Non-Newbie Ramblings

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Spoiler warning: information below includes details, such as solutions to puzzles or quest procedures, that you may prefer to discover on your own.


Contents

Introduction

This page's formatting (and idea of having something like this at all) is completely ripped off from Kilelen, so yay Kile! The purpose of this guide is to try to centralize some advice for new players from a not-so-new perspective. We have plenty of "old hats", and hopefully we can make your playing experience better.

On Starting

Lost Souls is incredibly complex. That complexity, in fact, is what brings many of us back year after year. Even those of us who have been playing for years still are finding new things.

So, my first advice would be not to let it overwhelm you. Enjoy it for what it is -- and worry about figuring out pieces at a time. If you try to absorb the entirety of everything at once, you'll probably explode.

With that in mind, I'd suggest picking one thing you want to try. This is even done by us long-timers...you'll often see in OOC something like: "I want to try an Amberite Sentinel and see how high strength I can get..I think that might really work." You can't do everything with one character, (although if you have fun trying, I'd say go for it)! But you'll probably have a more rewarding sense of accomplishment if you just stick to one thing...see the section on Skills/Specialties for more about this.

Once you have in mind what you want to try, create a character (don't worry too much about stats and such yet) and read the help once you begin the game. Read, read, read (this is a text-based game, after all!). Don't feel that you have to read everything, but you should at least read up on the basics.

In fact, since you're here, it's probably easier to read the help files here...it'll save you much typing.

At the very least, I'd suggest understanding skills, specialties, attributes and traits.

Which is a nice segue to...

Skills/Stats/Specialties

This isn't (really) a level based game. You get far more mileage out of increasing your skills, which is why you just read about them. Skills and specialties are probably the most important thing to understand about your character. If you've read up on speciaties and still don't "get" why, ask someone.

Skills are your "power". Being good in particular skills are what are going to increase your effectiveness in combat. Since your stats influence how many specialties you get, you should be thinking of how many specialty points you need per attribute, in general...

Or, more plainly, if you need lots of dexterity specialties for your guild, you probably shouldn't have an extremely low dex.

You can overcome this somewhat with levels: at 5 statistic points a level, that's 245 by the time you hit level 50...and so you can make up for choices that aren't perfectly min-maxed.

So everyone asks "What to get?".

Well, combat is mainly how you get experience in the game, so you need to make sure you can survive that. With some exceptions (and there's always exceptions in LS) you should probably stick with one weapon class. Put a decent amount of specialties into that. Then pick a way to defend yourself. You may count on parrying with your weapon, or if you're tiny and/or fly, dodge and flight may serve you better. Some guilds are going to rely heavily on special skills for combat effectiveness, so now it the time to start thinking about that as well.

With the rough idea of what you what to have for statistics and skill specialties, think about what guild and associations you want to be in.


Guilds/Associations: making your character

Your guild is going to dictate what attributes you want, and so are the associations you want to join. Also, it is usually going to decide your alignment, are you good? Evil? Ordered? Chaotic? Or maybe some or none of all of those?

  • Ethics are terrifically slow to change. Alignment, on the other hand, can shift dramatically and quickly. As noted in the ethics help, you receive more experience if it matches your alignment. So, definitely consider what appeals to you to play, as for the most part you'll want to have your ethics and alignment match.
  • Along with this, when trying out your second/third/whatever-th character, consider what places you were visiting before. If you were mostly in combat with saintly/ordered NPCs, and plan to do so again, it'd probably be best to stay away from saintly/ordered ethics and so on. Play to your strengths until you get a feel for things.
  • The 'real world' animals on the "main map" like bears, wolves and so on are neutral. You can practice fighting them to train your skills without fear of messing up your alignment.


At first, try to avoid spreading yourself too thin with associations. Each association will require some specialties for its skills, and if you join many, you'll just end up being terrible at all of them (and probably your guild skills as well).


So, by now, you've read alot of abstract things, so let's look at something concrete to help tie things together. Out of sheer bias, let's consider why I thought of making a faerie ELF.

