This guide is by no means the only method. Please enjoy the game and discover for yourself all the possibilities. Contained within are some strategies that can be employed to help you achieve a Master Difficulty victory. These strategies are by no means required for a victory. Feel free to develop your own strategies and contribute what you learn to the wiki and the community at large. With these disclaimers behind us, let’s begin.
It should go without saying that Master Difficulty is… well… harder! What makes it more difficult? (Feel free to review the Wiki description about Master Difficulty here.)
In particular Master Difficulty will challenge you in two ways:
- No Life Pool: If one of your characters dies without a Devotion, they're going to be hard to resurrect. There will likely only be one or two Devotions within reach of your team at the beginning of the game. A character dying early can really set you back.
If you do have a character die, you’ll need to use a Cult Device, Stone Table and/or Fountain of Life to resurrect that character. Spending the time finding these things can really slow you down. Best to avoid death!
- Chaos timeline: The Chaos timeline is much shorter than in Journeyman or Apprentice difficulty. With only 4 team turns between Chaos, you’ll be pressured to move quickly and efficiently to keep reducing that Chaos and preventing it from activating.
In order to defeat Master Difficulty, you must:
- Be extremely efficient with your movement
- Keep the Chaos timeline under control
- Acquire as much gold as you possibly can
- Upgrade your gear as soon as humanly possible
- Gain experience for your characters as quickly as possible
- Avoid taking damage
Of these six goals, one goal stands out as being of greater importance than any other. That goal… is “Avoid taking damage”. The winning strategy for the end-game in FTK is to avoid taking damage. Damage can be reduced to zero when following the strategy we detail in this guide. However, in order to reduce damage to zero, it requires acquiring certain weapons that won’t be found until mid to late game. Therefore, in order to win, you must survive long enough to acquire these all important weapons.
Strategy for Winning
The main strategy to win in FTK on Master Difficulty is to not allow enemies to attack. PERIOD. If your enemies can’t attack… you don’t take damage. Easy! Done!
How is this strategy pulled off? There are two effective methods that can achieve this.
The two methods are:
=== Party Rush === over and over such that your first turn never ends. This is the most powerful of the two methods. Your enemies will never have their turn occur, allowing you to kill them all before they even get their first chance to act. However, the needed weapons to pull this off are hard to acquire. There are only three weapons that make this work. You must find one of the three. The three weapons are:
The strategy is mainly to use Tome of Wonder on an intelligence based character and/or the Golden Lute on a talent based character. When the first character performs the Party Rush, the other two party members are moved to the front of the timeline, essentially replacing the first character. You’ve turned one character's turn into two turns. When the second character also performs a Party Rush, you once again bring the other two party members to the front of the timeline. You’ve now placed the first character who Party Rushed the first time back to the front again. You can now repeat this process over and over. Each time you perform this “Rush-Rush” the 3rd character in the team is getting a free turn to act. This third character kills the enemies while the other two characters keep Party Rushing. For this strategy to work, both Party Rush characters need their respective stat as close to max as possible. Additionally, they’ll need to use focus on each Party Rush which will slowly deplete these characters Focus pool. You’ll need lots of Golden Roots and/or Precious Pearls to keep the focus going.
Ideally it is best to acquire two of the three Party Rush weapons, but technically only one is truly necessary. You can still pull this off with a Single Target Rush weapon and a Party Rush weapon. Say you found the Tome of Wonder, but no other Party Rush weapon. Well, the Talent character can use Ornate Lute with Single Target Rush to bring the Scholar with the Party Rush back to the front of the timeline and repeat the process again. The third (Strength) character is only rushed once instead of twice, but hey... that's good enough to make this work. So, it is recommended as you play to pick up an intelligence weapon with Single Target Rush (e.g. Knotted Staff) and a Talent based weapon with Single Target Rush like the Ornate Lute. Then all you need is to find one of the three Party Rush weapons.
Here is an example of "Rush-Rush" in action taking down the Sea King from Into the Deep in less than 3 minutes: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/594719366?filter=highlights&sort=time
=== Target Group Reset === This strategy uses a weapon that will reset the entire enemy team. This must be done over and over to keep the enemy from acting while your other two party members kill off the enemies one at a time. There are only three weapons that can Target Group Reset. These three weapons are:
This strategy is more likely to be attainable primarily due to the likelihood of acquiring the needed weapon to pull this off. Of the three weapons, the Volcanic Tome is the easiest to acquire. Furthermore, no other weapon is needed. The Volcanic Tome can pull this strategy off all by itself. The Volcanic Tome has a 50% chance of dropping to you as a reward for defeating the Fire Priestess found at the end of the King's Maze. If not dropped from the King’s Maze, you can also acquire a Volcanic Tome by taking the Reduce Chaos side quests from the four towns found in the Dropstone Badlands and Parched Wastes so long as you activate them within 15 team rounds after completing the King's Maze. These side quests will spawn the same Fire Priestess that you fought at the end of the King’s Maze. Each side quest camp you fight will give you yet another 50% chance to acquire the Volcanic Tome. Therefore, you have many chances to acquire this tome from loot drops alone. The Volcanic Tome can also be found in town markets and merchants, so it is relatively easy to acquire this weapon. Just like with the first strategy, this method will need a large focus pool. It requires spending at least 2 focus for each use of the Volcanic Tome's Fire Wall ability. Your character using the Tome will run out of Focus fast. You must have Golden Roots and/or Precious Pearls to keep this strategy going.
Knowing these two strategies is not enough to win the game. You must still survive long enough to acquire these needed weapons, Golden Roots, Precious Pearls, etc. So… the rest of this guide will help you with the details of surviving all three Acts in the game.
Disclaimer: If you've come to this section to read what the best team composition is and you DO NOT read the rest of the guide, then expect to lose early in Act I. Do yourself a favor and at least read the Act II Pathing section of this guide and the sections in-between!
Any team composition can win the game. We’ve won Master games with 3 Hobos; 3 Hunters; 3 Trappers; 3 Treasure Hunters, etc. The other aspects of this Master Guide, especially the Pathing sections of the guide are much more important for succeeding than just choosing a good team composition. Certainly, there are easier teams than others. Here is a list of 7 good teams:
Template: (Intelligence Character) | (Strength Character ) | (Talent Character)
- 1) Scholar / Busker / Minstrel - Old META team before the release of the Lost Civilization DLC. This team has the Busker act as a Strength weapon user. At the start of the game, the Busker and Minstrel trade their starting weapons. Minstrel uses Broken Lute and Busker uses Simple Lute until any strength weapon can be acquired. The Minstrel fulfills the Talent role and is the primary Gold Multiplier character for the team, using lutes with Gold Multiplier. This team can abuse all of the OP strategies.
- 2) Scholar / Monk / Minstrel or Busker - Really good for Hildebrandt's Cellar. This team has built in Party Heal for those that feel they absolutely need it built in. The Monk fills the Strength role just like the Busker from the team above. If using the Minstrel, it won’t have the Broken Lute at the start of the game so it is a bit harder to get going early on. The Busker in the “talent” slot is slower than the Minstrel so its ‘speed-down’ attack from its starting Broken Lute isn’t as effective as the first team. The Minstrel / Busker is the primary Gold Multiplier for the team.
- 3) Scholar / Trapper / Gladiator - This team meets the needs of the template (Int/Str/Talent), but also meets the needs of the Speed template below. This is both a speed team and one that can take advantage of the OP strategies. Play the Trapper with the Awareness weapons provided by the Gladiator early on, then switch the Trapper over to Talent weapons for the gold multiplier and support moves (rush/reset/speed-down). Late game you can either continue with Talent for the OP strategies or switch over to Awareness weapons. This is a fast flexible team that works really well. Place the Trapper in the center position due to high evasion and also highest vitality of the three characters.
Template: (Speed) / (Speed) / (Speed)
- 4) Scholar / Hunter / Hunter - High speed team for party evasion; Can use Group Reset Strat. This team is going for extremely high speed for evasion while keeping decent damage output. The Scholar allows this team to continue to abuse the Group Reset strategy with Volcanic Tome late game. Hunters with a bow that can ‘reset’ (e.g. Great Bow; Royal Bow) or can speed down enemies (e.g. Golden Bow; Royal Bow), complements the Scholar with the Volcanic Tome. With high evasion, this team is extremely effective at avoiding damage while still pumping out good damage. Note: Although this team is not suited for the Rush-Rush strategy, it is technically still possible with a Hunter using an Ornate Lute and just always spending focus to ensure a successful Rush of the Scholar using a Tome of Wonder or Goblin Staff.
- 5) Hunter / Hunter / Hunter - Extremely high evasion team. Easy to use. This team cannot use either the Rush-Rush strategy or the Group Reset strategy. It is however extremely easy to use. Just give them their weapons and kill one enemy at a time. Since this team is so fast, it can often kill at least one enemy from a group of 3 before the enemy can get their attack. This team is going “all in” on a speedy evasion team. It works quite well in early game and mid-game. It will have a harder time finishing off the end-game enemies when they become faster than even a 95 speed Hunter. This team will need to rely on evasion to avoid damage as well as some Godsbeard healing late game.
- 6) Scholar / Hunter / Gladiator - High speed team; Easy game start; Can use Group Reset. This team is looking to compete with the 3rd & 4th teams above. A fast team that can still use the Group Reset strategy. The Gladiator happens to start the game with better Awareness weapons than the starting weapon of the Hunter, so you can immediately supply your Hunter with a good 10 damage weapon. This team will be easy to get a good start early game, as only the Scholar would need to look for an upgrade weapon. This team works very well in the Lost Civilization campaign.
- 7) Scholar / Scholar / Gladiator - This team is capitalizing on the strong Scholar and can take advantage of all the OP strategies. One Scholar will run intelligence normally, while the other can run Talent or act as a second Intelligence character. The Gladiator's Awareness weapons (Worn Trident and Parma shield) can and should be given to one of the Scholars, even though the Awareness stat on the Scholar is a mediocre 66. The 10 dmg Worn Trident is still better than the starting Scholar's Book. This team will require picking up improved weapons for both Scholar's, but once accomplished... the Refocus abilities from both along with two Teleport Scrolls and 4 focus pool... will serve you well. If you're able to pick up a Starfish Staff mid-game... and later the Volcanic Tome from the King's Maze, you have a "engine" that is difficult to stop. Volcanic Tome's Fire Wall can pump 4 focus into it to guarantee a group reset while the 2nd Scholar refocuses with Starfish Staff.
The 7 teams above we consider to be the easiest teams to run that have the best possible chance to succeed. Each team has its own pluses and minuses. If you want to substitute a different character class for one of the roles of any team, feel free to do so. You can substitute an Astronomer, Herbalist, Treasure Hunter, or Monk for our Scholar in the first three teams if you wish. You can also replace a Hunter with a Trapper if you wish, or vice versa. You can replace the Minstrel with a Busker, Treasure Hunter, Blacksmith, or even a Hobo if you wish. You can fill the Strength character slot with any of the available strength characters if you wish.
The Hobo can be substituted for any slot, however, the Strength character slot is the Hobo’s best slot due to the Hobo’s speed while maintaining good strength, although the Gladiator probably out-classes the Hobo even for this role.
META Team Composition
Prior to the Lost Civilization DLC, we considered the team of Scholar / Busker / Minstrel as META. However, with the introduction of the Lost Civilization DLC, we now consider the Scholar / Trapper / Gladiator team as META.
This new team has it all:
- It can abuse the Rush-Rush and Target Group Reset strategies.
- The team has all three characters with 70 speed or better, making this team:
- Hit more often due to better combat initiative.
- Attack before enemies get their action, which can potentially kill enemies before they can attack back.
- Offers good Evasion for the entire team.
- Allows the entire team to "Proceed" through traps easily without needing to disarm them.
- The Trapper while run with Talent can make use of Lutes with Gold Multiplier while the Gladiator brings Entertain ability as a passive. Both make this team very good at acquiring gold.
- The entire team has good Awareness, making this team less susceptible to being ambushed, while also having access to Elite Ambush passive from the Trapper.
- The Gladiator's starting Worn Trident can be used as an instant upgrade to the Trapper's weapon right from the start of the game.
