DF2014:Adventure mode quick start

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Revision as of 10:45, 15 January 2022 by Silverwing235 (talk | contribs) (Equipment / Mounts and pets: clarify)
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This article is about the current version of DF.
See Adventure Mode quick reference to quickly look up key commands. If you're a more experienced player (perhaps directed here in error) look up the Tutorial:Powerplay Guide for instruction instead.

This guide provides step-by-step instruction for those who have never played Dwarf Fortress in Adventure Mode before. It assumes that you have already installed the game and can navigate the menus on your own, but no significant knowledge of how to play adventure mode is required. Read the full adventure mode documentation for additional detail.

Common UI concepts

Key Reference

Most of the key commands you will need are noted on this page, but you can refer to the in-game help with ? or the quick reference page to look up the key for a particular action.

About key symbols

Most documents on the wiki use key symbols that look like t to indicate what keys are used for an operation. Note that these are case sensitive. In order to save space, Shift+t will be written as T. So t means "press the 't' key without the shift key" and T means "hold down shift and press the 't' key". Lowercase and uppercase keys will almost never perform the same function, so it is important to use the correct key. Sequences of keys will be written with dashes between them, so a-b-C means "press 'a', then press 'b', then hold shift and press 'c'".

Cursor movement, menu selection, and navigation

Esc Go back to the previous screen/menu
Change active menu option or move cursor
- + Alternate menu selection keys
Enter Select menu option

Sometimes you use the directional keys and Enter to make menu selections, but sometimes you will need to use the alternate selection keys (- and +) instead. Generally speaking, if the directional keys don't work in a menu, try -/+.

Esc will almost always take you back to the previous screen until you get to the top level of the UI, at which point it will display the options menu.

World generation

Some custom worlds which are interesting for fortress mode may be annoying for adventure mode, for various reasons, such as: few civilizations, low population, certain races not existing, lack of access to metals, or history being so far advanced that many fortresses and towns have been abandoned.

For your first game, it's best to start with a generic world (e.g; the box below setup) to avoid potential problems. You can come back to an existing world once you have the hang of things.

See World generation if you need help with world generation.

For your first game...

Generate a world using Create New World! with:

  • World Size is Medium
  • History is Short
  • Number of Civilizations is High
  • Number of Sites is High
  • Number of Beasts is Medium
  • Natural Savagery is Medium
  • Mineral Occurrence is Frequent

These settings should help avoid the aforementioned problems. It is advisable not to stop the world generation until the game stops it automatically - normally at 125 years with the Short world history option, in this case.

Character creation

Race and civilization

For your first game...

Humans and Human-sized characters beginning in human civilizations are the easiest to fully equip.

The first step in starting an adventure mode game is to choose the race (and civilization) of your adventurer. All major races can complete the same quests.

  • Civilized Humans begin with bronze, iron, or silver items and can use any of the items sold by shopkeepers (who, for the time being, are only found in human towns, and only sell human-sized clothing/armor). Human settlements are by far the easiest to acquire beginning goods and supplies in. Specifically, the mead hall of a human hamlet (normally represented as a rectangle detached from main group of houses) almost always has some goodies stored in the back.
  • Human Outsiders start out with a vastly limited item selection compared to Civilized Humans. If starting in a human settlement their poverty quickly becomes moot, as they benefit from available goods as easily as any other race.
  • Dwarves have the advantage of being able to go into a martial trance when fighting multiple foes at once and possess perfect vision in low light conditions, which is extremely useful at night and for exploring subterranean sites. They are the only race which can start with steel weapons. Dwarves can equip equipment sized for goblins and elves, but are unable to wear human-sized clothing and armor. Their best starting sources for armor and weapons are in a fortress market or warehouse. Good-quality leather clothing can be found by rummaging through dwarven apartments in fortresses and residences in hillocks. Better equipment can later be found on veteran soldiers and fortress guards, possibly in dark fortresses, and in bandit camps close to these sites.
  • Elves start with very weak wooden weapons, no metal armor, and a more limited list of weapon skills during character creation. They have the advantage of higher natural gait speeds, and higher average Agility to grant them greater starting speed. Elves from elven civilizations are also at peace with the wilderness and will never be attacked by wild animals. They can wear clothing sized for dwarves or goblins. Elves starting in a forest retreat may have to travel to neighbouring civilizations to acquire suitable gear, as their own civilization usually lacks anything better than wooden armor.
  • Goblins are an option to play as, if they come from a non-goblin civilization, which in most cases is a human civilization. It is recommended to start in a dwarven site if possible, so that fitting armor is easier to find. Goblins do not need to eat or drink, have slightly better vision in darkness than humans, and have higher average Endurance and Willpower which allows them to withstand more damage during combat before they pass out. Despite being a fellow goblin, you will still get attacked in dark pits and dark fortresses by members of the goblin civilization.
  • Intelligent Wilderness Creaturesv0.42.01 are various animal people and other sentient creatures who have joined a major civilization in world history. Anthropomorphic creatures acquire many of the physical traits from their base creatures, from material layers (fur, scales, shells, etc.) to appendages (hooves, horns, claws, wings, more than two arms). Some traits are obviously beneficial (flight, natural climbing talent, immense mass to shake off wrestling holds), while others are detrimental (aquatic, carnivorous diet, inability to jump, swim, climb or even speak). Nearly all creatures capable of swimming naturally know how to do so, which obviates the need for the Swimming skill; notable exceptions include most bug men, who can't swim at all. All these factors make certain species more or less advantageous than the major races. On the other hand, some can be game-breakingly powerful starter characters (e.g. elephant man). It's best to study the creature's raws in order to make an informed choice, which you may prefer to put off until getting some experience with the game.


