For your amusement herein new player's first experiences, and some commentary


I recently learned about C:DDA and I was totally sold on the idea and what I heard of. So, I started playing it.
Let me first tell shortly a bit of where I’m coming from. I’ve played dozens of different roguelikes in my life, but mainly I have hundreds of hours in steam-Tome (finished it once) and throughout decades I’ve played versions of ADOM from ages ago, I probably have thousands of hours on it and I’ve finished it with several class combinations.
This isn’t meant to say I’m a great player, I certainly aren’t and I can’t start a blindfolded tourist on nethack and get anywhere. I’m only saying this to say, that I have some experience in how roguelikes work. I’ve also played dwarf fortress, so games that are difficult to get into aren’t new.

All settings are unchanged. My very first character was a basic survivor. Shelter and all. Okay, let’s look at the commands. Let’s get our bearings. I move one step towards the locker which has items. One step. Immediately, the walls of the shelter explode and open to sunlight, all the floor is covered by rubble and the log talks about triffids. I’m as disoriented as can be. What is happening. What did I do. I actually managed to run out, and get killed by the plants outside the bunker, so that was better than real me probably would have managed to.

Well, I’m not one to throw away games quickly, so let’s start again. Same map, survivor. I’m starting from the rubbled ruins of the previous character, so there’s seemingly one starting location only for this scenario. Okay. Plants all around me. It isn’t pretty.

Let’s try something else. Burning building. Poor student. Collect stuff, go outside, there’s a zombie. Hello there, my undead friend. I start to run, and I can outrun it easily. I cannot outrun a blue shocker zombie, who catches me quickly and kills me. Okay.

Let’s try something else. Mall cop. Yes, advanced scenario start, whatever. I hide, move carefully, kill a few zombies when I’m bottled up in a toilet, but I’m starting to get hits and there are monsters everywhere. I run out, manage to get outside and start running southwest, with literally a hundred thirty or so zombies after me. I keep the button pressed and run into a moose and die. Well, that was my fault, no biggie. YASD.

Let’s try something else. New world, this one is cursed. I have a few basic survivors that live for some hours or even one day, dying in a sewer to an endless horde of rats. I start to learn a bit on how the items work and the commands are starting to get to my head, and the potential I see is incredible. For all it’s great combat system TOME is checkers compared to this, and even ADOM is nothing in complexity. I’m sold, again.

Let’s try something else. Unwilling mutant, starting in the middle of nowhere. I pick a direction and go therewards. Eventually something kills my very hungry and very thirsty self, who never found anything except empty woodlands and a lovecraft monster, to my surprise (no doubt annoying to some people, but I love lovecraft so that was fine) that I managed to kill when I had a minefield between it and me, and it triggered 3 mines before it got to me. Lucky break there. But, I’m dead soon anyway. No matter, it would be a hard thing to survive. Luck is a thing.

New game, same mutant, same scenario. I grab a stick and head some way. This time I’m lucky and I find a gas station! There’s food, some little to drink, this is a good start. No enemies anywhere. There are dead soldiers next to it, and I get a helmet, MBR vest and army pants. A mess kit. I can cook things. I’m invincible! Okay, I hope this is a really lucky start and not a common occurrence. You could find Ringil on floor 5 or something in Angband. I follow the road, still only having a stick, the one weak point of my godhood.
A zombie appears northeast. I immediately head southwest, and I lose it. Good, let’s be very careful. This road’s gotta lead somewhere and I’ve time now before I starve. A city lurks in the distance! Careful now with the zombies. What’s that? 3 mi-go are approaching me right from where I was going?
I run.
I cannot run.
They catch me easily.
I turn to fight. Despite my helmet, mbr-vest and pants, I’m two-shotted to death.


First of all, none of this isn’t a complaint. I like hard games. Also, this is a free game, and while, for example, dwarf fortress could be more succesful if it had a better and less inpenetrable user interface, the designer gives the game for free and if he wishes to spend time on something else and let only those players play who take the time in learning it, he has a right to do that.
So do you, in all ways.

I also know that unlike normal games with load and save, where the ending should (in my opinion) be harder than the start, roguelike games need to have it the other way around. An experienced player can reach a point in ADOM where he can say with something like 90% certainty that he is also going to win. That’s how it has to be, since a death means 80 hours of lost time.

