Unofficial Black Peaks FAQ by punkdaily
1. My party keeps getting TPK'd what are we doing wrong?
Do you get TPK'd in the act of running away? If not, then you're not running soon enough and if yes, then you're not running soon enough. Never engage in frontal assaults. Throw oil. Use terrain. Leave yourself an escape route. If you don't and you die, it's your fault. You might as well just chop your own head off or immolate yourself in oil.
2. We have finally scored some gold and we don't know what to spend it on. WTF? Basic doesn't even let you buy magic stuff.
Try and get your DM to let you buy magic stuff. Skip healing potions. If you get hit at lvl 1, and you live, you should run. If you don't a healing potion won't help you. Get invisibility. Gauntlets of ogre strength are good if you can find some, but don't hold your breath.
If you don't have access to any magic stuff, get your maximum # of retainers, buy them all plate mail and shields. Get them bows and swords. Having a little army helps.
3. How should we arrange our marching order?
Rule 1: Never put a PC in the front of the back of the marching order. That's what retainers/charmed characters are for. Other than that, try to maximize your fighting power. Big two handed weapons in front row, polarms in 2nd rank, bows behind. ALWAYS say that the retainer in the back is watching the rear. If he's not doing that, he might as well not even be back there.
4. What is the most powerful lvl 1 power/item?
Ok, there's three things that are power multipliers for lvl1 characters: sleep, charm and oil. Oil does a lot of damage - more than any weapon you might get at lvl1 and you can use it tactically to cut off enemy's retreat, block their advance, etc. In a fight against stupid monsters like undead, oil can kill them all without any losses to you if used properly. Kegs of oil or larger volumes are recommended for larger groups. Sleep - the one hit wonder. if you're going to be fighting humanoids, sleep ends a combat. The only problem with it is, that you tend to only get one per day. Solution: once all sleeps in the party are used up, run home as fast as you can. If you want to be safe, save one for the trip back. Charm: Charm the biggest ugliest monster in the group. Tell him to protect you from his friends. If you can, try to get him to bring his friends along.
Charm is a huge force multiplier because you can charm monsters many times your own power. They can be used to convince other monsters to fight for you and the duration is long enough, the charm will most likely outlive the caster. Now, there is the one downside to charm: the caster must stay alive or else you will be facing a TPK when the monsters all come out from under the charm. With that said, risk can be minimized by charming natural enemies, that way if your Elf gets pegged, you can back up and let the carnage ensue.
The drawbacks to charm and sleep are that they don't work on undead or other monsters. Sleep doesn't work that well on groups of monsters that are higher level then you (charm is better in this case b/c if the one you charm survives, you can use him as a meatshield later).
5. My stats suck and my HPs are minimum, how will I survive?
Don't worry, stats don't matter much - in some ways charisma is the most useful, followed by con, dex, str, int and wis in that order. If you're an elf or dwarf, int doesn't matter b/c you already speak most of the languages you will need. HPs don't matter b/c most first level guys can get one-hit-killed anyway. And if you're getting hit, you are doing something wrong. (are you wearing platemail?)
6. What class should i play?
I love this question. It's my favorite… The classes are such a wonderful mix of suck and if you're trying to get to 2nd lvl there is only one good answer to this: Elf.
No seriously, lets discuss: Thief (d4 hp and skills that never work). Hafling, good at hiding and good against giants (LMFAO - if you're fighitng a giant and your AC comes up, you deserve to die.) Dwarves - useful in dungeons. Fighters, nice HD, maybe can survive a hit if you roll well. Magic users, half of the powers of elves. Literally half. Never be a magic user. Ever. Can magic users use plate mail or bows? After an elf uses his one spell, he can fire arrows from the back. If he gets unlucky and someone tries to hit him, he'll have a 2 AC. An elf who gets attacked probably dies 1/10 times. A magic user dies > 50% of the time. You will die. Cleric - I pity the fool who has to play the lvl1 cleric in basic. Oh, what? you wanted a spell? LOL.. You're a fighter w/ shitty HD who can turn undead. Oh wait, if you have a party of 4 or more, you should get a cleric. Here's why: If you find undead, your elves turn useless. And they level very quickly, so your cleric will be the first to lvl2. Try to keep them alive folks, they're the reason you're doing this.
