I Wanna Live

I wanna live!

I have started a new survivor. Pvt. Patrick Espinoza, STR 10, DEX 10, INT 8, PER 10, Bionic Soldier Background, Starting Skills: Dodging 1, Handguns 1, Marksmanship 1, Rifles 1, Traits: Bad Temper, Fast Metabolism, Strong Scent, Poor Hearing, Accomplished Sleeper, High Adrenaline. Worldgen deets: World Name: Cypress Grove (Clutch reference), Monster Spawn Rate: 0.9 (so 90% as I understand), Item Spawn Rate: 1.10 (so 110% as I understand), 14 Day Seasons.

My goal for this survivor is to actually…survive. For at least like…a year. Which I have never done before. As a matter of fact, after years of playing this game, I don’t think I’ve ever had a character survive past the summer. Maybe I once had a character survive into the fall. Some of these characters might not have bit it, but just been abandoned when I got hooked on some other game and couldn’t remember their “narrative” when I came back to C:DDA. So boredom is an issue too, although it shouldn’t be. I know from posts I’ve read there’s a lot of awesome mid and late-game content even in the build I’m currently playing (0.C Stable) that I’ve never seen.

Please give me all your tips and tactics to help keep Pvt. Espinoza alive. In return, I will periodically update you with his progress. Thanks.

  • Humble Oldnewb

When in the cities, use vehicles to your advantage. If you change direction around them when escaping, monsters will get trapped on them making escape easier.

A refugee center makes a great home. If you can make a funnel and have a bottle of water, you have the basics down by scavenging bushes and light hunting

The combat knife can be attached to you rifle so you can use it as a spear in a pinch. Switch your firing mode to “reach” and you will get a 2 tile range melee attack!

I think a farm is even better. Funnels leave you to the mercy of the weather and the seasons (although you should use them heavily in the spring), but in a farm, you get a water pump with infinite non-poisonous water.

Food wise, scavenging bushes can get you a lot (hickory nuts, wild vegetables, rhubarbs, buckwheat, acorns, bird/reptile eggs, and wild herbs). Scavenging bushes can give you other junk as well (tin/aluminum cans, withered plants, straw, scrap metal, tinder, cardboard boxes, rags, bloody rags, spikes, plastic cups, gallon jugs, etc.) if you are short on crafting materials.

Pick up ALL lighters and matchbooks, even after you make a camp fire drill. Normal fire drills are pointless because they last half as long as a brand new lighter (50 charges) and take much longer to start fires. This way, you won’t be stuck eating raw foods and living in the dark. Try to make camp fire drills. Camp fire drills have infinite charges, so they will literally last for life.

If my main goal was to survive, I would find a peaceful, zombie-free place, even if I might have to make it zombie-free. I would also collect preferably long-lasting or nonperishable foods (like hardtack and canned food) and water to last, let’s say 56 days (since you have 14 day seasons), then I would sit inside that peaceful, zombie-free place until my food or water supplies run low. Then I would go outside to collect more food and water. Then I would go back inside and go to the peaceful, zombie-free place and sit inside until my food or water supplies run low. Rinse and repeat until you die of old age. Beats dying of getting exploded, shot, or bitten.

Train your skills as hard as possible. Use a bat as a punching bag, that’s how I got 2 unarmed combat skill in one day. Forage bushes, getting survival skill is important. Take a dip in the deep swamp water, to train your swimming skill. Disassemble furniture and put it back together, to farm fabrication skill. Place a nailboard trap over and over again, to get trapping skill. Read up on books. It’s preferable to get chain combination books (first read a book that trains fabrication to 3, next read a book that needs fabrication 3 and trains up to fabrication 6, then read a book that needs fabrication 5 and trains up to fabrication 8).

what mods are you using? this is important since some change a lot of how the game plays

So, I’m not sure how to pull up which mods are active because I generated this world back in 2015. Anyone know how? I know that I’ve got rivtech guns on and icecoon’s weapon pack on and I think dinomod and boats…

I have been aware of the gallon jug + funnel water gathering method for years. Finding a good base is indeed tricky. I’m not opposed to basing at a refugee center or a farm if I can find one. Prior to this I wasn’t sure how much you could “modify” a refugee center without them getting annoyed at you. The closest thing I’ve found to a farm right now is a ranch WAY too close to a slime pit and totally overrun with blobs, so I took one look at that and got the fuck out.

