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My notes for a first-time player

biffthestiff

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I keep notes on every game I play in a notes app. It includes some general tips in case I replay a game a few years down the line. I figured I'd paste them here in case a first-time player is reading. This is from my first and only Underrail playthrough a few years ago.

  • Feats are the core of any build. Read them all and plan ahead for them.
  • Use the character builder online, at a minimum. Ideally, follow an up-to-date guide. This game is extremely hard unless you minmax/plan, then you're OP. “Veteran” nerds just have all the necessary stats for every tiny thing memorized, which items require which stat, etc, and meet over the length of the game the requirements planned before they even started. This is no way to play.
  • Beware of build guides. The retards writing build guides will ignore things like Traps (because they memorized all the traps), Constitution (because they know every fight), dodge/evasion (because they don't get hit in their glass cannon builds). You need decent trap detection, and you need CON for HP, and you need dodge/evasion on light armor builds.
  • Follow-up to the above: better to just cheat to make a decent classic RPG character, without being gimped because you put 69 points in some skill instead of 70.
  • XP system: go with Classic.
    • Oddity: you get XP from visiting places and finding things. Considered by "veterans" more balanced than Classic, since it encourages non-combat builds. However, that's only because those veterans know where the oddities are, and will visit every city to grab them, before going back to the beginning to do quests. This is not how normal people play, there's nothing balanced about it, especially for non-autists.
    • Classic: you get XP from killing and doing quests, and a little EXP from oddities too. Lets you hit the level cap much faster if you're a combat build, making the rest of the game easier...but it's still a really hard game.
  • Keep multiple manual saves. Quicksave often.
  • Dont waste time doing inventory and loot management. Pick up gear you want, ignore the rest, cheat for money when you need to buy new stuff. It all ends up being the same (money is never an issue after the beginning), minus hours wasted on bad item and weight management.
  • Firearm pistols are terrible, avoid
  • If you decide to use Psi, you have a permanent -25% HP
  • Core City: don't accept ANY faction quest until you choose a faction to join. You get locked out of all other factions merely by accepting one.

Agree/ disagree?
 

Hag

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Better is to play the darn game on normal difficulty with oddities and go with the flow. Reading guides and online resources always spoil the experience.
 
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Some of this is sensible but some of it is wrong.
Following a build guide makes the game boring. The builds people post are designed usually designed around playing on dominating, and if you're new you aren't doing that. Just read the feats and pick a weapon type and focus on it. That's all you need for normal difficulty.
Oddity levelling speed is what the game is designed around. Classic levels you faster than the devs intended. If you prefer classic levelling speed then okay, but that's not how fast it's meant to be. A lot of people also seem to dislike that it makes you hit the level cap so quickly since there's still a lot of game left with no more progression after that. I personally don't care about that, but hey.
For a similar reason, going to all the towns and grabbing all the oddities as soon as the trains come back is stupid and you shouldn't do it. You don't need the extra levels, it just makes things too easy. All you need to do to stay at an appropriate level is to do quests as you get them and to check containers when you see them. Which you're doing no matter what experience mode you're on, because loot is loot.
Firearm pistols got buffed a while ago so they're extremely strong now.
Psi empathy also got buffed slightly so it's only -20% HP. Not a huge improvement but it's something.

Trap detection is good if you're 3 perception but if you're a build with higher perception you don't need it. High perception also lets you find secrets, so that's another useful thing traps can't do. So basically what I'm trying to say is play a guns build if it's your first time.
You didn't mention grenades, grenades are really good. You don't need that many skill points to be accurate enough with them and they're very strong. Don't sleep on grenades.
 

antimeridian

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Codex Year of the Donut
I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??
 
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antimeridian

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Codex Year of the Donut
Why would I want to sit down and plan out my whole character before playing a game for the first time??
Can this game be played normally?? Without the autism??
 

behold_a_man

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Why would I want to sit down and plan out my whole character before playing a game for the first time??
Can this game be played normally?? Without the autism??
Planning before playing for the first time doesn't make any sense for me either. It might be useful on subsequent playthroughs, especially if you feel adventurous and want to play on Dominating difficulty setting. I played it twice on hard (once to the end) without any of this nonsense.
 

Butter

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I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??
You can, but the OP is correct in that feats are the core of your build. Having the right stats so you can take the right feats at the right time (you can't bank them for later) is pretty important.
 

