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*DRAFT* Blackhand & Noire's Guide to Grendel's Revenge - Mechanics *DRAFT*

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  • *DRAFT* Blackhand & Noire's Guide to Grendel's Revenge - Mechanics *DRAFT*

    This is a trial posting of my large update and expansion on "Noire's Guide for New Monsters (or 'So you want to be a Monster')" (linky), which is over a year an a half old.

    This thread will get deleted.

    Then I will repost the guide with corrections I deem necessary.


    I've already spent a lot of time editing and test-posting and such, but I could continue fiddling forever, so I'm putting this public draft out now. Be easier with a lot of people pointing out my mistakes, maybe.

    The reason for it being a draft that'll get deleted, is that the guide will be more useful if it's a single correct document, rather than a faulty document with lots of corrections posted afterwards. I'll give attribution where appropriate for corrections that get posted here and subsequently deleted.

    I started writing this over two months ago. Some of what I wrote is no longer correct. I've already made some corrections, but expect I've missed some.

    I could also use quotes for each individual post, like Noire did. I only found one quote so far to add. Assistance in that area would be grand.
    Blackhand

  • #2
    Blackhand & Noire's Guide to Grendel's Revenge - Mechanics

    "So, want to be a monster?"
    O thou monster ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!
    -- William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Love's Labor's Lost, act 4, scene 2
    My name is Blackhand, and I play an orc savage. This is guide is based on the work of Noire, who wrote similar guides during the beta and a few months afterwards, and revised and updated by myself. Noire played a vampire builder, has created numerous test characters of all castes, races, and roles with many different skills. I've discussed and explored the mechanics of the game extensively with many players, and try to keep current on the strengths and weaknesses of each.

    Based on our experience, we think we can save you a lot of trouble and offer some advice on how to make the game more fun for you, as you go about creating and growing your character. However, this is just the opinion of two players - others will have different opinions.

    Besides this guide, the help files are an excellent source of information, and while far from complete, have a lot of info not in this guide. And for those set on mages or shamen, Whindanserís Shaman and Magical guides provide a lot more detail, and looks beyond your monster's humble beginnings. Finally, this guide is more aimed at the mechanics side of things; those new to this type of game would do well to check out Whindanserís Roleplay Intro.

    The best piece of advice I can give you is pick a character concept - what they do, what they like or dislike, a bit of history, etc - and base your character around that; then look to this and other guides, and to the players, to help you better make your character design a reality.
    Blackhand

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    • #3
      Monster Creation - Path, Caste, and Role(s)

      He was made bit by bit, piece by piece. The undying monster.
      -- Dr. Edelman (played by Onslow Stevens), in House of Dracula (1945)
      The text here is in a different order then the actual monster generation process -- this is not intended as a step-by-step guide to the monster generation process. I recommend that you read this section through first, and then go create your actual monster.

      1. Wanderer or Social

      Your first important choice is if you want to be a wandering monster or a social monster.

      Wandering monsters tend to spend most the time fighting humans. Other wanderer activities include causing trouble and fighting to hold places of interest, but wanderers donít have enough power to threaten stronger monsters or survive the traps of the lairs for most of their early lives.

      If you like to wander around all largely by yourself and kill humans--or if you want to make enemies and fight other monster freely--then the choice of wandering monster is for you. However, if you want to make friends and work together, the social monster is probably better. This is not to say that wandering monsters are totally friendless; they often have pals they grumble with and social clans that they ally with, but wandering monsters by definition tend to be more independent.

      The advantage of the Wandering Monster, besides the cool bodies they can someday changeform into, is that they are really focused. They can spend all their favors in just abilities to help with combat, and have few distractions to keep them from hunting and gaining favor.

      The advantage of the Social Monster is that they often have lots of friends that assist them, either directly or through leadership skills. Some of them focus entirely on helping the rest of the clan in some way, while others try to balance what they do. For younger monsters, the clan provides quite a bit of power right away, if it has powerful members in it. Social monsters also have lairs, which are useful in various ways.

      Socials have more roles available to them, and specialties within those roles, and the ability to choose two roles. Wanderers can either be warriors or be mages.

      2. Caste

      Your next big choice is caste. The differences between Undead and Humanoid mechanically are relatively small. The Undead and Humanoids can both wear armor, and in the case of warriors, wield weapons. Chimera can wear only necklaces in most cases, and can carry only one item. Not having to worry about armor and items can make Chimera a bit easier to start with. The biggest Chimera advantage is that they all can get one more ability than other castes, with most having that be Fly (in addition to the normal starting abilities); the others don't get their extra ability at first, but can purchase the extra one later on in life, choosing any ability available to them. Fly keeps you out of range of most attackers, and if you have a ranged, you can rain death on your enemies while suffering few attacks against you, making up somewhat for the lack of armor. However, some uglies, and many monsters who are warriors or magicians, also have ranged attacks, so it won't help you all the time.

      Undead and Humanoids are very similar. Humanoids cannot have the magical role, but any Humanoid warrior, whether pure-role (they only have the warrior role) or dual-role (they have the warrior role and another role) as access to a ranged attack ability. Undead can be magicians, but the only undead who can purchase a ranged attack is the pure-role mage. Ranged attacks are not necessary (in fact I do not have one nor plan to get one); but you'll have to accept that your enemies may be able to hit you when you can't hit them sometimes. But at least they can't fly forever, and if you can choose the battlefield, you can avoid them altogether or where flying is not an option, and If youíre a social, maybe your buddies can help you out. Undead also are weaker in daylight, though they are slightly stronger at night.

      Caste is important to wanderers; chimera wanderers can only be mages, while humanoids, only warriors. Wandering undead can be both.

      3. Roles

      We believe that your most important and difficult choices in monster generation are whether to have two roles, and based on that, what starting ability to choose. This is the area where we feel many players have made decisions with insufficient information that may discourage them later.

      Pure-roles will almost always be better at doing what their role does than a dual-role; dual-roles can do more, but not usually as well. Sometimes the benefits of being single-role don't take effect until significant character advancement.

      One thing to keep in mind: Each monster is limited to 7 abilities (or 8 if chimera), including Tooth&Nail (and including the automatic Fly for some chimera); also, most monsters tend to spend most of their lives with 4 or 5 abilities, as the later abilities are very costly. A certain role combination may result in more options for your character, but itís only the abilities you choose to learn that matter.

      Here's a quick summary on how each role fares as a single and as a dual:

      Warrior: Pure-role warriors have access to an extra defensive ability and an extra offensive ability, though the offensive one is isn't very useful unless the warrior uses weapons. The offensive one also provides stun resistance, though that can be acquired through investment in energy. Dual-role warriors are quite competent fighters, and with combat-oriented skills from other roles, can be quite versatile foes.

      Magical: For chimera, the advantage of being a single-role mage is limited; the only real plus is access to the Focus ability, which increases the accuracy of magical attacks. Single-role chimera also can get Resurrection (considered not worth it currently), and several additional choices for attacks, but the chimeran dual-role mage attacks are sufficient. Many chimera will want to be at least partial mages, as it gives access to ranged attacks, which is a good combo for those with Fly. (Though all chimera can get Tail Attack, which can be used while flying, but only while pretty close, leaving you open to a few attacks.) It's different for undead - dual-role magical undead have no access to any ranged attack at all, which is more important to mages than others since mages tend to fall quickly in close-range combat. A dual-role undead mage works best if focusing on the other role, and using the magical skills as support.

      Builder: Builders are the odd bunch, as far as role count goes - single-role builders do rotten. This is because the Grunt Mastery skill, which is available to leaders, vastly increases their ability to build, mine, or destroy, and to gain favor from those activities. And pure-role builders get no special abilities at this time. The only builder activity that is fine without Grunt Mastery is trapping; some builders choose a subrole other than leader and do a lot of trapping (and/or disarming). A few magician skills make life much easier for a builder, and have some interesting combinations. Any sort of builder will have to choose one way to gain favor - fighting or building - and should focus entirely on doing that in the beginning. Trying to do more than one way of gaining favor will slow both ways of gaining. The only special thing that pure builders get is that leading grunts around outside makes the uglies they attract less powerful (as opposed to more powerful), so a pure builder might be able to deal with the uglies and not get all his grunts killed. Anyway, hopefully pure builders will get something better in the future, but for now, I recommend against them.