For the rest of this guide, we will focus on this META team (Scholar / Trapper / Gladiator). Why are we focusing on this team? We want to focus on the needed characters that can abuse the weapons mentioned in the Rush-Rush and Target Group Reset strategies section above. The common factor when looking at these weapons is that they are either Intelligence based weapons or Talent based weapons. So, we must have an Intelligence character class and a Talent character class.
Scholar: Why the Scholar?
- Has the highest Intelligence stat of the five.
- Starts with 4 focus instead of the default of 3 that all other characters have.
- Has a really good passive ability “Refocus” Focus will be important for the end-game strategy.
- Has the best speed of the five.
- Has a decent secondary talent stat. This is handy for boat movement which checks talent.
- Starts the game with a Teleport Scroll. Very handy at the start of the game.
- Starts the game with 5 gold. This is the most starting gold of the five.
Trapper: Why the Trapper?
- Has the highest speed of any Talent character class. (This is the primary reason for choosing this character! The Minstrel is a close second choice!)
- Has the flexibility to run with Awareness weapons at the start of the game (using the Worn Trident & Wooden Parma shield given to it from the Gladiator).
- Mid-game, when run as a Talent character, will act as the primary Gold Multiplier character in the team, using Lutes that have Gold Multiplier.
- Has Elite Trap Disarm which will make getting past traps easier.
- Has Elite Ambush, making it easier to single out enemies.
- With good talent, boat movement will benefit greatly.
The final character needs to round out the party for what it is lacking. The Scholar fulfills our needs for Intelligence stat checks. The Trapper covers Talent & Awareness stat checks. What we’re lacking is Strength. There are six characters that can meet these needs, Gladiator, Blacksmith, Busker, Monk, Woodcutter, and Hobo. We tried all these and found that the Gladiator's abilities complemented the Scholar and Trapper better than any other strength character.
Gladiator: Why the Gladiator?
- Has a good primary Strength stat.
- Has a speed stat of 70 making it one of the fastest Strength class characters available. (Only Hobo can equal him among high strength characters).
- Begins the game with a good 11 damage Strength weapon AND has a valuable 10 damage Awareness weapon that can be given to a Hunter or Trapper teammate.
- Has two extremely valuable passive abilities in Glory and Entertain.
- Glory is a passive ability that will give the Gladiator a boost to damage, which helps to kill enemies faster. This helps support our main goal. “Not take damage”.
- Entertain skill brings in passive money. As mentioned at the start, money is one of the keys to winning. The extra gold Entertain will net can pay for all sorts of things.
Overall, we wanted a third character that could cover the Strength stat, deliver good damage output, and contribute good passive abilities to the party. The best damage output weapons appear to be strength based, so we decided to go with Strength as the stat we wanted… and the Gladiator was the best of the available classes for achieving the goals we set out at the start.
You can run any combination of Intelligence/Strength/Talent character team as you wish. You can try Herbalist/Blacksmith/Treasure Hunter for example, or Monk/Woodcutter/Busker. Any combination can work as long as it holds true to the Intelligence/Strength/Talent template. These other character classes don't have as useful abilities as the Scholar/Trapper/Gladiator in our opinion, but they can still work just fine. You can also give the Scholar/Busker/Minstrel team a go if you don't have access to a Gladiator. This is our old META team before the release of the Lost Civilization DLC.
Before starting your game, you need to position your characters to maximize efficiency and reduce damage the party will take.
- Left-hand side character: This character starts with the first move. How you use this character's first turn is important. I usually place my Scholar in this position. The reason for this is due to the Scholar's Refocus ability. If I choose to initiate a combat on this first turn, the Scholar has a chance to Refocus after their turn ends. This will set up my Scholar to be more prepared for their teammates turns where a second combat can be initiated.
- Center character: This character will always be involved with AOE (splash) enemy attacks. This character takes the most number of hits during the game. For this reason, we recommend placing the character who has the highest Vitality or best Evasion in this position. For our META team, the Trapper has the best Vitality and highest Evasion, so we have both met with this character.
- Right-hand side character: This character is the third to take their turn. They'll be patiently waiting in Oarton for their turn to come. Ideally you want this character to have Combat Range Support if possible. By default, if you've identified your 1st and 2nd position characters, this 3rd character takes this spot by default. Note: Minstrel characters are best suited to this position. The Minstrel's Inspire ability is only useful if the character ends their turn next to a teammate. A Minstrel would be pointless to be "first to move". You want your Inspire character bringing up the rear and ending their turn next to your teammates.
Note: If you decide to run a party consisting of both a high Vitality character and a high Evasion character, it is best to place the high Vitality character on the side and the high Evasion character in the center. This placement allows the high Vitality character to take advantage of Shields and to Taunt enemies. When an enemy uses an AOE attack targeting the Taunting character, only the center Evasion character will typically be included in that attack. This leaves your 3rd character mostly safe from many AOE splash attacks.
The First Move (4 things to do)
Number 1: Trade weapons and gear among characters before moving. In the case of a Gladiator paired with a Trapper or Hunter, trade the Worn Trident and Wooden Parma shield to the Trapper or Hunter. In the case of a Busker and Minstrel, switch Lutes between them, with the Minstrel getting the Broken Lute. Don’t forget to equip the weapons and gear after trading!
Note: For teams that use a Busker and Minstrel: The Minstrel's speed while using the Broken Lute is just good enough to speed down the Axe Cultist in a Chaos Camp before he can attack you. This allows the Busker to get a third attack on the Axe Cultist and kill him before he gets a chance to act. The Busker will use the Simple Lute until you acquire a Strength based weapon the Busker can use. Strength weapons drop frequently at the beginning of the game so it won’t take long to acquire a Strength weapon. Consider holding on to the Simple Lute even after acquiring a Strength weapon as the Support Combat Range can come in handy early on. Switch to the Simple Lute when you need that Support Combat Range on the Busker.
Money Tip: One of the main benefits of playing with the Minstrel is their starting gold. Minstrel starts the game with $10 gold. The Scholar starts with $5 gold. That's 15 gold from those two characters to start the game. Combined with the third character's starting gold, you should be able to purchase a weapon from Oarton or Woodsmoke that costs $20 gold (selling one of your starting weapons if need be).
Number 2: Trade all gold to the Scholar. Combined with selling either the Scholar's Book or starting weapon from a Trapper, Hunter, or Minstrel, you may be able to purchase a better weapon for the Scholar on the first turn. A team consisting of a Scholar/Busker/Minstrel will have access to $20 gold after selling of the Scholar's Book or Simple Lute, making the purchase of a better intelligence weapon guaranteed.
Reason: It is imperative that all of your characters can deal 8-9 damage early in the game. This will ensure enemies can be killed before they act. The Scholar starts out with a 6 damage Scholar's Book and therefore MUST find a better weapon. Always prioritize finding an 8 or 9 damage intelligence weapon first. If any other characters also need a better weapon, prioritize finding them a better weapon second.
If the Knotted Staff is available, sell the Scholar’s Book ($3) and buy the Knotted Staff for the Scholar! If not available in Oarton, then check Woodsmoke! After checking both Oarton and Woodsmoke, if Knotted Staff is not available, then choose the weapons in the order we have below:
- Hand Cannon (cost $29) - Not something you can buy immediately but if you can pick this up, you can blast your way through all of Act I including the Glittering Mines. Well worth it. Give to Scholar or any character who hasn't yet picked up an upgraded weapon.
- Lightning Staff
- Dusty Book
- Burnt Tome
- Rusty Machetes - Give to Strength character
- Barbat (costs more than $20) - give to Minstrel and give Broken Lute to Busker if using a team that consists of both characters
- Torch - Has +1 Find Distance and can burn enemies. Cheap weapon!
- Heavy Sword (cost more than $20) - Give to Strength character
- Old Shortsword - Better than the Gladiator's starting Pugios
- Crude Club
- White Lute (costs more than $20) - this has Party Heal. If no Knotted Staff was available, this should be a priority to acquire before entering a Cave or the Glittering Mines.
Note: If using the Scholar/Busker/Minstrel team comp, look for the weapons above that cost between $17 gold and $21 gold. Sell the starting weapon for the character who will receive the replacement (either the Scholar’s Book or Simple Lute).
If the upgrade weapon costs $21 or more, then consider looking for a random creature (not a Ghost) to kill so you can acquire the needed money. Additionally, the Busker or Gladiator can simply end their turn in or next to Oarton and gain Entertain money. That should help you to gain the needed gold to buy any of these weapons:
- Healing Wand - If you still need Party Heal and Knotted Staff isn't available.
- White Lute - If you still need Party Heal and Knotted Staff isn’t available.
- Hand Cannon - Give this to the Scholar with his large focus pool and Refocus ability and allow him to blast his way through the Glittering Mines with 1 focus per shot.
- Barbat - best weapon for a Talent character
- Fighting Sticks - Give to any 70+ speed character
- Heavy Sword - Also a good choice for Strength characters if Rusty Machetes isn't available.
Number 3: Get to Woodsmoke before the end of Round 2 (meaning before the end of the 6th character action!). Ideally... get to Woodsmoke on the first turn, unless there are advantageous combats near Oarton. ("Advantageous Combats" are any enemies within 4 hexes of Oarton with the exception of Pixie camps! Take advantage of these nearby enemies for easy kills for extra gold and loot drops). If Woodsmoke is more than 7 hexes away from Oarton, then use the Scholar’s Teleport Scroll to get there during the first or second turn. If less than 7 hexes but the Scholar didn’t get a good move roll, then use the Scholar’s Focus for extra movement to get there! Is there an enemy in the way but also within 2 hexes of Oarton? Then go ahead and fight it. You'll probably gain a little extra gold, and then just continue on your way to Woodsmoke. In fact, if you really want to start a fight on that first turn but it takes you in the opposite direction from Woodsmoke... you can still choose to fight anyway and just Teleport to Woodsmoke afterwards!
Reason: Entering Woodsmoke will trigger all of the Act I key landmarks including the Cult Device and Chaos Leader Camp. Knowing where all the key locations are on your map is essential to planning your moves during Act I to be as efficient with your movement as possible. Sheldon1994 and I have tested this over many playthroughs of Act I, and we've concluded that revealing all the major landmarks early saves you many turns of running back and forth across the map. The Scholar starts with a Teleport Scroll, another reason we chose that character class for our team. Additionally, the Scholar will have all the money at the start and may need to buy a Knotted Staff or other weapon if Oarton’s options are poor. So get to Woodsmoke ASAP and check out Woodsmoke’s market before buying a weapon in Oarton.
Number 4: The character who enters Woodsmoke should immediately accept the Reduce Chaos side-quest to spawn that camp and reveal its location on your map. After triggering this side quest, have either the 2nd or 3rd to move characters on their first or second turn trigger the Reduce Chaos side quest from Oarton!
Here is a short demonstration of the first turn for a team comp of Scholar/Busker/Minstrel: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/634764287?filter=highlights&sort=time
Market Purchasing Priorities
How you spend your gold in FTK can have a massive impact on your game play. If you aren’t purchasing the right items at the appropriate times you can find yourself in difficult situations, unable to heal at the needed moment or unable to address an imminent problem.
Throughout the game we recommend you follow this list of priorities when it comes to spending your gold. These rules should be followed throughout the entire game.
1) Save gold to use a town Inn - Before purchasing anything, make sure your team is healthy! If your team is fully healed, then you can consider purchasing stuff.
2) Purchase better weapons - ALWAYS upgrade weapons to the current tier! At the start of the game look for weapons that can do 8 or more damage. From then on, every time you notice a Town Refresh occurs, you should be looking in all town markets for better weapons. Every time night rolls around you should be looking inside every Night Market looking for better weapons. Remember, all it takes is to visit a town or Night Market (whether in daytime or nighttime) in order to view inside that town or market by Shift-Left-Click.
3) Purchase Godsbeard - If your team is healthy and you’ve purchased the best upgrade weapons available to you, then you should start stockpiling Godsbeard. The goal is to have at minimum 2 Godsbeard per character in Act I. After Act I, strive to have 4 Godsbeard per character minimum. Buy Godsbeard from Goblin Shops and from Pipe Smith merchants of lucky enough to have one spawn. “Motto: Leave no Godsbeard behind”
4) Purchase a Party Heal item - If your team does NOT have Party Heal built into a character's passive abilities (e.g. Monk, Herbalist), then once you've met the Godsbeard priority above (as best you can) you should endeavor to purchase any item (weapon, hat, or trinket) that has Party Heal.