But man alive, this really isn’t seeming to be an easy game to get into.

good that you enjoy this game, actualy its not too hard, its easy to learn and controls are intuitive with nice graphic and clear ui

and your first start was realy unlucky, start in evac shelter is probaly most easy starting postion if someone is still learning how to play

Hey, blind plays are always nice because experience brings less fun!

That’s basically my experience with this game whenever I start playing it again after a several month break.

Have to agree on that one - you really got VERY unlucky on that, both a bad start AND a restart in the same place? Wow.

Personally, I always make a new world, in part to avoid this sort of thing (actually, you can just do a “regenerate world” instead of making a whole new one - faster and easier, if you want the same settings).

And yes, migos are a particularly hard early game enemy. Three at once? Ouch, man - game over for a new character. They are VERY fast, pretty hard to hit, and hit pretty well themselves (though I don’t recall their damage usually being all that bad…).

Several things that might help you:

-Encumbrance is FAR more important than most newbies realize. You want to go into melee with something other than a basic zombie and a few other “slow” monsters? If your encumbrance is too high, you’ll never hit them. The character menu has MUCH better help on that than it used to, by the way - hit @, then tab over to the encumbrance area and move up and down to see how your current encumbrance will affect things. Encumbrance on different body parts affects different things - load up on stuff to get encumbrance high everywhere, then take a look at it in the @ menu to see what all is affected.

-FIRE. Fire is your friend, especially early. Even migos can sometimes be warded off with fire (that takes a little bit of doing, since they aren’t entirely stupid, but they will flee from you if they get hurt badly enough). Zombies all ignore fire, meaning they will walk through it, stand in it to fight you, etc. Use this to your advantage… but be ready to try to save useful stuff they drop after they die.

-Tools. Almost everything needs a tool. Being able to start a fire quickly is VERY useful (see above) - matches or a lighter. Butchering dead things (animals for meat, zombies so they don’t get back up later, though you can also 'S’mash them to do that) - need something with a butchering capability (most sharp things). Cooking? Depends on what you want to cook - a pot covers almost everything, but a simple skewer lets you cook meat (with a nearby FIRE). For clean water, you need something that lets you boil water (with a nearby FIRE - the game designers MUST be pyros, eh? heh) - a tin can will do, though it won’t do much else for you. Hammer, wrench, screwdriver, hacksaw, wood saw, axe, shovel… and makeshift equivalents for most of those (which don’t work for everything, but will do for the basics). Collect tools - and probably have a place to stash them so you’re not trying to carry ALL of that at once!

-Get a weapon. Almost any weapon is better than nothing… but early, you need something that has a hit bonus, and speed is usually more important than base damage. An evac shelter start usually gives you the time to grind some skills up to 1 or 2, enough to make a decent starter weapon from spare parts (knife-spear is often listed as a really good one - it has a reach attack!). Finding a machete is almost always better than finding the stuff you listed as being so amazing - quite fast, pretty good damage, good hit bonus. SO good.

-Try not to fight more than one thing at a time, especially early. You might be awesome sauce in a can, but if you’re surrounded by zombies, they will try to grab you, and each grab slows you down (and I think also penalizes some other stuff, including dodge)… being grabbed by several zombies means they will all get several attacks to your one. Even skilled and well-equipped characters can succumb to this.

-“special” zombies. It’s a bit unlucky that you found a shocker so early - they should start showing up later (mostly). They’re not actually all that fast, but they can stun you with their electric attack, so they seem fast because you are slow (electric attacks and acid attacks are currently the Big 2 - they’re generally pretty good for you to use against monsters as well, when you have the means!). Other “special” zombies have things that make them hard to deal with, as well. Explore them carefully, as each has its own dangers (though there are several that are actually not directly dangerous on their own… they just do a good job of bringing all the danger TO YOU).

Go back to the basic, evac shelter start, and play your first game with the “basic zombies” mod (or whatever it’s called), so you don’t get screwed by an early special zombie (no fungaloids would probably also be a good one for starters - some players play with them off all the time, simple for the annoyance facter). Restart a couple of times if necessary to get a shelter than is NEAR a town (say, 5-10 squares from the nearest building), but not in one, and with some forest nearby (so you can forage the bushes in the forest for food). Then, take your time, look at what you can craft, grind up some kills, play stay alive… Once you can do that, THEN try hitting civilization a bit (very carefully, probably at night, at least at first).