      Shaman: All shamen have quite a few skills available to them; a dual-role shaman will have plenty of shamanistic options just from that role. Pure shamen gain access to Endure, which protects against magical attacks, and Wards and Sacrifice, skills that are very useful in the right situation, but only good for very developed characters, as they have limited use and do not grant favor.

      Leader: Leaders really, really, should only be played by players with a lot of experience with the game. If you're set on being a leader, though, you should read all of the help files thoroughly, as well as a good deal of the forums, before creating your character, or at least shortly after creation. With that said, the differences between dual and single role leaders are quite large. Single-role leaders have access to several skills that will always affect all their direct minions, so they tend to have most minions. Minions affect the favor gain you get for being a leader, so dual-role leaders, who rarely have many minions, should focus on another area to gain favor, perhaps getting the leader abilities that assist allies in battle.

      In addition, there are some lair buildings that give boosts only to pure-role monsters. Currently not all of them work, so the effect is negligible, but that may change in the future.

      One important decision if taking two roles, is which one to make your primary role. Your primary role determines what leader abilities (and for mages, what clan buildings) affect you, and as a result, how good you are at that role. I suggest you decide what you want your character to focus on, and choose that for primary role. Note that Builder/Leaders are better at building than Leader/Builders, if they have the equal access to appropriate leader skills; however, leaders with the leader ability to assist primary-builders are currently rare, and there is no leader ability specifically for primary-magicals. And of course the specifics may change over time; choosing what your character does most is the best bet.
      Blackhand

      Comment


      • #4
        Monster Creation - Starting Abilities

        insert quote about choices, first steps, etc. here
        4. Starting Abilities

        You get the Tooth & Nail ability, which is a basic attack, upon creating a character, as well as another ability of your choice. Additionally, all starting chimera except the Sphinx gets Fly for free. Getting your next ability, after character creation is somewhat easy, so you can count on having T&N, Fly if applicable, and two other abilities shortly after starting up.

        I suggest getting abilities that will help most with favor gain; and abilities that help right away. For a warrior, that means an offensive skill (Iron Claw is a good one if not using a weapon) or a defensive skill (Evasion and Shield Master are good starters if humanoid or pure warrior, respectively). Builders should take either Basic Traps, and/or Basic then Advanced Structures--better to pick one and focus on it mostly, to get the best favor and best effects. Right now the best shamen skill for favor gain is Heal; good secondaries are Carapace, Endure, Fortify, and Sphere of Protection. Spirit Shield is good too, and great if you want more defense, but the effect automatically kicks in whether you want it or not, and sometimes a high defense can hinder favor gain with Heal. Magicians should choose an attack ability, though dual-role undead mages may prefer to use claws. Pure leaders should have a specialty in mind before starting their character-and should already have played the game-but in general, the should go with Bureaucracy if they wish to hunt or attract other leaders (and they wonít be the minion of another monster with Bureaucracy), or Mentor if they hope to have lots of low-level minions.

        A good starting plan for social monsters is to pick one ability that will be useful to you no matter what--perhaps an attack booster--then when you join a clan, find out what sort of skills the clan could use most, and work to fill your clans needs.

        There are a few important decisions to make that will affect your character later on:
        Warrior: There are two warrior paths: the claw path and the weapon path. The claw path involves attacks with Tooth & Nail, and boosters of that. Iron Claw, Venom, and Creeping Crud all affect Tooth & Nail. The weapon path involves choosing a melee weapon attack--Krush, Stab, or Slice. The Koncentrate ability boosts weapon attacks, but is only available to pure warriors, so they make better weapon users. One special consideration is Missile Weapons, available to humanoid warriors--it's a ranged attack, so humanoid warriors of either claw or weapon path often take it. However, warriors who use melee weapons or use shields face a difficulty with Missile Weapons--they must unwield their normal weapon and shield, and then wield their missile weapon, to fire. This takes time, and delayed reactions can be costly sometimes.
        In the end, whatís the difference between the paths? If fully developed (not just the one skill alone), claws tend to do more damage, while weapons tend to hit more often. Of course, if your opponent doesnít have much defense, itíll be easy to hit no matter what attack you have, while all the damage in the world wonít matter if you canít land a hit before taken down by opponents with high defense. And while the best weapon users may be able to hit often, if they canít do enough damage to negate the opponentís regeneration and healing/prevention options, theyíll never take down a foe alone.
        For the first abilities, Iron Claw is a very good choice if going the claw route, and Evasion or Shield Master are good if you want them and can get them. If you want Missile Weapons, I suggest you wait until later to get it--you should only have one attack that you invest in while young. The only exception is if youíre only going to use Missile Weapons and nothing else-Iím not sure how effective that choice is though. If you're going the (melee) weapon route, I suggest waiting until your third or fourth ability before actually getting your weapon ability--if you invest in your stats, using an uninvested Tooth & Nail attack will let you hunt decently for a while. Plus, social warriors with a high-level leader will have it even easier-they can kill even more easily without investing in their attack. Finally, If you know you want Blood Oath, and you know you want to Oath humans, you may want to go ahead and get it early.

        Magical: For magical chimera, a ranged attack is a great first ability, so that you can attack from afar (especially while flying). Tail Attack is also available to all chimera, and can be used while flying, but you have to be flying close nearby, which puts you in the range of a few things. Magical undead who wish to gain favor by hunting would do good by getting both a ranged attack and Fly, though getting a melee attack (a magical one, a weapon, or just claws), and some good armor is an option. Melee mages, whether dual-role warriors or not, won't have much of the way in defense, so Fortitude and/or Regeneration (both for best effect) should be acquired later in life if you want to be able to take a few hits, though both skills are not very useful at the beginning. Dual-role undead mages with a non-magical way to gain favor should focus on that other method of gaining favor. In any case, you should pick one, and only one, attack to invest in, at least until substantial advancement. Finally, if you know you want Blood Oath, and you know you want to Oath humans, getting it early can help with hunting.

        Builder: If you want to build structures, the best way to gain favor from that is to get Basic Structures, Grunt Mastery (if you're also a leader), and Advanced Structures, in that order. You'll need to invest in Basic Structures a little to get some basic useful structures, but focusing on Advanced Structures will get you the most favor. When considering investing in Grunt Mastery, you should plan to invest in amounts of 200--you get one grunt every 200 favors. I suggest getting your primary building skill up to a decent level before getting the first 200. Mining is useless for favor gain at high levels, and you donít need the skill to mine resources (youíll just do it slower), so I don't really recommend it. The only thing Mining's really good for is that it allows you to build Mines; and Mines need to be built in a lair before anyone can mine in them. Trapping underwent changes a while ago (changes that I don't yet fully understand), but I believe that it will provide you with decent, if not exceptional, favor. It takes a while for grunts to build, and you don't need to be present when they do, so trapping is good for something to do while waiting for your grunts to finish--if you don't have something else to do while waiting from having a second role.
        Builder/Magicals will want both Basic Traps and Teleport when they reach high levels; the combo has several uses. A builder under the influence of a powerful leader with the right ability can put all their favors into building skills (which is largely necessary if you want to gain favor as you keep leveling up), while using just the bonus of the leader's ability to hunt for additional favor while the grunts build, at least until they've advanced a decent amount-but getting the right leader may not be easy, especially for primary-builders, and impossible for primary-magicals.

        Shaman: Heal is by far the best Shaman ability for gaining favor, and pretty useful too. Getting it first and favoring it a lot is advisable. The rest of the shaman abilities that grant favor give a good amount when used, but with a limit - you can only gain favor for using them once per target per hour or so. Plus, like Heal, you only get worthwhile favor when casting it on someone near your level. As a result, they aren't dependable as sources of favor, so focusing either on heal, or on combat abilities so you can kill uglies, would be good, with those other skills as supplements. For Warrior/Shamen and Magical/Shamen, the option to focus on killing while using shaman abilities for support is a good one.