5) Purchase Pipe Upgrades - After you have completed Priorities 1-4 to the best of your ability, you should begin buying Pipe Upgrades for your characters. Always upgrade your team's designated Party Healer first. During Act I, you MUST have either your Party Healer upgraded to level 1 prior to entering the Glittering Mines... or... you should try to Pipe Up all three characters before entering the Mines if you're able to do so. Try to have all three characters Pipe Levels at 2 prior to entering the King's Maze.
6) Stockpile additional herbs
a) After Godsbeard, pick up Panax (enough for 2 for each character).
b) After Panax, if your team has zero Hag's Bane, buy just one. One should suffice!
c) Next pick up all Golden Root. Try to save these for late game, but use them when:
- In a tough fight where having Focus to ensure a kill is the difference between life and death.
- To ensure a Cult Device success.
- To ensure a successful “Embedded Blade” encounter.
- To ensure a Pearl Diving encounter. Precious Pearls are better than a Golden Root.
7) After herbs you can begin to consider purchasing armor, trinkets, necklaces, and Hildebrant's Reserve. We recommend only buying gear if that piece of gear is two tiers higher than a character's existing gear. Consider this a “rule”!
This means you’ll never buy tier 1 armor (found in the starting biome town markets) because there is no such thing as tier -1 armor. Follow the same logic for tier 2 armor. Only buy tier 2 armor if someone is literally not wearing a piece of gear, hence tier 0. Swamp Boots is our only exception to this rule. Swamp Boots are worth purchasing in these early tier phases. Tier 3+ the rule still applies.
One additional exception to the rule: We will buy gear for the next tier if we plan on having a character use support moves from their weapons often. This is usually the case for Intelligence and Talent characters as their weapon choices often have good support skills. If the next tier armor piece adds +1 to their intelligence or talent from the gear they’re wearing, we will consider it. Usually this exception is only done from tier 2 and up.
Note: See the Armor page on the wiki for a table that lists the armor by tier.
Night Market Purchases
When looking in a Night Market, we are looking for weapons and gear that we consider "end-game" gear. Meaning once purchased, we'll likely never replace that item. Things that meet this criteria are: Iron Anchor; Boots of Might; Amulet of Souls; Golden Skull; Inferno Armor & Boots & Helm; Bellowing Horn; Noise Maker; Lich Crown; Golden Ruff; Fine Silk Scarf; Polished Necklace; Sparkling Pendant.
After "end-game" gear, we look for items that have strategic value. (e.g. looking for Confuse Immunity for combat against the Mind Lord). Things that meet this criteria are: Iron Foil Hat; Faded Pearls; Enchanted Pearls; Ester Oil; Immunity Amulet; Goblin Staff; Lucky Coin or Four Leaf Clover.
Fighting Cultist Camps
You’ll be fighting Cultist Camps throughout the game to reduce chaos. The most dangerous fights are those at the very beginning of the game in Act I when you don’t have gear and probably don't have upgraded weapons. Additionally, when you eventually face the level 6 Cultist Camps in Act II, these are much more dangerous than their earlier versions, so it is highly recommended to ensure you’ve improved your weapons to Act II weapons before taking on a level 6 camp.
You'll be fighting 3 Cultist Camps in Act I. Two from side-quests and also the main Chaos Leader camp from the main quest-line. If the main Chaos Leader camp is within easy reach at the start of the game, it is recommended to fight this camp before fighting the side-quest camps. The reason is because this main Chaos Leader camp is guaranteed to drop a weapon as loot. This can be a quick way to get an upgrade weapon for one of your characters that you can then use in all subsequent fights! I'd much rather get an upgrade weapon dropped to me then to have spent my money to buy a Heavy Sword, only to have another Heavy Sword dropped to me as loot from this camp.
Strategy for fighting the Act I cultist camps:
Kill an enemy before it can act! To survive your initial encounter with a Cultist Camp, you want to only allow 2 of the 3 enemies to attack you. That means you need to find a way to kill one of them BEFORE they can act. Of the 3 enemies, the axe wielding Chaos Acolyte has the potential to do the most damage with his attacks. He’s also the slowest of the 3 enemies. With almost all team compositions, it will be this axe wielding Chaos Acolyte you’ll want to target down first.
The META team of Scholar/Trapper/Gladiator is fast enough to out-speed the Axe Cultist and has enough damage from their starting weapons to kill him before he can act. This team makes handling early Cultist Camps a breeze!
If using the old META team of Scholar/Busker/Minstrel, the axe wielding Chaos Acolyte is faster than the Busker and he has more health than what the Scholar and Minstrel can throw at him. So it is imperative that the Minstrel get a perfect “Speed-down” hit on the axe cultist using the Broken Lute so that the Busker can get an attack in before the cultist can act. In order to maximize your chances of getting a perfect Broken Lute hit, you MUST spend at least two of the Minstrel’s focus on that Broken Lute attack. If the Scholar delivers 9 dmg (assuming a Knotted Staff, Lightning Staff, or Dusty Book is used) and the Minstrel delivers 7 dmg, then the Busker need only do 2 to 4 damage with the Simple Lute to finish him off. If the Scholar delivers 6 dmg (with his starting Scholar's Book) and the Busker can deliver 12 to 15 with an Old Shortsword or Heavy Sword, then all you need is for the Busker to get a chance… hence the need to speed-down that axe cultist. Either way, the idea is to ensure you can kill the axe wielding cultist before he gets a chance to attack you.
After taking down the axe cultist, your next target should be the torch cultist. That’s because the torch cultist can deliver more single target damage than the pitchfork cultist. If any character is already burning or bleeding, the torch cultist with his single target attack has a higher chance to kill one of your characters than the pitchfork cultist with his bleed and AOE attacks.
What Enemies to Prioritize in Battle
When in a battle against multiple enemies, you want to kill or negate (e.g. Reset or Speed-down) the biggest threats to your team first. Knowing what to prioritize comes with experience. You'll need to learn what enemies can do. Once you know what an enemy can do... you want to deal with them based on that information. Here is a list of enemy capabilities listed in priority order. Kill or target enemies based on this list.
- Can you get a kill before it attacks? Kill what you can while you can. Note: Some enemies like Golems or Stone Quetzal's are dangerous and listed as high priority enemies to target. However, if they cannot be killed in a single round... it is often better to save these enemies for last and kill off the enemies that pose less of a threat first, thus taking fewer hits overall.
- Does it Group Reset you, Group Entangle, or Group Rush themselves? You don't want them messing with the timeline in their favor! E.g. Puff Puff; Water Spider, Stone Quetzal.
- Does it Petrify or Confuse? Petrify takes a team member out of battle and can really mess with you. E.g. Golems; Stone Quetzal; Random effect dealers like Chaos Priests. Confuse takes a team member out of your control. E.g. Mind Benders; Mind Lords, Feral Warlocks.
- Does it Death Mark? Kill Assassins before they can do this to you.
- Does it AOE Random Condition? These are often Chaos Priests. You're taking AOE dmg and getting possibly confused, petrified, poisoned, etc.
- Does it Destroy your equipped gear? Losing an important piece of gear or even an equipped weapon can be very bad. Crabs and Bisontaurs are examples.
- Does it Eat or Destroy Belt Items? I don't want my precious stuff eaten. Clams and Ember Demons are examples.
- Does it AOE Poison or Disease? Jellies come to mind. Kill them before it attacks or Reset it or Slow it while you handle other enemies.
- Does it deliver huge amounts of AOE damage? Boomer and Feral Mage comes to mind.
- Does it Enemy Group Protect? Those pesky Fairies, Wisps, and Merling Enchanters come to mind. These make it harder to kill them fast which means you take MORE damage.
- Does it deal High Single Target Dmg? Often these are BIG but slow enemies, but not always. Hobgoblins with two-handed swords fall in here.
- Does it steal your stuff? Unless I'm protected from it... I don't want my gold or stuff stolen.
- Is it Fast? If it attacks frequently... then kill it soon otherwise you'll keep taking hits from it.
- Can it Curse you or Acid you? Getting the wrong Curse when you're without a Hag's Bane or getting Acided when you're without Panax can be bad.
- Does it cause Burning/Bleeding? I don't want to be burning or bleeding.
- Does it remove your focus? Wisps come to mind. Annoying things!
- Does it Freeze or Shock?
The first four priorities are enemy capabilities that make it difficult for you to control how the combat will play out. Getting Group Reset by the enemy, or having a character get Petrified removes your control entirely. You're now at the mercy of the enemy with little recourse to respond. If you've been Death Marked... you cannot extend the length of a battle using your own abilities like Group Reset or Group Speed-down as this will increase the likelihood your character will die to the Death Mark. So this forces your hand in how the battle will proceed. If an enemy can do any of the first 4 abilities... always target those enemies first!
If any enemy falls into more than one category above... that raises it's priority! So for example... a Wisp can Enemy Group Protect. It also can do AOE remove focus. It's also fast. It's also low health and can potentially be one-shot. All those things combined raises the priority to kill a Wisp fairly high.
Targeting Tip: Strategic use of Powder Monkeys. Suicidal exploding Powder Monkeys have a unique mechanic that is often not noticed. When a Powder Monkey explodes, it "resets" the very next slot on the battle timeline that follows it. If one of your teammates is next on the battle timeline behind that Powder Monkey... that character will be "reset" in addition to your team taking the brunt of the explosion from that monkey. However, if an enemy teammate of that Powder Monkey is directly behind him on the battle timeline, then that enemy will be reset when the monkey explodes. You can take strategic advantage of this if you allow the monkey to explode. For example, lets say you're facing an Ogre, Powder Monkey, and Enraged Ghoul. The Ogre being slowest is directly behind the Powder Monkey on the battle timeline. Since the exploding monkey will reset the Ogre, you can prioritize targeting the Enraged Ghoul right from the start. Focus down the Enraged Ghoul so it dies. Then the Powder Monkey explodes killing himself and resetting the Ogre. Now the only remaining enemy is the Ogre which has been reset and is far down the battle timeline, leaving you with plenty of character actions to kill him.
Addressing the Goal of Moving Efficiently
Our first goal listed at the beginning of this guide was to be extremely efficient with your movement. How? There are several tips and tricks that can help you be efficient. Let’s go over them:
- Make use of Focus for movement.
Focus is a flexible resource that can be tapped any time your characters have some available. One of the most overlooked uses of Focus is to spend it for movement. When would spending Focus for movement be “worth it”? Well, anytime a character is hurt enough that healing that character is a MUST before engaging them in another combat, then the entire party is potentially “on hold” for engaging in combat until that hurt party member is ready (unless you plan to risk combat with less than a full party). If your character is trying to get to a Town to heal, or a Sanctum which will heal them, or any strategically important location… and their movement falls short of reaching that location, don’t give up! If you give up and “wait until their next turn”, you’re essentially stalling the entire party’s movement for a full round. If you’re within range of your desired destination and spending available focus will help you get there, it is VERY efficient to go ahead and spend that focus to reach that destination. It will save not just one character’s turn, but the entire party’s turn.
- Make use of herbs for movement.
Another often overlooked resource for movement are herbs that you’ve acquired from loot drops and/or other sources.
Dancing Nettle herbs provide you extra movement. The greater a character’s Pipe level, the MORE movement you’ll gain from this herb. Just like with “spending Focus” to get to your destination to SAVE an entire team round, using a Dancing Nettle can achieve the same thing. Don’t overlook the herbs you have available.
Golden Root herbs restore Focus for a character. Once again… that Focus can be used for movement if you’re in a pinch and really need it. Since Focus is a flexible resource, it is generally better to make use of Dancing Nettle before using Golden Root.
Hermit Grass herbs when used in the overworld and not during combat, provide the ability to “sneak” past enemies freely. Use these herbs to get a hurt character past an enemy without having to spend more valuable Focus to sneak past that enemy. Don’t let a dangerous enemy stop you from reaching your destination. Sneak past them by spending Focus or make use of your available Hermit Grass herbs!