For your first game...

A Demigod begins with the greatest potential survivability.

You can then choose to start as either a Peasant, Hero or Demigod – each offers progressively more points to spend on attributes and skills. These three options essentially amount to how difficult it is to get started, so to make combat easier to survive, you may want to pick "Demigod". If you chose to focus on non-combat abilities, a Demigod has the points to augment physical hardiness, and have plenty left over for a versatile spread of skills and attributes.


For your first game...

Pick a hillocks, town, or hamlet near the middle of the map with not too many people, then the ranger occupation, and use the existing random name, gender, and beliefs.

Your name has little bearing on gameplay, so that can be freely selected with e, c, and r. If you customize your first name, people may comment on how unusual it is. If you define something in every category at the start, then your name won't grow with fame, though it can change with infamy.

Gender rarely makes a difference in gameplay and can be changed with g. For most playable races, the only differences are the presence of beards and geldables. A few animal people races have more significant differences, such as moose people where males are up to 2/3 larger and have a gore attack.

Your home determines where you start, as well as the available occupations and beliefs. Dwarven fortresses, and some sites taken over from other civilizations, can be hard for new players to navigate out of.

Occupation determines some free starting skills and possibly a starting weapon; hunter and ranger add some skills that are useful in combat. A hearthperson starts as a member of the local military and can receive orders from their superior, if you can find them. Many other occupations cannot currently be practiced in adventurer mode.

Beliefs determines if you worship a deity and are a member of any religion. Having a deity can add the need to pray, which can easily be done by talking to them.


Starting attributes

The ranking descriptions of Attributes are based on your racial averages, which for humans and animal people are all 1000. All of these can be increased over the course of adventuring, though some have fewer opportunities to increase (and some opportunities are unimplemented). Maximum attributes will be 1000 plus your starting value for Average or lower initial values, and double your initial value for attributes higher than Average. You are also able to decrease attributes below the starting amount, however there isn't much reason to do this as you get very few points from it.

Physical attributes
Attribute Description
Strength: Damage dealt, encumbrance limits, and mass, which increases total blood but slows Gaits.
Agility: Speed in Gaits and combat actions, all defensive and ranged skills, Stealth, and to a lesser extent all weapon and movement skills.
Toughness: Base durability of tissue layers, reduces penetration along with armor, and the probability of getting knocked unconscious or broken bones.
Endurance: Rate at which exhaustion is reduced, which is incurred by every physical action and many passive, and total blood supply.
Recuperation: Rate at which lost blood is restored, recovery from Bleeding and Winded conditions.
Disease Resistance: Resistance to syndromes, curses from vampire blood, or a werebeast bite, resistance to infections and rate at which infection spreads.
Mental attributes
Attribute Description
Analytical Ability: important for Tracking, useful for Knapping
Focus: all ranged attacks, Observation
Willpower: Fighter and Swimmer skills, resistance to pain and unconsciousness, rate of recovery from unconsciousness
Intuition: Most important for Observation, also used in Social interactions.
Spatial Sense: All combat skills, Ambusher and Observer, Knapping, Swimming, Crutch-Walking
Kinesthetic Sense: All movement skills, most combat skills
Linguistic Ability: All social and literary skills. Good Speaking ability makes others enjoy your company, and more likely to trust you
Empathy: As with Speaking, others enjoy their company more and are likely to trust a character they can relate to.
Social Awareness: Determines number of companions willing to join, applied to other Social actions.