        Leader: Dual-role leaders should have a way to gain favor from their other role, and should focus on that method of favor gain early in life. The only exception may be Mentor for those who do a lot of recruiting, but thatís an iffy choice. Single-role leaders should make sure that they will have a source of Bureaucracy-theyíll gain the benefit of only their own Bureaucracy, or, if they have a leader with the skill, only from their leaderís Bureaucracy (at least at the way the mechanics work a the moment)-so getting it if they plan on having a leader with generally isnít a good idea. Mentor is usually a good pick if you have lots of active minions or young minions. The pure-leader-only leader skills will help you attract more minions to you, which means more favor for you, and more clan members when trying to recruit-but those four skills (Bureaucracy, Warmonger, Dungeonmaster, and Spirituality) will need to be at very high ranks to be attractive. And of course those skills will help your minions do better, which does you better in the long run. Other leader abilities should come later in life for single-role leader--focus on a very few things first, get good at them, and then expand.

        Individual abilities are discussed a bit further on in the guide, and while there are many abilities you'll want after some character development, the above should get you good starting ones.

        One thing to keep in mind: There are a few leaders with enough advancement in leader abilities to let most young characters hunt with ease; the exceptions are if your primary role is builder (leaders don't tend to take the ability) or magical (there is no appropriate ability). Those who have the right leader can hunt easily at lower levels without investing in combat skills or stats.
        Last edited by Blackhand; 06-10-2004, 01:01 AM.
        Blackhand

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        • #5
          Monster Creation - Race and Subroles

          A quote related to race selection, subrole selection, choices on the warrior path, and/or choices on the builder path, might be hard to come up with.
          5. Race

          Your next choice is race, at least for socials--wanderers get their starting race set by their caste choice. Go with a race that you feel an affinity to role-play, if you have one; if you've got a specific character design in mind, with a specific race, itís likely that the roles and abilities you choose for that race will be good complements, even if you donít know all the mechanics involved. The help files give very good information on all the individual races, and designing a character that fits the racial description (like an ogre warrior, or lich mage) will give you a good chance to pick a good combo. An important note is the chimera - the sphinx has the potential for an extra ability of choice when very advanced, and the other social chimera get fly for free at the start, in addition to the normal abilities they acquire.

          I leave it to the help files to give you information on the races. Theyíre pretty accurate. Hereís links that have menus at the bottom for the Humanoid, Undead, and Chimera castes; pick the caste you want, and browse the available races-the first four in each list at the bottom are the socials.

          6. Sub-roles

          Socials get to choose a subrole for their primary role (but not for their secondary role, if they have one). Sub-roles give special advantages and disadvantages to a character. The only exception is if Magical is your primary role - there is no sub-role for Magicals. Noire found himself partial to the roles that are unique to a caste; not necessarily because they're effective, but because they're fun to roleplay.

          Use the help files on roles as a general guide; here are some additional thoughts and corrections:

          Warrior
          Strategist: In many situations, you only get favor for kills you make yourself, and not for kills your grunts make. And when you do have those right conditions, you don't gain near as much favor from grunt kills as you do your own kills. Agility is pretty important to most warriors, so the penalty will likely hurt. Finally, grunts tend to be easily killed by the more competent fighters; though this subrole could possibly make the grunts more of a threat when combined with other grunt-boosters.
          Savage: The damage to structures hinted at in the help files doesn't appear to exist. A good role with or without it though.
          Hunter: The agility bonus alone is good for warriors. For the 'less grunts', it means you command 1 less; undead normally control only 1, so an undead with this role will be unable to command any grunts (unless it gets something to increase the number).
          Martial Artist: The help file leaves exactly what bonuses the Martial Artist gets pretty vague. At the highest levels, armor can grant (rough guess) about 600 extra defense, so the Martial Artist role may not be worth it. If someone were to develop a Martial Artist to high levels, and give convincing argument that it was underpowered, it would stand a good chance of being fixed, but getting that high wouldn't be easy. A successful Martial Artist will almost certainly need good clan support.
          Champion: A good role if you don't care for minions, and do want Blood Oath. Might be a pain if you convince someone to join your clan, but no oneís awake to lead them to become their leader at the time -- you won't be able to invite them.
          Undead Plague Terror: Not worth it in the current state of the game. Penalties to both agility and energy are crippling to a warrior, and the while resistance to poison and disease would undoubtedly be very useful in the right situations (which are not that common), those advantages won't make up for doing poorly the rest of the time.
          Humanoid Soldier: A decent role, especially for pure-roles who want to get Missile Weapons and Koncentrate. The increased roundtimes would be a major annoyance, I think. The mention of double enchantments doesn't seem to be in effect.

          Builder
          Digger: The ability to fit more rooms into a place either doesn't work (correctly), is negligible enough to be unnoticeable, or only works for high-level Diggers. I've never seen evidence of it. Faster building works, I assume, and for those gaining favor primarily by building, the faster building should really help with the favor gain. Iíve seen an old reference saying Digger buildings may cost less upkeep, but the current help files donít support this, and Iíve seen no proof it being true.
          Trap Master: If you want to eventually have the best, hardest-to-disarm traps in the game, this is one thing you'll need. Also useful for taking out the traps of others, should you go raiding. It will make the other builder aspects go slower, though. A good role if you want to dual-role, especially builder/magical, and you don't plan on building structures to gain much favor while young.
          Fortifier: I hear that Fortifiers get an extra grunt, a major plus to builders. The increased integrity of a Fortifier's buildings, however, is a double-edged sword. While it will slow down invaders trying to bring the house down, it'll also slow you down if you're trying to 'practice' building by repeatedly building and destroying a room. And builders spend a great deal of time practicing to gain favor. You do get more favor per building as a Fortifier, since youíre building better buildings, but I'm told that the increased favor gain (and even the increased speed with the extra grunt) don't offset the increased time it takes to destroy the tougher buildings, when trying to train. It may be different at very high levels... but you have to reach those levels first. The increased costs for building is largely negligible; see the section after subroles for details.
          Prospector: This role is largely not worth it. At higher levels, the resources can pour in quickly enough as long as the active clan builders make sure their grunts are mining when the builders go to sleep. This would only be useful for a dedicated Miner (a path I recommend against, as the favor gain slows to near none after time).
          Sapper: I do not know if a sapper's abilities truly extend to all in the clan, or to what degree, or if it is dependent on things like the monster reaching a certain level or being awake. In any case, the ability to damage structures quickly has three uses: training faster, remodeling faster, or causing damage on raids.
          Undead Grave Robber: Only high-level Grave Robbers can upgrade Immortality Tombs to high levels.
          Humanoid Spelunker: Only high-level Spelunkers can upgrade Slime Pits to high levels.
          Chimera Vein Sniffer: Only high-level Vein Sniffers can upgrade Burrows to high levels. The veinsniffing is a lot of help when surveying a new floor before planning its layout. A side note: veinsniffers were once supposed to be able to build hidden passages, but this is not true today.
          Blackhand

