Is this thing on?

Day three... ish... of Tales on Steam, and I've somehow managed to hit 21 on a Shalore archmage (Brother Badass!) on normal adventure. He died somewhere in the middle of Dreadfell to a certain acid-scarred dwarf who bore the same initials as my character. I have now resolved to play on exploration mode to learn a bit more about the game; the first thing I learned was that it's important to ensure you actually select exploration mode as opposed to adventure when you start out with the intention of playing an exploration mode character. Rest well, Explorio Cheatymage. Apparently, this is an easy mistake to make off the back of losing a beloved level 21 Archmage to a dwarf who spent an entire turn spewing up on the tower floor before striking the fatal blow. Easy for me, at least.

But hey, live and learn!

Uncle Whippy, Shalore archmage explorer extraordinaire, has now arrived to fill up the gaping holes in my knowledge of Eyal. At the time of writing, he has died more times than any other character so far (infinite lives, see) and not entirely because I was curious about how he'd fare against certain newly-encountered bosses. No, this time I seem to have gone about the early game in a way that's just different enough to throw off my expectations of what I was just becoming used to; Uncle Whippy was last seen tearing across the countryside trying to find a *nice* dungeon after having various pieces of himself handed back to him by a large red dragon somewhere in the Daikara. I could have sworn that volcano wasn't there last time I looked.



It's been so long since I did exploration mode I have forgotten what it is like but I have to say with moderately careful play on normal adventure you should have a fairly good learning experience. The main thing is to learn how to run away well (it can be really hard) before the danger is beyond the point of no return. Perilous journeys are yours. That said I don't blame you for trying a character or two on exploration mode. Nothing ruins fun more than ignorance compounded by surprise compounded by wry chagrin because "if only". But I will also say that learning the game's gotchyas is probably more profound an experience on roguelike where you get but one death per character. Soon you learn to value living above all else and shiver in fear at every nuance that differs from your prior knowledge.

But I speak nonsense because I rarely venture into Tome with a roguelike character because truthfully, I don't find it fun. I like the option of either ditching a build that fails early or struggling on past mistakes/bad luck (it does exist despite the naysayers denials) when I think a build worthwhile and fun. Of course "fun" varies in definition with each person so no judgment imho. In any event, welcome to TOME, may it please you for many years as you explore, venture, learn and grow in knowledge.

- Gandolfo (aka Gando The Bard)

Hi Gandolfo, and many thanks

Hi Gandolfo, and many thanks for the warm welcome and words of wisdom!

This is my second venture into Tales since playing the free version many years ago, and I'm finding it even more fun this time around. The main motivation for playing exploration for a while is to see more of the delicious content I know is tucked away in the game, but has always remained tantalizingly out of reach, as well as getting in some much needed worldly knowledge about things like alternate dungeon layouts and alt bosses, and changes made since I last played. I have a lot of love for a certain other game involving dwarves and fortresses, so dying will always be fun, but nothing says 'Right, time to figure this out' like a bit of cheesy immortality. :D

I take your point about knowing when to start running away, I feel the same way about character survival. Knowing when to engage and when to retreat is paramount, and part of the reason I want to build up a bit of knowledge - but I agree that it certainly tends to sink in more easily when you're on the edge of your seat on adventure/roguelike mode. That's where the heart of the game is for me, and I look forward to returning to it once I've completed or exhausted my newbie tour.

I have the most experience playing an Archmage at the moment, which I feel has the better escape options of the handful of classes I have unlocked. Between disperse magic, nifty teleports, pushback spells and take-that-out-of-play-for-X-turns effects, there always seems to be something available to solve a problem. What I'm finding hardest to deal with at the moment is finding enough ways to deal with physical, mental and magic effects that lock me out of my usual escape options - I think it may just be a case of packing a rune for each one and learning to play without manasurge or shield runes until more slots become available later on. That said, I don't have many of the classes or races unlocked yet, so I'm sure this outlook will change with time. I've just begun playing around with the Earth and Frost categories and am finding my survivability has improved already. Can't believe I went so long without using Freeze!


- Tukohama.

Sweet rewenge

Day four... or five... possibly. It's easy to lose track in this game...

