Gameplay tips thread

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I haven't been able to find a general purpose gameplay tips/advice thread on this forum, so I thought I'd start one with some information I've found helpful:


Effects which give you X temporary power do so by giving you X power and a debuff which removes X power at the end of the turn. Get rid of debuff effects can get rid of the "remove X power" debuff, allowing you to permanently keep the "temporary" power. This is most abusable with the first turn temporary power you get from the civilian heavy laborer boon.


When deciding what quest you should do, you should take into consideration what type of person is giving you the quest. This is because after you do the quest, the person will like you, giving you the opportunity to give them money to make them love you, so, everything else equal, you preferentially want to take quests from people with good boons. 


For grafts which trigger on the first attack done (like first blood and wounding barbs), attacks that hit enemies multiple times (like mirrored stab) will proc the effect of the graft multiple times. 


Be aware of what quests and events give you easy opportunities to make people love you:

Rescue quests will almost always make the person you rescued love you.

(Sal) In the competing bids quest, asking the other hunter to help you and then completing the quest will give you the option to give them either no money, a small amount of money, or a slightly larger amount of money (usually about 50ish). Giving them the slightly larger amount of money will make them love you for very cheap. It's quite amusing when the hunter is an admiralty goon, so you give them like 40 and then they give you back 75 the next morning and every morning after that. 

(Sal) In Plocka the swab's quest, the person who owes money on the graft is always a civilian heavy laborer (I think). Asking Plocka to reconsider her decision will make the civilian heavy laborer love you (the opportunity cost of this is not getting a free random common graft).

(Rook) Giving Krog 50 shills (or offering to trade for his coin) will make him love you, which pays off really quickly since Krog's boon is -20 cost to buying things. 


You can only travel to locations if you specifically have a quest at that location. When you have a quest which gives you access to multiple different locations, you should scout out all the different locations for drink + gift / provoke + kill opportunities before continuing the quest.


(This was true a few days ago, it might have been patched though). For quests which give you a companion that goes away at the end of the quest (the Oshnu from Sal day 4 if you sided with Oolo, the mechs in the Rook Day 3 beating up the boggers quest), if you stop by at your room, tell your companion to stay, and complete the quest, you skip over the trigger at the end of the quest which takes away your companion, so you keep the companion permanently. 


For many of the cards in your starting decks, you aren't normally able to view the two upgrades they will upgrade into until you reach max experience on them. However, if you receive the option to upgrade a card from a quest or event, you can use it to view the possible upgrades of every card in your deck before selecting the card you actually want to upgrade. This is useful for planning ahead / card removal purposes.     


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For rook's krog event, you need to pay 10 shills to first play the game, so for 60 shills total(or 10 shills + coin trade) you get the boon.

The two places you can drink in Sal's campaign are Grog 'n Dog and the Gutted Yote. Grog 'n Dog is a jake bar, which means everyone in this region can show up at this bar. It has a jakes guard. The Gutted yote is a spree bar, so only unlawful characters can show up(spree and jakes, if a bogger or a rise spawned, they can appear here). It is almost always better to drink with others at the Grog, because fssh likes you, and it always appears. However, if you want to find the thief's boon(+1 action at start of combat), you should drink at the Gutted Yote. It has a spree guard.

The Slurping snail is a civilian location. It doesn't provide drinks, but rather, once per time day(actually once per day and night) you can buy a bowl of noodles, which are really, really good. If you buy a bowl, murder the bartender, and re-enter the shop, another bartender will show up and you can buy another bowl. Since the slurping snail is a civilian shop, non-spree can show up as patrons. The guard is an admiralty.

Also, if you see the rescue luminari quest, you should almost always go for it. Not only will you get 1 to like you, 1 to love you, these two person will almost always show up at the auction because of how few cultists are at murder bay, and cultists are guaranteed to spawn at the auction house. The negotiation support you get from cultists are really good(heal + composure on random argument per turn).

