize standing back up.


Having no swimming skill in Adventure Mode is not a particularly good thing if you intend to go near water. Anyone with no swimming skill who falls or is pulled/pushed into water will begin to drown immediately if it is over 4/7 deep, and will also be unable to climb out of water this deep - usually resulting in instant death.

To voluntarily jump into a pond or river you have to Alt-move off the edge of the land. This will present you with a choice of walking out into the open space above the water (immediately and unsurprisingly followed by a one-story fall) or moving directly into the water. To get back out, Alt-move into the riverbank/pond edge.

As long as you have at least some Swimming skill, you will be able to move around in deeper water and will gain Swimming skill for every tile you move. Without Swimming, you will have to find depth 4 water to voluntarily paddle about in with your water wings on for your first skill points. Any deeper and you'll start to drown, any shallower and you can't swim in it. Hit m to set your swimming options.

Another option is to find a body of water with a ramp into it. Walk down the ramp into the water, which will cause you to start "drowning". However, you can simply walk back out after 10 turns or so to stop drowning, and you will have gained some swimming skill. Repeat until you reach novice skill. If you don't have an abandoned fortress set up for this, slopes into water can be found at ocean beaches.

All in all this makes Novice Swimming an excellent starting skill, as you can (eventually) get Legendary skill simply by swimming back and forth in two squares of water and get lots of stat points in the process. However, this is mind-numbingly dull so good luck with that. One should also keep in mind that water in cooler areas may suddenly freeze when the sun starts to go down, and thus instantly kill any creatures within. As such, it's a good idea to do your training laps somewhere warm.

It also seems that you are not able to move out of water of less than (7/7) onto the river bank. In addition, while you are swimming, you can not move to the travel map! You must first leave the water.

You can crosstrain Ambushing while Swimming to save time - if you start with no Ambushing and Novice Swimming, you will be an Accomplished or Expert Ambusher, give or take, by the time you are a Legendary Swimmer. For more on Ambushing, see below. You can also crosstrain melee skills with swimming by picking a river and swimming down it, training Ambush when it's quiet and training melee when it's not. Some rivers have very high densities of fish, giving you lots of targets to hit. They will tend to gather up, bumping into and slowing each other down ahead of you for you to kill and an adventurer will be all but invincible against non-sturgeons after a few statgains. Just remember that Hippos have the right of way.

NOTE: Water does NOT currently cleanse fire, if you are burning, jumping into a pool of water will not save you


The Ambusher skill is the parent to the Sneak ability, which makes you character move more slowly and stealthily to avoid being noticed. Sneak cannot be activated if an enemy can currently see you, but you can use it immediately if you break line of sight somehow. Sneaking around will increase your Ambusher skill even if nobody is around to see you.

Unfortunately, the best way to train Ambushing is to start sneaking and just hold a direction to run, until you've run 18,000 squares (assuming you started with no skill). This takes a long time, so you may wish to train sneaking just by sneaking whenever possible while playing the game normally in order to avoid boredom.

Sneaking is particularly useful for avoiding ranged attacks, as even Novice skill allows you to get within four or five squares of an enemy before they spot you reliably. It is relatively easy at normal levels of skill to stand anywhere but right next to an enemy and not be spotted for a long time, if ever. However, standing next to somebody without them spotting you is difficult even with legendary skill. However, even if they spot you moving next to them they will only get one shot at you which is a lot better than the hundreds they would have had if you'd been blundering around in the dark too far away to even see them when they opened fire.

If you are far faster than the enemy you can sometimes swoop in, attack, and back off to 1-square distance where you are less visible. Sometimes they will spot you, but other times you can literally slice off the opponent's leg and retreat to a safe distance. This may occur because enemies can only make checks to see if you are sneaking during their own turns, and a very fast (2000+ speed) player can run in, stab them, and retreat to a safe distance before their turn comes up.

The skill also has a valuable part to play in the noble art of running away. As long as you can get out of sight of all the enemies after you at once - such as around a corner indoors, or ducking behind a tree outside - you can start sneaking and head off in another direction. If your skill is too low however the enemies might be close enough to see you as soon as you try to sneak off.

The most useful part of sneaking is undoubtedly the 'stealth throw'. While firing a missile weapon or attacking in melee will get you noticed immediately, throwing things at people will not. Stock up on dead enemies' weapons, clothing and severed body parts and you can pretend you're some gruesome comedy version of Sam Fisher. You know you want to.

Armor and Shield Use[edit]

Armor User lets you wear heavy armor without slowing down, and it also improves the passive block rate of armor - a very useful skill, because it controls how often your shiny full plate suit will actually work.

Shield User helps the block roll you make when you are attacked. A Legendary Shield User is far, far more capable of taking on enemies, especially projectile-based weaponmasters whose bolts and arrows are blockable with a shield to a far greater degree than with one's torso, so it is worthwhile to train these two skills.

Normally, you gain 10 Shield User XP per time you block an attack with a shield, and 2 Armor User XP per time you are attacked while wearing armor. This means that to gain the 18,000 XP necessary for legendary, you must block 1800 strikes, and be attacked at least 9000 times. Naturally, this could take some time, during which a low-skill adventurer may die from attacks by worthy opponents.

