A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

Have a really dumb question? Ask it here to get help from the experts (or those with too much time on their hands)

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A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#1 Post by Micbran »

And the allusions to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy end there.

Hello and welcome to this wonderful guide! No doubt you clicked on this thread because you need help, right? Welcome to ToME, your deaths will be numerous and often but don’t get discouraged, everyone dies! First off, the game is a little bit more complicated than most, so the purpose of the guide will be to explain some of those concepts.

In case you're one of those people that wants to know if the person writing the guide actually knows what they're talking about...
Insane Cornac Sunpaladin that I do not want to talk about
Nightmare Temporal Warden
Normal Skeleton Brawler
Each one of those is a winner for each of the mainly played difficulties.

That being said, normal and nightmare are easily winnable once you read this veritable essay and apply some very basic critical thinking skills.
Also feel free to use the skill builds on both those characters (though the TW skill build was courtesy of bpat and the sunpaladin from tome's very special community member, ster).
And now for some testimonials from satisfied readers!
Cathbald wrote:I had actually never read it before but it's really good, i'll link it from now on :P
shesfakingit wrote:Jesus Micbran, this looks like a college thesis statement. How long did it take you to write this?
TinyReaver wrote:I love this game and the female lizards.
ster wrote:How much of a normie did you have to be to write this guide with all these dumb questions?
shesh wrote:Cursed is fine.
orange wrote:honestly ghoul cursed is a good beginner combo, you should add it
Micbran wrote:Great guide dude! I'd totally copy and paste it everywhere if it didn't make me look like a total douche!
bpat wrote:This guide is great but all my guides are wrong in some way so I'm probably also wrong here.
minmay wrote:I miss duvessa
Shibari wrote:Stun is the great destroyer, please edit this guide accordingly so.
dadito wrote:Even though I had to do the final fight for you on your first insane win, the guide is pretty decent for new players, good work.
Mex wrote:As much as I enjoyed this guide it has not made me want to play ToME more.
DISCLAIMER: ToME involves A LOT of reading and so does this guide! There is no TL;DR! As Hellowhat/Kirk/Isaiah put it, "a lot of headache can be saved by just taking some time to fully read everything."

What even is ToME?
Tales of Maj'Eyal (ToME) is a roguelike. A true roguelike aka. a classical roguelike. This isn't Binding of Isaac, Don't Starve or Dead Cells. Those are roguelites and I'd love to argue semantics and naming but its an absolute mess of definitions. Once your player character, or PC, runs out of lives, you will not be able to play them again; they are deleted. Forever. There are 3 main lives settings: Adventurer, Rogue-like and exploration (should you be a donator). Adventurer mode causes you to gain lives at certain levels, Rogue-like means you get no lives and Exploration gifts the player with infinite lives and enemies don’t heal when you revive. How you play is up to you, just know that people will judge you no matter how you play. Its a sad fact of life.

Which stats are the best stats?
Every class has a primary stat, a secondary stat and possibly even a tertiary stat. For example, Berserkers really only need strength (Str), but because of the conditioning tree you can put some points into constitution (Con) if you want. Furthermore, Berserker also has a few dexterity (Dex) scalings, so Dex could be seen as a sort of tertiary stat. At the same time, you could forgo con altogether and put points into cunning for critical strike chance, which benefits Berserkers locked Bloodthirst tree nicely. Knowing that, that means there are MANY ways to build the same class. And knowing that, there's (generally speaking) one best way to build a given class. You can find those in another guide somewhere, I'm not going to bother with that.

Anyways, let’s do a run-down of the stats.
Strength (Str)
Increases your physical power, the power used for all weapon attacks and some warrior talents. Also increases your physical save by a smaller amount and your maximum encumbrance to allow you to carry more items.
Dexterity (Dex)
Increases your defense and ranged defense (essentially the same thing but for ranged attacks like arrows). Also gives accuracy and a unique stat: “Shrug off criticals chance” that gives you essentially that % chance to dodge a critical hit. Pretty nifty! Quick note on defense, its not any sort of damage reduction or anything, it's literally just a stat that gives you a chance to dodge weapon attacks (defense vs. accuracy).
Constitution (Con)
Each point in the constitution increases your life by 4, heal mod by 1% (for the first point, it drops after that. The total you get from 50 points into con is 30% heal mod) and your physical save by a little. Con sounds good on paper… But in game not so much. Constitution is almost barely worth investing in unless you have the conditioning tree or you REALLY need the life and can’t find life + gear. Life + gear has a minimum of about 40 life for one item which means 10 points of constitution for one piece of gear. Despite all this damning evidence I’ve stacked against constitution, healing modifier is a damn good stat to have, so for that, I’d say that constitution is a good tertiary stat.
Magic (Mag)
Magic increases your spellpower which in turn increases the effect of most of your spells that you may cast. It also gives a little bit of spell save. Magic is easily the most important stat for spellcasters that use it, since most of what they have will scale off spellpower in some way or another.
Willpower (Wil)
Willpower is a little like magic, but for mindcasters with a little bit of extra thrown in. Not only does it increase your mindpower and your mental save and spell save but also your max mana, max stamina and your max psi. This makes willpower even useful for mages in some cases.
Cunning (Cun)
Cunning is the most general stat. It works well on any character build because of one stat: Critical strike chance. Each point increases your mental save, mindpower and critical strike chance by a little. More on critical strike later.

