There are many, many interactions, tricks, and game mechanics that the savvy player can use to their advantage. The problem is that most of these can only be learned of through trial & error. This guide is a compilation of less-than-obvious gameplay tips, as well as short explanations of obscure mechanics that nevertheless have an important impact on your playthrough.
Gameplay Mechanics & General Tips
- Skill advancement is chance-based, and triggers on specific actions. How advanced these actions are does not make you more likely to learn from them. In simple terms, you’re as likely to gain a Casting level from using Remove Curse as you are from using Forcebolt. Certain lower-level actions, such as scrapping items for Tinkering or casting Light for magic, will eventually stop raising your skills to prevent easily farming them to maximum rank. You will receive a message along the lines of “You cannot learn anything more from X” when this has occurred.
- If you’re going to use a fountain, remove any gear you don’t plan to keep around. For instance, if you’re wearing the Sphinx’s Veil and a decrepit iron breastplate, take off the breastplate. If a fountain blesses a piece of equipment, it’s equally as likely to bless the iron breastplate you’re going to scrap as soon as you find something better. This extends to weaponry, too, but be sure to keep something on the hotbar in case the fountain summons an uninvited guest instead.
- Scrolls of Enchant Weapon will always bless your currently-held weapon. Scrolls of Enchant Armor will enchant a random piece of worn equipment, in the same vein as the fountains mentioned above. As such, take off anything you don’t want enchanted. For a guaranteed armor enchanting, take off everything but the item you want enchanted.
- Cursed Equipment can have more downsides than simple AC penalties. Some cursed equipment will make you more vulnerable to something it should protect you against; for instance, a cursed amulet of poison resistance will make you take MORE damage from poison, not less.
- Levels with a Bonus Level Portal on them will give you a specific message on beginning the level. These Portals always appear on the same levels, but some of them are not guaranteed to show up in any given playthrough. For specific messages and their corresponding levels, see the “Level Start Messages” section.
- Using Magical Staves will increase your Magic and Casting skills, which is very useful if you happen to be magically-illiterate but want to learn. Even if you don’t plan to use a staff, it’s probably worth your while to pick it up and spam it until it burns out anyways. Cursed staffs have no downsides to their usage other than being unable to drop them until they break.
- Scrolls have a pre-set list of names. At the start of every playthrough, a random effect is assigned to each name, and this effect will remain consistent throughout the remainder of your run. For instance, if you find a Scroll of Fire marked FOOBIE BLETCH on Level 2, all FOOBIE BLETCH scrolls you encounter on that character will be Scrolls of Fire. This can be used to make more Scrolls of Fire by writing FOOBIE BLETCH on Blank Scrolls via a Magic Feather. If you find a Scroll of Enchant Weapon or Repair, it might be worth your while to make a note of the scroll name.
- Polymorph will always turn non-humans into humans. This allows you to go shopping and recruit party members; recruited NPCs will not turn hostile once you change back. Be aware that this will also change your hunger rules to match. For instance, if you’re playing as a starving vampire and turn into a human, you may be able to ward off starvation by finding some edible food. This will, however, prevent you from getting any blood vials until you turn back.
- While they are governed by the Ranged skill, Throwing Daggers and Tomahawks will never break, no matter how many times you use them. The only way to lose them is to accidentally throw them into a pit, so be careful where you chuck them. Blessing one Throwing Dagger will bless that entire stack.
- Whether you plan on using an item or not, it’s still in your interest to identify it, even if you dump or scrap it as soon as you do. This is because, as mentioned before, skill increases come from repetition, not advancement; the more items you appraise, the faster you reach Legendary Appraisal.
- The Minotaur, contrary to what the game tells you, is not random. It’s more like a belated version of the Ghost from Spelunky; the longer you take to clear a floor, the greater the chance of a Minotaur spawning on the next level. Taking too long will effectively guarantee a Minotaur spawn on the next level.
- The Minotaur is vulnerable to the Slow Spell and Cold Spells and Traps, but immune to other forms of crowd-control. You should take full advantage of this.
- You can power-level Trading by buying the cheapest items a Merchant sells and then selling them back. You lose money this way, but if you’re smart about your spending and diligent about finding gold and valuables, money shouldn’t be so tight that you can’t afford to blow through some of it to boost your Trading. Considering the rewards for maxing out Trading, it’s well worth the initial investment.
- Boulder Traps and Spike Traps emit what the game calls an “evil wind,” audible as a low, ominous “whrrrhmm” noise. This sound also plays near level exits, so keep an ear out and watch the ceiling.
- Trolls are big, hit like a truck, and dumb as rocks. They will happily forget that even a zero-stealth-skill character exists if you stand in darkness and sneak for a few seconds, making it easy to kill them by repeated backstabs.
- Different enemies have different resistances. Skeletons, for instance, are susceptible to blunt damage, such as maces, but resist blades, axes and magic. In general, a playable race’s resistances will be applicable to the NPC version.
- NPCs need torches much more than the player does, so it’s generally in your best interest to snatch every single one you see. You have innate night vision, regardless of stealth level, when sneaking, which is generally all you need to get around. This goes double if you have a ring of warning.
- Boulders that are broken by Sokoban or hitting a player may drop a Luckstone; these look like regular rocks, but reduce your carried weight by 20 pounds, making them useful to have. The exact conditions Luckstones drop under need further testing, but it’s difficult, since they’re so rare.
Obscure Item Usages
Nearly every item in Barony has a use. Some are common to every playable race, while others are limited to certain races.
- You can use Empty Bottles on Fountains to receive a random potion. This can still summon unwanted company, so be careful.
- Towels can be used to wipe gunk off your face from eating Cream Pies and Tinned Food, or to bandage your wounds and stop bleeding. Don’t forget to bring one.
- Blessed Mirrors will teleport you to a random spot on the level if you look into them, making them good for getting out of a tight spot.
- If you want to dispel a Polymorph fast, jumping into water will immediately return you to your true form.
- Blessed Potions, including Bottled Water, do bonus damage to certain types of enemies. You even get an achievement for finishing off Baron Herx with a bottle of Blessed Water.
- Custard Pies can be wielded with rightclick and thrown like Rocks and Throwing Weapons. They will blind enemies they hit.
- Rocks, Gems and Throwing Weapons (obviously) can be thrown underneath boulder traps or onto spike plates to trigger them from a safe distance. They can also be used to weigh down pressure plates to hold doors open.
- Scrap can be sold and bought at 1:1 value regardless of trading skill. This makes it great for racking up a large amount of Trading experience for free as long as you have enough of it, although it will eventually reach a cap.
Level Start Messages
- You hear the sound of pickaxes striking rock/bustling streets. – A trapdoor to the Gnomish Mines/Minetown can be found on this level, behind a bridge with two locked gates.
- You hear the sounds of chanting in the distance/howling winds in the distance. – A portal to the Jungle Temple/Haunted Castle can be found on this level, behind a bridge and five Boulder Traps.
- You hear the faint crash of rolling boulders/the roar of a hungry minotaur. – A portal to Sokoban/The Minotaur Maze can be found on this level, inside of a sealed square and surrounded by lava. You will need a pickaxe or a Dig Spell to enter.
- You hear mystic droning/cries of anguish. – A portal to the Mystic Library/the Underworld can be found on this level, inside of a fortress with a bottomless pit around it, hovering over a pool of magma.
- An unnatural darkness fills the caves. – All light sources are removed. No torches will generate.
- The craftsmanship of the walls here is immaculate. – Pickaxes and Dig Spells will not break walls on this level.