          Comment


          • #6
            Monster Creation - More Subroles, and Attributes

            We do take submissions for quotes. And even for rearranging the contents of posts.
            Shaman
            Empath: Authority slightly increases favor gain, so the authority bonus can help in that area. Lacking a proper leader, a humanoid may also prefer an Empath's leadership, as they tend not to have much energy anyway, and are largely unaffected by penalties to that stat. However, the Empath will have little special advantage over other shaman subroles performance-wise. Finally, the help file in character generation for this role is quite incorrect.
            Cauterizer: The way the mechanics work now, Cauterizers should do gain favor easily early on; shamen tend to want to be hit, and use heal on themselves, to gain favor. A natural penalty to defense will give the shaman more flexibility when in a strong clan. If the bonus to use heal is only success-related, and does not affect healing potency, then that bonus will only be useful at lower levels (though it will be very useful then); eventually, any shaman who invests enough can get their success the same as that of any other shaman.
            Hierophant: Hierophants have the unique distinction of being able to acquire Sacrifice as a dual-role monster. This is useful for a shaman/leader with Grunt Mastery; normally getting the grunts to the field of battle and under the shaman's control is far too difficult for Sacrifice to have much use in battle. A high-level hierophant/magical could also summon a pre-acquired grunt from elsewhere using Teleport. Raise could also be used to get grunts, but it requires either being magical or being a Despot, and both cases have better options. With or without this subrole, Sacrifice is definitely a skill to acquire only at high levels.
            Saw-Bones: The text description and the itemized abilities for this role do not quite match up, and I am unsure of just what effects Saw-Bones enjoy. In any case, gaining favor for a Saw-Bones will likely be slower than for other shamen at first, since theyíll have a harder time healing, and will take damage less often, meaning less damage to heal and gain favor from. But investment can overcome difficulty healing, and having inherent defenses will let the shaman invest in skills that don't benefit his defense as much and survive; or will let him invest in defense anyway, and be a tougher nut to crack because of the combination. It isnít clear if a Saw-Bones heals less damage than other shamen; that would be balanced, but if it isnít the case, the Saw-Bones is an excellent role.
            Leech: A decent role if in a pure-undead clan. Shaman are unlikely to have (many) minions, so the resistances (note that acid is not currently in the game) will likely only apply to the Leech himself in practice. As there are no shielding skills that stop poison or disease (only Cure to keep them from doing further damage), this role would be useful for those not planning to get Cure.
            Witch Doctor: A decent role if in a pure-humanoid clan. Humanoids tend to be slow healers, so healing prowess will be appreciated. However, if the bonus to healing does not include an increase in amount of damage healed, Witch Doctors will have no special advantage or disadvantage in healing at higher levels. I have no solid evidence, but I believe that Witch Doctors are resistant to some forms of magical damage - an interesting combo for the Troll. The Troll Witch Doctor also makes good RP sense.
            Wound Licker: A decent role if in a pure-chimera clan. However, if the healing bonus does not include an increase in amount of damage healed, Wound Lickers will have no special advantage or disadvantage in healing at higher levels. The help file says that they are resistant to magical damage, but such is not included in listing of traits, and I do not know if this is true.

            Leader
            Tyrant: Tyrants seem to be all advantages mechanically; even the increased minion upkeep will be appreciated by minions (though minion upkeep has little impact on the game). They make good pure-role leaders; they are also common leader/warrior minotaurs or ogres, for Boulder Throw. Note that the size boost from the Tyrant subrole and from the Boss Monster ability do not stack.
            Alpha: The text description and the trait list in the help file do not quite agree, and I am not sure of the exact truth of how things work. A pure alpha might make the ideal leader for the warriors of a clan, getting Warmonger and Inspire, leading his minions to greatness, but only if the effects are worthwhile. The alpha's benefits will also extend to mages, so the alpha might lead them as well.
            Chieftain: Chieftains and Sovereigns make the best leaders for builders by far, as the extra grunt is a boon to developing builders, especially those builders who arenít builder/leaders with Grunt Mastery. However, only the pure leader can get Dungeonmaster, the other thing desired by builders from their leader, so a dual-role Chieftain isnít as desired as a leader. The chieftain does nothing of much interest to non-builders, but the few minions a Chieftain has will will greatly appreciate his skills. A pure chieftain can either act as combat support with Battlecry, or, in a clan lacking comprehensive leadership, take up leading monsters of other roles. Note that grunt morale does not appear to work currently.
            Matriarch: Normally, things that adjust how many grunts can be controlled adjust it by one; Matriarchs can control two additional grunts. However, it is my opinion that it isn't worth it; the stat penalties the grunts get will slow their building and mining, and make them weaker in combat. This will have slightly more effect at higher levels. Advanced leaders can acquire plenty of grunts without this bonus, and they get difficult to manage in large numbers. Matriarch/Builders are common, but I don't recommend it for the builder planning to achieve high levels. Note that grunt morale does not appear to work currently.
            Diplomat: Any monster, given the choice, is going to prefer a non-diplomat over a diplomat, at least mechanically. All other leader roles, well except the Matriarch, give special advantages to their minions. However, diplomats are a necessity in multi-caste clans; at least one to allow the multi-casteing, anyway. Additional diplomats for roles the primary diplomat doesn't cover also tend to do well, simply because they don't need to turn away 2/3 of the potential minions in the clan. However, if a leader comes along who can lead a certain caste and role better, they'll likely lose some minions. They once were supposed to have the ability to "whip their clans into a frenzied Vendetta against another clan.", but do not currently.
            Undead Despot: Like the idea of sitting around in your lair all the time? That's what your minions will beg you to do if you're a Despot. The hit point bonus is one of the best role-based minion bonuses in the game (plus it affects the despot too), but only while it's in effect. Despots would be better roles if there was more to do for a (pure) leader in a lair, though the lazier leaders might not mind just sitting there and letting passive favor trickle in. Raise is currently considered a worthless skill, so that bonus is of little use. This would be a great mechanical combo for a lair defender with Boss Monster, just that there's too little application - combat is rare inside lairs under the current mechanics.
            Chimera Sovereign: Pure sovereigns make the best clan leaders mechanically, hands down. Leaders under them will appreciate the authority bonus, and the grunt bonus if they use it; builders will appreciate the extra grunt. Other roles will appreciate the benefits as well.

            7. Attributes

            Last to be decided is Attributes--do what seems appropriate here, based on your race, and what attributes are used by the skill you selected. Energy's usually good for mages, and strength for most any role.This help file has more info on what each attribute does individually.
            Blackhand

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            • #7
              Assorted Mechanics Notes

              A quote about things percieved useful that turned out useless might go here.
              Following are some random mechanics points, to give all the rest of this some more meaning.

              Much like how, in a D&D game, some DM's may make ample opportunity to use skills like Climb, while other DM's may give you very few cliffs or walls-with-goals-behind them for you to work with, Grendel's Revenge has evolved over time such that some mechanics have more of an impact than others. This may change in the future, but here's some info on how things are now:

              Builder Advancement: When building to gain favor, builders will spend a lot of time building something, destroying it, and building it again. The destruction tends to take longer, and yields an insignificant amount of favor compared to the creation.
              Starting out, it takes maybe thirty minutes to build a building. As you get more powerful, you'll get access to more buildings, which will still take a while, but you'll get faster at the old ones. Eventually you'll be able to build some of the simpler buildings almost instantly, but that takes a long time to get that good.
              Building Costs: The cost to create a building will matter little to most clans. Younger clans (under two weeks old) don't need to pay upkeep, and you build for free if your clan doesn't have the loot. Clans with powerful builders can have those builders mine for resources; very skilled builders can mine huge amounts of resources even, even without the Mining skill. The mid-size clans may have to be careful, though, making sure they have a good amount of loot when it comes upkeep time.
              Upkeep: Upkeep costs, however, are a bit more important, with recurring costs each day. The cost for not meeting upkeep is painful if it adds up. Changing upkeep costs may be important to some clans. Also, on average, I've found upkeep costs to add up to more than 1000 but less than 10000 for a developed lair.
              Grunts: Undead and Chimera start out with one grunt; humanoids with two. Roles (and roles of masters) may increase or decrease this number by 1 (or for Matriarch, by 2); a favored Dining Hall can add another, and Grunt Mastery adds 1 when purchased and another 1 every 200 levels (to a max of 6). Builders will do fine with 5 grunts; more is always better, but managing more gets a little more difficult; I think that getting a good number of grunts should be important for any builder, but other things are more important than getting a huge number, unless you just really want a lot. Grunts aren't really necessary for non-builders, though leaders with the right skills can make them decent combatants. They make rotten helpers in hunting for the most part; all theyíre good for is attracting harder uglies (which bring more favor when killed-but uglies too hard will bring no favor at all).
              Raiding: There are a few obstacles to overcome if wanting to raid - whether the intent is to steal, to fight, or to destroy. First, there are traps - the strongest clans have traps that can do a great deal of damage. Second, there are counterattacks - raiding another clan can bring their wrath, and the wrath of their allies. If destruction is involved, your enemies may try to destroy your entire lair. These obstacles keep raiding rare; generally, only two clan, if any, will be raiding each other in a time period.
              Honestly, most players would like to see more raiding in the game, but both disbalances in power, and the risk of a single raid turning into a full out war (a war that may be more than they wish to deal with), keep most monsters from going on the offensive.
              Grunt Morale: Iíve never seen any grunt flee as a result of Morale; Iím told that itís based on hit points of the grunt, and grunts tend to be killed in one hit in most cases, so modifications to grunt morale donít really matter much.
              Upgrading Structures: The very advanced clans will eventually want to upgrade their structures; only the roles that can build the role-based structures can upgrade those structures, and only a high-level monster can upgrade it fully. Eventually each clan will need one appropriate monster, but more would be redundant.
              Character Sizes: Bigger monsters can carry more. Thereís roughly a 25% boost in resource carrying capacity with each size increase. Small non-chimera can carry 5 items (other than their armor and weapon), and each size increase adds 5 more. Smaller monsters are harder to attack. Only 2 opponents can approach a Small monster, 4 a medium one, and it increases from there. Besides letting more melee attackers hit at once, this has a special effect when fighting social monsters - multiple social monsters approaching someone can reduce their combat effectiveness.
              Blackhand