As you can see, each stat has its uses. The main purpose of stats is for requirements to LEARN talents, but not to use them. This means you can equip some gear with +magic stat to learn a spell and then take it off and still be able to learn the spell. This is a strange concept in ToME and not often used, but it can be useful, such as when learning prodigies. Stats do have a limit to the number of points you can put into them. Once you've put 50 points into a stat, you won’t be able to increase the stat anymore. Stats also have level breakpoints at which you'll be unable to invest in them further until the next level.

What are these numbers next to the names of the talent trees? 1.30?
That’s your talent tree mastery. There are two kinds of talent levels in ToME, raw and rescaled. Raw is simply the number of points you’ve put into the talent while rescaled is raw * your mastery in the tree. There are some amulets and artifacts (items with yellow names) that can increase your mastery in certain trees. For example, putting 5 points into a talent tree with 1.30 mastery will cause your talent to essentially act like you've put 6.5 talent points into it, making it stronger.

I just hit level 10! Wait… What’s a category point?
Cat(egory) points are a little bit of something that allows you to unlock extra talent trees, add another inscription slot to yourself or reinforce a category’s mastery. The latter isn’t really suggested, as it tends to be a sub-par option most of the time, but an extra inscription or a new category is something that can really beef up your character. There are also special high level categories that scale from levels 10 to 22, instead of levels 1 to 12. They often have powerful skills at the end of them. Remember! Cornacs start with an extra category point.

What do I wear? And does this plate armor make me look fat?
The best gear for your character. And yes, it does. But what is the best gear? Gear that generally increases your survivability is best, Life + gear being at the top of that list. This is because in ToME, Defense >>>Offense in 99.99% of situations. Other good modifiers to look out for are resists to common damage types (fire, cold, lightning… ), +% status immunities (reaching 100% is fantastic), healing modifier, armor and obviously all resist. Armor will reduce weapon damage up to your armor hardiness %. This is good because many of ToME’s dangers are weapon damage based. Resistances reduce damage taken by that % of resistance, so even 20% of a resist is rather effective. Healing Modifier is how much sources of healing are increased by: 150% healing mod turns a 100 heal into a 150 heal and turns 60 life regen into 90. Status immunities are a percent chance to completely resist the application of a status effect (hence why 100% is so desired).
As for offense you'll want + % damage, resistance penetration and spellpower for spells, mindpower for mindpowers and nature gifts and physical power for weapon attacks and warrior talents. Don't worry about memorizing that! Most talents will explicitly state what power they scale off of. Also, critical strike and critical mult are two very powerful offensive, and sometimes defensive stats, but more on that later.
Another thing you'll see on a lot of gear are these things called saves. Saves are… pretty meh despite their intention and effect. What they do is reduce the duration of statuses applied on you/allow you to completely resist their application as well as preventing the application of crosstier effects. Spell save and mental save are both pretty handy, but physical save is more or less pointless on higher difficulties. Saves aren't terribad/never build them but they shouldn't be something you really prioritize for. That being said, they can do a decent amount when you have just enough you do actually end up resisting a lot of status effects thrown at you, just usually not physical ones. 80 saves will pretty much make you immune to everything (except phys).
One more thing about armor and defense. Armor is an… Odd stat. Best way to describe armor is as follows: you block the lowest of [hardiness% times their damage] and [your armor value]. You can check an enemy's damage with inspect creature, their damage will be listed in the attack section. That is not how much the enemy will hit you for, if you were to have 0 armor they would actually hit you for far more damage than that. The easiest way to increase armor hardiness is to level up the armor training talent, the effects of which only affect you if you're wearing heavy or greater armor. Also, heavy armor and greater also tends to have a lot of fatigue. Fatigue causes every talent's cost (except for vim, equilibrium and steam) to be increased by that percentage. Fatigue affects mana, psi, and paradox doubly. Defense on the other hand, is your “dodge.” Every time you're attacked by a weapon, your defense is checked against your attackers accuracy. The greater the difference between your defense and their accuracy, the greater your chance to dodge. If you’re having trouble hitting high or even low defense enemies, it might be time to put some points into combat accuracy. In my opinion (and many others) armor is... nearly broken. Going 3/5 armor training and donning heavy/massive armor is the right choice for a lot of classes, just for the sheer defensive capability it gives you. Fatigue is a non-factor for many classes (fatigue actually benefits archmage lol) since armor will increase your survivability by a large amount and if you run out of resource you can always run (seriously running is okay). If the class that you're playing that has the generic talent tree “Mobility” you'll instead want to invest into light armor training. Now, just because you have light armor doesn't mean that you don't need armor. Armor is still very good even if you're using light armor, you'll just have less overall armor and hardiness.

