This is a classless guide to getting the most mechanical benefit out of a character's first twenty (20) levels. It would make utopians, Marxists, and capitalists rejoice in equal grandeur.
- 1 The Cheatyface guide to the first 20 levels
- 2 Basic assumption and approach
- 3 Warnings and Doctrine
- 4 Statistics
- 5 Skills
- 6 Finding a Claidhmore
- 7 How to proceed
The Cheatyface guide to the first 20 levels
The purpose of this guide is to lay out in no uncertain terms how to make the most of a character's first twenty (20) levels. In that time, skills will immediately migrate, and statistics can be changed up to five (5) times. These benefits come at no cost or penalty, the only investment being the player's time to plan, implement, and in some special cases await the results of the changes. This guide aims to be as relevant for new, returning, and experienced players.
The guide's author has often jokingly referred to the methodology as the "cheatyface method" with some regularity. However, the terminology "cheat" here does not imply any violation of game policy. It does, however, attempt to maximize the most possible benefits from certain mechanical possibilities that are only offered to characters for the first twenty levels. Basically, the methods outlined in this guide certainly feel like cheating, hence the name. For a new player, these insights may illustrate how to try many different combinations of skill arrangements; for more experienced players, it will show how to get more personal buff spells than you may have ever realized was possible, or maximize your skill setup for specific tasks, like an individual bounty. If nothing else, be warned that you might cheat yourself out of a more traditional grind and unique experience by applying the tactics outlined in this guide.
— Kaldonis Harvest-Moon, on behalf of groups who chose not to be named or associated.
Basic assumption and approach
Normally, changing a character's skills can be done once a year for free (the annual 'fixskill'); this can be done more often with a 'fixskill' potion, or, in unusual cases of class overhauls, an additional option is granted. Skill migration also exists, where by electing to lose a certain skill, a character can eventually gain a new skill, but this has fairly limited application and requires large amounts of in-game time. Changing a character's stats is normally only possible by a very expensive means, a 'fixstat' potion.
The possibility to instantly change skills and statistics is limited for a reason—it is very powerful! In the first twenty (20) levels, a character can change their skills an arbitrary number of times almost immediately, and change their stats five (5) times after the initial assignment (six in total). This guide aims to take the fullest advantage that these possibilities offer us.
This is a guide which is largely without regard to class. You're going to acquire a claidhmore and smash creatures. You're going to cast buff spells at yourself, because even warriors and rogues can do this.
You will, along the way, learn some extreme possibilities (usually called 'mutant') available to your class. You will also learn, as a result, the limitations of your specific class, as well as its strengths. However, you will not necessarily learn how to cope with canonical situations or standards for your class at the outset. However, over the first twenty (20) levels, you will edge closer and closer to either a more archetypal design or your chosen path, having explored many options.
Warnings and Doctrine
The Cheatyface doctrine stipulates:
- I do not expect the Cheatyface method gives me a reasonable introduction to my class under normal circumstances.
- I will conveniently plow my way through some early levels, because they are boring.
- Although I may learn and do many things, those things might not be very useful skills to learn in the 20st level for this particular character.
- I will get lazier and lazier about min/maxing my character, and slowly hone in on a skill set that is probably more appropriate for my character.
- I will remember to set aside my last fixstat and set my skills to my character's proper training path before the first twenty (20) levels expire.
If you use this guide, you recognize and accept the above tenets of the method.
Although we have the option to change the statistics up to five (5) times, this is a rather generous number and we don't need to take too much advantage of it. Set the statistics below for this build, tune them once or twice to try out preliminary or approaching-normal stats, and finally use a fixstat to set the stats you'd like after the first twenty levels are achieved!
Here's basically what you want to know:
- Logic stat is set to 100, unless you are a Wizard, set it to 90 and it will become 100. This is to maximize Experience Pool and Experience Absorption, which affects all characters.
- Strength stat is set as high as possible, 90 or 100, depending on class; prioritize Logic first. This gives the character the best melee AS possible, used for the claidhmore.
- Agility should be set relatively high, like above 70. This determines the physical DS which is most important at low levels compared to other kinds of defenses, like TD.
- Dexterity should be set at a value to achieve an acceptable RT with the claidhmore, considering the racial bonus modifiers. Swinging at 5 or 6 seconds is preferred here, but the base RT of a claidhmore is 8 seconds, so a reduction of 2 or 3 seconds is the goal. Wizards especially should swap their settings for Agility and Dexterity here, as Dexterity affects the Attack Strength from Spell Aiming.
- Discipline is relevant for the size of the Experience Pool as well as being a statistic that affects both physical and mental training points. Don't set it below 50.
- Aura is of interest to anyone using Elemental warding, specifically sorcerers. This is also important for spirit depending on the society one chooses. Spirit is determined by rounding up, so set this at a number like 65, 75, or 85.
- Wisdom is of interest to anyone using Spiritual warding, which not only includes sorcerers but also clerics and empaths.
- Constitution is useful for encumbrance effects and starting Hitpoints.
- Intuition isn't very useful, except for training points for clerics and rangers.
- Influence isn't very useful, except for training points and initial mana for bards and empaths.