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              • #8
                Your First Day

                Look, it's moving. It's alive, it's alive, it's alive. It's moving. It's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive!
                -- Henry Frankenstein (played by Colin Clive), in Frankenstein (1931)
                When you create your monster, you will start in the tutorial area. I highly recommend you complete the course, as it is a relatively fast way to get 8 favors, and you'll only need 2 more for your second skill. Plus, the specific knowledge it gives will give you a great jump-start on some aspects of the game. Once you are done with the course, you will start in Grendel's Shrine (or you can type '@play' to immediately go there and skip the tutorial; note that you can never return to the tutorial with that monster if you do). Grendel's Shrine is the place you will return to when you die until you have chosen a clan or acquired a den, it is where you exchange Favors for Karma, and it is a decent place to buy your first Grunt when you are ready.

                The mentor chat channel is a useful place to ask questions, find people to grumble with, or ask about joining a clan, but it can often be a nuisance when fighting--type @toggle-mentor to turn it on and off.

                As the area near the Shrine is safe from uglies and cannibal wandering monsters, it is important to know how to get back here. "go east" to exit the shrine, then type "gaze"--you see "Sharp talons reach out of a grove of trees just to the west, marking the presence of Grendel's Shrine." Until you learn where some other gaze spots are, staying always within gaze sight of the Shrine might be a good idea.

                If you are a Humanoid or Undead, you may want to get some better armor than what you start with. Monsters often leave corpses of their kills with most armor still on them; if you can find the corpse of a powerful human, you'll have a good jump-start on battle. Socials may get free armor from a clanmate, once they have some. Be careful, though, as many monsters don't like others picking through their kills.

                As you wander around the forests of Uthgol, occasionally you'll see messages like "you sense..." or "you smell...", etc. This means an ugly has arrived near you. If you 'look' you might be able to see it before it attacks you. There seems to be two strategies the uglies take against low-level monsters--toe-to-toe (typically fighters, clerics, and most thieves) and those that run away and attack from a distance (typically wizards and some thieves). In the beginning while soloing, you may not want to bother with the ranged attackers; just run away if that's the case. It depends entirely on how well you can kill them, though.

                If you solo, don't worry about dying--it will happen frequently and often. Just 'soulrelease' and 'reincarnate' back to the Shrine and then get back out there and fight!

                A good strategy can be to form a grumble with one or two other new monsters, if you don't join a clan or established grumble right away. You can join a grumble with anyone before you join a clan. Even Wandering Monsters can join grumbles. Someone should "invite" the others should "accept". Then you can use the "grumble" chat command. If you want to leave your master or minion, you can "discharge" them, whether or not you're in their presence. You may want to do that before joining a clan or more established grumble.

                This starting grumble makes a great basis for a starting hunting party. Whether or not you share a grumble, two low-level monsters (who don't benefit from powerful leader bonuses) will find hunting much easier. Uglies may appear more often, and there's someone else to take some damage - if your partner isn't flying, you can retreat if you're getting too hurt, and heal up a bit. Two or more socials can approach and work together to hinder the opponent's defense. As long as you do 25% or more of the damage to the enemy, you'll get a share of the favor. You might want to limit party size to three, so everyone stands a good chance of doing at least 25% to each ugly.

                Be ready to run from some monsters you encounter in the wild, as some are aggressive and will attack most any they meet. The wanderers are more prone to do this, once you learn to identify them, though some socials can be defensive you walk their territory uninvited. Entering a lair or a den is often seen as an attack, and you'll likely be met coldly when doing so, though many are abandoned and ownerless. It is also a good to stay away from the older monsters, as the uglies that are attracted to them may attack you and most can kill you in one blow.

                If you choose one of the better attack special abilities, you can get the 10 Favor Points in about an hour from hunting even if you skip the tutorial. Go back to the shrine and type 'favor' and spend your 10 Favor Points for 100 Karma. Then wander back into the forest, and the next time you die you can type 'karma' to see a list of skills you can choose from for your second skill.

                If you're a social monster, likely one or more monsters may speak to you over Mentor about their clan, asking if you are interested in joining. How many, if any, depends on who's awake at the time. I'd also suggest asking those you meet in person about clans - not all monsters can speak over the Mentor channel, and some may have advice or offers.
                Blackhand

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                • #9
                  Builder Special Abilities

                  I made him with these hands, and with these hands I'll destroy him.
                  -- Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) in the movie Frankenstein (1931)
                  Basic Structures - The essential Builder special ability. It is highly recommended as your first or second special ability if you want to be Builder. If it is your first ability, join a clan and ask for a place to build an grunt-summoning building, then destroy it, and build it, over and over, until your ranks are up to a reasonable level. Can be a quite boring special ability at first, but you can do other things while your grunts are building. At higher ranks in Basic Structures you can build more of the basic rooms. Stairs and storage rooms are important building up the lair, and those who take this skill far can eventually build personal rooms - a quality that'll be appreciated by clanmates.

                  Advanced Structures - This is where most of the cool room types come from, like teleporters and throne rooms. You must already have Basic Structures before you can get it though; Mining does not allow you to get Advanced Structures later. As Advanced Structures are more difficult, you can earn more favors faster once you've improved it some. Unless your clan is in need of someone who can build basic structures with skill, I highly recommend focusing on Advanced Structures for the better favor gain.

                  Note that when building the buildings that get the best favor for your rank, the buildings tend to take 10+ minutes to build or destroy. So picking up another skill to use while waiting, like trapping, is often a good idea. But you'll likely advance fastest if you invest in just one of those sources of favor gain. Should a builder find someone who provides ample leader bonuses, hunting without investing in combat skills might be an option.

                  Basic Traps - Trapping can get tedious for some, but it grants good favor - decent for setting the traps at low levels, and good for when the traps are set off. Whether or not it'll be good for you is iffy; too few trappers in a clan, and the clan goes unprotected, while too many means that the trappers have little to do, so you should ask if a new trapper is needed before taking the skill. Snares are only useful if a monster or powerful grunt will be present to handle the intruder, and grant little favor, so it'll probably be best to stick to jaws when you can access ropes. Being able to carry around a lot of loot really helps trappers; finding a master with hoarding (or getting it yourself, but that should wait until much later levels, unless all you want to do is trap), choosing a race with a larger size, and increasing your strength will all boost your carrying capacity. If going for a dedicated trapper, you'll likely want agility and energy to make your traps more potent, and strength secondarily to carry around loot. If choosing a race or role for bonuses, I'd say get agility or energy bonuses for the increased potency over strength.

                  An important note about trapping: traps must have at least one charge to grant favor when they trigger, and you need 10 ranks in Basic Traps to charge them. So drop 10 favor in Basic Traps right after getting it, and be sure to charge your traps.

                  Mining - Mining has two parts. The first is like Basic Structures, - you get some of the same basic starting rooms, plus a few others related to mining and refining as you advance. Most of these are shared with Basic and Advanced Structures, and a few a miner gets to take at much lower rank, but one is unique to just those with the Mining skill: the Mine. Mines are essential to all clans, but the fact that you only need 1 rank in the skill for all the uniqueness it gets makes this skill not as useful to advance in a clan with competent builders. At rank 10 with it, though, you gain access to empty rooms, which are quite good favor for how early they are acquired. Also, while a miner will gain resources much faster than a non-miner, powerful builders can acquire plenty enough resources without the skill. And mining itself gives rotten favor at higher levels. Non-combat builders might want to pick it up early on if they want a new skill and there's not a better option; a starting-out pure trapper, especially a dual-roled one who can't get Grunt Mastery and doesn't want to invest heavily in a building skill, can quickly get it to Empty rooms an s a side source of favor, while providing the clan with additional loot income. Once it's no longer very useful, it can be unlearned, allowing a new ability to be purchased in its place.