- Take advantage of “biome pulling” Caves, Catacombs and Dungeons. Entering any cave, catacombs or dungeon will “pull” the entire team to that location no matter how far away party members are from that location (so long as all party members are within the same biome). Knowing that these locations will “pull” the team together, it can allow you to split up your party to quickly search a biome (avoiding all fights while searching) and later on pull the entire team back together again by one team member entering one of these locations. This is highly recommended for searching the Guardian Forest and Golden Plains biomes. Additionally, if your party is on a boat and that boat is adjacent to a biome hex, then all party members on that boat are considered to be in that biome. So go ahead and enter that Cave or Catacombs with one party member and all your teammates on the boat will join you!
- Take advantage of Teleport and Portal Scrolls, especially if you combine these with a “biome pulling” cave or dungeon. For example, you’ll be required to conquer two Demon Caves as part of the main questline in For The King. You don’t have to walk a character to a cave. Instead, you can have one character Teleport to the cave and allow it to pull your team into it as long as your team is in that biome (or on a boat adjacent to that biome). Once you vanquish one Demon Cave… and if your team is healthy and ready to fight, then go ahead and Teleport to the 2nd Demon Cave and immediately start conquering that one. Once again, there is no need to walk there!
- Use Boats for team movement. When your party is traveling on a boat of any kind, one character’s movement is moving the entire party. This is equivalent to triple the value of a normal character’s movement. Whenever possible, it is always preferable to move using a boat than to walk across a biome. Additionally, boats can pull party members from up to 5 hexes away from the boat. So all it takes is for one character to reach the boat and, if the other party members are within 5 hexes of that boat, the entire party will be pulled in and saved the need to spend their own turns to walk to the boat.
Here is an example video of one character’s movement turn that takes advantage of several of the movement tips above: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/933714122?filter=highlights&sort=time
Act I - Do’s and Don’ts
Most failed master difficulty attempts will fail in the first Act (up to and including the Glittering Mines). The chaos timeline is short. Your characters have no gear, no healing herbs, and no banked lives to resurrect with.
It is almost more important to know what NOT to do than what you need to do.
- Don’t purposely attack the following two enemies unless you’re in desperate need to get past them…
- Jelly Cubes - getting team poisoned is never good
- Ghosts - They never drop money or loot. They’ll curse you and damage you and you’ll get only Exp in return. Not worth it.
- Don't purchase Godsbeard right from the start of the game. Your top priority needs to be upgrading your character's starting weapons. If you blow your money on Godsbeard early, it will slow your ability to get upgrade weapons significantly.
- Don't purchase armor pieces early on. Save that gold for better weapons, then for Godsbeard, then for a Pipe Upgrade, and then for Golden Root and Panax herbs.
- Don’t attack cultist camps unless near max health on all your characters. A cultist camp can focus down one of your characters in their first three attacks and kill a character before you have a chance to act. Additionally, they can both Burn and Bleed the same character resulting in an almost certain death.
- Don't enter the Dark Cave without having a fully healthy party and at least 3 Godsbeard.
- Don't put all your Godsbeard on one character (e.g. Party Healer). Never put all your eggs in one basket! If you have less than 3 Godsbeard... just give one to your Party Healer.
- Don't wander off into the Burning Forest / Poison Bog while in Act I. These biomes are dangerous. Leave them for later.
- Don’t attempt pop-up events that can’t be focused. “It’s a Trap”
- Don’t ambush camps. It isn’t worth the focus spent attempting to ambush, and if you fail, you’re giving the enemy an additional attack while you’re out your precious focus.
- Avoid using Party Heal while in battle with enemies. If you need to heal during a battle, use a Godsbeard individually. Heal as much as possible using Inns at the towns. An Inn’s services are half the cost of a Godsbeard. Save those Godsbeards for when its an emergency.
- Don’t share money across all three characters. Pool your money to the character who will act at the party’s Gold Multiplier.
- Don't end a hurt character's turn 1 or 2 hexes from a town when that character has enough focus to reach that town. Spend that focus for extra movement and make sure to use the Inn.
- Don’t sell any item with plus speed bonuses - Speed items can let your party “proceed” through traps using speed.
- Don't accidentally sell the Goblin Staff if you're using a team that can abuse the Rush-Rush strategy.
- Don't enter the Glittering Mines while you still have incomplete side-quests to reduce Chaos from Cultist Camps. Once you exit the Glittering Mines you'll be under heavy time pressure to move quickly. You don't want to have to backtrack to kill a Cultist Camp you left incomplete as this will eat away at your precious time. If you did somehow leave an incomplete Cultist Camp... you're likely better off allowing that side-quest to expire.
- Acquire any Party Heal item before entering the Glittering Mines.
- Do use Party Heal between battles inside dungeons. Simply equip the party heal item after battles are done.
- Try to get at least one character upgraded to Pipe level 1 before entering the Glittering Mines. This should be your party healer.
- Do try to get all 6 Godsbeards from the Oarton and Woodsmoke markets (3 from each town) before entering the Glittering Mines.
- When fighting the cultist camps, always have each character use focus to get perfect attacks off on the axe wielding Chaos Acolyte. This should prevent him from getting an attack.
- If the Golden Hero is in the Guardian Forest, do pick it up before leaving the biome.
- Do the main questline cultist camp before other side quest cultist camps. The reason for this is because the main questline cultist camp is guaranteed to drop a weapon as loot. You want improved weapons as early as possible. This is one way to get a better weapon early on.
- Do the Dark Cave before the Glittering Mines. Go in with a fully healthy party.
- Always kill Jelly Cubes first. Try to speed down the jelly if at all possible.
- Target killing Cutpurses last in a group of 3 enemies. They’ll often waste an attack attempting to steal from your characters. If they do steal something… then immediately kill it, taunt it, shock it, speed it down, or reset it.
- If an Embedded Blade event appears AND your party contains a Strength character, definitely do that event and make sure to guarantee you don't fail this event! Either ensure your Strength character has full focus and uses all of it, or have a character with 5 Focus do the Embedded Blade... spending all 5 focus!
- If a Wishing Well event appears, go ahead and give it a try, understanding that you may become poisoned. If you have a poison immune character, there's no downside at all. Even if you do become poisoned, that poisoned character can try again the next turn freely as you cannot be poisoned twice. (Note: it won't double-poison you!)
- Make sure to locate the Scourge and Alluring Pool before leaving the Guardian Forest.
- The Glittering Mines will give the party a guaranteed Portal Scroll as a reward. Use it to get to Parid almost immediately upon exiting the Glittering Mines.
- Make good use of the herbs you acquire! Is there an enemy between you and that town you need to heal at? Use a Hermit Grass herb! Now you can walk right through enemies! Need 7 movement to make it to that town but you only rolled 4 movement? Use that Dancing Nettle herb! Now you have the extra movement you need to make it there!
Not a whole lot to say about this other than a few simple recommendations. Obviously get each character a Sanctum as soon as possible.
- Intelligence characters would prefer either the Grand Sanctum of Wisdom or Grand Sanctum of Shadow. Avoid giving the Sanctum of Purity to intelligence characters. Usually a waste because intelligence gear and later on the Volcanic Tome will provide 2 immunities (Curse, and later Burn) that this Sanctum of Purity provides.
- Talent characters would prefer either the Grand Sanctum of Wealth or the Grand Sanctum of Purity.
- Strength characters will benefit from almost any Devotion, though for the purposes of an end-game strategy, I prefer to target Grand Sanctum of Blood. Secondary choice would be any of these: Grand Sanctum of Focus, Grand Sanctum of Haste, or Grand Sanctum of Life.
- Awareness characters would prefer the Grand Sanctum of Shadow or Grand Sanctum of Purity.
- Vitality characters like the Blacksmith, Woodcutter and Astronomer would also benefit from the Grand Sanctum of Life.
- Speed characters would prefer the Grand Sanctum of Shadow.
Tip: Here is a fast way to unlock all Grand Sanctums in your Lore Store. Start a game with 3 Scholars on Apprentice Difficulty. Each starts with a Teleport Scroll and Golden Root. Buy up all Teleport Scrolls and Golden Root from Oarton with their money pooled. Then use the Teleport Scrolls and Golden Root focus for extra movement to quickly search out the Guardian Forest, Golden Plains, and either Burning Forest / Bog to find the Sanctums contained within. Pick up 3 Sanctums and quit the game. Repeat the process until you've visited each Sanctum 8 times each. You can get all your Grand Sanctums in your Lore Store in 45 min or less. Additionally... you can do the same thing in Gold Rush where the map is much smaller... and potentially find the Sanctums faster.
Act II - Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t purposely attack the following enemies unless you’re in desperate need to get past them or they’re alone. Never attack these if they’re in a camp of 3.
- Jelly’s and Ghosts! Continue to avoid them… even if alone.
- Crags of any type
- Ancient Shaman and Elite Ancient Shaman
- Infant Triclops
- Bisontaurs of any type
- Blood Birds
- Swamp Flies
- Don’t waste time fighting random enemies in the Golden Plains. Get a boat and get sailing.
- Don’t walk through the Poison Bog or Burning Forest. Get a boat and sail around the edges. Make small jaunts into these biomes from the waters edge.
- Don’t purchase a Raft. Go for a Fishing Boat or better.
- Don't sail with money. Trade money to a character whose turn isn't the active turn when sailing. Random sea events like a Rogue Wave could cause you to lose all money you're sailing with. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/620090288?filter=highlights&sort=time
- Don't step off a boat onto an empty land hex with money. The game has a higher than normal probability to ambush you if you've been sailing for a while. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/620124881?filter=highlights&sort=time
- Don’t attempt any Sea Cave, camp, or mini-dungeon that is level 5 or higher unless you are also of that same level and have upgraded your weapons to mid-game weapons.
- Do search out the Golden Plains to uncover the Alluring Pool, Catacombs, Cult Device and Scourge. Avoid fights while doing this search. Make use of +Find Distance items like a Torch or Compass to make this faster. Pull your party together using either the Catacombs or a boat.
- Do one Sea Cave (level 4) while Chaos is under control.
- Use Vision Scrolls to uncover Poison Bog/Burning Forest, Parched Wastes or Dropstone Badlands territory to attempt to locate their Alluring Pools, Cult Devices, Scourges and mini-dungeons.
- Do check out Night Markets. Make a point to have a character step into a Night Market even if it is during the day time. Stepping on the Night Market counts as having visited it. This will allow you to check the Night Market by Shift-Left Click later on when night arrives. Things to look for in a Night Market include: Goblin Staff; Iron Anchor; Starfish Staff; Theorbo; Lich Crown; Boots of Might; Icy Talisman; Flaming Talisman; Lightning Talisman; Lucky Coin or Four Leaf Clover; Bellowing Horn; Noise Maker; Old Necklace or Polished Necklace; Faded Pearls or Enchanted Pearls; Golden Skull; Amulet of Souls; Immunity Amulet; Ester Oil and Elemental Usekh. Optionally you can pick up Princess Hat and Black Cat if you want to attempt to maximize your Luck stat for Carnival Tickets.
FTK Town Refresh Mechanic
Act I takes place within the Guardian Forest biome. Completion of the Glittering Mines ends Act I and begins Act II. It is at this point that many common mistakes are made that lead to failed FTK games. It is extremely important to understand HOW the game scales, otherwise, the game will out-scale your party before you realize it.
The game scales based on when Town Refreshes occur. You must KNOW when this happens, and plan ahead. The bullets below detail WHEN the Town Refreshes occur:
- 1st: Upon completion of the Glittering Mines
- 2nd: 15 team rounds AFTER the completion of the Glittering Mines
- 3rd: Upon completion of the King’s Maze
- 4th: 15 team rounds AFTER the completion of the King’s Maze
- 5th & Final: Upon acquiring the Air Balloon (the completion of the “Fire in the Sky” questline).
Each time a Town Refresh occurs, the game will raise prices (based on economy inflation of the difficulty being played) of consumables and services at ALL towns everywhere. Additionally, the towns will replace their gear (Weapons, Armor, etc.) with new gear scaled up one tier (with the exception of towns in the biomes for the Act(s) just completed). So for example, upon completing the Glittering Mines, Oarton and Woodsmoke in the starting biome will NOT refresh the gear offered for sale, however every other town in all other biomes WILL refresh their gear with new gear one tier higher.
Additionally, each time a Town Refresh occurs, the game will add two levels to all future spawned enemies (and start spawning enemies of the next highest tier) as well as add two levels to mini-dungeons, side-quests, and scourges NOT yet found or activated.