First, a look at attributes:

Attributes
Strength      10 to  40
Intelligence  80 to 120
Constitution  10 to  50
Dexterity     100 to 150
Willpower     80 to 120
Charisma      80 to 120
Perception    80 to 120
Size          5 to  15

As you can see from the guild, ELF like to have WIL, CHA and luck, which faerie get some of, so that's a nice bonus. They're pretty big in all of those, and they have a good amount of INT too, which I'll need for guild skills. On the down side, the low size and con/str means I can't really take very much in the way of punishment.

I decided to max my STR, WIL, INT and CHA. My reasoning was STR to carry things, WIL/CHA for invocation power, INT for guild skills. That meant I had to minimize DEX (an uncommon faerie choice) and size. I figured I'd just have to live with not having the most fighty ELF, but that's OK! Small size actually gives some minor bonuses to dodge (harder to hit) which I figured may help a little. Of course, if I did get hit, I'd hurt badly.

What was left over, I threw into con to help with the frailty.

Strength       40
Intelligence   120
Constitution   39
Dexterity      100 
Willpower      120
Charisma       120 
Perception     80
Size           5

Then I looked at the specialties I had available and decided where I wanted to allocate what:
STR specs: load bearing/massive blow
INT: Guild skills: conjuring, symbology, xotimancy, theology, elder lore, arcane lore
CON: recuperation, biofeedback
DEX: dagger, dodge, flight, quickness, combat reflexes
WIL: chaos affinity, centering, channeling, meditation
CHA: invocation, Telesmatic Weapon, leadership
PER: whatever -- for me introspection, awareness, empathy

Note how I didn't try to specialize in everything. Your specialties are valuable: don't spread them too thin. In fact, I decided not to join any associations so that they would go just that little bit farther.

What Skills are good

So what are some of the must have skills? Here's a breakdown, but note: the help for skills is very good. In general, you can pull a ton of useful information from help files. They generally all say what will be said here, so check 'em out if you can. Not listed are many racial specific abilities and skills (affinities, regeneration, etc).

So what should I put my starting/cultural points into? Core utility skills like elude, tracking and first aid are probably preferable to weapons skills when spending your cultural points, because they're much harder to train. I'd suggest you increase those over weapon skills (which will increase just via natural usage at a much faster rate).


STR

massive blow -- adds to your damage, especially with hammers and other straightforward levers.
shield -- should be noted that shields provide awesome deflection AND are weapons in Lost Souls, and can be a viable "weapon" choice.
load bearing -- helps you carry that all important loot
armour use -- needed to wear heavier armour and not suffer an encumbrance penalty

INT

For out of combat

Anglic -- your starting trainers in Losthaven speak this. Learn it!
X Lore -- helps you identify stuff. Important so you don't pass up on good stuff. Kinda "catch-as-you can" skills, but they are worth it.
X Fieldcraft -- Kinda the same as lore, they'll give you a nice bonus to fighting in the appropriate terrain "for free".
finance -- how much money you can carry
literacy -- everyone needs to read, especially new folks, so you can gather information about what is what
linguistics -- great "bang for the buck', will help your language skills.

For combat

chirurgery/anatomy -- For healing. Anatomy also makes you more effective in combat.
tactics/strategy -- helps your effectiveness in combat

CON

biofeedback/hardiness/stamina/recuperation/running -- all about having more endurance and hits and getting them back faster
resilience/steadiness --antistun

DEX

dodge/tumbling/flight -- not getting hit
quickness -- more action = good. Killer skill.

WIL

discipline/courage -- For setting wimpy to what you want
pain tolerance -- antistun
centering/channeling -- more sps
meditation -- very useful, recover everything faster

CHA

leadership -- for grouping/followers
haggling -- get more cash
ownership -- keep more

PER

awareness -- notice things in game you'd otherwise miss, adds to combat
find weakness -- extra damage
first aid -- bread and butter recovery skill
introspection -- more sps
killer instinct -- adds to damage
precision strike -- adds to damage, but mostly by hitting better

Getting Started

Losthaven

It's easiest to start in Losthaven. Losthaven is at 9, 19. Familiarize yourself with the square and use it as a "home base" to range out from.