                  Demolitions - Not generally a good skill for a starting monster; it does very little damage even with investment, and stats do not boost it. Plus, it gives very little favor. It basically lets you destroy rooms without grunts, or help in destruction. It's useful either for an advanced builder who wants to train faster by destroying faster, actively helping grunts instead of wandering off to do something else while they work, or for a dedicated destroyer. Dedicated destroyers can practice their craft on the practice buildings made by other builders; they'll much appreciate the help, and dedicated destroyers are also good for causing damage on raids, but they'll need to reach high level before it's of use... which isn't easy gaining favor through just destroying. Get and invest in another way to gain favor first.

                  Task Master - This skill makes your grunts mine and build faster. It's a good skill for those doing either task; an ability Basically the more points you put in task master, the faster you build and the more you mine. At low levels, this can be really nice as you can build rooms in 2/3rds the time it would take someone without this skill, and if you leave your grunts to mine in a safe place you'll get more favors points when you log back in. After getting it, though, your favors will be better spent on the actual building skill you are using, rather than Task Master. Also, note that the reprimand command requires grunts to have been idle a whole day before you can use it on them at low levels; unsure if this changes with investment.

                  (command grunt to) Assist, Destroy, Mine, Portal, Sever - These are not purchasable abilities, but things that all builders can do, regardless of skills. Assist lets you have your own grunts assist another builder in their building; they'll likely appreciate the help, but only the builder who started the structure gets any favor. Destroy is pretty obvious, and if you have spare grunts, fellow builders wouldn't mind the help training there too. Destroy will get you a very small amount of favor. Mining takes place in Mines; once commanded, a grunt will continue mining until ordered otherwise or killed. You'll get little favor for mining, and worse at high levels, but it does go on while you're not online, so having all your grunts mine in a safe place before you log off is a good idea. The portal command created portals, like doors, between rooms. Each kind of portal is slightly different, and you get more as you increase in level, but the only one of special use is the rune-covered door at a whopping level 500. See the help files for more on general and builder grunt commands.
                  Last edited by Blackhand; 06-10-2004, 01:22 AM.
                  Blackhand

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                  • #10
                    Leader Special Abilities

                    With all the surgical skill and the vital rays lavished on him he should talk like a congressman at a filibuster.
                    -- Prof. Frankenstein (Whit Bissell) in the movie Teenage Frankenstein (1957)
                    There are four pure-role leader abilities; each of these gives permanent bonuses to minions of a certain primary role, and in the case of the one that affects leaders, often the leader himself. Each one grants percentage bonuses to the two primary stats for that role, and give offensive and defensive bonuses. When these abilities are brought to very high rank, they can have a substantial impact on the combat ability of the leader's minions; they are essential for attracting minions of the appropriate roles, and attracting minions is essential for favor gain.
                    These skills represent providing proper care for minions, keeping them well-fed and set up with a healthy (for a monster) environment giving them advice specific to their craft, teaching basic self-defense or better, etc.
                    Note that these four skills have long been the subject of debate, and may be changed mechanically in the future.
                    Finally, if you're creating a pure leader, you really should have some experience with the game as other characters. This guide can only cover so much, and there's much in-character and out-of-character information that's needed before one can be a proper leader.

                    Bureaucracy - Pure-leader ability; affects primary-leader minions. Boosted stats are strength and authority. If the monster with the skill does not have a leader with Bureaucracy, his own Bureaucracy applies to him; if he does have such a leader, his own Bureaucracy does not affect him, even if it's higher. A boon to pure leaders wishing to hunt; it lets them get better at hunting and leading at the same time when investing in it, assuming they're not getting from a master. An essential skill for clan masters, and any pure leaders who don't happen to have a leader with the skill. In a pure-caste clan, or one led by a diplomat, only clan leader will necessarily need it.
                    The increase in clan size only applies to the clan leader. The increase in lair size may not work at all, but if it does, it applies only to the clan leader.

                    Warmonger - Pure-leader ability; affects primary-warrior minions. Boosted stats are strength and agility. The leader who has it gains a small health bonus, as well as his minions, but the leader will see very little direct benefit from this skill.

                    Dungeonmaster - Pure-leader ability; affects primary-builder minions. Boosted stats are agility and energy. The maximum integrity increase does not appear to work, even for clan leaders. The reduced building cost will matter little to an established clan, but builders will very much appreciate the builder who takes up this skill. Does nothing at all directly for the leader, and the fact that each clan can only support so many builders limits the minion pool. Good either for a general pure leader as a later skill, or for a player who has little interest in doing anything mechanical but wants to be of some help to the clan, but don't expect any speed with favor gain.

                    Spirituality - Pure-leader ability; affects primary-shaman minions. Boosted stats are authority and energy. Grants the leader a small increase in regeneration, which takes time to develop. Note that some shamen, wanting to be easy to hit so they can heal themselves, are picky about Spirituality - some want a little, some may want a lot, some may want none at all. Speak with your clan before purchasing or investing in it; likely there'll be a demand for a leader with this skill invested to a certain amount.

                    The rest of the skills are available to all leaders, pure role or not.

                    Hoarding - Hoarding adds a percentage to how much loot can be carried; for a monster who can already carry a lot, this increase can be quite substantial. Note that loot carried affects success in combat. All minions will eventually want their leaders to take it, but it is secondary to other, more important skills. Note that, currently at least, a minion with Hoarding whose master also has Hoarding will benefit from the combined effects of both, but this may change in the future. Those trying to lead mages might want to take this skill earlier, especially if there are other leaders to focus on other roles; as this is the only leader skill that will affect mages without your active presence (other than Mentor, but it only works below level 20). Also useful for the 'pure chieftain with ' monster, as trappers will appreciate the skill more than any other role, though investment should go in first, or in whatever alternate form of favor gain the has. The effects on storage capacity for the lair do not appear to work.

                    Mentor - Essential skill for those leading newlings, and not unuseful to other leaders. For minions under level 20, the minions enjoy faster favor gain, and the master himself is granted a portion of what his minions earn. Plus, this grants access to the Mentor channel permanently (or until turned off by using @toggle-mentor). This is meant so that the leader can help any newling in the game, and truly act as a mentor; those who do well should attract new minions. Finally, this skill increases the rate of passive favor gain for the leader, which is based on active minions (though I'm not sure if it's only active minions under level 20). Finally, any monster in your clan can, while dead, reincarnate to the position of any of your minions. This can be very, very useful in clan battles.

                    Battlecry - This lets the shout out in battle, inspiring all monsters and grunts in your clan nearby to be more effective in battle, increasing their chance of doing damage with their attacks. Only lasts a short while, and has little effect, at low levels, but can decide the battle when used by high-level monsters. This does affect you, too. Multiple cries, from the same or different monsters, do not stack.

                    Inspire - Like Battlecry, inspires your minions to do better, having a better chance of landing blows. Unlike Battlecry, you don't need to use up time in battle to activate it; it is in effect whenever you are approached to an enemy and nearby. It also affects fewer allies - only your own grunts and minions, and not yourself. A good skill for pure leaders who've already got skills that boost the particular roles of their minions; however, not as effective for mage and/or chimera minions, as they don't tend to be approached in combat if they can help it. For non-pure leaders, it may be good if you lead a powerful grunt army, but has little other use, as non-pure leaders don't tend to have many minions.

                    Intimidate - The exact opposite of Battlecry - it affects all your enemies in the same area when used, and decreases their chance of hitting. As with all battle-boosters for leaders, you should likely focus on your main favor sources first - combat skill if you hunt, and/or passive skills for those who want to attract minions.

                    Grunt Mastery - Essential for builder/leaders. This lets you summon grunts from anywhere, without the need of a summoning pit (at twice the standard price), and grants you one extra grunt every 200 levels. Plus it gives your grunts better stats, increasing their building, mining, and combat efficiency.

