How to successfully play AR 1. Make a complete map of The City and list of potions first. Also note what stats each guild on the map raises. You will appreciate and cherish your own handmade map for many years to come, but if you don't enjoy mapping or do not have the time, then print one off from sites such as eobet's The Original Alternate Reality Homepage: http://www.eobet.com/alternate-reality/ or here: http://home.flash.net/~rayearle/Afiles/AltrReal.html. 2. When rolling your stats, focus on STA, WIS and SKL. These three often- overlooked skills do not rise from potions or in-game use. They also happen to be very important for initial survival. SKL determines how easily you can escape an encounter without being stolen from and also how well you dodge blows. If you have a high SKL and average STR, you will be able to punch muggers to death with your Bare Hands, even 1 point at a time without them hitting you! WIS helps you determine what type of potion you have found - a single potion can change the outcome of your game! When you are a poor, weak character, it is very important to know what you are drinking! The right potion could be great, but the wrong one will surely kill you! WIS also helps you determine if a weapon is cursed or not. A Cursed weapon can also result in a bad start for a new character. STA is very important because it determines how many Hit Points you gain when going up a level. Even if you start with low hit points as a result of focusing on STA WIS and SKL, you can gain an additional 20+ Hit Points if your STA is near 20, just from gaining 300 experience, which is quite easy. On this basis, Hit Points are actually the least important in the long run because they can go up so quickly, unfortunately many people focus on them when rolling their characters. STA also affects your resistance to hardships and is likely to affect disease, hunger, thirst and tiredness - I am still confirming this. The best you can possibly roll in these three important skills is a total of 63, three 21s, but I have never seen it. Any combination above 50 is really good. You can pretty much ignore the other skills when rolling, they will go up with use and also gain much easier when leveling. 3. Play a Good Alignment to begin with! You can always switch later. Never Attack, Trick or Charm Good beings. Only use Trick or Charm on Evil beings. Never Attack Neutral beings first. Neutral beings, such as Fighters and Thieves, have the same intro music as Evil creatures so be careful. Always wait for Neutral beings to take the first swing. Dragons are Neutral also! When you Surprise Neutral beings make sure to Hail them. They will then begin to leave you alone. This is especially important for encounters with the more skilled and powerful Thieves, Knights and Dragons. If you have a good alignment they will normally let you go and most of the time will leave if they surprise you! Otherwise, they will try to steal your vital food, water and coppers and you will find it very hard to survive. If you are Evil, then Guards will constantly be after you also. Basically, by being Good, you cut your enemies in half and avoid being hunted by Guards and stolen from by Neutrals. This is very important for the survival of a new character. 4. If you have 110 coppers or more, the very first thing you should do within the game is head straight to Occums Weaponsmiths and barter for a Dagger or Stiletto. If he does not have one, go to Sharp Weaponsmiths. Depending upon your CHR they will usually be offered for between 150 to 220 coppers. Start by offering about 80 coppers. The Smithy will then cut his price by about 70%! Then meet him a little bit less than halfway of his counter offers. If you barter well, even with low CHR, you can get a Stiletto or Dagger for 110-120 coppers! Remember to ready it as soon as you leave the Smithy. Practice this with Temporary characters until you are good at it. It takes some skill and knowledge to do it well without being kicked out. 5. The very next stop should be the Assassin's Guild. A new character starts out with a Surprise modifier of 00. This stat raises slowly per level just like any other stat, but the Assassins Guild will give you +30 to the stat! Yes, that is +30, not +3! This will make a huge difference in your encounters. Also near the Assassins guild is the Sleeping Dragon Inn, the cheapest Inn in town. One of the cheaper taverns, the Flaming Dragon Tavern, is also right across from the Inn. There is no better place to restore your Hit Points if you are low and do not have enough coppers for the Healer. Always consider the healer first though; because sleeping will use up precious Food Packets which cost a minimum of 16 coppers each as Pemmican at The Tavern. Another option is to navigate your way to the Physicians Guild and Star Wizards Guild which will both give you some more Hit Points. These 8 Hit Points from the Guilds may be enough to survive, allowing you to kill that next aggressive mugger in order to gain even more Hit Points from gaining a level. 