One more thing you can do is use the Debug menu to give yourself whatever you want to experiment with, items or skills. I don’t like to do that as a general rule, but for learning how the game works? Yeah, I’ll do that instead of burning a few hours just to get something and WASTE it when I didn’t know what it was for or how to use it.

[quote=“Arek_PL, post:2, topic:11772”]its easy to learn and controls are intuitive with nice graphic and clear ui

and your first start was realy unlucky, start in evac shelter is probaly most easy starting postion if someone is still learning how to play[/quote]
Exactly my feelings.
When i was new, the controls and the ascii gfx seemed so much sensible and easier than, say, DF. I kept coming to the game and exploring, and i’ve stayed here for 3 yrs till then.

Despite the 3yrs, what happened at your 1st playthrough, has never happened to me. Really unlucky.
But i do believe that the game has become harder since then, depending on your settings, with good reason.

Anyway, onto advice:
First i suggest reading the guides in the wiki. These should be (very) outdated, but will help you understand the spirit of the game (“the world is not a nice place and you got no backup” is a good thing to remember)

Now my suggestions overlap with Arek’s:
Start slow: Suggesting to use maybe 14-16 char points to make it easier.
Choose a good profession (scoundrel is good - i’d certainly suggest something with fighting options) and a sensible scenario: Imo “the last firefighter” and “evacuee -> starting in a shelter” are sensible choices.

After that, be careful:
(1) Initially do not try to fight more than a zed at a time
(2) Avoid mi-go’s like hell, just run away before they see you (the can see far, but you can see further)
(3) Start trying to fix necessities: Food and drink. This means something to provide water, something to boil water on, a container, a way to cook (light fires; hotplate with batteries; magma; etc.), and foodstuff.
(4) Find a weapon. My early game favorite is the makeshift crobar, but knife-spear is better. Halligan bar or fire axe for firefighters is great.
(5) Never wear too much stuff and try to fight. Check you encumbrance with ‘@’. If your torso encumbrance is over 9, you suffer melee combat penalties. These become crippling (for fresh chars) after 19 or 29. Drop that greatcoat before the fight and wear it again after.
(6) Find a place to live (initially). Shelter can work, fire-station is great, but its deep into the city (= more zeds around)
(7) Try to not freeze to death. Having a pile of clothes or a blanket at the spot you choose to sleep is mandantory. Been ‘chilly’ is fine. Wear warm clothes in winter or early spring, but do not encumber yourself too much.
(8) Find something to increase your volume capacity. Cargo pants, army pants, army jackets, backpacks, messenger bags, trenchcoats are all useful. Just keep an eye on encumbrance.
(9) If you see a moose, RUN! They may appear non-hostile, but they will mess you up. Provide lots of food though.
(10) If you see fungaloids, you need not run, but STAY THE HELL AWAY from the area.
(11) Military bases, military bunkers, labs and malls are not for early survivors.
(12) Find and use textboooks to gain skills. They take a bit of time though, so you should solve water/food first.
(13) Sleeping will heal you very fast. Do not hesitate to waste time until tired, then sleep if you are too injured. Just keep an eye on clean water/ food.
(14) Always drink clean water (boil it first). You can take your chances with farm water pump, but i’d advise against drinking anything else without boiling/purifying.
(15) If you find a farm (and its safe), there will be lots of foodstuff in the field and a water pump in fron to provide you with almost-certainly-free-of-poison water.

I personally find it easier to raid the nearest city ASAP. Just do not fight too many zeds and never go too deep into an uncleared city during the day (until you know what you are doing). Stay on the outskirts, try to lure 1 zed at a time, try to lure zeds through windows and hit them when they are crossing (this effectively multiplies your combat efficiency). Loot the nearby houses and clear the city bit by bit. If you really want to go deeper, and there are too many zeds in the way, try at night, but be careful because night raids can doom you just as easily and have less margin for error.
Raiding houses, you will find all the basic stuff you need. Kitchen utensils, containers, lots of food, clothes, blakets, a place to stay. Just be careful with the previous inhabitants. Alternatively you can craft tools and stuff, but its harder imo.