                    Boss Monsters - This ability has great potential, potential that it unfortunately does not reach. This is for two reasons: combat inside lairs is too rare to devote favor just toward it, and the movement penalty (originally designed when everyone had to wait a bit between each move) is literally crippling, and only gets worse with investment. Even if this skill were going to be purchased by a pure leader who never left the lair, and just wanted to be a good lair defender, other skills are more useful - even ones available to all monsters, like Fortitude. Hopefully this ability will be revamped in the future, but in any case, it's not a skill for a newling monster.
                    Blackhand

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                    • #11
                      Magician Special Abilities

                      Sometimes we can't avoid giving pain, even to friends.
                      -- Margaret (Phyllis Coates) in the movie Teenage Frankenstein (1957)
                      Magical abilities come in a few categories:
                      • Long-range pure-mage attacks.
                      • Long-range any chimera mage attacks.
                      • Two more attacks with different qualifications and functions.
                      • Lots of various random abilities.
                      The two primary categories of ranged attacks function exactly the same mechanically, just doing different types of damage. In the case of Flame Breath and Fireball, there is no known difference except in who can get which. Also, all ranged magical attacks, including the non-standard Poison Breath, can 'splash'; what this means is that when a hit connects, it has a chance to hit additional nearby monsters, dividing the damage between them. Investing in the attack increases the chance of splash; indeed, splash does not take effect at all until level 100. Currently, all defenses of the 'splashed' targets are entirely ignored, an effect I believe to be broken, and that may be changed in the future (though with the change should come boosts to other mage powers). With the current mechanics, splash is both good and bad to have; dividing damage among many enemies who can take that damage can make killing go slowly, while those who do high damage can kill a group more quickly with it, and the current armor-ignoring effects let you hit targets that would otherwise easily dodge your attacks.
                      All ranged attacks can attack enemies you've 'scanned' from a distance.

                      Chain Lighting - Pure-mage ranged attack; deals lightning damage.

                      Fireball - Pure-mage ranged attack; deals fire damage.

                      Fire-Breathing - Chimera mage ranged attack; deals fire damage.

                      Cold-Breathing - Chimera mage ranged attack; deals cold damage.

                      Poison Breath - Chimera pure-mage ranged attack; deals poison damage, which is subject to the poison mechanics. This ability is not subject to the apparent caps on infection that Venom and Crud have. With this skill, and this skill only, you don't get any favor for kills made only by splash, so it can be slower to gain favor with this skill. However, this skill is very potent in PvP; it is counterable, bug if left uncountered, a single successful hit can kill a monster of comparable level who doesn't have good regeneration or resistance, though it'll take a few minutes if that's the only attack.

                      Cold-Touch - Pure-mage melee attack; deals cold damage. It is speculated that this attack causes enemies to have longer roundtimes, taking longer between actions, but this is unproven. It is hoped that this skill either does more damage or has special effects that make it worth having when compared to the ranged options available to monsters who can get this skill.

                      Focus - Pure mage skill. When used, increases accuracy of magical attacks. Pretty much a must for all pure mages eventually, but you'll be better off focusing on your attack ability and energy before getting it. It'll last a short while, with increased duration with investment.

                      Fly - The ubiquitous fly special ability that all Chimera except Sphinxes get automatically. It allows easy retreats from combat, and combined with a ranged weapon is a powerful combination. Note that you can only fly for so long, though it's long enough to be useful at low levels, and virtually forever with high investment.

                      Haste - Decreases the roundtimes needed to perform actions. Is useless until at least 100 ranks have been invested in it, as it just doesn't last long enough until then. It can be used on allies as well as yourself, but it takes a long time to recharge, so you won't be able to use this on yourself and ally at the same time until very high ranks (if ever). Very useful at high levels, in any case, allowing one to attack, move and perform special actions in the time an opponent can only do one thing. Throw in an extra attack for more fun. Note that until somewhat recently, Haste was affected by a bug that took effect at high levels, that was oft mentioned in the forums; this bug has been fixed.

                      Regenerate - Increases regeneration; however, it's not especially effective until you already have a lot of Energy (which grants regeneration). Good combo if you have large amounts of health; it'll help deal with a low defense, or for those with defense from other roles, can bring formidable toughness.

                      Resurrect - Brings you back to life right where you died, but does not negate death penalties. With investment you can return to life quickly. Interesting to use, and a great roleplay element, but if you fall once against a monster, you're likely to fall again. And if you do succeed the next time, then the favor spent on Resurrect could have been instead spent on combat abilities and kept you from falling at all. Does have multiple uses in lair raids, though you'll have to be creative to think of all of them.

                      Stun - Stun prevents the target from moving for a period of time. It is a medium-range attack, so you can only attack targets in the same room as yourself, thus you don't need to approach and you can use it while flying in the same area. Investments in the skill and in energy increase the chance to hit and the length of the stun, though you'll need significant investment to see significant results. Moderate investment, 40-50 ranks or so, should get it to where you can stun a single target, attack a bit, and stun again; however, things aren't as easy when outnumbered. Finally, monsters have varying resistances to the skill; there are several high level monsters that even the most novice stunner can get half the time, while other monsters have strong inherent resistances. It makes a good third or fourth skill; it's helpful if you've already acquired significant energy when you get it.

                      Teleport - This is a useful secondary special ability, but not good as a 1st or 2nd special ability. Basically lets you "mark" a location that you can get to, and teleport there if you are very close to it. Every monster gets one mark (though they're limited at what they can do with it) to start, and monsters with Teleport get an additional mark with the ability, plus more with significant investment. At low levels your range is pretty limited; around rank 50 it gets to be quicker than walking somewhere, and rank 100 it starts getting useful. Note that it can be used to get around an entire lair easily; good if the lair's time-consuming to navigate. With investment you can bring friends, then force enemies, along with you, and at very high investment you can summon allies who are at a nearby mark. This skill allows for great combos with the Trapping builder skill and builder skills in general; offensive, defensive, and non-combative.

                      Raise - Undead-only ability. Considered very underpowered. It lets you create a grunt from a corpse, that isn't under your control (until you invite it - or someone else does). A bit cheaper resource-wise than Grunt Mastery or ordinary summoning, but is otherwise inferior to Grunt Mastery - Raise does not allow you to control more grunts, primarily. I don't know if investment creates stronger grunts. Might be useful if you can't get Grunt Mastery but really want to summon grunts from unusual places - wanderers wanting one to hunt with, non-leader builders, shaman with Sacrifice (other than a Hierophant Leader), etc.
                      Blackhand

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                      • #12
                        Shaman Special Abilities

                        It's a thing of violence, to whom death would be a merciful release.
                        -- Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney) in the movie House of Dracula (1945)
                        Shaman skills can be separated into three groups: Heal, other favor-gaining abilities, and non-favor-gaining abilities. For the non-heal ones that gain favor, it works like this: You can only cast them once per hour or half hour or whatever on each monster; you can cast beyond that, but won't gain any favor for that casting. The timer gets reset if you die, though, so you can cast on everyone (including yourself) and get favor again, often enough to make up for the death penalty. All shaman spells that grant favor, heal included, have limits involved; if a monster is too powerful, or too weak, compared to you, the skill will work but you'll get very little favor for what you do. Finally, all protective skills (as opposed to restoration ones) will last a certain duration, which will start at about 6 seconds and go up to ten minutes or so (assuming they're not worn out first), based on investment in stats and skills.

                        Heal - Currently a must-have for shamen wanting favor. The best favor comes from having weak defense and healing yourself often when attacked. You can't do that forever with the same uglies, though, as eventually you'll stop gaining favor for healing damage from a certain source. The skill is also very useful in groups. Add a killing skill if going dual mage or warrior, so you can kill them (which you'll want to do if you can, to keep your infamy up), or add one of the other shaman-favor-boosters to increase favor gain.

                        Carapace - Favor-gaining protective skill. Absorbs physical damage done by successful hits. Once it's absorbed a certain amount of damage, it breaks apart.

                        Endure Damage - Single-role shaman favor-gaining protective skill. Absorbs magical damage done by successful hits. Once it's absorbed a certain amount of damage, it dissipates.

                        Fortify - Favor gaining 'protective' skill. Increases regeneration of the target. Very desired by humanoids, if sufficient skill in it can be achieved.

                        Sphere of Protection - Favor-gaining protective skill. Makes it more difficult for all attacks to hit the affected monster. Does not wear out prematurely. I hear that it may work better when the shaman casts it on himself, but that is unproven.

