For those who want to make the most out of an insane challenge! This guide can also be used for other difficulty modes.
At the very start, the EC difficulty gives strong penalties of 10% to increases and decreases for all stats and slower XP gain. This looks very scary at start, but they are manageable with this guide. Only the early stage pose as the real challenge and will determine if you survive or not. Please read all the details carefully to plan ahead with the right craft order and resource managing.
Getting Started with a Strong Family
Each family member will start out with random negative traits and skill points. You will have to start over and over until you have the right stats and the least damaging negative traits. This way you can have a strong enough family to survive extreme conditions!
Note: Remember to skip the introduction to save time and avoid having Moira (low scavenge) do the shipwreck.
Random Negative Traits
You would want to avoid getting traits that will decrease each family member’s specialty. For someone who will never harvest, a penalty for that skill will not hurt as much as someone who does. The most damaging ones are fatigue (early game over) and a strong decrease in overall XP gain (e.g. Stubborn) on top of the EC penalty.
Knowing Your Family
The stat range is shown below each family member of what you should try to be getting (higher number is better).
Kari (Early Explorer/Hunter/Main Scavenger)
- Exploration 40-60, Hunting 30-50, Scavenging 30-50
She is the most important family member throughout the entire game from start to finish. All early explorations will be done by her until Shanaw (Kari will be hunting) takes over. You should keep her sickness and fatigue down to find other survivors faster.
She will be the big hero later on to fight bosses, skill test checks for positive buffs/traits, and doing difficult exploration events (scavenge useful later on). Any items that boost courage, scavenge, exploration, agility, strength, and courage should be used on her. More will be explained later.
If you do not have the patience, just aim for high exploration and scavenge stats.
Eirik (Main Crafter)
- Crafting 20-40
He is the second most important family member from early-mid game. He must focus on crafting only until the most important things are completed for your camp. A higher crafting stat will save a turn or two to build stations for extra resources early on. For example, the upgrades to increase potable water capacity lets you get more free water during rain or storm events. This saves wood and manpower to be invested somewhere else for a day or two.
- Harvesting 30-50, Healing 40-60
She will be the main food (fruit) gatherer for the family until the camp is large enough to move to fish and meat. Fruit is most preferred at start because of not increasing sickness, which can be a pain for those who rely on endurance skills. She will be getting hemp later on to make ropes.
Healing is her second specialty but will be used sparingly to not interrupt resource production so much.
You should focus on getting her charisma up as much as possible from exploration events. This will be a big help later on with few events of paying no or reduced tributes to Elof.
Blodeuwedd (All-Around/Early Scavenger/Lumberjack)
- Scavenging 30-50, Forestry 20-40
She is average with most stats and has no real specialty. She can be used as a temporary for other work stations until one of her stats are strong enough. I chose forestry because Eirik is too busy crafting early-mid game and there is no one else to do it.
At the very start, she will be scavenging from the shipwreck to get food and supplies. I would recommend to stop scavenging the shipwreck as soon as you find a good food source. This way you can get larger quantities (more advanced supplies comes with the last few scavenging runs) later on when using an almost maxed scavenger like Kari.
Overall Health States
Each character will have different resistance and recovery values. Some of them will need extra rest or items to reduce their risk of dying. The weather will change every day and can have negative overnight evolution. You need to hover over each state to see how these values will benefit and/or hurt the characters. The state values that change the most goes in this order: Fatigue>Depression>Sickness/Injury>Hunger.
In the early stages, the character will most likely get worked to death than any other state. This is reduced a bit with pillows and rest area, but it is still not enough. They need their main physical stats to be high enough to cushion the fatigue and depression on top of the additional resistance and recovery traits. I would select only fatigue traits because depression is more manageable with abundant items (explained below).
Note: Before picking a fatigue trait, you want to avoid penalties that will hurt their specialty or give increase to another state. If you do not like your options, be sure to exit (do not click save and quit) and try again to avoid the Fate’s Curse.
Only the family members will have almost all of these fatigue traits than the recruited survivors because they have to develop the camp from scratch without the upgrades. The looting survivors will focus on combat traits to do the most in battles.
The only state that can easily be controlled with abundant beer and sometimes meade (emergency only). Only one should be used at a time to make the most out of it.
The tavern is a horrible way to reduce depression because it takes two characters out of work and significantly hurts early progress. The station should only be used to craft beer (better with the -1 Wheat upgrade) when there is enough materials from battle loot. Otherwise, the tavern is not worth building until much later on.
Drunk vs Excited?
Depending on the beer supply and how bad the depression is, I either try to go for drunk (immediate large recovery with sickness penalty) or excited (small recovery up to 5 days without the sickness penalty).
The drunk state is for depression that is close to or within the skull red (75+) level. This will get the character out of immediate danger and has an one-day buff to fatigue and depression increases.