Right now, here’s where I’m at: It is late afternoon on the fourth day of spring. So far, Pvt. Patrick Espinosa has not had any really close calls…the riskiest thing I did was get too cutesy with a turret at a checkpoint, where I really wanted to check the police cars and bodies for stuff (ultimately, it was worth it, but I did lose something in the trade, namely the second SMG turret, the one I couldn’t manage to snipe, s). For a long time, he used his starting assault rifle as a devastating single-shot weapon to take down any enemies that represented a real threat. Anything else, he’s stabbed to death with a combat knife taken off a broken manhack. For what it’s worth, he spawned in a half collapsed and burning house with a Jabberwock in it, no BS (I was using the ‘Missed’) scenario, but somehow managed to kill the jabberwock with burst fire AND get the NPC in the house with the “my god there’s a thing made of parts kill it” quest out alive by getting her to follow him. He later parked her in the corner of a mansion where it was relatively safe and left her there. In the mansion, he found a COP .38 (on a shelf) and somewhere else he found 25 rounds of .38 Special and a holster. In the mansion he also took a Mossberg 800 off a random Z after butchering it, and was carrying it around without any ammo for about three days. Finally found some shotgun ammo during the encounter with the turrets on day four, but the shotgun ammo’s condition is two red-dots. How dangerous is it to fire damaged ammo? I’ve never actually had this come up before. Are we looking at a worse case scenario of a misfire, or the gun blowing up in my hands? As far as melee weapons, he’s taken to carrying an aluminum bat as well as the combat knife, because fucking skeletons. He also picked up a flashbang somewhere, although that doesn’t seem much use against the undead.

I cleared an entire FEMA camp including a fucking Zombie Hulk (the second of three times I resorted to burst firing the starting AR: Jabberwock on spawn (WTF), Zombie Hulk at FEMA camp, and then the second turret at the checkpoint once I was no longer sniping at it from a great distance and we were just throwing lead: these were essentially wasted bullets as that turret was defeated by running out of ammo) without finding anything of any real value, which annoyed me to no end. The only decent thing I found there was a couple of M9s, but none of the right ammo for them (a random zombie was carrying some 9x18mm Makarov ammo, but nope, that’s one fucking milimeter off from 9x19mm parabellum, so no joy). So I took one of the M9s and moved on and that’s when I encountered the checkpoint.

The other important thing I found at the checkpoint was a working police car. I used it to get to the next town, and get my STUFF to the next town, since the second turret had shot my trench coat to shit and I could no longer carry the gallon jug of clean water that I’d siphoned from an RV.

The biggest weakness Pat has right now is that he has no idea how to build anything. Like he doesn’t even have Fabrication 1 so he can’t even build a shoulder strap out of rags. And no luck there with the books I’ve encountered. I did find a Birdhouse Monthly so at least I can board up windows. And I’ve taught myself how to sew (Tailoring around 2 or 3). But I need to at least be able to build shoulder straps to carry my long guns, and then level Fabrication until I can eventually reload the 250 something 9mm casings that I collected from around the turrets at the checkpoint, and put something in my M9. If I don’t just find ammo before then.

I have the following BASIC tools for survival:
Flashlight with lots of batteries
Wrench (but no hacksaw)
Rubber Hose
Ample, ample potable liquids for now.
20 Tramadol
1 Bottle of Cough Syrup

I have the following potentially useful books:
Under The Hood
The Big Book of First Aid
Tactical Handgun Digest
Modern Rifleman
Advanced Electronics

And I have lucked into the following nifty things which I’ve never snagged on any other playthrough:
2 Electrohacks

Now to repair the rest of my turret-holed clothing, carefully explore the surrounding houses near where I barked the sedan in the outskirts to the south of a medium sized city (piles of bones tell me a prior character has been through her before and butchered at least some zombies, but also probably taken most of the good loot) and hope that my shotgun doesn’t blow my face off if I’m forced to fire it.

To check mods, go into your save folder, go to the folder with the world’s name. Open the file named mods.json and post that list here.


[quote=“End Transmission, post:7, topic:14039”][

Doesn’t look like anything hugely game changing. Mostly vehicle and weapon additions. I’ve personally never played with Arcana mod or Z Levels so I can’t comment on how much they affect day to day survival. My guess is “not much”

Congrats on your first few days!

