New Players Guide
Welcome to Desktop Dungeons! You've bought this magnificent game through the avenue of your choice, blazed through the tutorial, and... can't clear Venture Cave. Don't fret! Desktop dungeons is an incredibly complex game, with much to offer the human who masters its systems, but as a consequence has a very steep learning curve. The fact that you're here means you are willing to stick with it, though, and that is excellent! This page contains a basic explanation of the game's systems and strategies you can use to help ease you in to the game.
The single most important thing to know is that DD is a game about resource management. This is a game that punishes severely wasted resources. The second most important thing to understand is that everything is a resource. Inventory, mana, piety (you'll get to that) and gold are not the only things you will want to manage. Exploration, experience, low-level enemies ("popcorn"), even your health is a resource to be managed! If this sounds overwhelming, fear not! For most of the game, you only need to understand a small part of this to succeed.
Object of the Game
Your object is to kill the level 10 "boss monster" in the dungeon. If there are multiple such monsters, you must defeat all of them. The last one you kill will drop a trophy that you can sell.
As you know from the tutorial, killing monsters increases your experience, and killing higher-level monsters gives you experience. Accrue enough, and you level up! Knowing exactly what you get from a level-up is critical to a deeper understanding of the game, as proper timing of level-ups is crucial to your success in a dungeon run. The benefits of a level-up are:
- +10 max HP
- +5 damage
- A health + mana restore
- A wipe of any poison or mana burn effects on the player
The most critical part of this to understand is the health and mana restore, which is core to the most fundamental strategy in the game: the level-up catapult. To execute this strategy, you will need:
- To be within a few XP of leveling up
- Have a high-level monster you can get within killing range, but are unable to kill without using potions
The execution is simple. Fight the high level monster until you are out of mana and you can't take any more hits from it. Then, kill a lower-level monster to level up, refreshing your health and mana. Finally, use your refreshed resources to finish killing the monster, giving you the ability to kill it! This technique is very simple, but is the pillar upon which high-level play is built on. Learn it. Love it. Master it.
- A combat exchange happens whenever the hero bumps into a monster.
- The higher level combatant strikes first. If the hero and monster are same level, then the monster goes first.
- The first attacker deals damage to the opponent equal to its attack power.
- The second attacker, if still alive, then deals damage to the opponent equal to its attack power.
Important things not covered by these bullets are strike order modifiers. A player with First Strike will strike first regardless of levels, unless the opposing monster also has first strike. A slowed player will always strike last in battle. First Strike and Slow cancel each other out.
Mana and Spells
- Mana is used for casting spells. You start with no spells, and must find the spell Glyphs in the dungeon. (Certain, later, classes start the game with a specific glyph in their inventory.)
- In order to learn a spell after you've found it, you must double-click it in the "on ground" slot, and it will appear in your inventory.
- Casting a spell on a monster does NOT trigger a combat exchange.
- Glyphs that aren't very useful to you should be converted by dragging them into the teal-and-red conversion icon. This will give you 100 conversion points, and possibly a benefit depending upon your race. Humans get more attack power, for example.
Healing and Restoring Mana
- As you explore the dungeon, you will restore depleted hit points and mana. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. The unexplored dungeon is a scarce resource that heals you and restores your mana pool. Use it wisely.
- For every square of the dungeon you uncover, you recover 1 mana point, and health equal to your level.
- When you are poisoned, you will not gain health from exploring squares. Poison can be cured by drinking a health potion, casting a healing spell, or by gaining a level.
- When you suffer from mana burn, you will not gain mana from exploring squares. Mana burn can be cured by drinking a mana potion, or by gaining a level.
- Whenever you gain a level, your health and mana are fully restored.
Potions and Powerups
- 3 each of the following items: Health Powerup, Mana Powerup, Attack Powerup, Health Potion and Mana Potion. A Thief will cause 4 of each to be created.
- Basic Potions restore 40% of your Max Health/Mana, rounded down, except for Priest (Health Potion 100% effective) and Blood Mage (Mana Potion 100% effective at the expense of 6 Health per Level).