7. 4000XP seems like a lot to level my elf. How wil that ever happen?
It won't. Don't expect it to. You're more likely to lvl your cleric or fighter. Your job is to keep the party going and lvl the other guys. It's possible to get 4k XP, but seriously.. Don't expect it. Actually, if the party is running 10k in gold looted and you have 6 PCs in teh party, the elves should go kamakazee on the next fight, have the party dash for home and roll up new elves. 10k / 4 = all non-elves level. 10k/6 = maybe the cleric lvls.
8. How do you get XP at all, monsters don't give anything?
It says so in the book somewhere: LOOT. Always search, loot bodies, take their gold fillings. Take anything that might have value. Would that orgre's head be worth 50gp on someone's wall? What about the nice dwarven stonemasonry? Get a mule and lug everything of value back to the keep.
9. What is better than an invsibility potion?
Two invisibility potions. One to sneak in, find the loot. Another to use after you grab the loot. NB: One invisibility potion = good for scouting. Two potions = good for leveling. A note in the book says that dm's can let you sip the potion up to six times.. but it only lasts a turn. So YMMV on 1 vs 2 potions.
10. Why would I want a party full of retainers if I have to pay them and they take XP?
That's a good question. A really good one. Ok, here's a hypothetical situation. An Orc is throwing a spear at you. It hits you and you die. (Or) An orc is throwing a spear at a retainer you hired for 5GP and he dies. Which would you rather have? As for retainers taking XP, this is a mixed blessing. If they are 'normal humans', then 1XP gets them to lvl1, where they get stats and a class. This can actually improve them quite a lot - they immediately get +1 to hit even if they become a magic user. If you get lucky and they get a good str, con or dex, they improve. If they have a high int, like 7, you can make them a magic user and have a backup sleep or charm. A group of 5 retainers might go from 5 normal humans to 3 fighters, a magic user and a thief, who you can get to open all the chests to "practice" his skills.. LOL.. Good luck with that, thief.
The best part about retainers is that even if you're playing a Lawful character, you hired them to work for you, their job is to try to keep you alive. If they are derelict in their duty, you don't owe them anything (because they are obviously chaotic and you can kill them). If they die in the process, they don't take XP, you can sometimes recover their platemail and weapons for your next retainer (don't forget to clean it up first).
So the natural plan for retainers goes like this: hire as many as you can, try to get them to lvl1, then try to get the crappy ones killed. It's not very hard, actually, just give the ones you don't like two handed swords and put them in the front.
If your PC gets iced, maybe your nice DM will let you take over the most promising young retainer.
11. How do alignments in Basic work? What is the difference between Lawful and Chaotic?
This is a subject of much debate. This is my take on it and this is the one that will help you get to lvl2 the most. Think back to the last time you got fucked because of a contract. Maybe it was a cell phone contract, a divorce, maybe you had your car repoed. The asshats who made you stick to that contract were lawful. They have rules, they follow them, if you don't you're not lawful and you get treated like dirt.
Ok, now apply this to retainers in basic. You hire them. 5GP is a lot of money. Its is a WEEK of rations. Was that guy gonna eat this week if it wasn't for you? He signed up for this and he owes you service.
If he won't stand in the front, and you're playing a Lawful character, you don't have to be nice to him. Lawful does not equal GOOD. Chaotic doesn't equal evil. Those words are left out for a damn good reason. If you played alot of AD&D, when you write down "lawful" on your basic character sheet, quietly say "evil" to yourself afterward. Got it? I'm not saying you have to do evil stuff, but its there if you want to. So just remember next time your retainer starts to whine or mouth off, he signed up for this, you're obligated to keep him alive, so long as you got your 5GP out of his service. Was his value-add to the expedition 5GP? Ok, then maybe cut him some slack. Did he just shoot his arrows into space and run away? He gets front-line duty next time.
And if for some reason, a retainer deserts the party, I wholeheartedly believe its in your best interest to find him and apply some Lawful asskicking.
Oh and nuetral and chaotic, all the above applies, except feel free to kill your retainers without a rationale.