For your first game...

Recommended starting attributes:

  • High Strength
  • High Agility - no less than 1:1 ratio with strength, see below, Toughness, Endurance
  • Above Average Focus, Willpower, Intuition
  • High Spatial Sense
  • High Kinesthetic Sense

These are the most frequently employed attributes for combat. The suggested amounts may be further increased by reducing other, less combat-oriented attributes, but this naturally narrows the character's competency in combat-oriented actions in exchange for increased might and durability.

Speed is an advantage and necessity in combat, which is reliant directly on Agility and indirectly on Strength. A higher starting Strength increases encumbrance limits, so you can carry more and wear heavier armor without reducing your speed. With higher Strength comes higher mass, which can nibble away at the advantages granted by higher Agility. For optimal speed potential, Agility must be in equal or higher proportion to Strength. Endurance in good proportion enables you to sustain your high speed activity and makes up for the additional blood that Strength could supply.

The value of Social Awareness varies by physical attributes. A Peasant of average or lower physical ability benefits greatly per companion -- strength in numbers. But a Demigod combat monster gains very little benefit per companion -- at best they serve as a decoy, so you may as well issue them a red shirt and draft their living will upon recruitment.

For the purpose of a quick start, the remaining skills (Creativity, Patience, Memory, and Musicality) are self-explanatory, but you can only learn what value they are to you by playing and exploring the game. These don't contribute anything to survivability, but they can add fun to the downtime. Later, you may find that you want to start with different attributes, but these are a good, safe starting point.

Read up on Attributes for more information. Skills by Body Attribute and Skills by Soul Attribute also hint at how each Attribute is applied.

Starting skills

Starting skill selection is dependent on your character's civilization. Starting skill rating doesn't influence potential maximum skill, because there is no maximum. The highest rating description is "Legendary", but your skill rating can develop to many times over that.

All skills can be developed in adventuring, even from no skill (with a few exceptions, such as Reading.) but some are so necessary to success that you may fail, unless you get a head start in their advancement.

Defensive skills (Dodger, Shield User and Armor User) are absolutely critical to survival. Dodger enables you to sidestep unblockable attacks and charges, and to passively evade unforeseen attacks (though that presents its own danger in certain terrains.) Shield User improves the rate of passive blocking, and reduces the exhaustion from active and passive blocking. Armor User reduces the encumbrance value of worn equipment to as low as 0 and reduces the penetration of attacks striking the layers of your armor.

Make no mistake: Observer is a defensive skill. In the beginning, your defensive skills will not serve you as well as learning to anticipate your opponent's attacks and acting accordingly. When you can identify if your opponent is off-guard or open to a good chance of attack, you can strike selectively, and without exhausting your energy before you can finish the fight. Striking futilely until you reach exhaustion will leave you as vulnerable as you could possibly be.

A good offense is the best defense, but (as Miyamoto Musashi says) you should not overspecialize in a weapon at the start, but be willing to develop skills opportunistically as the best attack for the situation presents itself. Investing in Fighter skill will start you with a broad competency in every martial form. With enough skill in this, you can comfortably train other attack skills from nothing, and take advantage of the best-quality weapon you come across.

Wrestling holds are always available to you, and to your enemies. Skill in Wrestling improves your defense against Wrestling, and is the easiest form to exercise all Physical Attributes. There are less risky methods of developing Wrestling, but you may not get the opportunity to use them if you face a deadlier opponent first.

(See combat skills for more info, and Weapons to learn the practical utility of each weapon type.)

Swimmer skill is needed to enter water as deep as 7/7 without drowning. It's possible, but very risky and time-consuming to develop this from no skill, but starting with at least Adequate will enable you to develop Physical Attributes from it sooner. Animal people do not need any skill in this, as it will never be needed or used, nor can they gain Physical Attributes by practicing it.

At least Novice Reader is important to be able to read anything, as there is currently no way of increasing it from no skill. Reading is especially required if you wish to become a Necromancer.

For your first game...

Recommended starting skills:

  • Talented Fighter
  • Proficient Observer
  • Adequate Swimmer (except Animal Person characters)
  • Adequate Shield User
  • Proficient Armor User
  • Adequate Dodger
  • Adequate Wrestler
  • Novice Reader

With high Fighter, you have a great range of combat tactics. High Observer, Shield User and Dodger can be best developed through active use. Armor User can only be improved passively, which will be painful both in encumbrance costs of your armor, and the beatings you will have to soak up with it. Wrestler can be improved from no skill, but some skill provides a buffer from unexpected challenges.