6. If you have decent Hit Points, your very next stop should be The Tavern in the City Wall. Your next most important strategy for survival is to spend every copper you can on getting Pemmican/Food Packets. Always save 7 coppers to use for sleeping in the Warriors Retreat Inn close by on the East side of The Arena. Do not buy Water Flasks! They are a waste of your precious coppers. You can get as much water as you want for free at The Tavern. Even being Very Thirsty will not begin to affect you - you actually have to be Parched for a couple of game hours before your stats start dropping. Sit outside The Tavern and every hour the menu will change, hopefully offering Food Packets or even better, Pemmican. Buy as many as you can. You can use a stopwatch 2:50 for NTSC and 3:50 for PAL is a new AR hour; you can also tell by the lower white text portion of the screen flashing once, but you have to pay attention or you will miss it. I use the stopwatch on my watch and just let it run, i.e. 2:50 is the first hour change, 5:40 is the next hour change and so on. Every time you go in The Tavern, get free water. Your thirst does not display "Thirsty" until reaching a level of 04 and each water will reduce thirst by 4. You never know when it might not be available. Never waste any coppers on any food either unless you have not found any Pemmican/Food Packets and are "Famished" AND losing more than a couple of each stat. If this is the case, then try to buy Bowls of Chili, which reduce hunger level by 4 and only costs 8 or Sandwiches, which reduce hunger by 3 and cost about the same. Most other food is much more expensive or only reduces your hunger level by 1. While you are waiting outside The Tavern trying to collect coppers and supply yourself with Food Packets, try killing muggers and fighters that attack first, imps, gremlins, skeletons, zombies, orcs, gnolls and goblins. These are fairly easy to kill. Always try Tricking or Charming Evil creatures first as you may get lucky. 7. When you become "Tired" AND begin losing stats, head as quickly as you can to the Inn and use the 7 coppers you were saving to sleep on the Common Area floor for 12 hours. Only sleep if it is dark or close to being dark. You will recover much faster if you are sleeping at night and awake in the morning or daylight. The optimum sleep time is from about 1800, when it turns dark, to 0600, when it turns light. If you sleep at that time, you will fully recover just from sleeping in the Common Area floor for 12 hours, even if you are Tired and have lost all your stats and almost all your hit points! A good strategy is to wait safely inside the Inn until about 1800. You will be safe inside the Inn no matter how Tired you are. Check the hour in the Inn and when it becomes dark, then sleep. Otherwise, you will be wasting your Coppers and your Food Packets sleeping and not recovering anything. 8. Do not attack Giant Rats! Avoid them at all costs. They are easy to kill, but you will be setting yourself up for disaster as they almost always infect you with Rabies! Remember, in the long run, Rabies will cost you at least 200 coppers to cure unless you get lucky and find a Cleanse potion and it may also cost you your stats or life. You will very rarely get more than 200 coppers off a Giant Rat, so fighting them is not worth it. In fact, they rarely have any treasure at all. Do not fight Giant Rats! Also, still in testing, but it seems that you consume water and food faster, get tired more easily and do not gain stats as well when infected with Rabies or any diseases. 9. As soon as you have a good supply of Food Packets, you can begin making your way to the guilds and raising your stats. Try to raise stats in the most balanced manner that you can. This is because often, the highest stats do not raise when you go up a level. So, if your STA, WIS and SKL are your highest stats, as suggested to begin with, DO NOT go to guilds that will raise these stats higher. Save these Guilds for later, otherwise it will be a waste. Visit these guild when you have gained a STR, CHR and INT that are higher; it will inevitably happen, as STR CHR and INT go up between levels with use. 10. If you want to gain some STR, Parry Trolls. For every 255 hits, you will gain one point of STR. You can usually gain 2 to 3 points of STR off each Troll before losing stats to Tiredness. By Parrying, if you have a high skill, it will be very difficult for the Troll to hit you and you will not damage him enough to kill him. If you are doing more than 2-3 points of damage per hit, try using your Bare Hands or a worn out Stiletto to Parry the Troll. As long as you are not losing stats to Tiredness, Hunger or Thirst, you can sit there and ramp up your STR. STR determines the amount of damage you do, so eventually you will begin doing more damage than the Troll can Regenerate, but it's a good tactic for mid-level characters. 11. Once you have a good supply of food and water and can survive well, head to the SE corner of town. Sleep in the Inn there during day, and fight the monsters at night. There is a good chance of running into easy monsters there that have a high percentage of treasure, such as Trolls, Imps, Gremlins and Goblins. 12. Always get your Gems and Jewelry appraised at all three banks. Many times, one will appraise double that of the other two. It will take you some time, but the difference between a Completely Worthless gem and one that is worth 4 gold could be as big as the difference between life and death.