None of those should affect the early game. Arcana only is only affects you if you go after it.

Yes, this character is not going to be a wizard although this game world is littered with dead wannabe wizards.

No Arcana-related spoilers, please. This character (who is doing substantially better as of day seven than as of day four, well equipped with an M1014 shotgun, plenty of shells, a Sig Pro .40 sidearm, plenty of 10mm auto ammo, and a safehouse with atomic reading lamp left behind by one of the aforementioned dead wannabe arcanists) is pure cyborg commando all the way. I sense that the arcana build is trickier so I want to try to “ascend” a pure killing machine/machine killing character first.

Edit: Oh, and IMHO buildings with multiple Z-Levels are exponentially scarier than one-story buildings of the same two-dimensional size, because they seem to spawn twice the nastiness. i.e. a 4x4 Large Office Tower spews out that much more murderous nastiness than a 4x4 Office Building.

my one suggestion is to REALLY try to get mechanics going. a car is not just a thing to take you places, but with the simple addition of a ramming grill makes it a powerful gas powered weapon. see a hulk? just run it over! blazemod and tanks means you have plenty of military composite armor laying around if any breaks.

As of early Summer, I have a couple vehicles that I’ve modified to be not quite deathmobiles but pretty efficient for killing anything in my path. One started life as a police car now fitted with a spiked ram, the other is a rehabilitated humvee. I’m working my way up from Mechanics 4 to Mechanics 5. I’ve scoured the surrounding area for all useful books, including a Lab back near where I spawned, a bookstore a few blocks up from my garage/safehouse, and most perilously, a school somewhere in between. I’ve collected quite the little library, but haven’t found a book that will help me train up Mechanics faster (Mechanical mastery is the one I believe). I have found a lot of the medical and electronics books that should eventually get me to the point where I can install biomods.

I also found a laser rifle and a laser pistol and a UPS to power them down at the bottom of the laboratory, and am really amazed at how underwhelming their power is compared with conventional slug-throwing weapons. What gives? These things are rare and use batteries like nobody’s business. Why are they putting up damage numbers like a fucking .22 ? Considering the way their projectile looks, I’d expect them to damage multiple enemies in a line, but no such luck there either. I also dragged up a fusion rifle and a hundred fusion packs. Haven’t tried that baby out yet, but I hope it’s less of a letdown than the lasers.

Well, if they draw off your internal power (which basically can be infinite) you can go pretty far with them. Fusion blaster cbm would be better tbh.

As for Arcana, their temples and structures are located deep in the wilderness and harbor some pretty strong monsters. Bring a few NPC’s with guns if you can, my character with 4 dodge and 6 unarmed with full on samurai armor had a bit of difficulty.

I started out with blacksmith, and was lucky enough to scrounge up the parts needed to make a smithy.

From then on it just became a matter of books and materials, I made a katana and armor, then switched it for the armor and weapons I found in a strange temple.

Arcana gives you a lot of cool goodies, favorite of which is the incorruptible sword and wraithslayer crossbow which if activated can have a high chance to instakill anything/shoot “hard to shoot” enemies.

I recommend finding or making some good armor for your character ASAP. Since you have mechanics, if you have computers skill you can break into banks and potentially find RM13 combat armor, which covers the entire body and can do things like protect you from radiation or fully protect you from bullets (it gives 100% coverage from everything).

i think you can take a laser rifle and enhance it, not sure if you have the mod for it or the skill levels. need to get high end electronics books, like “robots for fun and profit” or something.

also, huge plus for the laser gun is it has 0 recoil. meaning once you get sighted in you can spray lasers like crazy.

[quote=“tarburst98, post:14, topic:14039”]-snip-

also, huge plus for the laser gun is it has 0 recoil. meaning once you get sighted in you can spray lasers like crazy.[/quote]

This cannot be overstated. It’ll burn through all your power in a few volleys, but the fact you don’t lose accuracy between shots means that once you’re proficient enough, you can deal a LOT of damage on full auto in a very short period of time. Also, UPS is renewable unlike bullets so they’re great for grinding firearm skill.

ah, yeah, that’s another thing. don’t put batteries in a UPS, get a UPS charge pad. it’s a vehicle part/add-on. place it in the same location as an inventory object(trunk or cargo carrier) and then turn it on at the controls. it will transfer car battery power into any UPS objects in the inventory under the charge pad. add a bunch of solar panels to the car and you get free UPS power.