Borfast the Broken, the undead dwarf who did the nasty on Brother Badass, is no more. Uncle Whippy took great pleasure in transmogrifying his chunky breastplate, though whilst gloating, the area-effect lingering vomit nearly killed him. Phase Door to the rescue!

I have decided to pilot Uncle Whippy as far as possible into Dreadfell, as I keep hearing things about a nice man at the bottom who really appreciates visits from adventurers. And then, I think, my learning will have reached a satisfactory peak. Regardless of the outcome of my inevitable meeting with the Master, I think I'll be restarting on Adventure again soon, as hard as it will be to leave behind all the progress I've been making on exploration mode. The noob wings have been cast off, and the wizard robe and hat are now affixed much more firmly to my balding head.

In addition to the Three Beams of Archmagery®, I've been having very good results with the water spells, especially Freeze, Tidal Wave and Shivgoroth Form - it's a great package for healing and crowd control, which I've found goes well with the various shielding talents in the other categories. I've also been getting lots of mileage out of the Earth category, which help me set up my battles, plug exits, and dig cheeky holes in all sorts of places. And, of course, the teleport spells and Arcane Eye, which have made me truly feel like a wizard! I'll be re-investing in those for my next playthrough, for sure.

I've been having trouble with mana management and overall damage output as a result of building for survivability, however, and have found that category points are too easily spent on inscription slots where they would have been very handy unlocking more... categories. Metamagic for that tasty dispel, which I feel would have been instrumental in stripping tricky enemies of their protections and regeneration effects, was sorely missed. I'm sure I misspent a point somewhere.

I did find a good number of items which have gone, or will later be placed into, the Sher'Tul fortress vault, where I feel assured that my betentacled servant cannot play with them whilst I am away. I find myself wishing I had additional minions and perhaps a full set of keys to all these locked doors. And a bathroom - that would be nice.

Is this how things started out for the Master of Dreadfell, I wonder? It's said that a wizard begins his studies by exiling himself... and ends them by exiling everybody else. I have found no bathroom in Dreadfell, either.

Also, why do I find myself climbing *down* the stairs to reach the Master's chambers - what kind of tower is this?

Onwards, in the name of research!

- Tukohama

I'm not actually particularly

I'm not actually particularly qualified to offer advice on spending category points -- I tend to get as far as I can on early game expenditure of generic/class/category points, hoarding them until my weaknesses and the mid-to-late game dangers I'm facing are staring me in the face -- but my general rule is to assume most spell-casting classes, including wyrmics, are going to provide reasonably good substitutes for any rune or inscription you might find. I rarely spend a category point on another slot, but when I do, it's always for the melee classes because those are the ones most likely to need quick protection, escape, or healing in the heat of battle. The archmage in particular has so many abilities and categories that using that category point on a single slot is devastating because of all the options you have to unlock another tree and take advantage of it. It's a double-edged sword, of course, because you still need the talent points to get the new abilities, but with careful management, you can do way more with one category point by using it to unlock something than add an inscription slot.


Hi! first of all, sry for my English, is not my native language.
One of the thing that i learn in this game is to lose. It can be very frustrating when coming from other games, in witch you have some difficulties, but in are really meant to be won in a few try. Today i won my first game, i played in normal adventure. but if you see my character vault, this is my... 107th character! and the count in steam is 301 hrs, but i think i play a little more than that. i never play in exploration, but i think it can be useful to not walk confident in some very dangerous place, that can ruin a high level character (cof... vor armory vault .. coff) if you play and know all the game in exploration mode, maybe you can have your first winner character playing in normal or permadeath by 20 or maybe 30 attempts. Why i'm not do that? i think is because i think is funny to learn the game in the most violent and hard way. I play a lot of permadeath characters, but i really want to won at least 1 time, to know all the story, and now i think i have a more complete view of the game. Now i really understand why some guides insist that much in the mobility, and defensive stats. They are 100% right, the problem in some cases, for the new players, is that you follow the guide, but in the game, don't apply all the tools that you have.
i reccomend this guide: Cath's BFG - part 2 : Zone and zone order

It has the progression order recommended if you want to play with limited life, but warning, it has some spoilers

So, good luke, and have fun... dying one and other time xD