Due to the scaling mechanic of Town Refreshes, your party is under extreme time pressure immediately following the completion of the Glittering Mines and then again upon completion of the King’s Maze. Both times, you’ll be held to a strict 15 round timer. You have only 15 team rounds before the next scaling up will occur. (See the 2nd and 4th Town Refresh bullets above).
Overworld Pathing - Act II:
In order to have the best possible chance for success, this section will provide you with TIPS for navigating your way through Act II while you’re under the time pressure of the 15 round Town Refresh (see above section).
- Without delay, do your best to visit Parid ASAP upon leaving the Glittering Mines. Use the Portal Scroll provided as a reward to get there if it’s not close by. You should also do your best to visit Cazeli’s Watch in order to trigger the side-quest from that town. You want to trigger side-quests from as many Act II towns as possible before the next town refresh!
- As you navigate your way to Parid, it is highly recommended that you avoid all overworld enemies. Do not fight Golden Plains mobs! Almost every mob in the Golden Plains is extremely dangerous. The only exceptions are “thief” type enemies.
- Heal any party member who needs healing using the Inns at Parid or whatever is the first town you visit.
- At Parid and every other Act II town, look for item side-quests that offer a Goat Wizard's Staff; Boots of Might; or Curved Bow. If your team includes characters appropriate for these items, it is highly recommended to choose these item side-quests (as long as your Chaos timeline isn’t out of control). Note: Completing the Glittering Mines removes 2 Chaos. This should mean that your Chaos timeline is relatively clear.
- If NOT choosing an item side-quest, you should choose a Reduce Chaos side quest. These will spawn a level 4 Cultist Camp. Do NOT attempt to clear these camps right away. Continue with the bullets below. You’ll tackle these camps when your team is prepared (which we’ll detail later!)
- With any excess gold your party may have, look for upgrade weapons to purchase from Parid and/or any other Act II towns you visit. Upgrading your weapons is a top priority!
- In addition to upgrading weapons, your 2nd priority should be to purchase every Godsbeard you come across. Your Motto should be: “Leave No Godsbeard Behind!”
- Split up your party and search the Golden Plains looking for the hidden Catacombs mini-dungeon. Once this dungeon is found, whomever finds it will pull the team back together again upon entering it. So split up to maximize the area you can search. The Catacombs will be level 3 if found BEFORE the 15 round timer expires. Otherwise it will spawn at level 5! Note: While searching, avoid all combat with mobs in the Golden Plains. Also, make good use of +Find Distance items like the Brass Compass, Spyglass, Torch, or Gathering Bonnet.
- During your search of the Golden Plains, try your best to pick up a Sanctum for a character who needs one. Additionally pick up any statue you come across. You may also uncover a hidden Alluring Pool, Scourge, and Cult Device. Use the Cult Device to remove Chaos if needed.
- Once ready, enter and complete the Catacombs. This mini-dungeon will be level 3 ideally, and will net your party enough gold (e.g. $90) to purchase a Fishing Boat upon completion. Be sure to save at least $90 gold while in this dungeon. Do NOT blow your money at a Goblin Shop. This is the only time you should NOT purchase Godsbeard if you’re not swimming in Gold. Note: Goblin Shops are THE BEST place to sell your garbage items. So feel free to sell junk at Goblin Shops.
- Upon exiting the Catacombs in the Golden Plains, get to the nearest Port and purchase a Fishing Boat (just make sure this Port isn’t opening into an enclosed Lake!)
- Sail to the nearest town if any party members are injured and use the Inn to heal. When your team is fully healthy, sail toward the Rogue Islands looking to visit Devil’s Wharf ASAP. You NEED to activate the side-quest from Devil’s Wharf BEFORE the 15 round timer expires. You don’t have much time!
- While sailing to Devil’s Wharf, also search the islands you pass looking for the hidden Dark Cave mini-dungeon. You also want to try to find this mini-dungeon BEFORE the 15 round timer expires! If your team is healthy and you encounter the Dark Cave before reaching Devil’s Wharf, feel free to enter and complete it. It will provide more loot and more gold for you to spend at Devil’s Wharf.
- MAP Randomization Note: Based on your map randomization, it may be possible to visit a Burning Forest or Poison Bog town FASTER than you can reach Devil’s Wharf. If that is the case, feel free to visit those towns and activate those town side-quests. However, in general it is better to prioritize the Rogue Islands over these other biomes because it is designed for level 3 characters. The Burning Forest and Poison Bog are designed for level 4 characters and therefore may be more dangerous to enter early.
- After vanquishing the Catacombs in the Golden Plains and vanquishing the Dark Cave in the Rogue Islands, your party should be near or at level 4. If you are in need of either additional experience or additional gold, we recommend seeking out enemy ships! Fighting “ship” enemies is the best way to grind for gold and/or experience. Feel free to vanquish level 2 & 3 enemy ships you come across. Note: Avoid Hobgoblin ships and all ships that spawn at night!
- If you have at least 1 character with a strong Act II weapon, feel free to vanquish the Forgotten Cellar with that strong character. It is highly recommended to equip any item that has acid immunity for this fight. If you don’t have acid immunity, have this character enter the fight with 1 or 2 Panax to remove acid if applied! Additionally, having fire immunity also helps!
- Eventually, your 15 round town refresh timer will expire and all Act II or higher towns will refresh their markets with Tier 3 Weapons, gear, as well as restock their herbs. When you see this town refresh occur, Shift-Click each Act II town you’ve already visited and review their markets. Look for Tier 3 upgrade weapons in all town markets and prioritize acquiring them for all your characters.
- After that 15 round Town Refresh occurs, another refresh will NOT occur until you vanquish the King’s Maze. This means you can spend all the time you want to prepare yourself for the King's Maze so long as Chaos doesn’t start to become a problem. Spend this time trying to find and purchase any Hildebrant's Reserve potions, Panax, Golden Root, and any items that confer Confuse immunity, as these will be helpful against the Mind Lord later. Continue to prioritize weapons, Godsbeard, and Pipe levels before anything else. You should prioritize reaching Pipe level 3 for your Party Healer and level 2 for your other characters before attempting the King's Maze.
- Once your team is level 4 and has at least 2 of the party members with Tier 2 or 3 upgrade weapons… you’re ready to tackle Cultist Camps you’ve spawned to reduce chaos from side-quests. You may have anywhere from 2 to 5 of these camps spawned! (One potentially from each of the Act II towns). Now is the time to vanquish these level 4 Cultist Camps to control your Chaos timeline.
- After you’ve done one or two of the level 4 Cultist Camps, you should be strong enough to handle your first Sea Cave (level 4). Feel free to attempt one, once your team is level 4 and you feel like you can handle it. Note: Be careful of any fights that are level 5 and 6, as they are much more dangerous. You should acquire Tier 3 weapons before attempting anything level 5 or higher.
- At some point you’ll have a Scourge appear on your timeline. If that scourge is the Foul Priestess, you MUST either kill her or use a Cult Device to destroy her/delay her. Do NOT allow this scourge to live very long! If Fergus the Mad, Bandit King, Witch Doctor, or Royal Droll are on the timeline, these are also scourges you don’t want to allow to activate. Try to destroy these either before they activate or as soon as they do activate and you know their location. For all other scourges, allowing them to activate isn’t going to cause you too much pain. You can either choose to destroy them when it’s convenient, or in some cases… never bother with them.
- When all of the Level 3 and 4 camps and mini-dungeons are complete (including the level 4 Sea Cave), you should be ready to handle level 5 fights. You can choose to take on the Lich’s Crypt (level 5); any mini-dungeon that was also spawned AFTER the 15 round timer expired (also level 5); and a level 5 Sea Cave at your choosing.
- Once your party is level 5 or higher and all have upgraded Tier 3 weapons, you can consider vanquishing the Mind Lord. We recommend delaying this fight and saving it for last. Give yourself as much time as possible to upgrade your weapons, armor, and potentially acquire items that confer confuse immunity. Don’t forget to equip confuse immunity items when fighting the Mind Lord!
- Once your party is level 6 you can vanquish Sea Caves that are also level 6. There are a total of 8 Sea Caves in a normal FTK campaign. Clear as many as you need to until you have the gold necessary to Pipe up your characters to levels 3/2/2 or until your Chaos timeline can no longer be controlled. The more Sea Caves you vanquish, the more Precious Pearls you'll acquire. These pearls are extremely handy for the late game Act III. You'll get better loot drops from the Level 6 Sea Caves AFTER the King's Maze is complete, so try not to vanquish more than necessary to reach your Pipe levels.
Chaos Removal Tip: While going back to vanquish the previously spawned level 4 Cultist Camps, you may encounter a situation where a Cultist Camp is isolated from any other useful combat (e.g. Scourge, mini-dungeon, profitable enemy camp, etc.). If that isolated camp requires MORE than 4 team rounds to reach, vanquish, and then reach the next valuable target on your map, then it should be considered a candidate to allow to expire (rot away) uncompleted. On Master difficulty, since Chaos comes every 4 rounds, a situation like this results in more time spent removing the side-quest camp than would be gained by addressing other valuable targets, especially other Chaos removal targets. Sometimes... it's just better to let those camps rot away!
Weapons you should be looking for During Act II:
Intelligence Character (e.g. Scholar) weapons (in order from worst to best):
- Yew Staff - Priority if you haven't acquired Party Heal yet. Has Single Target Rush. If you don't have an intelligence based Single Target Rush weapon yet, then pick this up.
- Apprentice Tome
- Any Wand and Shield (e.g. Frost Wand, Water Wand, Fire Wand with Feathered Shield or Warrior Shield or any shield)
- Scholar's Stick
- Frost Staff
- Starfire Wand
- Enchanted Broom
- Wand of Protection and Shield
- Thunder Tome - If you have extra money, buy it as a safety weapon for handling the Fire Revenant for the end-game.
- Jade Staff
- Mages Staff
- Goat Wizard's Staff - If you've unlocked this from your Lore Store, it may be available as an Item Side-Quest
- Mage's Tome - Has Single Target Rush. If you don't have an intelligence based Single Target Rush weapon yet, then pick this up.
- Fire Staff
- Starfish Staff
Strength Character (e.g. Gladiator or Busker) weapons (in order from worst to best):
- Large Bone Club
- Jade Saw
- Iron Bow
- Battle Axe
- Dual Hatchets
- Iron Anchor - Best Strength weapon in the game, Period! Get this!!! It is often found in Night Markets!
Talent Character (e.g. Trapper or Minstrel) weapons (in order from worst to best):
- Ivory Lute - Priority if you haven't acquired Party Heal yet.
- Fancy Tambura
- Fancy Lute - Has Single Target Rush. If you don't have a Talent based Single Target Rush weapon yet, then pick this up.
- Ornate Lute - Has Single Target Rush. If you don't have a Talent based Single Target Rush weapon yet, then pick this up.
Example of a near perfect weapon merchant: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/483312474?filter=highlights&sort=time
Here is an example of Sheldon and I progressing through Act II following the bullet points above: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/653133475
Here is a second example that runs all the way to the 15 round town refresh after the Glittering Mines: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/671095468?filter=highlights&sort=time
Tip: When sailing, you can avoid the Kraken by staying along a coastline. The Kraken cannot attack you if you're adjacent to a coastline. Otherwise, to avoid the Kraken use Caustic Ink or turn on Kraken Wards if you've unlocked them from your Lore Store. Should you get ambushed by the Kraken you'll have to deal with it. See the section below on fighting the Kraken for pointers.
Ideal Act II Team Load Outs
One of the main goals this guide is looking to accomplish is to deck out the team with a certain set of weapons and gear at certain stages of the game. Before entering the King’s Maze we prefer to have:
Intelligence Character ideal set:
Weapons: Starfish Staff or Fire Staff or Goat Wizard's Staff or Mage's Tome or Wands with a Shield: Starfire Wand, Water Wand, Fire Wand, Frost Wand, and Warrior Shield or Feathered Shield
Armor: Mage’s gear (Chestpiece/Headgear/Boots)
Trinkets: Golden Hourglass; Majestic Belt; Bellowing Horn; Noise Maker
Necklace: Old or Polished Necklace; Immunity Amulet
Strength Character ideal set:
2H-Weapons: Iron Anchor or Battle Axe or Broadsword or Dual Hatchets or Machetes 1H-Weapons: Longsword or Scimitar and Wooden Tower Shield or Warrior Shield or Feathered Shield
Armor: Full Iron armor; plus Boots of Might if you can get it.