What’s this green thing that looks like a guy going super saiyan?
That’s an inscription. More specifically, a wild infusion that removes a status effect of its same type. Infusions and runes are the consumables of ToME… except they don’t have a limited number of charges. The only things runes and infusions are gated by are saturation (increases the cooldown of subsequent infusions/runes used after the first) and cooldown. Other than that, you can use them as much as you want. At the start of the game you only have 3 inscription slots. In addition to this, you can only have two of the same type of inscription maximum, so no triple regeneration infusion. You can increase the number of inscription slots you have by spending a category point that is obtained at specific levels. Quick note on why I keep saying “rune” and “infusion” instead of inscription: Runes are magical inscriptions and infusions are nature based inscriptions. To clarify that, yes, they are both inscriptions.
There are 5 “popular” types of infusions. Regeneration, Healing, Wild, Movement and Heroism. Regeneration sets a regen effect on your PC, healing is an INSTANT (keyword) heal for a flat amount as well as cleansing a poison+a wound status type. A wild infusion cleanses a status effect type with the same name as it (physical, mental, magical) and grants you an all resistance bonus and movement infusions make you move very fast for one turn and grant you 100% stun/pin resist after the effect ends, making them effective for gap closing and running away. Heroism causes you to gain a considerable amount of die at, which is essentially extra life. In addition to this, it also increases your 3 highest stats by an amount, making it a decent power boost for a lot of characters.
Shielding and manasurge runes are the most common of the runes. Phase Doors, Teleports and Controlled Phase Doors (appear later in the game) can be used as an escape, but they’re fairly unreliable. A shielding rune forms an instant shield around the PC, while manasurge allows the player to regenerate mana while resting and it can be activated for instant mana (perfect for countering mana draining talents) and increased regen. Phase Doors teleport you randomly in a set radius and give you a decent boost to your all resistance and time that that negative status effects last. They can make a decent option on some classes. Teleports are pretty shitty, you’re basically wasting an inscription slot for an inscription that doesn't provide any in-combat benefit (unlike Movement infusions) and doesn’t even guarantee that you escape. Controlled Phase Doors are way more reliable than Teleports but they still suffer some of the same issues — they don’t provide any combat benefits.
All inscriptions can generate with an ego, causing them to scale with a certain stat. These are the inscriptions you want.
The "classic" inscription setup tends to be: 2x movement, heroism, regeneration, and then a physical & mental wild or just a pure physical wild. Works for many characters, though there may different setups for classes that either don't buy 2 inscription slots or that have a manasurge rune. Also, notice how most of those are infusions? Yeah, me too. They tend to be better.

Status effects? Those don’t sound too bad.
Actually, they’re just about the most dangerous things in the game. Many status effects can essentially disable your character for a couple of turns (stun, sleep, confusion, etc.). Stun is by far the worst and most common, it reduces your movement speed by 50% and your damage you deal by 60%. Additionally, no talents will cooldown while it is on you and 3 random talents will be set on cooldown for 1 turn. So while it's on you, be very careful about moving because your enemies will all take two turns. You basically want to cleanse it as soon as possible. Applying it to an enemy is very worthwhile, as their damage output will be severely crippled. Raising your saves can help you resist the application of the status itself, but what do you do if you don’t have high enough saves or can’t be bothered to get high enough saves?

Avoid, cleanse and immunity.

Know what talents can cause which status effects. In ToME, there isn’t really an easy way to set specific talents of an enemy on cooldown, but you can try to stay out of range of the talent. Stunning blow, for example, is melee range. So, if you can try to avoid being in melee range you are far less likely to get stunned. Obviously, not all classes can do that, since some are exclusively melee, but it's definitely an option.
Immunities are exactly as the name implies, they make you immune to a status effect… If you get 100% of one. Before that, whenever the effect is applied (not every turn it ticks down) you have that % of chance of whatever immunity you have to simply resist the effect. 50% stun resistance means that 50% of the time a stun status effect is applied, it just won’t work. Immunities can be obtained most commonly from passive/sustained talents and more than often, gear. Movement infusions will give you 100% stun/pin/daze immunity after they wear off, perfect for engaging on an enemy that has a stun so that you don't even have to bother cleansing it. This is the main reason why running at least one movement infusion is recommended (and why undead suck, as they can’t use infusions).
As the name implies, this tactic involves removing the status effect from yourself... but how? The most common way is with a wild infusion. A physical wild infusion will cleanse a physical effect and a mental wild infusion will cleanse a mental effect… so on so forth. Heat Beam runes, Acid Wave runes and Biting Gale runes are the offensive, rune counterparts of wild infusions. Cleansing can also be done with a few talents (techniques/conditioning’s Unflinching Resolve) but it is quite an uncommon effect for a talent. Often times, those talents that do remove statues will be well worth the investment, since that sort of effect is relatively rare.
Let's do a quick rundown of common status effects:
As mentioned above, Stun reduces damage, slows movement speed, puts 3 random, non-instant talents on cooldown and prevents talents from cooling down. If you plan on running/staying for an extended fight, it is in your best interest to cleanse this immediately. Can be cleansed with a physical wild.
Pin will prevent the affected actor from moving and using mobility talents (but not teleports/phase doors). Can be cleansed with a physical wild.
Cripple slows attack spell and mind speeds which means that using most talents takes more than one turn. Can be cleansed with a physical wild.
Prevents application of new status effects and healing effects while frozen, damage taken will go partially to ice block and partially to actor inside. Can be cleansed with physical wild.
General Slow
Slows global speed which reduces your total energy (speed in ToME is weird, look up general speed guide for more info), which essentially causes enemies to take double turns more often. Can usually be cleansed with a physical wild.
Causes affected actor to sometimes fail (instant talents cannot fail and nor can items. Good to know when you want to use that physical/mental wild) and when moving causes random movement, randomly. A wonderful little RNG effect. Can be cleansed with a mental wild. Confusion power has an upwards cap of 50%, that is, you won't fail more than 50% of actions.