As with Attributes, you may later find that you want to experiment with different skill point allocations, but these are some good, safe starting choices for purposes of getting through the tutorial.

(Read up on Skills for more information.)

Appearance / Personality

While your appearance has no effect in-game, your personality traits influence your needs. As long as needs are satisfied, an adventurer will stay focused - managing needs and achieving higher focus can be valuable in combat and possibly other endeavors. With too extreme a personality, an adventurer craves for their urges to be satisfied more - one that highly values nature will become unsatisfied when they do not see animals often enough. Although, they do not need to have all of their needs satisfied at once to be focused, depending on how unsatisfied the others are.

For a first playthrough, press f, then set all the values to N/A and all the personalities to <; that removes all needs except Argue, which can be removed by setting Quarreler/Flatterer to >, though it is easy to satisfy if you have companions or party members. Some other easy to satisfy needs, assuming there will be combat, include:

  • Fight Avoid fights/Like brawls
  • Cause trouble Harmony/Discord
  • Excitement Excitement-seeking
  • Be extravagant Austere/Extravagant - can be satisfied just by putting on an item with any above-standard quality level, even if it was just taken off, and which one can start with.

Setting them to create a Moderate Need may be best, so that any one unmet need does not overpower the satisfied needs. Other needs may be hard or even impossible to satisfy - see the needs page. A need to pray may automatically be added depending on the character's background - this can be satisfied just by talking to their deity, even just a greeting. It is also possible to gain needs in-game by changing values when arguing, and it seems to not be possible to remove them. Not all values and personalities have a corresponding need.

Equipment / Mounts and pets

Here, you can modify the equipment your adventurer starts with, and add mounts or pets; they are different pages, but use the same pool of points. By default, your equipment usually includes a weapon, carving knife, clothes, a backpack, 5 meat items, a waterskin, and pouch, though it can vary depending on the civilization and starting occupation. It is recommended to give yourself metal armor using the n key and typing out the name of the armor pieces you need - a few extra waterskins or a quiver may also prove useful to prevent you from dying to dehydration. Using w you can increase the quality of items - adding an above-standard quality ring ( which, in this case, is a +ring+) can be useful for satisfying the need to be extravagant. Some animals can be used as mounts, some as pack animals, and some as both; unfortunately the game does not indicate which, so you will have to rely on guessing or the animal's page here on the wiki. Animals that are classified as vermin will be carried as inventory; others will be separate creatures that follow you around.

Party Members / Summary

Once you get to the last page (Mounts and pets) of a typical character creation screen, you can add a new member to your party by pressing N; the option only appears when you finish the first character and is greyed out until you finish subsequent characters. You can swap between customizing different party members at any time using TAB. You can have characters start with items (that they 'don't need', or whatever) to give to other party members from different civilizations in the game, though armor and clothing will be sized for the character starting with it.

Once you are done creating characters, there is a page listing all the party members and a selection of the party's starting locations. You can also go back to modify or add characters with ESC. The party's starting location is chosen with 8 & 2 from a list of all the members' home sites. To start the adventure, press y.


Once you have finished character creation, hit the Esc key at any time and select Save Game to save your game. You can then come back to it later by using the Continue Playing option in the main menu.

Setting off

Talking to someone.

You will usually start your adventure in a peasant hut (if you're a Peasant) or a mead hall in a keep (if you're Locally Important). You can talk to nearby people using the k key, and Inquire about any troubles to learn of any quests you can take on. Some of the more common types you may be told about are:

  • Beasts - any kind of creature that may be harassing people, which can range from vampires living amongst the inhabitants of a site, all the way up to titans and other mythical creatures. Avoid the latter at first - a hydra, for example, presents a massive challenge even to the most experienced adventurer.
  • Bandits - groups of people who menace people in nearby sites, out of the reach of civilization.

They usually hang out in camps (shown by a on the map). Killing bandits is a great way to raise your reputation, as nobody cares what happens to them.

  • Criminals are similar to bandits, except they operate right under the nose of authorities -- sites ruled by civilizations. You will find these outcasts hiding in abandoned houses and underground cells. Unlike bandits, criminals are often considered productive members of society. If you start a fight with some on a whim, you may find that you're now an enemy of a criminal empire comparable to (or more powerful than) your home civilization.
  • Skulking Vermin are thieving kobolds, and otherwise similar to bandits. Due to their relative ineptitude in combat, these are probably the best targets for fledgling adventurers.

Note that you have to press k each time you want to continue the conversation; and select the appropriate ongoing conversation. If someone else is said to know where to go, you may ask for the whereabouts of that person through Ask for directions (new menu)

Fast travel

Alone in the dark...

