Barebones and fast guide on ways to avoid noticably bad things happening to you and to get rich/overleveled quick. Look up details of locations in other guides if you want more precise locations, I’m keeping it more vague for the Exploration Sense
There’s a ton of characters, each with different a*sorted weapons, trinkets, and fun backstories, quite often paired with another character you can’t play as. Most of these don’t matter, as aside from minor stat differences and starting level there are very few mechanically different characters in the game. Pick your favorites, and also the guy with the ROM trinket since that’s unique to him and can’t be equipped on anyone else. It’ll fall off eventually, but it’s free damage. Grab anyone around the village you don’t use and drop them on the 00 location, if you wipe you gotta get a new party from the people there to find and bring em back. The guy that’s in the isolated tile is behind a secret pa*sage, yes those exist in this game.
As you start going down, you’ll start grabbing a*sorted movement and battle abilities to equip on your team, with the amount of them directly tied to the amount you’ve explored. You get a good starting bonus, it’ll slow down to 1 every 1000 tiles, with a full floor clear bonus of 3. The movement abilities are what’s important for getting good fast, so prioritize those, especially since the early combat abilities (outside any immunities important at the time and running away) aren’t too useful since they can’t be used outside combat.
You should be able to figure out early combat pretty quickly, but if you’re having trouble, build your party mostly towards either physical or magical damage with some of the other type, remember to buy/equip gear if you’re having problems, pick up a crossbow if gargoyles are beating you up, and unarmed attacks instantly kill enemies with 1 HP (more on that later). These strategies will change up over time, though.
NOT GETTING DUMPSTERED
There’s a good few things that’ll trash you up really bad in this. I’ll go over some generals and some specifics, and how to avoid them.
ENCOUNTERS 0B AND 0E
These two encounters have Sculptures, which have a chance of instantly petrifying one of your party members. The earliest gorgon shrine to unpetrify people is on floor 8. The earliest these meaners show up is earlier than floor 8. Don’t mess with them until you’ve found it. There’s petrification later too but you have the immunity by then probably.
OUT OF LEVEL ENCOUNTERS
Keep an eye on what hexcode the encounters in the area are using, if you see one that begins with a number two or three higher than what you’re used to, it’s enemies that are about 20 levels higher than you and will kill you if you can’t run, unless you’re unlucky and they do something worse.
REALLY OUT OF LEVEL ENCOUNTERS
If you see an enemy marked with a letter at the start instead of a number, it will not be a fair fight to put it lightly. I don’t know all of the ways they can ruin your day because I’m not dumb enough to touch them, but I’ve sure read some angry goofing steam comments about them alright.
FC is the treasure hunter, and they’ll show up earlyish. You can’t kill him yet, and they will steal 10,000 gold from you as many times as it wants before you or it runs. “Lol I’m broke now” you might think. No, he also stole your social security and credit cards. He’s taking out home loans, he’s using your pa*sport, he’s buying every single DLC for train simulator. You can get gold stolen from you into the negatives. Don’t plan on buying anything until you start breaking things if you beef it here.
FD is Professor Cavy. They’ll turn your party members into funny rodents, which makes them kinda adorable but bad at doing their jobs of “hitting things”. You can cure this at a Cavy shrine though, so not too bad, right? The gorgon shrine showed up a few floors after petrification, you can manage, right?
The Cavy shrine is on floor 97.
There’s a teleporter to it though! On floor 44. Also the pa*sage to the shrine is filled with, you know, floor 97 level enemies (not that it matters since you SHOULD be able to just skip past them by then, because you’re gonna be busted by then.)
OTHER LETTER TAGS:
I don’t know what all of them do but best case scenario is you die in a way that you can have an open casket funeral, worst is that you aren’t getting that party back until you’re on the last stratum.
ANACONDAS: Anacondas can swallow your party members and then they’ll run off, until you can chase them down (find another encounter with an anaconda) and cut em out of there. Funny status effect and not that dangerous as long as whatever ate you is something that’s, you know, killable. Unlike getting rodentized or getting nigerian princed, you can be immune to most of the other mean tomfoolery enemies pull with the right battle abilities, so keep a look out for those.
BANISHMENT: I don’t actually know what causes this because I’m not dumb enough to attack anything that looks like it could banish me, but I do know that it sends your entire party to hell (last stratum) and sets them to wandering. I’m also mostly sure that regular enemies up to and through the third stratum don’t do it.
