"Quick" start guide
Tumulus of Fen is a turn based solo dungeon crawler game. The objective is to explore the maze like catacombs, kill the monsters, gather gear and get your character strong enough to kill the boss at the end of the game. The first thing you will need to do is create a character.
Full Game vs Lite Game
The full game contains 20 levels in the dungeon, 6 seperate areas in the town and a hard difficulty setting which is available after you beat the game initally. The lite version has 2 levels to the dungeon and 3 areas in the town (the market, tavern and temple). Consequently there are far fewer monsters, items, events and spells in the lite version. Also, the graphics in the lite version are in lower resolution.
In the options screen you may turn off certain combat effects, adjust game music and sound effects volume. You may also enable highscores. Turning this option on will submit your character's "in-game-time" to the webserver for all to see as you advance through the game.
Making a Character
There are 4 basic attributes in the game: strength, agility, ingenuity and perception. When you enter the new character screen, a random set of starting attributes will be setup for your character. Certain attributes are better suited for certain classes, little fire balls appear below the class that the attributes are best suited for. If you don't like the random set of attributes you got, you may "re-roll" them (get new random stats) over and over till you are happy with the starting stats you have. You will also need to select male of female, choose name and pick your characters class.
The 4 other attributes; health, bonus casts, attack and defense are derived from the main attributes and your class. Once you are in the game all the stats can be further modified by gaining levels for your character and better gear. Once you are happy with your starting character and have given him or her a name press keep. You may then start the game by hitting continue or selecting your character from the character screen.
Which character should I play? What character does what? It kind of depends on what you want to do in the game. Here is a brief break down of each class.
Fighter: Fighters have the most health. They start at 24 health and increase 12 additional health a level. They also get the most attack of any class each time they level up. They cannot cast any spells though they can use scrolls and potions.
Fighters have the talent to study their opponents’ weaknesses and become more proficient at fighting them. While studying an opponent the fighter is less vulnerable and does less damage than normal. They also have the unique ability to "rush" in combat when openings are available. This does more damage and hits more often but also greately increases the chance of being hit and incurring additional damage from the monster.
Fighters are very dependent on their gear and regular use of their "study" skill to maximize their advantage. A timely scroll or potion can also be a handy “plan b” at times, especially against the more dangerous monsters. Their primary attributes are strength, which increases damage, agility, which increases defense, and perception, which makes studying more successful.
Rogue: Rogues start with 18 health and get 9 additional health a level. They receive slightly less attack per level than warriors and are the only class to get a little extra defense each level.
Rogues have a number of special abilities. They can lay down traps for monsters (which will capture only living monsters that move in to them). They can pick locks faster than anyone else can bash them. They can also move about without being seen. This allows them special options when they encounter a monster. They can avoid combat ('hide'), sneak attack, use an item or poison on the monster. Once in combat they also have the option to entrap their opponent. This by itself does nothing but eventually the rogue may release the trap on the enemy. Such traps can be devastating when they hit.
All of these special abilities are dependent on their "skill" to work. Certain gear (generally the heavy/noisy gear) will impair this rogue skill. Their main attribute is agility which most strongly affects their rogue skill and it gives them much neeeded additional defense. Their next most important attribute is strength, for additional the damage. And finally, ingenuity is also useful as it further modifies skill, just not as much as agility.
Cleric: Clerics start with 18 health and get 9 health a level. They receive less additional attack per level than rogues.
Clerics are fairly multipurpose. While they have no amazing talent with weapons they can still use a sword and have a spell to enhance their prowess temporarily. They also have a number of healing spells and a few spells for direct means of hurting their opponents. They do not learn new spells from scrolls. Any new spells they learn will be granted to them at the temple when they meditate there. When they call for assistance (cast a spell) there is always a chance their call will go unheeded.
Clerics suffer no penalty for wearing any particular armor, but it can be difficult at times to decide between armor that will protect and armor that will enhance their magical skills with bonus casts. Clerics need every stat more or less equally. If you find you have more magical bonuses, it may be best to lean towards that style of play. If you have more strength and agility, it may be best to play with the melee in mind.
Wizard: Wizards start the game with 12 health and get 6 health each level. This is the least of all the classes. They receive only a modest amount of additional attack each level. This is again the smallest amount of all the classes.
Most wizards only use weapons and armor that further their magical gifts. There are a few who choose the path of melee as a backup plan once the spells run dry but for most when the spells are out it's time to rest. It's important to note that all wizards start out meleeing quite a bit as their selection of spells is fairly small. To keep their flimsy exterior safe wizards employee shield spells which can absorb their injuries for them. A wizard without a shield up is a sitting duck. New spells are learned from scrolls either purchased from the scribes in the library or found in the depths of the tumulus.
Wizards need to use loose fitting clothes lest it hinder their ability to cast spells. Using heavier armors will provide a penalty to their spell casting. Be careful about this. Nothing is worse than casting a spell and having nothing happen! A wizard's primary attributes are Ingenuity and Perception, which both work together to add additional bonus casts and raise their skill of successfully casting spells.
If you leave the game at any time you will be able to resume the game where you left off. Saving is done automatically and continuously. So, if you want to change characters you may hit exit at any time and will be able to resume that game where you left off. Each character is playing in its own tumulus and town. They are all completely independent of each other.
The first screen you will see (after then opening story) is the town screen. You'll come back to the town periodically to restock on provisions, sell extra gear and take advantage the arena and temple. You are encouraged to explore the town and revisit various areas from time to time. It's good to see what stocks the shops currently have. Perhaps you have a potion the alchemist could use or maybe you are finally strong enough to enter the arena competition! Whenever you are done with your business in town press 'Enter the Tumulus' to begin your adventure!
