General Tips For Survival

Check the Game Options

If you are having a difficult time with the game, try changing some of the character generation options to make it a little easier. After you develop a feel for the game and its dangers you can begin to turn the more difficult settings back on.

  • Turn the Beginner's Kit ON. This starts you potions of Remove Curse, Cure Disease, Mana, and a Wand of Identify.
  • Set Maximum Hit Points to YES.
  • Set Maximum Mana to YES.
  • Set Out-Of-Depth Monsters to NO.

User Interface Tips

When selecting your target for 't'alking, 'l'ooking, targeting, or another action, hit l(L) or t to specify that you want to choose a location or target manually.

Pressing ALT-s while an item stack is in the air slot will allow you to split that stack.

Press backspace or 'l'ook then 'o' to view a map of the entire level.

Press 'd' then 'j' to view your journal to see your starting perks you picked at the top, and what percentage of a level you have explored at the bottom.

F3 = Autorest - If you have a condition that is not persistent or deadly (confusion, stunning, fear, etc.) then it will pass turns safely until it wears off. You'll still be interrupted if the game thinks you need to know, such as from taking damage from a nearby foe.

F5 = Autobuff - When you are looking at your spell list, press F5 on a buff spell to highlight it in blue. These selected spells will be cast when you press F5 outside the spell selection screen.

F8 = Autoloot - Allows you to pick up more than one item at a time from the ground.

F9 = Autodrop - Allows you to select an item in your inventory that the game will automatically drop if it is picked up by autostow.

x - Use this menu to drop buffs, dismount, or stop using a tactical ability.

, - This key allows you to autotravel (fairly) safely. In the options, set stop at region barriers to make it work better.

Spell Hotkeys - When you are in the spell menu hit the numbers 0-9 to bind a spell to that key.

Use (Yuse) Hotkeys - Push Y to open a long menu of commands. You can also use the numbers 0-9 to bind a key to that action. Spell and Use hotkeys share the same small pool of keys (0-9) and binding a key in one place will move all previous bindings to that key.

T - Talk with a nearby creature. For example, command a summon or an animal companion to follow you or attack a specific target. You can use this with most or all sentient creatures to trade, fast talk, or demoralize.

Inventory Hotkeys - Use M, O, R, and A to set your main weapon, offhand(weapon or shield), ranged weapon, and ammo. These items must not be in your back pack. hit - on the main screen to switch between your ranged weapon and your main and offhand. Shift-direction is a hotkey you can use to fire your ranged weapon/ammo in a cardinal direction.

The Tactical Options Menu ('c')

Attack - Use this option to attack a monster who is standing in the same square as you, or is in the same square as another monster. Hit 't' to select a target. It can also be used to attack doors or chests with your melee weapon if you are unable to do enough damage with kicks.

Movement - Use this option to move through enemies that are not hostile or that are fleeing.

*Remember to cancel any state you put your character in like close eyes or defensive stance by hitting x at the main screen.

The Use Item Menu('y')

Mount - allows you to mount a creature that in its description says it is mountable. Must have at least 1 skill point in ride.

Apply - Lets you apply oils of transformation to weapons.

Starting Potions

Around the outskirts of the entry chamber are 8 guaranteed potions: 5 healing and 3 dimension door. Don't be too resource conscious or you will end up in the grave with them!

Know Yourself

Each character has racial abilities, class abilities, starting perks, feats, skills, items, and sometimes spells which can help them in a situation. If you are unaware that your kobold started with Flawless Dodge, then that ability will be wasted. When you get into a tough situation, take some time to analyze your options. The game will wait for you.

Know your enemy

Similarly, each denizen of the dungeon has a set of special abilities. Use the [l]ook command to examine what an enemy can do. You do not want to charge up to an enemy to engage it in melee combat if it has attribute draining attacks (like a Bonebat) or can cause disease (like a Bone Delver). Watch out for nasty spell casters which will cast Shatter at you (especially if your character relies on torches or lanterns for vision).

Stealth is Your Friend

Incursion, perhaps more than any other roguelike, is a game where stealth can be a very powerful tool. If you have a character with the Stealth and/or Move Silently skills, use them to your advantage. Even if you cannot backstab you can catch your enemy flat-footed with a melee or ranged attack. You must also learn to defend against this because your enemies will hide if they can. Try to maximize your ability to detect enemies by learning detection and vision spells or by putting skill points into Spot and Listen.