Grab your Logic and Strength. Get yourself an acceptable DS and swinging RT with Agility and Dexterity. A solid Discipline and Constitution is always helpful. In the case of a magical character, your mana or CS stats (or Dexterity stat for Bolt casting) aren't bad places to put points. Tank everything else to 20 or 30.
Every guide and professional page you can find has recommendations for skill training. You can look those over, but mostly not heed their advice for the first twenty (20) levels. Many things are just accumulating skills you'll want later in your career, or are assuming you're doing something normal which means you have the same skills resting as hunting. Here the skills are divided into skills that are most relevant for different cases, like hunting and resting, and it is assumed the player shifts their skills before and after each hunt as needed.
Skills you just keep
- Physical Training: You need health points. You can drop some of these to get mana or spell ranks when resting, but as you drop PT training, your Hitpoints will also suffer and take time to regenerate. It's mostly simpler to keep this up to some standard (say, 50 HPs) and not bother with changing it. Keep this at about once per level.
- Armor Use: Train for your armor. Go for full leathers or double leathers, get the training, and keep it for the first twenty (20) levels. There's not a strong reason to go past training once per level here, so just work up to something. As you advance levels, you can buy higher enchant leathers for pretty cheap. Do that if you can, or borrow them from friends or other nice people.
Skills you need for killing
- Two-handed Weapons: This is how hard you swing your claidhmore, and how easily you hit a target. Never go hunting without having this skill at its maximum, whatever it is for your class.
- Combat Maneuvers: This helps you to swing your claidhmore even harder and hit targets even easier. Not as much as the above, but it still helps. Put a lot of training points towards this before each hunt, being at least once per level (pures) and more than once per level approaching two times per level for semis and squares. There are CMANs you can play with, but it gets a little tedious if you want to keep swapping skills and the benefits aren't that wonderful
Skills you want for resting
- Harness Power: This gives you mana to cast spells. If you're a square, you should have dropped this skill before hunting. If you're a pure, when you come back from hunting, you may not have much mana left. Either way is the same story. Drop all your 'skills for killing' and increase your Harness Power as soon as your return from hunting, and wait for the mana!
- Spell Training: This is where things get really fun. Find any buff spells and sacrifice anything to learn them up to your level. Stack these spells as much as you can when resting. It's not likely that you can do a full round of spellup for yourself each hunt, so just go after different spells or spheres each time you rest. Even warriors and rogues can get the simple spells like 401, 101 and 103. There is no disadvantage to doing this while resting! Just make sure if you traded Physical Training while resting (not recommended) you give yourself enough time to regenerate to full health when you swap the skills out!
Skills you might want for some other reason
There are a lot of clever ways to take advantage of instant skill migration. Below are some simple examples to get you thinking in a clever way about it. Always have tunnel vision about a specific goal you want to accomplish, and what you can do right now to maximize your ability at that one skill.
- Spell Aiming: Mainly useful if you're a wizard. Even with swinging a claidhmore, tossing in the extra bolt spell is a good idea. Some creatures are easy to kill this way!
- Climbing: Let's imagine you were assigned a bounty in the Graveyard. Get a gold ring and set it to town. Maximize your Climbing ranks, climb over the gate, untrain all your climbing skills, and you'll never need to ask someone to pop the gate (until your ring is stolen and you are forced to do this arduous task a second time).
- Survival: Maximize this if you get a foraging task, a skinning task, or need skins for some other reason.
- Perception: Maximize this skill to complete a foraging task.
- First Aid: Maximize this for your skinning needs.
Finding a Claidhmore
Using a claidhmore in the early levels is not rooted in this more modern Cheatyface system. In fact, many pure classes were known to use the tactic of killing rats with claidhmores in GSIII without any skill in Two-Handed Weapons. That's because claidhmores are savage weapons. When an endroll like +130 for many weapons does 15 damage, a claidhmore will rip the creature's head off, stun it, knock it over, and/or do some 70 points of damage. This is the weapon of choice here because extremely high endrolls are mostly impossible for low level characters, and claidhmores have ridiculous crit weighting, and they are pretty easy to get ahold of and have no level requirement.
There are a few ways to get your hands on a claidhmore:
- Ask some people or get one from a friend
- Get backroom access in WL and buy one yourself. You need to buy about 100 daggers, then you can buy a claidhmore
- Kill some creatures known to carry them. Hobgoblins past the ridge in WL or in Ocoma Vale are likely candidates. This may be non-trivial at the lowest levels. Note that creature-found vanilla claidhmores are often not as powerful as the shop-bought ones.
To get backroom access, you should make approximately one hundred (100) individual transactions (perhaps depending on racial bias, etc); do not buy the items in bulk through ORDER (verb)! As this means an iterative process, it is ideal for scripting. Below is a lich script to purchase Y times the catalog item numbered X. It assumes a bank note in the right hand, and that a default container is set for stow. It is invoked via >;order X Y
If one does not have lich and prefers a wiz script, paste, for example 10 copies of the following into order.cmd, and >.order X
(More details on the cost to get backroom access, as well as other towns and the specific regions to find them are forthcoming.)
How to proceed
Get bounties and kill stuff.