Thanks for advisory.


Nice experiences.

The game seems hard at first, but once you get a hold of a few concepts, it can be somewhat easy.

Have you tried crafting stuff? You would be surprised with the amount of things you can craft from the little pieces and bits around you even if you have not learned any recipe. There might be something quite useful in that crafting menu.

Try to be aware of the monsters around you. Eventually you will learn their aggro range and it will be easier to go unnoticed. In the meantime, pretend that if you can see them, they will come to kill you. 3 elements can impact their aggro: sight, sound and smell. The safe mode can help here.

Always be ready to fight. It will happen at the moment when you are the most unprepared. If you see a special monster that is blue, red, flashing yellow or flashing green, it might be bad and time to run! Like I said, once you know those monsters and how they can attack you, it will be much easier to avoid them and fight them back.

Combat is less risky if you have a ranged weapon. There are a few you can easily craft and find around. There are also melee weapons with a reach range that can help a lot. You can also use the terrain and the environment to your advantages. Moving over bushes or chairs is slow for you but also slow for the monsters. If they move there, you can often melee attack them once and run back and do it again if there another nearby similar terrain.

ranged combat less risky? depends on how you fight and what weapons is used, guns should be used rarely, mostly when fighting against something powerfull like hulk or jabberwock
everyting else? its allways usefull

[quote=“Arek_PL, post:9, topic:11772”]ranged combat less risky? depends on how you fight and what weapons is used, guns should be used rarely, mostly when fighting against something powerfull like hulk or jabberwock
everyting else? its allways usefull[/quote]

Guns are generally the best weapon for every combat situation…with the only problem being that they are LOUD. I once saw someone put it like this:

Never give a zombie a shotgun shell unless you bring enough for the whole class.

THAT is the only problem with guns - they tend to attract more problems than you have ammo for.

One last tip: basements. Basements are pretty great. Zombies CAN use stairs again now (they haven’t been able to in experimental for several months, but that changed a few weeks ago), but they still don’t do so all that often. Don’t make too much noise, and you can usually stay safely in a basement, even in a fully occupied town. Great emergency retreat - only one way in, so you can defend yourself more easily… but only one way out, so you can be trapped, too.

When it comes to traits, choosing night vision is more or less a big benefit for players. The extra range of sight you get at night can easily give you enough time to avoid zombies when you’re sneaking around in town at night.

With the addition of the minimap, you can easily spot parts of town lit by cars, either via their light or them burning. Also, never rush when sneaking at night. I’ve had quite a few survivors die due to holding one direction key and ending up swarmed because my survivor took one too many steps into a lit area.

When it comes to night raids, invest in wheelbarrows or shopping carts. With them in tow you won’t need to encumber yourself too much with clothing, leaving you relatively safer in melee. Do note that dragging a wheelbarrow around can slow a survivor down, so there’s that to consider. Wheelbarrows can be found in hardware stores, while shopping carts can be found in grocery and clothing stores.

Once you gain some mechanics skills, and you have a wheelbarrow/cart, modify it! Turn the wheelbarrow/cart box and take out the trunk of a car and place it on your cart, which will increase the cart’s carrying capacity. Even better, find a cargo carrier which can hold 1k volume.

Be wary of NPCs. If you spot an NPC, use the V command first to scout them from afar. Check their weapons. If they hold a gun and you don’t, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution and get as far away as you can. If you really want to see if they’re friendly or not, talk to them when they’re about 20 tiles away; that way, they won’t be able to shoot at you… at least if they’re not using rifles, which in that case you better hope that they aren’t skilled with it.

That said, friendly NPCs, especially the ones who join you, can be a valuable asset. Usually, especially at the start, they have far more skills than you, meaning that they can teach you far faster than books or using skills themselves. Best way to get an NPC to join you is to trade your items in exchange for the cash they have on hand. Some time ago stuff like diamonds did the trick, but NPCs are more discerning now and actually want useful items, so it’s not as easy as before. They also have a volume and weight limit so you have to take that into account.

Finally, for a good source of drinks at the start, find vending machines. The basketball court parks and subway stations often have them, and often they’re usually stocked with a ton of drinks. If you have a cash card, but as much as you can carry. A riskier option is to smash the machine, and you can loot the contents to your hearts content - beware that an alarm will alert every zombie nearby, and summon eye bots.