Another extremely confusing concept with status effects is crosstier effects. There are 3 crosstier effects: Off-balance (the physical crosstier), spellshock (the magical crosstier) and brainlock (the mental crosstier). Crosstier effects happen when an actor (whether it be the player or a mob) uses a talent that checks saves vs power (generally a debuff of some sort). If the users power is 20+ over the target's saves, the user inflicts a crosstier, dependent on what save was checked. The duration of the crosstier effect is equal to 1+ however many "tiers" the actor's power is above the target's saves. 20-39 is one tier, 40-59 is two tiers and so on so forth, so most crosstiers you'll see have a duration of 2. Now, for what the crosstiers actually do:
Reduce damage by 15%. It’s fast, it's easy, its free and most of all, it's simple.
Reduce all resistance by 20%. Much like Off-balance, its very easy to understand.
Put two random talents on cooldown (unlike stun, these can be instant talents) and prevent talents from naturally cooling down (also sorta like stun). Pretty much the worst parts of stun rolled into a mini-effect. Definitely pretty dangerous and the best/worst crosstier.
Worth noting that wilds will cleanse their associated crosstier for "free" when used.

Why are they so many types of critical strike? And what uses what kind of crit? And what kind of talents can crit? And what’s critical mult? And…
Whoa, slow down there hypothetical question asker, one thing at a time. There are 3 types of critical strike: Mind crit, physical crit and spell crit. Unless explicitly stated, all weapon attacks will use physical crit, all mindpowers will use mental crit and all spells will use spell crit. Sometimes a weapon attack may be considered a spell talent (see temporal warden talents) in which case it will use weapon crit, since the talent projects a weapon attack. The cunning stat increases all 3 types of critical strike, so don’t worry about that. As a general rule, staves increase spell crit, mindstars increase mind crit and most other weapons will increase physical crit. As for what talents can crit… Quite a few of them, even the ones you don’t expect. Solipsist’s thoughtforms can critically strike when summoned, healing light from celestial/light can critically strike and so can Barrier from the same tree. Most attack talents have the capability to critically strike. If you’re really curious as to whether a talent can crit or not, you can ask on chat, the forums, or IRC. Or you can cast it like 25 times and see if the log tells you it crit or not.
Critical multiplier or crit mult, is the multiplier that your damage is increased by whenever a talent critically strikes, denoted in both the log and by blue, floaty letters when the talent hits. And usually bigger numbers. The default crit mult is 150% therefore, when you critically strike, your damage will be increased to 150% of the initial damage. This can be increased easily enough through equipping gear that gives crit mult. Additionally, there is no mind crit mult or spell crit mult or physical crit mult, crit mult is UNIVERSAL. Once you stack up a lot of crit, getting some crit mult is usually a good idea, though it is kind of an uncommon (but powerful) stat.

What's a good class to pick if I want to get far?
Even before you unlock a bunch of stuff, there are a couple of "good" classes that are fairly easy to pick up and play (race is usually a less important factor).
Bulwark - Decent survivability paired with fairly simple talents. It's not a strong class by most means, but it is very easy to play which is far more important than some rating on a tier list. Should at least allow you to unlock a couple of classes.
Berserker - Fairly similar to Bulwark, but hits things harder. Likely around the same difficulty as Bulwark to learn.
Alchemist - Alchemist is actually pretty shit, but it's the only mage that starts unlocked. Would highly suggest pairing with a higher life rating race (such as Halfling). Arguably the most difficult out of the ones presented here but honestly that's more because Alchemist is shit.
Archer - Archer is a solid class. It might have a bit of a rough start but once you get going, you'll be sniping everything from 13 range away. More difficult to learn than Bulwark and Berserker but also more rewarding for doing so.

And this one dude named bpat made a compilation of guides on his personal wiki page, so if you need extra help, you should be able to find plenty there.

Accuracy bonus? What's that?
Accuracy bonus is something listed on weapons. For example, on axes the accuracy bonus is listed as “Accuracy bonus: +0.2% crit/acc.” But what exactly does this mean? Essentially, for every one point of accuracy you have over your target’s defense when you attack, your crit chance will increase by the difference*0.2. Each weapon subtype has a different accuracy bonus. Staves, for example, have “+2.5% proc damage/acc” meaning that procs can deal an insane amount of damage with the right accuracy. Swords have crit power, maces have +damage % and daggers have armor penetration (APR).

What's a proc?
Procs are essentially extra damage/statuses that "proc" (or process/act) on attack. For example, in Arcane Blade's Spells/Enchancement tree, Fiery Hands says it "adds x.xx amount of fire damage one attack." This is an example of a proc. Most procs will apply from on weapon hit and a few will apply on spell/mind hit (example, Black Robe). Anyways, procs are generally pretty damn strong on most weapon classes, especially if a status effect is tied into the proc. The "apply random gloom effect" is often a very coveted proc, as gloom has a chance to stun, reduce damage(?) or confuse. Other notable procs include: cripple procs on gloves (good for brawler and anyone who takes flexible combat), "amnesia" procs that cause the affected target to have talents put on cooldown, global speed slows if large enough, and disease/epidemic procs are decent on Reavers.

