This guide is just a quickstart guide that will help new players learn the interface and glimpse some of the features they will discover when playing.
All examples are from the included Campaign - Pale Pass. It is based on the latest stable release (currently 0.5.1) but is also valid for SVN builds. It is also assumed you have successfully installed Hale for your platform.
On start you are presented with the Main Menu.
The Options button will allow you to select your screen resolution and whether to use full screen or windowed mode, select the best choice for your system. Also shown are the Keybindings which some people may prefer to using a mouse, all the functions can be done with a mouse so you do not need to remember the Keybindings.
Having setup your display we are ready to start. It is highly recommended that you run the tutorial first by clicking on the Choose Campaign button you can select either Pale Pass or Tutorial. After selecting Tutorial you are returned to the Main Menu where you can select New Game. You are then presented with the Character you will play in the tutorial, select Accept to load the tutorial and follow the instructions.
From the Main Menu select Choose Campaign and then click on Pale Pass then Chapter 1. You can read the brief outline of the Chapter and choose Accept. You are returned to the Main Menu with Chapter 1 as the title, as this is your first game load is greyed out so you can only select New Game which takes you to the Select Party screen.
A starting party has been provided or you can create your own party, as this is a quickstart select "The Dogs of War" party and Accept, creating your own party is covered in the [User Manual]. After the introduction scenes you find your part on the road in the countryside, one of your players is highlighted with a hex around him on the map and a blue outline to his character on the right sidebar. At the bottom right of the screen the toggle movement mode should show three people which means your whole party will move as a group when you move the selected member of your party. At times it may be useful to just move one character and clicking the toggle movement mode button changes to just one person allowing you to move just one of the party.
For now stick together and explore. From your experience in the tutorial you should know how to check your parties inventory and their character sheets, it is worthwhile checking who has what abilities,spells and weapons. As you move your party around you will see they always try to line up in the same order as the sidebar lists them, if you want to change their marching order you just have to click and drag their pictures on the sidebar.
Along the bottom of the screen are 10 quickslots for the selected character, you can put anything in your inventory in a quick slot for easy access. Spells are added automatically as you learn them and you should add any weapons and shields you use. If your character has the ability to use two weapons at once you can add both to one quickslot so you can equip them both in one move. The same applies if the character has the ability to use shields, a shield and a one handed melee weapon can be in one slot. Each player has more than 10 quickslots, the scroll arrows on the left cycle through all 5 rows or the + key on the right shows all of them at once. It is also common practice to add any potions and spell scrolls you find or buy to quickslots, initially you do not have much equipment but who knows what you might find?
There are two types of movement, in explore mode you just need to left click on any visible hex that displays a pair of boots when you hover the cursor over it and the party will move there. Movement will stop if you encounter something hostile or if you detect a hidden trap. There are times when you will trigger an event such as a cutscene or a dialog giving you information.
The second type of movement occurs in combat and is explained below.
In your travels you will meet lots of people of various races, some are hostile and will attack you, some will talk to you before they get into combat, some will ignore you, some will talk to you and give information or ask you to help them in some way and some are merchants who will buy and sell, usually at unfavourable rates to begin with.
To talk to people you just need to be somewhere near them and hover the cursor over them, if they show a speech bubble then they will talk to you. When you find the Willow Inn there are a few people to talk to inside.
Mentioned briefly above were hidden traps, hopefully one of your party is good at spotting hidden traps and you should have someone who is able to disarm them or even recover them for later use. Just because you have found a trap does not mean that your party will avoid it and injure themselves so it is best to deal with as soon as possible. If your party have placed traps then they will not be harmed by standing on them, it is assumed they know how to avoid triggering their own traps.
Also there are sometimes other things that are hidden so your party should check everywhere for secret things. Just moving your cursor around over objects and walls may sometimes lead to a discovery, doors will show up as a speech bubble as well as when you click on the object it will run a dialogue. It is perhaps best if the player with the best search skill searches as they have the best chance of finding something.
You may also come across things that are locked, if you have a skilled lockpicker in your party then can often open the object, but some things are so complex that they need a special key that you will need to find.