None

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I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??
I more or less played it blind on my first go and it was fine. It is far less hand-holdy than other games, but that is part of the enjoyment. The challenges thrown at you are genuine and if you ever get stuck somewhere just come back later with better equipment and at a higher level.
 

Old Hans

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Why would I want to sit down and plan out my whole character before playing a game for the first time??
Can this game be played normally?? Without the autism??
depending on your tolerance for trial and error and reloading. alot of the min max guides are mainly for poeple who want to play the max difficulty which require meta gaming everything
 

jagged-jimmy

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For non-casual players i would strongly recommend to go with Oddity. Exploration is rewarding (and exploration is awesome!) and character progression is satisfying.
Oh and stealth. First time should be with a stealthy character. Level of investment depends on stats/build.
 

Jazz_

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I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??

You absolutely can, at least on ''normal'' difficulty. I didn't plan shit and went with a very ''balanced'' distribution of skill points during character creation (which is not a good idea, it's better to specialize in one area if you want to deal a lot of damage) and I was a crossbow/traps/psyonic jack of all trades but master of none and if anything it made the game more fun since you need to strategize more and use all the tools at your disposal if you have low damage output.
 

Ol' Willy

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I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??
Underrail ruleset strongly favors specialization, and one has to keep in mind that Underrail is the game of limited resources - meaning xp, loot and hard cash. You can't really wander around farming loot and xp infinitely. The only enemies that do respawn frequently are critters, thus:

- if you play on classic, you will get diminished xp rewards with every new level
- if you play on oddity, it doesn't matter at all

This means that by wasting precious skillpoints on shit you don't really need, you won't be able to compensate for it by farming more xp, and your character will be less prepared for further, more difficult encounters.

One has to have the general idea of what kind of character he actually wants to play. It's not Fallout where one can level up needed weapon skills on the go (as going from melee to small arms to energy or heavy), one had to pick one (optimally but not necessarily) weapon skill and invest in it through the entire run, plus additional skills of course

I haven't played normal, but I assume it is piss easy, so thorough planning on normal is not really required - just the common sense

But once you get well acquainted with the game's ruleset, you may start going for really elaborate builds
 

biffthestiff

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I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??

OP here. I felt the game was getting harder faster than my character kept up. For regular combat at least, (ie not abusing traps except against those invisible monsters, and being conservative with consumables like I'm used to in other RPGs).

That's why I later wrote "just cheat, but don't abuse". If there was a respec option none of this would matter, you have blind fun and can undo mistakes later. But you have a limited number of skillpoints (unless you cheat), and the few feats you get are only enabled by reaching specific thresholds. You could think "I'm a sniper" and then not be able to get some nice side-feats for your character, which means you'll struggle more in the late game when enemies get stronger and more numerous. And it's easy to miss the mark because IIRC your character screen shows your current stats including buffs and gear and so on, but the feat unlocking is only based on your points when naked.

Then there's stuff you can't possibly know about without a wiki, which can really piss you off. For example the Gunslinger feat (reduce AP usage of pistols) doesn't apply to energy pistols and chemical pistols, only to normal pistols. I just checked the wiki now and I see the in-game description says 'only applies to firearms', but I think at the time I played, the description didn't mention that, or it wasn't obvious to me that not every pistol is a firearm (to me as a layman, all guns are firearms). So if you were planning a gunslinger who uses a chemical pistol, you either wasted precious skill points and earlier feats on chemical support stuff, or wasted a precious feat on Gunslinger, by the time you find out the truth.

This post shows other issues, but at least these can't gimp you: https://stygiansoftware.com/forums/index.php?topic=6170.msg32380#msg32380

For non-casual players i would strongly recommend to go with Oddity. Exploration is rewarding (and exploration is awesome!) and character progression is satisfying.
That's a weird thing to say. People who play on Classic will also explore everything, same as in any other RPG. I certainly did.
I think Oddity relies more on prior knowledge and is a bad choice for a blind player. Oddity system is for people who know "Oh, I shouldn't do location X right now, I should go to Y first to get a bit stronger from the easy oddities there". With Classic, you will at least get a level from the enemies you struggle with in location X, instead of remaining underpowered.
 

behold_a_man

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That's a weird thing to say. People who play on Classic will also explore everything, same as in any other RPG. I certainly did.
I think Oddity relies more on prior knowledge and is a bad choice for a blind player. Oddity system is for people who know "Oh, I shouldn't do location X right now, I should go to Y first to get a bit stronger from the easy oddities there". With Classic, you will at least get a level from the enemies you struggle with in location X, instead of remaining underpowered.
Why should I know what oddities are where beforehand? There is a rough place, my character is dying, well, why not explore someplace else like in any normal game? Is it preferable if a game rewards combat (and grinding) rather than exploring a place in one way or another?
 