Trinkets: Majestic Belt; Bellowing Horn; Golden Skull; Great Rune
Necklace: Rusty or Golden Medallion or Amulet of Souls; Jeweled Scarab; Immunity Amulet
Talent Character ideal set:
Weapons: Theorbo or Ornate Lute
Armor: Performer’s gear; plus Lucky's Hat or Princess Hat
Trinkets: Lucky Coin; Four Leaf Clover; Noise Maker; Fancy Umbrella; Ester Oil
Necklace: Fancy Ruff; Shiny or Sparkling Pendant; Immunity Amulet
Awareness Character ideal set::
Weapons: Great Bow; Declan's Bow; or Waldhar's Wrath; or Razor or Twin Knives or Twin Daggers
Armor: Adventurer’s gear (Chestpiece/Headgear/Boots) or any of the Speed Character armor sets below if running Speed weapons.
Trinkets: Great Rune; Steel Plate; Golden Skull; Bellowing Horn; Golden Hourglass; Noise Maker; Lumotus Luminous
Necklace: Clouded Crystal or Pale Crystal; Silk Scarf; Jeweled Scarab; Immunity Amulet
Speed Character ideal set::
Weapons: Twin Daggers; or Twin Knives or Goblin Knife or Goblin Bow
Armor: Shaman Armor set (Armor, Helm, and Boots) or Bird Armor set (Armor, Helm, and Boots) or Monkey Armor, and Goblin Helm; and Swamp Boots or Adventure Boots or Swift Shoes
Trinkets: Golden Skull; Bellowing Horn; Golden Hourglass; Noise Maker; Ester Oil; Great Rune; Steel Plate
Necklace: Amulet of Souls; Silk Scarf; Elemental Usekh; Splendid Collar or Worn Collar; Jeweled Scarab; Immunity Amulet
Note: Speed characters are those with 70 speed or better. Any character will benefit from a piece of Speed gear. Use speed gear on any character as you see fit.
In addition to the ideal equipment above, you’ll want to pick up Icy, Flaming, and Lightning Talismans when you can. Additionally pick up Hildebrant's Reserve(s), Faded Pearls, Immunity Amulet, and the following scourge unique drops if you’re lucky enough for them to spawn: Royal Droll Hat; Volcano Hat; Disciple Hood; Lucky's Hat, Golden Hourglass, and VooDoo Mask if still lacking Party Heal.
Preparing for the Mind Lord
Before fighting the Mind Lord you should prepare your team for confusion. The Mind Lord will use confuse attacks which can leave your entire party confused and no longer under your control. Put on items that confer confuse immunity before entering the fight with the Mind Lord. Most Mage/Wizard hats come with confuse immunity. Put them on, even for character classes that don’t normally make use of Intelligence. You can also look for and purchase items that confer confuse immunity in the time leading up to this fight. Faded Pearls and/or an Iron Foil Hat can also provide you this immunity. During your play… try to acquire enough items to provide confuse immunity for everyone in the party. The Grand Sanctum of Focus will also provide confuse immunity, so that can help as well.
When fighting the Mind Lord, target him and focus him down first if not everyone in your party is confuse immune. Once the Mind Lord is dead the threat of confusion attacks is gone. So if you don’t have the immunity protection, then kill him as quickly as possible.
Note: If you need to fight The Old One scourge or The Royal Droll scourge, you should prepare for those fights in the same manner that you prepare for the Mind Lord. Have confuse immunity ready! In addition, the Royal Droll can do party shock against you, so in addition to confuse immunity also consider adding some shock immunity as well.
Finally, you’ll take on the King’s Maze after everything from the Rogue Isles and Swamp/Burning Forest is complete (or… if you’re pressed to reduce chaos and need the King’s Maze to remove it). Ideally you should be level 7 or level 8, or close to it when you enter the King’s Maze.
Before entering the King’s Maze, you should do your best to purchase as many Godsbeards, Golden Roots, and up to 6 Panax (two for each character) for the team while prices are low. Once completing the King’s Maze all herb and service prices in towns will increase. Get these important herbs before you enter. As you visit the towns in the Swamp/Burning Forest you should make it a point to try to purchase all their Godsbeards and Golden Roots.
On your way though the King’s Maze, this guide’s character set-up and strategy is looking to take advantage of the Theorbo and Starfish Staff’s unique abilities to speed-down enemies, reset enemies, and restore focus to party members. As you progress through each fight, we are looking to eliminate 2 of the 3 enemies in each group, leaving one relatively slow enemy to be killed last. We will have some nice play time with the last enemy.
During the fight working your way down to just one enemy left, make use of the Theorbo’s Target Group Speed-down ability to give your other characters time to kill at least one enemy before it can act. Once the first is dead, you can either Single Target Speed-down or Reset an enemy while your teammates take out the other. Usually target the slowest enemy with the reset while your teammates take out the other.
When you’re down to just one enemy left, use the Talent character's Theorbo to Single Target Reset the last enemy to keep the lone enemy unable to act. Each reset gives the other two party members free actions. We use the Starfish Staff to restore focus to every member of the party while the Talent character continues to reset this last enemy until everyone is at full focus, then we finally mercifully kill this last enemy. If you don’t have the Theorbo and its reset ability, the Archlute or Hooked Sword can accomplish the same thing. So yeah… don’t sell that Hooked Sword. It can come in handy. You can have a Strength character switch into the Hooked Sword to also help with the resets. Heck… have both the Talent and Strength character's resetting. You can play with them as long as you wish, with focus restored by the Starfish Staff. We refer to this as Starfish Staff Cheese. See that section of this guide down below.
King’s Maze - Final Group Fight
The King’s Maze will culminate in a fight against a Fire Priestess, Ice Priestess, and an Undead Bisontaur. You can expect burning and freezing attacks. The Bisontaur hits hard and has very high health. Flaming and Icy Talismans can help a little with the Priestess for both immunity and extra damage.
During this fight against the Undead Bisontaur, you can kill the Bisontaur quickly before it gets a chance to act if you do the following combat strategy:
- First, ensure your Scholar has confuse immunity. The Mage’s Hat normally provides this. Otherwise you can equip Faded Pearls on the Scholar to provide confuse immunity.
- Have the Scholar use a Hildebrant's Reserve to increase damage output by 100%, and hit the Undead Bisontaur with either the Starfish Staff’s or Fire Staff’s power-up attack. Make sure to use focus so these attacks hit.
- Have the Talent character speed-down the group like normal with the Theorbo or equivalent group speed-down weapon.
- A second follow-up attack by the Scholar while still under the effects of the Hildebrant's Reserve should finish off the Undead Bisontaur.
Upon completing this fight, one of those two priestesses will drop their tome. You have a 50/50 chance at either the Volcanic Tome or Glacier Tome. You really need to pray to the RNG gods here and hope you get the Volcanic Tome. If you don’t get it, don’t worry. There are many many more chances to get this tome which we’ll detail in Act III.
If you do get the Volcanic Tome, that alone can be used to win a Master Difficulty run. Even without the Talent and Strength characters getting their preferred weapons, the Volcanic Tome will completely win the game for you… provided that you have gone sea cave spelunking and have acquired a good pile of Precious Pearls as well as Golden Roots. The Volcanic Tome does like to use up focus (2 focus per use of the Firewall).
Upon exiting the King’s Maze, you should notice a message in the top right of your screen indicates that “Towns Have Refreshed”. It increases the prices of herbs and services. For this reason, you should buy as many Godsbeards, Golden Roots, and Panax as you can afford before entering the King’s Maze.
Act III - Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t waste time fighting random enemies in the Desert and Badlands.
- Don’t purposely attack the following enemies unless you’re in desperate need to get past them or they’re alone. Never attack these if they’re in a camp of 3. Especially don’t fight these if you don’t yet possess the Volcanic Tome or have other reset weapons.
- Jelly’s and Ghosts! Continue to avoid them… even if alone.
- Shadow Assassins
- Acid Blobs
- Crag Giants
- Fire Rocs
- Lightning Hawks
- Chaotic Skulls
- Do every Sea Cave you haven't yet cleared to this point in the game if they're within easy reach. (Note: If you failed to get the Volcanic Tome from the King's Maze, prioritize finding one BEFORE wasting time on Sea Caves.)
- Do make use of your Treasure Maps. If you’ve not used them by now, don’t wait any longer.
- Do make use of your Vision Scrolls to quickly uncover as many ? hexes in the Desert and Badlands. Try to locate Alluring Pools, Scourges, Cult Devices, and mini-dungeons.
- Do make use of your Teleport Scrolls to quickly and safely enter Demon Caves.
- Do make sure all your characters pick up Sanctums if they’re still without one.
- If your able to get a character's luck up to 70, do make use of your Carnival Tickets, or sell them for a good pile of gold!
Overworld Pathing - Act III:
Upon leaving the King’s Maze and entering into Act III, you have exactly 15 team rounds before all towns refresh (loot and prices) and raise the level of mini-dungeons, scourges and cultist camp side-quests from towns that haven’t been activated yet. As you are on a hard 15 round timer, you should make 'haste to get to Hasta' (pun) in the Parched Waste as soon as possible. During these 15 rounds, you need to complete Priority 1 and Priority 2 below! After the 15 rounds are up and the final town refresh occurs, it becomes nearly impossible to complete Priorities 1 and 2 below, except by lucky Night Markets or Sea Caves that haven't been completed to that point. So don't delay! Get to Hasta right away and complete Priorities 1 and 2.
After arriving at Hasta and triggering the Demon Caves, it is technically possible to complete both Demon Caves in less than 15 rounds. This means it's possible to complete the main questline of Act III before the Act III town refresh occurs. Do NOT enter Hasta after completing both Demon Caves until AFTER the Act III town refresh occurs. Why? Because by entering Hasta you'll trigger the Act IV town refresh. This Act IV refresh will occur whether or not the Act III refresh went off! So by entering Hasta too soon you'll skip the Act III town refresh entirely, causing all end-game weapons and gear to NOT spawn in the town markets. It would become impossible to pick up a Golden Lute or Tome of Wonder (see Priority 3). If you are that fast, then simply waste turns as necessary until the Act III town refresh finally happens.
Money Tip: Entering Hasta after completing the Demon Caves completes Act III and takes you into Act IV (vanquishing Vexor's Tower). This will trigger the Air Balloon as well as the Act IV town refresh. This causes all town markets to double their prices to their end-game maximum! If you haven't yet purchased the herbs you want (e.g. Godsbeards, Golden Roots, Panax) or any weapons you're really wanting, then do NOT enter Hasta! Go buy those desired weapons and herbs at the other towns (Zini, Imp's Corridor, and Wendero) then return to Hasta when you're done.
Priority 1: Volcanic Tome - Group Reset Strategy
If you were unsuccessful in acquiring the Volcanic Tome at the end of the King’s Maze, then your first priority should be to activate the side quests from Hasta, Zini, Imp’s Corridor and Wendero. Each of these towns “Reduce Chaos” side quests will spawn camps that contain a Fire and Ice Priestess. These side-quests afford you additional 50/50 chance opportunities to acquire the Volcanic Tome. However, after the 15 round town refresh occurs, these side-quests when activated will instead spawn typical Culitist Camps rather than the Fire and Ice Priestesses. Therefore you must use your 15 rounds to activate these town side-quests before the 15 rounds are up, otherwise you’ll lose these opportunities for the Volcanic Tome.
Priority 1a (Optional): Aegis of Husher shield
If you are able to acquire a Volcanic Tome and haven’t yet activated the side-quests from the Parched Wastes and Dropstone Badlands towns, then you have the option to try to acquire the Aegis of Husher shield IF your strength character is running with 1H-weapons like Scimitar, Fire Sword, Shocked Mace, Gladius, or Dragon Blade. Before taking “Reduce Chaos” side-quests, first check the available Item side-quest option looking for the Aegis of Husher shield (assuming you’ve unlocked it from your lore store). Skip this entirely if you're running 2H-weapons.