  • keep your compass. Use it to help find your way back.
  • Use the square (straight east from the west gate, straight west from the east gate) as your main landmark. Punch Bill the Town Fool in the face a few times while you're there.
    • From the square (LH []), go 4w, 4n, 2w to the Arena. In the arena is Raelan Jax who is an excellent trainer for your newbie physical skills (combat stuff).
    • From [], go 4w, 1n, 1e for Gorg the Massive. He sells compasses if you lose yours, and torches and oil, which, besides providing light, are food and drink for some races (phaethon).
    • From [], go 4w, 1n to see Ashe, the Guildmaster for the Adventurer's guild to advance.
    • From [], go w, 2n to "pray for life" when you die.
    • From [], go 1s, 1w to see Ariende the Healer to buy healing if you want.
    • From [], go 2s, e to the Lost Lamb Tavern to get your drink on
    • From [], go 3s, d to the sewers to kill rats for newbie combat experience. Directly west from that entrance is The Grey Mouser, who provides roguish training (awareness and such)
    • From [], go 1e, s to Baldwin's shop, to sell loot.
    • From [], go 2e, 2n, e to Miss Amelia, who teaches your newbie scholastic skills.
    • From [], go 2e, n, w to learn from Hester the librarian, who teaches literacy and legend lore.
    • From [], go 2e, s, e to Pryderi the Ranger. He'll let you in The Explorers which is a great newbie association because it helps you with finding your location on maps, and gives you a guide that tells you about Lost Souls subjects. He also trains ranger-ish\outdoorsy skills like tracking, swimming and fieldcrafts.
    • From [], go 2n, w to find the Pet Store. You can buy a pet here to follow you around and help you with combat. They aren't powerhouses in combat, but they do get in a few hits, which makes combat go a lot faster. You can also use them as meat shields, but they tend to not last very long (especially birds). Pets also level up on their own.

Keeping and Equipment

One of the first things you'll want to do is grab some new equipment. Guilds and associations can make what is "good" for you vary hugely, but I'll try to gather some salient advice here.

  • Heavy armour can screw with your ability to defend yourself by dodging. It's a tossup between how good the armour exactly is and how much it encumbers you. If you want to wear heavy armours, you'll (usually) need good strength and good armour use.
  • Weapons and armour are usually better the more exotic and magical materials are used in it's construction, which is probably no surprise to folks who've played in other fantasy systems. Very roughly, for weapons it'd go something like: bronze/brass < iron < chain < steel < erivelin < mithril < adamantium. For armours, it's something like cloth < leather < studded leather < chain < plate < erivelin < mithril < adamantium.
  • When in doubt, abuse your appraisal skill (no wonder Shylock charges so much for training!). Expensive is usually better.
  • Don't get hung up on getting the perfect, best piece of equipment to start. True, if you have an awesome weapon, you'll do much better than with a balsa wood stick, but there's plenty of ways to lose equipment. Don't get too hung up on it.
  • Most of the best stuff in the game are artifacts; more on this in a little bit.
  • Your equipment will take damage over time. You can look at it to see it's current condition. Examples would be "It is in perfect condition" and "It is falling apart". Armour will get beat up and become less effective (again, with some exceptions); weapons will take damage from beating them against monsters and wildlife. You can repair them at traders; although the more exotic equipment takes more exotic tradesman to repair. Also there is a rod of repair that can repair armour, and there are some player abilities that can repair items.
  • Two pieces of equipment can have varying quality; obviously, quality impacts the abilities of the equipment. An unearthly craftsmanship Stick of Pokiness will be much more Poky than a poorly crafted Stick of Pokiness, even though they're the same base weapon. It'll usually note it's quality if you look at it.
  • "Piecemeal" armour -- that is, armour that covers one location at a time can be situationally more useful than total armour like a suit, for two reasons. One, it's more quickly upgradeable; if you find better boots, you can just wear them. Secondly, if a location gets disabled or amputated, you often are forced to unequip the item in that location. Which means if you're wearing a suit and lose a foot, you're suddenly unarmoured...
  • Lastly, if you have chaos favour, a popular choice for armour is a parageos -- a resizing suit of chaos armour. It can unpoison, unblind and unstun you. It also can drain your spirit at an alarming rate, so unequip it when not fighting. It'll choke and squeeze you if you lack favour, so don't bother in that case.