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Spelunking through the partok caverns (Admiralty quest), you can get the location then explore the caves once. you will always find one luminari that you can recruit to fight with you against the spree. you will have to kill the spree otherwise he will mildly sneer in your direction when you talk to oolo (heckler)

Highway robbery quest is one of the best money quests in the game, along with the admiralty tax collect mission. highway robbing can nab high shill return, with i believe 60 shills for the workers, 120 for the merchant, 180 for the priests, and 320 for the jakes(?). best value, as i've seen it was priests since they're easy to fight and almost never have a luminari.

settling debts is actually massive value. in one of the missions you can settle a debt for a sum of your own shills, and doing so will cause both the quest giver and the business partner to love you, and you get the reward value to mitigate the cost from your own pocket.

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Highway robbery is good, assuming you can keep yourself and your partner both alive. At level 4 and 5 there's like 3 people on the opponent team, and I believe that the priest do travel with at least 1 luminari. You can do up to 4, and then the admiralty interrupts you. If you are unlucky, the admiralty will come after you after only 2 or 3 rounds.

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if you have money, health, and ability to buy food afterwards, it's always good to expend your health into graft slots as sleep gives full health/half health if you're on a high enough prestige/ignore this tip if you have insomnia mutator. Rook is much easier since his playstyle is more for grafts and he can access the market at any time, while sal has to fight a final boss before she can sleep.

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This is more like a beginner tip but will save you some deaths/potential restarts.

Be aware of the market/night market timings

The market in Murder Bay (Sal campaign) only opens during the night. This doesn't need much further explanation.

Grout Bog's Market is open all the time. Usually when I start a new day the first thing I do is go to the shop and see what items they have in stock.

Grout Bog's market items change when the day switches between day and night. This switch usually happens after you finished the 2nd quest of the day. So if you want to make some purchases from the "day-stock" it is best to do this before you start your 2nd quest. Always take note of the cost of certain cards/grafts that you want to buy so you have a goal to work towards to. Before spending all your money (just before a boss fight), make sure you're aware of your HP/Resolve. If you happen to spend all your money and don't have enough to top yourself off before a boss fight, this might be a gg.

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At this point i'm just putting down whatever crosses my mind.

  • Jakes Dockhands are rarer than smugglers (in my experience), but befriending them gets you a 20 shill discount on damn well everything.  3 counts of bargaining will reduce both drinks and meals to 1 shill and the cards, an awesome deal.
  • Conversely, never anger a Merchant as they'll give you 20 shill price hike on damn well everything, depleting your coffers every time you need food and booze.
  • Sal's campaign, Plocka is the best money saver to befriend if you can. Second best are Rake and Dellena, as they both are the same concept and have roughly same type of stock, just combat and negotiation. Phloruk is not as worth it, unless you have animal lover and/or want to amass an army of animals and/or want some free cracklers.
  • Rook's campaign, Trade secrets will give you a chance to get a kickback from the buyers. Heshians will give you 300 shills, Admiralty will give you a trained vroc, and jakes will give some item cards.
  • When sal meets rook and vice versa, the ally is immensely overpowered, much stronger than the boss in general. rook in particular is a god when he isn't the player. rook is also the only one who can make bogger banes matter in sal's campaign, so be wary of betrayal unless you really don't care about twig or stem.
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Remove rook's legs as soon as you can. And I don't mean the cards, those are the symptom. It's obvious that whoever installed his prosthetics got their degree from one of those online universities because whenever I get an early combat upgrade reward and peak at the cards, it feels like getting punched in the nuts knowing I'll have to limp to the finish line after spending over 300 shillings and 10 max hp to remove a god damn splinter from his left pinkie. 

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In general, it is best to go for any destroy upgrades for any of the basic cards that have it as an option. Unupgraded, the starter deck's basic attacks for both characters are meh to bad. Even upgraded, they're really only okay for whatever they are doing, compared to other cards that do what they do, but better. You only really keep those if you're never offered enough cards for a specific archetype of your liking. Destroy upgrades, on the other hand, serve as "free" card removal to thin your deck and make it more consistent for any better cards you choose to add, with the extra damage/defense being a nice bonus. Don't sweat the "loss" of damage of using a destroy card on an easy fight, since you have plenty of opportunities to fill your deck with stronger attack or defense cards.

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1 hour ago, TF3 said:

In general, it is best to go for any destroy upgrades for any of the basic cards that have it as an option.

Elbow strike feels bad, even when given destroy, if only because I have to use it 4? times to upgrade, then again just to purge it. lol

I'll throw some stuff in about negotiations:

Sal's strongest hostile cards seem to be Evil Eye, Opress, and Low Blow. Paired with Ergo and Duplicity and she can do stupid amounts of damage quickly. You basically lose 10-15 resolve but can end any negotiation in 2-3 turns.

With diplomacy, Setup, Appeal to Reason, and Brainstorm can do stupid things if you thin your deck out enough.

And.. most fun Sal deck I ever had goes to an oversized one with 40 cards in it. The core cards were, Brainstorm, Setup,Tactical Minds, and Second Wind then fill the deck with garbage (Evil Eyes and Ergo are bonuses). You just burn through the deck then second wind for 5-10+ actions, letting you redraw the whole deck. I had a turn that took me like 4 minutes to complete because I couldn't run out of actions.

It feels like with Rook (on lower prestige tiers at least) Turtle coin is hands down the best option if building hostile cards due to Call It and/or Spin. Upgrade those to gamble as much as possible, and you can protect dominance built from Rant. It lets you easily clear arguments with Burn and Muck. Add in 1-2 raw and a Tantrum and negotiations become easy mode.

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In Rook's campaign, for the quest where you are hired to clear an erchin nest and have the option to convince workers to help you, if you choose to take on the entire nest yourself, the worker you had the option to individually convince will love you for dealing with the problem yourself.

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Only played one run with Sal and Rook each, so will describe what worked for me.


-Core combat deck seems to be mostly focused on bleed & combo, but bleed is a bit lacking, at least without the extra cards. Still, be opportunistic and if you get the +damage vs bleeding graft it's a good reason to have some bleed cards in your deck. No need to go all in.

-Combo is pretty good at both blocking and dealing damage. For combo the main source of block is either Shoulder Roll or the graft giving 50% of combo at the end of the turn (the later makes combat pretty easy). As long as you keep stacking combo and full block every turn you continue gaining even more block and gaining more damage. The block and gain combo next turn is pretty decent early when you don't build a ton of combo yet and helps the transition. The main damage card is combination that gives +1 combo and deals +1 damage per combo. +combo/turn graft is pretty great with this too. I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the cards spending combo, although it might be worth to keep one damage finisher to deal the killing blow (but for the most part just getting more copies of combination does the trick as far as damage dealing goes).

-As far as negotiation goes, if you side with Admiralty you can gain a pretty powerful card that gives an argument that deals 1 damage per influence you have every turn (I suspect it's guaranteed). This alone is enough to be your win condition together with cards that give extra influence and the card that doubles your influence. All you need after that is defense. Keep Cool -> Keep composed (+3 composure on an argument and then double) is a great way of building a ton of defense, add card draw as necessary if you have the actions for it from grafts. It's worth keeping a couple of damage dealing influence dumps just in case you enforcement argument gets destroyed. The downside of this is that it seems you end up getting a lot of reputation cards that favor aggressive deck no matter what (I only killed people that I needed to according to the objective and still got like 5-6 aggressive rep cards). Another downside is intimidation attempts (which you get quite a few) where the intimidation cards you get are completely useless, so maybe an aggressive deck would feel more natural. Still, with a few removals influence stacking works out just fine, at least on prestige , and is really easy to build as it doesn't really require any rare cards.


-Rook feels a bit tougher, at least in the beginning, because of the parasite cards and hist initial cards being pretty weak in general.

-I've seen comments about Rook being a loner, that wasn't the experience for me. I sided with the Spark Barons and got multiple allies in most fights later in the game, with red bandana (+power to allies) ending up being one of the most powerful grafts.

-I didn't get any "boss" grafts or grafts that give actions/make cards cheaper is Rook and not sure if they are available et all. So any cards that give you extra actions are extremely valuable.

-For negotiation I ended up using a psychic coin build with a lot of gambling and rigging heads. Foresight is a great power for rigging coin flips if you can get it. Incepting a lot of doubt + cards that gamble and deal aoe damage if heads take care of all your damage. For defense I relied mostly on Helmet and Jargon with the graft that allows you to prepare a card every turn, but in general it's not a great build for blocking and it mostly relies on dealing a lot of damage fast.

-For combat, I used an overcharge build, with the shot that doubles your overcharge, one that attacks one per overcharge spent and grafts that give overcharge per turn as well as mark per turn (to gain more charge and overcharge). You get a gunsmith event where you can add or remove charge cells, I ended up removing them but I'm not actually sure what's the better option and it probably depends on the specific mix of cards you're using. Having a lot of cells is good for defense if you play with the build that spends charge reliably and good for the Fan The Hammer card which does an attack per charge. However if you want to be mostly converting charge gain to overcharge and staying fully charged at all times less cells seems better, but only for the faster initial setup. Concentration buffs/grafts go well together with overcharge as they push your min damage to match your max damage. It's easy to casually deal 100+ damage with the overcharge multiattack. This build is not great at defending however and relies a lot on consumables for that purpose (the one that deals damage and gains defense based on damage dealt (carpace?) as well as bog scimitar (gain health based on the damage dealt) work perfectly with overcharge/concentration build). I later found a graft that gives +2 defense when you gain a charge but it was a bit late and it didn't seem to trigger when gaining overcharge so that might be a viable defensive strategy for a deck where you can gain a lot of charge and then dump it with Fan the Hammer, but in general Rook's cards aren't great for blocking.

-Counter seems to benefit from overcharge so Rook can counter for some serious amounts of damage with the overcharge build as well if you have one of the counter cards.

-Rook seemed to have more fights vs multiple enemies so AoE was more interesting. Ricochet is pretty great (especially with graft that gives extra damage against enemies with it) and doesn't really require any extra synergies (unlike burn that seemingly needs aa lot of support, although I haven't really tried it), but the downside is that it's quite easy to kill people that concede and get someone to hate you so be careful with it.

All characters:

I think the general advice for the similar deck building roguelikes applies here: Don't try to force a specific archetype of build, look at the cards and grafts you're offered and build around it. You might not have a perfect deck in the end but you will win instead of dying early because you didn't get the cards you wanted and took a bunch of cards that were weak or useless on their own.

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-I've found that if you want to go with a Hostility build in negotiations, that there are a lot of unplayable cards you get with buffs to hostility damage if you kill your enemies in the combat portions. Likewise if you're going the diplomacy route, you will want to spare your enemies to avoid those cards.

-With rook, one of the most powerful negotiation builds I've had was to take the blacklist at the beginning of the game, then hunt for the Rare Graft "Memorization Implant" which would duplicate a card in your starting hand and make it cost 0. You'll want to pair it with the grafts that allow you to discard and draw at the beginning of your turn, but I was pretty consistently doing 20+20 damage mid way thru the game. 

-Oftentimes, making people love you is worth more than buying grafts. Considering that love bonuses stack and you can have as many as there are characters, you may want to spend shills on those bonuses in lieu of swapping out a graft if you're full. One potent combination I had was getting 2 boons that increased my first attack's damage plus a relic that doubled the first attack's damage. Pair that with an AOE attack or multi-hit attack and it will mow down enemies.

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