Why do the spellpower bonuses on my items say x amount but then say x eff?
Many of ToME’s powers and a couple of other things (defense, accuracy, flat damage reduction, etc.) have diminishing returns. What this means is that as you get more points into whichever power you’re scaling, you’ll get less out of it, hence the x eff part. The x eff part is how much your rescaled power will go up by. Rescaled power is the number you see on your char sheet and is the number used for damage calculations.

What zones do I do in what order?
I’m too lazy to write a guide and someone already wrote a good one, so here you go.

What’s with this snake and its purple border? And why is it… and now I’m dead.
That’s what we call a rare (dun dun dunnnn), enemies that receive a little bit of a bonus in order to assist in them killing you. Improved health, AI and talents are the main part of what they get. And damage. They also tend to do more damage. Rares often receive multiple talents from 1 of the classes in the game in addition to whatever talents they normally have. Once you see one, you should be more careful, as they tend to be much more likely to kill you. Once killed, they’ll drop a salmon colored item, an item with special enchantments, or egos as they are called in ToME. Rares can spawn from chests too, so be wary when opening them. You’ll see rares pretty much all throughout the game and sometimes, their big brother, randbosses. Randbosses don’t spawn quite as often and are much tougher than a rare. When they are killed, they drop one bright orange item and a bunch of other items. Often, these have many egos, making them some of the best items you can get in the game. Also, just so you can get the terminology down, the salmon and orange items are often called “randarts” while the yellow, artifact items are called “fixedarts,” as they are fixed, thus they have the same stats every time they spawn. Now since each rare spawns with class talents from one of the classes available to the player (locked and unlocked), you'll probably find yourself scratching your head every time you see a fancy particle effect followed by some damage and an effect. To fix that issue, there’s this wonderful thing in ToME called “inspect creature.” Simply right click the mob you want to inspect and click that option. It will bring up a plethora of info on them, including what talents they have. If you don’t know what a talent does, you can hover over it and read it. After all, knowledge is power. Also, most out-of-depth creatures, that is, creatures whose level is far greater than those around it, tend to be pretty powerful. It's probably best if you inspect every enemy that seems to be giving you trouble to find out WHY they're killing you so easily. And also read. It's important.

I didn’t get to finish my alchemist quest/I had to find a ritch stinger! Better restart!
Slow down there, bud. Alchemist quests, found in Derth, Elava, Last Hope and the wilderness are hardly a reason to restart a character. The bonuses they provide are welcome… But not exactly game changing. You can live without +2 generic points and +2 class points. Now, for those of you who don’t know what alchemist quests are, they are these little mini-quests where you are instructed to “gather” (mainly just murder every thing, there isn’t any gathering involved) ingredients from monsters and bring them back to the alchemist. Once that’s done, the alchemist will give you a potion that gives you whatever bonus you asked for. If you complete all 3 of an alchemist’s quests, they’ll give you a super special item.

Why does this guy need an escort so badly? How did he/she get here in the first place? And why are they so stupid?!
Yes, they are stupid. They’re these random little events that spawn “randomly” (the spawn place and escort type is determined when you create your character) and there are 9 total, spread across the campaign. There are many different types of escorts and rescuing (or betraying) them can lead to some nifty bonuses. Most escorts will give you the option to learn a generic talent that pertains to their type or increase one of your stats by 1 or 2. Also, you can learn a talent category from them, locked, which means you still have to spend a cat(egory) point to unlock it. Celestial/Light and Tinkers (if you have Embers of Rage) are the two good categories you can get from escorts. For the most part, learning a talent from an escort (assuming you can actually get use out of it) is much better than taking some paltry “+2 to a stat I already have 9000 of.”

Gah, these guys blasting me from 10 miles away are so damn frustrating!
What you need is some way to close the gap. Rush is (ironically) a better escape than a gap closer so I fully suggest using a movement infusions to gap close. Most of the time it's better to lure the mages or whatever other ranged enemy you're up against around a corner or something anyways, since by running out there you run the risk of being surrounded. Despite all that study in magic, most of them are dumb enough to follow you around the corner… and right into melee range. There’s really no reason to use rush on an exclusively melee mob, so save it for pesky ranged mobs. Watch out for skeleton master archers though, they have pinning shot, which, well, applies the pin debuff, forcing you to stand there and take it until you cleanse it or it wears off. Remember! Armor DOES NOT work against magic! Nor does defense! Your best bet for dealing with mages is to either stack resists or kill them quickly and play smart. Well, you should be playing smart anyways.

I have so much money! What should I buy?
You should buy new, better inscriptions, replacement gear and on the off-times, talent tree training/learning. There’s also some stuff you can do with a lot of gold, down in the spoiler section. In the early game, you'll want to head down to Last Hope or Zigur as soon as you have 300 gold or so to check for T3 gear and good inscriptions. This will greatly boost your character's strength, provided you can wield what you buy. If you're having trouble in the early game, Derth has a lamp shop which just might have a lantern of health in it (generally +40 max life). This is a significant boost to early game life.

