Early Game Checklist

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The early game is where many people struggle, causing them to get very weary of Red Rock very fast, forcing them to stop playing before they can see the rest of what Qud has to offer. This is going to be a non-exhaustive guide on preparing for the challenges ahead! If you want a more interactive and lore friendly experience, this guide goes over most of the same points as Caelyn's tutorial mod.

This is not the guide to making proper builds, only what you do with them.

To assist us in this guide, I've recruited Rulimispruce, legendary sprouting orb to learn alongside you as we go.

Sprouting orb.png < I lit a beacon fire to warn the Napthaali tribe's enemies. Yes, with my delicate little vines.


The only thing listed that is near required to be bought is the lead slugs. Everything else can be easily found off snapjaw corpses and in chests.


You'll need these to be properly prepared for things outside of the saltmarshes:

6 AV

Six or greater AV is likely the most important thing to reach in the early game. This is because that when an item's PV is higher than the target's AV, the damage is multiplicative, as in get additional attacks in, causing unprotected bodies to get eviscerated. Critical hits are guaranteed to hit once, so even high dodge builds need some AV to prevent lucky one shots.

Sprouting orb.png < So why six specifically? Some secret meaning to you non-photosynths?

6 is just an easily achievable number and allows most attacks from early game creatures to not penetrate multiple times and keep damage manageable.

Snapjaw scavengers and hunters are killable by most characters as long as you're fighting them one by one. They will be the source of the majority of your early game gear. Just wandering around doing the starting quests will net you lots of gear as well.

Don't worry if the armor has a DV penalty: the rule of thumb for the early game is that 1 AV = 3 DV (1 AV = 2DV later on). so that studded leather armor (+3AV -2DV) is still a 9 vs some cloth robes, which is 3(+1AV 0DV). Just equipping anything that has an AV bonus will bring you to 6. The basic loadout is:

Sprouting orb.png < Mhm? And what about those without hands?

Characters that are unable to equip the above items because of physical mutations or body type must find other sources. If it's from a physical mutation, leveling it up will add some AV depending on the mutation. Although 6 AV is important, it's doable to play with 5 AV instead if you play it safe.

Characters who are Two-headed, or who have Multiple Arms or Multiple Legs, will need the equipment on all appendages in order to average up to the full 6 AV.

Lead slugs and a Missile Weapon

lead slugs are ammunition for a lot of powerful missile weapons, all of which will likely be the hardest hitting weapon in your arsenal for most of the early game. Missile weapons have static PV, meaning that they do not depend on your character's strength. At point blank range, it's hard to miss, too. This is important because this means that with a good missile weapon, near every character can survive the early game given enough ammunition.

Getting lead slugs is the easy part. The village merchant will always sell about 30-60 of them. Be sure to conserve them for enemies with high AV that you couldn't kill otherwise, because it will be hard to get more. The early game is the only time where finding ammunition is difficult. Once your character is able to take on turrets safely or reaches Grit Gate, ammo will be a non-issue.

Some castes/callings start with missile weapons already, making this a non-issue. These starts are the Warden, Gunslinger, and Praetorian. If you didn't start as one of these, a musket can be bought off of Tam, dromad merchant, or if the player is skilled, an Issachar rifle can be looted.

Getting an Issachar Rifle

The strongest early game weapon that you can consistently get is the Issachar rifle from sneaking into the desert and taking one off of a Issachari rifler. You'll know which Issachari these are because they have a red rifle in their sprite. They only have 4 or so bullets, so stay far away to cause them to miss (Spry and Acrobatics help here) and melee them once they run out. The Issachar rifle is a very powerful gun and can hold 6 shots before requiring a reload.

Another strategy to kill one is to attack one and bait them to the edge of a screen. Wait on the other screen until they follow you through. Projectiles are unable to travel if the attacker is offscreen. If you wait near the edge the rifler will appear in melee range without being able to fire a single shot! (thanks Darkflagrance)

Sprouting orb.png < The desert full of flying dragon snakes in the early game?! Surely you jest!