POISON: lol mean I guess it’ll kill you or whatever but I kinda forgot to talk about it earlier and now it just seems kinda dumb in comparison. you can’t heal it without a shrine but if you die it goes away so who cares
INSTANT DEATH: just use the resistance if you fight bees or bone dragons lmao
WAYS TO GO DOWN SO FAST YOU GET CRITICALLY UNDERLEVELED
This happens to me in basically every game I play because I’m impatient and hate grinding, and if you’re the same then this section is for you! Ever since you picked up that “see encounters on the map” ability you knew you were gonna skip anything not in your way, it’s ok to admit it. If you didn’t pick it up, you should, because the game is functionally unwinnable without it due to out of level encounters. Exploration abilities are the key to going fast in this game, and I’ll be posting the floors of the most important ones along with relevant info. If you were just interested in not losing in horrible ways, the rest of the guide’s not for you.
Fiend Scouting: It’s on floor 1 and if you don’t get it because you want to “emulate random encounters” you will get student loans from the treasure hunter. Lets you see encounters, mandatory to have on at all times basically.
Lesser Descension: Lets you go down one floor… as long as you are directly above an open tile. Good if you can vaguely remember the shapes of maps, also pretty decent if you just spam it around the place or if you know the general layout of the dungeon (and I will be covering that). Is on floor 5, with its counterpart Lesser Ascension 2 floors down (which is good for getting out of holes you’ve dug, but most of the time you can just find a recharge station or teleporter out down there).
Stratum 1’s General Shape: I’m not looking up their names. First area’s relatively sparse and sprawling, descension’s gonna involve a lot of moving it around before it works. Stairs are nearly always on the opposite side of the floor from the other stairs, and this will continue being a trend for most of the game in one form or another. This also means that if you do use descent, near the up stairs is usually a good place for it if you can. This is the floor you’re probably going to have to do mostly legit, though you can always come back for more ability points later once you need them and because you probably will want to be at least level 10 for the PP (health doesn’t matter you’re gonna die to the second or third hit majority of the time anyway)
Eagle Eye: On floor 11, lets you see the stairs, loot, and everything else from farther away. Pretty nice.
Stratum 2’s General Shape: This entire stratum is a single set of two intertwined, looping corridors. This is where I started realizing I didn’t want to play fair anymore. Descent works enough of the time, but you should be able to walk past a majority of the fights by just… taking the other path. If you have to get in one, running works decently well still as long as you’re not critically underleveled yet.
Gambler’s Shift: Teleports you on floor randomly. Since floor 2 is two straight lines, if you use this at the start of the floor you’re guaranteed to get closer to the end, and sometimes that’s a Lot closer. This still holds true for less linear floors on average as well, and if you get a bad roll just slap it again since you get a lot of charges. Not many more required fights with this.
Wanderer Tracking: Floor 18, lets you find lost characters. Not “required” but you’re going to want to get it if you’re a reasonable person because those characters come preleveled, and some of them can use the Good Stuff.
Stratum 3: Like floor 1, but denser on average and larger. Lot of winding dead ends. Descent works pretty well here, and this is the last stratum you need to do in some semblance of legit.
Shift: Floor 22. 6 Charges of either “skip over an enemy if it’s not at a corner” or “just skip over a wall further ahead.” Stratum 3 is built with this power in mind, and there’s enough recharge points that you can use it comfortably as needed, until you get to…
FIEND SHUFFLE: Floor 25 is where it starts to fall apart. I enjoy this game to some extent, I will admit, but the game has just given me 10 charges of “reshuffle the enemies 🙂 clear that path!”. This combines with the fact that I am nearly entirely sure that larger floors do not have more enemies, meaning that they’re even less dense than early floors, and you can just walk through levels with basically this alone. This is the tool you use to go back and clear out earlier floors with extremely fast. This is the tool you use to not fight anything else on floor 3 past this point if you want.
Stratum 4: Stratum 3 was the last stratum you needed to play fair in. Stratum 4 is nearly entirely a single, eternally winding corridor. This stratum makes it clear that the specifics of the maps of each floor are not important, only the very thin contents and the fights you’ll have to do before moving further on… or you would if we were actually fighting, anyway. Which, to reiterate, we are not. You can teleport anywhere you want here, and all the maps are centered so you can descend at basically any point whatsoever you care to.
Conjured Waypoint: When I was reading through the list of items of interest at the start, I a*sumed that, yknow, hey! I could finally mark where the places I could descend are when I get this! It actually lets you return to a single marked spot, once. Use this at a safe area, explore with no consequences, get out if it’s gnarly. Floor 32
Floor 38 is the last floor you need to worry about the dungeon as seperate layers. Greater Descension sends you down until you hit the next open tile, or you hit the center of the earth and your character is lost (until you find them again wandering around the bottom of the map). Pop the waypoint, head back up, grab one of those level 2 characters you haven’t used yet, and start sending them to their deaths one by one in the name of skipping the entire dungeon. Aim for the teleporter floors so you can recharge and save your progress, and the further from the center you are the further down you go on average.