Why is this door sealed?
If a prompt appears on your screen that specifically asks you “are you sure” before you open a door, you’ve just stumbled upon a vault. Vaults are special areas with special layouts and special enemies. The enemies are often a higher level than what you find in the rest of the zone and items are on the ground, just begging to be picked up. Before you open a vault though, you need to remember that enemies WILL be tough and you need to clear the rest of the level first and you need an escape plan, in case all hell breaks loose. Also, all vault layouts are static, if you see a similar looking vault, chances are it's the same vault. The enemies might be a little different and so will the loot, but enemies will be in the same place and so will items. Just remember, vaults are not for everyone, before you open one you might want to think back on how powerful you are and if the answer is “very,” go for it. Otherwise… it might not be such a good idea.
Another small tip is that it's often best to open most doors from the diagonal, to cut down on how many enemies can see you at one time. Less likely to get assblasted on the first turn of opening a vault.

Holy shit all my pretty particle effects and sustains disappeared and now my archmage no longer has a shield/my 20k attentuate is killing me/I don't have second life up anymore/[insert magic sustain here] is down!!!!
You've either a.) been dispersed magic'd, b.) been combination kicked c.) somebody used entropy on you and you're losing one sustain per turn, or finally d.) one of the other less common talents stripped your sustains (Corrupted Negation, Dissolving Acid). All of these talents remove sustains directly in one way or another (while antimagic/manaclash remove them in an indirect way, by draining your resource pool to 0).

How about some miscellaneous tips?
Try not to fight for than 3 enemies at the same time if possible. Hallways and other such choke points are very useful for doing this. Also using a digger to modify the landscape to be more favorable for an upcoming fight is also a good idea.

Always make sure you have an escape on you. Movement infusions can make for a speedy get away but if you're surrounded (which should almost never happen, hopefully), you might need something more… random. Psychoport Torques are handy for this since they fill the same niche as teleport tunes without taking up a valuable inscription slot. Though in reality the best way to deal with it is it not get surrounded in the first place. Honorable mentions go to Dream Walk (obtained via. betraying Temporal Warden escorts) and items with the phase door charm.

Be on the lookout for gloves of dispersion (grant dispersion talent, very useful for dealing with mages with a lot of sustains or ones that have annoying magical effects), Mindstars of burrowing (burrow + movement infusion is fantastic) and Track (on normal, really only useful for a select few areas, Dreadfell 9 and High Peak come to mind).

Also status effects are the real killer in ToME (indirectly, most don't deal damage).

And lastly, READ EVERYTHING. Don't know what a talent does? Read it. Don't know what an item does? Read it. Don't know what a stat does? Find it on the character sheet and read it.

I need more help!!
If that’s the case, then check out the wiki, hop onto IRC at #tome or ask a question in the in-game chat! Most people are pretty happy to help. In addition, you could try asking a question in the forums or searching the forums to see if someone has already answered your question before. TomeTips also has some info about talent scaling and etc. Links below:
(no point in linking the forums, you’re already here after all)


You'll probably see them anyways while trying to scroll down to read the rest of the forum posts. Try not to read them. :P

What’s with this “Lake of Nur” zone? What’s so important about it?
Reaching the end of this zone and killing the boss nets you a pretty nifty “home” for your PC. You’ll be able to store and retrieve all of your lore across all of your games, making the necromancer unlock easier and store items in the southern side. Items dropped there will be automatically sorted by type. A little bit below that, you’ll see your item vault, if you’re a donator. This will allow you to store items that ALL characters who reach this point will be able to retrieve. Just remember that often a level limit will be put on the item if it doesn’t have a stat restriction. Also in the Sher’Tul Fortress are some lore bits that you can come back and translate once you finish the game. On the east side, you’ll see a blocked off section. This is the farportal area and once you reach a certain amount of energy in your fortress (obtained via. Transmog chest) it will unlock and you’ll be able to do farportals. Farportals are randomly generated dungeons with a boss at the end that you MUST kill. Trying to Rod of Recall out will cause the farportal to break (usually), making you unable to farportal anymore. Honestly, Farportals are more likely to kill you than help you so I would strongly suggest NOT doing them at all. The final bosses and High Peak should be easily doable at level 42 so there's no need to power level. There’s one more thing in the Sher’Tul Fortress: a training room. While you can’t really “train” in the normal sense, it does allow you to check your damage, thereby hopefully giving you the info to make the best gear choices. Now, while I do make the Lake of Nur and the fortress at the end sound sooooo worth it, it really isn't and the zone is completely optional.

I have so much gold and just got back from the East! What can I do with it?
I hope that “so much gold” translates to 4000! If so, you can go to the merchant’s shop in Last Hope. If you rescued him from the thieves, he’ll offer to make you a special item costing 4000 gold. This special item will be any slot/type of your choosing and will be equivalent to that of an orange randart. Or maybe a little bit better. Can’t remember. You should be able to use the merchant’s services at least 2 times, if not 3 or 4. Don’t forget to sell your gems if you don’t need them!

But what items do I make from the merchant?
Replacing shoddy gear is your best bet. Simply look for your worst piece of gear and go from there! If you’re antimagic, the merchant will never make you an arcane powered artifact and likewise for magic, he’ll never make you an arcane disrupting piece of gear, so don’t worry about that. From what I’ve heard you:
Never want to make: Mindstars, cloaks
These are really good: weapons, lites, gloves (especially for flexible combat users).