Joint torision ratchet/cable charger w/ a car + tons of bionic power = beast mode laser weapons

Good tip but regardless of power consumption I still found the laser pistol damage absolute shit. It was literally in the neighborhood of a 22. Zombie Children were taking 2-4 hits from it. So even if it literally had infinite ammo, it doesn’t feel worth using.

I’m pretty happy with my current armor, most of which is actually storage: chest rig, tactical dump pouch, military ruck sack, holster, leather padded duster, MBR Vest with Kevlar Plates, Tactical Helmet. I’m aware my limbs are relatively vulnerable, but it hasn’t come up too much yet. I try not to wear the rucksack whenever I don’t need the storage as it’s the difference between my torso encumbrance being like -30% and -60%, but for the most part, I don’t have to resort to melee combat. I’m not bad at it (although the rucksack obviously makes hitting anything harder) but I have enough ammunition for my current assault rifle (H&KG3 w/ Holographic Sight and Underbarrel Laser sight), shotgun (M1014 w/ ample slugs and 00 buckshot), sidearm (1911), and “fuck it” gun (holstered RM228 Short Shotgun with Frag Rounds) that I’m not feeling a pressing need to conserve ammo.


So, once you’ve established a reasonably safe base and the basics for self-sustained survival for an indefinite period, what do you usually do? Scour the surrounding area for all useful books until you’ve mastered every skill worth mastering? Thinker obsessively with your car until it’s a solar powered death machine? I’ve found that what I usually do is pick a particular arbitrary direction–in this case East–and head that way, checking out interesting stuff along the way and making temporary safehouses when I need to rest. I mean, if it’s actually New England, then if you head East for long enough eventually you’ll hit the ocean. I know that’s probably not in the actual game, there probably is no ocean and the randomly generated map just sprawls infinitely to the east without you ever hitting the sea, but “somewhere to the east there’s an ocean” would make a really cool mod.

well, a sort of combination of both. and while a lot of solar panels are useful, a very large vehicle uses a lot of power to move, so you can never get a positive energy income while driving. to that end yes i make a completely self sufficient mobile base. don’t need to find bases if you take your base with you. and then just explore in it. get things like on board welding rig, on board chemistry set, foodco kitchen buddy, etc. and some cargo carriers. find a sports car for V12 engines. 2 v12s can handle pretty large vehicles quite fine. find some military vehicles and start with a skeleton of the car so you don’t need to build a boom crane to attach said wheels. you will need a lot of them for a big vehicle. mine which is 7 tiles wide 10 tall, has 4 steerable tires in the front, one space in front of the driver’s seat(under the windshield) and 12 non steerable in the back, 3 rows of 4. a LOT of wheels is important because offroad ability is based on your weight vs wheel contact ratio, so a heavy machine with too few wheels will slide and not steer right.

and while a normal container can’t store enough to make a funnel worth it, installing a metal funnel over a 60L tank gives you more then enough free water for anything.

after theat is yes, finding books, if you got enough armor/combat ability or sneaking skill you can try a regional school, their library areas have heaps of books.

Yeah, as mentioned (don’t blamed you if you TL;DR’d that part, as I posted a lot in this thread) I already cleared a regional school and two bookstores without finding an advanced or semi-advanced Mechanics book which was frustrating. If on my journey EVER EASTWARD I encounter a second school, you can bet I’m going in guns blazing.

I want to kill enough (zombie) children that I don’t even care anymore, like my last survivor did.

I’ve only scummed twice on this run, by the way, both times when my death seemed nonsensical (I take a probably irrational amount of pride in accepting permadeath, but I appreciate the hell out of the fact that Cataclysm gives you a moment to opt out of it). The first time I stepped into a tile between what should have been two stationary cars or maybe one of them was moving like 9mph and got instantly gibbed. The second time I was fighting some zombies in betwixt two cars that had about four tiles in between them when the southern car exploded into an enormous fireball for no good reason instantly killing me in the process. Slightly less clearly “the physics engine has fail” then when getting my knee caught between two slowly rolling cars caused my entire body to break apart, but still pretty WTF.