                        Spirit Shield - Favor-gaining protective skill. Only works on the shaman himself, but is autocast when enemies are present. Increases defense. A good skill to get eventually, but as shamen often don't want high defense (so their skills actually get use), and this can't be turned off, it's be good to avoid it at early levels. Get Sphere if additional defense is important early on.

                        Cure - Favor-gaining curative skill. Cures disease (typically from Creeping Crud) and poison (typically from Venom, Poison Breath, and traps). Very effective in the right conditions, but those conditions aren't common enough for this skill to be especially worth it, especially if you're wanting it for the favor.

                        Sacrifice - Single-role shaman non-favor-gaining skill. Requires a live grunt under the shaman's control in the location to be sacrificed, bringing another monster back to life. However, the skill does not reduce the death penalty, and getting a live grunt to the battle can be very difficult... except for the Hierophant/Leader, who can get Sacrifice as a result of subrole, and can get Grunt Mastery. In any case, though, as the skill will provide absolutely no advantage that will turn into favor gain, this skill should only be acquired by very high-level shamen.

                        Wards - Single-role shaman non-favor-gaining skill. Protects a room in your clan's lair from a certain race of monster. Currently very, very underpowered; reportedly the underpoweredness is due to a bug.
                        Blackhand

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                        • #13
                          Warrior Special Abilities

                          Humans are such easy prey.
                          -- Dr. Pretorius (Ted Sorel), in the movie From Beyond (1986).
                          As stated before, there are two routes to go with warrior attacks - claw and weapon, with pure warriors being better at the weapon route than non-pure warriors. Choose one or the other. One consideration is that, at least once you get past early levels, the weapons you'd imagine being 'weak' (like little knives and such) are actually the best, because the slow roundtime of the bigger weapons is too much compared to their extra damage.

                          If going the weapon route, you might consider getting other abilities first, and using a non-favored T&N at the beginning.

                          Iron Claw - Increases damage done by Tooth & Nail. Simple, straightforward, powerful. Iron Claw and T&N is a good combo for a new player.

                          Krush - A weapon skill. A decent selection of weapons available. I believe that the current source of one Krush weapon is only through having it as your chosen skill in character creation.

                          Slice - A weapon skill. A decent selection of weapons available.

                          Stab - A weapon skill. A poor selection of weapons available. I believe that the current source of one Stab weapon is only through having it as your chosen skill in character creation. Two others are carried by uglies. I don't know how the small selection available compares to the best weapons of the other skills.

                          Missile Weapons - A humanoid-only ranged weapon skill. A decent selection of weapons available. A common choice, the only ranged attack for humanoids other than Boulder Throw, which has stricter requirements. Note that to perform an attack--whether it be Missile Weapons, T&N, or a standard weapon skill--you must have the appropriate weapon wielded (or none at all for claw attacks). Unwielding and wielding can be slow, and delay reactions. And missile weapons cannot be wielded while shields, rendering you more vulnerable while you use hold the weapon. The Soldier warrior subrole increases damage with this skill, so the two make a good combination.

                          Boulder Throw - A humanoid-only ranged weapon skill. You must be size Huge naturally in order to gain this skill. Ogres and Minotaurs are normally large, and can be made Huge with either the Tyrant leader subrole or the Boss Monster leader ability. Some high-tier humanoid wanderers also qualify for the skill. Note that that size increases from Boss Monster and from Tyrant do not stack. Boulder Throw is wnique in that rather than having one weapon permanently, you collect and hurl different boulders, reusing them if you can, and searching for new ones.

                          Koncentrate - A pure-Warrior skill. Increases the accuracy of all weapon attacks, including Missile Weapons and Boulder Throw.

                          Shield Master - A pure-Warrior skill that increases defense gained from a shield, and decreases the likelihood of your armor getting damaged as a result of shield use. Note that you cannot wield a shield and a missile weapon at the same time. And if more two-handed weapons are introduced in the future, you won't be able to wield them and a shield at the same time, either.

                          Sneak Attack - A special form of ordinary attacks; it deals more damage, and, I believe is easier to hit with. It must be executed while hidden, though, making the skill pretty much humanoid-only. The skill is intended to be useful only for getting in a highly-powerful blow at the beginning of battle, but a common tactic for those with this skill is to sneak, retreat, hide, and sneak again... though only high-level monsters can pull that off, as they'll need quite high offensive potential before the investment needed to get Sneak becomes worth it. Alternatively, one could try a Sneak-focused monster, getting Hide and Sneak early on; I don't know how well such would fare early on as the Sneak mechanic has recently changed, but a skilled leader can make most any skill choice good enough to hunt with at early levels.

                          Stop'Em - First, let's you guard an item, exit, or monster. If guarding an exit, it keeps monsters from leaving that way, but not from entering from that direction. If guarding an item, it keeps monsters from taking it. If guarding a monster, you stop others from doing certain things like poking the monster, and if a another tries to approach the monster you're guarding, they approach you instead. You do need to make a success roll for all those effects, though - others will be able to get past you sometimes. Who has a better chance is dependent on their agility, I think. Also, this skill makes it harder for others to retreat from you, though for most monsters you'll need a lot of Stop'Em to stop them effectively.

                          Drain Life - An undead-only melee attack skill. It does not benefit from anything that boosts weapons or claws; its damage is comparable to a plain Tooth & Nail attack. However, the healing and the rare stat drain are nice effects. Decent overall against living creatures, but you'll need a backup attack (like T&N) against any undead you fight. I'd suggest getting your other combat skills and stats up before getting this skill. Vampires can get this skill for half-off regardless of role; mechanically, it'd be wisest for them to save this skill for their last, if getting it at all. Note that it uses strength and agility, so non-warrior vampires may want to get those two stats before purchasing it.
                          Blackhand

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                          • #14
                            Chimera Special Abilities

                            The crying shadow in the funeral dance, the loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.
                            -- T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
                            Fire-Breathing - Chimera Mage attack. See Magical section.
                            Cold-Breathing - Chimera Mage attack. See Magical section.
                            Poison Breath - Chimera pure-Mage attack. See Magical section.

                            Natural Armor - Increases defense, and reduced damage from falling. A good skill, and lets chimera make up for their lack of armor-wearing ability. Combat chimera will likely want to get it eventually, if they don't have other priorities.

                            Tail Attack - A medium-ranged attack. It can be used while in the same area as your target, without needing to approach, and you can use it while flying with the target on the ground. Good for chimera who don't have the magical role, but can fly.

                            Devour - Not an actual purchasable skill, but something that all chimera can do - devour armor. Devouring armor gives the chimera additional defense for a short while - twice the defense that would be gained from wearing it. Torso armors and shields are the best type to devour. If a chimera devours a magical item, the magic is taken too, and results in far greater defense than for an unenchanted item.
                            Blackhand

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                            • #15
                              Humanoid Special Abilities

                              With one fist clenched behind his head, heel drawn up to thigh | The cocky little ogre dozes off, ready, | Though, to take on the rest | Of the world at the drop of a hat or the mildest | Nudge of the impossible.
                              -- W.H. Auden (1907-1973)
                              Missile Weapon - Humanoid Warrior ranged attack. See Warrior section.

                              Boulder-Throw - Humanoid (Huge or larger) Warrior ranged attack. See Warrior section.

                              Hide - Lets you become hidden from view. Spying, waiting for the right moment to strike, or even beating a hasty retreat are possible with this skill. Successfully hiding isn't always easy, and attentive monsters present make it even more difficult. You can also sneak between places, but it'll take investment to do so well. Monsters can search you out, with the more attentive ones having a better chance of finding you - it'll take a lot of investment to have a good chance staying hidden. This skill doesn't really help in combat, except for the surprise factor, if rivals have let their guard down at a place they're guarding. I suggest getting it as a later ability, though generally only if you're going to get Sneak Attack, which this requires. Getting Sneak and Hide very early on are options, but I'm not sure how viable that route would be.

                              Sneak Attack - Special attack. Not restricted to Humanoids, but restricted to warriors with Hide, which only Humanoids can be. See Warrior section.

                              Evasion - Makes you more difficult to hit. A good ability if you are a combative character, and you want to get another ability, but don't have a different ability that's a higher priority at the time.
                              Blackhand

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