Avoid traveling in the wilderness at night, particularly when you are alone.

Fast Travel screen. This adventurer is in a hamlet, with houses to the right and the mead hall visible in the upper-left corner of the hamlet. The asterisk in the middle of all the houses represents a group, in this case a group of unfriendly goblins. The zoomed-out world map is on the right.

So far you've been traveling around at normal scale, but this can be very slow for traveling between geographical regions.

Using T will open the fast-travel screen and enable you to roam the land very quickly. Notice the uppermost bar indicating the position of the sun.

Use m to open a zoomed-out overview map to further help you navigate. This key cycles between the most-zoomed-out "sepia tone" world map and no secondary map when traveling between sites, and in sites it cycles between a list of notable buildings where you're standing, the region map (your main map when not near a site), and the most-zoomed-out world map.

Finding some muscle

Much of the time, especially at the beginning, you need some companions to watch your back. The best place to find some is at a fortress, keep, tavernv0.42.01, or mead hall. Fortresses will be marked by a Ω on the region and world maps. On the site-level map, the fortress entrance will be marked by an 8 or ∞ in the outer wall. Keeps are in towns, and are a 3×3 building with a path leading from the entrance, usually surrounded by a large, encircling wall. Mead halls are found in hamlets, and are usually in a 3×3 yellow/brown square by themselves, although sometimes they're integrated with the main housing area (in any case, the mead hall will be evidenced by a bright magenta name in the list of notable buildings). Drunks are a good source of early companions, as while they're not necessarily the strongest fighters, they make very poor decisions and will happily join up with you if your party isn't too full.

No companion left behind...

When fast-traveling, make sure that all of your companions are near you, or some may be left behind. If you've left behind companions, an asterisk will appear on the map where you previously were, and may even try to join up with you.

Move next to the entrance of your chosen source of soldiers and hit d to exit fast travel. You may need to walk around a bit to find the entrance. Once inside, if the location is not abandoned, you will find soldiers milling around. Use k to talk to them and select Ask listener to join you (new menu). Make sure you ask them to go on an adventure, not to lead you to some location. At first, you will only be able to get two followers, but this is enough for now.

If the location is abandoned, leave and try another one. Walk some distance away from the fort (or on the path out of the keep until the path changes in material, or don't bother getting out if you're in a mead hall) and go back to the fast travel screen with T.

Obtaining food and drink

Thirsty in the rain

If your character is thirsty, and it is raining, even if you do have water with you; drink the water coverings. This will help you to save water for when it is not raining, especially when you are traveling a large distance. Press e like you normally would and scroll all the way to the bottom. You can also drink blood from wounds - maybe a little salty in real life, but in Dwarf Fortress, it works. Note that if you drink vampire blood, you will turn into a vampire, but this early in the game, you don't have to worry about that.

You will get hungry or thirsty after some time, indicated by the Hungry or Thirsty attributes respectively. As you should know, when this appears, it's time for a snack. To eat or drink, press e and locate some food - it can be anything, as long as it's actually food. You can "eat" something like a sword, but it will say "You lick the sword", and you will not get less hungry or thirsty.

Where can I find food?

There are many ways of obtaining food:

  • Meat - probably the easiest to come by - find an animal in the wilds, kill it and butcher the corpse with a sharp tool. Some animals are too small to butcher and cannot be eaten.
  • Fruits - they grow on the ground and on trees during the summer. Just ensure the season is appropriate - you won't find any fruits in the winter!
  • Certain leaf-bearing plants are edible, and grow year-round.
  • Exploring human and dwarf sites - there are bags of food stored in the houses. Some Shaping Trees in forest retreats may have fruits and vegetables in or out of season, or you can buy some in city-sized human, dwarven and elven settlements.

and if you search for something to quench your thirst:

  • Drink fresh water directly from a river, or fill your waterskin (or any other container; a backpack, for example, can hold 50 units of water, though a quiver stores a more reasonable [i.e., lighter] amount) with it.
  • Hamlets and cities can have wells if they have developed enough. The building interact key (default u) can draw a bucket of water (or ice) from it, which can be drunk or filled from.
  • Snow can be found in cold biomes. Pick some from the ground and melt it near a campfire.
  • You can drink blood, even when you aren't a vampire. Wound a creature to make it bleed and then drink some blood from the pool that forms.
  • If you prefer to drink alcohol, search for barrels of booze inside dwarven fortresses, or order a drink at a tavern.

Getting some rest

Going bump in the night...