The excited mode is for depression between 20-60 range. This temporary trait is also useful for warriors because of giving more initiative. The recovery is small but adds up over time. Be sure to get the higher roll of excited days.
Note: Free Beer will be available after a couple days when the drunk starts to show up in battles. He drops beer and other beer materials upon victory. If you did not get a drunk to spawn, you can exit the game (alt f4) to reload a save until you get one.
The loot from battles will give a decent amount of resources and the bonuses do stack with a looter trio. They include everything from powders (lowers health state values), arrows (archer), beer (drunkard), bandages (berserker), and even the rare stone/iron (shieldmaiden). You just need to restart until you get the type of enemies you want. There are more choices later on when other enemy classes show up.
The Early Enemies
The Plunderer and Knives Guy will be common until the Archer shows up a bit later. Since the characters are still fragile with low health, any big hits will severely injure any family member. The Archer will be the largest threat because he can do heavy damage on top of a critical chance. You should be targeting the most dangerous enemies: Archer > Knives Guy> Plunderer.
Eventually, the Drunkard will join the fight. You must have him spawn twice every day to get as much beer.
The Mid+ Enemies
Around the halfway point of the island, more powerful enemies will spawn that now includes elites. Your fighters will most likely be a looter trio with enough traits to handle them with ease. The traits should be more AP , health (7-8+ white hearts), and damage without severe penalties. The enemies can still wreck havoc if they all target one constantly.
The newer enemies will now include shieldmaiden, berserker, and slaver. The first two are shown below because of their importance. The Slaver is another support like the Drunk and is not a threat.
The Shieldmaiden is a defensive support and shows up about halfway up the island. She gives defense buffs but is most vulnerable when protecting an ally. Be sure to go for whoever she is protecting to damage both of them at same time.
The Berserker can be a big threat during early encounter because of doing high damage to single target or medium damage to all. However, his low accuracy can cause some misses.
Planning Tributes Ahead
Moira is the only character who can either lower animosity for free and even skip a tribute completely. Her charisma will be skill checked for almost all of them. Hence, you need to work hard on leveling up her charisma from exploration events (2-3) and traits (invest 1-2 skills) when you level up. For one of the events, the kissing event will skill check her constitution.
My plan was to keep as much resources by paying a slightly lower tribute (do not go for the 50%). You just need to get the timing right by doing this a week before the free animosity-reducing event (labeled as special). This way you can get your animosity back to zero then rinse and repeat!
The list below shows what you should be paying for each tribute and which ones are special:
- 1st- 10 wood (normal – raises some animosity)
- 2nd- 12 non-potable water (special)
- 3rd- 30 wood (normal)
- 4th -40 Fruit (normal)- Get Moira to harvest fruit first in the morning (optional to bring couple fruit from previous night) but let Kari finish off the rest. Problem with this tribute is the large fatigue gains and Kari has most fatigue resistance.
- 5th – 30 wood (reduced)
- 6th- 20 raw meat (special but you still give 4x in payments of 5) – Avoid eating mud altogether! The permanent sickness trait will end Kari. You can get enough raw meat from just hunting and traps saved up over couple days. If that is not enough, then go for exploration events that has raw meat. The traps should give you more than enough if you have 5 and they are upgraded.
- 7th-20-25? rope (reduced payment)
- 8th-0 raw fish (special) – There is a constitution then a charisma check after to completely skip the tribute.
- 9th-10-15 stone (reduced) – I am not certain if the half amount will trigger a bad event. Paying the exact rope tribute for the next one will reduce additional animosity on top of the medicine.
- 10th- 40 rope (special) – Only give Elof any medicine to reduce animosity but do not give any food! Moira will get a free sickness reduction based on the quality of the medicine.
- 11th- 20 iron (normal)
- 12th- 30 dried meal (normal or high) – The best choice is to have Moira get the Master Rebuker (if you did either the healing or kissing successfully) because this trait is most useful to her as a healer. She will not lower animosity. Blodeuwedd can also lower animosity for free but no trait. Eirik will have a slim chance of getting a positive but completely useless trait after successfully defending Kari but has a large increase in animosity. I chose to pay extra because I had more than enough dried meal.
- 13th – 30 beer (reduced) – Rare commodity to give too much of.
- 14th – 60 wood (high) – Should have plenty of wood by then.
- 15th – 30 stone (normal) – Anticipation of not making the fruit tribute and keeping animosity to zero.
- 16th – 60 fresh fruit (whatever you can get)
- 16th – 40 raw meat (normal) – should be able to get 40 easily with traps, dual hunting, and even exploration events.
Note: Any tribute beyond 16th is just a repeat of rope, wood, and stone. Nothing special afterwards.