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Starting out with a brand new party is dangerous. We have all experience a total party wipeout when we run into 8 barbarians and they can run faster than we can. Here are some hints on how to survive until you get enough spells, gear, and hit points to hand those pesky barbarians their own derrieres.

Your play style will determine which of these tactics you want to use, but the list is here so you can choose them if you want. These tactics have been tested in the Bard's Tale I -- Tales of the Unknown, IBM PC version. They may or may not work with other versions.

Major exploits Edit

Pressing the Z key will give you a decent special in your special slot. It's a Stone Elemental, and will be do more damage than any of your level one characters. If it only has 3 hit points, hit the Z key again.

The Samurai Statue is really, really easy to kill, and gives decent experience. If you hit it twice in the same round, it will die, no matter how little damage you do. Characters with 18 dex will usually be faster than the Samurai. Just make sure you have two Hobbits with 18 dex attacking, and you can repeatedly kill the Samurai enough times to level up very quickly. It will re-appear each time you exit the Adventurer's guild or the Catacombs.

Minor Exploits Edit

The Bard's Badhr Kilnfest song heals the bard when travelling, and the entire party during combat. However, it only heals each character one HP per round. In actual battle, you might incur more damage than that each round. To get around this, you can initiate a Party Attack, and have everyone else repeatedly defend while the bard plays the song. Keep defending until everyone is entirely healed. Total party heal for the cost of one song!

Taking advantage of Game Mechanics Edit

Rule number one. Choose a Hobbit with 17 Luck as your lead character. Preferably a caster, but that is less important.

The biggest danger to a beginning party is meeting a group of foes that they can't handle, and failing the Run check. You can dramatically increase the chance of surviving by wisely choosing your lead character. The biggest factor in whether you run or not is the Luck attribute. The second factor is the level, but beginning parties are always level 1. The third factor is the class of the lead character. Magicians and Conjurers are significantly better at running away than melee classes. Consider creating a disposable Hobbit Magician with 17 Luck to put into slot 1. Here are the percentage chances you'll get caught by a party of barbarians in broad daylight, based on your lead character:

Class Luck Level Run Fail %
Caster 17 1 24.6
Melee 17 1 32.8
Caster 16 1 32.8
Melee 16 1 41.0
Melee < 14 1 65.6
Caster 17 2 16.4
Caster 18 2 8.2
Caster 17 4 8.2
Caster 18 4 0
Melee 18 6 0

Notice that anything other than a hobbit will end up in the worst case scenario of getting caught by the barbarians 65.6 percent of the time. Also, take note that if you have a caster that has made it to level 4 and has 18 Luck, you can pick and choose your battles. You can wander the town (as long as it's daytime) and never have to worry about being outclassed in a battle again. Don't underestimate the power of this.

The only classes that can do actual damage at level 1 in slots 4-6 are Conjurers. With the Arc Fire spell. Consider creating 3 Hobbit Conjurers with 17 Luck and 18 Dex (for speed). If they actually make it to level 2, and one of them gets lucky (pun intended) and gets extra Luck on the level-up, immediately put them in the first slot and you'll only get caught by Orcs or Barbarians once in 12 run attempts. Also, level 2 Conjurers' Arc Fire spell does more damage than melee characters using any buyable weapon except the Halbard. Yeah, spell points are expensive, unless you don't mind sitting in the sun to regenerate them for free, but you'll have a better chance to survive. At level 3, your Conjurers will be doing more damage than any of your melee characters. Until they get multiple attacks at level 4.

Rule number 2. Dexterity make a HUGE difference to who swings first. One point of dex is worth 8 Monk levels, 16 Warrior levels, 32 Bard levels, or 64 Caster levels. Hobbits rock.