You can push h to toggle hiding, regardless of the number of ranks you have in Hide and Move Silently.

Know Your Combat Options

Learn to use the Combat Tactics available to you. Are you being approached by a Skeletal Warrior with an enchanted Greatsword? Run! Use ranged attacks! If neither of those work, consider attempting to disarm your opponent.

Get Religious

There a lot of gods available in the game. Each of them has certain restrictions and guidelines you must follow, but some of them are fairly lenient. Pick one that goes along with your play style and gain some favor with that god so you can pray for assistance if you get into a tight spot.

Know the Terrain

Be aware of what effects the different kinds of dungeon terrain have on movement, combat, and spell casting. You can study up by reading the Terrain and Movement section of the game manual. Use terrain to your advantage and take the Searching skill to avoid traps.

Pace Yourself

Don't be afraid to take it slow. It is very dangerous to explore while low on health or fatigue points. If you have only a few HP left, all it takes is one sneak attack or one critical hit to kill your character. Once you drop below zero fatigue points your abilities and rolls suffer tremendously. Don't take a chance. Find a safe place and rest so you can recover your health and fatigue points before continuing.

Early Game Tips

  • A difficult hurdle in the game is getting that first 1000 XP which gets you to second level. Avoid nasty enemies on level 1 until you have gotten that next level. If you see a Skeletal Warrior, for example, avoid it until later.
  • If you do not start with a magic weapon, pick up the first enchanted weapon you find. You may need to bash something with something you are not proficient in, but if you run into an enemy that is only affected by magic weapons you will be glad you have it.
  • Avoid rooms with summoning circles early on. These rooms are usually purple with a circle in the center of the room. The creatures in the circles usually cannot escape from there, but they are always out-of-depth and never grant any XP for killing them. They also often have nasty spell or ranged attacks so even passing through the room can be dangerous. Also it is a good idea to assume that there is something there even if you cannot see it. It may be hiding or invisible.
  • Avoid kobold warrens unless you have a high Search skill. They are full of traps.
  • If you have a decent Pick Locks and/or Handle Device skill you can get 100 XP per lock you pick or trap you disarm. This is a relatively safe way to get your first level, and your second, and your third - if you find enough and intermix lockpicking with enemy killing.
  • A potion of Dimension door is often better than healing when you're seriously low on HP (and in combat)
  • Barbarians have lots of HP, and Archery Rangers can generally stay far away from opponents to avoid getting hit.
  • Summons are quite useful to keep your distance from your enemies. You can have one summon from each spell simultaneously active (like one Dust Devil, one creature from Summon Nature's Ally I, Summon Nature's Ally II, and Summon Nature's Ally III simultaneously active) for more minions. Use the spell Call Companions to effectively dump your summons, animal companions, and maybe more in advantageous positions like immediately next to an enemy.

Sample Build: Talice the Drow Druid

Drow are often considered the best race mechanically due to Levitation and a net +3 to their stat bonuses. Druids are often considered the best class mechanically due to their versatility. Only well-built, well-played Rogues are likely to come close to the power level of a well-built, well-played Druid.

Not at all necessary, but it may be handy to take a level or two of something besides Druid once you reach level 10:
-Monk requires worshipping the right deity, but might provide the best benefits for these 2 levels. Monk1 is spiffy due to Zen Defense and all good saves and Monk2 gives 1 more to all saves and Evasion.

-Rogue1 or Rogue2 may also be useful for Evasion, Sneak Attack, and skills.

-Warrior1 or 2 can help for feats.

-Cleric has the downside of needing the right deity AND having a holy symbol of that deity for spells. (You could use the feat Inherant Spell - which should instead be called Inherent Spell due to English spelling - to avoid needing a holy symbol, but that requires a weak feat you normally wouldn't otherwise take.)

-Mage has the downside of needing spellbooks.

Just remember that Druid11 is still perfectly viable since Druid10 and Druid11 each give more spells known, mana, and caster level.