Ol' Willy

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That's a weird thing to say. People who play on Classic will also explore everything, same as in any other RPG. I certainly did.
I think Oddity relies more on prior knowledge and is a bad choice for a blind player. Oddity system is for people who know "Oh, I shouldn't do location X right now, I should go to Y first to get a bit stronger from the easy oddities there". With Classic, you will at least get a level from the enemies you struggle with in location X, instead of remaining underpowered.
Why should I know what oddities are where beforehand? There is a rough place, my character is dying, well, why not explore someplace else like in any normal game? Is it preferable if a game rewards combat (and grinding) rather than exploring a place in one way or another?
Oddity leveling system is an interesting take on a concept as a whole, but not entirely new as similar systems existed before (as everything in Underrail is done with respect to classic titles).

In Deus Ex, you get XP only for completing quests, advancing the plot and exploring out of the way locations.
In Bloodlines, you get XP only for completing quests, as well as skill upgrades from books and characters.

None of those have xp rewards for combat itself

This is done to prevent the typical munchkin behavior where player feels compelled to kill every enemy and lockpick every lock to farm those sweet xp, as well as the usual xp grind. This also balances the game for stealth and pacifist characters who otherwise may miss xp from not actually killing people
 

Serus

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Then there's stuff you can't possibly know about without a wiki, which can really piss you off.
Blame the internet.

Back in the old days, stuff like this was explicitly explained in manual shipped with the game
Actually, not always everything was in manuals either. Then you just had to guess, experiment or go by "instinct"*. And it is doable in Underrail though younger players find it unacceptable or at best - weird.

*When an old game was pirated, in pre-Internet times, it was often without manual at all, but that's another story.
 

Serus

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I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??
You can, but the OP is correct in that feats are the core of your build. Having the right stats so you can take the right feats at the right time (you can't bank them for later) is pretty important.
Sure, they are. However the feat requirements are usually tied to skills, stats bonuses and item requirements. Say a weapon that requires high DEX or PER to use effectively won't have feats with high STR requirements. And you are told that, say, skill "guns" require PER. There is one or two exceptions but they are for niche builds or of secondary importance.
The problem I see, is that you don't really know, in-game, when playing 1st time, at character creation, what item requirements are. Obviously they are mostly reasonable and intuitive, you can assume that heavy armor = high str, pistols = low/no str, etc... Still, imo this is a (small) issue, more than feats requirement. This is something that probably should be available in-game at character creation.
Having said all this, playing on normal, if you pay attention and don't do some stupid nonsense at char creation, doesn't require any outside knoweldge.


The last thing is a question. Not just about Underrail but in general. Why shouldn't games (except casual or party games) require manuals? Why people are so butthurt when they had to look at manuals? Do you feel that when you play a pnp RPG or board game (again not party game) you shouldn't have to read manual neither? I have a bad news for you then. And if manual isn't something evil then perhaps in case of computer games wiki is often the true manual these days? Just avoid spoilery parts.
I'm not 100% sure what the answer is but i am leaning towards the answer that people are lazy, entitled and stupid and manuals for games with complex mechanics are a normal requirement. Maybe someone can convince me otherwise.
 

behold_a_man

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Oddity leveling system is an interesting take on a concept as a whole, but not entirely new as similar systems existed before (as everything in Underrail is done with respect to classic titles).

In Deus Ex, you get XP only for completing quests, advancing the plot and exploring out of the way locations.
In Bloodlines, you get XP only for completing quests, as well as skill upgrades from books and characters.

None of those have xp rewards for combat itself
Unlike both of them (and the Shadowrun trilogy, for that matter), Underrail has way less linear structure; in Deus Ex, I had to solve missions in a certain order (and augments are much closer to oddities, I believe). In Bloodlines, around half of the game takes place during missions; locations where they take place are usually accessible only once. Underrail cranks this formula up to eleven, rewarding players for exploring the mostly open world.
 