Beware of sleeping in the wilderness at night! If you have to sleep outside, only do so if you have companions. Even if you do have companions, it will usually be better to travel drowsy until you reach a fort or town where it's safe to sleep.

At this point, you may have traveled enough that your character is tired. When your adventurer becomes tired, as indicated by the Drowsy attribute, it's time for some sleep. Move to a settlement of some sort, go into a building, and use the Z key to bring up the sleep menu.

If you are in a private house, you must first ask the owner for permission before you can sleep. If a commoner is blocking you from entering their home, use the s key to crawl under their legs, and then the same key to stand back up.

Finding your target

Use Q to bring up the quest screen. By default, you will get a list of events. Using the + and - keys, you can scroll through the quests displayed on the right. Pressing z will zoom in on the current quest target (if it's possible to), showing you the quickest path to reach it. The quest menu can also be used to pinpoint the location of many other useful sites and entities. If there are a lot of items to go through, you can use f to filter the list.

Fast travel toward the location where your target is. When you get close, go back to the quest screen, hit z and you should get a more detailed map of exactly where to go. Once you are in the right spot, hit d to exit fast travel mode. (If you want to come out of fast travel mode sneaking, press s and then d.)

In the upper-left corner of the screen you will now see a box with a list of icons and an abbreviation for a direction such as NNE (north northeast). Continue to move in the indicated direction until you find the target that you're supposed to kill. This won't work if your target is in the sewers, unless you are in the sewers and standing on a ramp, but it will lead you to a lair entrance or the middle of a bandit camp.

If you still cannot find your target, try asking around. If that doesn't do anything, you can use k to start telling a story about the current site. The story menu often contains information not available anywhere else, and by browsing through events you may find clues like your target operating under a false name, that your target was part of an occupying force that was recently kicked out, or other facts that might have changed from when you first heard the rumor.



Note that the target of your first quest may be in a camp (looks like ) surrounded by henchmen. Make sure to approach carefully and when you see one of them, let them come to you and let your companions attack first.

If you attempt to kill the target(s) of your first quest with neither companions nor armor, then you are very likely to die. Therefore, before proceeding, make sure you have friends with you. If you do, you shouldn't need armor if you let them do most of the fighting.

As you may have noticed by now, combat in Dwarf Fortress is quite complex compared to other games, so this section is kind of long. Please read it carefully though.

Movement and positioning

When approaching a target it's usually best to wait using . to wait 10 instants (or , to wait just one) once you get close and let your target come to you so you can get the first shot on them. Positioning can be important because you don't want to let enemies attack you from the side or behind (!) and you should also try to move so that you're never fighting more than one opponent at a time. Green symbols that may appear next to you or others show the direction in which people are headed, which can be useful in positioning yourself.

If you need to catch up with someone, or change your sneak status, use S to pull up the movement dialog. This dialog controls the speed at which you move, and whether or not you're sneaking. If you're sneaking, you will see three-dimensional vision cones for people.

If you find yourself being shot at with ranged weapons, put a tree, hill, or other terrain feature between you and the archer and wait for some melee equipped opponents to come to you. Your followers will probably not be so smart though.

For your first fight, you may want to let your companions take the lead anyway, though, as you may not have any decent armor yet. Press . or , to skip instants if you want to wait in one spot and let your friends advance and soften up some enemies first. If one of your companions dies, no big deal. You can just take his stuff by pressing g then get another follower later. If they die and you're outnumbered, just run away and come back later with new companions.

If you want to be useful while sitting back and letting your friends charge in first, use t to throw objects such as rocks (freely available on many outdoor tiles by pressing g) at your opponent.

Attacking effectively

Don't expect it to be easy...

If you're finding your first quest too difficult, and you manage to escape with your life, you can ignore the quest for a while, replace any dead followers, go ask NPCs about Surroundings, and try to find an easier camp or lair to attack. When you kill whatever "boss" is there, even if it's not part of a quest, you can still go brag about it (most effectively by spreading the rumor of your deeds), raise your fame, get more followers, and then go back to the original quest. You can also just ask different people in different towns for different quests and perhaps find an easy one, like killing a leopard.

To attack, you can simply use a directional key to move your character as if to collide with your target. More effective, though, is pressing A when directly adjacent to a target in order to target specific body parts.

At first, your skills obviously won't be that great, so it's important to make targeted shots using A. Take the Easy strikes that are also Solid even if they target arms or legs. At first you're going to want to target limbs anyway; because you're much less likely to be able to one-shot enemies with a blow to the head, and you want to render them harmless as quickly as possible. If you get an Easy or Tricky shot to the head that is also relatively Solid, you might want to take it, though. If every shot is difficult except for a body shot, take the body shot.