When fighting the side-quest for the Aegis of Husher, you’ll be facing a camp of three ogres. Oddly enough, the undesired Glacier Tome can actually be useful in this fight. Equip your Scholar with the Glacier Tome if you have it. During the fight, have the Strength character Taunt and have the Scholar use the Armor Up action from the Glacier Tome. This will allow the Strength character to fully tank the ogres while your Talent character and Scholar whittle them away. If you follow this strategy, don’t use a speed-down attack. Instead just attack for damage. A speed-down can ruin the timing of the Taunt and Armor-Up buffs.
Priority 2: Golden Lute and Tome of Wonder - Party Rush Strategy
If you’ve accomplished the first priority, then your next quest is to try and acquire the two weapons that can pull off the Uber Strategy of this guide. You want to acquire the Tome of Wonder and Golden Lute. These two weapons will only become available after the 15 round timer passes and the towns refresh for the last time. As soon as you see the town refresh message, immediately check the markets of all four towns (Hasta, Zini, Imp’s Corridor and Wendero). If you’re lucky you’ll find these two Uber weapons. If you locate the Golden Lute but cannot find the Tome of Wonder, it is possible to replace the Tome of Wonder with the Goblin Staff (from Act I). What matters about these two weapons is their “Party Rush” abilities. Although not ideal, the Goblin Staff can literally be used only for the Party Rush ability and that will suffice.
It may not be possible to find the Golden Lute or the Tome of Wonder. If you can’t locate both weapons, then substitute a Single Target Rush weapon into the mix. As long as you have one Party Rush weapon and one Single Target Rush weapon, you can pull this strategy off. If you don't find any Party Rush weapon, then follow the “Group Reset” strategy to win the game.
Priority 3: Preparing for the Final Tower fights
As you’ve been progressing through Act I and Act II and Act III, you’re looking to acquire items that can give your three party members Freeze, Burn, Shock, and Confuse immunities. Vexor’s tower will challenge you with the three elements (Ice, Fire, Lightning). Your team will better be able to traverse the final tower if all three of your characters can have these immunities. They aren’t all needed at the same time. Rather you’ll switch from Ice to Fire and finally to Shock as you progress through the tower. In the final fight against Vexor it is recommended to have Burn, Shock and Confuse immunity as best as possible.
If you don’t have the necessary items to equip your entire team for Freeze, Burn, and Shock immunity, then the optional side-quest Buried Temple should be done, though we recommend NOT doing this optional dungeon. The Buried Temple will guarantee you three Talismans, each with party immunity to one of the three elements. Having these three Talismans will make it quite easy to provide your team with full immunity to the three elements. However, these three talismans aren't worth the pain you'll have to endure completing this optional dungeon.
Priority 4: Preparing to Uber Destroy the Ice Revenant in Vexor’s Tower
The first elemental Revenant you’ll encounter in Vexor’s Tower will be the Ice Revenant. This team of Ice enemies can easily be one-shot by the Scholar if the Scholar goes into the battle with the following equipment:
- Volcanic Tome - Does +50% damage against Ice
- Volcano Hat - Gives +100% damage against Ice
- Icy Talisman - Gives +25% damage against Ice and provides Ice immunity
- Faded or Enchanted Pearls - Provides Confuse immunity via a trinket
If you don’t have either of these two trinkets, then you need either the Grand Sanctum of Focus on the Scholar to provide confuse immunity or else use the standard Mystic or Mage’s hats (at the sacrifice of the Volcano Hat).
- Hildebrant's Reserve - Gives +100% damage at the cost of confusion. If you have Confuse immunity you can use this freely, otherwise you can’t use it at all.
With these items and gear, one use of the Volcanic Tome’s splash attack will completely one-shot the side ice henchmen and bring the Ice Revenant down to one-shot range. You’ll be through the fight in two turns of the Scholar. Equip a rush weapon such as the (Golden Lute or Ornate Lute) on the Talent character and you can finish them off before the 3rd character on your team even gets a turn to act.
It is possible to attempt to Uber destroy the Fire and Lightning Revenant with the Lightning Tome and Glacier Tome respectively, however there is no equivalent replacement for the Volcano Hat to support the strategy.
Here is an example video: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/933263286?filter=highlights&sort=time
Priority 5: Acquiring the preferred end-game weapons for all three characters
Intelligence Character weapons (in order from worst to best):
- Great Frost Staff - Frost Debuff great for Ember Demon
- Glacier Tome - Ubers Lightning Revenant and Ogre camps. Also very handy against Ember Demon
- Tome of Storms - Nerf’s Fire Revenant
- Lightning Tome - Ubers Fire Revenant
- Great Water Tome - Used to Uber the focus restore.
- Volcanic Tome - Ubers Ice Revenant and is primary winning strategy with group reset
- Tome of Wonder - Makes possible the super-uber winning strategy with party rush
Strength Character weapons (in order from worst to best):
- Scimitar - bleed and power-up attacks
- Shocked Mace
- Zeus Blade - Shock and AOE Shock attack
- Fire Sword - Fire and bleed attacks
- Dual Hammers - Kinda like the 'speed' version of Iron Anchor.
- Dragon Blade - Single target reset & Armor penetration but at 3 checks
- Gladius - Single target reset & Armor penetration all at 2 checks
- Jade Blades - +8 speed and +10% Crit with Pierce and Life Drain attacks
- Sais - +10 speed and +10 Crit with Reset
- Ice Sword - Freeze debuff that can splash.
- Great Hammer - Huge power-up damage and splash damage. Great for use against Ember Demon
- Frozen Great Hammer - Huge power-up damage and splash damage. Great for use against Ember Demon
- Obsidian Blades - Same splash dmg as Iron Anchor but with added Crit Chance, speed, and available single target pierce attack. Must get perfect roll to splash!
- Iron Anchor - Huge splash damage that causes Wet debuff... better on the splash then the Great Hammer. Can also speed down enemies. Does NOT require a perfect roll to splash!
Talent Character weapons (in order from worst to best):
- Fire Lute - Single target reset
- Ornate Lute - Single target rush
- Silver Lute - Single target rush
- Theorbo - Group speed-down and single target reset
- Royal Lute - Group reset - possible substitute for Volcanic Tome
- Fancy Theorbo - Group speed-down and single target reset
- Golden Lute - Makes possible the super-uber winning strategy with party rush
Ideal Act III Team Load Outs
One of the main goals this guide is looking to accomplish is to deck out the team with a certain set of weapons and gear at certain stages of the game. Before entering the Demon Caves we prefer to have:
Intelligence Character ideal set:
Weapons: Tome of Wonder and/or Volcanic Tome; Great Water Tome or Starfish Staff; Lightning Tome or Thunder Tome or Tome of Storms; Knotted Staff or Yew Staff; Glacier Tome or Great Frost Staff
Armor: Mystic’s gear (Chestpiece/Headgear/Boots); Volcano Hat; Assassin Boots
Trinkets: Golden Hourglass; and Majestic Belt; or Bellowing Horn; or Noise Maker; and Icy Talisman; and Flaming Talisman
Necklace: Old or Polished Necklace; Faded Pearls or Enchanted Pearls; Golden Ruff
Strength Character ideal set:
Weapons: Iron Anchor or Obsidian Blades and Great Hammer or Frozen Great Hammer or Dual Hammers or Ice Sword or any high damage 1H-weapon and Aegis of Husher
Armor: Royal Helm; Inferno Armor; Royal Boots or Boots of Might; Wizard Hat or Iron Foil Hat
Trinkets: Golden Skull; Bellowing Horn; Great Rune; Jeweled Scarab
Necklace: Rusty or Golden Medallion or Amulet of Souls; and Lightning Talisman
Talent Character ideal set:
Weapons: Golden Lute and/or Fancy Theorbo and/or Silver Lute or Ornate Lute
Armor: Full Dream gear (Chestpiece/Headgear/Boots)
Trinkets: Ester Oil; Noise Maker; Steel Plate
Necklace: Golden Ruff; Shiny or Sparkling Pendant; Elemental Usekh
Awareness Character ideal set::
Weapons: Golden Bow; or Silver Bow; or Bone Harpoon; or Waldhar’s Wrath; or Royal Lance; or Lightning Lance; or Twin Daggers
Armor: Assassin's gear (Chestpiece/Headgear/Boots) or Snake Armor and Jaguar Helm if running speed weapons.
Trinkets: Golden Skull; Bellowing Horn; Golden Hourglass; Noise Maker; Lumotus Luminous; Ester Oil; Jeweled Scarab
Necklace: Golden Ruff; Amulet of Souls; Clouded Crystal or Pale Crystal; Fine Silk Scarf or Silk Scarf
Speed Character ideal set::
Weapons: Twin Daggers
Armor: Jaguar Armor set (Armor, Helm, and Boots) or Snake Armor set (Armor, Helm, and Boots) or Polkadot Armor set (Robe, Helm, and Boots) or Swamp Boots or Assassin Boots or Swift Shoes
Trinkets: Golden Skull; Bellowing Horn; Golden Hourglass; Noise Maker; Ester Oil; Jeweled Scarab
Necklace: Golden Ruff; Amulet of Souls; Fine Silk Scarf or Silk Scarf; Elemental Usekh; Splendid Collar or Worn Collar
Please keep in mind that the above loadouts are the desired set. You may not be able to acquire every piece prior to entering the Demon Caves. This is what you're striving for is all.
Demon Caves and Buried Temple
The Demon Caves will spawn in the Dropstone Badlands once you enter Hasta in the Parched Wastes. Your main questline will want you to clear both Demon Caves.
Movement Tip: Make use of Teleport Scrolls to quickly and easily reach and enter Demon Caves. Do NOT walk your team through the Badlands from one Demon Cave to the next unless you're completely out of Teleport Scrolls. Practically every overworld enemy in the Badlands should be avoided. Don't get into unnecessary fights. Use a Teleport Scroll and pull your team into the Demon Cave. (As long as your team is either all in the Badlands biome or on a boat adjacent to the Badlands biome the pulling into the Demon Cave will succeed). If you're capable of clearing one Demon Cave you're probably capable of clearing the 2nd Demon Cave. So after clearing the first one... ensure your team is fully healed, then teleport to the 2nd Demon Cave and pull your team into that one. Again... don't waste time or risk walking across the Badlands biome unless you have no other choice.
If you’ve acquired the priority items mentioned in the Act III Overworld Pathing section above, begin using the strategies of either Group Reset or Party Rush for all fights through the two Demon Caves and the Buried Temple. If you do so, other than the first attack most enemies will get upon entering a room, they should not get a chance to attack you again. This makes traversing these battles pain free.
For the Demon, consider equipping any items you may have that confer Steal immunity when fighting the Demon. The Demon has an attack move that steals belt items from your characters. If you're immune to steal you'll be safe from the Demon's steal attack, though you may still take some damage or burn if not burn immune. If only one character has Steal immunity, consider trading all of your most valuable belt items you don't wish to have burnt away by the Demon to that one character with the steal immunity. Additionally, if you aren't able to either Group Reset or Party Rush your way through the the fight with the Ember Demon then it is highly recommended that everyone have Burn immunity before entering the fight.
In our testing, the Demon can be killed very quickly if you go into the fight doing the following:
- Scholar attacks with Glacier Tome to cause Freeze debuff
- Talent character uses Rush (either Party Rush or Single Target Rush) to rush the Strength character.
- Strength character attacks using a Great Hammer or Frozen Great Hammer using the hammer's single target Power-up attack with at least 2 or 3 focus used to improve the odds of a perfect hit and possibly a critical hit. Also equip a Flaming Talisman for extra damage.
- Strength character gets a second attack (due to the rush) to once again Power-up the Hammer and go for that perfect critical hit once more.
If these things can be done, the Demon can be killed before it can attack a second time.
For the Buried Temple, it is recommended skipping this optional dungeon entirely. If you have picked up individual items that confer Frost, Fire, and Shock immunity along the way, then the rewards from the Buried Temple aren't needed. The Buried Temple drops a Talisman for each element that confers party immunity to that element. However, the cost of acquiring these Talismans means fighting some very powerful mummies. They hit very hard! If you can't Group Reset or Party Rush your way past them, you can expect to take a lot of damage. The cost in resources (Godsbeard) is often not worth it for a immunity Talisman. For this reason, it is recommended to pick up the Icy, Flaming, and Lightning Talismans you find as you play the game out.