Which brings up to keeping. Check out the help on keep.

  • Charisma, willpower and ownership have a lot to do with influencing how much you can keep. Note many of your miscellaneous skills will give you some points towards keeping items; making all of them somewhat worthwhile, if only for that (so if you have spare cash, grab some training!)
  • Artifacts, as noted in the help, can be kept for three days. Being as powerful as some are, though, they can cost an extraordinary amount of keep points. Unless you're sure you need to hang on to it to play later, just give it up when you're done with your session; you'll probably make someone else happy at any rate, as several are found randomly, or hard for some classes to get.
  • As noted above, "piecemeal" armour can have benefits, unfortunately, it can also cost you much more in the way of keep points.
  • Keeping also stops you from dropping, selling, sacrificing or otherwise losing equipment. This means you can use time saving commands like "sell all" if you've kept everything in your inventory you want.

Random Advice

  • Don't hide your character information if you're just starting out. Nobody really cares that much, and it's much harder to offer you intelligent help if no one knows what race, class and level you are. Suggestions for "what weapon is good" are very different for a small dwarf than a zuth.


  • You're going to die. It happens to everyone; that's why you have 30 lives. You may get off scott free, you may suffer some temporary penalties. It happens to everyone; don't let it get you down too much. Sure, no one loves playing with 20 less strength or whatever, but your penalties will go away with time. Clerics can help reduce or eliminate these penalities if you have them bring you back from the dead.


  • Check out Shylock. It's a very wise idea to find him in The Temple of Discordia and leave some money with him for an emergency (you lose your corpse, your equipment, and so on). An account with Shylock can also be opened for a much lower opening fee at the Losthaven Bank, located 1n, 1e of the lh[].


  • How well you connect also influences your damage dealt. If you hit better, you hit harder. Don't neglect your hit rating for damage skills or think that 20 specs of massive blow are all you'll ever need.
  • Along with that idea, note that there are often just one or two vital spots on a target. Setting strike to head or chest can have good payoffs once you can connect in a consistent manner.


  • "Treat myself" after every combat -- you only can do it once each time you're hurt, so if you get hurt three times but treat once, you've "lost" the opportunity for two heals.
  • Invest in the related healing skills; they will increase the effectiveness of treat by a good deal (chirurgery, anatomy, plant lore)


  • Check out hunger. Note that you'll want to keep well fed and watered to keep from unnecessarily being crippled in combat. A common side effect of dying is that you'll be terribly hungry or thirsty, and until you've recovered your lost corpse, broke. This is why you've left money with Shylock...


  • If it has the word 'guard' at the end of its name, it is probably not a good idea to attack it.
  • Grouping works really well, even if you are all at low levels.


  • Skills train through practice; but often times you have to have at least a little to train it. You won't spontaneously pickup most skills if you are ignorant of them, so go ahead and take at least one session of teaching/training to get them started.


  • IMPORTANT! I was reading the Neophyte Handbook for ideas of things to expand upon. Despite what it implies, it is NOT illegal to share information about associations and guilds...necessarily. Once your join the guild/association, it will often make itself clear what the position on sharing information about it is. Some guilds like the Ringwielders are actually encouraged to actively recruit; and obviously you don't see players getting banned for creating content here. If it says to keep it quiet, well, do so. So, don't be hesitant to ask about guilds, but understand that they may not be able to give you a response. (Although, I'm trying to think of a "secret" guild, and I'm coming up short. But then it wouldn't be a secret, would it?)


Edit from another player: Shadow Brethren are an example of a secret association. From what I can tell, the only info you can't share about secret guilds includes 1) Your membership, and 2) how to join. I assume membership info also includes not sharing the names of other members in the guild/association, but otherwise it looks like you can technically share just about everything else. End of edit.

  • To respect other players, you should take specifics about joining or doing quests/guilds/associations to tells -- they may be the type that enjoys finding out for themselves.


End of spoiler information.
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