Taking out an arm or hand can disarm your foe, cutting off a foot or leg will knock the opponent down and severely limit their movement, and anything causing severe pain can cause the opponent to lose consciousness, making a follow-up headshot very easy. Cutting off weapon arms and a leg means they're almost as good as dead, so take note of what will most easily neutralize the threat before killing it. You may want to ignore such disabled opponents for a while, and help your companions disable uninjured enemies.

Strangling the throat is a very effective way of killing single targets, or to even the odds when you find yourself outnumbered. To begin, carefully Attack the enemy, then, after choosing your target, hit b to start wrestling. It's advisable to choose an empty hand as the body part you use to wrestle with (although limbs can work too), as well as not attempting this against anything much larger than you. Scroll through the list of targets and select the throat, then grab it. After doing this, press , to wait for one tick (or start some other action then cancel it) and a combat notification should pop up, hopefully saying you grabbed your opponent by the throat. Now do the same thing, but this time; a new option to "wrestle with" your hand should be in the wrestling menu. Choose that and pick the option to choke the throat. Now, repeat all this one more time, except this time the option will say "strangle throat". You may have to strangle a few times, but your opponent will very quickly fall unconscious, letting you murder them at your leisure, or ignore them to focus on other threats. The greatest strength of this technique is that every action after grabbing the enemy the first time is very fast compared to normal attacks, making strangulation one of the safest ways to deal with multiple armored foes. The downside, ironically, is that it's too efficient. Enemies tend to go down very quickly, and attacks on unconscious enemies don't raise any skills, so you get very little experience. As such, early on it's probably best to save strangling for when you're outnumbered, against heavily armored enemies, or anyone who seems particularly dangerous.

For armored areas, either avoid attacking them or attempt stabbing or blunt force rather than slashing.

  • Frequently your weapon will get "lodged in the wound" making it unavailable for another attack until you free it. To free the weapon, use the directional keys to step away/sideways, or use the Advanced Interaction (I) menu.
  • When your weapon is lodged in an opponent, they are unable to dodge. If you have another weapon, then getting 1 weapon lodged is extremely beneficial as you can then proceed to kill/neutralize your opponent without worrying about them dodging. However, they are still able to parry, and you are still able to miss. Remember - counterattacks are the most deadly attacks. If you want to attack an opponent in a difficult place, then don't - it's not worth the risk.
  • Enemies behind you get a higher hit chance. You want to stay facing most of your enemies if you can, but you should never back into a corner.
  • You can select different styles for any aimed attack. Quick and wild attacks sacrifice power and/or accuracy for speed (leading to a greater chance that you will hit your target), while heavy and precise attacks sacrifice speed for increased power and/or accuracy. The speedier styles are good for initial hits, and the slower styles are good for finishing blows.


Once your targets are dead, take their stuff using the g key. Immediately use w to wear any armor or clothing you gain. Severed heads can be left behind (although they can be used as a rather morbid way of showing people what you've done).

When walking around, use the g key to pick up any equipment or item lying on the ground. These will then be added to your inventory i. Items may be sold later on to a shop at a nearby town (not hamlet). However, if you have too many things in your inventory you will be slowed down (indicated by a slower speed number, less than 1 if you're in the default walk pace) and may lose your next fight because of it.

If you must choose which items to keep, try to keep the ones of the best material and item quality.

Completing quests

Once you complete your first quest, you can talk to any hamlet, town or fortress dweller to spread the news of your success. Brag about your past violent acts isn't as effective as Bring up specific incident or rumor (new menu). It is not necessary to return to the individual who told you about the trouble to report your success. Telling the story in the form of a performance is also very effective, as performing forces everyone around you to pay attention to what you're saying.

Small army...

For now, always recruit the maximum number of companions. Later you may find that you don't need as many, though you'll usually need at least a few.

Each time you report your success, your level of fame will increase. Once your fame has risen, more mighty warriors may want to join you on your way to glory. They can be recruited at the usual locations or among the common peasants. Your companions will greatly increase your chances of survival and adventurers who care about such things should drop by the nearest fortress, keep, or mead hall as quickly as possible.

Checking things out

At any time, use the z key to display your status. This can be used to look for any scratches, bruises or missing limbs.

To check on the status of your companions, use the c key to get a list of them (specifically, the ones within visual range) and a summary of their conditions, then press the key corresponding to the one you want to view up close. Alternatively, you can use the l key, which can also be used to look at any other item or creature within your range of vision.