Use a Point Buy to generate these base stats:

14 STR
14 DEX
14 CON
16 INT
18 WIS

Remember that as a Drow, you get -1 STR, -2 LUC, +2 DEX, +2 INT, +2 CHA in addition to the aforementioned stats. Remember that as a Druid, your physical stats change based on what form you're in.

Finally, the rest of the build assumes this starting array (13 STR/16 DEX/14 CON/18 INT/18 WIS/5 CHA/1 LUC). The rest of the points are your choice. Put the remaining points where you think best. Boost INT for more skill points and spells known. Boost CON for more fatigue, Fortitude save, and Concentration. Boost DEX for more defense and Reflex save. Boost STR for more physical damage and accuracy.

You have enough skill points to max the following skills. Put your remaining points into whatever else seems handy like Athletics (more Fatigue Points) or Poison Use (poison applications):

-Appraise: Learn what the enemy is.

-Concentration: Avoid losing your spells if threatened in melee or if taking damage. Also, a high Concentration gives other misc. bonuses that only matter at a total of 10+.

-Search: Find those secret doors!

-Spellcraft: Identify enemy spells so you can counter them!

-Spot: Avoid getting ganked by sneaking foes.

Of these feats, only Wild Shape Mastery (sometimes called Wild Shape Master or WSM) is required at level 1. Other feats are generally good to have and are provided for your maximum lifespan and enjoyment.

1: Improved Initiative (DC 15 DEX check to avoid Sneak Attack and surprise penalties)
1: WILD SHAPE MASTERY! (Lets you Wild Shape from level 1. Vital!)
3: Light Sleeper (Don't get sleep murdered like other characters have!)
6: Wild Shape Mythic Hybrid (more Wild Shape form options that permit casting like Lillend, Minotaur (immunity to surprise and sneak attacks), Androsphynx (lots of STR), or Gynosphinx (innate Identify!); or innate ability forms like Lammasu or Unicorn)
9: FEAT. Whatever you take here, enjoy it for the little while you have it. This is your last general feat in this build! Some suggestions:

-Wild Shape Vermin may be useful for Formian Taskmaster form since it's basically a better ape that has at-will innate Dominate Person. Thri-kreen are also useful as better apes since they are immune to Mind abilities and have innate Inertial Barrier, Magic Armour (which doesn't stack with worn armor), Cell Adjustment, and Body Equilibrium. Behir form is useful for melee damage and is likely the most powerful melee Wild Shape form.

-Wild Shape Plant may be useful for Shambling Mound form since it can cast and is healed by electricity and it has an attach reach of 2 squares. Treant form makes you a 3x3 area and also lets you cast, plus gives you Entangle innately. Assassin Vine has 10' blindsight but can't cast. Spectral Mold is the main melee form.

Wild Shape Forms
-Baboon then Ape. (Ape is a total upgrade in this case.) These are humanish-shaped enough to grant hands and vocal cords for casting and speaking. You can wear your gear in these forms.

-Sometimes, if you want to just melee stuff, seriously consider a Pygmy War Rhino. Just ensure you have enough HP before you shapeshift to another form so the form change doesn't kill you. (Potions help.)

-Psionic Riding Lizard, once it's available, grants Inertial Barrier as an innate ability for physical damage reduction 5 or 10 per hit and it lasts until rest. That's tremendous!

Animal Companions
Generally, pick the highest-level equivalents. If you need something more specific (like an amphibious lizard), go ahead. Remember that you can summon a new animal companion initially and get a replacement companion after each successful long rest.

You can use the spell Call Companions to warp your animal companion (and summons and maybe more allies) to a location, meaning having an Elephant companion that occupies a 3x3 square area is not necessarily a problem. Just cast Call Companions to put him where you need him when you need him.

Maybe it was only me, but companions that were useful for their innate abilities (like a Psionic Riding Lizard for Inertial Barrier) would not use these innate abilities when I wanted. I advise instead going for creatures that are powerful for their physical stats.

I like Horse and Warhorse. They're fast to move and attack (with multiple attacks per round) and can be your mount. The Giant Tortoise is your best defensive option, acting as a tank with its 7 hit dice (!) at level 1, but being so slow to attack that it's mostly just a wall of shell and meat with damage as a much lower priority.

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