Movement is pretty simple in the dungeon. To move around in the dungeon swipe the screen or double tap. (You may reverse the swipe directions in the option screen.) To open chests and go up or down ladders double tap the item. All ladders will give you the option to return to the town or take you to the level directly above you. You may enter any level you have been on previously directly from the town.
To fight monsters, move in to the same area as them and combat will start. Each time you move some of the monsters in the dungeon will move as well. At times they will move in on you so don't be surprised when it happens. 1 move or combat round in game is considered 1 in game minute.
Along the top of the screen, you will see an exit button (that takes you out to the title screen if you want to change characters), a compass, and an experience bar. When you cast a spell, use a potion, use a scroll or have negative effect placed on you, icons will appear in the upper right hand corner. These are buttons that will show what spells or afflictions you currently have. You can press a specific effect on these screens for further details about it.
Along the bottom of the screen will be 5 buttons. the first is the gear button where you equip items, use items and pickup or drop items. The next button varies based on your class.
If you are a fighter it will be the skills button. It shows how proficient you are against certain monsters and monster types.
If you are a rogue it is a trap button. This allows you to wily-nilly drop traps in the dungeon (though it takes 10 minutes to try and do so). These are traps that can only catch living monsters. The undead will walk right over them without setting them off. Placing a trap next to a creature will draw the creature to it. The traps don't always go off. As your rogue gets higher in level the traps will trigger more readily and work better. A trapped monster has lower defense.
If you are a cleric or a wizard the button will be a spell book where you can cast spells.
The middle button opens an auto-map. If you are having a tough time finding the ladder to the next level and you have some extra gold, there is a fellow in the tavern who will be more than happy to fill out your map. (He isn't cheap)
The next button is a heart. It will display full to empty based on your current life. Pressing this opens up a display of your health, your level, how close to the next level you are and how much time has passed in game.
The final button is the camp button. Camping replenishes all health and spells. To use it you need to have a ration. The rations are immediately consumed when you press the campfire button but while you are camping monsters are moving in the night. Some rations afford you a quick camp and less chance of encounter. If you do have an encounter while resting you will be forced in to combat with no recovery at all. That being said, it is best to clear a large area of monsters before camping. Or if in doubt, head back to town and use the inn. Rogues have an innate ability to hide while camping and they will normally not be noticed (based on their skill) as a monster passes by.
Combat varies slightly for each class and you can read about their peculiarities in each class's section, but there are still a few holes to fill in. Combat always starts with the players turn first (excepting surprise attacks where the player gets no first turn at all or vice versa). Some monsters cast spells, regenerate, have multiple attacks and special attacks.
'Melee' is a normal everyday attack with no modifications. It uses your base attack (shown on the screen) and the monster's defense.
'Recoil' is an option that appears immediately after you are struck. Recoiling will attempt to seperate you from your attacker the next combat round. This gives you a large bonus to defense, but will seriously hurt your maximum damage output. However, the following round you will receive a 1 round bonus to attack. Melee and Recoil are mutually exclusive.
For fighters 'Rush' shows up when the monster did not perform a melee attack or missed in its last attack and you missed or didn't attack as well. It replaces Melee as an option when available.
'Guard' is basically a guarded attack. Taking no risks but with no guts comes no glory. You have a significant bonus to attack and defense but do significantly less damage. Guard doesn't work well if over used in one particular fight. The monster adapts and the bonuses can decrease.
'Riposte' is an attack of opportunity (from just getting hit). It is identical to melee in all respects except because it is a counter attack it does extra damage. Guard and riposte are mutually exclusive.
For Fighters 'Study' shows up in the 3rd button location. Using study lowers your attack and your defense for that round. You may study an enemy as much as you like but the more you study and are successful the less likely it is you will have further successes with that particular fight.
For rogues 'Entrap' shows up in the 3rd button location. Using this skill lowers your defense for that round. However, it makes 'Trap' available instead of guard. The penality is stronger for each additional "stacked" entrap. However, the trap itself, when released, will be more effective. The penalty you suffer on defense is only during the round you use entrap.
For rogues 'Trap' shows up if you have entrapped the monster successfully and the monster missed or casted a spell. It replaces guard. This should not to be confused with a trap you can lay for a monster in the dungeon. Those are nice too. They drop the creatures defense and stack with all other combat effects, but are unrelated to this skill. The more the monster has been entrapped the more trap will do in damage and the more likely it will be to hit. Using Trap resets it back to guard untill you start entraping again. That is, trap and guard are mutually exclusive.
For wizards and clerics 'Spells' shows up in the 3rd button spot (in place of 'Entrap' for rogues and 'Study' for fighters). Casting spells does not change your defense.
'Use' takes you to your gear to allow you to use an item. Using an item does not affect your defense.
'Flee!' when in doubt... run. There is always a decent chance to get away. But where will you end up? Ingenuity increases your chance to succesfully run away.
It is inevitable they say. If the grim reaper pays you a visit in game, do not despair. The temple will recover you and place you back in town. They will of course need to be compensated for their trouble. Don't worry about a donation for this, as you were dead they just took what they needed to cover expenses.
Rumor has it there is a lich down there. Find him. DESTROY HIM! Win!
Why is "in-game-time" important? Technically, it's not. This is used as the scoring mechanism for the high scores website. Also, as you progress down the dungeon, if you are progressing down quickly enough (as determined by "in-game-time") you will be rewarded with titles (sir, lady, baron and the like). Titles show up on your character whenever your name is displayed. (That is, on the gear screen and on the character selection screen.) And yes, it is possible to get the title king or queen. Good luck with that :)
There are many other things to be discovered in the game. I encourage you to explore the game and figure them out for yourself.