Some vending machines also hold food, but in general the stuff in them are mostly snacks, so you won’t get full unless you stuff in a ton of junk food - though there’s stuff like jerky and pork sticks which offer a little bit more nutrition than potato chips. Drink vending machines are far better since they often have a ton of drinks. When starting at spring it’s often better to start drinking the perishable drinks like fruit juice and apple cider, since they take a while to rot.

Got bored, so I typed down the more or less basics of what buildings to expect during town raiding, and what they contain.

Houses: more or less what you’ll see in many towns. They carry a little bit of everything really; food, clothing, tools, chemicals, and drugs. Rarely you’ll find some guns and ammo, but they’re not as common. There’s a few rare house types, such as the survivalist house which holds quite a lot of tools and guns… but the interior is littered with land mines, so be careful.

Some houses can also have basements, which can hold quite a few goodies. On the other hand, most of the time there can be a number of zombies lurking around, and those can make noise which can be heard above the basements, so expect a lot of zombie activity above ground. Sometimes a house can also have a cockroach infestation, which can gather quite a lot of zombies who’ll attack the cockroaches, and make no mistake that both sides will attack you as well.

Furthermore, a large majority of houses are locked. Either use a crowbar, or improvised lockpicks (or if you find one, a locksmith kit is better). The former can make noise, and if you use it on a window there’s a chance of breaking the window, causing more noise than intended. If you’re really desperate, you can smash windows or doors for a quick smash and grab. For windows, smash twice to make sure no glass will cut you.

Clothing stores: Used to overlook this place quite a bit, but the place has its uses. Since tailoring is a little harder now in the start, this could be an ideal place to get some clothing to keep your survivor decently clothed. Shopping carts can be found here sometimes.

Grocery stores: Good source of food. Canned food, snacks, ingredients, drinks, fruits and vegetables. Some chemical stuff can be found, as well as sewing kits. Some books are in the building as well, though for most part they’re either just for morale boosts or basic skill books. Shopping carts can be found in the area as well.

Hardware stores: tools, expect to see them. Items in the spare parts category can be found in the area as well. Some hardware stores also carry paint, but for early game you don’t really have the luxury of painting your home base. Wheelbarrows can be found in this place.

Garage: car parts. You can also find toolboxes, jerrycans, and acetylene torches. For many of the car parts, and the jerrycans, you may have a lot of trouble carrying them, so you need a wheelbarrow for that. Some garages may have portable welding rigs - they have a better carrying capacity than wheelbarrows and shopping carts, but they’re very fragile so it’s risky to use them as cargo holders.

Liquor stores: booze, lots and lots of booze. Unless your survivor has an alcohol addiction you don’t want to kick, booze is less useful than normal drinks. Lots of booze have negative quench, so it can be hard to survive on them - though it’s possible. Liquor stores also have normal drinks and snacks, and there’s usually a map near the counter.

Gas station: comes in two flavors. One has a mini grocery store, the other is a more open area where getting gas requires you to use cash cards. The latter has two vending machines which could provide you with some food and drink.

Coffee shops: You can find tea, coffee powder and syrup, and powdered milk in the area. Pretty sure you can sometimes find an atomic coffee maker as well, which are super useful since you can use it to boil water and heat food for free. On the other hand, coffee shops have a lot of windows, and if there are zombies in the area oftentimes they’ll break the windows which gathers more zombies which in turn can turn the shop into rubble.

Tired of writing, will post more later, possibly.

Garages are almost always the best place to find a welder, as well.

Library and bookstore: GOLD MINE. Once I’m no longer in danger of starving and I have at least basic clothes and a weapon, these are my number one priority - skills and recipes. Mansions are pretty good for this, too.

Military surplus: food, military clothing (which almost all good stuff), MBRs (good source of kevlar plates, but generally too encumbering for a melee character), some perma food, maybe some drinks. Rarely, some REALLY nifty stuff (power armor hauling frame! Seriously?!? WOW!)

Pawn shop: roll the dice, no telling what you’ll find. Decent place to find old melee weapons, though they are more often than not badly made junk.

Arcade: usually not very useful early, but a good source of electronics and plastic chunks later. Often has a vending machine or two, though.