You may equip any items that you find or buy using the w key. If you are wearing too many items in an existing location, items must first be removed using the r key. To swap weapons you should drop the equipped weapon first, or put it in your backpack, then get the new equipment from the ground or remove it from your backpack.

You can look at tracks nearby using K. If there are any obvious directions to pursue, a box under the "closest locations" box will tell you which way to follow particular tracks. Alt+k will give you a summary of the tracks right under you. o and O deal in odor detection.


You can tell at a glance which towns have shops by looking for white roads in towns (rather than the yellow roads that are houses most of the time) on the travel map.

To find shops, go stand on a white road tile on the fast travel screen then press m to display nearby structures. Walk around a bit and you should find some shops. Press d to appear on the road outside of them. You can walk inside and talk to the residents just like anyone else, except that residents in shops will be willing to Trade with you. In fast-travel mode, the list of significant buildings will tell you the shops available in that particular 3x3 square of land.

What next?

The next thing you should do is work on getting a full set of armour, unless you have been lucky enough to have already obtained one. You may want to go tromping around in the woods looking for animals to kill. Killing animals can be profitable because you can butcher their corpses with x and sell the products. Butcher and sell all animal corpses until you've managed to obtain a full set of metal armour - meat is surprisingly valuable. You may need to visit several armour shops to find all the armour pieces you need.

Somewhat more dangerous, but much more profitable, is attacking bandit camps. Just let followers do most of the fighting and concentrate on picking off severely wounded enemies until you get at least a helmet, body, and leg armour. And if some followers die, all the better - you can take their stuff and use or sell it. You can also rummage around in fortresses, keeps, and mead halls for equipment.

After you've armoured up a bit, it's probably safe to go on the next quest. Get as many companions as you can and set off for your next target. You can also Ask about the surrounding area, which can reveal lairs and other hidden sites on the map. You should probably avoid any non-quest lairs in the beginning, though, as lairs and such can have creatures that you won't be able to handle at this point.

Preparing for longer journeys

If you plan to visit sites that are very far away, you need to make a few preparations:

Planning your route

Traveling in Quick Travel mode is very fast, so you want to maximize the time you spend there. Most importantly, you cannot cross rivers and mountain ranges while quick traveling. You can leave the quick travel screen and jump over or swim through them, but companions won't do that. Reentering the quick travel screen will make them follow you, but that might not always work. If you can avoid it, move around rivers. Note that brooks (lighter color) can be crossed in quick travel. While getting past rivers is relatively fast, crossing a large mountain range can take a while. Ideally, you plan your route so you walk most of the time in roughly the middle of a landmass; so rivers originate left and right of you and drain into the oceans away from you. If there are settlements along a small river, they will have bridges you can use to cross without leaving quick travel. Bigger rivers will not have bridges across them except at points where they narrow, such as at a fork. Look for settlements that straddle both sides of a river to cross it. You may also go through cold biomes, where the river will probably be frozen, especially if you're willing to travel at night. Avoid mountain ranges altogether, unless they're narrow and going around would take longer.

Securing more supplies

On long journeys, your original few units of food and water won't last very long. You can carry more food, but unless you find another waterskin, you won't be able to carry more than 3 units of water. As such, you should try to travel in the vicinity of rivers and refill your waterskin (by Interacting with it while standing on or next to a water tile) if you get the opportunity – for example a river you have to cross anyway. You will rarely find rivers in mountain ranges, and, as you might expect, crossing a desert will give you no chance to refill your waterskin either. Glaciers, on the other hand, have infinite water everywhere: Just fill your waterskin with snow, then make a campfire by pressing g (you might need to scroll down to find the entry) and use the Interact menu standing next to it to melt the snow. Food is relatively easy to get: killing a single medium-sized animal will give you an ample amount of edible items. After killing, stand on the corpse of the animal and press x to open the actions menu. Select "butcher" and move your cursor to the right, selecting the corpse you want to butcher. Press again to pick the tool that you want to use. Press Enter and you will then proceed to butcher the corpse, dropping all of the products on the same tile as yourself. If you're having difficulty catching up to animals that run away, try sneaking up on them.

After that?

More Tips

See the Adventure mode FAQ for lots of tips and suggestions on how to avoid death and increase your skills.

Congratulations, you have graduated from adventurer school. You can now keep doing quests, explore random sites, go find and explore an old fort of yours in one of your existing worlds, get lost in the underworld, or whatever you feel like.

You may want to read through the full adventure mode documentation to learn about things that weren't covered here.


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