- Every Health Powerup gives you 1 Max Health per Level. This scales as you level up, so don't hesitate when you see one -- pick it up! Dwarf's Conversion works in the same way.
- Every Attack Powerup gives you 10% Damage bonus, which can be viewed by hovering your mouse cursor on your character's attack icon, left to your current damage. This, naturally, scales as you level up. Human's Conversion works in the same way.
- Every Mana Powerup gives you 1 Max Mana. Elf's conversion works the same way.
Monster Health Regeneration
- As you explore the dungeon, wounded monsters regenerate health. They heal 1 health point per level per square uncovered.
- No other actions — including fighting other monsters and moving around parts of the map that you've already explored — will cause monsters to regenerate.
Gold and Items
- You gain gold by finding it in piles in the dungeon.
- If the Bazaar is unlocked, shops will spawn in the dungeon.
- New items can be unlocked by completing quests or class challenges.
- If you find a glyph you're not going to use, drag it to the conversion box for 100 conversion points.
- If you find or buy an item you're not going to use, drag it to the conversion box for its specified amount of conversion points.
- If you fill up your conversion bar with extra points left over, they will carry over.
- Your necessary amount of conversion points and bonus is determined by your race
- You can choose to "finance" your adventurer by bringing preparations.
- Preparations are a large variety of things that help your adventurer. Anything from scouting altars, to staring with a fireball glyph, to bringing a cool special potion into the fight.
- Every adventurer has 6 inventory slots.
- Each slot can either hold one large item or 5 small items.
- Items like potions, charms and pendants are small space.
- Most items, including glyphs, are large space items
- Gods in Desktop Dungeons are like most gods in other rogue-likes. They each have there own bonuses and penalties.
- Different actions can either gain or lose piety.
- Piety is used to purchase boons, which give the player good effects.
- If piety hits 0 or below, you invoke the god's punishment.
- In extreme situations, you may want to desecrate another god's altar.
- Desecrating an altar grants some piety and pardon from the next three piety losses you would receive, but invokes the other god's punishment.
- Gods are unlocked by completing their subdungeon(s).
- Once you unlock a god, they are put into the randomizer for which gods will spawn.
- The number of altars that appear in a dungeon depend on the number you have unlocked. You will begin with 1, and will end with 3.
- Always fight the highest level monster you can defeat. This requires doing some quick math to determine how the combat will play out before you engage and realize you're in over your head.
- Exploring the dungeon is the main way you will regain health and mana, but it is a limited resource.
- Potions are very useful to immediately gain health and mana, but you usually need many or all of them for the fight with the boss.
- Keep in mind that wounded monsters gradually heal as you explore the dungeon. You can't just smack a monster, run and heal, and repeat. However, the regeneration will sometimes benefit you more than him...
- Use your level ups for all they are worth, they cure bad status and return you to full HP / MP, so don't be afraid of being poisoned / manaburned by a monster you'll level up after killing
- The first-strike spell is useful for finishing a monster off. It gets no retaliation shot if you kill it.
- The fireball spell is useful for softening monsters up before combat
- Do not kill your adventurer unless you cannot escape, because they will keep their gold and sell off their loot.
Finishing a Dungeon
- When you exit a dungeon, through the main staircase or by taking the trophy, you will immediately send all of your gold into your vault. Then you sell off all your items, normal things for half-price and the trophy for full.
- Your Kingdom Vault cannot exceed its limit, 400 gold at the start but progressive more as you upgrade your bank.
- With all of the gold you will be racking up in your vault, you upgrade your kingdom.
- There a 3 main things you can gain from upgrading a building.
- You can gain a new class, and a monster.
- You can gain a new race.
- You can gain new preparations.
- See buildings for more details.
The Adventuring Locker
- One special type of preparation is the adventuring locker.
- If you bring items out of a dungeon, you can drag them into a locker and pay 50 gold to "locker" it.
- If your adventurer dies with the item, converts it, or destroys it in any way you can pay a 50 gold fee to "re-locker" it instead of looking around for it in shops.
- Locker spaces are limited, so you may have to boot something out to put something in.