However, a useful shortcut exists: if you find a small zombie herbivore to strangle in the above wrestling training method, you can also (if it is a small and non-dangerous animal such as a zombie groundhog) sit down next to it (to minimize your own speed and thus get attacked more often) and hold 5 to sit down next to the animal and block its attacks over and over. This is still slow, but leagues faster than waiting to train while fighting - it also means that you are probably not in any danger assuming you picked a sufficiently pathetic type of animal. Another option is to beat an (preferably weak) opponent up with your shield. I.e. a troglodyte can be clobbered for ages, and can bring you 2-3 levels.

Warnings: Make sure that you have your combat preference set to Close Combat, otherwise you may counterstrike and kill the zombie. This way, you will wrestle it during a counterstrike instead of doing something that may actually hurt it such as counterstriking with your weapon.

It is probably also preferable to start with a modicum of skill in Armor and Shield using to make sure you don't accidentally get instakilled or crippled and are good at blocking with your shield to gain XP fast. You'll also want to have non-crappy armor and a good shield or two (dual wielding shields can dramatically increase your ability to block) to maximize your ability to block and to make sure you are taking as little as possible damage, if any at all, during training.

It's also best to train with creatures that attack with their fists, rather than their teeth. A zombie antman or ratman could pound on you all day and never take you past a yellow wound; a groundhog, however, will eventually get lucky and tear out your throat if you wait long enough.


Basic exploration tips[edit]

When traveling it's a good idea to avoid evil areas until you're reasonably powerful, as they tend to contain stronger enemies. Also avoid caves for this same reason, you never know when a dragon is lurking in the shadows. Remember that only human towns have shops, so don't die of hunger wandering the dwarves mountain homes looking for that elusive Applebees. Water can be had from rivers and stagnant pools, though fast traveling (shift + t) makes thirst and hunger go away. If you are exploring caves, make sure to have some water and food with you, as some can be quite deep.

When you explore a mountain home you may come across a long, underground passage. Turn back. Unless you are wanting to level up your ambush skill and have brought plenty of food and water, these passages are probably not for you. They go on for a very long ways, occasionally across impassable mountain tiles, and there's a very good chance that you will die of hunger or thirst before you find the exit. You can not enter travel mode while traveling underground, so you do not have that as an escape possibility. On the other hand, they tend to be free of monsters (feel free to sleep on the ground) and if you have managed to kill several critters prior to your adventure you can always drink the blood that is soaking your equipment (but only if dehydrated).

Just a side note, these passages could also contain hidden fun and stuff too, instead of just ending up somewhere else, where you will die.

Fortress exploration tips[edit]

If you've abandoned a fortress in the world and you're now adventuring, you can find that same fortress on the map. Ask townsfolk about the surroundings and eventually they'll mention the fortress and its direction. From there you need only to follow the directions till the fortress shows up on your map.

The perils of fortress exploration[edit]

If your fortress was abandoned or destroyed there's more than likely a reason why. Be it magma overflows, flooding, goblin sieges or perhaps digging a little too greedily and too deep there are likely to be remnants of your downfall somewhere in the remains. Wild beasts and sentient invaders alike will more than likely be slugging it out in your once grand halls. Beyond this there is the danger of forgetting what lever does what and accidentally flooding the room with lava or collapsing the entrance.

The advantages of Fortress exploration[edit]

Depending on how advanced your fortress was, it may contain extremely rare, powerful or valuable items. Raiding fortresses is the only way to get adamantine items and wafers, as well as the only way to get artifact weapons. Beyond this, you can read the engravings on the walls in order to fill your legends list.


Whatever destroyed your fortress is what is going to be squatting in it now. If a goblin siege took you down, then prepare to fight some gobbies. If the horrors of the deep beat your little dwarven ass then prepare to fight those. If they drowned then find some waterwings etc. Make sure you're fully stocked on arrows (if you use them) as well as water and food. Leaving anything you don't need back in the tavern in town is a good idea too, as it lets you carry more loot.

Plumbing the Deep[edit]

While wandering the halls of your old fortress, it's best to secure each floor one by one, to avoid being ambushed. Explore one entire floor, then move on to the next. This isn't a requirement but it can help in finding the best loot as well as insuring against surprise attacks from that hidden monster or monsters you managed to overlook. If you start to get overburdened with all the loot, climb to a secure floor and dump it in a pile. You can come back for it after you've finished exploring. Also note that, while traps no longer work, their components (giants blades, spiked balls etc.) remain just as lethal in your hands. Also note that you can pick up and throw ballista arrows.

What to do with all your newly acquired wealth[edit]

Not much, unfortunately. While masterwork adamantine weapons are very useful and the raw chunks of adamantine are extremely valuable, there's nothing to really buy with them. The adamantine weapons you find are the strongest in the game and shops will never sell anything above iron, so once you've got the weapons there's pretty much nothing more you need.


  • Avoid flying arrows
  • Throw rocks/statues/socks/bugs/sand/coins/arms/heads/swords/arrows/kitchen sinks at enemies that still haven't reached you
  • Train your stats before taking on your first quest-monster