Butter

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I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??
You can, but the OP is correct in that feats are the core of your build. Having the right stats so you can take the right feats at the right time (you can't bank them for later) is pretty important.
Sure, they are. However the feat requirements are usually tied to skills, stats bonuses and item requirements. Say a weapon that requires high DEX or PER to use effectively won't have feats with high STR requirements. And you are told that, say, skill "guns" require PER. There is one or two exceptions but they are for niche builds or of secondary importance.
The problem I see, is that you don't really know, in-game, when playing 1st time, at character creation, what item requirements are. Obviously they are mostly reasonable and intuitive, you can assume that heavy armor = high str, pistols = low/no str, etc... Still, imo this is a (small) issue, more than feats requirement. This is something that probably should be available in-game at character creation.
Having said all this, playing on normal, if you pay attention and don't do some stupid nonsense at char creation, doesn't require any outside knoweldge.


The last thing is a question. Not just about Underrail but in general. Why shouldn't games (except casual or party games) require manuals? Why people are so butthurt when they had to look at manuals? Do you feel that when you play a pnp RPG or board game (again not party game) you shouldn't have to read manual neither? I have a bad news for you then. And if manual isn't something evil then perhaps in case of computer games wiki is often the true manual these days? Just avoid spoilery parts.
I'm not 100% sure what the answer is but i am leaning towards the answer that people are lazy, entitled and stupid and manuals for games with complex mechanics are a normal requirement. Maybe someone can convince me otherwise.
I don't have any problem reading the manual when I get into a new RPG. I think that's mostly a zoomer/normies thing where they expect the game to spoonfeed them through a long tutorial sequence. I wish Underrail provided a detailed explanation of its mechanics in-game the way Knights of the Chalice does.

Edit: It's also likely that people coming to Underrail from Fallout won't appreciate how important feats are for a build, since Fallout is so easy it doesn't matter what perks you choose.
 
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Serus

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I haven't gotten around to Underrail yet but this advice sounds obnoxious. Can I just start the game and enjoy it without reading a wiki beforehand and following some autistic guide??
You can, but the OP is correct in that feats are the core of your build. Having the right stats so you can take the right feats at the right time (you can't bank them for later) is pretty important.
Sure, they are. However the feat requirements are usually tied to skills, stats bonuses and item requirements. Say a weapon that requires high DEX or PER to use effectively won't have feats with high STR requirements. And you are told that, say, skill "guns" require PER. There is one or two exceptions but they are for niche builds or of secondary importance.
The problem I see, is that you don't really know, in-game, when playing 1st time, at character creation, what item requirements are. Obviously they are mostly reasonable and intuitive, you can assume that heavy armor = high str, pistols = low/no str, etc... Still, imo this is a (small) issue, more than feats requirement. This is something that probably should be available in-game at character creation.
Having said all this, playing on normal, if you pay attention and don't do some stupid nonsense at char creation, doesn't require any outside knoweldge.


The last thing is a question. Not just about Underrail but in general. Why shouldn't games (except casual or party games) require manuals? Why people are so butthurt when they had to look at manuals? Do you feel that when you play a pnp RPG or board game (again not party game) you shouldn't have to read manual neither? I have a bad news for you then. And if manual isn't something evil then perhaps in case of computer games wiki is often the true manual these days? Just avoid spoilery parts.
I'm not 100% sure what the answer is but i am leaning towards the answer that people are lazy, entitled and stupid and manuals for games with complex mechanics are a normal requirement. Maybe someone can convince me otherwise.
I don't have any problem reading the manual when I get into a new RPG. I think that's mostly a zoomer/normies thing where they expect the game to spoonfeed them through a long tutorial sequence. I wish Underrail provided a detailed explanation of its mechanics in-game the way Knights of the Chalice does.
Damn, when I rate your post "agree" it goes directly under "Hitler was right" in you signature. You probably made it on purpose but I am slow sometimes and saw it only a moment ago. Good job.
 

Zed Duke of Banville

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Damn, when I rate your post "agree" it goes directly under "Hitler was right" in you signature. You probably made it on purpose but I am slow sometimes and saw it only a moment ago. Good job.
Hitler was right about killing himself.

Follow-Your-Leader-nazi.jpg
 

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