Dojo: unarmed and melee skill books and martial arts styles books. Otherwise, not all that useful, really (best place I’m found for a mouthpiece, but that’s not all that important). The boxing ones have a ring that can be disassembled for some rope.

Electronics store: seldom useful early game. Lots of electronics and parts (DUH), usually some tools (screwdrivers, soldering irons), sometimes some electronics-related books. One of the electronics store layouts can have some CBMs.

Bank: not much use here unless you can get into the vault… but there can be GREAT stuff in there (certain very rare CBMs, power armor, teleporter, etc).

Parking Lot: tends to have a one or more vehicles in decent shape… if you can get to it before the zombies munch them. Also has a chance to have a shopping cart.

Park: a TON of child zombies. Killing them is difficult at first (they’re small, so they’re hard to hit), AND they give a morale penalty when you kill them (until you killed enough of them…). One of only a VERY few places to get sand (from disassembling the sandboxes), otherwise useless. Well, some configurations have a drink vending machine, but those don’t have sand. Oh, and rarely, you can find a vendor’s cart, which might have a little food and does have casters, so it’s a decent thing to drag around.

Home improvement store: MEGA useless. Paint, carpet, statues, crap like that. The big ones (not in town) are more like that with attached hardware store plus a lawn and garden area (SEEDS!), PLUS some useful materials (sand, cement, copper wire), but that’s not an in-town thing almost ever.

Pharmacy: convenience-store-like odds and ends in the front (snacks and other stuff, maybe some cough medicine, etc), some drugs in the back (sometimes open, sometimes now) - VERY random what and how much you get. Shopping carts upon occasion.

Doctor’s office: surprisingly useless a lot of the time, unless you can get into the locked area, then there is usually pretty decent stash of random drugs.

Gun store: guns, parts, magazines, ammo. Yep, very surprising. Some versions of this may have a gunsmith area in the back with some useful tools and parts/materials.

Office building/tower/etc: may have some useful odds and ends (aspirin and drinks are pretty common), will generally have lots of computers you can gut for parts, but the early game use is to get a rolling office chair, which is a shopping cart that holds half as much.

Furniture store: generally not very useful, with the possible exception of some tools in the back. Occasionally some very basic skill books near the front.

There’s a few other things, but that’s a good start.

With regards to gun stores, if I recall there are three types. The most common has a firing range, and sometimes in that area there’s a gun and ammo. The more uncommon gun store has a room that holds a number of tools related to gunsmithing. The third type, which I think is the least common, has gun vending machines. The stuff costs a lot of cash, and unlike normal vending machines the ones in the gun stores are reinforced - not sure if they can be smashed easily, as I never tried.

All gun stores are locked, and if I recall, can’t be opened by crowbars. Metal doors, so you need to pick the lock or torch the door down. Failure of picking locks will set off an alarm… but in any case due to zombies running about chances are the alarm is already tripped due to zeds smashing up the place.

Restaurants/fast food/tea shop/bar/pizza parlor: holds a number of food items. Pizza parlors, for example, hold pizza - though after a season passes those pizzas would have rotted into nothing, though the pizza parlors still hold food ingredients such as flour and salt.

Boxing gym: like dojos, it holds training manuals. Manuals that’ll teach you boxing, for example, are more or less common here - probably the only place you can find it. Rarely you can find a training manual for krav maga.

Police station: sometimes have guns. Very little compared to what you can find in the gun store. Some weapons as well, and maybe a unique skill/recipe book… Deputy badges can be found here.

Subway station: leads down to the subway tunnels, duh. Well, there’s usually one or two vending machines at the entrance, so could be handy if you’re in need of supplies.

Abandoned storefront: useless, unless you really like empty display racks.

Antique stores: sometimes you can find melee weapons here. Medieval stuff. Some can be effective, some are weaker versions. Some other items can be found here.

Museums: Similar to antique stores, though medieval weapons and armor are more common here - though most of them are blocked from easy pick up by display cases. Smash and grab.

Jewelry stores: Contains (usually) zero encumbrance jewelry. Handy for the morale boost for stylish trait survivors. Can find gold and silver in the area as well, which can be used for ammo crafting.