Starfish Staff Cheese
Following the two main strategies of Group Reset or Party Rush, you’ll use up your Scholar’s Focus quickly. Take advantage of the Starfish Staff and/or the Great Water Tome if you have these weapons. After using Volcanic Tome to reset groups three or more times, your Scholar should be out of focus. At the same time, your Strength and Talent characters should have killed at least one if not two of the opposing enemies. If you’re down to just one enemy left, begin using your Strength and Talent characters to do single-target resets of this last enemy using the Gladius, Theorbo or other equivalent weapons (e.g. Hooked Sword, Archlute, etc.). While they single-target reset this last enemy, have your Scholar swap out the Volcanic Tome and swap in the Starfish Staff. Begin using it to restore your entire team’s focus pool. Once everyone has fully restored their focus, finally finish off the last enemy. Swap back to the Volcanic Tome and reset your preferred weapons on the Strength and Talent characters, then move on to the next room. This strategy will easily get you through all the Demon Caves, Buried Temple, and other side-quest battles in Act III. Using this Starfish Staff Cheese strategy, you may not even need to use those Golden Roots or Precious Pearls.
Fighting the Kraken
If you were unlucky enough to have the Kraken ambush your sailing party, don’t immediately panic. The Kraken can be beaten, and potentially beaten easily. You need to make a choice. Do you attempt to kill it or do you attempt to make it go away by killing one of its tentacles?
Evaluate the state of your team. Do you have Act II upgrade weapons or better (e.g. Goat Wizard's Staff, Bastard Sword, Theorbo or better weapons than these)? Is your ship fully healthy? Is your team all together on the ship and are they healthy?
If the answer is no to any of those questions above, then your best bet is to attack a tentacle and try to get the Kraken to go away. If you feel you have no chance to get away, then the best possible outcome for your team would be to allow your ship to sink. Your team will wash up on a random shoreline alive. From there you can Teleport or Portal to safety, or if you're completely stranded, then you can use a Safety Stone to get to a nearby town.
If you answered yes to all the questions above, then go for the kill. Pump as much damage as you can into the Kraken head. If your Talent character has a Theorbo or Fancy Theorbo, the “group speed-down” attack along with the “single target reset” attack can really come in handy against the Kraken. Use the “group speed-down” attack and follow that up with a “single target reset” of a tentacle. This should make it possible for only 1 tentacle to get an attack on your boat. You can limit the number of “damaging boat” attacks if you keep up that pattern of speeding down, then resetting a tentacle, and just keep repeating those two moves.
To finish off the game, you’ll finally head back to Hasta and acquire an Air Balloon. Use this to fly over to Vexor’s Tower.
Money Tip: Before entering Vexor's tower... sell all your unused scrolls, boat repair kits and carnival tickets. You won't need them in the tower and they can net you a very large amount of extra money to buy gear just before entering the tower, especially extra Golden Roots and Godsbeard you didn't purchase from earlier towns. Often Oarton and Woodsmoke still have herbs you never purchased. Use the Air Balloon to fly over there and with the extra money buy those wanted herbs.
Vexor's tower will present you with 4 battles before finally meeting Vexor himself. Between each battle you will be provided time and space to Party Rest. Four Tinder Pouches (Tents) is great if you can conserve them for this. Between each battle you can prepare for the next.
- First Battle: This is essentially made up of a typical cultist camp group of enemies. They will use attacks that drain focus, but should be no different than cultist camps you’ve handled in the past from all the town side quests. It is the strongest for sure, but you should be able to handle it with the Volcanic Tome. Using the Uber Rush-Rush strategy with a Party Rush weapon would be the best option here. Otherwise... the Volcanic Tome is the primary fallback option. One other option would be to power your way through not only this group, but the entire tower, using Obsidian Blades or Iron Anchor combined with a Hildebrant's Reserve. With that much power you can often destroy teams in two hits with these weapon's splash moves.
- Second Battle: This second battle will be made up of the Ice Revenant and his henchmen knights. You will want to have equipped items that confer Freeze immunity prior to entering this battle. Note: the King's Talisman of Ice from the Buried Temple dungeon provides full party immunity. If you have Freeze immunity from other items you won't need the King's Talisman of Ice. If you have managed to acquire all the necessary items from Priority 4 above, you’ll make swiss-cheese of this group. Remember to equip these items if you have them: Volcanic Tome; Volcano Hat; Icy Talisman as these will help boost your damage. If you don't have the Volcano Hat, you can consider using a Hildebrant's Reserve if you have enough of them.
- Third Battle: This group is made up of all fire based attacking enemies. You’ll be hit by archers that will use spread arrow attacks hitting all party members with flame attacks. Make sure to have equipped your Kingsman Talisman of Fire. Simply replace the Ice Talisman for the King's Talisman of Fire. You don’t need all three equipped at the same time. Just one at a time. It is highly recommended to shock these enemies. Ideally, the Lightning Tome or Tome of Storms for the Scholar is recommended here. Thunder Tome will also work. If your Scholar doesn’t have a shock type weapon, then the Zeus Blade for the Strength character will come in handy. Awareness characters can use Lightning Lance or Lightning Bow. Additionally, if you’ve acquired a Lightning Orb or Greater Storm Orb, this would be the group to use these on.
- Fourth Battle: This is obviously the Lightning group. Have that King's Talisman of Lightning equipped. The flanking enemies must be ‘perfect’ hit. If your team is shocked, this will be very bad… so don’t let that happen. The Lightning Revenant will use a group attack-up move at some point. He’ll follow that with a very powerful AOE magic attack. You don’t want to allow this boss to attack you. You can either try to use the Glacier Tome on the Scholar to uber destroy this group (Priority 5 strategy above), or you can use the Uber Rush-Rush strategy here. The Rush-Rush strategy is highly recommended for this fight because these enemies are very fast. They will often be faster than the Volcanic Tome can reset! If you don't have the needed Rush-Rush weapons, then go in with the Volcanic Tome and reset them as much as possible. Also use the Gladius or Sais and Theorbo to single-target reset the Lightning Revenant. Do NOT allow the Lightning Revenant to successfully get an attack off after he’s used his attack-up move. Another great way to handle this group is to combine the Obsidian Blades or Iron Anchor with a Hildebrant's Reserve. These weapons can easily two-shot the entire group using their respective splash attacks.
- Final Battle: Vexor is flanked by two very powerful Chaos Hounds. Everything is very high health (aka Vexor has health above 600 in Master difficulty). All these enemies have very high armor and resistance, and Vexor will cast spells that increase their armor and resistance above 70. Essentially unhittable unless you have piercing attacks. It will take many rounds of chip damage attacks to kill these enemies off. Kill one hound, then the next. If you've managed to save some Hildebrant's Reserve, now is the time to use them up. Using this can potentially one-shot one of the Chaos Hounds, shortening the fight considerably. Keep in mind though that Hildebrant's Reserve will cause confusion, so make sure to use it only with a character that has confusion immunity!
As this is a very long fight, the main strategy is to prevent these enemies from getting a chance to act. You can defeat Vexor and the wolves without them getting more than their first attack off upon entering the room. From that moment on, they should not be allowed a chance to attack again. This is where Volcanic Tome or the combination of Golden Lute and Tome of Wonder come in. Keep using the Volcanic Tome’s party reset, and replenish party focus as needed. Ideally you want one or two Precious Pearls remaining going into this fight. Golden Lute and Tome of Wonder can Rush-Rush the party and allow the Strength character to get in free attacks over and over. Try to use one of these two strategies.
Here is a video example of the entire tower (all 5 fights) using the Rush-Rush strategy: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/612240525
Here is another example: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/897494830?filter=highlights&sort=time
Vexor has a powerful AOE magic attack. Don't let Vexor attack. After I had killed the two wolves I thought I could get away with just attacking with all three of my characters and absorbing an attack from the boss. Turned out to not be a good idea to allow that boss to get his AOE attack off. So take this advice. Don't let the boss attack you...ever!
So… reminder. Volcanic Tome to group reset. Talent character speeds down, single-target resets, or rushes party depending on the weapon used. Strength character attacks with whatever Strength weapon you prefer to use, though Obsidian Blades or Iron Anchor combined with a Hildebrant's Reserve is preferred. If you're using the Volcanic Tome Party Reset strategy, once you’re down to the Boss and one wolf, you can either continue to use the party reset, or switch to the Strength character using a weapon like the Gladius or Sais that has single target reset, allowing the Chaos Hound to attack you once in a while. This all depends on how much focus you have and the occasional fail on the Volcanic Tome. If you have Golden Lute, and always party rush with Golden Lute, you should always use the Volcanic Tome’s first attack as the party reset. If it fails, you’ll have a second try after you rush.
Uber Destroying Vexor
Sheldon1994 and I have successfully 4-shot the entire Vexor team (Chaos Hounds and Vexor himself) using the Rush-Rush strategy and the Hildebrant's Reserve in combination with the Iron Anchor (pre-DLC) or the Wand of Death (Post Lost Civ DLC). Because the Rush-Rush strategy essentially stops time, any status effects that are active remain passively active. In other words, if burning is active... the burning will never end, NOR will it damage you. The burning effect will never get a chance to trigger when time is being stopped with the Rush-Rush strategy. Additionally, using a Hildebrant's Reserve will provide a +100% damage buff AND will never end. Knowing this, we decked out the character with the Iron Anchor/Wand of Death with all increased damage gear (e.g. Amulet of Souls, Golden Skull / Amplifying Diamond, Boots of Might / Inferno Greaves, Inferno Armor, and Mage Hat for confusion immunity). Combined with critical hit chance boost from the Sanctum of Blood, proceeded to blast them with Wand of Death or splash them using the Iron Anchor, pumping full focus into each attack and restoring the focus with a Golden Root to repeat the process 4 times. Each focus spent on an attack increases Critical Hit chance by 5%. With 4 to 5 focus used per attack, Critical Hit levels were raised by 20% to 25% from the focus use in addition to the normal 5% every character gets, plus the Critical Hit buffs from the Amulet of Souls (10%), Golden Skull/Amplifying Diamond (8%), and Inferno Armor (6%). We raised Critical Hit chances to around 59%. We achieved enough Critical hits to destroy Vexor and the Chaos Hounds with just 4 attacks with the Iron Anchor/Wand of Death.
Here is a video (pre-DLC) of the Iron Anchor strategy in action against a 605 HP Vexor. It shows use of a Goblin Staff and an Ornate Lute for the Rush-Rush. The center character happened to be a Monk. Skip ahead 53 seconds for when the battle begins - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/514280478?filter=highlights&sort=time
Here is another video of the Wand of Death strategy in action against a 660 HP Vexor. It shows use of a Golden Lute and an Fancy Lute for the Rush-Rush. The Gladiator used the Fancy Lute even though their Talent is poor. 2-Focus is easy to Rush with. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1472864584?filter=highlights&sort=time
Well… I hope you find this guide helpful. Visit us on the FTK Discord.
Special Thanks to Sheldon1994 for all the play testing and ideas... and
Special Thanks to gsdadio for opening our eyes to the Talent Trapper and for the great collaboration! Check out his Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnXKF--JZCHs7fkdUchslg
Submit your FTK videos for review by gsdadio on his Discord channel here: https://discord.gg/rSNUxvsz
This picture shows our entering Vexor's Tower with 50 unused Godsbeards after using the strategies detailed in this guide.
The current record for most unused Godsbeards while winning a standard Master Difficulty FTK game is held by Ludic with a total of 109 Unused Godsbeards set on July 6th, 2020. He broke the previous record held by Sheldon1994 totalling 104 Godsbeard.
If you take on the Unused Godsbeards Master Difficulty Challenge, let us know on the FTK Discord. Rules are simple. Win the standard FTK game on Master Difficulty with as many unused Godsbeards in your inventory as possible. Only two restrictions: Herb Gathering ability is banned. So no Herbalist characters are allowed and no use of that ability through items like the Gathering Bonet. Also to prevent infinite grinding from monsters that drop godbeards, the game must also be completed without a single chaos activating. Proof via a video of the game will be requested.
|For The King Master Guide • Dungeon Crawl • Frost Adventure • Infinite Hildebrant's Cellar • Into The Deep • Lost Civilization|