Combat is triggered when any of your party is with sight range of any hostile person or creature. You will know when combat has started as the left sidebar shows you the turn order for everyone involved. Everything is now controlled by action points, the character sheet of each member of the party will show how many action points it takes to use their currently equiped weapon and how many point it costs to move 1 hex. Casting spells and changing weapons all use action points, the right side bar shows how many action points each character has left for this round, actions that you can no longer perform due to a shortage of action points are greyed out. When you have no more actions possible you must end your turn by clicking the big end turn button, bottom right corner, or pressing space, after every combatant has had their turn the next round starts and everyones action points are reset.
Melee fighting consists of left clicking on any hostile that is in an adjacent hex as many times as your action points will allow, if you need to move to get next to them this is done automatically but do not forget that moving also costs action points. You may have some abilities that allow you to do more refined fighting, these should automatically be in your quickslots, all you need to do is click the action, such as Mighty Blow, the message at the top of the screen asks you to select the target, if you change your mind about the attack right click on your own character and select cancel. These extra abilities are not always available they take time to recover and may use more action points. Right click on the item in the quickslot to get more information.
Ranged weapons are a good choice for the less well defended members of your party as weapons like bows, slings and spears can be used from distance, all you need is a line of sight. Select a target with the cursor, if it changes to a sword they are in range so just click until your action points are used up or you run out of arrows. Note that to use a bow, crossbow or sling you need to have the right items in your quiver slot on your inventory.
There are times when you will get an option to attack a hostile with no action point cost. These attacks of opportunity occur when a hostile does something that lays him open to a reflexive attack. A bowman who fires an arrow while you are standing next to him gives you a chance for a quick hit, you cannot use anything but an ordinary hit with whatever weapon you have equipped. You also get an attack of opportunity if they try to pass through a hex next to you, if they try to move away from you or if they stop fighting to drink a potion. Every character of yours can get an opportunity to whack him if they are standing next to him. Of course this is not all one sided , each of your characters can get whacked by the enemy for doing the same things.
Some of your party are skilled in different sorts of spell casting, the spells they know are shown on their quickbar, righy click to find out more about each spell.
Spells come in all sorts of types, attack, defence and healing for instance. Defence spells are usually applied to the caster or to another party member, sometimes the spell is cast on the caster but also affects party members nearby. Attack spells usually have a line of sight and a maximum distance limitation, they are usually cast on an enemy or an area near the enemy. Some only affect enemies but some can also affect your own party if they are standing in the wrong place, For healing spell the caster usually has to be standing next to person he wants to heal. As with special abilities if you want to cancel a spell you just need to right click on the caster and select cancel.
In your travels will come across tradesmen trying to make a living off adventures such as your party. The party member with the best speech skill level will determine how the prices are fixed. When you speak to a merchant and select barter the player inventory and that of the merchants open, you can see how his prices are fixed at the top of his inventory. Right clicking any item in his inventory gives you a chance to buy, or buy multiple if there are more than one, the price is shown and you only need to click to accept the deal. Selling stuff works similarly, the right click on your own inventory allows you to sell or sell multiple. Note that your parties money is shown at the top of your inventory this is not how much this character has. By clicking on each of your party on the right sidebar each can buy and sell. Some merchants also have quest to offer you, you may get a better deal after successfully completing the quest.
You can end the bartering at any time by closing the merchants inventory window.
Before you sell of all the stuff you have collected in your travels you may like to consider if it has a use for you. If you right click on things in your inventory you can get to see the details for the items. As well as having some intrinsic value they can, sometimes, also be used to make things. The details page will show what the item can be used to make. You can also open up the logbook, the book at the bottom right corner if you forgot, there is another tab - recipes. This lists all sorts of things you can make if you have the components.
Actually making things is quite easy, first you need to find a workbench, click it and the crafting window opens. All the recipes are listed and if you have the components and skill you can click the craft button. It does not matter which of you party clicked on the workbench the skill of the best in your party is used to craft the item which appears in the inventory of the active character, not necessarily the one who made it.