You can often find a fancy watch there, as well - sometimes useful at the beginning of the game if you want a way to tell time and have been unlucky on drops (cell phone is usually the easiest find).

One interesting thing to note about electronics stores: they often have cameras and magnifying glasses, which can be taken apart to get high-quality lenses. High-quality lenses are otherwise pretty hard to find, though they’re only really used to put laser weapons on vehicles and for laser-sight mods.

when you make security cameras you need lens too

I think one of the biggest issues for coming to Cataclysm from other roguelikes is that avoiding “spoilers” in those games is usually a huge part of the fun. Unfortunately when it comes to a blind play of Cata, those “Spoilers” can include things like basic game mechanics that will keep you from getting instagibbed. To that end, despite it feeling potentially cheaty to somebody used to ADOM and the like, give the newbie guide on the wiki a browse. You’ll still have next to zero clue as to how deep this rabbit hole goes, but you’ll also be able to make it a few days.

In the cataclysm, character generation (chargen) is very important, you want to min/max the hell out of your character. Now I can’t really coach you on this, as all charcters have your preference installed into them, however some traits I recommend are Light Step, Parkour Expert, Indefatigable, Quick, Fleet footed, Tough and Night Vision. - All these will make you a light-footed, speedy, tough-as-nails survivor with a love for vitamin A. All these traits and basically the base ingredients and stock of the ‘character stew’ - The rest of the traits are just flavoring and I will explain why I recommend these ‘base ingredients’.

If you have them enabled, some NPC’s are super cool - like the one I started out with apparently had 6 dodge and I convinced him to train me. Others are assholes who walk up to you, tell you to get out of their territory and give you 5 seconds before they start shooting.
They’re a real pain, and my best way of describing them are that they’re a double-edged sword. (They’re also a bit buggy) However, for a cannibal, they taste great, and for a regular survivor, they’re walking, talking, meat shields and goodie bags

My early days consisted of ranged fighting, mostly with bows and crossbows (Prefer crossbows, their ammo is much cheaper to craft) and archery is silent - so nighttime raids were a breeze. Anyway, at character gen i’d start pumping a few points into archery and fabrication (A total of four usually, two in each skill). While you can learn all this without having to spend points in character generation, it’s really useful for someone starting out. Just make sure you know archery is a “Body and Mind” type of deal. You want at least 12 strength to draw all bows, since crossbows and bows draw faster according to your strength, and can only be used to their full potential if you’re strong enough. Also put some points into perception for more accurate shots.
Guns are cool too, you can mod them and make them yours. They’re just damn hard to find, ammo can be scarce and if you’re unskilled they’re not to good for your health - Noisy too, but mods will help. In capable hands with a survivor who knows where to find ammo and a target - Guns make THE GAME. So pick up that .50 cal rifle and blast a zombie a mile away. (Also, if you have a high enough mechanics, fabrication, rifles, and marksman skill you can craft a pneumatic assault rifle from scrap. Fires pebbles, marbles, and bearings - super cheap ammo - and is silent and can fire full auto. Arguably one of the best weapons in this game.)

If you want to go melee however, put points into dodge - usually one or two points. This will IMMENSELY help you, as you can dodge most attacks and be agile. My character has 10 dodge and I can walk into a horde of zombies, sit in the middle, and slash at them with my katana and barely sustain any damage as I slaughter all of them.
Good early game weapons consist of knife spears and makeshift crowbars. If you’re in a lab, a machete or combat knife (Obtained from manhacks.) End game weapons are awl pikes, katanas/longswords, rapiers, machetes, just pretty much anything with a corresponding combat art.
Speaking of combat arts, hand-to-hand is super fun to do, but make sure you have a decent unarmed skill and an actual martial art for it. There are a ton of different martial arts for both weapons and unarmed alike.

Weapons are your friend, so is your brain. Think outside the box. You can kill zombies in a plethora of ways in this game. Molotovs are super good for early game survivors, cheap to make and effective. Just make sure it’s not raining or else the rain will douse the fires.
Some ways for molotovs can be used is to make a crap ton of noise, lead a bunch of zombies in a house, and run through with them behind you - closing doors and running through windows. Once they’re preoccupied with bashing doors down you can now chuck molotovs on the house and watch as you burn it down with the zeds inside.
I did this tactic at a mall where i used a crossbow to shoot out sections of glass windows and threw molotovs in front of it, letting zeds funnel through and die before they reach me. Another viable tactic is to find a working vehicle and ram zombies with it. A common thing to do is craft a massive deathmobile.
I’ve also dug pits in a checkerboard pattern and filled them with spikes - only to lead zombies to stumble in and die in my death pits. Same thing can be done for strategically placed flammable objects and lighting them on fire to lead zombies into.