Is antimagic worth it?
Antimagic is decent if…: you can shoulder the heavy generic cost (22 or so), the one cat point cost (if you're antimagic you can pick up fungus which is pretty handy in some builds but costs a cat point to unlock) and the limitations put on your gear choices. Just remember that it does limit your gear choices by quite a bit, but antimagic followers get a bonus on some antimagic artifacts, such as Breath of Eyal.

I want to win. What class should I play?
I personally netted my first win with Dwarf Solipsist but that was only barely. Easier combinations would include: Ogre Sun Paladin, Shalore Temporal Warden/Paradox Mage, Thalore Oozemancer or Thalore Solipsist. Each of these combos include a strong race that is further accentuated by a strong class(Shalore and Ogre more so due to Timeless and insane inscription synergy, respectively). Doombringer and the Tinker classes are all respectable classes as well.

Story Spoilers!

Why is Dreadfell so hard?
Well, it was the end of the game a while back. Besides that, its one of the major obstacles for a lot of players: vaults, difficult enemies and a tough boss to boot. Hopefully there will be some tips here that will get you there (and past it), but here's a more "Dreadfell Specific" guide. First, a short overview of what to do.
-Don't open any vaults unless you know what you're doing
-Don't be afraid to run
-Be prepared for the boss
-Don't be afraid to dig around a little to make a more suitable environment to fight.

Now for some elaboration:
Vaults: Most of the vaults in Dreadfell tend to be very dangerous and thus, happen to be a very good way to lose your life (or lives). Open them ONLY if you feel like your character is absolutely smashing through Dreadfell and think you can take the beating. Other than that, treat it like a normal vault: have an escape plan, maybe do some shield buffing (for archmage) and whatnot and maybe do some OP Z-formation digging beforehand.
Running: Its okay to wimp out and run, nobody knows but the mobs and most of them can't even heal themselves so it all works out. Teleport, Phase Door if you're lucky, Movement Infusion, all of those work. Just be careful with a Teleport as it might end up launching you into a situation just as bad, so make sure you teleport away before you're put within an inch of your life. Stair Dancing is also a fine tactic, especially for The Master. He has two lives, so, you can drag him to the stairs, fight him there, drop one of his lives off, go back down the stairs and rest up. Then, finish him off. Easier said than done, but w/e.
Digging: There are actually a lot of places in Dreadfell that are blocked off by walls and are only reachable by teleport, IIRC, there used to be a chance that The Master spawned in one of these closed-off areas, thus making it pretty dang hard for the player to find him. Additionally, you can dig in the classical zig-zag formation or make a straight line if you're lazy. Each of those helps funnel enemies into fighting you, 1-by-1.
The Actual Boss: The Master is primarily a necromancer, but I think he actually has Stunning Blow so watch out for a stun in melee range. You'll have to deal with an extended battle, cold damage, physical damage, minions and darkness damage.
Yes, the master does have stunning blow as I just checked. First thing you'll want to do, if you can, is try and knock down the Master's sustains, as this will lower his minion's durability and they will no longer spawn will'o'wisps (which do considerable damage). If you find yourself unable to disable his sustains, then watch your health carefully and don't be afraid to run. Avoiding fighting the Master in the open where he can surround you with his minions easily. From what I've heard, the best place to fight him is in a hallway, where he can't summon a bunch around you, but it's up to you. And its okay to dig around a little. Remember, the Master doesn't heal (usually), and if you run, he'll usually come chasing after you. If he runs (or rather, tp's), he'll still come chasing after you. Oh, and the Master is on floor 9 of Dreadfell. The Master is honestly easier in a hallway, provided you're confident in your skills enough to potentially end up surrounding yourself on two sides, one side being The Master and the other being the minions he'll inevitably summon. Bonus points if you can get The Master to summon minions into a hallway while you pop out and trap him like so.

Code: Select all

Where M is The Master, m is a minion and p is the player.

What do I do in the Charred Scar? Do I help the Paladins for 500 or something turns?
No, you don't help the Paladins, you just run, run, run (insert Running in the 90's - Initial D here). The goal of the Charred Scar is to make it to the "end" (no teleporting/phase dooring allowed of any magical sort, dream walk and other "teleports" that aren't spells are a-okay. Take that magical nerds!) Within 500 or so turns. Once you're there, you'll fight a fire boss with, IIRC, 100% fire resistance, so if you're primarily a fire damage dealer and have no resistance penetration... Good luck. Along the way "down" the Charred Scar, you'll encounter all ages of fire drakes and whatever those other fire dudes are called. Any sort of mobility skill is useful here to get past the groups and I would definitely suggest not trying to kill every last enemy. Failing to reach the end within the time limit (remember, fighting the boss is NOT part of the time limit) will result in uh, a couple of unfortunate events happening later down the road. Not 100% sure what actually happens, but I do have the faintest memory of the time I failed it and made it to the end of the game and yeah, something happened. Moral of the story is, don't fail. Run, run, run.

I probably forgot something or got something wrong, so if you have a suggestion, post it below please!

Edit 1: screwed up some BB code. Oops.

Edit 2: added some info about movement infusions in mages section and added TomeTips link. Finished some of the Spoiler Section.

Edit 3: forgot to bold a question

Edit 4: changed escort number from 8 to 9 since I somehow forgot that.