Wandering the desert is actually very safe if you know how to use the terrain to your advantage! Strategies for wandering the desert will be documented in a separate guide, but the main rules are: travel only in the day, and stick to the edges of the screen and leave if you see anything you don't want to fight, they won't chase you.

Sprouting orb.png < I will trust this with immense caution.

If you don't believe me, read the full guide of doing this over at How to Get a Issachar Rifle Early. It even has a video!

Healing Items

Characters only start out at about 14-20 HP, and enemies can dish out much more than that, especially over extended periods of combat without time to heal in between. This is where Joppa starts and the Saltmarsh village starts shine. Both of these village starts teach Harvestry, which allows you to harvest witchwood bark from ripe witchwood trees. Witchwood bark will heal you to full for your first few levels, but will cause confusion if your character has low Willpower. Confusion is manageable if you memorize the map beforehand and know where the nearest stairs are. Eat a bark, run somewhere safe, and wait until the confusion wears off.

Sprouting orb.png < Where do I find this witchwood?

If you don't have harvestry, all starting villages have village apothecaries that sell them extremely cheaply. Like, less than one tenth of a dram for 2. With the exception of Elder Irudad, all apothecaries will appear green. You can buy bandages to manage bleeding if your toughness isn't very high, but that's optional. If you feel like saving drams and have harvestry, witchwood trees have a chance of spawning on the outskirts of Joppa as well as the surface of the Rust Wells and Red Rock. You can tell that they're ripe if their bark is dark red. They won't grow ripe over time, so if you can't find any immediately harvestable, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Light Sources

The main light source that you should be looking for are glowspheres. Before patch they were pretty cheap and there was a guaranteed one on Warden Ualraig, but he doesn't sell them anymore. There is no guaranteed glowsphere location, and it is a somewhat rare drop to find with village merchants only stocking them rarely. If you have a very low ego stat and/or lack the funds, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Sprouting orb.png < I do worship a highly entropic being, but leaving it up to random chance seems not ideal for everyone else.

Right, which is why finding a good light source is recommended but not required. torches will keep you safe for now. As long as you travel mostly during the day you won't be running out any time soon, so there's no need to buy more. They can also be thrown to set enemies on fire for some bonus damage over time!

One alternative source of light is the miner's helmet (with a light radius of 6 compared to the torch's 4) that appears in the Waterlogged tunnel. The tunnel is more dangerous than Red Rock, but is the easiest guaranteed light upgrade. Unfortunately, you can't wear it if you have Horns or Psionic Migraines (D).

Special mentions go to the symbiotic firefly and the electrobow that characters can randomly spawn in with. Both have the same light radius as a torch, but are equipped in a slot other than the hand. They are also really good items in general, symbiotic firefly giving +400 insect rep, and the electrobow being a highly accurate low power missile weapon.

Escape Strategy

By default, your escape strategy should be sprinting and running away until you're far enough from danger to escape to the world map. While doing this, be sure to break line of sight with your pursuers so they are unable to attack with ranged attacks- they might eventually lose track of you. This will be the most common escape tactic for True Kin due to not having any mutations like Teleportation.

This is often not helpful in certain cases like when you are surrounded, or are up against a creature with high movespeed. Then, you hopefully have another plan.

Sprouting orb.png < What do I run away from? How do I pick my fights?

As a general rule of thumb, Look at any new creature and check their difficulty level. If it's "average" it will be tough one on one. More than one is probably not survivable unless you know what you're doing. Anything hostile that's "very tough" or "Impossible" means you should run away immediately.

Legendary creatures, which are magenta in color, are also much tougher than their normal counterparts. Seeing one at an early level is also cause for running away- they will be surrounded by a posse so you have a number disadvantage as well. Leave them alone for now.


If you've finished the checklist, congratulations! You're at the very least equipped to handle the dangers of Qud. What's left is your own experience and strategies, and check out guides for specific dungeons!

Say goodbye, Rulimispruce!

Sprouting orb.png < *photosynthesizing*