You end the crafting session by closing the crafting window.
In case you are stuck on the opening map, you will need to enter the Willow Inn, there is a special hex outside the front door marked travel to Willow Inn. Inside the Inn you will be able to practice everything except Crafting, and do not forget to get a good nights sleep before travelling further.
Later on the transition hexes will show travel to World Map, this opens a Map showing all the places you know about and gives the travelling time to each, clicking on the travel time takes you to that place.
Eventually, if you survive, you will reach the end of Chapter 1 and you can then continue to Chapters 2 and 3.
You can save your game at any time except when in combat, click the gear wheels at the bottom right to go to the Menu, select save and give the saved game a name, up to twelve characters. The load button is now active and clicking it lists your saved games with a brief overview of your parties progress. Only saved games from the current Campaign are displayed. If you have changed to Chapter 2 Campaign the load screen is not cluttered with your Chapter 1 saves, to see the Chapter 1 saves you must first select the Chapter 1 Campaign.
As you party gains experience they will reach a point where they can level up. You will know when this has happened as the characters who can level up will have "level up" flashing on the portrait, the Character Sheet also displays their current experience points and the number needed for the next level. To level up a character just click on the flashing level up message and the character creation screen will pop up.
There are many option and tabs on this screen but most will be greyed out as they are not available to you at this time. The first screen allows you to increase the players role, in the first few levels you have only one choice, later you may choose to diversify, press next when ready. The screens you are presented with are often different each each level and for each character, you will get to choose new spells or abilities, train in different types of weapons or armour or improve your basic statistics. Each choice has a button for more details and until you confirm the level up details you can go back and change things. The full use of this screen is explained further in the [User Manual].
During combat your hit points may drop to zero; you can see your party's hit point on the right side bar underneath each portrait, the first number is their current points the second is their current maximum. If you get to zero the numbers change to the word Dying as this character is now so injured that they cannot do anything, they are removed from the turn list and they continue to take damage from bleeding, mostly they are ignored by hostiles.
If nothing is done their hit points will become so low that their status changes to Dead. If all of your party are dead the game has ended badly and you have no choice other than to start again at the beginning or from a saved game. There are two ways to stop a dying character becoming a dead one, another member of the party can try to restore them with spells or if all the hostiles are killed and combat ends then they will automatically begin to recover.
Once a party member is dead they need specialist help to be restored to life, unless one of your party is capable of doing this the only option is to find a healer, there is often one in most towns, who will charge a fee for raising the dead. Fortunately the dead person will just follow your party around, carrying all his inventory and once raised from the dead will be fit and fully equipped.
Throughout your travels you will find many magic items and learn spells and abilities which affect your character's stats. An important concept is stacking - how are multiple bonuses of the same type added up? When your character receives the sum of two bonuses of the same type we say that those bonuses stack. For example, a +1 Intelligence hat and +2 Intelligence from the Spell Enhance Attributes stack, resulting in a total of a +3 bonus to Intelligence. When you only receive the greater of two bonuses we say that those bonuses do not stack. So, for example a +1 Intelligence hat and a +2 Intelligence amulet do not stack, resulting in a total of a +2 bonus to Intelligence. In this situation, the lesser bonus (the +1 Intelligence hat) is essentially being ignored.
In general, bonuses from items you have equipped do not stack with bonuses of the same type from other items, as in the above example. However, bonuses from items do stack with bonuses from spells and abilities, and bonuses from spells and abilities do usually stack with each other. For example, the bonus to Strength from a Berserker's Rage ability stack with the bonuses to Strength from the Enhance Attributes spell.
Note however that multiple castings of a spell or multiple uses of an ability do not stack with themselves. So, you can't have two characters both cast Divine Luck at the same time to get double the bonus to attack and damage. Another important exception is damage reduction, which subtracts from all incoming damage of a specific type. Different sources of damage reduction (such as from items or spells) do not stack with one another. Damage reduction, which subtracts a fixed amount (such as 2 points) does stack with damage immunity, which subtracts a percentage amount (such as 10%).