The more encumbered you are, the slower you move, and the more ‘turns’ a monster has. The faster you move, the more ‘turns’ you have. So by being speedy with the traits Fleet footed and Quick, as I explained above, you can attack faster and move quicker than pretty much any monster. Allowing you to high tail (with ") it out of there if things get hairy.
Of course it drains stamina like other physically demanding task so you should rest (with | - to the right of the ]/} key) whenever you get the chance to replenish it. Indefatigable helps to reduce the amount of stamina drain, so you can run, swim, attack and carry heavy shit over long distances more.

Now movement points are something, people recommend you to crawl over empty windows for good reason - you get an extra 2 hits in with a zombie as it’s crawling through the window because it’s using it’s points to move through and cannot attack you. So here’s where Parkour Expert comes in, it allows you to traverse these movement point eaters without cost. So press X and look at the movement points for something, if it’s 400 or something, that’s what you want. Empty windows, bushes, etc.

Encumbrance is a big thing, try to find the most bang for your buck clothing-wise. 'Cause if you don’t, and you’re a melee fighter, you WILL miss and stumble on every attack and monsters will get a free human happy meal.
You want something that protects you from the elements, damage, is light and not very encumbering, and is weatherproof. Early game this may look like a t-shirt and a sweater underneath a leather jacket - Late game could be something like a survivor suit (
As a general rule for myself, I never go over 29 encumbrance on pretty much anything. 30 encumbrance is OK, but make sure you’re not going over 39 if you really want to push it.

Nothing better can be said for books - they’re your everything in this game. By reading books, you can learn recipes for stuff like explosives to crafting weapons and tools like longswords or crowbars, you can of course, speed through and gain a ton of levels with the least amount of effort. Books are basically one of the most efficient ways to level, just behind NPC teachings.
Once you set up a decent base with food, water, your character is clothed and has a good weapon, your next priority is books. Books level you up and can prevent you from dying. Not to mention help you make a more efficient base and survivor.

Your average house for all your basic needs - but be on the lookout for basements as they can have incredible fortune or misfortune (Like gun basements, weed farms, labs, and spider nests, etc.)
Other places are your average Gun store, Police station, etc. For obvious reasons. Antique stores are great too, if you’re lucky they’ll have an actual sword you can use with maybe some flintlock guns too.
Grocery stores, Hospitals, and any kind of tool stores are good for specifics, whether it be food, electronics, meds, or building supplies. Dojos, boxing gyms, etc are great if you want martial arts books for blades, blunts, and fists.
Mansions are awesome spots to loot. In the entrance of the mansion there could be medieval weapons, European or Eastern. Inside can contain booze, guns, food, and books. Libraries, Pools (AKA infinite water sources), bars, etc. ALL are good pickings. Mansions may even contain a rare weapon martial art(s), like ones for Longswords, Awl Pikes, Katanas, and Rapiers, etc.
Just keep a open eye (by pressing V) to inspect all items in your vision, it helps so you don’t have to examine every container or corpse.

THIS SITE RULES (and others of course…)
All in all if you have a question about a certain thing go to this site -
It’s an item browser, I.E. It has a massive list of all the monsters, and items, what it does, how to craft it, etc.
Also the fourms (The one you’re currently in) is very happy to help with any questions.
Also, things like mutations and bionics are left out due to them being more of a mid to end game thing.
(PS - sorry for any spelling mistakes or gaps in/missing information, it’s a bit hard to keep track of this massive post)
Feel free to add to this, put it in the wiki, etc.

I don’t have any massive wall of text guides to help a newbie out, but I would like to say that I think that’s the perfect start for someone just picking up cataclysm.

“Welcome to the game! NOW DIE.”

Now when you get mooses and mi-go’s spawned right next to you in future starts it’ll seem like the RNG is being lenient. :stuck_out_tongue: