Rookie's Tale: A Guide

by Kyzrati on 20130118 , under

This post is a comprehensive guide to "A Rookie's Tale", the recently released mod which combines a fantasy setting with X-COM mechanics.

Because X@COM does not yet include ways to get extra information about objects and gameplay elements, I've reorganized the relevant details from my notes and the game files here so you can reference them while playing, or just read about them when you've got nothing better to do :)

The first section is general info, to be considered full of "minor spoilers" since it mainly just covers "what's out there," listing classes, spells, abilities, etc. and their stats. The second section further below is major spoiler territory, as it encroaches even more on the potential fun and surprise of various encounters by revealing who/what you may be up against and discussing strategy.


Classes & Abilities

All recruitable units (blue) belong to a certain class, each of which probably has some passive and/or manual-use abilities. The latter are activated by pressing 'z'. Classes gain new abilities and better stats when they level up, which occurs under different conditions depending on the type of class: Casters raise randomly after having joined for at least 15 turns and becoming completely exhausted at least once; non-casters instead gain XP for killing foes.

Fighter / Knight - Front-line units that have no abilities and average stats.

Barbarian / Warrior - Excellent health, stamina, and strength.
  • Rage: Immediately restores full TU. (Cooldown: 5 min. Must have killed at least one foe before each use.)
  • Adrenaline Rush: Immediately restores full stamina. (Cooldown: 5 min.)
  • Bloodlust (Warrior): Gain 30 TU on killing a foe (passive).
  • Cleave (Warrior): Attempt to chop through all foes surrounding warrior in one mighty swing. (Cooldown: 5 min. Requires a weapon suitable for cleaving.)

Paladin / Crusader - Similar to fighter, though generally more robust and prefer melee over ranged combat.
  • Impale: Run a foe through, killing them instantly. (Cooldown: 5 min. Requires a weapon suitable for impaling.)
  • Healing Touch: Restore health and heal wounds of an adjacent ally. Touching undead targets will harm them. (Cooldown: 5 min.)
  • Detect Evil: Sense nearby evil beings.
  • Smite Evil (Crusader): Call upon Belthas to strike down evil foes. (Cooldown: 5 min. LOS not required.)
  • Dispel Undead (Crusader): Call upon Belthas to destroy undead foes. (Cooldown: 5 min.)
  • Aura of Courage (Crusader): All allies within 5 spaces gain extra morale at the beginning of each turn (passive).

Rogue / Assassin - Squishy in a fight, but have skills essential for handling special situations.
  • Capable of using lockpicks to open chests/doors.
  • Can find secret doors/stairs they pass by, and may notice them in the same room.
  • Will not trigger weak floors, cave-ins, or disturb sleeping undead by movement (also must be closer to sleeping animals before possibly waking them).
  • May spot nearby traps automatically, and never trigger set traps, even if unnoticed.
  • Set Trap: Lay down a variety of traps that trigger when anyone passes by. (See trap list below.)
  • Search for Traps: Actively look for all traps within 6 spaces. (Only those in LOS--all directions--will be marked.)
  • Disarm Traps: Disarm an adjacent trap, recovering it for later use.
  • Sixth Sense: May notice weak floors and other dangerous terrain (passive).
  • Dodge: 33% chance to dodge melee attacks (passive).
  • Evasion (Assassin): 50% chance to evade projectile attacks (passive).
  • Counterattack (Assassin): 33% to spot a weakness in an enemy's melee attack and afford a free counterattack, if armed.
  • Shadow Sprint (Assassin): Use a burst of energy to quickly sprint to a nearby position.

Ranger / Hunter - Ranged combatants with a knowledge of forestry.
  • Can identify plants and herbs, as well as notice those in nature which may be useful.
  • Harvest: Turn certain plants and herbs into useful items. (See herb list below.)
  • First-Aid: Tend one critical wound on self or an adjacent ally.
  • Fletchery: Make crude arrows from the branches of any tree.
  • Meditate (Hunter): Restore stamina to full.
  • Sense Motion (Hunter): Remain completely still and focused to sense any nearby movement.

Cleric / Warpriest - Healing-oriented spellcasters.
  • Capable of learning divine spells from Books. (See Book/spell lists below.)

Wizard / Archmage - While initially weak, experienced wizards can deal with almost any situation through a wide variety of spells.
  • Capable of learning arcane spells from Tomes. (See Tome/spell lists below.)


Food - A food clock wouldn't make much sense, but there is one food item for use:
  • Dry Ration: Eat to restore full HP/EN; however, each character may only eat one per game.

Herbs - Find these, or have a ranger harvest them as needed.
  • Nodan Leaf: Heals 10 HP.
  • Vocksel Twig: Improves reflexes (+10).
  • Quibble Nut: Improves health (+10).
  • Cistem Root: Restores stamina (+40).
  • Hmap Seed: Improves stamina (+10).
  • Dage Twig: Temporarily enhances strength (+15).
  • Strange Root: Poisons whoever eats it.
  • Orcah Nut: Permanently reduces endurance (-10).
  • Gorf Seed: Permanently reduces health (-5).

Potions - Quaff 'em or throw 'em.
  • Potion of (Greater) Healing: Heals 15 (35) HP, or does 40 (80) damage to undead when splashed on them.
  • Potion of (Greater) Heal Wounds: Heals 20 (40) HP and two wounds, or does 40 (80) damage to undead when splashed on them.
  • Potion of (Greater) Endurance: Restores 60 (120) stamina.
  • Potion of (Greater) Might: Increase strength by 30 (60) for 8 (12) min.
  • Elixer: Restores health and stamina to full.
  • Greater Elixer: Restores health and stamina to full, and improves both HP/EN (+5/+5).
  • (Greater) Chromatic Potion: Can have any of a variety of stat-modifying effects, some permanent and others temporary. (Effect of greater version stronger.)
  • Potion of Polymorph: Permanently transforms imbiber into a creature or other being, anything from cats to dragons. May also be thrown at targets!

Weapons & Ammo

Larger, heavier weapons do more damage, but also have fewer attacks per turn than lighter weapons. Most weapons have 2-3 attacks per turn, while damage ranges from 10 to 40. Keep in mind that weapons do one of bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage, which may be more or less effective depending on the type of target.

Weapon Damage TU% Accuracy

Weapon Damage Snap Acc/TU% Aimed Acc/TU% Notes
Staff Sling60/25%110/80%
Gnomish Slingshot50/35%**fires in bursts, not snap
Spiked Bullets12
Shredding Bullets5Exploding shrapnel: 30 dmg, 2 radius
Exploding Bullets10Explodes: 30 dmg, 2 radius
Elven Warbow65/25%85/45%
Recurve Longbow80/30%110/70%
Elven Greatbow90/30%120/70%
Marksman's Greatbow100/30%135/70%
Crude Arrows10
Hunting Arrows15
Barbed Arrows20
Broadhead Arrows25
Incendiary Arrows1515-25 incendiary damage, fire radius = 1
Barbed Bolts25
Broadhead Bolts30

Brands - Some weapons/ammo may be enchanted and offer additional benefits.
  • Speed: -5 TU to attack cost (%)
  • Striking: +10% accuracy
  • Holy: Does an extra 5 damage to evil targets (ignores armor), with a chance to disintegrate undead enemies.
  • Fire: +5 fire damage (ignores armor).
  • Lightning: +5 lightning damage (ignores armor).
  • Slowing: Halves victim's TU for 3 min.
  • Poison: 50% chance to do 5 poison damage to victim each minute for 5 min.
  • Warping: Chance to teleport victim, sometimes to a position fairly far away.
  • Death: 10% chance to outright slay victim.

Special - Rare weapons you may come across in your travels.
  • Throwing Knives: Dispatch foes before they close in.
  • Stun Darts:  Incapacitate a target without killing them.
  • Repeater Crossbow: Shoots a volley of bolts in rapid succession.
  • Massive Stone Club: Incredibly heavy, but incredibly damaging weapon.
  • Goblin Slayer: Slays goblins instantly.
  • Dragon Slayer: Slays dragons instantly.
  • Vampiric Blade: Drains target's life force and returns it to wielder. (Don't use it against undead, in which case it returns negative energy.)
  • Signum Mortis: Legendary sword that permanently drains wielder's stamina to disintegrate foes.
  • Crucifier: Legendary sword that may be activated to destroy any evil or undead foe.


Although some units come with NPC-specific named armors, only those found on these lists are actually wearable.

Armor F L/R R U Notes
Barbarian's Garb4444
Rogue's Garb6666
Hunter's Garb8644
Leather Armor8644
Ring Armor121086
Light Scale Mail20161412
Splint Mail24201614Blocks criticals
Plate Mail28242016Blocks criticals, narrows FOV
Heavy Scale Mail32282420Blocks criticals, narrows FOV

Armor F L/R R U Notes
Robe of Power4444Spellcasters regain extra 10 EN/min
Archmage's Robe8644Halves arcane damage, contains extra-dimensional pocket
Quentaficus' Robe4444Spellcasters regain extra 10 EN/min
Warlord's Mail50402525Halves arcane damage
Trollskin Armor20141210Regenerate 5 HP/min
Master Thief's Garb8644Unlimited use of apportation, as spell.
Sneaksuit8644Blink to any position within 5 spaces (cooldown: 1 min)
Anti-Wizard Mail28242016Blocks criticals, narrows FOV, halves arcane damage
Kayten's Cool Armor20161412Immune to ice damage
Lightning Mail28242016Blocks criticals, narrows FOV, 50% chance to discharge electricity when struck
Gnomish Birdsuit2222Enables flight
Gnomish Mechasuit30252010Blocks criticals, 360 degree FOV, sight range +5, motion scanner, enhanced strength, repeater crossbow, rocket launcher


  • Spike: 30 damage.
  • Poison Dart: 50% chance to do 10 poison damage to victim each minute for 5 min.
  • Tangle: Holds victim until they can break free (weaker victims more prone).
  • Fire: Incinerates victim for 60 fire damage.
  • Explosive: Explodes for 25-35 damage over 2-space radius.
  • Shock: 30 lightning damage.
  • Guard: Summons Armor Sentinel.
  • Teleport: Teleports victim away, often quite far...

Magic Items

Scrolls - Single-use items that release a spell when read.
  • Storms: Storms.
  • Meteors: Meteors.
  • Dismissal: Dismissal.
  • Knock: Knock.
  • Demons: Gate.
  • Sanctuary: Sanctuary.
  • Stasis: Renders target immobile and unable to take any action for 4 min.

Rods/Wands - Multi-use items capable of casting one type of spell.
  • Fire: Fireball.
  • Lightning: Lightning Bolt.
  • Disintegration: Disintegrate.
  • Missiles: Magic Missile or Flame Arrow (random).
  • Teleport: Controlled Teleport.
  • Haste: Haste.
  • Charming: Charm Person.
  • Healing: Cure Critical Wounds.
  • Slowing: Target's TU halved for 3 min.

Staffs - Multi-use items capable of casting multiple types of spells.
  • Flames: Flame Arrow, Fireball, Ignite, Conflagration.
  • Energy: Light, Lightning Bolt, Lightning Storm.
  • Destruction: Fireball, Disintegration, Meteor Shower.
  • Necromancy: Animate Dead, Control Undead, Summon Undead, Symbol of Pain.
  • Summoning: Summon Monster III, Summon Monster VII.
  • the Tempest: Lightning Storm, Cyclone (flings all nearby objects through the air, slamming them into the ground).
  • Power: Spellcasters regain extra 10 EN/min.


Casting spells usually drains the caster's stamina, and may require components that must be held in the hand(s) while casting. Material components are consumed when the spell is cast, unless that component is considered a "focus." Note that very powerful enemies may be immune to the effects of certain spells.

  • Magic Missile: Launch a missile of arcane energy w/50% base to-hit chance. 15 damage; 15% spell failure rate. Higher-level wizards can fire three missiles at once without fail (60% base to-hit).
  • Burning Hands: Spew flames for 15 (x2) damage, with additional 15 splash damage to all adjacent spaces. Always hits target. 20% spell failure rate, though higher-level wizards cast without fail.
  • Flame Arrow: Launch a fiery arrow w/60% base to-hit chance. 20 damage; 15% spell failure rate. Higher-level wizards cast without fail (70% base to-hit).
  • Fireball: Throw a ball of fire for 30 (+10) damage at 60% base to-hit, with additional 10 splash damage to all adjacent spaces. 15% spell failure rate.
  • Lightning Bolt: Shoot a bolt of lightning for 30 damage at 70% base to-hit. 10% spell failure rate.
  • Disintegrate: Completely destroy a target. Cooldown: 5 min.

Area Attack 
  • Chain Lightning: Shoot out a fan of lightning bolts. 30 damage.
  • Lightning Storm: Call lightning to strike all units within 3 spaces of target. 30 damage.
  • Meteor Shower: Summon 6 fiery meteors that strike randomly within 0-10 spaces of target, each doing 60 damage on a direct hit and exploding for an additional 60 damage that spreads out to a 3-space radius. Component: Fire Opal or Hydra Gland.

  • Light: Create a magical source of light that lasts for 4 min.
  • Blur: 15% chance to dodge attacks for 10 min.
  • Etherial Shift: Automatically dodge all attacks for 3 min. Component: Phase Spider Antenna.
  • Blink / Controlled Blink: Teleport up to 5 spaces away.
  • Teleport / Controlled Teleport: Teleport up to 20 spaces away.
  • Teleport Other: Teleport target up to 20 spaces away.
  • Mass Teleport: Teleport self and everyone within 5 spaces to anywhere. Component: Any magic ammo.
  • Apportation: Move any item within 20 spaces to another position within 20 spaces.
  • Scry: Reveal everything within 5 spaces of a target location. Focus: Magnifying Glass; Component: Spider Eye.
  • Obscuring Mist: Create a thick cloud of mist over a 6-space radius. Component: Pile of Ash.
  • Knock: Open any locked door or chest.
  • Haste: +80 TU, self only. Cooldown: 1 min.
  • Mass Haste: +80 TU to self and everyone within 2 spaces. Cooldown: 1 min.
  • Time Stop: +160 TU, self only. Focus: Hourglass; Component: Pile of Sand. Cooldown: 1 min.
  • Sanctuary: Erect an impenetrable barrier around the target which lasts for 4 min. Component: Small Box.
  • Read Aura: Know an entity's attributes.
  • Detect Essence: Search the aether for concentrations of elemental power; used to find locations appropriate for creating elementals.
  • Create Soul Trap: Permanently drains caster's stamina (5) to create a special container suitable for storing a single soul.
  • Steal Soul: Rip out a target's soul and inject it into a soul trap; for use in creating golems. Throwing a full soul trap will release a Vengeful Soul. Component: Empty Soul Trap.
  • Dismissal: Recall summons to their plane of origin.
  • Mass Dismissal: Recall all summons within a 5-space radius to their plane of origin.
  • Brand: Fire: Imbue mundane weapon/ammo with fire for 7 min. 50% chance to deal additional 5-15 damage per hit (ignores armor). Cooldown: 8 min.
  • Brand: Lightning: Imbue mundane weapon/ammo with lightning for 7 min. 50% chance to deal additional 5-15 damage per hit (ignores armor). Cooldown: 8 min.
  • Ignite: Set a single space on fire.
  • Conflagration: Spread a raging inferno across an 8-space radius around target. Focus: Torch; Component: Dead Gas Spider.
  • Earth to Lava: Transmute the ground/floor into lava, which scorches creatures that step across it, melts those that stand on it, and melts items. Focus: Torch; Component: Chip of Obsidian.
  • Charm Person: 75% chance to gain control over a sentient humanoid's actions for 1 min.
  • Dominate Person: Gain control over a sentient humanoid's actions for 4 min. Component: Wolf Heart.
  • Symbol of Pain: Lay a magical trap that lasts for 10 min and deals 60 negative energy damage to whoever steps on or near it.

  • Summon Familiar: All high-level wizards are capable of summoning their familiar (one use only), generally a fast weak animal useful for scouting ahead.
  • Animate Dead: Turn a corpse into an animated skeleton for a short duration.
  • Summon Undead: Summons a permanent undead servant (will not follow the caster, however). Lower-level wizards summon various types of skeletons, while higher-level wizards summon either a greater number of skeletons or more powerful undead creatures. Focus: Small Candle; Component: Bones.
  • Animate Armor: Permanently animate a suit of armor (must be of "mail" type) and arm it with a magical blade. Does not follow caster.
  • Create Elemental: Create a permanent elemental servant (follows the caster). This spell permanently drains the life force of the caster (10 HP), and requires that they be standing on a source of the essence to be used in creating the desired elemental. Detect Essence (as well as intuition) can be used to locate proper sources of elemental essence. There are four versions of this spell: Fire, Water, Earth, and Lightning. (Note: Earth elementals are too large to create indoors, though the game will attempt to let you do so and waste the spell unless there is outdoor access nearby.)
  • Create Golem: Construct a golem servant (follows the caster) using a soul ripped from another creature and whatever component the golem is to be based on. Golems: Flesh / Bone / Web / Stone / Sand / Iron / Hellfire. Components: Full Soul Trap + Fleshy Corpse / Bones / Preserved Spider Web / Chunk of Rock / Pile of Sand / Chunk of Iron / Warm Embers. (Note: Iron and Hellfire golems are too large to create indoors, though the game will attempt to let you do so and waste the spell unless there is outdoor access nearby.)
  • Summon Monster III: Summon a friendly extra-planar creature for 5 min. One or more chosen from among Celestial Dog, Imp, Fiendish Ape, Monstrous Spider. Higher-level wizards capable of more/better summons. Cooldown: 6 min.
  • Summon Monster VII: Summon a friendly extra-planar creature for 12 min, chosen from among Mirror Mephit, Inferno Spider, Dire Lion, Colossal Centipede. Higher-level wizards capable of more/better summons. Cooldown: 13 min.
  • Gate: Open a gate to an abyssal plane, which will remain open for 20 min. Each minute there is a 20% chance of some abyssal creature(s) emerging from the gate: Imps, Hellhounds, Mirror Mephits, Phase Beast, Vampiric Abominations, Greater Ameboid, Fire Djinn, Xiquib, Ypaezroth, Ognolith. None of these will be friendly to the caster or his/her allies! They will, however, return to their own plane after 12 min. Component: Ritual Candle.
  • Summon Greater Demon: Cast on an open abyssal Gate to summon one of the three greater demons (Xiquib, Ypaezroth, Ognolith), which will be friendly with the caster and allies, but returns to its plane of origin after 12 min. Cooldown: 21 min.

  • Dispel Fatigue: Restores target's stamina (+40).
  • Cure Light Wounds: Heals 10 HP and 1 wound, or does 15 damage to undead (ignores armor). Cooldown: 1 min.
  • Cure Critical Wounds: Heals 30 HP and 3 wounds, or does 40 damage to undead (ignores armor). Cooldown: 1 min.
  • Mass Heal: Heals 20 HP and 1 wound for everyone within 3 spaces of caster, and/or does 40 damage to undead in that range (ignores armor). Cooldown: 3 min.
  • Regeneration: Target regenerates 5-10 HP/min over 5 min; undead targets instead deteriorate for 10-15 damage/min over 5 min. Cooldown: 10 min.
  • Bless Weapon: Imbue mundane weapon/ammo with holy power, an effect that lasts 7 min and has a 50% chance to disintegrate any undead hit by that weapon. Cooldown: 8 min.
  • Detect Undead: Find undead creatures within a 6-space radius of target location.
  • Control Undead: 85% chance to gain control of an undead creature for 1 min.
  • Sunburst: Cause a holy explosion of light that deals 100 damage to all undead within 4 spaces of targeted position. Cooldown: 8 min.
  • Smite: Call upon Belthas to outright destroy a foe. Cooldown: 8 min.

Spell Sources

New spells are usually gained by either raising levels or, more often, reading tomes and books found during your travels. Sometimes a tome or book may be incomplete, missing its full repertoire of possible spells (non-guaranteed spells appear in parenthesis below). After learning the spells, read the tome/book again to reference any casting requirements.

Tomes - Wizards can read these to learn new arcane spells.
  • Pyromancy: Burning Hands, Flame Arrow, (Fireball), (Brand: Fire), (Ignite), (Conflagration), (Fire Elemental)
  • Energy: Light, Lightning Bolt, (Chain Lightning), (Lightning Storm), (Brand: Lightning), (Lightning Elemental)
  • Destruction: Fireball, (Disintegrate), (Meteor Shower)
  • Escape: (Blur), (Etherial Shift), Blink, (Controlled Blink), Teleport, (Controlled Teleport), Obscuring Mist, (Haste), (Sanctuary)
  • Translocation: (Blur), (Etherial Shift), Blink, (Controlled Blink), Teleport, (Controlled Teleport), (Teleport Other), (Mass Teleport), Apportation
  • Prying: Scry, Knock, Read Aura
  • Time: Haste, (Mass Haste), (Time Stop)
  • Constructs: Create Soul Trap, Steal Soul, Create Golem, (Animate Armor)
  • Elements: Detect Essence, (Fire Elemental), (Water Elemental), (Earth Elemental), (Lightning Elemental), (Fireball), (Lightning Bolt)
  • Summoning: (Dismissal), (Mass Dismissal), Summon Monster III, (Summon Monster VII)
  • Necromancy: Animate Dead, (Summon Undead), (Symbol of Pain)
  • Demonology: Gate, (Summon Greater Demon)
  • Geomancy: Earth to Lava, (Lightning Bolt), (Chain Lightning), (Lightning Storm), (Meteor Shower), (Earth Elemental), (Water Elemental)
  • Charms: Charm Person, (Dominate Person)

Books - Clerics can read these to learn new divine spells.
  • Aid: Dispel Fatigue, Cure Light Wounds, Cure Critical Wounds, Mass Heal, (Regeneration)
  • War: Bless Weapon, (Smite)
  • Unlife: Detect Undead, (Control Undead), (Sunburst)

Misc. Items

  • Torch: Toss on the ground to light up an area.
  • Pickaxe: For mining ore veins.
  • Lockpick: Rogues can use these to open any locked door or chest.
  • Skeleton Key: Opens any locked door or chest.
  • Smoke Powder: Throw to obscure vision over an area.
  • Volatile Substance: Explodes on contact.
  • Flask of Holy Water: Damaging to the undead.
  • Crystal Ball: Can use to Scry and Read Aura (as the spells).


===============================SPOILER ALERT===============================


Opening Chests/Doors - There are many ways to get into/through locked chests/doors, depending on what classes/skillsets are available in your party.
  • Brute Force: Common locked chests and doors can eventually be knocked down by a good blow from any medium or heavy melee weapon, though it may take a few tries. It takes a fairly strong weapon to break through heavy chests/doors. Sealed chests/portals are essentially impervious to weapons, and require other methods to open.
  • Thievery: Rogues with a lockpick can use it to open anything.
  • Magic: The Knock spell or equivalent scroll will unlock anything.
  • Fire: Common chests and doors are made of wood, and thus can be burned open.
  • Luck: If you are lucky enough to find a Skeleton Key, you can unlock anything.

Finding Loot - Certain types of items are more likely to be found in certain places.
  • Cabinet / Shelves / Box: Rations, Torches, herbs, potions, spell foci
  • Desk: Lockpicks, skeleton keys, spell foci
  • Lamp: Small candle
  • Hearth: Ash, embers
  • Incense Burner: Ash
  • Bookcase: Tomes/Books (rarely)
  • Lectern: Tomes/Books (almost guaranteed)
  • Alchemist's Workbench: Potions, herbs, spell components
  • Altar: Spell components.
  • Weapon/Armor Rack: Duh.
  • Goblin Refuse Pile: Spell components, and just about anything else


Aside from the friends Victor can make near his starting area, and other more generic allies that may join up later if you help them, there are some unique and/or powerful characters to be found.
  • Veldorn (Elven Ranger): Retired adventurer, but deadly with a bow, so you may want to visit his giant treehouse to seek his help.
  • Quentaficus (Sage): A powerful, if not entirely sane, practitioner of the arcane arts. Find his staff for him (it's safely stowed away in a pile of underwear beneath his bed) to convince him to join your party. He'll eventually leave you for more important matters, so spend your time with him wisely.
  • Kyzrati (Wild Mage): You can find me almost anywhere on the map--just read the note on the statue and do what it says. I may be a boon, or nightmare, depending on exactly what I end up casting :)
  • Urist McScorch (Tunnelmaster): It can be tough to find Urist, but if you spot some gray Loose Rocky Ground, check it out and you'll catch him resting in his tunnel. All he's really good for, besides having an additional party member, is to test out the experimental Magma Cannon he designed. It only has 2 shots though, so use them wisely; when fired it spews magma chunks over a wide area. And don't stand too close to him when he fires it, "just in case."
  • Alexei (Dimensionally-challenged X-COM Soldier): Rescue him from the orcs who have him locked up in a cave for a hint about how to get your hands on some serious firepower: aside from standard X-COM gear, you may also find a sniper rifle, proton missile launcher, personal teleporter, remote motion scanner, light sabre, laser scythe, gatling laser, or even... a guided mininuke launcher. Make sure Victor stands next to Alexei to learn more about where he came from.
  • Lichborne: Anyone can become a lichborne by first reading the Necronomicon and... going insane. The insanity won't last forever, but during that period everyone else had better steer clear. Lichbornes are powerful, and even intuit new spells naturally over time, but they do come with both the benefits and drawbacks of being an undead creature. Note that if Victor himself becomes a lichborne there is obviously no hope of him returning home normally, since the transformation is permanent.


There are many kinds of enemies and I won't cover them all in detail here, just the interesting ones worth writing more about.

  • Bad Guys: Cultists (not really bad, just obsessed, but they'll kill you all the same), Tomb Raiders (not really bad, just greedy, but they'll kill you all the same), Bandits (okay, these guys are bad).
  • Druids: The druids aren't usually your enemy, unless of course you do something to piss them off... like disturb their ritual. They like to summon animals, hug trees... you know, druid stuff.
  • Goblins: Captains lead and fight, shamans heal, necromancers raise the dead, sappers toss incendiary flasks, and tricksters... are annoying as hell--if you're lucky, they'll only teleport you a short distance, otherwise you could end up on the other side of the map, flailing about in the air, or dealing with a swarm of insects, group of spiked frogs, or even a persistent cloud that follows you around raining fire.
  • Orcs: Fairly tough, but not that heavily armored. The Half-Orc Mage is not as much a pushover, but you'll have help when you meet him.
  • Kobolds: Unamazing, except when they have a trained Hydra in tow. Dragonkin on the other hand are tough and should be approached with caution, lest they breath [fire] on you.
  • Undead: Skeletons, Zombies, Mummies, Shades, Shadows, Ghosts, etc. Bloated Shamblers are definitely best killed from afar, unless you enjoy noxious gas, or know someone who does.
  • Mimic: Not all chests are what they seem. Mimics always leave behind nice treasure if you can manage to finish them off, but that can be difficult since they teleport away when overwhelmed (you can always search for them and try again).
  • Animals: While wolves can be taken down individually without too much difficulty, they always call their friends. Bears are resilient but have virtually no armor, so hack away.
  • Spiders: There are quite a few varieties, most with special attacks: Trap Door Spiders come out of nowhere and hit you when you least expect it, Giant Spiders poison you, Web Spiders tangle victims in sticky webs, Yellow Spiders shoot electrified strands of webbing, Blue Spiders breath frost that slows victims, Flame Spiders are tough and breath fire, Phase Spiders shift through the ethereal plane to avoid attacks, and Gas Spiders sacrifice themselves for the good of their kin--kill from afar when possible, but beware they close quickly.
  • Monsters: There are many kinds, most of which originate from other planes and are often tougher than what you would normally encounter in the world. It should be fairly obvious what each can do, like you don't want to get stung by a Colossal Centipede, or caught in an Inferno Spider's sticky web of fire. The Vampiric Abomination is less obvious, but if you are unlucky enough to be ambushed by one, or worse be near a group of weak creatures it's already overcome, you'll find that it continually grows stronger by draining victims, then splitting in two (which halves its HP, but does nothing to reduce its newfound strength). Greater Ameboids divide after taking enough damage, then divide again, each iteration becoming smaller and weaker but faster than the last.
  • Aliens: X-COM soldiers weren't the only ones warped through space-time, and you may also meet some of our familiar cast of aliens. Be careful, since one of them can actually use mind control!

  • Ogre: This big guy is nigh unstoppable since his thick skin repels just about everything, but he was recently injured and can be felled by strong attacks from his right side. Guerrilla tactics advised since anything'll be lucky to survive a single hit from the Ogre's massive fists or stone club.
  • Greater Lich: His enchanted robe makes him tough to kill, but healing attacks that bypass armor and seriously injure undead are one effective way to deal with him. Avoid his negative energy blasts if at all possible--meat shields recommended.
  • Dragons: Some foes are just not meant to be killed. Unless you're lucky enough to find an extremely powerful weapon, dragons are best avoided, for obvious reasons. If you have to, area effect attacks work well, though a Dragon Slayer would be preferred. Red Dragons breath fire, Green breath poison, Cyan breath frost that can freeze victims solid for a time, Azure breath columns of hot steam, and Gold shoot out numerous lightning bolts.
  • Bandit Warlord: All he's got going for him is his awesome armor; stab him in the back for the best effect. It's unlikely, but felling him before he has a chance to call his Head Advisor will save a bit of trouble, since his number one man can heal himself and others, as well as summon extra-planar help.
  • Goblin King: Though his armor is nice, unless he's carrying a Death-branded weapon he shouldn't be too difficult. It's his vast entourage you'll have to worry about.
  • Ivory Mage: Swarm him and don't let him start casting spells... or don't trespass in his tower in the first place and he won't bother you.
  • Tormentor: If you ever see the Tormentor, it's because you were either too curious, or too greedy. The safest way to deal with this guy is to Dismiss him and wave goodbye. Although from another plane, a Tormentor will not willingly return until all mortal creatures on its current plane are dead.
  • Forest Spirit: You'll only see this spirit if it's pissed off, and if it's pissed off, trust me you don't want to be in the area.


A full guide to all of the areas would be quite a lot to read (and write), so I'll just list some notes about a select few of them.
  • Warlord's Keep: Rescue Fiona where she's being interrogated on the first floor to add another rogue to the party.
  • Ancient Ruins: There are secrets all over this massive complex turned crypt. If you have a rogue, always send them first to spot possible danger, and be on the lookout for traps. If one path is/looks too dangerous, there is always another. The cult leader found one floor down will always carry a Book of Unlife, useful if you have a cleric. The lich in the main hall is not what he seems, so be prepared for the real fight after taking him down.
  • Dragon's Lair: Aside from the narrow tunnel entrance there is a giant hole above the main cave (otherwise how do you think that massive dragon gets in and out?), and a shaft that falls straight down into one of the dragon's treasure rooms. If you have no powerful weapon, I suggest you try sneaking past him into the small room behind him, though you'll need to have found a way to open a Sealed Portal in order to do that.
  • Goblin Camp: The Goblin King's invasion begins here. Find and collapse the tunnel entrance as soon as possible to cut off the majority of his reinforcements.
  • Glade: If you find a circle of trees surrounding a Sword in the Stone, you'll need someone with enough strength to pull it out (herbs/potions may help here). You'll definitely want to try, since it may be a Goblin Slayer, Dragon Slayer, Crucifier, or even the legendary Signum Mortis.
  • X.F. Armorwerks: Xanice the gnome can repair your armor in the blink of an eye, for free! If you're feeling intrusive, break down the wall behind the boxes on the second floor to reach a secret backroom containing one of Xanice's experiments. The Gnomish Mechasuit is especially awesome.
  • Cultist Cave: This place has a sizable amount of treasure stored away in the basement, but to get it you'll have to chance disturbing the Cocoon and releasing the Tormentor. If you must, get in and out as quickly as possible...
  • Kobold Den: Note that the hydras downstairs are neither friendly nor trained yet, so you could unleash their own pets on them. There's even a secret door in the cave wall through which you can enter from below.
  • Goblin Cave: Probably the only reason for coming here would be to seek out spell components and other randomly useful objects in their refuse piles.
  • Spider Nest: There are no obvious ways into the heart of this place, but if you approach the trapped adventurer atop the hill to recover his treasure you may just fall in. Not a good idea unless you're hunting spiders intentionally. Escaping the nest requires either magic (blink/teleport out) or a search of the walls for hidden exits. The longer you stay the more uncomfortable you'll be.
  • Crypt: There's not much here except a True Lich. Waking him is not advisable unless you really really want whatever tome he has on his lectern, and whatever he's carrying on him.
  • Ivory Tower: Here you can find the Necronomicon and other tomes; the Ivory Mage will not be happy if you take his stuff, though.
  • Obelisk: The druids are preparing for a ritual here, and you can interfere at your own risk. Check out the room below the obelisk for the proper implements, or just eat their Lifeseed and take off (but don't let the Great Druid see you afterward, since consuming Lifeseeds is a no-no). The only good reason to carry out the ritual would be to first lure enemies nearby, then release the Forest Spirit to ambush them, though you'll probably want a way to escape quickly before the Spirit makes that a rather difficult option.

Because there weren't any screenshots last time, I'll at least include a few here:

Lighting up the night with some chain lightning in defense of the keep.

A water elemental cooks a bear with a jet of hot steam.

Quentaficus throws a "questionable" fireball deeper into the forest.

Next up is probably a brainstorm post discussing some potential new features.
23 comments more...


  • Kyzrati

    Dammit, Andrew, I actually wondered if anyone was going to catch that. It just sounded better to write it as an absolute statement then, and you're NOT supposed to EVER compare two of my posts ;p

    In this one I was more accurate: "All recruitable units (blue) belong to a certain class, each of which probably has some passive and/or manual-use abilities."

    This was a guide while the other was... an advertisement. Now you know the true evil nature of advertising!

  • Kyzrati

    Lucky you (perhaps...). Just have me aim at the enemy and cast away! After all, there's only a 3% chance of something unpleasant happening. and a 0.3% chance of something *really* unpleasant happening. What could go wrong?!

  • Andrew Sundberg

    And it's Urist! Holy shit! I looted the hell out of the castle, and...
    Victor has a Warhammer of Warping and plate mail.
    Kyzrati has a longsword and scale mail.
    Tsek has a spear and leather armor.
    Shentong has a bow and leather armor.
    Urist has another Warhammer of Warping and chain mail.
    I have a good feeling about this run.

  • Kyzrati

    Impressive collection of friends, there. Hopefully it's enough to take on whatever boss you've got. Some nice tomes for Tsek and Shentong and you'd be tough to stop.

    Two Warhammers of Warping is a pretty awesome frontline, though you should probably try to keep Victor out of harm's way, or at least be ready to cover him, lest he be one-shotted by something really deadly. At least he has some awesome protection with that plate mail.

  • Kyzrati

    That's a good idea. This being a blogger post it uses a lot of css and java from separate files and online sources, but I could package it up somehow and include it if not too large. Currently I instead provide a link to this guide in the mod's readme, which is probably good enough.

  • sylverone

    Is there a way to check the ammo loaded in a weapon without unloading it? The name of the Gnomish Slingshot is so long that I can't see the ammo listing. Maybe it should cut off the name in favor of displaying ammo properly.

    By the way, you have dutifully dispatched three orcs so far. ;) This is the first Rookie's Tale game I've had time to play properly, and I'm thoroughly impressed so far.

    By the way, I found Xanice, who "repaired" Victor's armor. Obviously it repaired the damage, but it would be cool if he actually built it back up to proper X-COM armor. Of course, maybe the game isn't balanced for that.

  • Kyzrati

    I did have ammo count visibility on the list of drawbacks in the current HUD, just haven't had the inclination to spend time on that since the HUD will be replaced with a much more spacious one that provides all the info you need. So currently, no, there's no way to know.

    The "damaged" X-COM armor was done as a hack where I just created a separate armor with lower max values. I could've spent more time creating an armor that starts with lower *current* values at the beginning of the game (rather than max), but I never thought of what would happen if you met Xanice. As you say, though, true X-COM armor is a bit strong and unbalanced for the mod. I intended for the player to shed it as early as possible and replace it with something local. I guess it doesn't make too much sense for Xanice to truly rebuild the armor anyway. Let's just assume it got ripped away in the dimensional warp :)

    I'm glad I've been good so far. Hopefully I don't do anything to ruin your game ;p (though it's not likely to be that bad, really)

  • sylverone

    Well, I figured that being the crafty mecha-building gnome he is, Xanice could manage a decent repair. In any case, Victor's armor is better than anything I've come across in my current game so far (I'm playing bit by bit amongst other tasks), except for that weak left side.

    Currently I have a Warpriest dual-wielding mace and spear, and Syn the Assassin, wearing a gnomish birdsuit while brandishing a plasma pistol and a longsword of striking, pockets filled with traps. The dodging abilities complement the weakness of the armor pretty well. Hopefully I can take on those goblins that took that snakeman's plasma gun. :D

  • Kyzrati

    True, his armor is fairly good except for that weakness, so it's viable to use it as long as you're careful. You may find splint and plate mail which are definitely much better, but take a little while to put on.

    An assassin with a birdsuit sounds... deadly :) Now he just needs a death-branded dagger or rapier and he'd be nigh unstoppable! Where'd you get that plasma pistol? Did you murder Xanice after he repaired your armor?! Or did you also meet the ethereal-led group?

  • sylverone

    I had you blasting at the wall upstairs when you lit the place on fire. In the aftermath of the collapse Xanith was unfortunately deceased (and there was an unconscious peasant too - I think he came from a nearby farm which was littered with dead sheep for some reason).

    By the way, does flame propagate downwards? Just wondering since I didn't see it happen while the building burned. Maybe the flames went out too quickly.

    Sadly, my party fell. It all started with a group of bears. My assassin ran out of plasma ammo (Xanice had used most of it firing against orcs that wandered near) and so was trying to help out with killing the bears which had woken up earlier than I had planned (I think one of your fireballs woke them, unless they wake on a timer). I had hoped to line the entrance with traps and then wake one of them from afar. Anyhow, while attacking a bear which I thought had no TU left, my assassin was ripped apart. You took care of two of the bears, but then while trying to take out the third, summoned an infernal spider which had soon captured and roasted you. In desperation I sent Victor Wade around the corner to try and take the plasma pistol from a renegade goblin in a cave, but his attacks missed for two turns in a row, the goblin ran off, and he succumbed to injuries soon after.

    All in all, a very satisfying first run! :)

  • Kyzrati

    Glad your enjoying it, and interesting to hear about my own "exploits" :) Funny how I did eventually do myself in there.

    Guess the farmer's sheep were all killed by something and he ran away to Xanice's place, heh.

    Bears wake for several reasons, either by calls from another bear under attack or because you were being too noisy near them. Attacking a sleeping bear will of course wake it up as well.

    Fire currently does not propagate downward. The only way a fire could move down a structure would be if a burning prop fell through the floor, in which case it will set the lower floor on fire, too. I should have fire propagate down walls as well--it's been added to the long-term to-do list.

  • sylverone

    Question: Do melee weapons lose accuracy or anything if the other hand is full? Also, are there/will there be dominant hands?

  • Kyzrati

    Two-handed melee weapons do, yes, just as any two-handed weapon does (-20%); single-handed weapons do not. The melee mechanics are almost entirely copied from ranged combat mechanics for now (and should be changed), the primary exception being kneeling during a melee attack reduces your accuracy instead of increasing it.

    Dominant hands will not be included. There will be plenty of flavor regarding units, but something like that which bleeds over into mechanics and requires that you consider/remember such a small thing for all your individual soldiers is going a bit far.

  • sylverone

    Good to know. @ dominant hands: Makes sense. The only purpose it might serve is for mods, and even then who would need it? I was just curious.

  • Kyzrati

    If you're referring to the 60x60 map area in which Rookie's Tale takes place, you can't. In its current stage the game only supports single map areas, so the entire story takes place in that 60x60 area. That said, there is a *lot* of random content (as you can see from the guide), so each time you restart there will be new things to encounter.

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