Edit 5: Added some story spoiler info: short section about Dreadfell (and The Master) and Charred Scar

Edit 6: added in some Cornac Berserker as an alternate starter's character

Edit 7: added in the "classic" inscription set up, courtesy of bpat.

Edit 8: added some extra info about stun and armor (mainly about it being VERY GOOD)

Edit 9: added some extra info about the master

Edit 10: added winners and some further info on the master

Edit 11: added master's location and some other info in spoilers

Edit 12-15: more info about status effects and how to win easily.

Edit 16: added a proc section. Guide is more or less finished.

Edit whatever: more revision, updated some... misleading info.

Edit something: more revision clearing up misinformation, added quotes section, insane winner and some bit about crosstiers

Edit I don’t even know anymore: removed the non-kino cringe and cleaned up info/formatting.
Last edited by Micbran on Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:42 am, edited 40 times in total.
A little bit of a starters guide written by yours truly here.

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#2 Post by bpat »

Excellent guide. Some things I would add are that there are actually nine escort quests rather than eight and that Movement Infusions are a great gap closer in the section that you talk about Rush.

Here's the ToME Tips link.
My wiki page, which contains a guide and resource compilation and class tier list.

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#3 Post by Hatome »

Nice guide. It'd be nice if it was put on the wiki and stickied someplace else maybe. Maybe you could publish it on steam too since not everyone comes to the games forums straight off the bat. Btw Bpat when I click on that link nothing happens for me.

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#4 Post by Micbran »

bpat wrote:Excellent guide. Some things I would add are that there are actually nine escort quests rather than eight and that Movement Infusions are a great gap closer in the section that you talk about Rush.

Here's the ToME Tips link.
I'll add it and thank you.
Hatome wrote:Nice guide. It'd be nice if it was put on the wiki and stickied someplace else maybe. Maybe you could publish it on steam too since not everyone comes to the games forums straight off the bat. Btw Bpat when I click on that link nothing happens for me.
I was trying to get it stickied here and Dekar said he would send it to the ToME steam forums. So, give it a few days I guess.
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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#5 Post by Micbran »

Stuck an extra bit about Dreadfell and the Charred Scar specifically, also I want to bump this. :P

DarkGod or some other moderator/etc. Could I get this stickied to the dumb questions section, or moved to the general spoiler section and stickied there?
A little bit of a starters guide written by yours truly here.

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#6 Post by darkgod »


Also, yeah ncie guide :)
Also, if you have steam, would you please put that as a guide over there too ? thanks :)
[tome] joylove: You can't just release an expansion like one would release a Kraken XD
[tome] phantomfrettchen: your ability not to tease anyone is simply stunning ;)

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#7 Post by Micbran »

Dekar put a link to it in the "Welcome" guide, but I supposed I can copy it over there too.

And thank you! :D
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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#8 Post by Micbran »

Alright, I think I've reached a point where this guide is more or less finished. If there is anything wrong with it, please speak up.
A little bit of a starters guide written by yours truly here.

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#9 Post by Steven Aus »

It seems that the Lost Merchant orange randarts are more powerful than the regularly generated orange randarts. This makes sense, as they cost a huge amount, are still random, and some of the bonuses may not be applicable to your particular character so they need to be powerful.

Do you feel that Constitution is worth putting points now in 1.5.x with the healmod bonus? I made a Dwarf Brawler, so I could boost it without using stat points, but I put my points into it after maxing Dexterity/Cunning and Strength. It's probably better than it used to be, but it depends on your Race and Class and skills etc.

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#10 Post by Micbran »

Since you can put 3 stats to 60 and have about 20 or so points for a 4th, you might as well jam them into Con. You get no mileage out of magic/willpower unless you're going for an Arcane Might + PES meme build or are antimagic.
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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#11 Post by dadito »

Even though I had to do the final fight for you on your first insane win, the guide is pretty decent for new players, good work.

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#12 Post by PseudoLoneWolf »

Damn. You know I just got most of the way done writing the Uber Noob's Guide To TOME since I didn't think we had a good catch-all newbie guide for recent versions?

I haven't uploaded it yet, which is good, since this one is much better. *applauds sadly*
Let slip the toast of war.

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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#13 Post by Micbran »

PseudoLoneWolf wrote:Damn. You know I just got most of the way done writing the Uber Noob's Guide To TOME since I didn't think we had a good catch-all newbie guide for recent versions?

I haven't uploaded it yet, which is good, since this one is much better. *applauds sadly*
well sorry for you.

speaking of which i'll probably end up adding a video section later for people too lazy to read, but i'm not really sure what to do them over besides rares, status and inscriptions (which would likely be one video).
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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#14 Post by Davion Fuxa »

PseudoLoneWolf wrote:Damn. You know I just got most of the way done writing the Uber Noob's Guide To TOME since I didn't think we had a good catch-all newbie guide for recent versions?

I haven't uploaded it yet, which is good, since this one is much better. *applauds sadly*
Having two guides covering the same topic isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'd probably still upload it if you are most of the way done writing your guide.
Its amazing what the mind can come up with, but it shows talent to make something of it. - Davion Fuxa
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Re: A Hitchhiker's Guide to ToME!

#15 Post by chriseggroll »

This is a very helpful guide while also being entertaining to read, thank you!

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