Stratums 5-7: No longer important. You are steve minecraft, digging straight down. One’s lumpy, one steals your gold, and one’s foggy. I haven’t finished this game and I don’t know if I ever will.
Stratums 8-9: The first stratums I know of you can fall through the dungeon in. Take your important stuff off while you’re down here, you’re not fighting anything anyway. Wide corridors through the entire thing. You don’t even need to use abilities to skip most of this.
Oh Yeah There’s A Skill To See Pitfall Traps: I never got this skill. Other guides mention where it’s at, but you honestly don’t need it until you’re actually exploring around on floors with them.
Stratum 10, The Rift: It’s basically everything at once. Some floors have pits, some don’t. Switches between spacefiller patterns and extra small floors, a lot.
Sticking the Landing: The final teleporter is on the second to last floor, and it’s a near exact replica of the starting… town? I a*sumed it was a town anyway, but that might have just been me projecting on the game when I still had high expectations. memorize any co-ordinate of it you please and there’ll be a tile there when you land. Alternately, the final floor has a regular pattern of tiles around the edge, so there’s about a 50/50 chance if you descend onto it along it that you’ll stick the landing, and it’s barren so you can just walk right up. If you screw up, try again but from like 5 tiles over a direction next time, one of the rift’s floors has a full ring around it so you can just go from there. Congratulations! You now have access to the entire dungeon and are nearly unable to fight anything down here!
HOW TO FIX THE UNDERLEVELING PROBLEM YOU JUST CAUSED
Before we can get into that, though, we need to talk about…
Shop Restocks: Shops get items in when you kill enemies. Better enemies, better items. There are nearly no items in the dungeon as treasure, which means your attack is still in the triple digits at best despite you now sitting at the bottom of the world. Sure, you could go through the floors and level up slowly, but… why? Who wants to do that. So first, we have an alternate method which the last teleporter lets us do for cheap, relatively safely, and all that other stuff.
F6: I am very lucky that I got the entry for this guy on my mad rush downwards, because it wasn’t really required at all and if I didn’t know what it was I’d never have fought it. F6 is a fight against two different levels of Ghost Ship enemies, entire boats haunting the underworld. I’ve only ever seen them use intercept, a full party physical attack that does 5 digits of damage and kills you. This makes them incredibly safe (lol), and more importantly, they’re one of the game’s undead enemies, which as mentioned before have… 1 HP. (and a billion defenses and are pretty fast and all but not the point). This means that if your level 1 character gets to go and have a free arm, they can punch the Level 99 Mafia Boss Ghost and kill it instantly at 100% chance, since unarmed attacks deal 1 Direct HP Damage. Equip as much speed armor and boots as you can, don’t bother with weapons, and pray for not many ghost ships. You’ll get a large chunk of exp and gold if you succeed, if you fail then just go any pick yourself up through the teleporter. Individual fights like this don’t give huge amounts of exp, but it’ll give you enough gold and PP that you’ll be able to keep yourself in the best gear available to buy once you can buy it, and it’ll fund a sped up version of the trip down if you’re still interested in playing the game somewhat legit.
Wandering Characters and Special Weapons: Why would you play legit when there’s a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ dragon you can play as. The hidden treasures give a*sorted status and special weapons, some locked to specific characters, but that’s ok because statuses in this game are murderous. Petrify, banish, poison, eating people… all the things that kill you work on (some of) the enemies, and they scale just fine! Just get the gold as per above, solve a few puzzles, find a couple wandering characters, cheese a couple mid-high level enemies for their gear, and suddenly you’re ready to restart your adventure from floor 90 with minimal grinding unless you want to play as the milf instead of a samurai, a dragon, a robot, and a large cat.
I’m gonna be honest writing this guide has really made me confront my feelings about this game and it somehow both didn’t manage to give me the old school “busted a*s dungeon crawler that kills you” experience that I’d hoped for by simplifying things too much while also frontloading just enough bull to make people who’d want it simplified cry about it. It’s clear effort went into the game, but does that matter when the game practically begs you to skip three fifths of it? Does it matter that you introduce traps and statuses that kill you when you can become immune to them before they show up? In a genre about mapping, how does it manage to give you both too much map to be worth making you own, and then not give you enough functionality for the map to make the descent spells pleasant to use? That, and I do hate saying it, but the game’s content is sparse. Happy new year to all, I’m probably going to write a negative steam review about this tomorrow.
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